Not much time to spare here at Penn State during Arts Fest, so unfortunately, I have to make this post relatively short.
Via the walkoff longball, the Philies have won their last two games against the Cincinnati Reds in dramatic fashion to say the least.
While the end result was the same the last two nights at Citizens Bank Park, the trips to these finishes couldn’t have been more different.
On Thursday night, the dramatics clearly could have been avoided. Runs given up from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge in the 8th and 9th inning respectively ruined another solid outing by Kyle Kendrick, and gave more proof that the Phillies needs at the trade deadline are far greater than just a utility infielder and a middle of the rotation starter. In the end of it all, both Madson and the much maligned Lidge were bailed out by an unlikely source, Brian Schneider, who with his leadership and overall solid play (not even considering the walkoff) has really has justified Ruben Amaro’s decision to sign him as the primary backup to Carlos Ruiz when many teams thought his career was over.
On Friday night though, from the standpoint of a Phillies fan, the dramatics were encouraged and needed. Down 7-1 going into the 9th inning and with the way the season has gone so far, no one in their right mind could have imagined the Phillies winning that game. No Chase Utley, no Placido Polanco, no offense for the first eight innings of the game, no chance right?
It’s probably good no one relayed that negative (and somewhat justifiable) mindset to Greg Dobbs and Cody Ransom.
The three-run homerun by the new and improved Dobbs and the game tying two-run game tying HR by the recently called up Ransom capped off a stretch of six unanswered runs for Philadelphia and tied the game up at seven apiece, making it the largest deficit the Phillies have come back this season. After another unsung hero, Nelson Figueroa, pitched a crucial two-inning stretch for his second consecutive game, the stage was set for a usual suspect to finally deliver. Ryan Howard, on a breaking-ball thrown by All-Star LHP Arthur Rhodes (not usually the best situation for Howard), showed why he will join Rhodes on that NL All-Star team. With one swing of the bat, Howard sent shockwaves through Citizens Bank Park, as his two-run blast capped off an improbable comeback gave the Phillies their second walk-off in as many days against first-place caliber team.
While it remains unclear what impact these last two games will have on the rest of the season, after seeing the jubilation on the faces of those that were once a few days ago so dejected (Shane Victorino in particular), is appears that the “swagger” that Jamie Moyer and Charlie Manuel said was missing from the team after the Phillies 2nd loss in three games to the division-leading Atlanta Braves on Wednesday might in fact be back after a season-long hiatus that has seemed like an eternity.
It’s about time.