August is upon us. Phillies are now 30 games over the. 500 mark, with the best record in MLB (69-39). They improved their offense with a trading deadline deal for Hunter Pence and are in the midst of reclaiming their vaunted Four Aces (Roy Oswalt is due back by week’s end while Vance Worley has been sterling in his absence). What more is needed to acknowledge that the Phillies can finally be heralded as the gold standard franchise?
If it walks like a champion, talks like a champion and looks like a champion… you still wait until they are holding a trophy to call them a champion. Yankee fans will simply never concede (they didn’t concede in their worst decade 1965-1975) and Red Sox Nation will fight down to the last man but sometimes numbers are truly irrefutable.
Last night in Denver the Phillies found another way to win. Offensively dormant for most of the game with Cole Hamels on the mound, the Phightin’ Phils simply didn’t give up. After 8-2/3 innings and down to their final strike, John Mayberry, Jr. tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run HR off Rockies closer Huston Street. Shane Victorino then led off the tenth inning blasting a solo shot of his own off rookie southpaw Rex Brothers – who blew a save Sunday and took the hard loss.
The win was the fourth straight and 10th in 13 games for the Phillies, who began a National League West road trip through Colorado, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The victory also notched a 19-11 record in one-run games, 30 games above .500 at 69-39 for the season.
Street threw nothing but sliders and Mayberry lofted the eighth one into the left-field stands. Street has allowed 10 homers in 48 innings but blew just his third save in 31 opportunities. He retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth before Carlos Ruiz lined a double to left. Mayberry (5-for-20 as a pinch-hitter) came back from a 1-2 count and fouled off two 3-2 pitches before connecting for his third career pinch-hit HR– his first in the ninth inning.
“Going through my head was every scenario we could have possibly thrown him right there,” Iannetta said. “It kept coming down to, if we’re going to get beat, I want to get beat by [Street's] best pitch, and the slider is his best pitch.”
Both teams received very good efforts from their starting pitchers. Jhoulys Chacin gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings, his third-longest start of the season. Chacin remains winless in his past eight starts with four losses since he last won on June 15.
Cole Hamels gave up a two-run homer in the second to Seth Smith and stifled the Rockies otherwise through six innings. Hamels has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his past 13 starts, a stretch in which his ERA is 2.19. Antonio Bastardo got the win in relief.
Smith’s homer was number 9 on the season but first in 120 at-bats. On June 21 in Cleveland, Smith hit the second of two homers in the ninth inning. Smith was the only left-handed hitter in the Rockies lineup against Hamels. Cole Hamels has allowed just nine homers in 158 innings this season and just four to left-handed hitters in 142 at-bats.
“We made some mistakes tonight,” Manuel said. “We made some mistakes in yesterday’s ballgame too. We stay in there and get the big hit at the right time. This team has come together and maintained our core so that we know how to win. Play all 27 outs – or in this case 27 outs plus Victorino’s AB. I’m proud of our bullpen, proud of our starting pitching and proud of our batboys and ballgirls. 30 games over .500 is better than we expected but not better than we believed we could do.”
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org