Call me crazy but I thought yesterday’s 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds was one of the Phillies best wins of the year.
Not because rookie pitcher Tyler Cloyd won his first game, giving up only one run on four hits. He didn’t walk a batter and had nine strikeouts, more than he had in any of his 26 minor league starts.
Although that was impressive.
Not because they beat baseball’s winningest team; the Reds are tied with the Nationals for the most wins in baseball.
Although that, too, was nice.
Not even because the Phillies had to face Reds ace and Cy Young favorite Johnny Cueto in a day game. He is tied for the most wins in the Major Leagues with 17. And when it comes to those matinee games, he is virtually unbeatable. He was 11-0 with a 1.61 ERA heading into yesterday’s contest.
And though that’s really incredible, that’s not it either.
Nope, it wasn’t Jimmy Rollins hitting his team-high 17th home run in the fifth, his 1999 hit, to give his team a lead they would never relinquish.
Not it, even though that was exciting and makes Jimmy’s next at-bats must see tv, as he shoots for his 2000th hit.
And finally it wasn’t even the fact that the Phils beat the second-best team in baseball with a bunch of guys who were in the minor leagues about a week ago. After Cloyd’s seven innings strong, Justin De Fratus came in to handle the eighth and Phillippe Aumont, though he gave up one run, pitched out of a jam in the ninth to earn his first save.
So what the heck made it the best win of the year?
For me, it was the fact that after as crushing a loss as the Phillies have suffered all season (in a year filled with crushing losses;) after that walk-off win by the Braves in a game that the Phils had all but won; after a loss that prevented a sweep of those Braves and continued momentum for a Phillies team still fighting for relevance; after all that, this team didn’t cry uncle.
Add to that, an incredibly short turnaround, Sunday’s game didn’t end until nearly 8:30 p.m. and by the time the Phillies showered, flew to Cincinnati and got to their hotel it was around midnight before they had to head to the ball park bright and early the same day for the 1:10 Labor Day start time.
After all of that, it would have been easy, almost expected, for a team to fold up their tents and go home. Who could blame them? After all, there’s always next year, right? Isn’t that what we baseball fans always say?
But this team was having none of that.
What made yesterday’s win one of the best wins of the year for me was that the Phillies, playing on nothing but fumes and pride, beat those first place Cincinnati Reds in their home ball park.
What made yesterday’s win one of the best wins of the year for me was that in a season that has been filled with more downs than ups, on a rainy Labor Day in Cincinnati, this team, our team, still found a way to make us proud.