A man after my own heart and now the darling of every Phillies fan, Russell Branyan arrived here with about as much fanfare as a water meter reader. More than a few bloggers and commenters wondered what the Phillies were thinking when they signed the journeyman, but it took GM Pat Gillick to put it into perspective:
"We wanted somebody who could run into a ball and win a game for us," general manager Pat Gillick explained after the game. "Branyan was the guy we got. He's a hit-or-miss. I don't look at his average. We know he's going to strike out, but he's also going to run into some."
And the career pinch-hit numbers weren't a concern?
Gillick shook his head.
"Because he was the only guy available," he said.Nobody's second-guessing Gillick now. Branyan's pinch-hit two-run homer at RFK Stadium of all places propelled the Phillies to a 3-2 victory last night and enabled them to keep pace with the Braves and Mets, both of whom won, and the Padres, who lead the Phils by one game in the Wild Card Chase. It was the kind of win that not only boosts team morale, it will stand out down the road if the Phils finally make it to the Promise Land as a game that was a turning point.
Meanwhile, the guys who manufacture those jerseys you can buy in sporting goods stores and at the stadium are spell-checking
B R A N Y A N right now.