Friday, July 9, 2010

Paying the ransom

Holy Howard, they did it again!

This team is certainly capable of the comeback they pulled off tonight, but who would have expected to see it? The way this season has gone, it's completely unlike the Phillies to suddenly figure out a pitcher who had been dominating them for eight innings.

And while it was Ryan Howard's blast that won it against the Reds in the 10th inning, the thanks really goes to Cody Ransom, who entered the game with just six at-bats this season and seven big league homers in his career. He hadn't gone yard in nearly two years, but he made sure he didn't miss Francisco Cordero's fastball that caught too much of the plate. His blast followed Greg Dobbs' three-run shot that breathed some life into a down-but-not-out offense. Give it up for the bench guys! Praise for them has not been a common occurrence this year.

Though the Phils couldn't finish it in the ninth, you could not have asked for a bigger momentum shift. It was the perfect time for Ryan Madson to make up for his rocky return from the DL on Thursday, and push that ERA back down. The deflated Reds were retired in order in the 10th - two by strikeout. It was a pleasant reminder of the '08 Madson.
It's all but a certainty that the Phillies will go into the break in third place, but these last two wins have to fill them with more confidence than they've felt in several weeks. I recall another team a few years back that won two straight games in walk-off fashion after some horrible defeats, and they went on to pull off the biggest postseason upset in baseball history before going on to win the World Series. This obviously isn't the same situation of the 2004 Red Sox, but this would not be bad time at all to turn the ship around.

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