Well, I was going to two of the three games in Philadelphia, and as it turns out, the Rangers lost both of them. But again, as I also like the Phillies it wasn’t that bad for me personally. :)
Before the game though I met a friend of mine who I’ve known for about a decade or so. He works for Channel 17 in Philly, and as such he had access to the Diamond Club in the park. A comparable thing in Rangers Ballpark is the Cuervo Club, except the one in Philly is much larger. It’s structured like a true sit down restaurant. The Cuervo Club in our park is more like a bar with a bunch of bar area seating. The Philly one also overlooks the indoor batting cages too, so if you’re in there at the right time, you can see players take batting practice. We hung out there for about 30-40 minutes before the game started, and had a great time chatting. His fiance took the picture of us that’s here. Enjoyed that a lot. Had my brother and I not loaded up on our traditional trip fare (Chinese Buffet) beforehand, I probably would have had something to eat down there. :)
When that was over, I headed upstairs to the seats where my brother was. We were in exactly the same seats as the night before, so that was kind of cool. There was rain again this game, but it didn’t stop anything, as it all happened during the pregame when I was down in the Diamond Club sipping a lemonade. :)
This was a game of two former teammates in the World Series last year going against each other. The local Philly press had quotes and whatnot from Lee saying it wasn’t a big deal going against the Rangers, but that he’d be lying if there wasn’t a little “something” in his feelings for the start.
Cliff Lee was pretty masterful, as you’d expect. Eight innings pitched, just five hits and two walks. Struck out ten. Even at just two, it’s a bit more walks then you’d expect from Cliff Lee. But nobody scored, which was the bottom line. It also was only his third win of the season, which is a big surprise. But that’s more a case of the Phillies offense being lackluster this season (and most of last, too). As much as not having Cliff Lee in Texas in 2011 isn’t great, I think we’re probably better off in the long run. However, this is still the short run, and as such, he’s painful to watch when he pitches against you. Hopefully this is the last time we see him against Texas unless it’s the World Series, which would mean the explosion of my head due to a Philly/Texas World Series matchup.
Anyway, Lee looked really good, and really deserved the 2-0 win he got. Ryan Madsen who has developed into the Philly closer since the injuries to Brad Lidge & Jose Contreras was pretty darned good, too. He allowed just one hit in his scoreless inning of work, and dropped his ERA to 0.47. Got his ninth save of the season, which is a great stat when you consider it was only about Game 45 or so of the season for the Phils, and he didn’t start the year as the closer. Lot of talk up there that Madsen doesn’t relinquish the role when the other guys come back.
On the flip side was Colby Lewis. Colby was pretty good for the Rangers too. He wasn’t as dominating as Lee was, but his line was nothing to sneeze at. He pitched well enough for a win, too. 6.2 innings pitched, seven hits, two walks, and six punchouts. He allowed two runs though – one came on a home run shot by Ryan Howard in the second inning, which was his first home run in bloody ages. I managed to get him swinging on the home run shot, that picture is shown here. Came out good, too.
The second run the Phillies got came in the sixth, and was pretty much 100% the fault of Colby Lewis. He walked two in the inning (Ibanez & Ruiz), and then John Mayberry Jr (former Ranger prospect) singled to put the Phillies up 2-0. On the same play, Carlos Ruiz was thrown out at third, so the inning ended there, but the run counted.
That was pretty much it for the offense. On the Rangers side, we had just six hits, all of them singles. And half of them came from Michael Young alone, who was pretty hot in this series overall. Andrus, Kinsler, & Napoli each had singles, but that was it, aside from the two walks to Andrus & Napoli. The Phillies offense was driven by the guys you’d expect mostly. Rollins, Polanco, & Howard each had two hits. Everything was a single execept for the aforementioned Ryan Howard home run. Mayberry and Cliff Lee also had hits. Yeah, Cliff Lee.
What else is amusing is that Cliff Lee had a stolen base. I personally would have ruled it defensive indifference as there was ZERO attempt by the Rangers to stop him. But when it was happening in the stadium, Lee got a lot of cheers and hollering. It did seem funny to see the pitcher trying to steal second base. And getting away with it.
That was pretty much it. It was a fun game. Got to meet a friend of mine I’d never met face to face, and got to hang out with my brother for another game. Rangers lost 2-0, but my hometown team won, so it was good for me all around. :)
Game three of the series was a different kind of viewing experience.