Ever get the feeling that now might be the apocalypse, at least in Philadelphia? From the Dodgers coming to town without Manny to icebergs in the Delaware River (in May, no less) to geysers erupting in Northeast Philly near where I grew up (photo at right courtesy of my dad).
Or maybe not. But it is a little rainy out today. The Phillies take on the Dodgers at 1:05-ish, and I'll guide you through this National League tilt. Chad Billingsley (5-1, 2.45 ERA) goes up against Cole Hamels (1-2, 6.17 ERA).
1:03 - Another sign of the apocalypse: A bunch of clowns are parading around Citizens Bank Park today. Tom McCarthy says the circus is in town, but I don't believe it.
1:05 - "It's a wonderful day to play hooky from work," McCarthy says. I support any franchise that encourages things like that.
1:07 - Juan Pierre opens the game with a groundout. Just because Joe Torre has to play Pierre because Manny Ramirez is suspended doesn't mean he needs to bat him first. (Yes, he's on fire so far. Old habits are tough to break.)
1:08 - Rafael Furcal singles to center. There goes the no-hitter! Way to go, Cole.
1:13 - Orlando Hudson strikes out looking on a 3-2 count, and Carlos Ruiz throws to Chase Utley who throws to Ryan Howard to get Rafael Furcal in the basepaths. Strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out and the top of the first is over.
1:15 - The Phillies are up, and Jimmy Rollins (.200/.239/.292, 35 OPS+) is back in the leadoff spot today after two days in the five hole.
1:16 - He's happy to be home at, uh, first! He doubles down the right field line to lead off the bottom of the first.
1:17 - What do you do with your #2 hitter in the top of the first? You sacrifice him to the pitcher, of course. This is one of the things about Charlie Manuel that infuriates me. Shane Victorino nearly beat it out for a hit a pitch after almost being hit. J-Roll's on third and Chase Utley is up.
1:21 - Well, at least it worked. Utley walks and Howard flies out to center. Rollins scores his 16th run of the season. Phillies 1, Dodgers 0.
1:27 - Billingsley strikes out Werth swinging to end it. Billingsley was born in Defiance, Ohio -- "It's a cultural wasteland," some dude says of it -- but lives in Reading in the offseason. This must be a dude who loves cultural wastelands. I kid, I kid. Reading's okay. It's no Old Forge, though. End 1st.
1:29 - Ryan Howard makes a nice-ish defensive play on Andre Ethier and takes it himself, but Russell Martin singles to left to give the Dodgers a man one with one out.
1:30 - So close to another inning-ending double play. James Loney lines out to Rollins, but Cap'n OPS stumbles after catching the ball and throws wild to Howard at first. Two down, though.
1:32 - Two strikeouts for Hamels as he whiffs Matt "and Jeff" Kemp to end the inning. Hey, I'm a regular Chris "Mer"-man here!
1:35 - Billingsley walks Raul Ibanez to start the inning, his 13th base on balls of the year. The other night Pedro Feliz (up now) walked four times in one game. I can only assume Feliz has been replaced with some sort of robot developed with the DNA of Barry Bonds. Well, the DNA of Barry Bonds and HGH.
1:39 - Feliz runs the count to 3-2 but strikes out on a pitch right down the middle. And the DNA of Mark Reynolds, too.
1:40 - The sun's coming out! The Dodgers get some sunglasses run out to them; Casey Blake is representing with old school flip-down sunglasses. Nicely done.
1:41 - Carlos Ruiz singles to right. Ze sunglasses! Zey do nothing!
1:44 - Hamels sacrifices and Jimmy "Negative VORP" Rollins pops out with two runners in scoring position. End 2nd.
1:45 - During that inning, the announcers let us know Jason Schmidt threw 94 pitches in a rehab start yesterday for the Inland Empire 66ers. (What an awesome team name. They need to play the Round Rock Express.) If you had asked me if Jason Schmidt was playing, retired or dead, I would have chosen "dead" before "playing."
1:47 - The team even has an awesome logo. Check it out:
Aww, yeah. That's pretty sweet. I'm also a big fan of the logo of the Camden Riversharks (who recently declared war on peanuts):
Only because it has the Ben Franklin Bridge in it.
1:52 - Meanwhile, Casey Blake hit a ground rule double, old school style; Chad Billingsley struck out looking, Reading-style; and Juan Pierre flied out to left, recent vintage Juan Pierre-style.
1:55 - Hamels battles for a while with Rafael Furcal for a while! Geeze. I just wanted to give you guys an update.
1:56 - Furcal grounds to Jimmy "Multiple Gold Gloves" Rollins, who boots it while trying to backhand it. Blake comes around to score and we have a tie game. Phillies 1, Dodgers 1.
1:57 - Aw, I feel bad pickin' on Jimmy. I like him.
2:00 - Hamels comes back to get Orlando Hudson swinging. Shane Victorino is due up for the Phils.
2:04 - Ha ha, a real little kid just got a foul ball from his father and he immediately threw it right back on the field. It was a way better throw than any one Jimmy Rollins has had this year. (Hey-o! Sorry Jimmy!)
2:05 - Victorino struck out, by the way. Utley is up now.
2:07 - Utley struck out.
2:08 - Ryan Howard broke up this exciting inning with a groundout to second. I've gotta put on this song to get myself pumped up for the top of the fourth. End 3rd.
2:10 - The Phillies have 14 sellouts already this year. Fourteen! I remember a game at the Vet in 2002 where there were somewhere around 17 people in the stands. I guess a nice new park and a World Series will do that for you. Too bad it's in the middle of nowhere. I point you to this image from two years ago. Meanwhile, Hamels strikes out Andre Ethier.
2:13 - A catcher steals a base! After a single to left, Russell Martin nabs his third of the year.
2:14 - There's a nice play by J-Roll. (Finally. Erhm, I mean: Yay!) James "Phony Ba" Loney lines out to Howard, who throws to Rollins for the DP. Howard's throw was a little wild but Rollins bailed him out.
2:16 - Jayson Werth is up to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Werth is 30 and he's really coming into his own the past few years as a Phillie. But did you know the guy the Blue Jays traded him (to the Dodgers!) for in 2000, Jason Frasor, is 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA (and a 650 ERA+!) this year out of the bullpen.
2:18 - Billingsley gets his fifth strikeout of the day on Werth as the announcers talk about the Phillies' White House visit tomorrow. Yeah, I guess President Bush didn't have any time to have them visit in December.
2:20 - Raul Ibanez breaks up this exciting run of outs with a single through the middle.
2:22 - Pedro Feliz grounds into a 3-6-3 double play. Phillies president David Montgomery (we share an alma mater, but I'm not a trustee like he is) exits the booth; the conversation was actually more interesting than I expected. (He doesn't have too much competition. Scott Eyre's mom was a guest in the booth the other day. Did you know he has a younger brother?!) End 4th.
2:24 - Okay, time for a new pump-up video. Thanks to EdBerger for getting Journey on the mind. You really need to click through and watch this one.
2:25 - Matt Kemp singles to left to open the top of the fifth, setting the stage for another possible double play.
2:26 - Casey Blake singles and there's runners on first and second even though Matt Kemp nearly got caught between 2nd and 3rd. I blame you, Steve Perry. Damn you.
2:27 - It's not a double play, but almost! Billingsley lays down a bunt, pitcher-style, and Carlos Ruiz gets Matt Kemp at third. The throw to first is a little late. Still another chance for a DP!
2:31 - Juan Pierre attempts to bunt for a hit but gets thrown out at first by Hamels. Or maybe he was sacrificing. Joe Torre is going to sacrifice again here. Miniature-ball.
2:34 - Rafael Furcal strikes out -- Hamels' sixth K of the day -- to end the top of the inning and leave two runners in scoring position.
2:40 - Carlos Ruiz walks to open the bottom of the second. The Phils have walked four times today, but it's the Dodgers who lead the NL in walks.
2:42 - Hamels lays down his second sacrifice bunt today, Chad Billingsley bobbles it and everybody's safe. Meanwhile, I'm considering making this costume for my girlfriend's cat, Walker (also known as Cat Stairs):
Ha ha, look at that cat's face!
2:44 - Rollins strikes out. Russell Martin throws behind Cole Hamels after he strayed off first, but it goes into right field and Carlos Ruiz heads up to third. That's two errors in the game for the Dodgers. Will they complete the hat trick?
2:48 - The Phillies make some errors of their own! Victorino strikes out on a 3-2 slider and Hamels is caught off first again; while he's caught in a rundown Ruiz attempts to score, after a long rundown between third and home, the inning is over. I blame the cat. End 5th.
2:51 - They just showed Jayson Werth stealing home on Tuesday night; what's amazing in the background is how excited the Phanatic looks afterward on top of the dugout. How does he manage to do that?! I'm impressed.
2:52 - By the way, that last out went 2-3-6-5-2-6.
2:53 - Cole Hamels strikes out Orlando Hudson for the third time. Color man Gary Matthews says Hamels is working "like a doctor, just cutting him up." I believe that's what doctors call what they do.
2:55 - It's a strikeout parade! Hamels K's Andre Ethier; he has eight on the day.
2:56 - Russell Martin walks on four pitches, and... oh, oh my! The Dodgers are bringing in Air Bud to pinch hit!
2:58 - Aw, he didn't get a chance to bat. Russell Martin is picked off, tagged by Ryan Howard and the top of the inning is over.
3:00 - Chad Billingsley strikes out Chase Utley.
3:04 - Ryan Howard grounds out to first. During this exciting stretch of baseball, I read this column about Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, which includes the line: "The only way Ruben Amaro Jr. would pass by unnoticed now is if he borrowed the gorilla suit from another hometown kid who grew up to run a franchise, Boston's Theo Epstein." If he borrowed a gorilla suit from me everyone would be like, "Oh, hi Ruben. I saw you borrowed a gorilla suit from Dan."
3:07 - Jayson Werth strikes out for the third time today. End 6th.
3:10 - This pump up music does nothing as James Loney golfs a change up over the right field fence. He had no homers before last night and now he has 2. Unlike last night, this one was a shot. Dodgers 2, Phillies 1.
3:11 - Hamels gets back on track, getting Matt Kemp to fly out to right. Or as Voros McCracken might say, he gets lucky. But those eight strikeouts by Hamels were all him.
3:13 - After a Casey Blake groundout, Hamels picks up his ninth, this time on Chad Billingsley (who also has nine). Stretch time!
3:16 - Thanks to Matt_T for posting this video in the comments, which is the liveglog version of a rally cap for the Phils.
3:18 - Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz hate Sweden. They both ground out (edit: not at the same time) to open the bottom of the seventh.
3:21 - Carlos Ruiz walks to bring up pinch hitter Matt Stairs.
Whoops! That's not Stairs. (There's actually a scene in that movie where a guy stands up in the stands and says, "Hey! It's Enrico Pallazzo!"-style, "Hey! They're putting Air Bud in!")
3:26 - Stairs drives one to center, but Matt Kemp is able to back up and make the catch. Drat Stairs. End 7th.
3:29 - Ryan Madson is in to pitch, and Raul Ibanez makes a weird leaping catch of a Juan Pierre fly in foul territory to open the eighth. Pierre is 0-for-3 and all is right with the world. No more apocalypse.
3:31 - Ibanez gets his second putout of the inning. Let's go for the hat trick!
3:33 - Orlando Hudson avoids the gold sombrero and grounds one under Ryan Madson's glove; Chase Utley fields it in short center but Hudson has his first hit of the day.
3:38 - Andre Ethier singles to left on a 3-2 pitch, Raul Ibanez attempts to nail Hudson at third (he didn't have a chance) and Ethier is able to move up to second. It's the first error of the season for Ibanez and the second of the game for the Phils.
3:39 - Russell Martin pops out to right, and the top of the inning is over. Let me clear some tabs before the Phillies bat: I'm really happy I was able to get Tony Gwynn to tweet, "Ryan Zimmerman is going streaking," I liked this photo essay of tiny houses in the Los Angeles Times and I particularly loved this comment about steroids in The Desert Sun (Calif.):
My friend's wife, Jane, is 69 and undergoing cancer treatment. Steroids are included in her treatment. Often tired, she still is able to play some golf and when she does her drives have increased by 10 or 15 yards, or almost 15 percent. Do you think a professional athlete, say 30 or 35 years old and in excellent physical condition, could increase the distance he hits the ball by the same percentage? Therefore turning a 340-foot fly ball out into a 400-foot home run. You think?
3:42 - Cory Wade comes in for Chad Billingsley while the announcers talk about the fake Chris Wheeler Twitter. One day, Chipper Jones will mention the comments on Walkoff Walk. Wheels also met Christopher Guest!
3:43 - And there's one down, as Rollins grounds out to second.
3:45 - Shane Victorino grounds out to short.
3:46 - Chase Utley flies out to deeeeeeeep right field, as Ethier gets it right in front of the scoreboard. This is all Spinal Tap's fault. End 8th.
3:52 - Brad Lidge is in to pitch. After James Loney pops out to shallow left, Matt Kemp hits it into left, Raul Ibanez goes rumblin', bumblin', stumblin' after it and somehow Kemp ends up with a triple.
3:53 - Casey Blake hits a sac fly to center. With the way the Phillies' offense has been going recently, it's as good as over. Dodgers 3, Phillies 1.
3:54 - Man, it had been so long since Manny Ramirez had been mentioned. I was enjoying it so much. But Xavier Paul comes in to pinch-hit, and we hear that he was called up when Manny was suspended.
3:55 - Paul doubles to center, and (as an added bonus) turns his ankle sliding into second.
3:56 - Juan Pierre flies out to deep center. 0-for-4! Phew. Things are feeling safer, somehow.
3:58 - Okay, if Ghostriding the Volvo can't do it, then this is my last chance to turn it around for the Phillies. (Because what I do controls this game.) Here it is: The Rally Coste Rules!
3:59 - 294-pound Jonathan Broxton (he of the 0.56 ERA) comes in to close for the Dodgers, incidentally. Gulp.
4:02 - Howard strikes out on a high one. One down.
4:04 - Gold sombrero! Jayson Werth strikes out, and Raul Ibanez is up with two outs.
4:05 - Ibanez singles and the Fightin' Phils are still fightin'. Greg Dobbs is the pinch hitter, and Ibanez moves to second on defensive indifference, the saddest-sounding term in baseball.
4:08 - And Greg Dobbs walks. First and second now!
4:12 - HOLY COSTE! Carlos Ruiz doubles to right! Ibanez scores! Dobbs scores! It's tied! Phillies 3, Dodgers 3.
4:14 - The announcers say those are, amazingly, his first two RBIs of the year. Eric Bruntlett is in to pinch hit. It's not Coste, but it'll do, I suppose.
4:16 - Coste woulda done it! Bruntlett strikes out and your friendly liveglogger is workin' overtime today, folks. End 9th.
4:18 - Chad Durbin's in to pitch for the Phillies. Durbin was good at the start of last season, but pitched 1500 innings (approx.) and was worn out in the second half of the year.
4:19 - Eric Bruntlett, incidentally, remains at third. Rafael Furcal grounds to short to open the 10th.
4:21 - And another gold sombrero! Orlando Hudson gets the milestone, though it took extra innings to do it.
4:22 - Chad Durbin totally strikes out Andre Ethier like five times and the ump keeps calling those pitches balls and so it's a two-out walk. (Translation: Like one of the pitches was a borderline ball.)
4:24 - Russell Martin drives it to deep right center, Shane Victorino doesn't really pick it up cleanly, and suddenly the Dodgers are back on top. Dodgers 4, Phillies 3.
4:25 - Durbin intentionally walks James Loney; the Phillies clearly want that advantageous Durbin-Kemp matchup.
4:27 - Sometimes playing those averages doesn't work, I guess. Matt Kemp doubles to deep left, Martin scores easily and Chad Durbin is probably making some people head for the exits. Dodgers 5, Phillies 3.
4:29 - Casey Blake strikes out. The bottom of the lineup got two runs last time, the Phillies now come up with Rollins-Victorino-Utley in the bottom of the 10th.
4:31 - RALLY PHANATIC SCRATCHING HIMSELF!
4:33 - Rollins grounds out to second. That man does not know how to scratch himself, that's for sure.
4:34 - And we're where we were an inning ago: Two outs, Phillies down two. Last time Raul Ibanez was up and the Phillies got 2. This time Utley's up!
4:36 - Utley gets hit for the sixth time this year. Rally hit by pitch! Howard's up!
4:37 - There's some more defensive indifference as Utley steals second. But it's 1-2 to Howard now after yet another borderline call. (Ump's a little all over the place today. Not horrible. It's extra innings, I'll cut him a little slack.)
4:39 - And that'll do it. Howard strikes out on a breaking ball. Phillies have lost six series at home already this year, says the announcers. I am thinking of ghostriding a rental whip to console myself. End 10th. Dodgers 5, Phillies 3.