Friday, September 23, 2005

Something old, something new

What do Michael Tucker, Shane Victorino and David Bell have in common?

Answer: They are the latest in the line of unlikely heroes for the Phillies in their quest to win the wild card and make the baseball's post-season.

Sure, Jon Lieber pitched the game of his life against his former team, but when he was done, it was still 0-0 and nothing was decided. That is what teammates are for.

Bell, who has been maligned all season for his lack of offense and untimely errors at third base, made what could be called the defensive play of the year because of it what it meant.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with a runner on third and two outs, the Phillies move the infield in to protect the 0-0 tie. Rafael Furcal drilled a ball to the left side. Bell made a diving a stop and threw across the diamond for the out. Surely, he saved a run. And you could easily speculate he save the game as well.

In the top of the ninth, it was Tucker, newly acquired from the San Francisco Giants, that came up with the big hit. With two outs and Bobby Abreu on second and Ryan Howard on first, Tucker came in to pinch-hit for Todd Pratt and delivered a single to left to score Abreu.

The Phillies had the 1-0 lead and Billy Wagner poised to go in the bullpen. It was all good. It got even better when Vicorino, a September call-up, hit the first home run of his major-league career, a three-run shot, giving the Phillies all the insurance they would need.

It was another big win and the Phillies finished their important 13-game run against the Braves and Marlins at 9-4, winning every series and picking up fans along the way.

Trailing the wild-card standings by two games, the Cincinnati Reds are next. There is no room for error with nine games remaining. Every game is the post-season and the question remains: how many heroes do the Phillies have.

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Jim -

What a game by Lieber - what a save by David Bell - A new hero (Bell, Howard, Tucker, Victorino) every day - If Phils continue to take care of business, who knows? I'm hoping Jimmy keeps rolling and the heroes keep on coming!

 
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