If I could turn back time, I’d make myself a cup of coffee around 11:45 p.m.
On the night the Phillies announced Jim Thome will undergo season-ending elbow surgery, rookie slugger Ryan Howard decided that a ninth-inning, bases loaded opportunity would be the perfect time to turn bad news into a footnote, and turn himself in a hero.
The 25-year-old crushed a game-winning grand slam off Yhency Brazoban, leading the Phils to a 9-5 win against the Dodgers. It’s his second game-winning blast off Brazoban this season, as the Phils continue to rip the Dodgers’ bullpen.
There’s deep meaning to last night’s heroics, in addition to the news about Thome.* The list of season-ending injuries now includes the highest-paid player (Thome) and starting pitcher (Randy Wolf). I’m not sure what it means, but the Phils are getting by fine without them.
Also on the injury front, top pitching prospect Cole Hamels will likely miss the remainder of the season with a bad back.
This comes as no surprise at all. In fact, the only surprise left, when it comes to Hamels, would be a healthy season – or even half a season.
Not that Hamels can be counted on as a realistic part of the Phils future. Not anymore. Insomniacs saw the true future meet the present last night.
Howard is so hot in fact, they need to sit him tonight against left-hander Odalis Perez.
Seriously. Sit him down. Keep him hot. Don’t hang an 0-fer on this.
I liked everything I saw last night at the plate. Derek Lowe didn’t have it, and the Phils pounced. My favorite hit was Burrell’s rip to left, doubling on Lowe’s first pitch. A week ago, Burrell wouldn’t have moved. Overall, the team came ready to hit, and clearly built on the momentum created the night before.
But I'd give anything to see Howard light it up live in the ninth. The big man is here to stay.
Like I said, there’s deep meaning to everything that transpired yesterday, and it goes all the way to the top with Ed Wade. I’ll get to that later.
Wild card: 1.5 back.
Division: 6 back, second place.
*Thome will have season-ending elbow surgery.