My rule is: If there's a Phillies game on and I have nothing better to do, I might as well liveblog it for Walkoff Walk. Today, my liveblogging serves a dual purpose, as it not only wastes my time but also gets me off the hook for any other blog posts today.
I'm in luck, too: Today's game should be a pretty good matchup, as Aaron Cook (10-3, 3.88 ERA, 116 ERA+ for the fourth consecutive year) takes on Cliff Lee (8-9, 3.02 ERA, 149 ERA+ overall; 1-0, 1.00 ERA, 430 ERA+ with the Phillies). Plus, the great Paul Bako (.116 BA, 16 OPS+) is catching today for the Phillies.
I'm going to try to talk (er, write) baseball today and not just make fun of the announcers. We'll see how long this lasts. After the jump, as usual.
12:57: The TV says a Phillies preview is supposed to be on, but instead it's some special about the New York Giants (the baseball team). It's an episode of Baseball's Golden Age, which is narrated, hilariously, by Alec Baldwin.
He just uses his real voice, though.
1:01: The broadcast is starting; Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy informs us the city is still buzzing after J.A. Happ's start last night. Yeah, I can feel the electricity in my girlfriend's apartment.
1:03: Writing baseball didn't last long. I'll redouble my efforts.
1:07: First pitch! Cliff Lee opens with a pair of strikes. I'm betting heavily on "awesome first inning, horrible second inning." I could probably actually place a bet on this, couldn't I? I love the Internet.
1:08: Dexter Fowler doubles down the left field line to open the game. Good thing I didn't place that bet!
1:09: Seth Smith hits one off Jimmy Rollins' glove; the ball goes into left field, Fowler moves to third; it's scored a single.
1:11: Helton hits a sac fly to Victorino in center. Fowler scores easily and the crowd is a bit quieter already in South Philly. Rockies 1, Phillies 0.
1:15: The top of the first ends rather quickly, though, with a Troy Tulowitzki strikeout and a Garrett Atkins fielder's choice.
1:18: Jimmy Rollins opens the bottom of the first with a double to center.
1:22: And there's a quick run right back for the Phillies. Rollins goes to third on a Shane Victorino groundout and scores on a Chase Utley sacrifice fly. J-Roll has 67 runs this year despite his low average and OBP. Rockies 1, Phillies 1.
1:24: Howard flies out to one of the few deep-ish parts of the ballpark. End 1st.
1:26: Hey, it's the Keys to the Game! They are, I swear:
- Cliff Lee makes debut at Citizens Bank Park.
- Win series against a good team and potential October opponent.
Once again, my keys were better.
1:27: Ryan Spilborghs singles up the middle. First guy on in each of Cliff Lee's home innings so far. That bum!
1:29: Lee strikes out Chris Iannetta looking.
1:32: Another quick finish for Cliff Lee. Clint Barmes fouls out to Ryan Howard and Aaron Cook K's.
1:35: The Rockies think they have Raul Ibanez on strikes, but it's only 2-2. Ibanez makes this moot by grounding out on the next pitch. One down in the bottom of the second.
1:38: Jayson Werth breaks his bat and Garrett Atkins easily catches his liner.
1:39: After the leadoff double, Aaron Cook has been lights out. He gets Pedro Feliz to ground out for the third out. End 2nd.
1:42: Dexter Fowler bunts it down the first base line; Ryan Howard can't handle it but Fowler would have been safe anyway. It's a base hit.
1:43: Seth Smith strikes out looking. Big strike zone today, or Lee is dialed in, as he's struck out four.
1:44: Todd Helton lines out to Utley. Two down; Utley makes an attempt to get Fowler at first but he's late.
1:45: Pedro Feliz makes a nice stop on a Troy Tulowitzki grounder and the Rockies don't get anything from the leadoff single.
1:47: Paul Bako, who had the walkoff hit when the Phillies beat the Pirates at the Heist, is up. He's 0-for-10 in his last 10 at-bats.
1:48: Whoo! It's a single! Paul Bako breaks his hitless streak! Everybody go nuts!
1:49: Cliff Lee can't get the bunt down, Cholly lets him swing and he grounds into a 5-4-3 DP. This game is going to last, like, 2 hours.
1:50: Someone needs to tell Cliff Lee that, in the National League, pitchers have to help themselves. J-Roll singles, but nobody's on.
1:51: The announcers praise J-Roll for getting his batting average up into the .240s.
1:53: Troy T. (as he shall be known from now on today) makes a nice play on a Victorino grounder up the middle and gets him by a step at first. End 3rd.
1:54: If I never have to hear the phrase "cash for clunkers" again, I will be a very happy man.
1:57: Lee K's Garrett Atkins. Five, count 'em, five strikeouts by Cliff.
1:58: Ryan Spilborghs flies out to Jayson Werth.
2:00: And there's another strikeout for Cliff Lee. That's six.
2:01: One of my favorite commercials just aired. I've probably posted it before but I just can't get enough of "Sal's back!"
Somebody really just needs to call and ask if Sal is back from prison. Because when they don't say where Sal is returning from, it makes you assume prison. Especially if you just have to assume that he's a mobbed-up guy from South Philly, because you're a racist.
2:03: Chase Utley singles on a 2-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Utley's average was at .299 coming into the game, so he's back over .300 with that hit. Yay, Utley!
2:06: After Ryan Howard flies out, Raul Ibanez grounds one right up the middle and into center field. Two on, one out for Jayson Werth, who already has a career high in RBI (69) this year.
2:07: Werth flies out to left.
2:10: And Pedro Feliz hits a looper to Helton to end it. Hey, how come nobody thinks Pedro Feliz is a 'roids guy? He played with Bonds, hit ~20 homers every year in San Francisco but has deflated power stats in Philly (at least on the surface), he's from a foreign country; it's nearly everything people who traffick in steroid rumors look for! End 4th.
2:11: Yeah, anyway, Cliff Lee has to face 8-9-1 in the top of the fifth. Clint Barmes leads it off.
2:13: Oh, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said today J.A. Happ will stay in the rotation. Two complete game shutouts will help make that decision for you.
2:14: Cliff Lee picks up his seventh strikeout of the day already as he gets Barmes swinging.
2:15: Amazingly, Aaron Cook lays down a bunt. Lee is unable to field it, and it's an error. Pitchers don't have to field in the AL, right? There's like a little guy there to field for them?
2:17: Cliff Lee finally gets his arch-nemesis, Dexter "The Joker" Fowler, on a long fly to Raul Ibanez. Two down, pitcher on first.
2:19: Seth Smith bloops one to shallow right. Two on for Todd Helton, which is a situation I'm sure Cliff Lee would not like to find himself in against the Rockies. Whoa, that was a bit of a convoluted wording. Unfortunately, I don't have a delete key.
2:20: No matter. Helton grounds out, the top of the fifth inning is over.
2:23: Paul Bako leads off with... a homer to right-center!! All hail Paul Bako, hero of Philadelphia's 2009 season! It's his first of the year (and his first since 9 June 2008) and only the 22nd of his career. That man must be excellent behind the plate. And must never have touched steroids. Phillies 2, Rockies 1.
2:25: After Cliff Lee grounds out, Jimmy Rollins gets his third hit of the day, crushing one into the one kinda deep part of the ballpark in right center and legging out a triple.
2:28: Shane Victorino grounds to Clint Barmes, who attempts to get Jimmy Rollins at home; unfortunately for him, he throws it nowhere near home and J-Roll scores easily. Phillies 3, Rockies 1.
2:31: Chase Utley drives one to right but it's caught at the wall by Spilborghs. Howard's up.
2:33: Howard grounds out to end the inning. The Phillies get two, though, and if it starts pouring maybe everyone can go home early. Or, y'know, maybe we'll get a nine-inning game. End 5th.
2:36: I encourage all of you to continue having discussions about drugs in the comments. But please do it here and not at The 700 Level's liveblog today; while it's definitely funnier than mine is this afternoon, check out the ads on the side of his page (I shrunk the banner ads down a bit):
OMG YOUR KIDS ARE GOING TO BE ON THE POT AND THE PILLS UNLESS YOU WATCH THEM LIKE A HAWK!!
2:39: Troy T. singles to open the sixth, but Lee gets Garrett Atkins to fly out to center for the first out.
2:41: Ryan Spilborghs is the victim of another flyout, also to center.
2:42: Chris Iannetta strikes out to end the top of the sixth. Cliff Lee isn't cruising this afternoon, but he's keeping the baserunners to a minimum and striking out guys when guys do get on base. I think this guy might be able to help the Phillies the rest of this season, what do you guys think?
2:44: The announcers don't know why, but Aaron Cook's been taken out of the game. His went 5, allowed 3 earned runs, and didn't strikeout or walk anybody.
2:46: Matt Daley (from Bucknell University!) is in; he's pitched 10 straight scoreless outings and has lowered his ERA from 5.03 to 3.30.
2:47: Daley strikes out Ibanez.
2:49: Daley strikes out Werth.
2:50: And Pedro Feliz pops up in the infield. That was short. End 6th.
2:51: Cliff Lee has thrown 97 pitches (68 strikes) going into the seventh inning; he has Clint Barmes, a pinch-hitter and the leadoff man coming up.
2:52: Lee gets Barmes to ground right back to him; one down. With all the leadoff hitters he's let on base (four of 'em), he won't get another complete game today. But it's been a pretty nice outing for him so far.
2:56: After a walk to Carlos Gonzalez, Lee get Fowler looking, his ninth strikeout of the day.
2:57: Seth Smith flies out to Ibanez. Cliff Lee might be done for the day with his spot coming up second.
2:58: They run a ton of New Jersey political ads during Phillies games. I blame Rob for this.
3:00: Speaking of politics, my favorite story of the day is this one about how Gog and Magog made G.W. Bush invade Iraq. This seems plausible.
3:01: Franklin Morales is in. He gets Paul Bako to fly out to right.
3:05: Pinch-hitter Ben Francisco walks, then gets picked off on a move the Phillies announcers seem to think was the greatest in world history.
3:06: A homer short of the cycle, Jimmy Rollins pops out to second. The game goes to the bullpen for the Phillies, so who knows what's going to happen now! End 7th.
3:10: See? Todd Helton leads off with a single off Ryan Madson. Troy T., batting .277 against righthanders coming into the game, is up.
3:13: Troy T. goes down swinging on a change-up. Garrett Atkins is up next.
3:15: The Rockies keep getting leadoff guys on today and keep doing nothing. But they hadn't hit into a double play... until now. (Did you guys like that dramatic pause there?) Garrett Atkins grounds to J-Roll and it's a really easy 6-4-3 DP to end the top of the eighth.
3:18: Shane Victorino pops out to Dexter Fowler for the first out. In other news, I just fixed an earlier update where I called him "Derek Fowler." Yeah: I'm sluggish today.
3:20: And Utley grounds out to second. Two down with Ryan Howard at the plate.
3:22: The Phillies better hope Brad Lidge can save this game here, because their offense has been lifeless since the Rockies took out Aaron Cook. I mean, I guess the Phillies would want Lidge to finish the game easily even if they'd scored another run or two. But, man, the Phils didn't get a hit after Jimmy Rollins' triple in the fifth and their only baserunner the last three innings was picked off. End 8th.
3:26: Brad Lidge gets Ryan Spilborghs on a slider.
3:27: Then he gets Chris Iannetta to pop out on a check swing.
3:28: Brad Hawpe comes in to pinch-hit and singles past a diving Chase Utley. The tying run's at the plate with two down in the ninth.
3:29: And Ian Stewart goes down on a slider. That'll do it. Another game that's roughly two and a half hours; with Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ, the Phillies have a trio of quick workers. That's good for those of us (me) with short attention spans. Hooray for short-'n'-sweet baseball!
Phillies 3, Rockies 1.