By Amy McGinnis
This past weekend, the Phils hosted the Cardinals for a three game series at Citizens Bank Park. Friday night was essentially the Roy Halladay Show, when Doc showed us that when he’s healthy, he’s still a beast. After the 3-1 win, Chase Utley said, “We wouldn’t have been in that situation if Roy hadn’t pitched the way he did. The Cardinals have a very good offensive team. For him to pitch like that against those guys, it tells you something.” It surely does – it tells us that Doc must be feeling better.
Cliff Lee pitched on Saturday, when the Phils lost 4-1; Lee remains winless at home in 2012. It seems that 2012 is to Cliff Lee what 2009 was to Cole Hamels (I wonder if the media and fans will get a chance to crucify him for an “I want this to be over” remark.) My favorite part of Saturday’s game, though, was Howard’s at bat in the first inning, and I loved it for a few reasons. 1) He scored Dom Brown, and I’m happy to see #9 back in Philadelphia, 2) Howard is really showing some hustle on the basepath, and 3) Chase Utley slid into second base, effectively making Furcal stumble for a second. Watching Utley break up a double play like that shows that he really knows how to take control of a play.
On Sunday, I took my three daughters (Ella is 8, Ava is 6, and Olivia is 4) to the afternoon game. Olivia is still bitter about the events on July 31, so she wore her Pence shirt … and took a nap during innings three through six. Ella has gotten over Victorino’s move to LA and is currently vying for the position of president of the Dom Brown Fan Club. As we walked into Citizens Bank Park, I told them that the Phillies should try to be especially aggressive in the first inning, because Lance Lynn would be most likely to let up runs then. At the end of the first, after the Phils had tacked on three runs, Ava said, “Thank you for teaching us about baseball, Mommy. You’re smart about it.”
After some time in the Phanatic Phun Zone and wandering around the Majestic Club House store twice, we were happy that the Phils won in extras. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by Eric Kratz this season. Do not be mistaken; Ruiz is my first choice every day of the week. I enjoy seeing a backup pulling his weight, though. 45 at bats is hardly a decent sample size, but his .333 works for me. I always love a capable substitute player, and his three run shot in the eighth inning was a fantastic way to push us into extra innings. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, after Rollins had stolen third, Juan Pierre hustled on an infield base hit for a walk off win. Pierre, when asked about Browning pitching to him in the last at bat of the game, said, “I just went old school Wiffel ball on him, honestly. Didn’t feel good all day, but one thing you can do every day is fight. And I just battled.”
I love toughness and I’d like to see more of it (looking at you, Nate Schierholtz). Tonight begins a series in Miami when the Phils and Marlins will battle for last place. Not exactly the World Series, but I will sure as hell cheer for my team. Go Phillies!