Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sweep averted: the sky isn't falling in Philadelphia

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
If baseball games were only 7 innings long, this would have been a very different post. The Phillies appeared on their way to their third straight loss as they entered the bottom of the 7th inning trailing 10-3 to the Braves. The starting pitching had once again put the team in a first inning hole and the Phillie bats remained cold despite Raul Ibanez's first homer with the team. Hopefully everyone stayed tuned into the game, or was following it online like I was, because what happened next was reminiscent of the magic of the 2008 Phillies. They won!

The Phils sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 7th inning and exploded for 8 runs to lead them to a 12-11 win. What was even more surprising about that output was they only had four hits in the inning and none of them were more than a single. In fact, the Phils managed four singles, five walks and to get hit by a pitch in the outburst. Four of the walks scored runs when they happened with the bases loaded. Talk about a meltdown by the Braves bullpen, Atlanta needed four pitchers just to get through the inning!

Heroes for the Phillies included the aforementioned Ibanez, who went 2 for 3 and had 3 RBI, 2 walks and 3 runs scored. His homer was the first for the team this season. Despite giving up a homer in the 9th, Brad Lidge also continued his perfect streak of saves in a Phillie uniform.

So now the Phillies put a win on the board, moving their record to 1-2 on the season. Not a great start to the season, but it sounds a whole lot better than 0-3. With Cole Hamels pitching on Friday in Colorado, it's safe to say the Phils have an excellent shot at moving to .500.

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