Sunday, September 26, 2010
The magic number stays at 2 as the Braves snap their 4-game losing streak in Washington this afternoon.
As for the Phils, plently of bad omens for tonight: playing Mets on Saturday . . . with Kyle Kendrick on the mound . . .against a rookie pitcher (Dillon Gee).
But the Phils bested R.A. Dickey last night, so 12 straight wins can happen!
You know the Phils are on fire when Kyle Kendrick walks off the mound after just 10 pitches! Strikes out Reyes and his dreadlocks, and gets Chris Carter and Carlos Beltran on soft groundouts.
Bottom 1st: 0-0
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: JUST SAYIN'
On the WPHT radio broadcast Scott Franske quotes Gerry Manual as saying that Gee's best attribute is 'his ability to throw strikes'.
When a pitcher reaches the Major Leagues; I would assume that 'ability to throw strikes' is implied.
Chase Utley has a way of pissing off the New York baseball community (Boo? . . F--- you!).
The Phils second baseman did it again last night when he attempted to break up a double play with a textbook take-out slide in the fifth inning.
David Wright got has panties in a bunch, accusing Utley of crossing the line by trying to injure 2nd baseman Ruben Tejada. I suppose Wright figures the long history of bad blood between Tejada and the Phillies, plus Tejada's potential to beat Philly in the upcoming postseason, are lthe motives for Utley's terroristic behavior.
Dillon Gee is downright polite in his approach to pitching Utley in the first inning. The rookie falls behind Utley 3-1 before Chase lines a single to left.
Gee starts Ryan Howard with changeups, and nearly strikes him out with a 1-2 changeup in the dirt - if Scott Barry had worked tonight's game, Howard's check swing would have been strike three.
Gee then moves from his best pitch (changeup) to his second best pitch. Howard uses his best swing to send the ball 430-feet and send the Phils to a 2-0 lead. The CBP crowd is the loudest it's been all week.
Top 2nd: PHI 2 - NYM 0
MyPhilly17 shows highlights of the Philadelphia Baseball Writers Association awards presented to Phillie players before the game.
In a display of creative thinking, the PBWA named Ryan Howard the 2010 Phillies Most Valuable Player.
If I were a member of the PBWA, my ballot would have looked like this:
1. Carlos Ruiz (brilliant job handling staff and frequent clutch hitting)
2. Wilson Valdez (bench signee anchored the defense and even won a handful of games with his bat)
3. Placido Polanco (best pure hitter and played stellar defense at 3rd)
4. Ryan Howard (best run producer on team but essentially lost a month with ankle sprain on 7/31)
Way to think outside the box guys!
Kyle Kendrick erases the Mets on 15 pitches, working around Angel Pagan's two-out single.
Bottom 2nd: PHI 2 - NYM 0
As Geoff Jenkins kibitzes with Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler, the Phllies offense starts to slip into auto-pilot. Raul Ibanez jams himself on a high change-up. Carlos Ruiz then strikes out by flinging his bat into the Mets dugout; fooled badly by a Gee change-up . . .OR WAS HE??
Carlos Ruiz can barely speak English, but he can understand what he hears and reads. Gerry Manual wanted to send the Phils a message after the Utley-Tejada incident. We all know that terroristic threats don't play well in Panama . . .the bat just misses Gerry Manual
Well played Carlos . . .well played . . .
Wilson Valdez ends the inning with a soft liner to Reyes
Top 3rd: PHI 2 - NYM 0
Kendrick continues his mastery of the Mets, setting the visitor down on just six pitches. Reyes blasts the final pitch to the CF fence, but Victorino snags it alongside the Turkey Hill sign.
Bottom 3rd: PHI 2 - NYM 0
Kyle Kendrick senses the moment tonight, but apart from Ryan Howard, his teammates aren't joining him. Kendrick strokes a single between Wright and Bob Marley, er, Jose Reyes.
But instead of letting rookie Dillon Gee baste in the pressure of 45.000 bloodthirsty fans, Shane Victorino chases an outside change-up and grounds into a double-play.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: EDITORIAL CONFESSION
I have two teenagers and 50-plus hour per week job - so sometimes I write these things in the present tense off DVR. But even if I didn't know the future of this blog; I'd be troubled that the Phils aren't battling harder against Gee with a 2-0 lead.
Bottom 4th: PHI 2 - NYM 0
The Phils hit the ball hard, but Chase Utley's line drive and Ryan Howard's fly ball find leather. Jayson Werth singles with two outs, but Ibanez lunges after an outside fastball for an inning-ending groundout.
Top 7th: PHI 2 - NYM 0
The Phils offense continues to play like it has Ruth Crist's dinner reservations. so Kyle Kendrick only has a two-run margin to begin the seventh.
Carlos Beltran leads off with a single to right, and J.C. Romero begins to warm up alongside Chad Durbin in the bullpen.
David Wright grounds softly to Kendrick, who wheels and fires to Chase Utley - make that Wilson Valdez, who cuts off Utley and records the force-out.
The mix-up at second base may have costs the Phils a double-play, since Valdez's momentum carried him away from any throw to first.
Ike Davis continues his hemorrhoid-like habits against the Phils with a looping single to left, moving Wright to second.
Angel Pagan slaps a routine grounder to Ryan Howard, but the ball takes a sudden bounce and glances off Howard's glove for an error that loads the bases.
The Mets have paid for swinging early all night against Kendrick, but Josh Thole is rewarded for his first-pitch hack with an RBI single just past Utley's glove. The single brings Charlie Manual out of the dugout to pull Kendrick after a great performance.
Chad Durbin has been one of the Phils more dependable relievers in 2010, but the recent string of deep starts has left him idle since a 1-inning stint against the Nationals on Sept 18.
Durbin's rust shows when he fires a batting-cage fastball to Lucas Duda, who clears the bases with a double to right-center.
Durbin strikes out Gee for the second out, but his 3-1 hanger to Jose Reyes is lined to the gap in right-center for the fifth and final Mets run.
The Phils go down meekly against Met relievers Elmer Dessens, Pedro Feliciano and Hisnori Takahasi.
The winning streak ends at 11 and the magic number remains at 2.
Final score: Mets 5 - Phillies 2
Magic number to clinch NL East: 2
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
One of my son’s all-time favorite XBOX games is Gears of War. It’s a shooter game with aliens batting humans; very violent and very popular.
The best finishing move in the game is the CURB STOMP. One player wounds another, and as the fallen player is dying, his opponent will crush his neck to finish him off.
Tonight, the Phils have a chance to curb stomp the Atlanta Braves. Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.90 ERA) goes for the Phils against Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62 ERA).
I like the Phils chances.
Roy Oswalt came here to win a World Series. He isn’t about to let a thundershower get in his way.
Omar Infante makes solid contact with an 0-1 change-up, but he sends the ball straight at Chase Utley.
Jason Heyward nearly face-plants after sending a soft grounder to first, and Martin Prado taps out to Oswalt to end inning.
Bottom 1st: 0-0
Good news/Bad news – The Phils know Tommy Hanson and he is a hard thrower, but he has top-of-the rotation stuff and he commands it well in the first inning.
Victorino, Polanco and Utley ground out softly.
Top 2nd: 0-0
Brian McCann and Derrick Lee go down swinging, and Nate McLouth fouls five pitches before grounding out to first.
Bottom 2nd: 0-0
Jayson Werth works a walk, steals second with two outs and moves to third when McCann throws well behind the runner.
But Ruiz is fooled on a changeup and flies weakly to right to end the inning.
Top 3rd: 0-0
Roy Oswalt takes Hanson’s challenge and dominates the bottom of the Braves order: striking out Alex Gonzalez and Rick Ankiel while forcing Hanson into a 6-3 groundout.
Bottom 3rd: 0-0
Wilson Valdez bids for a line single to leadoff the third, but the wicked liner finds Martin Prado’s glove for the first out.
Roy Oswalt shatters his bat on a change-up and Shane Victorino grounds softly to first.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: NOTHING FUNNY HERE
During Victorino’s at-bat, Tom McCarthy announces that Shane Victorino made a Public Service appearance at Pennridge HS this afternoon to warn against texting while driving.
Given every current Phillie to choose from, I would think Shane Victorino is ‘Most Likely to Text while driving’.
Sorry folks, that’s the best I’ve got so far . . .
Top 4th: 0-0
After starting the game perfect through 11 batters, Roy Oswalt makes a decent pitch with a 94-mph outside fastball. But Martin Prado makes a better swing, staying back and launching a double to the warning track in right center.
But Brian McCann falls victim to an Oswalt change-up, grounding softly to Ryan Howard.
Bottom 4th: 0-0
Placido Polanco works a 3-2 count and chases ball four, popping up to Derrick Lee in foul ground.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: DO AS I SAY; NOT AS I DO
During one of Chase Utley’s at-bats on Tuesday night, Tommy Hanson was seen in the Atlanta dugout warning teammates about how Utley leans in to collect HBP.
Naturally, Hanson’s first pitch to Utley smacks off his left hip.
On Monday afternoon, Braves GM John Scherholz whined about how small Citizens Bank Park plays for opposing pitchers. But the left-field corner plays big enough for Nate McLouth to catch Ryan Howard’s fly ball for the second out.
Top 5th: 0-0
If CBP plays big enough for Tommy Hanson, then Roy Oswalt figures it can play big for him too.
Derrick Lee, Nate McLouth and Alex Gonzalez each send can-of-corn fly balls to Shane Victorino.
Bottom 5th: 0-0
Raul Ibanez grounds weakly to Omar Infante on a 3-2 slider for the first out, but Carlos Ruiz ends Hanson’s no-hit bid with a liner to the gap in left-center. Nate McLouth charges and appears to have a chance, but instead of sliding to the ball he slides under it, allowing Ruiz to chug into second with a double.
Wilson Valdez works a walk to put runners on first and second.
Roy Oswalt fouls two bunt attempts but places his third pitch in front of the plate, forcing McCann to throw to first as the runners advance.
Shane Victorino wades through a series of sliders before fouling off a 2-2 fastball.
The Flyin’ Hawaiian doesn’t expect another fastball, but there’s no excuse for him to watch one sail down the middle for a called third strike.
Top 6th: 0-0
Moments after Tommy Hanson survives a 27-pitch fifth inning, Roy Oswalt sets the Braves down with just 8 pitches – including three pitch strikeouts of Ankiel and Hanson
Bottom 6th: 0-0
Placido Polanco battles Hanson but grounds to second on a 2-2 sinker.
Chase Utley then battles back from a 0-2 count to line a 3-2 fastball to center.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: HELPING HAND
Tommy Hanson has pitched a tremendous game through 5.1 innings. But after Utley’s single, home plate umpire Larry Vanover decides that Hanson needs some extra help.
Hanson tries to finish Ryan Howard off with a 1-2 curveball, but the pitch sails past Howard’s elbows – making it a ball in the 21st century. But Vanover rings up the Big Piece for the second out.
Jayson Werth then watches a 0-1 fastball sail a foot outside. Vanover decides that Hanson needs help against the Big Bad Phillies, so he buries Werth 0-2.
Werth fights his way back to draw a walk, but Raul Ibanez falls victim to yet another change-up as he grounds out 4-3.
Top 7th: 0-0
As the thunderstorms that have surrounded Philadelphia all evening creep into Citizens Bank Park, Roy Oswalt concludes his outing by striking out Jason Heyward, jamming Martin Prado into a groundout and striking out Derrick Lee to strand Brian McCann (two-out walk) at first.
Bottom 7th: 0-0
Carlos Ruiz greets reliever Peter Moylan with a single to center, and Wilson Valdez bunts him to second.
With the potential go-ahead run on second with one out, Charlie Manual decides to replace Roy Oswalt (.145 batting average) with Greg Dobbs (.128 batting average as a pinch-hitter).
Dobbs - a dead-red fastball hitter – watches Craig Kimrbel fire a 96-mph fastball down the middle for strike three.
Shane Victorino draws a walk – with Ruiz advancing to third on a wild pitch, but Placido Polanco pops a 2-0 fastball along the rail in shallow right. Omar Infante ends the inning with a legitimate web-gem sliding catch at the rail.
Top 8th: 0-0
Ryan Madson overpowers Nate McLouth (4-3 groundout), Alex Gonzalez (fly to center) and Rick Ankiel (pop to short).
Bottom 8th: 0-0
Facing Jonny Venters, Chase Utley draws his second HBP of the night, but is erased on Ryan Howard’s double-play grounder.
The left-handed Venters pitches carefully to Jayson Werth , knowing that another left-handed hitter follows in Raul Ibanez.
Venters walks Werth and falls behind Ibanez 2-0, before firing a fastball on the outside corner. Ibanez takes the laser to the right-field corner, and Jayson Werth starts thinking home plate.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: NO CRYING IN BASEBALL
In the classic film, A League of their Own, Rockford Peaches manager Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) brings his left-fielder to tears because she repeatedly missed the cutoff man at third.
Tonight, Atlanta left-fielder Nate McLouth brings Bobby Cox to tears by missing cutoff man Alex Gonzalez at third and allowing Jayson Werth to score the first run of the night.
Top 9th: PHI 1 – ATL 0
Brad Lidge hangs a slider to Freddie Freeman, but the rookie flies softly to right-field.
Lidge then sends Infante off-balance with a better slider, and the second baseman flies to center.
Following a walk to Jason Heyward, Lidge falls behind Martin Prado 3-2. But Lidge fools Prado with another slider, and Jayson Werth squeezes the final out.
Final score: Phillies 1 – Braves 0
Magic number to clinch NL East title: 4
Can the Phils clinch against the Mets this weekend?
Stay tuned . . .
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
On paper, the Phillies appear to be in outstanding shape to take game two of their pivotal series against the visiting Braves, as Roy Halladay goes for his 20th win.
But the Phils have won 8 straight and games are not played on paper. Expect more playoff tension at 10th and Pattison.
The Braves know as well as anyone that Roy Halladay has experienced some fatigue during September, resulting in a 4.79 ERA and numerous home runs allowed.
This should be an advantage for a Braves team that leads the league in batters walked and pitches taken.
From his seat on the Phillies bench, the Lefty Knight continues honing his mind bending skills.
Hamels: "Halladay is vulnerable early."
Omar Infante: "Halladay will throw a first-pitch cookie."
Infante grounds Halladay's first pitch - a 91-mph sinker - to Wilson Valdez for an easy out.
Hamels: "You can't take pitches all night."
Jason Heyward: "I can wait . . . I can wait . . . I GOTTA SWING!!!"
Heyward grounds a 1-1 fastball softly to Ryan Howard for the second out.
Hamels: "You can't lay off the change-up."
Martin Prado: "This change-up is going YARD!!!"
Prado grounds weakly to Placido Polanco to end the inning.
Sith Lord Cox: "Weak-minded Fools!"
Bottom 1st: 0-0
Desperately needed to win, the Braves bring a double-whammy to the mound. Mike Minor is not only a rookie - which makes him dangerous for Phillies hitters - but he's also left-handed.
Shane Victorino, batting right-handed, pops a 1-1 change-up to short
Placido Polanco sends a wicked liner to center-field, but the ball hangs up for Rick Ankiel in shallow center.
Chase Utley works a 2-2 count and drills a fastball to center for a single.
Ryan Howard works the same count and gets the same pitch, producing the same result.
Sith Lord Cox sees a weak-mind of his own to bend . . .
Cox: "You get more runs if the ball travels further . . ."
Jayson Werth: "I'm gonna hit a FIVE-RUN HOMER!!!"
Swinging from his heels, Werth sends a Nitro Zone fastball 500-feet . . . into the sky. Martin Prado waits . . . and waits . . . and waits until the ball falls to earth. End of inning.
Hamels: "I sense the Dark Lord is near . . ."
Bottom 2nd: 0-0
Raul Ibanez fouls off three 3-2 pitches before grounding out to second.
Pitching 1-1 to Carlos Ruiz, Mike Minor misses the inside target of Brian McCann. But Ruiz misses his spot on the belt-high fastball and flies softly to left.
Super-sub Wilson Valdez keeps his hands back and smacks an opposite-field single to right.
Roy Halladay takes advantage of an E.L. Fudge cookie and singles past Infante at second.
As Wilson Valdez breaks for third on the 1-1 pitch to Victorino, Hamels takes on a stronger minded Atlanta foe.
Hamels: "Roy Halladay has blazing speed."
Brian McCann: "I'd better throw to first to keep Halladay honest . . . WHAT AM I THINKING???"
Slick fielding Derrick Lee keeps the game scoreless with a Jedi-like wave of his glove to snare McCann's ill-advised throw. Victorino then ends the inning with a weak grounder to short.
Bottom 3rd: 0-0
Bobby Cox cannot conjure enough mind tricks to keep Mike Minor's pitch count down as the game enters the third.
Placido Polanco works a leadoff walk, and Chase Utley follows with a wicked single to right.
Ryan Howard protects the outer half of the plate, and scolds a liner to right-field. But Jason Heyward manages to corral the ball for the first out.
Jayson Werth comes to the plate with a chance to ammend for his first-inning failure.
Cox: "You must swing even harder - the ball will fly further"
Hamels: "Stay within yourself, trust your own stength."
Werth: "My head hurts! Make these voices stop!"
Cox: "You hate the pain! Swing at the voices! Swing at the former teammate sticking out his tounge!"
Hamels: "Melody from the Miami Hooters likes patient guys with short swings!"
Werth: "MY GIRL!!! I'll swing short for you BABY!!!"
Mike Minor leaves a fastball over the plate, and Jayson Werth drives it to perfection. The ball arcs high and deep into the left-center field seats for a 3-run homer.
Lord Cox is enraged.
Cox: "Young Hamels has acquired great skill in the Force. But he cannot bend every player and umpire at once!"
After Werth's home run, the Phils re-load the bases on an Ibanez double, a intentional walk to Ruiz and an error by third baseman Martin Prado on a slow roller by Wilson Valdez
Roy Halladay, who has acquited himself well at the plate for a career American Leaguer, hopes to help his cause with the bases juiced and one out. Home plate umpire Mark Kellogg watches Cristhian Martinez's next pitch soar out of the strike zone.
Kellogg: "That isn't even close. I must call a ball."
Cox: "The pitch painted the inside corner; you'll call a strike."
Kellogg: "That pitch painted the inside corner; I'll call a strike."
Halladay and Shane Victorino strike out to end the threat.
Top 5th: PHI 3 - ATL 0
Leadoff hitter Alex Gonzalez bloops a weak fly toward right field. Jasyon Werth can't quite charge in quickly enough to make the catch.
Cox: "The score is tied; you must make the catch."
Werth: "I must dive for the ball."
Werth slides in vain and allows the ball to skip past for a double. Rick Ankiel singles to move Gonzalez to third, where he scores easily on Eric Hinske's fielder's choice grounder.
Top 6th: PHI 3 - ATL 1
Martin Prado fights off an inside fastball from Halladay for a leadoff single. Roy Halladay catches too much of the plate with 2-1 fastball, and Brian McCann sends a deep fly to the right field wall. Jayson Werth tracks it well and gets ready record the first out.
Cox: "The ball is too high! You'll need to jump to reach it!"
Werth: "Melody will dig this leaping catch on ESPN!"
Werth jumps up when he should step a foot to his left, and the ball falls just beyond his glove for a double. The Braves have runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs.
Cole Hamels realizes what that Lord Cox has victimized his friend Jayson for the third time. In anger he is tempted to take on Cox directly. But an echoing voice gives him pause:
Jamie Moyer: "Violence will not this battle win . . . use the Force at the right moment."
Derrick Lee sends a fly ball to center to score Prado easily from third base. Brian McCann has seen Shane Victorino many times in NL East play and knows the Hawaiian has a tremendous arm.
Hamels: "Shane Victorino throws like a girl. You can walk to third."
McCann: "Lord Cox will be so proud that I moved up a base - WHAT AM I THINKING???"
The mortified catcher slides and stops five feet short of third base. The ball has been in Polanco's glove for about ten minutes, and Polly tags out the Atlanta catcher.
Bottom 6th: PHI 3 - ATL 2
The Braves pull Mike Dunn from their endless supply of bullpen flame-throwers. The left-hander easily retires Polanco and Utley before walking Ryan Howard. Jayson Werth's bid for two HRs falls about ten feet short as he settles for a single off the left-field wall.
Left-handed Raul Ibanez stands in against Dunn, hoping simply not to embarass himself.
Cole Hamels suddenly feels great power from the Force.
Hamels: "Dunn will throw a 94-mph fastball inner-half."
Dunn: "I think I can get this guy with a 94-mph fastball inner-half"
Ibanez: "No way he gets a 94-mph fastball past me on the inner-half"
Ibanez scolds Dunn's 2-2 fastball into the right field corner. Howard scores easily, but Jayson Werth has to cross three bases.
Hamels: "Melody digs how your hair flies when you run!"
Werth: "HEY BABY!!! CHECK OUT MY FLYING HAIR"
At 9:19 PM EST, the happiest Caveman in the world sprints across home plate to give the Phils a 5-2 lead.
Top 7th: PHI 5 - ATL 2
Wtih the bases empty and two outs, the Braves send Freddie Freeman to pinch hit for reliever Peter Moylan.
Roy Halladay tries to stop laughing at the name, but a chuckle escapes as he releases a first pitch fastball.
The fellow with the cartoon-character name sends Halladay's gift into the Phillies bullpen beyond right-center for his first major-league home run.
Freeman: "My Lord - I am forever indebted to you for making Halladay throw me that cookie!"
Cox: "Roy Halladay long ago learned to resist the Dark Side - that was an honest mistake. Besides, I was taking my Geritol while you were batting."
Ryan Madson comes in to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Brad Lidge collects his second save in as many nights to cap the Phils 5-2 win.
Final score: Phillies 5 - Braves 2
Magic Number to clinch NL East title: 6
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!
Monday, September 20, 2010
An already tense mood surrounding the Phillies-Braves series morphed into the bizarre as scheduled Atlanta starter Jair Jurrgens was scratched in favor of rookie rightnader Brandon Beachy, who compiled a 5-1 record with a 1.73 ERA record at the AA and AAA levels.
While Jarrgens has baffled the Phils over the past two seasons, basically any pitcher whose name begins with ROOKIE has the potential to stifle the Phillies. Take Florida's Adalberto Mendez, who brought a 1-8 minor league record to Citizens Bank Park on Labor Day and tossed 6 shutout innings before leaving the game with a groin pull.
Cole Hamels (11-10, 3.01 ERA), who has shown the ability to dominate in the spotlight, takes the ball for the Philles.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: RETURN OF THE LEFTY
Looking above a model of Citizens Bank Park on a table in the war room of the rebuilt Douche Star, Imperial Commander John Scherholz complains to Sith Emperor Bobby Cox as Imperial fleet apporaches South Philadelphia.
Scherholz: "This Citizens Bank Park plays like a Band Box. Our rookie pitcher will be heading to slaughter against those savage hitters."
Cox: "If young Beachy surrenders himself to the Dark Side of the Force, no harm will come to him."
Scherholz: "You and your silly religion make me sick! You're sending the rookie into that fortress un . . .ACCCHHKKK . . .ACCCHHKK . . .
The Emperor raises his sand and clenches his fist as Scherholz begins floating off the floor.
Cox: "DO YOU DARE DOUBT THE POWER OF THE FORCE IN MY PRESENCE???"
Scherholz: "I . . . accchhkk . . .mis-spoke . . .sir . . .aaccchhhkk"
Cox: "You're lack of faith digusts me.
Cox lowers his hand and Scherholz collapses to the floor, hyperventilating.
Cox then brings his hands to his face and blows softly upon the model of Citizens Bank Park on war room table.
Cole Hamels enters the Phillies bullpen to begin his pre-game warm-up tosses.
Hamels: "Man, it sure got windy here all of a sudden!"
Hamels delivers a clean first inning, allowing only an infield single to Jason Heyward.
Bottom 1st: 0-0
After a Victorino pop-out, Polanco crushes a 1-1 fastball to the gap in left center. But a strong head-wind allows Matt Diaz - a platoon player who kills the Phillies - to go into web-gem mode for a sliding catch.
Chase Utley rips an opposite-field liner, but the wind also kills this liner as Diaz makes a more routine running catch to end the inning.
Top 2nd: 0-0
In typical Braves fashion, Derrick Lee fouls off three two-stirke pitches before slapping a single to left.
The Naked Emperor notes that Hamels got away with a hanging change-up that could have been a home run.
Hamels' next pitch is a 93-mph in the Nitro Zone. All-Star catcher Brian McCann has hit plenty of those into the seats over the years, but this one luckily smacks the right-field wall about five feet from the top. The RBI double gives the Braves a 1-0 lead.
Matt Diaz slaps a single past a drawn-in Wilson Valdez to move McCann to third.
The Lefty sees the runners around him and tight strike zone authored by home plate umpire Mark Carlson and looks toward the sky . . .and grieves for the departed Lefty Master Jamie Moyer.
Hamels: "I can't do it Charlie . . . I can't do it alone"
The voice of Charlie Manual echos around Hamels
Manual: "Jamie-he done-he's-you know-done always gonna-well-when you-you know-with you"
Hamels summons the courage to strike out Alex Gonzalez and jam Melky Cabrerra into an inning-ending double play.
Bottom 2nd: ATL 1 - PHI 0
With Ryan Howard leading off, Beachy leaves a fastball on the inner-half. In August that pitch is missed or grounded to second base. But in September, Ryan Howard scolds a double into the right-field corner.
After a Jayson Werth fly out and a Raul Ibanez grounder, Howard is on 3rd with two outs.
But Beachy allows his first major league run when Carlos Ruiz crushes a hanging curve into the left-field corner to tie the game.
Bottom 5th: PHI 1 - ATL 1
Frustrated by his team's inability to solve Brandon Beachy - and the relentless wind - through four innings, Lefty Knight Cole Hamels decides to use the Force.
As Shane Victorino sends a high Beachy changeup toward Braves Rookie of the Year candidate Jason Heyward, Hamels stares intently toward the distant rightfielder.
Hamels: "The wind will knock it down."
Heyward: "The wind will knock it down."
Hamels: "The ball won't hook right."
Heyward: "The ball won't hook right."
Hamels: "You don't have to reach further."
Heyward: "I don't have to reach further."
To the delight of the sold-out Citizens Bank crowd, Heyward first circles, then short-arms the routine line drive off the tip of his glove; allowing Victorino to sprint to third.
Placido Polanco sends a grounder to short. Going on contact, Victorino hesitates long enough to get himself thrown out by Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
But the Hamels feels the Force once more.
Hamels: "You can't beat the runner home."
Gonzalez: "I can't beat the runner home."
Hamels: "You should take the sure out at first."
Gonzalez: "I should take the sure out at first."
Victorino crosses home and Polanco is credited with an RBI.
Chase Utley lines a single to center, and tries to steal second on Braves All-Star Brain McCann. Martin Prado short arms McCann's throw, allowing Utley to move to third. Raul Ibanez grounds softly to short, allowing Utley to score for a 3-1 lead.
The Sith Emperor Cox mutters to himself in the Braves dugout.
"The Force is strong in this one."
Top 6th: PHI 3 - ATL 1
Cole Hamels quickly retires Omar Infante on a fly ball to Werth. But a walk to Heyward brings Martin Prado to the plate as the potenital tying run.
With the count 2-2, Hamels leaves a 92-mph fastball middle-in. Prado sends a rocket toward the left field foul pole.
Hamels stares at the soaring ball and stares intently: the ball suddenly hooks harmlessly about 20-feet foul.
Prado sends a hard grounder to Chase Utley, who joins with Wilson Valdez to complete a sweet 4-6-3 double play.
Cole Hamels goes on to complete eight innings for the Phils, allowing just the second inning run on six hits and striking out six.
Brad Lidge then comes in to pitch a perfect ninth inning for his 24th save of the season.
Final score: Phillies 3 - Braves 1
Magic Number to clinch the NL East: 8
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
For the second straight day, the Phils will start a right-handed pitcher with historical stuggles against the Nationals. Joe Blanton (7-6, 5.00 ERA) enters the contest with a career 6.45 ERA against Washington.
More encouraging is Blanton's 3.50 ERA and 4-1 record over his 12 starts since the All-Star break.
Blanton starts out strong - striking out Danny '1-2-3 strikes your out' Espinosa with a sweet change-up. He then shatters Ian Desmond's bat for a 1-3 groundout before blowing away Ryan Zimmerman with a 90-mph fastball at his armpits.
GONG PIGEON PRESENTS: NON-SEQUITR
Joe Blanton blows away Ryan Zimmerman
Bottom 1st: 0-0
The Phils will be tested against another Hispanic righthander, Yunesky Maya ,with terrible stats (6.53 ERA)but the funky kind of style that has given them fits throughout the Charlie Manual era.
Ryan Zimmerman gifts the Phils a scoring chance when he fires an off balance throws past Adam Dunn on Chase Utley's 2-out grounder.
Following a semi-intentional walk to Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth grounds weakly to short on a hanging curve ball to end the inning.
Bottom 2nd: 0-0
The Phils mount another threat when Raul Ibanez walks, moves to second on a balk and moves to third on Brian Schneider's infield single.
Wilson Valdez comes up with a runner at 3rd and no outs. Valdez has been often compared to Jimmy Rollins over the past week, and he does a great Rollins impersonation here as he jams himself on a 1-0 88-mph fastball.
Jimmy Rollins leaps off the bench and screams to Manual . . ."Put me in coach! I'm ready to play . . . today!!"
Joe Blanton manages to fail on three bunt attempts for the second out. Like Valdez before him, Victorino jams himself - this time on a hanging curve - and flies out harmlessly.
Top 3rd: 0-0
The baseball gods take revenge on Joe Blanton and the Phillies for failing to score in the home second, as Willie Harris blasts a hanging two-strike changeup into the right-field seats.
Botton 3rd: WSH 1 - PHI 0
After Polando flies weakly to right, Chase Utley works a 3-2 count. But on a bright sunny afternoon, Utley somehow fails to pick up Maya's 78-mph curveball. The result is T-ball dribbler to mound for an easy out.
Ryan Howard works a 3-2 count of his own, before jumping at a hanging 72-mph curve for another easy out.
Bottom 4th: WSH 1 - PHI 0
Jayson Werth opens the inning in CroMagnon mode as he muscles a bat-handle liner into center field for a single. Raul Ibanez drops a beer-league softball swing on a 2-1 curve and guides it through the hold past second base, sending an alert Jayson Werth to 3rd.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: NON-SEQUITR (2)
Alert Jayson Werth
Junesky Maya reached the fourth inning scoreless by avoiding the Nitro Zone on every pitch of the afternoon.
When Maya finally leaves Napalm over the plate, Brian Scheider is ready and sends a double off the center field wall to score Werth and Ibanez.
Top 5th: PHI 2 - WSH 1
The Nationals threaten as Mike Morse and Pudge Rodriguez hit singles off of Cowboy Joe. But with runners at the corners and two outs, the ever-dependable Danny '1-2-3 strikes you're out!' Espinosa waives through a fastball to retire the side.
Bottom 5th: PHI 2 - WSH 1
Maya starts the fifth by thumping a fastball off Polanco's waist.
Following a fly-out by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard is called out on an 'Evil Knevil' curveball that jumps the strike zone. Fortunately, Polanco is running on the pitch and steals second base.
The Brain scores easily when Jayson Werth lines a single to right field.
Top 6th: PHI 3 - WSH 1
The Nationals threaten once more an Ian Desmond single and an Adam Dunn walk put runners on first and second. Blanton gets the second out when Roger Bernadina pops out, and gets Mike Morse into a 1-2 count.
But the stubborn right-fielder fights off a pair of fouls and is rewarded with a cookie sprinkled with Napalm. Morse blasts the cripple into the seats behind Jayson Werth.
Top 7th: WSH 4 - PHI 3
With the Phils trailing in what looked like a sure victory just ten minutes earlier, Charlie Manual brings Danys Baez in to pitch the seventh inning.
But after two easy outs, Baez sends some 93-mph Napalm toward Danny '1-2-3 strikes you're out'. Espinosa avenges his Going Pigeon nickname with a solo HR to extend the Washington lead.
Top 8th: WSH 5 - PHI 3
With the Phils trailing in what looked like a sure victory just twenty minutes earlier, Charlie Manual brings J.C. Romero in to pitch the eighth inning
But after two easy outs, Romero surrenders a double to Roger Bernadina, an intentional walk to Mike Morse and an RBI single to Willie Harris.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: FAIR WEATHER FAN
4:42 PM - The past 60 minutes have not been kind to Don Pigeon.
First, the Braves rallied from a 2-1 7th inning deficit to defeat the NY Mets and cut the Phils NL East lead to 2.5 games.
Then Joe Blanton goes into Apocalypse Now mode and gives up a 3-run home run to Mike Morse that puts the Phils behind to the Nationals.
Next, the Minnesota Vikings lose 14-10 to the Miami Dolphins to knock Don out of the 2010 Suicide Pool at his office. Little Pigeon is going to have to wait a while for that car when he turns 16.
As Placido Polando steps to the plate to begin the Phillies ninth, Don takes a break from sports to bring his daughter to a movie matinee.
Bottom 9th: WSH 6 - PHI 3
Drew Storen comes in to try and close a getaway win for Washington.
Between pitches, close-ups reveal that Storen resembles a young Brad Lidge.
While Don is driving his daughter to the movies, the Bus Lady notices this and remembers that Washington torched Brad Lidge a month ago for a Saturday night walk-off win.
Placido Polanco leads off with a ground single to left. Chase Utley follows with an opposite-field double in the left-field corner.
This is promising, but remember, the Phils began the seventh inning with a pair of hits by Polanco and Utley, only to see Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth struck out to kill the threat.
But after getting Howard to chase a high 95-mph fastball, Pudge Rodriguez forgets to call for a curve ball. Storen's 0-1 fastball comes in at the knees, which is Nitro Zone for a left-handed bat. Howard smashes a liner to center to score Polanco and Utley.
With the score 6-5, Jayson Werth represents the game-winning run.
The battle is very long and very satisfying
94-mph high, 93-mph low, 94-mph fouled back, 83-mph high/inside, 94-mph fouled off, 84-mph fouled off
94-mph fouled back . . .
Somewhere in Chester County, a Phillies fan and his daughter park at a movie theater as Jayson Werth battles Drew Storen.
With the film about to start, Don shuts off the Philies game and heads toward the box office.
The cell phone in his pocket rings . . .
Bus Lady: "Well, it's a 6-5 game now
Don: Yeah, I know . . . Werth was still batting when I parked . . . what did he end up do -
94-mph: 425-FOOT WALK OFF HOME RUN
Bud Lady: Oh My God, they won! Werth just hit a homer.
So easy - a CAVEMAN could do it!!!
Final score: Phillies 7 - Nationals 6
Final score from Flushing: Braves 6 - Mets 3
Magic number to clinch the NL East: 10
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Phillies send Kyle Kendrick (9-9 4.85) to the mound against Washington righthander Jordan Zimmerman (0-1, 5.29), who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Earlier in the day, the Braves edged the New York Mets by a 4-2 score as Philly's favorite Apopka famer Billy Wagner collected his second straight save at Citi Field.
Kyle Kendrick enters the contest with a .319 batting average allowed to left-handed hitters and a 7.06 career earned run average against the Washington Nationals.
In other words, Kendrick doens't need to huff Fear Toxin to get stressed against this bunch.
Leadoff hitter Danny Espinosa lines an 0-1 pitch to center for a single. Ian Desmond takes a funky inside-out swing at a high 0-1 fastball and lines an opposite-field triple to right that socres Espinosa.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee comes out to pay a visit to Kenrick.
Dubee: "What's the matter son? I thought that Phantic doll was helping with those terror attacks."
Kendrick: "Well . . .um . . .the Phanatic is great! I sleep real good when curl up with him under the covers with my Roy Halladay nite-lite turned on."
Dubee: "OK, well the Braves already won today so we need you to give us a chance tonight, you know. The Braves are coming in and - Kyle can you stand still? You look like you're about to pee your-
KYLE! Did you forget to pee before you went out to the bullpen for warmups?
Kendrick: "Um . . . my Mom packed me a Red Bull to drink before the game . . . but I was only half-done when warmups started so I chugged it . . . and I really have to pee BAD!! Can you take me out and let Vance Worley pitch now?
Dubee: "No son. You filled your bladder and now you have to deal with it like a man. Get me three outs and I'll make sure the guys take their time batting so you can go pee."
The next hitter, Ryan Zimmerman, owns a .500 lifetime batting average against Kyle Kendrick Thinking outside the box, Kendrick plunks a high-inside fastball off his left shoulder.
Cleanup hitter Adam Dunn represents potential disaster, but Kendrick is motivated by visions of the clubhouse urinal. He keeps Dunn off-balance with sinkers for a strikeout, than dusts Roger Bernadina with with third strike cutter.
After a walk to Mike Morse loads the bases, Kendrick earns his biological break by forcing Wilson Ramos into a weak grounder to second.
Bottom 1st: WSH 1 - PHI 0
Shane Victorino leads off with a single up the middle. The Phils lead the National League in steals during their 13-3 September, Victorino's attempt is doomed by some poor footing and a strong throw by catcher Wilson Ramos. Naturally, Chase Utley slaps a two-out single that goes to waste.
Bottom 2nd: WSH 1 - PHI 0
With Jordan Zimmerman still regaining his strength after returning to the majors, the Phils hope to push his pitch count tonight.
Jayson Werth works a 3-2 count plus a pair of fouls, before Zimmerman tries to finish him with a curve ball. But Werth puts a short swing on the ball and lets his CroMagnon strength send the ball into the left-field bleachers to tie the game.
Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz follow with 3-2 singles to center.
Wilson Valdez comes to the plate and slams a liner into the left-field corner. Ibanez scores easily, Ruiz cruises into third and Valdez has his sights set on a double . . .
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: CRIMINAL MINDS PART VI (from 9/13/10)
Special Agent Derrick Morgan has always struggled with issues of faith and the supernatural. The former Northwestern running back is examining a sock puppet in the apartment of Wilson Valdez, which he is searching with Liutennant Aaron Hochner. The Phillies jersey sewn onto this puppet is blank.
Morgan: "So tell me again how this is supposed to work."
Hochner: "When Valdez wants one of his teamates to get hurt, he simply makes up a sock puppet, reads an incantation and performs some short of abuse to the talisman to cause an injury to the player.
Morgan: "OK . . . I think I got this. I'll take this red maker . . . write the letters VALDEZ on the back of the jersey above the number 21 . . .read a little incantation - OWHATAGOOFIAM! . . .and tug a little on the left hamstring and presto! Wilson Valdez will pull his left hamstring!"
. . . but as Valdez runs over the spot just beyond first where Victorino slipped during his stolen base attempt, his left foot plants on loose dirt, causing his left leg to extend fully for a split second. Valdez gingerly jogs into second base, but keeps rubbing his left hamstring.
Hochner: "MORGAN! I know this is a joke to you, but many things in this world can't be explained by science.
Don't mess with things you don't understand!"
Bottom 3rd: PHI 2 - WSH 1
Buoyed by Kendrick's first 1-2-3 inning of the night, the Phils continue their assult on Jordan Zimmerman's pitch count.
Chase Utley draws a walk on five pitches. With the runner on first, the Nationals adjust their usual over-shift on Ryan Howard to account for a possible double-play grounder.
But Howard sends the 1-1 pitch where shifts don't matter; over the left-field fence just past the outstretched glove of Roger Bernadina.
Raul Ibanez, who has been guilty of over-swinging through much of 2010, decides to duplicate Howard's short swing with one out. Like Howard, Ibanez is rewarded with an opposite-field home run out of Bernadina's reach.
After Ruiz comes within five feet of his own opposite-field home run, Wilson Valdez brings his tender hamstring to the plate. The reserve shortstop slaps a base-hit past the first base bag, and easily legs out his second double of the game. Valdez ends the inning on second base, but Phillies fans are thrilled nonetheless.
Top 7th: PHI 5 - WSH 2
Kyle Kendrick responds to Rich Dubee's 'tough love' sermon by pitching six full innings; allowing just two runs on six hits.
Chad Durbin enters the game in the seventh and promptly walks pinch-hitter Willie Harris. Durbin then recovers to strikeout Alberto Gonzalez for the first out.
Danny Espinosa looks at strike one, two pickoff attempts, and strike two before swinging and missing at strike three.
Thinking that the rules of baseball have been changed to four strikes for this one plate appearance, Espinosa and manager Jim Riggleman argue the matter briefly with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
This may be the second dumbest moment I've seen from a baseball player at Citizen's Bank Park this season.
Mr.Werth - would you care to tell us what 2010's DUMBEST moment might be?
Top 8th: PHI 5 - WSH 2
Ryan Madson pitches his was into trouble by issuing one-out walks to Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina. The mercurial set-up man shatters the bat of Mike Morse, but with Wilson Valdez moving toward third base as Placido Polanco fields the ball, the third baseman has nowhere to throw the baseball.
Madson escapes disaster when Raul Ibanez makes a nice play on Wilson Ramos' liner to left for the second out. Madson then blows away Willie Harris to end the inning
Top 9th: PHI 5 - WSH 2
Brad Lidge gave Phillies fans - at least sentient ones - a reason to worry on Wednesday night as he allowed three walks and a single against the five Marlin batters he faced.
But Lidge appears to be in command tonight, as Kevin Mench pops a 1-0 pitch to Ryan Howard, Danny "1-2-3 strikes you're out" Espinosa sends a weak grounder to Chase Utley, and Ian Desmond sends an even weaker grounder to Lidge.
Final score: Phillies 5 - Nationals 2
Final score from Flushing: Braves 4 - Mets 2 (Thanks for NOTHING Mets!!!)
Magic Number to clinch NL East: 11 games
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Phils regained a bit of pride last night with a 3-2 win over the Florida Marlins. The win snapped a five-game losing streak, which included a three-game sweep by the Mets in which the Phils did not score a run.
Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.22 ERA) looks to recover from last Sunday’s 8-3 pounding by the Boston Red Sox, while the Phils bats will again be tested against Florida phenom Josh Johnson (5-1, 2.43 ERA)
As he prepares to blog a game that he witnessed nearly four months ago, Don Pigeon rubs his eyes and recalls how he ended up here.
GOING PIGEON PRESENTS: THE POWER OF LOVE
9/16/10 6:00 PM – Chester County PA
Another day of Fixed Asset accounting has ended, and as he walks to his car through a steady rain, Don Pigeon is relieved that his beloved Phillies are not playing baseball tonight. He contemplates the notion actually eating with his family, helping his son with homework and watching some TV with his wife.
But Don’s plans change when he sees his car resting on four slashed tires. As the rain begins to soak through his clothes, Don pulls a note from his windshield.
“Your blog is retarded and you are a jackass. Don’t ever post your @#$% on the internet again!”
Bottom 1st: 0-0
Halladay runs a 3-2 count on Chris Coghlan before striking him out with a fastball on the outside corner.
Gaby Sanchez (why exactly is his name spelled with just one ‘b’?) flails helplessly at a 2-2 curveball.
Hanley Ramirez works a 3-1 count before watching a 92-mph fastball sail six inches outside.
Ramirez then swings at ball five and grounds softly to Chase Utley for the final out.
Home plate umpire Mike DiMuro is calling the inside corner, the outside corner and the knee-high stuff for strikes.
With a strike zone that big – Roy Halladay just might be unhittable tonight.
Furious and indignant, Don screams aloud:
“I’m never going to stop blogging!!! Even if no one reads it, I’ll keep writing it just to PISS YOU OFF!!!”
Suddenly, Don hears the scream of a rice-burner engine at red-line. Angered by the hater’s note, he never noticed the yellow 1989 Mazda Miata facing him across the empty lot. His inattentiveness could prove fatal . . .
Bottom 2nd: 0-0
Jorge Cantu runs a 3-1 count, but Halladay induces a foul tip and an empty swing to record the strikeout.
Dan Uggla is victimized by a pair of filthy curveballs, one taken and one missed, and becomes Halladay’s fourth strikeout victim.
Cody Ross hacks at a first-pitch sinker and grounds softly to third base to end the inning.
Leaping at the last instant, Don hears the Miata roar past and smash broadside into his sedan.
Clutching his laptop for dear life, Don begins running toward the only other car in the massive parking lot. It’s a DeLorean that has been sitting idle for six months. Supposedly it belongs to someone in the labs department – a chemist who tests vials for leaching.
Terrified, Don watches the blog hater pries the Miata loose from the wreckage of his sedan. Choosing survival over his co-worker’s property, Don tugs on the DeLorean handle and ducks as the door swings just past his head. He closes the door and glances at the Miata which is crossing the parking lot aimed straight at him.
“SON OF A . . . “
Don interrupts his oath by slamming on the dashboard of the DeLorean, and is shocked to see the instrument panel light up and the engine roar to life. With a second to spare, Don floors the gas and pulls out of the space as the Miata screams harmlessly past.
Top 3rd: 0-0
The inning opens with Chris Wheeler asking Tom McCarthy; “What’s a Chewbacca?”
Wheeler may be the only person alive in 1977 who has never seen the most defining film of my generation.
McCarthy: “Star Wars was kind of a cult movie; not many people saw it.”
The repartee gets better . . . Wheeler confesses his allegiance to Davy Crockett, noting that title character Fess Parker had recently passed away.
Wheeler: “You know; born on a mountain top in Tennessee?”
McCarthy: “Did he DIE on a mountain top in Tennessee?”
Wilson Valdez interrupts the hilarity by dunking a one-out single to center for his second hit of the night.
Chase Utley then drops the bat-head on a low change up and sends a line drive to center. This should be a routine play for centerfielder Cameron Maybin, but the rookie misreads the ball and then mistimes his catch. The ball clanks off the top of Maybin’s glove and rolls to the fence, allowing Valdez to sprint home with the first run of the game.
The play is correctly ruled E-8
With his life in the balance, Don decides his only hope is to reach the PA Turnpike and get a State Trooper to notice his peril. He flies through the EZ-PASS lane it at 60-mph. A glance at the rear-view mirror shows the Miata gaining quickly despite severe front-end damage.
A peek at the driver reveals a male, perhaps college-age, clumsily aiming . . . A ROCKET LAUNCHER??? toward the DeLorean.
Merging onto the eastbound Turnpike, Don slams his right foot to the floor and begins to pray . . .
Bottom 3rd: PHI 1 – FLA 0
Pinch-hitter Brett Hayes pops a 1-0 fastball to Chase Utley.
Maybin, who gifted the Phils with their 1-0 lead, lifts a 1-0 fastball to center. Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth nearly collide, but the Caveman peels off at the last instant.
Halladay blows pitcher Josh Johnson away to end the inning and the first rotation of the Florida lineup.
The speedometer climbs . . . 75 mph . . . 80 . . .
Don checks the rear-view and sees the rocket has launched and is streaking toward his back bumper . . .
85 . . .
A blinding flash suddenly fills the DeLorean windshield. Figuring the rocket has reached struck the car, Don thinks of the wife, daughter and son that he will never see again. . .
But instead of a fatal explosion, Don hears a blast of static from the previously unnoticed AM radio.
“This Sue Schilling with a WIP sports update . . . in just about 90 minutes the Flyers will take to the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals . . .
Don thinks to himself, “Did I just die and go to Philly Sports Heaven?”
He then notices the odd display just above the radio console. It shows an odd date and time:
5/29/10 – 6:30 PM
Bottom 4th: PHI 1 – FLA 0
Chris Coghlan grounds an 0-1 fastball sharply to second for the first out in the fourth.
Gaby Sanchez lines a fastball to center-field. Victorino reads the ball perfectly for the second out.
Hanley Ramirez battles Halladay, sending a wicked liner into the Phillies bullpen. But he watches a 93-mph fastball at the knees for a called third strike.
12 batters up – 12 batters down.
“And in Miami, Roy Halladay takes the mound for the Phils as they continue their weekend series against the Marlins. Halladay will be opposed by right-hander Josh Johnson; first pitch slated for 7:05.”
Suddenly realizing that he is driving well over 100-mph, Don taps the brakes and notices that the sky is brighter and the turnpike is bone dry. He glances at the surrounding traffic and sees no sign of the blog-hater and his yellow Miata.
Don directs the DeLorean toward the King of Prussia exit so he can turn back toward home.
Bottom 5th: PHI 1 – FLA 0
Jorge Cantu grounds sharply toward the hole at second. Chase Utley reacts nicely, cutting the ball off and gunning down Cantu at first.
Uggla works a 3-2 count, but gets jammed on a fastball and lifts a can-of-corn to Victorino.
Halladay splinters Cody Ross’s bat with a 93-mph fastball, and Ryan Howard gobbles up the weak grounder to end the inning.
15 Marlins have batted and none have reached base.
As much as Don wished he had created the Going Pigeon blog before this game was played, he has reason for concern.
He sure doesn’t want to relive moment of family drama from the past four months.
Suddenly, Don recalls a huge dispute over dishes he forgot to wash before his wife returned home from visiting her aunt on May 29. He runs downstairs and washes the dishes – drying his hands just as his wife pulls into the driveway.
Hey! Thanks for doing those . . . I was sure you would forget!
Bottom 6th: PHI 1 – FLA 0
Brett Hayes flails at a change-up for strike three. Carlos Ruiz drops the ball, but calmly grabs it and fires to first for the out.
Cameron Maybin works a 3-1 count, and then sends a slow hopper toward Wilson Valdez, who is playing short for the injured Jimmy Rollins.
Valdez has perhaps the best arm on the Phillies, and uses it to gun down Maybin by a fraction at first base.
Josh Johnson connects with a Halladay fastball, but the ball flies straight to Raul Ibanez for the final out.
Just as Don begins jotting notes on every preventable misstep he can remember over the past four months, he hears the shrill bark of Sophie, the Pigeon’s West Highland Terrier. Then he hears a familiar, angry voice:
“I’VE BEEN COMING INTO THIS HOUSE FOR TEN YEARS AND THAT STUPID DOG STILL DOESN’T KNOW ITS ME!!!”
The sound of his own voice reminds Don of something he saw during a 1980’s movie . . . you must NEVER meet yourself during a time-travel experience! The consequences will be . . . CATASTROPHIC!!!
Don 9.16.10 panics as he hears Don 5.29.10 climb the stairs and open the door to the Cave of Insanity . . .
Bottom 7th: PHI 1 – FLA 0
Chris Coghlan once again looks at a third-strike fastball on the outside corner. It appears to be a strike, and Mike DiMuro is calling everything close.
Gaby Sanchez works a 3-2 count; the fifth time Halladay has faced ball three. Halladay throws a gutsy 3-2 curveball, which Sanchez sends to left field for the second out.
Hanley Ramirez works yet another 3-2 count. Halladay’s fastballs are now reaching 94 and 95 mph. The 3-2 pitch paints the inside corner at 92-mph for his ninth strikeout.
Don 9.16.10 grabs his laptop and scrambles underneath the bed as Don 5.29.10 enters the master bedroom. He holds his breath as his parallel self rummages through the cluttered room, clearly looking for something.
Don 5.29.10 (to himself): “Where on earth did I do with that laptop?”
Suddenly remembering that he did some Saturday work at the office on 5/29, Don 9.16.10 takes a bold risk . . .
Don 9.16.10 (Whispers softly): “Oh no – I think I left the thing at work!”
Don 5.29.10; “SON OF A B- I must have left the thing at work! I’m such an Idiot!”
Don 9.16.10 hears his parallel self stomp angrily down the stairs and grab his car keys off the kitchen nook. He hears his wife scream from the laundry room “Where are you going?”
Don 5.29.10: “I left my laptop at work. I’ll be back in about 45 minutes.”
Bottom 8th: PHI 1 – FLA 0
Jorge Cantu leads off the Florida eighth. The 1-0 pitch nearly hits Cantu, but the proud slugger hops away rather than take a cheap base off his nuts.
Cantu smashes a grounder toward third baseman Juan Castro, who is also filling in for an injured Phillie starter – Placido Polanco. Castro lunges quickly to his left to snare the ball and fire Cantu out at first.
Every perfect game has a bail-out defensive play. Juan Castro has just provided one.
With the count 2-2 on Dan Uggla, Halladay fires a 94-mph laser on the outside corner for strike three.
Cody Ross ends the third inning with a weak pop-up to Wilson Valdez.
Roy Halladay is three outs from immortality.
Don knows that he can’t get away with another move like that, but he also knows that Roy Halladay is a fast worker and the game should end just in time for him to escape in the DeLorean. He will never get to blog another perfect game, and he is determined to bring it home.
Bottom 9th: PHI 1 – FLA 0
The Marlins send left-handed pinch-hitter Mike Lamb to lead off the ninth inning. Lamb crushes a 2-1 fastball to dead center. At Citizens Bank Park, that ball is a home run. At Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium, it is a long and loud out.
Cameron Maybin is called back to the dugout in favor of former Phillie and frequent Phillie-killer Wes Helms. The former third-base butcher watches a 93-mph fastball paint the inside corner for strike three.
Ronny Paulino is the last pinch-hitter standing between Roy Halladay and history.
With the count 1-2, Halladay throws a change-up. Paulino slaps a dangerous grounder to third, but Castro ranges to his left, rotates to aim correctly and fires a strike to Ryan Howard to end the game.
Don ignores his wife’s surprised shout (I thought you left a long time ago!) as he runs out the door with his keys. He slams the dashboard of the DeLorean and makes his way back to the Eastbound PA Turnpike.
He adjusts the date-time setting of the dashboard to 9/16/10 – 4:45 PM. He punches the accelerator and watches the speedometer climb to 88 mph.
After the sky flashes and turns suddenly rainy, Don happens upon an FM station playing “Another Way to Die” by Disturbed.
Inspired by the metalcore band, Don remembers that Little Pige left a box of nails in the trunk of his sedan. As after pulling the DeLorean into its original space, Don fetches the nails and places them into a vacant parking space.
As he climbs into his own sedan, Don watches a yellow Mazda Miata pull into the vacant space and immediately puncture all four tires.
I am Don Pigeon and I am OUT!!!