There was a heavy fog in the valley this morning as I drove to the coffee shop. But the stale mist that had settled in Citizens Bank Park for the last two games lifted long before that—at 7:57 Monday night to be exact. And just like this morning, the stars shone bright in an atmosphere of great clarity.
One thing was certain. The home team came to win.
Admit it. How many of you were humming High Hopes on your way to work this morning in spite of sleep deprivation and a Septa strike? I’ll be honest. I never understood that “rubber tree plant” thing. Until now.
It’s all about bouncing back.
And there’s not a better way to do it than with an Ut-Lee sequel. Cliff Lee faltered a bit from his Game One dominance, but Chase Utley said, “I gotcha, buddy.”
Awww, I think they’re soul mates.
In the first inning, Joe Buck happened to mention that Utley “went long last night” just as Stone Cold Chase stared Burnett down from the plate. That was only moments before Utley's three-run homer broke the solo dinger curse that had plagued the Phils for the last four games.
I heard Chase Utley’s a write-in candidate for Governor of New Jersey.
And I heard lead-off walks always score. In the third, Chase proved he’s well acquainted with the “rules” of baseball, and did just that, walking on five pitches to start an inning that would be Andy Burnett’s last. Then he scored when Jayson Werth’s single slipped through the hole.
I love it when I talk dirty.
Fortunately, Andy saved those notorious “20 bad pitches a game” for the beginning of Game Five. I guess limited rest doesn’t work as well for him as it does for me. And for the first time in the series we got to the Yankee’s starter early, and forced their hand on the bullpen.
But wait. That didn’t work so well. Okay, Joe Girardi, let me explain something. The strategy was to get to your bullpen as early as possible, and then have our way with them.
I still love it when I talk dirty.
But that didn’t happen until the Phillie’s limited success with David Robertson and Alfredo Aceves served up a bubbly that would end in a seventh inning celebration with Phil Coke.
Insert your favorite Coke slogan here—just keep it legal.
Another Utley homer and five batters later, the underdogs had a Coke, a smile, and the two additional runs needed to break a three-game losing streak, and send Charlie’s Angels down that yellow brick road to New York.
Welcome to the hotbed of rival huff for Game Six…Six…Six.
While Utley tied the World Series record for five dingers with Reggie Jackson, Ryan Howard matched the one for most strikeouts by whiffing on yet another breaking ball to get to 12 by the seventh inning in just five games. If only he’d replace the image of that pitch with sugar plums.
So far I’ve replaced all my images with Shane Victorino.
Wait. Shane hurt his hand! Nooooo! Not Sugar Shane. Not my sweet centerfielder. Not my hyperactive, obsessive-compulsive, speed-talking, hustlin’ Hawaiian!!
And he was replaced with Ben Francisco in the eighth?! Has the manager lost his mind! Charlie, take a Viagra, but don’t deprive me of my sugar fix. Not at this point in the season. Not with only two possible games remaining. I’ll have to sell everything I have to catch a glimpse of him in Spring Training. I’ll be forced to prostitute myself for a premature peek at my island toy. Shane, I’ll kiss it and make it all better. Please just say you’ll come back for Game Six.
If I kiss it will you come?
Whoa. I did not just say that!
Okay, now I need a Viagra.
What can I say, the Phils are back—out of the black. I'm so psyched I feel some cheesy poetry coming on. Nope, that was just a hot flash.
Now, here’s that poem:
Nothing sets the mood like a bright fall day,
The Phillies having their way,
And a roll in the hay,
For yet one more game.
I promise I’ll behave,
And have only nice things to say,
When I kneel down and pray,
That they’ll put New York away.
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