After a tumultuous weekend that started off with the firing of Charlie Manuel, the Philadelphia Phillies had to try to pick up the pieces against the juggernaut Los Angeles Dogers Friday night at Citizen’s Bank Park. This was to be the inaugural outing for rookie major league manager, Ryne Sandberg.
Sandberg, who is no stranger to the pace of major league baseball, had high hopes for his major league managerial start. And why shouldn’t he? He had ace pitcher Cliff Lee on the mound, facing the Dodgers’ ace, Greinke. It looked like a pitching duel for Sandberg’s first night as the Phillies’ skipper.
Cliff Lee ended up striking out 6 and scattering just five hits and walking only 1 over his 8-inning stint. It wasn’t enough though, as Greinke seemed to dominate the Phillies’ bats in his seven inning gem, allowing just 3 Phillies (Darrin Ruff, Code Asche and Michael Young) to register a hit in his outing. Cliff Lee would take the 3-0 loss Friday.
Saturday night, the Phillies would be shut out again – this time facing the other-worldly Clayton Kershaw, whose 1.80 ERA lived up to the hype, as the Phillies’ bats fell almost silent against the young pitcher. Only Wells, Brown and Mayberry Jr. were able to reach base against the left-hander.
Kyle Kendrick didn’t look all that bad. He surrendered just 2 runs on 7 hits over seven innings of work. He struck out just one. It was Kendrick’s tenth loss of the season, bringing him to the 500 mark on the season.
By Saturday evening, the Phills had managed to eke out just 6 hits over 18 innings of play, a trend that would continue until the fourth inning of Sunday’s game.
Sunday Cole Hamels took to the mound, hoping to stop the Phillies slide, and earn rookie manager Ryne Sandberg his first win. Hamels pitched 7 innings – striking out 8, while giving up one home run and 7 hits during his stint on the mound. It looked like the Phils’ bats would be stymied yet again, but Darin Ruff would begin the inning with a pure bomb that seemed like the wake-up call the Phillies’ bats needed!
From that point on, the Phillies would go on to get 7 hits, and tack on another run, keeping the game tied until the bottom of the ninth, when Michael Young came to the plate with the bases juiced.
It’s what every sandlot player dreams about; bases loaded with just one out to go. Young, who’s been filling in at first for the ailing Ryan Howard, smoked a ball to Hanley Ramirez, who bobbled the ball just long enough for Casper Wells to cross the plate and Young to reach first, sealing win number 1 for interim skipper Sandberg.
While a win might be a win, the fact is, that until the fourth inning of Sunday’s game, the Phillies had only managed 6 hits in over 2 games. Perhaps Sunday’s win will spark something, and get the ball rolling for the team as they head into the final month an a half of baseball.
Either way, it was a much-needed win for the Phillies.