On a day when many in the Philadelphia area were perhaps more focused on the season opener of another team in town, the Phillies continued to quietly, well not so quietly, go about their business. While the Eagles barely eked out a win in a game they were supposed to dominate, the Phillies got a walk-off win in the first game and came from behind in the second game of a day-night doubleheader to do exactly what they were supposed to do, take care of business by sweeping the Colorado Rockies right out of town.
Let’s start with Game One:
During the debacle that was the first half of this Phillies season, they couldn’t buy a win when they were tied or behind heading into the eighth inning, but in yesterday’s first game of the day-night doubleheader, John Mayberry got a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Phils their second walk-off win in a row.
Although it didn’t come without a bit of drama. After Mayberry hit the ball it was unclear whether Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez had made an incredible game-saving catch. Mayberry did what the rest of us were doing, in the stands and watching on tv:
“I just held my breath until they made the call. It was kind of bizarre definitely. It seemed like an eternity. He caught the ball and it popped out when he hit the ground.”
By the way, John Mayberry, Jr. is hitting .368 (25-for-68) with four doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 18 games. And the Phillies now have 11 walk-off wins, second most in baseball. Hard to believe for a team that just couldn’t seem to find enough ways to lose games earlier in the year.
But the moment of the weekend definitely came in the nightcap with the surprise return of Carlos Ruiz. Chooch entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning to a long and rousing standing ovation. Just seeing him back on the field was enough for the fans.
But not enough for Senior Ruiz. He calmly strode to the plate, and before the fans had even finished their ovation Carlos lined a single to left in his first at-bat since August 2nd. And he wasn’t finished. In the bottom of the seventh, just to prove the first one wasn’t a fluke, the Phils popular catcher hit another line drive, this one a single to center, driving in Domonic Brown.
His two-hit performance last night was Ruiz’s 29th multi-hit game of the year raising his average to .340 on the season. There’s only one thing to say to that:
The Phillies went on to win the night-cap, a game in which they had trailed 4-1. This new come-from-behind thing is something else we didn’t see much of in the fist half of the season.
The Phillies are now two games under .500 for the first time since June 8, and six games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Now I don’t know what will happen in the remaining games. It’s still a long shot for the Phillies to win enough and for all the teams ahead of them to lose enough for the team to have a real shot at the Playoffs. I don’t know if there’s enough time for them to dig themselves out of the hole, more like a canyon, that they created for themselves in the first half of the season.
But I do know one thing.
As the sun sets on a beautiful weekend I am proud to be a Phillies fan again.
I am proud that they don’t seem to have an ounce of quit in them.
I am proud of the way they didn’t give up on this season even when many of us (myself included) did.
And I am proud that they just keep picking themselves up, finding ways to win games no matter who is in the lineup.
But perhaps, my biggest surprise of the weekend was something I said to my husband, something I never thought I’d hear myself say, something that shocked us both to our core:
“It’s great to see Kevin Frandsen back!”