Hard to Believe, Harry: Howard Loses It, and Who Batted Oswalt?

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Hard to Believe, Harry:  Howard Loses It, and Who Batted Oswalt?
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(Sports Irreverence from The Other Tip of the Goldberg)

All of us Phillies fans should have been happily dusting off our Whitey Ashburn impressions and laughing at the madcap turn of events of last night’s 16-inning bizarro thriller versus the Astros at Citizens Bank Park. Only, the game did not end happily—a 4-2 loss to a mediocre team at home is not my idea of a happy ending.

Now, there are only 37 games left to either catch the Braves or to hang on to our precarious wild card lead (now at .001 percentage points) over the Giants. So, now…

Many Phils fans might be channeling their disgust and dejection in Harry the K’s voice,after (the now-retired) Craig Biggio took Billy Wagner deep here in an ill-fated pennant race a few years back. They say you can watch a million baseball games and still see something new on the million-and-first, and who am I to disagree with that proverb? 

And, one day we’ll even laugh about this one. Is this the day?  In the meantime…

Let’s hope that Uncle Cholly can get us a better 16th inning cleanup hitter than Roy Oswalt.  Chase is struggling, and needs more protection than a career .158 hitter with (ready for this baseball geeks?) a .176 OBP, a .370 OPS, and an unheard of OPS-plus of minus-2. 

I got cut from my high school baseball team (still pissed about that, but) and my OPS-plus is two points higher than Oswalt’s.  On the plus side, Oswalt can flat out play left field, and I’m now struggling to make the long throw from third in a Jewish men’s softball league.

Looking at the remaining 37 games, I would keep Ibanez as the all-important fourth-string first baseman.  He made a great play in the 15th, beating Bourne to the bag—and the umps even called Bourne out this time. 

Yes, keep him behind Howard, Gload, and Sweeney on the depth chart, but don’t let any of those September call-ups drop him to fifth on the depth chart.  Can’t afford to entrust that key role to a rookie.

Polanco looked great starting that 5-4-3 double play.  The only problem  was that both runners were safe, and the winning run scored.  Seems like every 16-inning loss at home to the stinking Astros features one of those.  Just as every 16-inning loss at home to the stinking Astros  features:

  • Ryan Howard going 0-7 with five K’s, five LOBs, and an ejection for thinking about murdering a replacement ump.  Howard’s awfully lucky that he has a rookie-of-the-year, an MVP, multiple All-Star appearances, and gazillion power stats under his belt, or I’d call for his release today.  Every 16-inning loss at home to the stinking Astros  is attributable to his choking—and his vicious temper.
  • Can Hollywood Hamels please win a game for us?  Yes, his ERA is low, but we scored him a run this time.   No excuses; what does he expect? Can't stand prosperity.

I repeat that, in time, we’ll all laugh about that crazy game that ended in the wee hours of August 25, 2010—if we make the playoffs, that is.  You know, if Oswalt were any good—and worth the millions that Houston left for us to pay him—he would have taken that Jeff Fulchino (What the Fulch?!) deep with a three-run jack to win this thing.

Should we have traded Happ for Fulchino instead?  Although he’s listed at a more-than-svelte 286 pounds, I've heard that’s deceiving. I've also heard that he plays a mean 18th-inning center field.

And can’t you just hear Harry the K—with those majestic, mellifluous pipes—saying, “And, a great shoestring catch by that Jeff Ful-chi-no."  After chuckling, he’ll hand it off to his co-icon, Whitey, for the all-time Phillies rejoinder:

“Hard to believe, Harry."

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