Several “wrongs” were righted at The Bank last night. Where do you want to begin?
The Phillies' confounding inability to consistently win at home may finally be coming to an end, and not a moment too soon with only four regular-season games remaining there. Of course the following explanation may be stretched a bit thin for some: the weather man made them do it.
Facing the Chicago Cubs in the rubber match of a three-game series, the Phillies simply imagined they were on the road. The weather man cooperated in this chicanery by producing a stiff wind and brisk falling temperatures befitting Wrigley Field. Voila! Pretend you are on Lake Michigan and play on! My companion at the game was Dan Rubin, author of the Inquirer’s blog http://blogs.philly.com/blinq/ and a graduate of Northwestern University. Dan arrived at the game wearing a light sweater and can attest to the Chicago-like weather from personal experience.
In the process, the Phils overcame another bugaboo, their struggles closing out a series with a win. Their 6-2 victory following a 4-1 win the night before gave the Phillies the series 2-1 and propelled them into a tie with the Dodgers for the Wild Card lead.
Brett Myers was the biggest hero of the night and not a moment too soon. Previously, Myers hasn’t always stepped up in big games, but on this evening he answered the call and tossed a complete game six-hitter while striking out twelve. Just as critically, he gave the overworked bullpen the night off. With no game scheduled today, the relief corps should be relatively well-rested when the Marlins come to town Friday.
Poor Pat Burrell, subject of an excellent lay analysis yesterday by John Smallwood in the Daily News, walked and scored twice and stroked his 26th home run of the season. The glass half-full crowd hope this latest home run will finally get Burrell untracked; the glass half-empties, whose ranks are much larger, will see it as another late-inning home run when the game was already in hand. Fortunately for Burrell, the 35,000 plus fans at the Bank last night overwhelming gave him the positive reinforcement he desperately needs.
Chase Utley also came through with a big home run just as his average was about to dip below .300 and stay there, at least overnight. The phlogosphere has been abuzz with consternation regarding Utley’s declining fortunes at the plate. Some even suggested he sit a game or parts of one just to collect himself for the final stretch. I can only imagine the cold stare that would have greeted Charlie Manuel if he had approached Utley with that idea!
With the Marlins arriving for a three game series I only have one question: is there a chance a hurricane is in the forecast?