In case you slept through it, Chris Coste’s surefire fly ball beat the Mets in a 13-inning thriller, an incredible game that ended with the Phils atop the National League East again. A couple remarks from posters and bloggers:
Grrrumpy Miner: “INCREDIBLE! What a game! No matter who wins this game, they deserve it and you should tip your cap to both teams. Whether you are a Mets fan or a Phillies fan, you should embrace this game that was played tonight.”
Jason Weitzel, Beerleaguer: “This was an instant classic with improbable heroes, like Coste and Eric Bruntlett in particular, extraordinary gamesmanship, including newest third baseman Carlos Ruiz, and a bullpen that once again refused to break.”
Matt Cerrone, MetsBlog: “Despite the result, this was, without a doubt, the most entertaining baseball game of the season, and one of the best games I have seen in years.”
Consensus is Tuesday night’s 13-inning marathon was an absolute stunner. As far as thrilling games are concerned, the August 30 game last season against the Mets (coming back off Wagner in the eighth and ninth) stacks alongside, but this game had absolutely everything from both sides. Point a gun to my head and yeah, this was the most exciting Phillies game of the last three or four years.
A couple things to pick out from this game:
Jamie Moyer: As I wrote in the recap, Moyer seemed poised to blow up. He had been so money lately, but against a hot Mets offense, a patient Mets offense (at least early), he just seemed doomed. The Jose Reyes leadoff triple was confirmation to me it would be a long (or short, I suppose) night for Moyer.
Blown call: The umpires got it wrong with the grounder-that-wasn’t off Fernando Tatis’ bat in the third. David Wright should’ve been out and Tatis should’ve had been at first. Instead, Tatis (I don’t know how he does it) hit one out.
The Bullpen: With that though, what a job by the bullpen. I mean, wow. The entire bullpen let up just one run in 10 innings. Off five hits. Clay Condrey gave up the run, but boy did he pitch well. Not to mention his double to lead off the fourth. Huge kudos to Ryan Madson, who pulled it together for two fine innings deep in the game. And JC Romero did great having to face both lefties and righties. Also, how about Scott Eyre, who was fantastic with a few strikeouts and some really nasty breaking stuff?
Jimmy Rollins: Rollins was off the charts. He’s the fourth player in the last 50 years with five hits, three steals and a home run in the same game. His swagger is back. His freewheeling play is back. Boy, if he can keep this attitude up, the hits and runs will come, and this offense will be absolutely fine.
Pat Burrell: Tough break for Burrell, who had an 0-fer with the golden sombrero. Maybe he sits out Friday in Chicago (I’d start him against Johan Santana, absolutely). He’s been pressing a little lately, despite his couple hits in the three-hole.
Eric Bruntlett: When Bruntlett came up with two outs in the ninth, I thought “No way we’re winning this game here. I just have to hope for a single or walk.” But what a clutch hit for Brunt, who despite being a very light hitter, is a nice utility/25th man for this team. Then he singled in extra innings. Credit Charlie Manuel for pushing the right buttons and giving him the RBI opportunity. (Reminds me: It’s amazing how the unsung guys step up against the Mets, a la So Taguchi in the same spot a month ago).
Jayson Werth: I love Werth, what he brings to this team. He went 3-for-5, walked twice and stole a base. Pretty lost with Rollins’ big game, but just as important. Funny how all of a sudden the Phils can have two flat-out scary 1-2 combos at the top of the lineup (Rollins/Utley) and the bottom of the lineup (Victorino/Werth). It’s as if the top half can take care of the big hits, while the bottom half — anchored by Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste — can do situational things.
Carlos Ruiz: Not that he had a great game, but what an unselfish move to accept playing third base. Had to have been his first time ever, or close to it. When things like that happen, you know it’s a good game.
Defense: A lot of great defense — not amazing plays, but strong, sound defense that kept the Mets from scoring. Victorino had a couple nice catches in big spots; Werth made the huge throw beating Wright; Howard made a couple real heady plays on tough grounders and liners; Dobbs made a great play at third to start a double play, as well. Every play counts.
“Bandbox” I had to suffer through SNY broadcasting tonight, and Keith Hernandez wouldn’t stop with citing Citizens Bank Park as a bandbox, and the reason the Phils can always win — blah, blah, blah. Okay, so Citizens is a hitter’s park, and does influence a lot of homers, but when you can’t get yours off Phils pitching for nine innings … well, you have no room to talk.
The Fans: What an atmosphere. Listening to the 1210 AM driving home from work, the Mets were scoring and their fans were loud and proud. It grated me. But watching SNY later, as the Phils were rallying — boy, what a change. Hernandez — in his one good observation — said it was the loudest crowd he had ever heard. The Mets crew remarked how the fans were hanging on every pitch. Good to see these games bring out the best in the fans.
Again, just to reiterate, losing these two wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but oh, I’d be an idiot if I were to think these two games weren’t big games. Tuesday night was unreal. One for the ages.