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Archive for December, 2009

Year In Review: Carlos Ruiz

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, December 14, 2009 11:39 AM Comments: 3

His offensive statistics weren’t eye popping, but he played a crucial role. Carlos Ruiz had arguably the best season of his major league career — and at a bargain. The backstop made just $475,000 in 2009.

In 2008, Ruiz struggled at the dish, batting .219 with a .620 on-base plus slugging percentage. Despite being plagued with neck, oblique, and wrist injuries, Ruiz had a huge turn-around. He batted .255 with a .355 on-base percentage and .425 slugging percentage. He reached career highs in home runs (9), runs batted in (43), and OPS (.780).

Ruiz grounded into eight double plays, but he made contact. Ruiz struck out only 39 times in 322 at-bats.

Always a reliable defender behind the plate, Ruiz did a tremendous job handling the pitching staff. He knew which pitch to call, where to locate it, and the appropriate time for a mound visit. Pitchers didn’t see many passed balls or wild pitches; Ruiz is skilled at blocking balls in the dirt. Because of this, extra base runners were limited, and he caught 23 people stealing. On a play at the plate, it was rare to see Ruiz unable to hold onto the ball. In result, he owned a 4.00 catcher’s earned run average.

Ruiz was solid through the regular season, but he took the postseason to a new level. It didn’t take long for “Choochtober” to take over. Ruiz, or Señor Octubre as they call him now, batted .341 with 2 home runs, nine RBI, six extra base hits, and had a 1.082 OPS during the playoffs. He made a case for NLCS MVP, batting .385 with four RBI.

In a sample of at-bats during the playoffs, everybody saw the type of offensive player Ruiz is capable of being. Chooch will remain behind the plate in 2010.

Grade: 7.95/10. Ruiz was under-rated in 2009. He was much improved at the plate and always provided stellar defense. For his performance and at his price, Ruiz deserves a high grade.

  • 3 Comments
 

How About Capps?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, December 13, 2009 08:57 PM Comments: 31

Matt Capps was non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates today, meaning he is a free agent.  Capps pitched in 57 games in 2009, but struggled, finishing with a 5.80 ERA.  However, the three years prior to that, he was a very respectable back-end relief pitcher.

The 27-year old made $2.454 million in ’09 and after coming off of a sub-par season, his number may not go up much when it comes to contract demands. He could be a perfect fit for one of the remaining vacancies in the Phillies ‘pen.

Also non-tendered was D.J Carrasco by the White Sox.  Carrasco is 33 and came off a year in which he went 5-1 with a 3.76 ERA in 49 games.

OPINION (11:40 pm): After finding a lot of Capps “haters” following the launch of this post, mostly on facebook (for what its worth), lets break down the pros and cons of the 27-year old former Pirate:

Pros:

  • Will come cheap: And this means a lot at this point when Billy Wagner is getting $7.5 million and pitching figures as a whole have seemingly skyrocketed.
  • Decent track record:  His combined ERA from 2006-08 was 3.05.  He allowed just 18 earned runs in 2008 and sported a miniscule 0.97 WHIP, which was good for 6th best in the NL.  So, we’re just one year removed from a very, very steady season by Capps, and a great three-year run overall.
  • His age means he can still return to his form from a couple of seasons ago.

Cons:

  • His batting average against suggests he’s very average. Capps career BAA is .261, however, last season it ballooned to .324.  Still, in ’08, it was just .234
  • Ten home runs allowed in just 54 innings is cause for concern, especially in our little bandbox. Before ’09, however, Capps gave up just 10 in 2007 and 2008 combined.
  • Hits per/9 in ’09: 12.1.  Yikes.  But, again, those numbers are deviate from his career stats.

Overall, if you break Capps down, he seems to make some sense as a possibility.  Last season appears to be an anomaly compared to the rest of his career, which has been surprisingly stellar, even in Pittsburgh.

  • 31 Comments
 

The State of the Phillies

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sun, December 13, 2009 04:35 AM Comments: 44

The 2010 Phillies will be a vastly different team than the 2009 Phillies, or for that matter, the 2008 World Series champs. That can be said with certainty for several different reasons – fresh faces, different chemistry, year-to-year fluctuation of performance, and, most importantly, the fact that any season in any professional sport is based on an unquantifiable amount of “luck.”

It can be said that a team makes its own luck based on the talent level of its players, but there’s also a degree of magic that each team either has or doesn’t have in any given year that is not solely determined by how talented it may be.

For example, think about all of the games that Raul Ibanez almost single-handedly won for the Phils in April and May. Was that due to his early success that led to a city-wide love affair between the then newcomer and his new place of business, that in turn led to soaring confidence? Was it due to the new dimensions he was playing in, or the fact that many of the pitchers he was facing were unfamiliar with an American League-lifer?

Ibanez’ season numbers (.272/.347/.552, 34 homers, 93 RBI,) were very good, but when we explain the 2009 Phillies to our children, we will describe Ibanez’ season as fantastic or stellar, or [insert positive adjective here.] This is because it was the timing of those 34 homers and those 93 RBI that single-handedly determined outcomes of games. If I believed in such a term, I’d say that Ibanez was the definition of “clutch” during the inaugural months of the 2009 season.

In contrast, look at the 2009 Philadelphia 76ers, a team that has talent, but the inability to score and make defensive stops when it matters most. The result? A 5-18 record, twelve consecutive losses, and countless last-minute defeats. They lack the timing, the magic, and the luck that a team needs to succeed, but not the talent.

Those first five paragraphs were designed to explain that, although the 2010 Phillies will feature many of the same names and faces that we’ve grown accustomed to over this unbelievable stretch of success, that fact alone does not assure them of another National League crown, or even a fourth straight National League East crown.

Think about the 2005-06 Eagles. After losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl following the 2004 season, the mindset of most fans was, “It’s okay, we’ll be back next year. We’re going to Detroit.” We felt that way because we knew the key components of that team would be back. (And we didn’t figure that a guy would do something career-threatening and mind-numbingly stupid like, I don’t know, do sit-ups in his driveway.)

Even though we don’t know the Phillies have another great year ahead of them, we do know that they are positioned better than approximately 27 other teams as of today. And with the experience gained from a bunch of playoff games and a good amount of adversity along the way, it’s hard to imagine the Phils not succeeding. So, even though anything discussed right now is speculative because the games aren’t played on paper, it’s December, and paper’s all we’ve got!

Placido Polanco

Love the move. Applauded audibly in my apartment in State College when I woke up and saw the story break on MLBTradeRumors.com, (a site that I wish I came up with when I was nine years old.) As I stated here, Polanco represents the best upgrade at the hot corner because he adds a new dimension to an already potent lineup.

He won’t strike out, he’ll produce runs with a man on third and less than two out, and you can bet the farm (if you operate and maintain a farm) that he’ll produce a  .300/.350/.410 slash-line in 2010.

Yes, there are question marks on the defensive end. He hasn’t played third base since 2005, when Allen Iverson was here for the first time and George W. Bush was in the first year of his second term. But Polanco has been one of the top-three defensive second baseman in major league baseball for several years now, and was tops among all second baseman in 2009 (that Utley fella was second.) Third base includes more reaction and less range than second base, but don’t you want a 34 year-old going to the position that requires less range, rather than vice versa?

The terms of Polanco’s contract are not bad at all, despite the knee-jerk opinions that people furiously fired away on Twitter. A three-year/$18 million deal is exactly what I proposed in the article that argued on Polanco’s behalf, and that’s what Ruben Amaro gave him. Polanco will make $5M his first year, followed by $5.25M and $6.25M in the next two years. The rest of the money was paid out in bonuses and won’t affect what shows up on the payroll.

There is an option for a fourth season at $5.5M, but that option is mutual, meaning both the team and Polanco must agree to it in order for it to take effect. If Polanco has failed to live up to his contract by 2013, the Phils can say adios. If he is still producing, $5.5M is STILL a steal. As a point of reference, Kevin Correia will make $3.6M next year. Five or six million dollars may be more money than we all know what to do with, but in baseball terms, it isn’t a significant financial commitment, especially for a player as consistent as Polanco.

Lastly, the Phillies have NO answers at third base in the farm system. Anthony Hewitt was drafted in the first round two years ago to be the Phils’ third baseman of the future, but he’s struck out 132 times and drawn 16 walks in two seasons in the lowest levels of the minor leagues. He’s slashed .214/.255/.363 and he committed 26 errors in 56 games at third base last year. Nobody in this organization is holding their breath for an internal option to emerge.

Ross Gload

The terms of Gload’s two-year deal are still undisclosed, but the Phils have signed him to, essentially, fill Matt Stairs’ role. Gload, a left-handed hitting first baseman and outfielder, led the majors with 21 pinch-hits in ’09 for the Florida Marlins. Last year might have been an apparition, but if not, the Phils will head into the 2010 season with two top-flight lefty pinch-hitters in Gload and Greg Dobbs. While this may spell the end for everybody’s “favorite-baseball-player-who-looks-more-like-a-roofer,” the fact that Stairs scuffled heavily in ’09 cannot be hidden.

Brian Schneider

I love this move just for the simple fact that it means Paul Bako will not be returning in 2010. No disrespect to all seven of Bako’s fans out there, but there simply is no justfication for this guy still being in the major leagues. He hasn’t hit over .235 since 1999. (And, for anyone who went and looked that up in an attempt to prove me wrong – no, Bako’s 4o at-bats in 2005 don’t qualify.)

Literally ANY Double-A or Triple-A catcher could be a backup catcher in place of Bako and provide the same production (with more upside,) as well as a cheaper contract. And if anybody says anything about Bako “handling a pitching staff well,” I’m going to react like Ruxin on “The League” did when Antonio Gates torched him in Week Two. That phrase means absolutely nothing and is only used to excuse a lack of offensive production from a catcher.

Schneider, a left-handed hitting Phillie-killer, is coming off a horrible year and I do declare (Michael Scott-voice) that the Phils overpaid to sign him. Not because $3M is a ton of money or he won’t be worth it, but because he could have been signed for two years/$2.25M instead. Oh well.

Schneider built a reputation as being a very good defensive catcher, and anybody who has followed the Phillies over the last decade knows that he has the ability to deliver big hits. He is a viable backup backstop and won’t be a terrible hole in the lineup if Carlos Ruiz happens to go down for a few weeks in mid-July.

Juan Castro

As with Schneider, I like the signing because it spells the end of someone else’s tenure with the Phillies – one Eric Bruntlett. Castro carries a mediocre stick but plays every infield position, and since literally any major leaguer is an upgrade over Bruntlett, Castro can only help the Phils.

DeWayne Wise, Wilson Valdez, Cody Ransom

Wise is the guy who made the unbelievable catch in center field to save Mark Buehrle’s perfect game. He’s a left-handed hitting outfielder with speed who can be used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. If he makes the major league roster, he’ll contribute.

Valdez was one of the 9,461 players the Mets tried out at a middle-infield position last year. He probably won’t make the major league roster. If he does, it will be because he outdid Juan Castro in spring training as the utility infielder.

Ransom is a right-handed hitting utility infielder who made 18 starts at third base for the Yankees last year. He was invited to Spring Training so that there are enough able bodies to play in the Grapefruit League. (Who named the Grapefruit League? Why is it named the Grapefruit League? Because Florida produces a lot of grapefruit? If so, why can’t it be called the Cocaine League, the Social Security League, or the Illegal Immigration League?)

Say No to Halladay

At this point, I hope the Phillies don’t land Roy Halladay. As several writers pointed out earlier this week, the Phils would likely have to trade Joe Blanton in order to make room for the hefty $15.75M Halladay is due in 2010. This would mean that, in addition to trading J.A. Happ and Dominic Brown/Michael Taylor, there would be no more Blanton, and probably no more Chan Ho Park or Scott Eyre either because their price tags would also be too steep for the $140M payroll that management has mandated.

It also means that the Phils would probably not re-sign Cliff Lee, but instead opt to give Halladay a long-term extension. I’d rather have Lee long-term, because he’s a year younger, has less mileage in his arm, and doesn’t carry an injury history as long as Halladay’s.

Relievers on the Market

The Astros confused everybody by giving Brandon Lyon $300 million over two years to be a late-inning reliever on a 75-win team. (NB: 3 yrs/$15M was the actual overpayment.) Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration and was shipped to Tampa. That leaves Fernando Rodney and Mike Gonzalez as potential late-inning relievers for the Phils to sign, or a guy like John Smoltz, whose name has been linked to the team often in recent days.

Rodney would not fit well here and the Phils would likely have to dole out big bucks to get him. Gonzalez is coming off of a very good year, but he missed most of 2007 and 2008 to injuries. He’s struggled with a lack of command in his career and is not the ideal compliment to J.C. Romero, the Phillies current “effectively wild” lefty.

Smoltz would be a good signing because it would be a one-year, likely incentive-laden deal. He could pitch the seventh, the eighth, or even the ninth if needbe. He could also make a spot start in case of an emergency.

Brett Myers

I understand that the Phils decided to part ways with Myers a long time ago, but it makes sense for them to re-visit the pros and cons of having Myers on the team. Like Smoltz, Myers would be a flexible pitcher who could pitch the middle innings, the late innings, be a long reliever, or even a spot starter. He wouldn’t command a ton of money and could probably be had for less than Rodney or Gonzalez. Myers is more proven than either of those pitchers and possesses much more versatility.

Ruben Amaro

Amaro seems to know what he’s doing. The lack of confidence during free agency doesn’t exist with Amaro like it once did with Ed Wade, who is now doing a good job of screwing up a directionless team in Houston. (Yes, I know that owner Drayton McLane only makes it harder for Wade to do his job, but come on – that much money for Lyon when you have holes at catcher, second, and short? Yeesh!)

If the worst thing you can say about our GM is that he’s slightly overpaid with Ibanez and Polanco, well, maybe you need to wake up and realize how good you’ve got it.

  • 44 Comments
 

Rosenthal: Lee & Halladay in Same Deal?

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, December 12, 2009 05:02 PM Comments: 68

I originally wasn’t going to post this because there is “no proof” that the Phillies are considering this.  However, there seems to be a lot of talk regarding this topic.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay could be traded in the same deal.  It sounds absurd, but if you read into it more, it makes a little bit of sense.  It would not be a straight up exchange; it would be a part of a three or four team trade.  Basically, Lee would be traded for prospects.  Those prospects would be sent to Toronto for Halladay.  If the Phillies send more prospects, there is a chance that the Blue Jays would eat some of Halladay’s salary.  Remember, “it’s just a hunch.”

Most of you are thinking: the idea is to have Lee AND Halladay.  Todd Zolecki of MLB.com also breaks down the idea.  Money is the issue.  Moving Lee would free up about $2 million.  The Phillies aren’t making much progress on a contract extension with Lee, who might want to test free agency next year.  Halladay, also a free agent next season, would most likely require a contract extension for him to wave his no-trade clause.  Then, the Phillies would have Halladay long term instead of Lee.  If Lee and Halladay are on the same team, and even if the Phillies are able to lower their payroll (Joe Blanton would probably be the first one to go), it’s unlikely that the Phillies would be able to keep both Lee and Halladay past 2010.

With that being said, I do not think trading Lee for Halladay is a good idea.  I’d take the risk of having Lee and Halladay on the same team for one year; a year that instantly makes the Phillies World Series favorites.  If that can’t happen, I’m perfectly fine with signing Lee long term.

What do you think?  Is trading Lee for Halladay a good or bad idea?

  • 68 Comments
 

Putz Signs with ChiSox

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, December 11, 2009 02:52 PM Comments: 79

Cross yet another bullpen name off your big board at home.  J.J. Putz, the former Mets set-up man, is now a White Sox.  He came to terms today on a one year, $3 million deal with the possibility of $3 million more in incentives.

Brandon Lyon, and now Putz, are off the list, so the Phillies will have to look elsewhere to solidify the leaky bullpen.  Some names remaining: Octavio Dotel, Kelvim Escobar, John Smoltz, Bob Howry, and Chan Ho Park on the right side.  Lefties include old pal Scott Eyre, Joe Biemel, Ron Mahay, and Will Ohman.

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Phillies Nation Podcast 21: John Finger

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, December 11, 2009 12:25 PM Comments: 4

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

On today’s podcast, Pat Gallen is joined by CSNPhilly reporter John Finger.  Pat and John discuss the Winter Meetings that just wrapped up in Indianapolis.  Some of the topics they touch on: Roy Halladay and where he may end up, who ends up in the bullpen, and what John thinks of the Placido Polanco signing.

John Finger is closer to 40 than 30 and vividly remembers every Philadelphia baseball playoffs since 1976 and every 76ers’ training camp at Franklin & Marshall College since 1980. He writes mostly about baseball, but has been known to dabble in a few other sports, mainly cycling, track & field and anything that requires endurance and/or a sense of humor. Away from work John writes fiction as well as about pop culture. He also enjoys marathon running, punk rock, books and movies as well as debunking myths and goofing off.

John attended J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, Pa., and a very large university (Temple) in Philadelphia. He lives in Lancaster and dotes on his wife Ellen and their two sons, Michael and Theodore.

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 21

Pat Gallen can be reached via email at Pat@Philliesnation.com

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Year in Review: Raul Ibanez

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, December 10, 2009 04:29 PM Comments: 9

If you’ve been paying attention to Phillies Nation during this wild offseason, you’ll notice the Top 25 moments of the year put together to celebrate the fantastic season the Phillies had in 2009.  One of the players you’ll see a good amount of is Raul Ibanez.

In Year One of the Rauuuuuuul Experiment, the man became a cult hero amongst the masses here in Philly. His first half of the ’09 season was MVP-caliber, bringing along a no-nonsense approach to the game – something that had been lacking from Pat Burrell’s arsenal.  Left field was now in better hands defensively and offensively, and Phillies fans felt good about that.

Raul finished the first half with 22 home runs, 60 RBI, and a fan base that couldn’t get enough.  He flourished so quickly that he was voted as an All-Star starter for Charlie Manuel’s NL squad, garnering over four million votes.  Ibanez was recognized not just here in our area, but worldwide for his contributions on the field.

Push past the midsummer classic, and you’ll find a different Raul.  His second half numbers paled in comparison as he went from an Albert Pujols-level back to being a mere mortal.  Injuries ravaged his season from mid-June to mid-July, while sapping his power and stunting his hand-eye coordination at the plate. His second half: .232, 12, 33, in 64 games.  The rock-solid 37-year old had become just another 37-year old by seasons end.

The playoffs were more the same for Raul, as he failed to prove he was past the injuries, primed for a World Series run.  Instead, he put up a .239/2/13 line in 24 games, and suddenly the mighty had fallen.

Overall, when you look at the surface numbers, Raul Ibanez had as good a season as anyone could have imagined before coming over from Seattle. His .899 OPS lent stability to a strikeout-heavy lineup (although Raul did K 119 times).  His .552 slugging percentage ranked 8th best in the NL.

However, the Raul that reared his ugly head by the mid-way point was the one who battled like a champ through leg problems and suffered through a tumultuous second half.  When he could play, he gave solid defense and willed himself through.  But it was not enough as the Phillies superman had been felled by a kryptonite of sorts during the long, hot summer.

The man is still revered here for what he did early on, plus, it’s not like he’s going anywhere.  Raul is still the Phillies left fielder and they will look to him once again in 2010 for veteran leadership and a keen eye in the batters box.  As for ’09, it was the ultimate game of high-low for Raul, but one that Phillies fans will remember for many years.

2009 numbers: .272 avg., 34 HR, 93 RBI, .899 OPS, 119 K, 56 BB

Grade: 7.8/10 – Raul gets a 10 for his first half performance and about a five for his horrid second half.  All in all, a fantastic season for Ibanez, although it was broken apart by some injuries.

  • 9 Comments
 

Baseball Winter Meetings Updates

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, December 10, 2009 02:20 PM Comments: 402

Originally posted at 1:09 p.m., December 7, 2009

Phillies Nation will continually update this post throughout the week as the MLB Winter Meetings heat up in Indianapolis.

Day 4:

(6:03 am): The Phillies are now back into the Halladay discussion, according to Ken Rosenthal. He says the Phillies are prepared to ship J.A. Happ, Dom Brown or Michael Taylor, and another prospect to Toronto in a deal.  They would also have to trade Joe Blanton to free up money for this to happen.  My thought: is this 100% worth it? The bounty is not as high as last season, however, giving up Blanton means two very good starters would be out, plus some prospects.  Interesting scenarios are brewing out in Indy early today.

Also, late last night, the Houston Astros swooped in and landed Brandon Lyon for a reported three years, $15 million. That’s a bit more than I figured he was worth, especially for a guy who has an up and down track record.  I though the Phils might be able to get him at two years under $10 million.

(11:30am): Jason Stark mentions the Phils are seriously considering John Smoltz as a “back-of-the-bullpen weapon.”  Smoltz’s agent apparently told the Phils that the pitcher has no problem with Citizens Bank Park; although we all know that has not always been the case.  Smoltz has bashed the Phillies home field  on numerous occasions.

(2:18pm) With the 17th overall pick, the Phillies selected Kenneth David Herndon from the Angels’ AA team. Herndon is a 24 year-old right-handed pitcher who was 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 11 saves in 50 appearances last season.

They also picked up Angelo Sanchez, another right handed pitcher. The 20 year-old went 5-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 12 starts with the Twins’ AAA affiliate.

On the flip side, the Phillies lost right-hander Carlos Monasterios to the New York Mets. You may remember him as one of the guys in the Bobby Abreu trade of 2006.

Continue reading Baseball Winter Meetings Updates

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Top Moment No. 21: Happ Shuts Out Rockies

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Thu, December 10, 2009 10:24 AM Comments: 7

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

Top Moment #21: JA Happ Shuts Out Colorado, Solidifies Spot in Rotation

Going into the Phillies game against the Rockies on August 5, there were some questions surrounding the last two spots in the Phillies rotation. Jamie Moyer, JA Happ and Pedro Martinez were all vying for those two coveted spots.

So what did JA Happ do? Only threw nine shutout innings, allowed a mere four hits and struck ten batters in his second complete game shutout of the season. Throwing 127 pitches, Happ proved to Charlie Manuel he had the arm to go the distance in big games down the stretch.

Pedro went on to strike out 11 down in Reading, and it was Happ and Martinez in the rotation and Jamie Moyer off to the bullpen thanks in part to one August night.

A game that was never in doubt, was put away with a Jayson Werth three-run bomb in the fifth that ended all scoring for the night. Not that the Phillies needed it… Happ was that good.

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Top Moment No. 22: Raul Caps Off a Fun Phillies Nation Day

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, December 08, 2009 04:25 PM Comments: 3

Throughout the month, Phillies Nation will be counting down the Top 25 Phillies Moments of 2009.

Top Moment #22: Thursday, June 11 – Raul Caps Off a Fun Phillies Nation Day

Phillies Nation in the dugoutJune 11, 2009 was a great day in Phillies Nation. It day started off with a private tour of Citizens Bank Park with all the behind-the-scene sights.  We spent the evening meandering through the suite level, diamond club and dugout, then paused for photos at Chase Utley’s locker and batting cage bats before ascending to the Harry Kalas broadcast booth.  After the tour we made our way to McFadden’s to meet up with a few hundred people out to support the Arc of Philadelphia. We handed out our new Bleed Philly t-shirt out to a dozen or so lucky guests who were there to watch the game, enjoy the open bar and watch the Phils battle the Mets. The Phillies Nation crew comprised of myself, Rob, Nick and Jim made out big in the silent auction and raffles – taking home an Atlantic City trip, a Bobby Flay gift basket and a piece of the court from the old St. Joe’s Fieldhouse. (You can check out all the photos here.)

The game on TV was the rubber match of another exhilarating series with the Phillies hated rival – at least at the time. The Phils had just settled into first place two weeks prior while the Mets were at the onset of another painful collapse, albeit a much more drawn out collapse than they experienced in 2007 and 2008. Jimmy Rollins himself was facing a serious slump and returned to the leadoff spot after spending two games in the six hole.

Just before the game Tim Malcolm made his television debut on SNY live from Citi Field. Post-game, he recounted the exciting ten innings that clinched a series “worthy of documentation and conversation.”

Despite a quality start by Jamie Moyer, the Phils found themselves down 3-1 after the first five frames. Chase Utley and Matt Stairs each drove in a run in the the sixth and seventh to eventually send the game to extras. With one out in the 10th, Shane Victorino singled off Bobby Parnell (who was coming off a loss in the previous night’s game after allowing an Utley homer in the 11th). Parnell walked Utley before being relieved by Ken Takahashi who immediately struck out Ryan Howard. Thousands of blissfully stupid Mets fans rose to their feet in anticipation of a win. Instead they were greeted by a Raul Ibanez bomb over the wall in right-center, his 21st homer of the season. Phillies fans in McFadden’s and around the world rejoiced by exalting RAAAAAUUUUULLL!!! at the top of their lungs. The bottom of the ninth saw Ryan Madson record his second extra-inning save in as many nights.

The win gave the Phillies a four game lead in the division as they wrapped up a 7-3 road trip and improved to a major league-best 23-9 on the road. The game also laid the groundwork for the July 4th series with the Mets where the Phillies swept their rival away for good.  It was a great day in Phillies Nation.

McFadden's Party

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