October 3, 2012
WASHINGTON - There was a 19-year-old outfielder spraying beer and a 69-year-old manager sipping champagne and a stereo system blasting Kid Cudi as Wolf Blitzer watched with a smile. "It's a little different crowd here," Jayson Werth said later as he walked through an empty clubhouse, weaving through the cans and bottle caps that littered the carpeted floor. Of course, the strangest sight was Werth himself, at least to anybody who watched his rise to prominence a few hours north on I-95.
October 2, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Phillies shook hands on the infield at Nationals Park and could not help but peer into the home dugout. A raucous celebration had commenced. Nine minutes earlier, in the midst of defeat, the Nationals had been crowned National League East champions. "That's the first time I ever won and got beat," Charlie Manuel said. The manager sat in a quiet office still wearing his heavy Phillies jacket. His team won Monday, 2-0, and was formally dethroned by Washington. There was no loud music played in the visiting clubhouse.
September 27, 2012 |
The final insult Wednesday was levied in the ninth inning when a half-empty Citizens Bank Park watched in horror while its $126 million villain celebrated. Jayson Werth slapped a two-run single to center that iced an 8-4 Washington victory over the Phillies. Those who remained had crushed Werth with boos on every pitch. While standing in the on-deck circle, the ex-Phillie did not flip a foul ball to the seats. Bound for postseason play while the Phillies gaze, Werth had the last laugh, complete with a bat flip.
September 26, 2012
JOHN MAYBERRY is hitting at a .300 clip again. Domonic Brown is turning on balls again, hitting ropes that bang off the rightfield wall or over it. If you've been thrilled by the Phillies' second-half rise from their self-made ashes, you have been thrilled, as well, at times, by each man's exploits. With 13 runs batted in over his last 26 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Mayberry is again suggesting he is more than the 28-year-old journeyman he has been to this point.
August 28, 2012 |
When Adam LaRoche's bat met a 91-m.p.h. fastball from Cliff Lee, everyone including the pitcher thought it was a prelude to more inexplicable chaos. Lee cocked his head, lifted his left foot, and knew what was coming. Jayson Werth trotted toward an elated Washington dugout with LaRoche close behind. Once the ball deflected and bounced high into the sky, that was that. "I thought it went into the stands," Lee said Sunday after a 4-1 Phillies win over the Washington Nationals. "I didn't know what was going on. " It had to happen this way. Few bounces have benefited Lee in a cruel season, but this was the sign.
August 3, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - It was Tuesday, and Jayson Werth was still two days away from returning to his first-place Washington Nationals, but the bearded outfielder grinned. He hugged Ryan Howard. He nodded at Carlos Ruiz. He joked with Kyle Kendrick. Lambasted in Philadelphia for taking $126 million from a hapless organization, Werth's team is now the one to beat. The results, a 3-0 Nationals win Thursday being the latest, mean less to the Phillies. The nation's capitol is primed for a pennant race for the first time since 1945.
July 24, 2012
There was a Bad John Mayberry Jr. and a Good John Mayberry Jr. a year ago. Bad JMJ is part of the reason Hunter Pence now works in Philadelphia. Good JMJ is a big part of the reason the Phillies felt they could get by with bench additions like Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton this season even though they knew Ryan Howard's power absence was going to be a prolonged one. Bad JMJ hit .231 with eight extra-base hits in 104 at-bats and was optioned to triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 2 last season.
July 15, 2012 |
It was a late June game at Citizens Bank Park, and play was about to begin in the top of the fourth inning. Down on the field, Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker limbered up in the on-deck circle, while Phillies righthander Joe Blanton took his warmup tosses. Another sellout crowd was in a good mood: the Phillies had a 5-1 lead, and the weather was perfect, with a game-time temperature of 79 degrees. Up in the Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth, game notes and scorebooks were scattered around the microphones on the desk.
July 14, 2012 |
The second half of the season starts Friday night, and the Phillies have lots of ground to make up to get into the playoffs. Here is a look at some of the key series they need to win: At Colorado, July 13-15 The Phillies have 15 games to convince Ruben Amaro Jr. not to sell off some of his players before the July 31 trade deadline. A crucial stretch begins at Coors Field against the worst pitching staff in baseball. The Rockies have a 5.87 ERA at home, which is 1.24 higher than any other National League staff.