As a youthful
fanatic phanatic, I kept a meticulously-removed copy of a Phillies box score in my wallet, just in case it was needed. On June 11, 1985, the Phillies scored nine runs in the first inning, and seven in the second, en route to a 26-7 thrashing of the New York Mets. Von Hayes hit a pair of home runs, in the first inning, and Juan Samuel had five hits. Charles Hudson got the victory, despite allowing seven runs (six earned) and thirteen hits, over five innings. Somewhere, a currently-youthful phanatic likely has this page saved.
Despite not coming against the rival Mets, the Phils' 22-1 drubbing of the Reds on Monday night, might have been even better. The Phillies sent thirteen men to the plate in the first inning, scoring ten times. Shane Victorino, batting second in the order, scored four times before the Reds' fifth-place hitter batted twice. Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4, Victorino was 4 for 5, and the two combined for nine runs scored. Greg Dobbs, now batting .271 (average on June 1st was .154), was 4 for 6. Jayson Werth had five RBIs, Chase Utley had four RBIs, as did Victorino. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels surrendered only one run (one three hits) in seven innings, while chipping in a pair of hits and RBIs. The Phillies went 21 for 43 in the game, had 11 two-out RBIs, were 10 for 15 with runners in scoring position, and had a 98.7% Win Expectancy after the first inning. By the second inning, the result really wasn't in doubt; all that remained was to sit back, relax, pump in All-Star votes for Shane Victorino, and root for the Phils to score twenty-seven.
In that 1985 game, the Phils had an unsung hero, reliever Dave Rucker. Rucker entered the game in the sixth inning, called on to protect a slim 21-7 lead. Rucker threw three scoreless innings, and even contributed a pair of hits (forty percent of his career hit total). On Monday night, Tyler Walker was brought in to start the eighth inning, with the Phillies clinging to a 16-1 lead. The Phils' WE was 100%, but any kind of lapse by Walker could have reduced that number to only 99.9%. If an ace like the Reds' Johnny Cueto could surrender nine runs in less than an inning, how much damage could a hurler with Walker's level of ability permit? Operating under extreme pressure, and with no margin for error, Walker got the job done. He retired the Reds in order, keeping the WE at 100%. The Phils tacked on six runs in the bottom of the eighth, against the Reds' Eric Bruntlett-equivalent (Paul Janish), and Scott Eyre preserved the twenty-one run lead in the ninth.
The Phillies will try to increase their winning streak to five games on Tuesday, with J.A. Happ (5-0, 2.96 ERA) ready to shut down the Reds. Jimmy Rollins (10 for his last 19) and Shane Victorino (determined to post All-Star caliber stats this week) will lead the offense. The Phils might not score another twenty-two runs, but double digits shouldn't be a problem. No questions asked.