When you manage eight hits in fourteen innings and win you are officially on a roll and the Philllies, if nothing else, are certainly that as they won for the sixth straight time last night.
Only a week ago most observers including this one were preparing obituaries (or writing them!) after the Phils were crushed at home by Colorado, 12-0. Since then they haven't lost and in the process have moved to within 1.5 games of the Mets. Yes, fans, the Mets, not just the Padres.
Everyone literally got into the act last night as Charlie Manuel used his entire bench and a whole lot of his bullpen. On a team which sees a different hero virtually every night three unexpected ones emerged last night in St. Louis: Rod Barajas, Jose Mesa and J.D. Durbin.
Durbin came on in early relief of a rusty Cole Hamels and pitched two scoreless innings when the Cardinals threatened to run away with the game. Mesa, whose ERA is approaching the trade deficit, pitched two scoreless innings of relief (the 12th and 13th) while the rest of us were sleeping. And Barajas, the forgotten man, drove in what proved to be the winning run in the top of the 14th inning. Geoff Geary and Clay Condrey also shut the door on the Cardinals.
Cole Hamels did not look sharp in his first start in more than a month, not a surprising outcome. His bread and butter pitch, the change, wasn't fooling anyone and the location of his fastball, which sets up the change, was not there. The good news is he didn't complain of soreness after his three innings of work.
Meanwhile, in the nation's capital, the Mets were losing for the second straight night to Washington and the fifth time in a row overall. Following the Phillies' sweep at Shea Stadium last weekend a few Mets were less than complimentary to their division rivals, collectively huffing that they were still the team to beat. How delicious would it be forJ-Roll to have the last word on that score?