Sunday, October 11, 2009
Phillies @ Rockies NLDS Game 4: Phillies 6, Rockies 5
Yorvit Torrealba singles with men on the corners to make it 2-1 Rockies with two out. Ryan Spilborghs hammers a pitch to left center, but it's right at a shifted Shane Victorino to end the frame. Happ's already thrown 35 pitches and he's only through one frame.
Top 2nd: With one out, Jason Hammel catches a "oh, look, what do I have here in my glove?" line drive that he promptly drops. He collects himself and throws to first base to record the out against Raul Ibanez, the middle out of an easy 1-2-3 frame for him.
Bottom 3rd: With two out and Todd Helton still stuck at first after a leadoff walk, Garrett Atkins belts one over the head of Shane Victorino, who misplays the carom slightly. Helton scores, running hard all the way, and Atkins ends up at second with a double as the Rocks extend their lead to 3-1. Ryan Spilborghs strikes out swinging to end the frame, but Happ has expended 76 pitches to get through only three innings.
Top 4th: Hammel starts to make some mistakes as he gives up a leadoff walk to Victorino. Chase Utley singles, and Ryan Howard singles Victorino home from second to make it 3-2 Rockies with nobody out.
Hammel loads up the bases with his second walk in the inning, to Jayson Werth. It's looking like he's very close to getting yanked, as Jim Tracy starts up the bullpen. Raul Ibanez steps to the plate. After a long at-bat, Raul Ibanez walks in a run, and we're tied 3-3.
Pedro Feliz bounces out to Hammel for a 1-2-3 double play, leaving men on second and third with two down. Hammel goes to a full count on Carlos Ruiz, but he fouls a couple away, one off his foot, and then sneaks a single through the hole in the left side, making it 4-3 Phillies for the lead. That's it for both pitchers, as Jim Tracy pulls Hammel and Charlie Manuel yanks Happ for pinch hitter Greg Dobbs.
Matt Belisle gets out of the frame without further damage, but the Rocks are now behind after a three-run inning.
Bottom 4th: Leadoff man Carlos Gonzalez crushes a rocket off reliever Joe Blanton to deep right, tying the game at 4-4, collecting his seventh hit in 12 at-bats.
Top 5th: After getting two out, Belisle walks Chase Utley, and that's that for him. That brings up LOOGY Joe Beimel to face Ryan Howard, who obliges him by popping out to short on the first pitch. In some fairness to Howard, it was quite a pop that required Tulo to race to shallow left to make an over-the-shoulder catch for the out.
Top 6th: Jose Contreras issues two straight one-out walks, the second one to Feliz on four straight balls. Contreras falls behind Ruiz 2-1, and nobody's warming up in the bullpen; on the next pitch, Ruiz drives in a run with an up-the-middle single to give the Phils a 5-4 lead. Contreras eventually gets Jimmy Rollins on a 4-6 fielder's choice groundout to end the frame, but at the moment he's on the hook for a loss.
Bottom 7th: After an uneventful top of the seventh, Ruiz hammers a ball into the left field gap for a double off reliever Scott Eyre, who entered the game in the sixth with two out. Dexter Fowler then bunts one up the middle on the right side; Eyre falls down and injures his ankle trying to retrieve the ball. That puts men on the corners with one out, and Manuel calls on Ryan Madsen to put out the rally.
Todd Helton goes to a 2-2 count, fouling several pitches off Madsen; he goes up the ladder to strike out Helton for the first out of the inning.
After fouling off a couple pitches inside and off the plate, Tulowitzki yanks a line drive sac fly to left to tie the game 5-5. Torrealba strikes out to end the inning without further damage.
Top 8th: Raul Ibanez walked, and Pedro Feliz gets a bloop double to left, all with only one out. Rafael Betancourt is in some trouble with first base open, pitching to Ruiz.
Betancourt strikes out Ruiz swinging on a 1-2 count. Two down. Now it's Matt "Wonder Hamster" Stairs' turn, and Betancourt quickly goes to a 2-2 count. After getting Stairs to foul off a pitch and throws a ball, he gets Stairs swinging to end the threat. Wow.
It's 11:37 AM in Denver. It's 1:37 AM in Philadelphia. And it's really cold in Denver.
Top 9th: Huston Street gives up a leadoff single to Jimmy Rollins that's eventually cashed in by Ryan Howard for a 6-5 Phillies lead. Man, isn't it about time for the infomercials to start?
Bottom 9th: It's Brad Lidge's turn to show whether he can keep the icicles off his fingers. After retiring Brad Hawpe on two pitches, he surrenders a walk to Carlos Gonzalez. With pinch-hitter Jason Giambi at the plate, Gonzalez steals second easily on Lidge, who wasn't paying much attention. Giambi pops out in foul territory to Feliz, and the Phils are one out away from a win.
Brad Lidge manages to walk Helton, even despite a gift strike call in the at-bat. Eric Young replaces Helton at first, and here comes Tulo. Tulo pops it up, and the Phils are one win away from advancing to meet the Dodgers.
Short version: Jim Tracy is a moron.
Slightly longer: Ryan Howard hits like a kitten against left-handed pitching. So, why, after allowing his closer to walk the tying run on base, didn't he go to any of his left-handed relievers -- Joe Beimel, say, who came in two batters too late?