Farewell Home Season
Ruf’s bases-clearing double in the first inning staked the Phillies to a 3-1 lead but that’s all the sound the offense made the rest of the night as the Nationals inched closer to taking the NL East title away from the Phillies who have owned it since 2007.
Riding three home runs, Washington ended the Phillies 11-year string of playing .500 or better at home as they finished 40-41. Last losing season at home was 2000.
The Phillies lost back-to-back series for the first time since the last two series right before the All-Star Game. They battled back into wildcard contention but one more loss or one more St. Louis win ends that faint hope.
J-Roll was the last batter, ending the home season with a pop up at 10:20 p.m. He jogged to first, made a right turn into the Phillies dugout and headed for the clubhouse with the rest of his teammates.
Washington was high-fiving on the field, which is certainly an improvement from the previous year’s last games at Citizens Bank Park, postseason losses to the Cardinals in 2011 and Giants in 2010. Worse than last year’s loss was the sight of Howard on the field in pain from a torn Achilles. While the Phillies had a ton of injuries this season, the good news is no one got hurt on the final home game.
While the fans were heading home, the Phillies headed for a Delta charter flight for Miami. Three games there and then three in DC ends the season. The Nationals headed for St. Louis for the weekend.
The season’s 62nd sellout pushed the season total to 3,565,718, fourth highest in team history. It was Fan Appreciation Night and prizes were given out all night long. Probably the most valuable prize was a gift card for gas from Sunoco.
The big crowd had dwindled, leaving a small number to see the end. The faithful filed out slowly out after the last out. A few lingered and took photos with their iPhones. Ushers and usherettes hugged. The ballgirls hung out in front of the Phillies dugout. Their season was over, too, but they didn’t want to leave.
The ground crew worked on the field and covered the mound and home plate with tarps, a post-game ritual. There’s no game until next April but there’s a wedding on the field Saturday.
Here Comes The Bride is replacing Take Me Out To the Ball Game.