Morning Wood: They Like It Ruph

“That’s my plate. I ain’t letting him get to it.”

And with those words, Cameron Rupp, who died blocking home plate to preserve an EXCITING 4-3 victory for the Fightin’ Phils last night, stamped an identity on a team that is slowly introducing itself to fans disenfranchised by the final three years of the Amaro era. Baseball is fun again.

Let’s Wood!

The ‘cap

 

The play

I was not confident at all going into the throw, mostly given the fact that Tyler Goddel resembles me on a diet. Maybe it’s because I’m conditioned, thanks to three years of baseball bastardization, to think that his throw lands somewhere around third base and skitters toward the visitors’ on-deck circle as the tying run scores easily. But let’s credit Goeddel for being part of yet another game-winning play – for the second night in a row – earning himself yet another meeting with Mr. Murphy. That was a perfect strike to Rupp, in the air but mostly on a line. I mean, sure, it was essentially a Samantha Bradford death pass to Jordan Mathews, but Rupp is a man. He can take it. I think. You OK, Cameron?

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What’s that, you are not? OK. Moving on.

 

Way to hang on

Rupp

 

Broadcast

Here’s the play and all of the calls. As I said in the earlier post, all are great, but I absolutely love how Spanish-language broadcaster Bill Kulik got so excited he temporarily starting speaking English– “Out at home plate… out at la homa!”

But let’s talk about T-Mac. He nailed the call. His typically extreme level of excitement was actually warranted here. In fact, I thought the broadcast overall last night was excellent. Mike Schmidt and Ben Davis are a much better entree than Schmidt and Matt Stairs. I like Stairs, but he doesn’t blend with Schmidt. They’re two kind of old guys whose conceits are that they’re not really polished or even fully prepared but KNOW THE GAME. Listening to Schmidt and Stairs is like having a whole plate of mashed potatoes and nothing else– it’s just too thick and missing a vegetable. Davis can be a celery stalk – albeit a handsome, Malvern Prep educated one (the best kind) – but Schmidt seems to like him, even when they disagree, and that allows T-Mac to serve as a nice bed of rice (Gregg Murphy, I can only assume, is a Killian’s Irish Red to wash it all down).

One particular conversation, where they discussed the merits of Cesar Hernandez running with no outs – and being thrown out – with the middle of order coming up, yielded particularly philosophical insights… and Schmidt somewhat self-aggrandizingly pointing out that for him a runner on first was already in scoring position. Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard followed with doubles, which obviously would’ve scored Hernandez. Schmidt, somewhat impressively, stopped himself from dropping an “I told you so” on viewers. This is the exact spot where Chris Wheeler would’ve done it.

And so, here’s an exchange that I never thought would take place:

What’s this– a detente? Not quite. I still can’t handle T-Mac’s baseline sunshine level for three-straight hours, but I’m open to peace talks. I thoroughly enjoyed all facets of the broadcast last night. It might be the first time I’ve enjoyed listening to Schmidt since his number retirement ceremony.

 

Odubel

Odubel

I feel like me nitpicking Odubel Herrera is going become a recurring theme, but keep in mind that these are merely constructive criticisms of a player who could become great.

His decision to dive on a Brandon Phillips liner with no outs and a 3-1 lead in the seventh was questionable. Phillips, because he is a lazy, nonchalant sack of shit – seemingly like most of the Reds roster – was barely running out of the box and was held to a single… but it should’ve been a double. Just a little Odubel thing there. Of course, it’s hard to complain about a guy who had two RBIs, including a home run.

 

Home run replay

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Just a great camera angle here as Odubel’s ball squeaked over the fence.

 

The seventh

Aaron Nola was just phenomenal in getting out of a jam brought on by a Cameron Rupp throwing error (on what looked like a foul ball) that Freddy Galvis lazily swiped at. Nola struck out the side, and he essentially recorded four outs. To simply talk about how impressive his composure was to strike out the final two batters with runners on second and third would be doing him a disservice.

 

Even better

An inning earlier, Nola just straight-up embarrassed Joey Votto, who… jeez, I don’t know what happened to that guy. The at-bat elicited comments like “I’m not sure what he’s doing,” “He’s swimming in his own head right now,” “I think he likes hitting with two strikes,” from T-Mac, Davis and Schmidt, respectively:

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Finding ways to win

From Phillies.com:

The Phillies beat the Reds Friday night in part because of a safety squeeze by pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. They won again Saturday night partly because Nola didn’t get a bunt down with a runner on first and nobody out and the score tied in the fifth. Instead he walked and the Phillies went on score two runs and take a lead they never relinquished.

“The big at-bat of the night was Nola’s walk,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “Then Bourjos laid down a nice bunt. That was huge.”

Fun. Again.

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