2010 Top Moments

Top Moment #12: Phils Go Up 2-0 On Reds

Posted by Michael Baumann, Sat, February 05, 2011 03:56 PM Comments: 0

After the euphoria of Roy Halladay‘s playoff no-hitter in Game 1 against the Reds, it was tough to come back two nights later, knowing whatever happened wouldn’t top the first game. When it became clear that Phillies starter Roy Oswalt didn’t have his best stuff, spotting the Reds a 4-0 lead when he left the game in the fifth inning, it looked like the Reds would tie up the series.

But then back-to-back errors by Gold Glove winners Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen in the bottom of the fifth loaded the bases, and Chase Utley‘s two-out, two-run single cut the lead in half. It seemed, at the time, that the Phillies had gotten their big break for the evening, but then, in the bottom of the 6th, Logan Ondrusek walked Shane Victorino with the bases loaded to cut the lead to one.

Attempting to turn the momentum, Reds manager Dusty Baker called on 22-year-old Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman to start the 7th. Chapman, blessed with a 105-mph fastball from the left side, was hailed as the weapon that would shut down Utley, Howard, and Ibanez in the late innings. He started by hitting Utley, but recovered to strike out Howard and get Werth to ground a ball to third, but Utley beat Rolen’s throw to second. With Jimmy Rollins coming up and the winning run on with one out, you could almost feel the excitement building, the seeming inexorability of the Phillies’ comeback.

So, too, could Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who had homered earlier in the game. The ordinarily sure-handed Bruce misjudged Rollins’ sinking liner, and by the time the explosions had stopped and the wounded had been carried off the field, the Phillies were up 5-4 and Rollins was standing on second.* Rollins scored two batters later, and Utley scored again in the 8th to make the final 7-4.

*A buddy of mine had his smartphone out while we were watching the game, and taped my reaction to Bruce’s muff. Here it is, in case you’re interested.

Even though Cole Hamels came storming in on Sunday night to close the Reds out with a five-hit shutout, it was fairly obvious that Cincinnati was dead the moment Jay Bruce missed that fly ball. Even though Games 1 and 3 featured historic pitching performances, Game 2 was certainly memorable in its own right.


Top Moment #13: Rollins Walks It Off

Posted by Amanda Orr, Fri, February 04, 2011 08:26 PM Comments: 3

Jimmy Rollins spent significant time on the disabled list in 2010.  In just 88 games, Rollins finished with a disappointing .243 batting average.  But on June 23, Rollins was the hero.

Starters Kyle Kendrick and Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook each struggled, resulting in a game that went back and forth.  Kendrick had many troubles in 2010, and this game was no exception.

In the first inning, Shin-Soo Choo homered to put the Indians on the board.  Jayson Werth’s home run tied the game at two, but the Indians jumped back in front.  Raul Ibanez gave the Phillies the lead with a RBI double, but Choo struck again with another blast.  In the seventh inning, Brian Schnieder’s clutch home run tied the game at five.

In the ninth inning, the Indians threatened against J.C Romero.  With a runner on third, Rollins made a fantastic diving stop, but failed to make the throw home, resulting in an error.  The Indians took the lead, but Rollins made up for his mistake.

With a runner on base, Rollins cranked a drive just inside the right field foul pole.  The exciting 7-6 victory came in dramatic fashion, one of several walk-offs in the 2010 season.  Rollins’ first career walk-off home run came in his second day back from the disabled list.  At the time, it was not only a big win, but hope that Rollins would begin a hot streak.


Top Moment #14: A Near-Perfect Pitchers’ Duel in Series of Walk-Offs

Posted by Paul Boye, Tue, February 01, 2011 01:32 PM Comments: 1

Roy Halladay and Travis Wood each went nine innings, but neither pitched a complete game. Neither allowed a run, but neither recorded a win or loss. They combined to strike out 17 batters – and allow only six total hits – while Wood came within one Carlos Ruiz double (in the ninth, no less) of a perfect game.

I suppose it was only fitting that, in a Phillies/Reds series populated by walk-off wins, this one would need a couple of extra frames to be decided, too.

Through eight innings, Travis Wood had absolutely baffled the Phils. His performance seemed to be the latest in a string of average-or-worse lefties throwing gems against Philly hitters (at least, that’s how it looked. Whether the Phils really struggled so mightily isn’t really known for sure), but another perfect game in 2010 on top of Halladay’s and Dallas Braden’s? That seemed a bit excessive, and Ruiz seemed to agree.

With Wood’s perfecto/no-hitter attempt neatly filed away in the trash, the Phils turned their attention to actually winning the game and getting Halladay his 11th win of the season. Alas, a curious strategic decision (having Wilson Valdez bunt) failed, and Chooch would not score.

At least, not in the ninth.

In the 11th, Chooch hit another double, this time with one out. After an intentional walk to Valdez (thanks, Dusty) and a fly out from Ross Gload, Jimmy Rollins came to the plate looking to give the Phils their third straight, extra-inning walk-off win against Cincy. And he would deliver. Chooch had no problem scoring from second base here (nudge, nudge, Cholly), and the Phils prevailed. They would cap off a four-game sweep the following day, and head into the all-star break on a roll. Fitting bit of symmetry that we near our own half-way point of this countdown on a bit of a roll ourselves! Keep your eyes peeled for TM #13.


Top Moment #15: A Fracas in Frisco

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, January 26, 2011 12:00 AM Comments: 6

Up until that point, it had been a fairly routine game–Lincecum had been outstanding through eight, allowing only three hits, one of them a Ryan Howard solo home run, striking out 11 and not walking a batter. Cole Hamels struck out 10 in six innings, but allowed 13 baserunners, of whom four scored. When Greg Dobbs flied out to start the 9th, everything still seemed normal, and when Shane Victorino walked, leading Bruce Bochy to call in Brian Wilson to relieve Lincecum, it still seemed like the Phillies would drop to 11-10, which, in April, isn’t that big a deal, and we’d remember this game as much as any of the other unremarkable early-season games. Polanco flies out. Look at the attached graph, courtesy of FanGraphs. It measures Win Probability, which is exactly what it sounds like. The higher the line, the more likely it is that the Giants win. The lower the line, the more likely it is that the Phillies win. It goes crazy right about this point.

Utley singles and goes to second on defensive indifference. Howard walks to load the bases. Jayson Werth, on the eighth pitch of his at-bat, takes a Brian Wilson pitch the other way. Tie ballgame.

At this point I about drive off the road.

Wilson put out the fire, and David Herndon pitched a relatively quiet 10th. I got home and was able to turn on the TV just in time to see Brian Schneider score on a Jeremy Affeldt wild pitch. Thinking the game was in hand, I went to the kitchen to eat dinner at this point. Boy, was I wrong. By the time I came back, Nate Schierholtz (who went 5-for-5, scored three runs, and was the undisputed star of the game with a .657 WPA in a losing effort) had scored the tying run.

It wasn’t until the 11th inning, when Wilson Valdez drove in Raul Ibanez, then scored on a Eugenio Velez error, that the game would be decided, and even then after Schierholtz (who else?) doubled in a run to cut the deficit in half. It would turn out to be one of the few positive memories for Phillies fans against San Francisco this season, but for a meaningless game that started so tamely, it was quite a remarkable ending.


Top Moment #16: The Roy Oswalt Trade

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Mon, January 24, 2011 01:33 PM Comments: 2

On July 30th, Roy Oswalt waived his no-trade clause to join forces with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels to form H20. It was a heist that hadn’t been seen since Cliff Lee was sent to Philadelphia for a bag of baseballs the July prior.

Ruben Amaro had taken a lot of flak for trading away Lee after the 2009 season came to a close, so with a void to be filled, Amaro did all he could to make things right with the fans.

Amaro coerced Ed Wade into taking J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar for the face of the Houston Astros. On top of that, the Astros agreed to pay $11 million of the $23 million that Oswalt will earn next season. Grand theft in its finest.

Oswalt instantly became a fan favorite in Philadelphia and for good reason. Since breaking into the big leagues in 2001, he led the NL in victories and strikeouts and was second innings pitched. The guy is a horse.

In 12 starts after joining the Phillies, Oswalt went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.895 WHIP. Crazy numbers, that helped earn him sixth place in Cy Young voting. Now we are just two months away from a full season of Roy Oswalt in Philadelphia, and of course he will be alongside Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, Philadelphia’s favorite son Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels.


Top Moment #17: Fair? Foul? Either way, a Win in Florida

Posted by Paul Boye, Fri, January 21, 2011 05:48 PM Comments: 5

For eight innings, things were mostly uneventful on August 5. The Phillies were trailing the Marlins, 4-2, in South Florida, and the Phillies’ three-game winning streak was in some hot water. Roy Oswalt had a middling start turned into a deficit by J.C. Romero, while Chris Volstad and a pair of Marlins relievers held the Phils at bay.

The, the ninth inning rolled around, and things began to get interesting. Placido Polanco led off by reaching on a Hanley Ramirez error. Ross Gload followed with a single off Marlins reliever Leo Nunez, and Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth chipped in with their own RBI hits to tie the game.

So, with runners on first and third with no one out, the Phillies looked primed to take the lead. A series of baserunning gaffes, however, curiously ended the threat. If you don’t want to subject yourself to the highlight video, the blow-by-blow was as follows:

  • Raul Ibanez is caught between third and home on a grounder to first, one out.
  • Jayson Werth is picked off second, two out.
  • Domonic Brown, who reached on Ibanez’s fielder’s choice, is caught stealing second with Chooch up, three out.

So, with a combination of two mental errors and a suspect strategic decision, the Phillies had squandered a chance to take the lead in the ninth. The Marlins, looking to capitalize, had Hanley Ramirez leading off against Ryan Madson. Madson plunks Hanley, strikes out Logan Morrison as Hanley steals second, and settles in to face Marlins rookie first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Then, on a 1-1 pitch, Madson threw a fastball that Sanchez appeared to pull a should-have-been game-winning hit down the third base line.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The “hit” was deemed foul, Sanchez proceeded to strike out, and Madson escaped trouble. Fittingly, Ruiz, still at-bat after being at the plate when Brown was caught stealing, led off the tenth with a laser home run, a solo shot that proved to be the deciding margin in a wacky late-inning affair. Some saw it as karmic payback (albeit a month-and-a-half late) for a Braves win against the Tigers in June that had its own curious circumstances.

Whatever the case, with a little help, the Phils had stretched out a four-game winning streak, and remained hot on Atlanta’s heels.


Top Moment #18: Roy O. Shags a Fly, Howard Goes Off, Phils Lose in Extras

Posted by Paul Boye, Thu, January 20, 2011 12:54 PM Comments: 12

This was a wild one. There’s really no better way to put it.

It started out innocently enough, with the pesky Astros coming to town to pit Bud Norris against Cole Hamels. Cole entered the game looking to bounce back from a subpar start against the Giants in his last outing, and the Phillies were just hoping to keep pace with Atlanta in the East.

As has been common throughout his career – at least, it seems – Cole had a great outing with no run support, throwing seven innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts, but left the game trailing 2-1. The Phils had opportunities in the eighth and ninth to tie the game, but a bad caught stealing by Jimmy Rollins and a RISP flyout from Carlos Ruiz ended those chances. Things looked bleakly frustrating as the Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth, still down 2-1 with Ruiz, a pinch-hitter and Jimmy Rollins due up. Chooch and PH Mike Sweeney both grounded out to short, leaving J-Roll as the last hope.

Jimmy made up for his baserunning error by delivering a game-tying homer to right field on a 3-1 count, tying the game and kicking off what would become an epic string of extra innings.

Jose Contreras escaped a jam in the eleventh by getting a pop fly double play with two on and one out. Madson escaped similar trouble in the twelfth, retiring Michael Bourn with two on and two out. Ryan Howard struck out with the winning run on third in the fourteenth.

Well, there’s a little more to the story than that.

Howard was called out on the swing by third base umpire Scott Barry – remember him? – and was ejected right after that for tossing his bat, sending the Big Man into a frenzy. It was difficult to blame Howard for this. Sure, he probably could have stood to not toss his bat away, but Barry was obviously on a short fuse for whatever reason, mimicking Howard’s hands-on-hips initial reaction, then wasting no time in ejecting him despite the situation.

With Howard gone and the bench empty, Charlie Manuel had to get creative. He moved Raul Ibanez in from left field to play first, a position he hadn’t played since 2005, and brought in Roy Oswalt to play left field. It was pretty obvious where the balls in play were going that inning, wasn’t it? Oswalt made the most celebrated, routine fly catch in history. Ibanez made a great play at first on a Bourn bunt, and the train kept on rolling.

Unfortunately, with the bullpen and bench exhausted, Oswalt was pressed into duty with the bat in the sixteenth, after the Astros took a two-run lead in the top half. The Cinderella story ends with a weak grounder to third, but the legend lives on, as this game goes down as one of the strangest in recent memory.


Top Moment #19: Phillies Keep Pushing Braves Back

Posted by Amanda Orr, Fri, January 14, 2011 01:41 AM Comments: 8

On September 1, the Phillies were three games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.  The Phillies had a history of being a hot team in September, and it looked as if the division race would go down to the final games.

The Phillies got on a hot streak and moved ahead of the Braves in the standings.  Eventually, a gap was built between the first place Phillies and second place Braves.  Our top moment, September 22, 2010, marks the  night when Philadelphia could unofficially put the Braves in the rear view mirror.

The game began with a promising matchup of Tommy Hanson and Roy Oswalt.  Neither starter allowed a run.  Hanson surrendered just two hits and three walks over six innings.  Oswalt pitched remarkably as well, tossing seven shutout innings.  He only gave up one hit and one walk.

But with no runs on the board, the Phillies had to rely on the offense and bullpen, both which were questionable at times in 2010.  On the offensive front, there really wasn’t one guy that would consistently be the hero.  Somebody new would always step up.  Who would it be this time?

At the beginning of 2009, there were plenty of “RAUUUUUUUL” chants to go around.  However, they weren’t as common in 2010 as Ibanez somewhat struggled at the plate.  In this game against the Braves, the chants returned.  Ibanez came through in the eighth inning, slicing a double down the left field line, scoring Jayson Werth.  It was the lone run of the game, but it was all that was needed as Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge finished it off.

The 1-0 victory marked the Phillies tenth straight win, but more importantly pushed the Braves to six games back in the division.  The Phillies could quietly say goodbye the Braves, and look forward to another National League East crown.


Top Moment #20: Halladay Out Groins Timmy, Phillies Stay Alive

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Wed, January 12, 2011 11:37 AM Comments: 3

Beat me once, good for you. Beat me twice, ha nice try.

Roy Halladay took the mound for Game 5 of the National League Champion Series to face little Timmy Lincecum in a rematch of Game 1. Lincecum and the Giants beat Halladay in the opener at Philadelphia. Halladay made sure it wasn’t going to happen again.

This was a game the Phillies had to win to keep any hope alive of winning the World Series.  They were down 3-1 and playing in San Francisco.  A win would force the game back to Philly.  Halladay would not disappoint.

However, the game didn’t start off the way he had hoped.  For the first time all season, Halladay walked the leadoff hitter.  It was the first of two walks Halladay allowed laboring through six innings with an apparent groin injury.  In between innings Halladay was riding the stationary bike to stay loose.  Halladay’s velocity was down all game and he threw 108 pitches, a high count for just six innings of work.

The Phillies started hitting in the third inning.  Halladay helped himself out by laying down a perfect bunt and advancing Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez to second and third.  One error later and the Phillies were back on top 2-1.  A Placido Polanco RBI single gave Halladay a two run cushion.

Jayson Werth put the Phillies back up by two in the ninth inning that sent many Giants fans heading for the exit and the Phillies heading back to Philadelphia for Game 6.

This is just one of those games you look back on and say ‘Yeah, that’s Roy Halladay.’  He continues to amaze Phillies fans with his gutsy performances.  After the game this is what Charlie Manuel had to say about his Cy Young starter, “Of course, he stayed in there.  He was determined he was going to stay in there.”


Top Moment #21: Oswalt Ignores Stop Sign, Runs to Win

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, January 11, 2011 11:24 AM Comments: 3

Stop. Don’t. Wait!

Roy Oswalt heeded none of those calls and it made for a magical moment on the basepaths during Game 2 of the NLCS.

Oswalt blew through the stop sign from Sam Perlozzo on a single up the middle by Placido Polanco in the seventh inning, shocking all 46,099 in attendance. The Phillies third ace turned faces from this to this in just 180 feet, beating the throw from Giants centerfielder Andres Torres.

“When I got halfway, I saw the stop sign,” Oswalt said. “I said, ‘It’s too late now, no turning back.’” His slide into home plate caused an eruption and put the Phillies ahead 3-1, which would turn into 6-1 a few batters later on a three-run double by Jimmy Rollins.

J-Roll, who began the playoffs 1-for-16, snapped out of it in a big way. But that momentum swing was due to the all-around play of Oswalt.

Somehow, the baserunning blunder by Oswalt will overshadow an incredible performance on the mound. Roy Deuce struck out nine (a playoff career high) over eight innings, while allowing three hits and three walks. Cody Ross was responsible for the lone Giants tally on – yes – a home run.

It was yet another stellar display of pitching artistry on the mound during the Phillies postseason. And, it came one night after Roy Halladay was unable to start the Phillies off with a victory. Even though they did not fulfill the ultimate goal of a world championship, Oswalt and his cohorts at least made the playoffs a memorable one.

(Photo: Washington Times)

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