There’s nothing like a 2:30 a.m. win to renew our faith in the Phillies and give Starbucks a little push. Peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jack, Gortex: despite the ridiculousness of the time and temperature, last night’s win ranks as an all-timer.
Hailed as a night of quiet heroes, the Phillies put the clamps on the Rockies while making the most their own opportunities. Played at a hypothermic pace, their systematic, heads-up and malleable approach would have been good enough to beat any team, under any circumstances. Start with series star Raul Ibanez, who understood the importance of reaching base in a game like this. (And if there was a more overrated concern than Raul’s alleged lack of speed, I’d love to hear it.) Meanwhile, so much for the notion that Chase Utley had depleted his reserves. His body may be bent, but rare is a player this driven. Speaking of driven, there’s purpose behind the swing of Carlos Ruiz these days; Chooch went 2-for-4 and knocked in a pair. The Rockies were also on the receiving end of two runs courtesy of Ryan Howard’s brisk thunderstick.
Ironically, the pitcher many preferred for Game 3, J.A. Happ, didn’t have the feel, while the guy nobody would have touched with a 10-foot pole, Brad Lidge, used a brand-new pitch to save a one-run game, on the road, against the heart of the Rockies’ order. But it’s not as if Charlie Manuel had been saving his best for last. Shattering the old protocals, Manuel reached for Ryan Madson to pitch a high-leverage jam in the seventh. Three outs and three hours later, he put out the fire. That meant Chad Durbin needed to pitch the sharpest inning of his life in the eighth. Good thing he did. Speaking of malleable, that's Joe Blanton. Hand him the ball and he’ll throw it anytime, anyplace. Joe don’t need no earflaps.