September 14 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“With 18 games to play in a heated pennant race, the Phillies arrived in Florida for three critical games in an alternate baseball universe.
When the Marlins’ Andrew Miller threw the first pitch of what ended as a 11-4 Phillies victory on Monday, maybe 3,000 people dotted the stands at Sun Life Stadium. The announced attendance was 20,616, and in a series of crimes against good baseball on this night, that may have been the worst.
“It’s just a strange atmosphere,” Jayson Werth said.
It’s September, but still muggy here (of course), and the ball flies. The Phillies hit four home runs. Even Greg Dobbs, 30 days removed from his last major-league hit, smashed a pinch-hit homer to right in the seventh.
The Phils couldn’t even scoreboard-watch here. The out-of-town scoreboard that previously adorned the left-field wall was removed before this season because it was too costly for ownership to replace all of the broken lightbulbs. Instead, two massive advertisements for MLB Network now cover the wall.
Maybe it was for the better. The Phillies couldn’t pay attention to the Atlanta Braves, who stayed one game back in the NL East and also took advantage of the division’s hapless by shutting out last-place Washington, 4-0.
At least Monday provided a momentary break from the drama that is September. By the end, the Phillies had inserted Brian Bocock at shortstop, John Mayberry Jr. in right, Ben Francisco in left, and Danys Baez on the mound – all the makings of a Grapefruit League game.
Some of the best drama came when Shane Victorino struck out in the fourth and his bat went flying into the dugout, precisely where Charlie Manuel was sitting with his bench coach, Pete Mackanin. Manuel was quick enough to escape the wrath of the bat.
“Nah, I had that bat all the way,” Manuel said. “I did. I started to try to catch it. But I had it. I saw it. The old man can still move every now and then.”
Yeah, that’s what kind of night it was.”
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