Sunday, June 19, 2011

Report From The Dark Side Of The Moon

Two games, two different results.

Most observers including this one thought game one on Friday night was going to be tough to win.  The Phils were:

1. Flying across the country after a day game, arriving at their Seattle hotel in the wee hours of Friday morning.
2. They were facing a young pitcher they'd never seen before.
3. They were sending Roy Oswalt to the mound, he of the diminishing stuff.
4. Raul Ibanez was playing left field.

Sure enough, the Phils didn't manage a hit until the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Ichiro, the greatest player on the planet few if any of us know, reached base three times and scored three times.

The Phils had some chances, but as is their wont, squandered them. Results: an expected loss.

Game two was Saturday night. The Phils would be well-rested if by well-rested one means they went to bed and woke up in the same time zone.

Vance Worley, back from another stint at AAA, was the starter for the Phils. Opposing him was the Al reigning Cy Young winner, Felix, the King, Hernandez. The Phils scored early against Hernandez but squandered a chance to score more. One had the sinking feeling they'd failed to really get to Hernandez early and would regret it later.

The feeling grew when Vance Worley struggled in the first. He wasn't fooling anyone as the Mariners hit the ball hard against him, but he wiggled out of the inning. Fortunately, unlike the night before, he kept Ichiro off the bases in that first inning or things would have turned ugly early.

While Worley struggled the rest of his stint, yielding a home run to highly touted Mariners' rookie Dustin Ackley and being bailed out with a play at the plate that nailed Mike Carp, Hernandez kept the Phils at bay until they scored two in the seventh inning on Shane Victorino's chalk-hugging ground rule double.

Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo followed and held the Mariners in check and Ryan Madson closed the game striking out, fittingly, Ichiro Suzuki, who rarely strikes out.

It was a good win for the Phils who can clinch the series behind Cole Hamels this afternoon.

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