Well, the game wasn’t really the story last night, was it?
It’s still difficult for me to determine exactly when, by watching the various videos of the incident, the young man was tasered, but the lead photo at Deadspin makes it clear that it actually happened.
Wonder if a person that would run onto the field at a sporting event is even remotely deterred by the threat of an electric jolt to their body? My guess is no, stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll find out…
Now then, about the game…
How far should replay go?
The umps got it right (actually, the call was right to begin with) in the bottom of the first inning by ruling that Chase Utley’s long fly ball to right was indeed foul, confirming with replay now allowed by MLB rules.
Unfortunately, they got it wrong calling Brendan Ryan out at third base in the top of the fifth. And by calling two strikes on him out of the zone before he hit one in the gap:
And one last note about Ryan’s bogus punch-out at third… I can appreciate Al Hrabosky’s attempts at staying objective and holding his right to criticize the team, in fact, I encourage it. He was dead wrong with his long-winded rebuke of Ryan last night, though, in my opinion. Al went on-and-on about not making the first out at third base and how foolish it was of Ryan to try and stretch to a triple, to excess. Give it up Al, we get that you think it was a bad idea – but replays showed he was safe, so good aggressive play, no?
Joe Blanton doubled twice while bunting
First time was just a great play all around, Yadier Molina with a bit of a wide but strong throw to Ryan at second who stretched to be certain he was on the bag, then a tough throw to Albert Pujols who gobbled it up just before Blanton crossed the bag.
Second one may have been a make-up for blowing the Ryan call at third. The final relay throw to Skip Schumaker covering first base sailed a bit wide, but the umpires ruled that Blanton was out of his running lane, therefore interfering with Schumaker and automatically resulting in Blanton being called out.
We’ll call it evens.
Long night for the umpires
Aside from the above scrapes between umpires and the teams, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was tossed from the game for arguing a wide variety of things with the umps.
It really was one of those games where things just kind of went downhill for the men in blue quickly and they were never able to recover.
I got a good chuckle in the bottom of the seventh inning when Jayson Werth seemed to be giving the home plate umpire a good earful before his at-bat against Kyle McClellan. He was visibly steamed about something (I presume just a night’s worth of frustration over balls and strikes), then stepped into the box and mashed KMac’s first pitch into the left field bullpen. One of those classic “AHHHHHH, I’M ANGRY” moments where you know he’s going to mash one.
Homers off the bullpen
McClellan served his up to Werth to start the seventh, Trever Miller got tagged by Utley opening the bottom of the ninth. I guess if you’re going to get hit hard, do it with a lead and no runners on base, but keep an eye out.
Both KMac and Miller settled down to get their outs and the team still won – but this should be an exception, not a developing rule.
Baserunning still questionable
I admit, I’m approaching this from a “what would PH8 do” viewpoint, but I’m still a bit disappointed in the Cardinals’ baserunning of late.
Specifically, I saw two more instances last night where runners have got to be aware of both the game situation and the likely result of a ball in flight.
To wit, Brendan Ryan went halfway or further from second to third on a Ryan Ludwick scalded line drive deep down the right field line in the top of the third. Granted, Werth has a big arm out there and made a strong throw, but the ball was tailing away from Werth and if Ryan had been tagging all the way, he’d have sailed into third easily – and scored easily if the ball had dropped. No lose situation there by tagging.
In the top of the seventh, Ludwick hit a deep flyball to center that took Shane Victorino back near the track, with his momentum moving away from the infield. Skip Schumaker failed to tag and advance from first, in yet another situation where had the ball dropped, he would’ve been able to motor around at least to third base anyway.
I can’t be the only one noticing these things, so perhaps my baseball strategy is lacking?
David Freese is still unconscious at the plate. He is truly an RBI machine so far, as predicted during the spring by Mark McGwire. How many balls has Freese hit off of the wall now? Little more work in the weight room and this guy is going to be a thirty home run hitter sooner than later. I’d also be fine with fifteen or twenty and bunches more doubles off the wall.
Jaime Garcia showed a little nastiness of his own, a la Chris Carpenter, in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the Phillies having a runner on first base and Utley and Ryan Howard coming up, Garcia found another gear – striking out both hitters with a filthy array of pitches. Jaime has some great out pitches and showed a bit of that Carp “bulldog” tenacity last night. Needless to say, I dig it.
I’m beginning to think McGwire may want to start tinkering with Nick Stavinoha’s swing – you know, think about starting him out with his right knee already on the ground and one hand barely hanging onto the bat? Then sit on the off-speed pitch and hit home runs. Easy.
Next game: Cardinals (Wainwright) at Phillies (Hamels), 05/04/2010 6:05pm