The greatest Phillies moment in 2009 would have to be when the WFCs received their World Series rings. The second greatest moment of the season occurred in the third inning of Thursday night's game in Atlanta. With one out, and northpaw Javier Vazquez on the mound, Jimmy Rollins grounded a single into right field. Rollins' hitless streak had been snapped, after twenty-eight fruitless at bats. The game was stopped, as the bat, ball, and first-base bag were removed from play. The historic artifacts are en route to Cooperstown, for future generations to enjoy. The crowd of over 38,000 rose to cheer the shortstop/Red Bull spokesman, as even Kotchman's Crotchmen realized the significance of the moment.
The Phillies seemed energized by the momentous event, and recovered from an early deficit, to tie the score at two. The Phils finished with eight hits on the night, quadrupling their output in a single day. Stopper J.A. Happ got in on the offensive explosion, blasting his first MLB hit, a fifth-inning single. Happ continued to excel on the mound, surrendering only two runs over seven innings. Happ's ERA fell to 2.96, in the one-hundred and four pitch, seven hit, effort. The young southpaw has pitched like a #2 starter over the past month, in fronting a rotation performing like #7 starters. When Happ left the game, the Phillies were tied 2-2, had a Win Probability of 50%, and were primed to extend their winning streak to one game.
Former interim closer Ryan Madson entered the game in the bottom of the eighth. Four batters later, the Phils trailed, 5-2. It was the second three-run implosion for Madson, in his last five appearances. The Phillies went down meekly in the top of the ninth. Adding insult to injury, Paul Bako was used as a pinch-hitter, popping out in what will, hopefully, be his last appearance as a Phillie. The sweep at the hands of the Braves dropped the Phillies into a first place tie, with Florida.
The Phillies host the Mets Friday, in the opener of a crucial three-game series. The Mets have the misfortune of having to face newly-promoted northpaw Rodrigo Lopez. With Jimmy Rollins heating up, and the Lopez-Madson-Brad Lidge trio armed and at-the-ready, the Phillies won't be in a first place tie for long. (They will soon be ahead of the other NL East teams, if that wasn't clear.)