The Phillies scored 10 runs on 14 hits last night in a 10-3 win over the Reds. Yes, that is the total from one game and not an entire week. Let's dig deeper: In their previous seven games, the Phillies had scored exactly 10 runs, and they had only one game in their last eight where they had more than six hits. In the 3rd inning alone last night, they had six hits. Five different players – Rollins, Polanco, Howard, Ibanez, and Ruiz had multi-hit games. That's only the second time all season that more than four different players in the order had multi-hit games.
Bronson Arroyo, with his mid-80's fastball, is the kind of pitcher the 2007-2009 Phillies would have hammered. He pitches to contact, is usually around the plate, and doesn't throw hard. I thought they would score some off him last night as well, but the way this lineup has been hitting lately, you just never know.
We don't usually do game recaps, but since it's been a while that we could talk about some offense, let's break down the two key at-bats last night that helped the Phillies hang some crooked numbers.
Polanco got things rolling with a 2-run HR in the 1st inning. But the 3rd inning was where they blew it open. The key sequence in the game was with one out and the bases loaded. The Phils had added a run on a single by Ibanez to make it 3-0. Howard was on 3rd, Ibanez on 2nd, and Chooch on 1st. Dom Brown hit a sinking liner to LF, where Fred Lewis made a diving catch. But for some reason, Howard wasn't standing on the bag, so he could not get back in time to tag up and score. It looked like a mental error would cost them a chance at a run.
John Mayberry Jr., however, came through with a big two-out single, which scored two runs. And then after having the next batter, Cole Hamels, down 1-2 in the count, Arroyo threw him a weak mid-80's fastball and Cole hammered it into RF for another run-scoring hit. I still believe if he had thrown a breaking ball in that situation, Cole would have taken it for strike three. With the score 6-0, Jimmy Rollins capped off the inning with a 3-run bomb to RF to make it 9-0, basically putting the game away. The Mayberry and Hamels at-bats set the stage for the blowout. Otherwise, it's a different game.
On the mound, Hamels was merely 'pretty good' and was able to win a game for a change without needing to be great. He surrendered five hits, three of them to Jay Bruce, including a 3-run HR. But even a 10-run outburst by this offense was overshadowed by the return of Chase Utley. And on this night, the rest of the Phillies lineup made it possible for everyone to enjoy a big win inspite of an 0-for-5 night from Utley. Don't get used to that.