Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Mourning: The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies - It Wasn't Supposed to be This Way

I was in Manhattan at a friend’s apartment Friday night, October 7th. The Phillies were playing in their first decisive playoff game in my lifetime. They were playing at home. They had the best pitcher in baseball on the mound. We all know how it ended. I sat on the couch in silence staring at nothing for at least a half hour. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I shook it off eventually and continued with my weekend, but I knew the inner turmoil/anguish/depression and most of all an insane amount of disappointment, had yet to set in for real. It finally came when I was driving to my night class early Monday evening. I was listening to the end of the Mike Missanelli show on ESPN radio, which runs right into “Talking Baseball with Dutch.” The Eagles had lost their 4th straight game the day before, and each mounting loss seems to be more pathetic than the last, but that is not what was on the mind of the sports radio scene. The mighty 102-60 Philadelphia Phillies were on everybody’s mind. In four short games (the first one was pretty good) the Phillies offense went kaput, and so did all the hopes and dreams of the seemingly endless legion of red-wearing Phillies fans.

As I cruised down City Ave I felt serious pain for Dutch, Darren Daulton, the former Phillies catcher and heart of the 1993 NL Champion Phillies. It was Monday night, and the second game of the NLCS was being played, but the Phillies were not there. This entire season was a crescendo to the playoffs, and before we even knew what hit us, the dream was snatched away like the Lindbergh baby. The whole (Phillies) nation is in mourning. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Instead of talking about how Cole Hamels was going to dominate a Brewers lineup with his changeup, Dutch had to talk about how the offense resembled a dead fish (and even that is putting it lightly) and every single person on the team (except Cole Hamels and Doc) coming up small. How.. could this have happened? I have had my trepidations about the Phillies offense for some time now, but when we picked up Hunter Pence in late July and finally got the entire offense back on the field for the end of the season I thought we would be fine, just fine. Man! Was I was wrong.

There are a litany of observations and questions I have about this series. I just need to get some things off my chest about how I feel about this debacle/collapse/performance.

I am not sure where everybody else stands on this, and I know the entire offense is the main goat of this series, but Cliff Lee f__ked up. He f__ked up bad. There we were in game two up 4-0 after two innings; Ryan Howard was clicking and so was the offense, to the tune of 15 runs in 11 innings. Howard had accounted for 8 of them with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored. I was at this game. The crowd was going wild in the first inning and the Phillies had every ounce of momentum in this series. Lee had basically been unhittable since July and the Phils were ready to rip Albert Pujols’ heart out of his chest, but it was not to be. You have to give the Cardinals and (I hate to say it) their manager Tony La Russa a serious amount of credit for clawing their way back for a game 2 win. In the top of the 4th inning, an inning in which La Russa pinch-hit for his starter, the Cardinals turned it into a game with 3 runs, 1 with 2 outs. No big deal I thought, the Phils will score more and Cliff will shut the door from here. Logic would have you think that the Phillies would win this game with the Cardinals needing 18 outs from their bullpen and Cliff Lee being Cliff Lee. Some how the offense took a nose-dive and managed to get two men on base in the next 6 innings, which was a serious foreshadowing of things to come. Lee continued to struggle and gave up the tying run in the 6th and the go-ahead run in the 7th. That was all she wrote for game 2. Brutal, absolutely brutal, the Phillies lost a game they led by 4 runs with a man on the mound that had not allowed more than 2 runs in his previous 10 starts, and in 5 of those 10 he did not allow a single run. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

How much pain was Placido Polanco playing in? We could talk about the other guys who straight up choked in this series (Ruiz, Ibanez, Pence) but think about Polanco here for a minute. Polly is a career .301 hitter. He hit .105 in the series and hasn’t driven a ball past an outfielder’s head since before Labor Day it seems. Apparently he was playing with a double (a double!) sports hernia. Has anybody ever had a hernia? Good God, they are painful, doubly painful in this case. Polanco is a gamer, I will give him that, but could Mike Martinez or Wilson Valdez have provided some sort of spark for this team? Polanco had two hits in the series. There was not much to lose by starting somebody else at third base in game 5. Just saying.

How hurt was Ryan Howard? After hitting one of the most impressive and important home runs of his career in game 1, and stroking a bases loaded single in the first inning of game 2, Ryan Howard forgot how to hit a baseball. How clueless is this guy against left-handed pitching? So clueless that Hunter Pence was intentionally walked in game 3 to get to Howard with men on first and second. So clueless that he (seemingly) likes to swing at balls and look at strikes. So clueless that my dad is constantly in my ear that Howard should be in a platoon for left-handed starters (he is due to make $125 million the next 5 years). So clueless you could switch him with this guy, and he would fit right in this movie. Having said all that, he had to have been playing in some serious pain right? For the second season in a row Ryan Howard was up with 2 outs and the season on the line. For the second season in a row, he did not come through. He hit a routine groundball into the shift and SNAPPED his Achilles tendon. What was up with his foot/heel/ankle problems over the last month of the season? I don’t think your Achilles tendon can just snap on a whim. He was playing baseball when he probably should not have been, and it is going to cost him the beginning of next season most likely. I cannot fault Ryan Howard for going Oh Ferrr his last however many at bats in this series. He had two of the three biggest hits in it, and that is a whole lot more than you can say for the rest of the position players.

How pathetic is the Phillies approach at the plate? Announcers, pundits, writers, and people who know the nuances of this game must sit there and shake their heads at the at-bats the Phillies offense puts together. There is obviously no strategy being employed with this offense, and I am not sure if it is lack of direction from the coaching staff, or a lack of discipline from the hitters, but I could have used a few Jayson Werth 13-pitch at bats in this series. For years and years Jimmy Rollins has been a professional about popping up foul during the second pitch of an at-bat. It is hard to say anything bad about Jimmy in this series, he had 9 hits (none in game 5), but why does he continue to not work counts? I am little tired of defending him by saying, “That’s just the way he is.” Obviously the approach the team had was not working so it would have been worth trying to work some counts for a change. Cardinals pitchers were virtually never threatened after the second inning of game 2. The Phils threw up 1-2-3 inning after 1-2-3 inning. In the final 34 innings of the series, the Phils went in order 19 times. 19 times!! You don’t need a calculator to know that Cardinals pitchers didn’t break a sweat during an inning more than 50% of the time. Not only did they go in order a lot, but it just seemed like at bats were over before they started. Cards pitchers got ahead early and the at bats rarely would go longer than 3 pitches. A lot of baseball is making the opposing team’s starter work hard to earn his outs, so that he will wear down and you can score runs because he cannot possibly stay sharp while constantly battling the hitters. I saw way too many innings pass where the pitcher threw less than 10 pitches. Pathetic!

On the flip side of this scenario, the Cardinals hitters were up to the task. The Cardinals were faced with a much more daunting task offensively than the Phillies but they took the Phils best punch and are still standing. They started the series with Lance Berkman crushing a 3 run home run in the first inning off Roy Halladay. This was the first 3 run home run Halladay had given up since 2008. You kiddin me? Regardless of the outcome of that game, the Cardinals could walk away from that game knowing they got to Roy Halladay. Serious confidence boost. One thing that stood out to me was the Cardinals hitters’ ability to continuously foul off 2 strike pitches. Halladay, Lee, and Hamels all know how to put hitters away. If not for Hamels missing a few starts, all three would have had 200 strikeouts this year. They may have eventually gotten their strikeouts, but the Cards hitters made them work by constantly fouling off two strike pitches. The Phillies, on the other hand, did not seem to know how 2 strike foul balls work. They give you another chance for the pitcher to make a mistake. If you keep giving yourself the opportunity to come through, chances are you will be able to. I can’t come up with a word that will clearly describe my thoughts on this matter. It is a combination of words that emit emotion: Pathetic. Sad. Maddening. Frustrating. Insane. Gross. Awful. Yikes. Put those all together, close your eyes, and put your head down in shame. After being the better team in every series they played all year, the Phils were not the best team in this series.

What does this terrible outcome mean to a passionate fan? The bottom line about sports is that they do not really matter. If your job sucked on Friday when you left, then your job probably will still suck when you get in on Monday (and vice versa). The difference is when the Phillies win a game, or a postseason series, your job, or your girlfriend/boyfriend trouble, or your daddy issues, or your relationship with your sister, or your credit card debt, or your school loans, just do not seem like as much of a burden, or less of a burden anyway. There is no tangible effect that the Phillies have on your life per se. What they do have is the ability to make you forget about all the bullshit in your life and concentrate on something that you care about that makes you happy. The load you are carrying around in your head seems a little bit lighter when Cliff Lee is on the mound. You expect good things to happen when Cole Hamels comes out in the first inning and makes hitters look foolish flailing away at his changeup. Your heart skips a beat when you see the ball rocket out of your television screen as Ryan Howard drops his bat, dips his shoulder, and admires a moon-shot home run. You are happy for a 3 hour-distraction that can make everybody else around you feel good too. You were happy looking forward to meaningful baseball games. You always want something good to look forward to; it makes life worth living. Of course, all of the opposite is true for this when they lose. The insane amount of build up and expectation for this postseason was not like anything we as fans have experienced with a baseball team (see the Eagles from 2002-2004 for a Philadelphia team to have this kind of experience). So we got up and went to work on Monday morning. When I go over the events in my life of the past few days and my mind lands on the Phils, wow, it just makes my heart sink. So, as much as I can I just try to not think about this carbuncle. It took me 5 days to even have the gumption to start writing this piece. It hurts, not physically, but in every possible way mentally.

I feel the same way Bill does at the end of this scene.

I just keep thinking to myself. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Game 3 2011 NLDS Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

4:23 PM EST: Hello and welcome to my running diary for the pivotal game three of the National League Division Series. Cole Hamels will be starting for the Phillies, while Jamie Garcia, pronounced Himey (this is how he will be referred to for the rest of the day), will take the mound for the Cardinals. The series is tied at 1 game a piece entering tonight's matchup that will start at 5:07 PM EST.

Check back soon for more insight before the game!

4:36 PM EST: I was at the game Sunday night. It was my birthday. Cliff Lee gave me the equivalent of Santa getting you coal. 4-0 in the first inning with Cliff on the hill and the Phillies lose? If you had gamecast up at the time I'll bet it gave the Phillies a 93% chance of winning, and that does not even factor in who is pitching the damn game.

If you are like me then you did your best to avoid sportscenter and any articles relating to the Phillies over the last two days. I did check out baseball writer Jayson Stark's article previewing today's game though. Everybody seems to be scared shitless of Himey shutting down the erratic Phils offense considering he has a 1.20 ERA in 30 career innings against the Phils. I have to say it is not the best stat to see before the game.

I feel like Owen Wilson's character in Armageddon right before the spaceship takes off.

"I'm really excited right now, well 98 % excited and 2 % scared, or 98 % scared and 2 % excited, but that's what makes it so exciting!!"

4:44 PM EST: Text from my buddy Jaindl: Tickets for tonight's game on stubhub for $19. Good job Cards fans! There's probably a higher cover at McFaddens at CBP than that..

4:53 PM EST: As expected. John Mayberry will be starting today in left field. That is the only lineup change for the Phils and he takes the same spot in the order as Raul Ibanez.

1. J. Rollins, SS
2. C. Utley, 2B
3. H. Pence, RF
4. R. Howard, 1B
5. S. Victorino, CF
6. J. Mayberry Jr., LF
7. P. Polanco, 3B
8. C. Ruiz, C
9. C. Hamels, P

1. R. Furcal, SS
2. A. Craig, LF
3. A. Pujols, 1B
4. L. Berkman, RF
5. D. Freese, 3B
6. Y. Molina, C
7. R. Theriot, 2B
8. J. Jay, CF
9. J. Garcia, P

5:08 PM EST: Jimmy Rollins does a solid job of working the count and pops out foul on 2 pitches. Chase stepping to the plate.. Jimmy has had a great series so far, but feel like he just does not understand baseball situations way too often. Chase grounds out meekly to Pujols at first..

5:10 PM EST: I really wanted to see Ryan Howard bat in the first inning because that guarantees that a man is on base, but Hunter Pence lined out sharply to shortstop on the first pitch. I can't fault Pence for first pitch swinging because he does it more than anybody else in the league it seems, but I am horrified at the lack of working counts. It is like they look at the Yankees approach and insist it does not work? 6 pitches for Garcia in the first. Gimme a break!

5:14 PM EST: Hamels gets the first out on the second pitch of the game. This game is a 4:07 start in St. Louis and the shadows are creeping around between the mound and home plate. It could prove to be very difficult for hitters in the early going. At least that's what they always say..

5:19 PM EST: Pujols doubles in the gap on a 2-2 pitch that was down and away. He hit the ball a good 320 feet with one hand. He is a man amongst men. The camera angle we are experiencing on tv is different than usual. It is from straight away center field rather than just a little off center. It is an interesting perspective. Hamels clips Berkman with a cutter on the foot. 1st and 2nd 2 outs for David Freese.

5:20 PM EST: My only guess is that Cole Hamels straight fell asleep and the two slowest guys you can think of pull off a double steal. Pujols and Berkman get in scoring position but Hamels strikes out Freese on 3 pitches.

5:26 PM EST: Garcia willingly throws fastballs to Howard in his at bat. But he threw them up and Howard refused to let them go. Everybody seems to be swinging and missing at this point. Howard ks swinging and missing at a ball at his shoulders. Never seen that before.

5:29 PM EST: A solid 1-2-3 inning for Garcia that included at least 5 swings and misses. For some reason the announcer said it was a 7 pitch inning, but the Phils did make him claw through 13 stress free pitches.

5:34 PM EST: Tony La Russa is celebrating his 67th birthday today. I can't tell if he has looked 35 for the last 20 years or 67 for last 20 years but his appearance hasn't changed. Jose Molina just put a ball in the upper deck foul but he flew out to right after working the count full.

5:36 PM EST: Normal TNT basketball analyst Craig Sager is thrust into sideline coverage at baseball games. He is wearing a trademark hideous suit. This time a lime green jacket with a ridiculous multi-colored shirt.

5:39 PM EST: 32 pitches. 4 outs so far for Cole. Sitting in the corner barely able to watch. Jay has fouled off at least 5 pitches in this at bat. On a fairly borderline call Hamels gets Jay looking with a changeup on the corner. Regardless that was a great at bat for Jay.

5:42 PM EST: Hamels is out of the second with 39 pitches and two hits given up. If you told me Deion Sanders would agree to dress up for a commercial and look like an All-Pro Tinkerbell I would tell you DirecTV paid him a shit ton of money. I have to say that commercial is way better than dealing with Gus, the second most famous groudhog in Pennsylvania. Shut Up Gus!

5:46 PM EST: Polanco bounces out meekly on the second pitch of his at bat. Ohhh for 9 so far this series. Shaking my head in silence..

5:48 PM EST: Good God! After a Ruiz single Hamels pops up the (first pitch!!) bunt attempt to Molina. The announcers quip that he probably has not bunted that much this season. Which is not the case. Rollins promptly singles and Ruiz can only advance to 2nd.

5:51 PM EST: Utley grounds out meekly to end the inning. It was nice to see two hits on the board though. WIth the camera angle where it is, you can really see Garcia's ball dart away from right handed batters. Serious movement.

5:58 PM EST: Walks are never good. Especially when Hamels was up on Allen Craig 0-2 before Craig worked the count full and fouled one pitch off. Especially when Albert Pujols is the next man up.

6:01 PM EST: Hamels shakes off the walk and get Pujols to fly out and Berkman to fly to center. Victorino made the play on Pujols while showing off his baseball shades. Everybody out there is wearing them. Here is Lance Berkaman.

6:05 PM EST: After Pence flew out to deep right center they showed the Rangers celebrating winning their series against the Rays. They were spraying champagne everywhere. Somebody keep an eye on Josh Hamilton. Meanwhile Howard is batting and they just mentioned that Garcia had yet to run a 2 ball count. A 2 ball count!! It is the 4th inning! Howard manages to get 2 balls, oh my! But then strikes out looking on another borderline outside corner pitch. Howard is 2-2 if you want to count strikeouts as hits.

6:07 PM EST: Our 2-3-4 hitters go down 1-2-3 in less than 10 pitches. I would like to cry if it were manly.

6:12 PM EST: When Hamels misses he misses so far. The balls are not close and the Cardinals have been fouling everything off. The Cardinals at bats have been the opposite of the Phillies at bats so far, but thankfully for the Phils, the results have been the same. Hamels strikes out David Freese on a 3-2 count after several foul balls.

6:22 PM EST: The score is tied 0-0 after four. I'm sitting here with 3 of my friends. Even though it is tied, we all agree we feel like crap inside about this game right now. It's like when the Eagles go up and down the field but call a run pass option up the middle to Ronnie Brown on the goaline that results in the most horrible reprehensible turnover you have ever seen. One team is dominating, but not capitalizing. In this case, that team is the Cardinals. Luckily, one swing can turn things around for the Phils right now.

6:25 PM EST: I'm sure the Phillies aren't as nervous as I am. But I'm celebrating at bats that go over 3 pitches before they are even over right now. It just looks ugly. Chooch gets the first 3 ball count of the game (celebrating) and smokes a gounder in the hole, but Furcal made a nice back hand stab. I'm also celebrating hard hit balls even when they are not hits. That's where we're at with this game right now. Nothin nothin - mid 5.

6:33 PM EST: After a 2 out Pujols double, Lance Berkman chopped a grounder to Ryan Howard at first. He managed to make it out of the batter's box, but not much further. Nice hustle bro.

6:39 PM EST: Caught on tape: Dave Duncan, Cards pitching coach, sharpening his pencil by biting it. Rollins has possibly the best "at-bat" I have seen all game, but pops out to left on a full count.

6:40 PM EST:
"So Garcia looks good"
"We just make him look good"

Conversations happening at my house right now.

6:44 PM EST: Wow! Serious disrespect! After an Utley single and wild pitch to advance him to 2nd they intentionally walk Hunter Pence for Ryan Howard!! See if this pays off for La Russa...

6:46 PM EST: Well, at least he did not K after immediately falling behind 0-2. Howard grounds out to Pujols in a somewhat close play at first. He hustled more than Berkman, that's for sure. At least the Phils showed a little life in that inning.

6:48 PM EST: Sample texts I received after the slap in the face from La Russa to Howard and the subsequent out Howard produced.

"I would be mad if i didn't know that was going to happen"
"That was embarrassing. I am embarrassed for Ryan"

6:50 PM EST: Talk about embarrassing. Jon Jay just Ked for the 3rd time today. 2nd looking.

6:52 PM EST: I have to laugh. Jose Molina swung and violently missed at a 3-0 change up from Hamels. 2 pitches later he struck out. That was the definition of a green light.

6:54 PM EST: The camera catches a squirrel running around on the field. He ran next to the stands and in an effort to be "the dumbest fan in the stadium" a fan reached down as if he was going to pick up the damn thing. Get a clue buddy, that squirrel would literally bite your finger off.

6:56 PM EST: Talking about the Phillies great arms and Dick Stockton says, "That's why they call them stoppers, they stop losing streaks."

Thanks man.

6:59 PM EST: After getting the first 2 outs, Hamels gives up a single and a full count walk after an 0-2 count. You have the feeling this is his last batter regardless of what happens. 111 pitches. Himey at the plate. Worley up in the pen.

7:02 PM EST: Hamels gets through 6 innings without giving up a run. I expect to see Worley out there next inning. This game is all but officially out of Cole Hamels hands and he did everything the Phillies needed him to do, and more. The offense has to do its part.

7:04 PM EST: "I feed my lawn in the fall. Because that's when it likes to be fed." Scotts is such a great sponsor.

7:07 PM EST: Clueless announcers talking about sacrifice bunting John Mayberry after a leadoff single from Victorino. Mayberry is 3rd in slugging in the NL since his call up in July. The two guys ahead of him are Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki. Do those guys sac bunt?

7:13 PM EST: DIck Stockton "You metioned how ineffective Ben Francisco had been as a pinch hitter this season" Well. Benny turned into Matt Stairs and just hit a 3 RUN PINCH HIT HOME RUN!! 3-0 Phillies. The stadium went quiet, like Lloyd Christmas just killed an owl quiet. In one of the better second guesses we will ever have for Tony La Russa, he chose to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz to get to Franciso. 3-0 Phillies. Rollins follows with a double over John Jay's head in center. Top 7.

7:21 PM EST: Is it me or are the "Education Connection" (sing it like you know how!) commercials, the cheesiest most corny, and did I mention basically useless? commercials you have ever seen. Vance Worley is on the mound to start the bottom of the 7th.

7:26 PM EST: Pujols cannot be stopped. A bloop piece of &#* fell in between Utley and Pence to put runners on 1st and 2nd after a 1 out walk. Berkman up. Tense at bat. Rich Dubee comes out to talk to the rookie. Berkman has a serious look at the plate. I'm not sure what he is doing with that M.I.T. (Mullet In Training) look going.

7:32 PM EST: After Berkman grounded into a first pitch fielder's choice, David Freese singled up the middle to give the Cards their first run of the game. Worley retired Yadier Molina on a fly ball to right and the game is headed to the 8th with the Phils sending Pence, Howard, Victorino to the plate. As you can imagine, the mood has lightened considerably but this game is (to get as cliche as possible) far from over.

7:35 PM EST: I put the last post up at 7:32 directly at the beginning of the top of the 8th. I post this at 7:35. 1-2-3, yet again for the Phils offense.

7:43: Antonio Bastardo is on the mound for Vance Worley. Worley gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Theriot who is 4-4 and yet to hit a ball hard. Bastardo was having one of the most dominant season a reliever could have until the last month when he struggled. This could get interesting.

7:48 PM EST: The chess match is on between Charlie Manuel and La Russa. Bastardo did his job and got John Jay to fly out. La Russa sends up pinch-hitter Matt Holliday who has been sidelined with a finger injury. Manuel counters with former closer Brad Lidge. Unfortunately for Charlie, Lidge gives up a single to Holliday. First and second for the Cardinals with 1 out in the 8th. Lidge has had an up and down history to say the least, but has been good for the most part this season. He is no stranger to these pressure situations.

7:55 PM EST: Hard to handle these situations. Lidge gives up back-to-back base hits to load the bases. Stomach is in knots. Manuel is going to Ryan Madson for a 5 out save. Something we haven't seen all year, so you know, it is probably a good idea right? Trying to concentrate on breathing...

7:59 PM EST: 2 pitches. 2 outs. Madson spins a pair and gets Allen Craig to ground into a 4-6--, make that an unconventional 4-3 double play. For some reason Chase did not want to make a 10 foot flip to Rollins and he ran the hard-hit ball over to 2nd and fired to Howard. Inning over. Pujols strraaaannnndddeeeedddd on deck, left to lead off the 9th inning. 3-1 Phillies top 9. If you are a Phillies fan, it doesn't get much better.

6-7-8 up for the Phils in the 9th. Madson will have to bat if the Phils can manage to not go in order.

8:02 PM EST: TBS showed the double play replay when the broadcast came back on. Bob Brenly comments "We mentioned the Cardinals led the wwwoooorrrrlllddd in double plays at the beginning of the telecast." Good stuff. Pujols has led the league in GIDPs for years now. That happens when you pepper infielders with scorched ground balls and you are not that fleet afoot.

8:08 PM EST: Madson got his chance to strike out and he came through. Now he has a chance to save the game, let's see if he can come through on that as well. Due up in the bottom of the 9th for the Cards: Pujols, Berkman, Freese. It's go time.

8:11 PM EST: My God Pujols is a machine. First pitch of the 9th inning he lines a double into the corner in left. Is he human? 4 hits today. 3 doubles. Berkman stands in as the guy who can tie the game with one swing. Had to be a tense 9th right?

8:16 PM EST: Berkman flies out to center. Freese grounds out to second. Pujols at third. Yadier "I love me a neck-tat" Molina stands between the Phils and a 2-1 series lead. Fans are chanting but have a glazed look for the most part.

8:18 PM EST: I just threw up a little in my mouth. Molina singles to center. 3-2 Phillies. Kyle Lohse in to run for Molina. Ha! Ryan "luckies hits all day" Theriot stands in to try and extend the game.

8:21 PM EST: Theriot grounds out to Chase Utley. Phils win 3-2. Good night. Game over. Drive home safely.

8:25 PM EST: I have to say that I did not approve of sending Madson out for a 5 out save when he has not done it all season, but it managed to work out anyway. Hamels and Francisco get it done. 2-1 Phils in the series with Little Roy on the mound tomorrow. Let's gooo!

8:37 PM EST: Watching the Charlie Manuel press conference. It is going something like this. "We played good. He played good" You have to love Charlie Manuel, I know I do.