Shane the Hero

The series with the Reds had went from exhilarating to frustrating following the 22-1 romp on Monday. They managed only three runs last night despite having plenty of opportunities against Reds starter Aaron Harang, including a bases loaded, no out situation that was vaporized.

Last season, after the Phillies opened up the series in St. Louis with a 20-2 win, the Phillies managed just eight runs in the next two games, both losses. The same appeared to be happening with this series.

They brought a 3-3 tie into the ninth inning last night, but Brad Lidge did what he’s done best this year: he blew it, allowing the Reds to take the lead with an RBI single by catcher Ramon Hernandez on a slider that hung right over the plate. Tonight, the Phils brought a 2-2 tie into the ninth inning and did not surrender the lead as Lidge did not pitch.

Pedro Feliz led off the bottom of the ninth with a line drive single to left field off of David Weathers. Paul Bako and Eric Bruntlett, the Phillies’ weakest hitters yet somehow found five plate appearances between the two of them, made outs one and two in the inning, intimating that yet another game would go into extra innings (11 of their 81 games already have).

Jimmy Rollins worked a walk to put runners at first and second with two outs, bringing up NL All-Star Final Vote candidate Shane Victorino. Shane had been on a roll in July with a 1.132 OPS. That continued tonight as he blooped a single into shallow left field and Feliz crossed home plate ahead of the throw from left fielder Laynce Nix.

Victorino is locked in a tight race for the 33rd and final All-Star roster spot with San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, currently the leader. Shane’s been padding his resume, though, with the walk-off tonight and the 4-for-5 performance in the 22-1 rout on Monday.

Reward Shane for his recent success and cast as many votes for him as you can. Go to the Phillies website and click on one of the many links to the “voting booth” (a.k.a. a pop-up screen). You can vote as often as you’d like so cast about a thousand votes before you keel over and pass out.

Mets Not Top 5

It has been depressing watching the Phillies since mid-June, but imagine being a Mets fan right now. Despite how poorly the Phillies have played over the last month, the Mets still found themselves 4.5 games out going into tonight’s games.

Let’s take a moment to sit down, look at some shining Mets moments of the 2009 season, and laugh.

(Embedding isn’t working, so click here to watch the video)

BDD: Progressive Tweaks

At Baseball Daily Digest, I defend umpires from some recent criticism and also suggest some small but progressive tweaks that can be made to enhance the system.

[…] we remember all of the bad calls umpires make, particularly against teams we root for. As an example, I still remember a Braves-Phillies game many years ago in which Rafael Furcal hit a home run down the left field line that was wrongfully ruled fair. I can’t tell you who won the game, who pitched, who hit home runs (besides Furcal), or the final score, but I know that Furcal hit that pseudo-home run.

Umpires generally do a fantastic job and replacing them with a computerized system likely won’t improve the accuracy of the calls by any significant measure. Instead, it will likely end up costing a whole lot more money and causing too many headaches for the venture to be worthwhile. That’s not to say that I don’t take issue with umpires at all, but any changes that should be made are small in nature.