As the Philadelphia Phillies downward spiral continues, it isn’t hard to look back on 2013 and say good riddance. There isn’t a lot to look forward to and right about now there isn’t a lot of fond memories to look back on.
2013 did provide some false hope. Even in 2012, when the Phillies five-year playoff run ended, they managed to still be somewhat in the race in September. In this case, a strong finish to the first-half of the season made it seem the Phillies still had something left. That wasn’t the case.
Here is the 2013 season: the good, the bad, the happy, the sad and everything in between. Instead of a top-10 games list, this is a top-10 moments list, in reverse order.
10. Roy Halladay’s May 5 start vs. Miami – Roy Halladay would attempt a comeback after this game, his last before an extensive DL stint, but this was his final chapter. Nine runs from a dismal Miami team went up on the board in the blink of an eye. It was the worst many had ever seen from Halladay. While the Phillies sometimes had little fight in them, Halladay was always a warrior. Even the best of warriors get beaten.
9. Domonic Brown’s career season – Mainly this goes back to the month of May. If there was one true positive on the season, it was the emergence of Domonic Brown. The problem with the Phillies in 2013 was that they were always a one-hit wonder. When Brown went down and never fully recovered from multiple injuries that clearly impeded his ability, the Phillies were finished. But Brown has become the mainstay of the lineup, and that’s certainly a positive.
8. The Phillies five-game winning streak in early June – For a team that finished the season 73-89, it may be hard to believe the Phillies looked like a playoff team at one point in the season. After a five-game winning streak that started on June 1, the Phillies were 31-30. The record doesn’t say much. But the team was getting hot, and in second place in the NL East, 4 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.
7. A July 14 walk-off win – John Mayberry Jr. singled in the bottom of the 10th to give the Phillies a walk-off, 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. That brought the Phillies record to 48-48, again after a hot stretch of 9-4 to open July. Somehow back in the race, little did fans know as the All-Star Break began that a 5-19 stretch that leads to our next moment.
6. Charlie Manuel is fired – After opening the second half of the season with just five wins in a month, the Phillies made a bold move, firing Charlie Manuel and handing the reigns to Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg was always the heir apparent, and there was no question he was on his way to being Phillies manager for 2014. At that stage of the season, mainly since they hadn’t done it yet, it was shocking.
5. August 21-23: the walk-off streak – In late August, the Phillies gave fans something to cheer about with three straight walk-off wins. Michael Young was the hero on Aug. 21. Domonic Brown delivered to cap a four-run comeback on Aug. 22. Even a walk-off walk by Chase Utley proved to be the deciding factor on Aug. 23.
4. The 18-inning game – Back in 2011, there was nothing more incredible than watching infielder Wilson Valdez pitch his way to a win in the 19th inning. The Phillies tried to recreate that when their Aug. 24 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks went into the 18th inning. Out of pitchers, the Phillies turned to Casper Wells. He retired two batters before the D’Backs finally broke through. It started a five-run rally and by the end of the inning, John McDonald was on the mound.
3. Brad Lidge’s retirement and Jonathan Papelbon’s “I didn’t come here for this” – On Aug. 1, the Phillies held a pre-game ceremony to honor the career of Brad Lidge, who retired as a Phillie. Just five years earlier, Lidge was leaping off the mound in celebration of a World Series title. In the ninth inning, Jonathan Papelbon blew the save and took the loss, just five days after now infamously saying “I didn’t come here for this” after a 12-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. That blown save was the sixth for Papelbon in his previous 13 appearances.
2. John Mayberry Jr.’s walk-off grand slam – John Mayberry Jr. was at the center of a few walk-offs in 2013. His best was on June 4, in the midst of a Phillies winning streak. With the streak being threatened with the Phillies down by one in the 10th, Mayberry came off the bench with a game-tying solo home run. The next inning, Mayberry stepped up with two outs and the bases loaded and belted a walk-off grand slam. It was the first time in major-league history that a player had hit two pinch-hit home runs in extra innings with the last one being a grand slam.
1. Back-to-back off Chapman – A dreary Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park had reached the point of “nail in the coffin” when Aroldis Chapman entered for a save opportunity against the Phillies on May 19. But something was clearly different about the fireball closer when he walked Delmon Young on four pitches to open the inning. The Phillies used Cliff Lee as a pinch runner, representing the tying run. But Lee was caught off first and picked off with Erik Kratz working the count. Two pitches later, Kratz belted a game-tying home run that would have won the game if not for the pickoff. But Freddy Galvis followed with a walk-off home run that just stayed fair and barely cleared the left-field fence to send the Phillies home with a win.