There’s going to be naughty words and bad blood in this game because Philly’s feeling beaten down by injuries, haven’t been able to win in this series thus far, and still feel aggrieved by a bit of questionable officiating on April 11th:
(New York even has to get in on the safe-or-out craze)
So we’ll save the vitriol for game time and open with something far more festive: crazy obsessed people we now like.
This fellow, brought to us by BUGS AND CRANKS, has mastered all of the batting stances of the heroes of his youth, mostly Cardinals in our minds. Remember when you did that as a kid? Mimicked your heroes’ swing down to the smallest twitch? This guy never stopped. 35 years old, married with children: still breaking out the old impressions.
We’re pretty sure we’re insanely jealous.
Pitching Matchups: Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Adam Eaton (0-0, 4.12 ERA).
Mike Pelfrey may yet turn into an average major league starter, but his best skill at the moment is the ability to stand upright and throw in the general direction of the Mets’ catcher. It’s a skill the Mets covet at the moment, so out he goes.
Adam Eaton can’t even swear to the latter skill, but he makes $7.5m this year and $8.5m next year. Therefore, out he goes in the latter half of innings tonight. (Tuffy to Adam: if you make millions of dollars a year, you can afford better highlights.)
In other words: kids, get your homework done now because you’re going to be groggy at school tomorrow when this one goes 17-6.
- Jimmy Rollins hit the DL with a high ankle sprain. Sorry, fans of today’s holiday; this is a sprain high on the ankle region.
- Brian Schneider bruised his forearm while trying to celebrate with the Rocky statue. He’s out tonight.
- Also of note: Moises Alou (being Moises Alou), Pedro Martínez (fossilized hamstrings), Orlando Hernández (consumption? black plague? one of those old people’s diseases), Shane Victorino (calf owie).
- Our best to the family of John Marzano, who died suddenly overnight at the age of 45. A South Philly boy and former MLB player, he had just moved on from Comcast SportsNet in Philly (who composed a touching tribute for him) to the Baseball Channel on MLB.tv. Everyone that knew him seemed genuinely touched by his energy and passion; it just adds to the regret we won’t all know him better when MLB’s cable channel launches in 2009.
- The Phillies’ offense before Jimmy Rollins’ injury on April 8th: 4.4 runs per game. After: 4.3 runs per game. Don’t let them tell you the 4-6 mark since Rollins’ injury has just been about the offense during the game.
- Chris Snelling, Victorino’s sub and famous Mariner whipping boy, is also one of those crazy obsessed people we like.
- Wind’s blowing hard to left. Pelfrey’s groundball percentage for his career is roughly 50%; Eaton’s is 40%. Apparently, it’s Unannounced Baseball Giveaway Night in left.
- And we’re off! Jose Reyes goes down with a weak flail, Luis Castillo pokes the ball to the pitcher, and Adam Eaton seems angry at the pre-game comments made here. Angry or constipated.
- David Wright walks.
- Joe Morgan points out that Carlos Beltrán isn’t much of a power hitter anymore. Just as he does so, Beltrán grounds out to second and makes us forget about his 33 home runs and 38 doubles last season. How do you do that, Joe?
- Mike Pelfrey wears a mouthguard during the game because of his TMJ, apparently. Considering how he works that sucker, it must be because he grinds his teeth like coffee beans during his starts.
- Pelfrey strikes out Jayson Werth with some ferocity.
- Joe Morgan wants you to know that Pelfrey can explode up or down. As if I didn’t have a big enough crush on him already!
- Ryan Church presses himself against the scoreboard in the right field wall and reels in a high fly ball to right from Greg Dobbs. In the seven seconds it took for the ball to come down, Pelfrey worked through the current mouthguard and took out a backup.
- Chase Utley corrects for the wind and crushes the ball to right-center. Utley understands naval navigation and got his ball to tack left at just the right moment. Home run, Chutley. Phillies 1-0.
- Three straight balls crushed in short order to right. Ryan Howard sends the ball with authority to right for a base hit. Pelfrey continues to throw hard and without any of that pesky movement that might fool hitters.
- Pat Burrell strikes out on the fastball that earned the previous three hitters special commendations.
- Carlos Delgado flies out and the Adam Eaton Revenge Against Tuffy Tour continues.
- The mutual agreement between the Blue Jays and Frank Thomas: “Eat me.”
- Ryan Church grounds out to second, toot sweet.
- Infield hit for the catcher Raul Casanova. Gotta love that.
- Let me explain your shock away, Joe, at the lack of love for Frank Thomas over his career: he was petulant towards the media and his teammates. He also had a built-in excuse for people that wanted to take his honors away: he barely played first even when he was standing out there. Lesson to all you kids out there, as Steve Stone would say: always blow people in power.
- Endy Chavez shows the home run power Joe has assigned to Beltrán, weakly tapping out to first.
- Geoff Jenkins flies out to left and Pelfrey relaxes his jaw muscles.
- Only to tense them back up when
moderately-skilledgame lover Chris Coste crushes a single to right. Pelfrey doesn’t love the game much at the moment.
- Rickey Henderson played in independent leagues because Rickey is only defined by being Rickey. Rickey loves Rickey who plays baseball. No shame in it, but let’s not confuse matters.
- Eric Bruntlett grounds into a double play to end the inning with a Phillies 1-0 lead. If this keeps up, Pelfrey will come out with a 3-0 record and have his questionable performance hidden for one more week.
- Hey, speaking of… there’s Pelfrey at the bat! You know the old saying… the pitcher that gets really lucky at the end of the inning comes up and grounds out to third at the top of the inning.
- STOP GIVING OPINIONS ABOUT BASKETBALL, JOE.
- Reyes flies out and Castillo grounds out. Adam Eaton is staring at us after each out now. We can feel it.
- We also can feel the love from the mid-game Gammons essays, but we wonder if they’re out of place on Sunday Night Baseball. Even the unflappable Jon Miller didn’t know what to do with the Rollins MVP piece when thrown back to him. Nothing worse than being too good for the room, right, Peter?
- Pelfrey walks Eaton. Eaton then breaks up a double play with a hard slide on Reyes. Adam, we’re sorry. Please don’t hurt us.
- Greg Dobbs also hits the ball very hard but gets well under it for a popup to right. We’re not sure that one would associate the Mets’ defense as a pitcher saver, but a little luck certainly is.
- We just remembered the time Adam Eaton got mad at a DVD while trying to open it, broke out a knife, and promptly stabbed himself in the stomach. We’re ready to consider our whole point of view on Adam Eaton.
- Pelfrey walks Utley after his first impressive pitching duel of the night. That can’t help Mike’s confidence.
- And we get to enjoy another in Joe Morgan’s series: “Why Everyone Today Blows Compared to the Olden Days, Especially Compared to Ted Williams“.
- Howard lines out to left, making Joe look brilliant again. That one’s going on your permanent record, Ryan.
- David Wright swings like Ted Williams for a single to right. A pale imitation, but these pitchers today… who couldn’t hit off them? (Joe Morgan said it, Adam! Not us!)
- Beltrán strikes out looking. If he had more power, that wouldn’t have happened.
- Carlos Delgado grounds out to first. Howard gets the out, unassisted. I hope we can get a splitscreen on how Hank Greenberg would have done it better.
- Ryan Church strikes out and Adam Eaton mouths something vulgar and felonious at us on his way to the dugout. We’re off to check our locks. When we get back, Willie Randolph will speak from the dugout, proving he’s actually paying attention during games.
- After that interview, we’re reserving judgment on Randolph’s waking state.
- The Phillies do not want to win. Pat Burrell takes off for second on a long single off the wall and ended up being out by 20 feet. Apparently, Burrell has bunions that make it hard to stand on base.
- Pelfrey has officially been almost battered.
- Jenkins to first on that bit of excitement. Hopefully, Pelfrey’s also wearing a splashguard in his pants.
- Chris Coste avoids hitting into a double play through his swift feet. Heh. He coasted into first. Heh heh.
- Gotta love today. Coast. Heh. Totally.
- Bruntlett singles to center and Adam Eaton, world-devourer, comes to the plate.
- A foul fly by Eaton will put him into a foul mood as the inning ends.
- Joe Morgan has associated pitching success with fondness for certain mounds. Russ Meyer would have won the Cy Young in Joe Morgan’s world.
- Casanova and Chavez ground out, but we can’t notice right now because Joe Morgan thinks discussing clay and pitching mounds may be too technical for the people at home. We believe him.
- Pelfrey strikes out. Apparently, he doesn’t like the batting box much. No more than the pitching mound. Eaton, on the other hand…
- Eaton loves the mound.
- We don’t have a K-Zone™ here, but let us explain to you when Pelfrey’s been more effective and less effective tonight. Less effective: on the mound. More effective: on the bench. We’ll take our check now, thanks.
- Werth singles. Dobbs singles. Now the hitters arrive. If you have a favorite soundtrack for dramatic tension, please drop the needle on it now. We prefer Alien; we expect Ryan Howard to burst through Pelfrey’s rib cage shortly.
- Oh, sorry; it was Chase Utley that wiggled out of Pelfrey’s chest with a three-run homer that nearly flew over the fair pole in right. Remember how that was where the wind was keeping in hits earlier? Chase does not respect your meteorology. Phillies 4-0.
- Howard grounds out to the pitcher. Ryan Church makes a guarded catch into the right field foul ground, protecting himself against the wall and/or Phillies fans. Too late, Mike; we’re not impressed anymore.
- Jon Miller’s son is in Daytona Beach. Can we get him as a special correspondent for Spring Break, Brooks?
- A ground ball bounces 20 feet in the air off first base and Geoff Jenkins, Pelfrey-attacker, takes first on the single.
- Coste coasts into a ground out to third. heh. Coast. It’s like the soap, too. heh heh. Dude.
- Chase Utley loves puppies.
- Leadoff triple by Reyes when Geoff Jenkins does his best imitation of a right fielder and fails. High-five, Jose!
- Luis Castillo immediately singles home Reyes. Don’t anger Adam Eaton, Mets. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. 4-1 Phillies.
- Joe Morgan just tried to tell a dirty joke about little kids inside of grown men, didn’t he? Or was he serious there? It’s so hard to tell anymore.
- Jon Miller is just screwing with Joe Morgan now. “Joie de vivre”? More like Joe de vivre!
- David Wright doubles to left with his carbon copy swing of Ted Williams and a discussion breaks out on the mound. “So… want to stop sucking, Adam?” “growl.”
- A two-run single to center by Beltrán after Morgan wouldn’t shut the hell up about advancing the runner by hitting it to right blah blah. Hey, how about that, Joe? Did that work okay?
- Good night, Adam. Please don’t visit us after the game.
- Chad Durbin’s in. Adam Eaton receives advice from Jamie Moyer. We can’t read lips, but we imagine it went something like “excrement occurs occasionally, son.”
- Pat Burrell got on his toy horse and caught a ball deep into the left field corner for the first out of the inning. Usually, we have to watch football or a zoo fire to see something that large move that fast.
- Beltrán stole second. The first comment from Miller and Morgan: a Maury Wills comparison, followed by another trip down Stuff that Happened Before We Were Born Lane.
- The stolen base pays off almost immediately as Church singles to right, allowing Beltrán to score at full speed. 4-4 tie.
- Durbin walks Casanova. Gotta love that.
- We’ve seen the last of the Mike Pelfrey abuse scandal as Marlon Anderson pinch-hits for him.
- The Marlon Anderson abuse scandal begins as he strikes out to end the inning.
- Dear Nestlé: Your Baby Ruth commercials are not edgy. They’re what people who aren’t edgy think are edgy. Stop. We do NOT want to see these for two more months.
- Jorge Sosa enters. Eric Bruntlett flies out.
- T.J. Bohn enters. One man will leave. (Probably.)
- Definitely. Strike three to the Automatic Out, Bohn. (heh. heh heh.)
- A basket catch by Church ends the inning. Of course, broadcasters are required by law to mention Willie Mays when a basket catch occurs. There is prior art in this case, you know.
- J.C. Romero enters. Do the Phillies have the most initialed players on their roster?
- Jose Reyes steps up and flies out to center, during which we hear about his concussion and how he’s back out there today. Sure, that sounds wise.
- Joe Morgan, PhD.
- Castillo flies out to Howard.
- David Wright walks and steals second. As they say, that one was stolen on Romero.
- Beltrán strikes out in a powerless kinda way. Seventh inning stretch time!
- Also: Legal is not cooler. Don’t listen, kids.
- SPORTS BY BROOKS lawyers have asked me to remind kids that legal is so much cooler than not legal that not legal might as well be wearing tape on its glasses.
- Pedro Feliz crush Pedro Feliciano aquí for a 5-4 Phillies lead.
- A Chutley poke gets us pregnant and puts him on first.
- Ryan Howard strikes out. Pedro the Met, please note that the farm animals have already left the barn. Nice work, though.
- The unintentional intentional walk puts Burrell on first and Chutley on second.
- Jenkins flies out to Chavez, prompting the National League pitching/pinch-hitting tango.
- Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, and Thierry Henry. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just isn’t the same.
- Joe Smith enters the game for the Mets. Apparently, Strat-O-Matic has started naming their AAA pitchers.
- Other housekeeping matters: So Taguchi takes Pat Burrell’s place.
- Chris Coste wrote a book, and Joe and Jon spend 10 minutes in a Bob and Ray routine about another ballplayer that once wrote a book. They must have practiced that, right?
- Coste strikes out, sparing us from more shenanigans in the booth. Let’s have Bob and Ray take us to the eighth…
- Delgado and Church are dusted in short order, but Raul Casanova bounces a ball off So Taguchi’s glove wrist and slides into second with a double. How about those defensive replacements, huh?
- J.C. Romero is in no hurry to pitch. Is he hoping the at-bat will time out?
- Angel Pagan shows why he’s no longer a Cub and pops out to Utley to end the frame.
- Why are we watching an SNL Tina Fey comedy movie commercial during Sunday Night Baseball? May we please see the demos on that decision? Thanks.
- Major League Baseball has an Official Minivitamin. Please keep the liveblog going for us while we run to the store to pick up a case.
- Eric Bruntlett continues to contribute to the game by filling one of the required slots on the field and in the batting order. Grounds out to the pitcher.
- Carlos Ruiz enters, grounds out to shortstop.
- Jayson Werth makes Beltrán work for a ball over his head, but that’s three outs and the Mets have one more chance at survival.
- Brad Lidge enters as the pinstriped beacon of hope for Mets fans.
- Damion Easley still collects a major league paycheck. How about that?
- He walks, setting up the tying run.
- Brad Lidge takes a Reyes slap up the middle out of fielding play with a flail at the ball, interrupting the double play he desperately needed.
- Castillo’s up there bunting away. Apparently, David Wright and Carlos Beltrán both lack power now. Is it contagious?
- If Brad Lidge lived in our neighborhood, we would spend a month’s salary to get all the kids to dress up as Albert Pujols for Halloween.
- Castillo strikes out after a pathetic series of bunt attempts. So much for being a great bunter, eh?
- David Wright pops out to a circling Ryan Howard in foul ground. Will Captain Weakswing come through?
- Wow, Eric Bruntlett. Every Phillie we mocked came through tonight. Bruntlett throws his body at a ball already in center field, comes to his feet on springs, and bounces a throw to first to end the game. Well done, young man. Well done.
The indignity of being swept by the Mets has been defused. A 5-6 record since Rollins’ injury seems rather decent, all things considered. There’s another two weeks to get through, but that will give the Mets time to injure a few more players of their own.
Pelfrey looks woefully unprepared for major league action, but there aren’t a lot of options in Flushing. Also, he may never be more ready than he is now to start. Run him out a few more times and then consider him in a set-up role, perhaps. Oh, and have him practice his ducking exercises if he keeps serving them up so straight.