Share Your Favorite Moments of 2009

With the 2009 season in the books, there’s nothing left to do — for a little while — except look back and reflect. I’d like to share my favorite Phillies moment of 2009 and then I’ll open up the dialogue for anyone else who wants to chime in.

On April 27, 2009, the Phillies welcomed in the Washington Nationals for the first game of a three-game series. The Nats to that point were 4-13, so it should have been an easy victory, being WFC’s and all. However, someone must have notified the Nationals that it was Home Run Derby and not an actual game, as they would hit five home runs in the game: three off of starter Joe Blanton and two off of reliever Scott Eyre.

Heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies had only managed two runs off of a very hittable pitcher in Shairon Martis. Reliever Jack Taschner led off the inning and made an out, but saw six pitches from Martis, setting up the rest of the inning. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Chase Utley each would hit singles to load up the bases for Ryan Howard.

Howard quickly fell behind in the count 0-2, but on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Howard decided to tie the game in one swing. He smoked a grand slam to center field, accounting for one of his 45 home runs and four of his 141 RBI on the season.

The score was knotted at six apiece, but that was not the end of the offense. Neither bullpen did its job at limiting damage, as six of the ten total relievers used in the game would allow at least one run inherited or otherwise. Going into the seventh inning, the score was tied at 7-7 and Charlie Manuel elected to bring in Scott Eyre to pitch to the Nationals’ dangerous left-handed hitters in Nick Johnson and Adam Dunn. Eyre faced five hitters and retired none of them, allowing three walks and two home runs (to Johnson and Dunn).

That Phillies offense would roar back. Garrett Mock was sent in to hold the 11-7 lead for the Nationals in the eighth inning, but he quickly sent two runs back the Phillies’ way on two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly. With two outs, then-closer Joel Hanrahan was sent in to stop the bleeding. Instead, he created a gash.

His first offering to Ryan Howard was a ball in the dirt that allowed Chase Utley, who had hit an RBI single, to advance to second base. Hanrahan couldn’t find the strike zone after evening the count at 1-1, so the Phillies had runners on first and second for Jayson Werth. Again, Hanrahan couldn’t buy a strike, falling behind 3-0 and walking Werth on five pitches to load the bases.

That brought in the new guy, Pat Burrell’s replacement, Raul Ibanez. He had already made an impact in his first four weeks in Philadelphia, hitting five home runs and driving in 12 runs in his first 17 games.

At that point in the game, down 11-9 with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies were just hoping for a base hit. Despite Hanrahan’s lack of control, Ibanez stepped to the plate looking to swing, likely thinking that the struggling closer would want to get ahead in the count. He was right — he got a belt-high inside fastball that he quickly turned on and sent down the line into the seats in right field for a grand slam, the Phillies’ second of the game.

J.A. Happ got the win, pitching a scoreless eighth inning, and Ryan Madson got the save, pitching a perfect ninth. Aside from that, it was an ugly game for pitchers. The two teams’ staffs combined to allow 26 hits, 16 walks, and 24 earned runs in 17 combined innings (12.71 ERA, 2.47 WHIP).

The Ibanez grand slam was one of my favorite moments of 2009. What were yours?

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12 comments

  1. MVNAlex

    November 05, 2009 07:48 AM

    Lots of great games and memories. Still remember sitting here stunned and amazed as the Phillies hit bomb after bomb for a 10 run 1st against the Reds and ended up putting a 22 spot on them. Oh and Cole Hamels had a good start ;)

  2. EastFallowfield

    November 05, 2009 08:19 AM

    Rollins vs Broxton, NLCS.

  3. b_dub

    November 05, 2009 11:20 AM

    July 11th, 4 down versus the Pirates, and Stairs leads off with HR. Rollins walks, Utley singles, and then Howard smashes a bomb to left center in our section to tie the game. Bako wins it with a game winning single and the stadium erupts. I’ll never forget that game.

  4. Jake

    November 05, 2009 02:57 PM

    Beating the Nats the day that HK died will always be number one, but the game that the phills came back from 7 down in the ninth is 1a

  5. Brooks715

    November 05, 2009 03:30 PM

    The inning that we went silent for Harry. The ultimate sign of respect for someone who truly meant so much to so many.

  6. Rob A from BBD

    November 05, 2009 04:22 PM

    My favorite moment was when Manuel announced that he was not starting Cliff Lee during game 4. Followed by the moment he announced that Pedro was starting game 2.

  7. Pete

    November 05, 2009 10:52 PM

    My favorite moment was Game 5 of the World Series when Lidge struck out Hinske to win it…oh wait, that was last season. That’s right, losing the World Series means the season was meaningless. At least I hope that’s the mentality the Phillies players take. Please, let’s stay hungry and keep thinking like winners rather than sinking back into the losing mentality. When this team can no longer win Championships, that’s when it’ll be time to recall fondly our best moments.

  8. Eric

    November 06, 2009 12:31 AM

    Bottom of the 9th, game 4, NLCS. 2 outs. Highlight of the season.

  9. PD

    November 06, 2009 11:37 AM

    bruntlett triple play…at least it was the best game i went to

  10. Ray

    November 07, 2009 12:36 AM

    when rollins shoved it up broxtons fat ass

  11. Jeff

    November 09, 2009 01:23 PM

    1. Harry Kalas tribute.

    2. Bruntlett triple play. Bonus points for Mucking the Fets.

    3. Rollins vs. Broxton.

    4. The Cliff Lee trade. Showed we can win now AND win later.

  12. Matt

    November 09, 2009 02:21 PM

    b-dub, i was at that game, that was my favorite game this year since that game had been going so horribly for me and my buddy. the pinnacle of badness was when someone yakked right next to us. however i think this was the same game when for some reason the fans got really excited because Tony Orlando was randomly at the game, and the game was a blowout so they started chanting Tony’s name. utterly bizarre. Of course that 9th inning makes it all the memorable, but all that stuff combined means i will never forget this game.

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