Game Recap: J-Roll Talks, J-Roll Walks…Off


Apr 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) celebrates scoring during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to build on the momentum of their win over one of the premiere starters in the majors the night before, the Phillies found themselves in all too familiar position in the waning hours of Saturday, April 12th. Once again, after starter Jonathan Pettibone exited with a 4-2 lead after five innings pitched, it would be up to the bullpen to try to navigate the treacherous waters that have become the 6-9th innings. Sure enough, Philadelphia let the one player on the Marlins that teams are not supposed to let hurt them dictate the narrative of the game up until the very end. Fortunately, for however much of the announced 27,760 still at Citizen’s Bank Park when the game reached extra innings, the Phillies provided an outcome that put the woes of their bullpen out of mind, even for just one night.

The evening could not have started any better for Philadelphia. They managed to scratch across a pair of runs against Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi courtesy of RBI base hits by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Tony Gwynn Jr., who started in center field and batted lead-off in place of Ben Revere, scored after hitting a lead-off double and Rollins crossed home on the first of two run-scoring doubles by Utley.

An error by Ryan Howard helped the Marlins notch their first run against Pettibone in the 2nd inning. The ‘Big Piece’ made amends for his mishap at the plate when, following Utley’s second RBI of the game, Howard drove him with his only hit of the evening giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead after three. Though the Marlins made pretty good contact against Pettibone throughout the contest, the 23-year old managed to escape trouble for the most part. The one mistake that the Marlins DID take advantage of was hard to forget. With nobody on, Giancarlo Stanton hit a tape-measure shot to straightaway center (an estimated 470 foot bomb), to bring the lead to 4-2. Pettibone would finish his night with a line of: 5.0 IP, 8 H, ER, BB, 5 K.

Justin De Fratus would come on in relief and make his way through the 6th inning unscathed. With Jake Diekman unavailable after extensive work over the team’s first 10 games of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg stuck with the righty to face the heart of the Marlins order in the 7th. The decision would come back to bite Ryno in eerily familiar fashion. This time with a man on base, Stanton yanked his second homer of the game to left to tie the game at four.

The two sides stalemated the rest of the way through the ninth. Jonathan Papelbon managed to wriggle out of a couple of base runners in the top of the 9th in a non-save situation. Freddy Galvis had a chance in the bottom half with a runner in scoring position, but fell victim to a knee-buckling breaking ball by Marlins closer Carlos Marmol to send the game to extras.

B.J. Rosenberg would pitch a perfect top of the 10th and give the top of the Phillies order a chance to win it. Ben Revere lined out sharply on an excellent play by Miami reliever Dan Jennings. Gwynn Jr. would go down swinging, meaning Jimmy Rollins was all that was standing between the Marlins and another inning to try to even their series with a division opponent. Unfortunately for Mike Redmond’s bunch, they happened to catch J-Roll on a night where he was brimming with confidence circa 2007.

Rollins moon shot on the 2-2 offering by Jennings was his first walk-off since 2010 and the only time he has ever had one from the right side of the plate. (h/t @jaysonst) The Phillies shortstop was apparently engaged in some verbal jostling with someone in the stands, and sent a definitive message seconds after the swing.

Whatever happened leading up to the game’s crescendo apparently was just what was in order for Rollins to lead the Phillies to a 5-4 win and their fifth of the season. They are ensured at the very least a series win over the Marlins. Kyle Kendrick will get the start for Sunday’s matinée affair as the Phils look for the sweep and a chance to return to the .500 mark. For completely different reasons, the first two games of this series have the feelings of ‘earmark games’, where the team can look back and realize what they are capable of. One can only count on a hand how many teams have tagged Jose Fernandez for six earned runs. Now, a walk-off win by the ever-trolling Jimmy Rollins only adds to the confidence that is vital for this team’s success. If nothing else, a home run in the bottom of the 10th to win a game on a Saturday night is a pretty great way to cap off an excellent day in Philadelphia sports.