Will Cole Hamels keep the Phillies in the NL East race? Will Cha Seung Baek prevent San Diego from being the worst team in baseball? Will you even be able to see this live blog? These queries and few others will be answered once you jump to the rhythm. (Jump jump to the rhythm.) * * * Okay, so nobody saw that. But the fly buzzing around this hotel room sure did enjoy the puns and observations. Bottom 9th2110:55 — And ... three pitch strikeout. That didn't take too long. You know how a soccer team will win 2-1 and they'll say the winning team dominated, even though they only won by a single goal? This is kind of how this game felt. Philadelphia was always in control. 10:53 — A two-out walk by someone named Brian Myrow, and Sean Kazmar is pinch running. I learned two new words today. 10:52 — AH, DAMMIT. Miller slips with a "slide piece." 10:50 — Joe Morgan has a little consecutive streak of saying "slider." Redemption. Strike three on an unchecked swing. I like how the side-view camera, they claim, is the view the first base umpire has. If that's the case, how come the camera isn't on the umpire, or the umpire would obstruct the camera's view? Two out. 10:49 — Woof. Strike three without swinging. That's the least fun kind of strike three! 10:47 — There you are, Brad Lidge. You are in a Sri Lankan immigrant boat. You have zero wiggle room. Enjoy! Top 9th2110:44 — Eric Bruntlett pinches the hit for Cole Hamels. His at bat is effective as Hamels batting, as the fielders choice ends the inning, giving Brad Lidge just the one widdle run to work with in the bottom half of the inning. 10:41 — Joe Morgan pines for Little League. If he wants that, he could just watch any of the Tigers games from here on out. 10:38 — Falkenborg, which I believe is some kind of German android, continues to hurl to the Philbins. 2110:34 — And another fly ball to center, which does zero damage. Hamels is through eight. 10:32 — The second out comes courtesy of Kevin Kouzmanoff. Gesundheit. Hamels is still in there. A great night so far, even if — given the competition — these numbers will technically go under his PCL stats. Top 8th10:25 — There's another game Monday night on ESPN — the Brewers and Astros. That sounds 15 percent better than this one. I wonder if the ESPN telecast will not air for the first three hours, then at some arbitrary point in the future, all the pictures and sounds will finally simultaneously air, thereby blowing the minds of everyone watching. 10:22 — Lefty-cine Wilfredo walks Utley but opposite-of-walks Ryan Howard. Going by the book on the left-on-left violence matchups, manager Bud Black yanks him in lieu of Brian Falkenborg. Ledezma stands in. He is not crafty. Do not mark that. Bottom 7th2110:18 — Ah, a double play. That'll kill the rally. 10:15 — Jody Gerut still plays baseball and nobody told me? When does Bill Selby start getting pinch hit opportunities too? 10:13 — Joe Morgan loves how the statue of Tony Gwynn was an exact replica of Tony Gwynn's batting stance. That was quite clever of the sculptor not to just start molding clay by memory. Or by not using a Nigel Tufnel napkin-sketched rendition. 10:12 — You can put a fistful of chips on the Tony Gwynn space by now. If they spill onto other squares, all the better. Seventh Inning Stretch Entertainment You've probably seen this before, which means you can brace for the sudden impact of nausea: Top 7th2110:08 — Werth-less! Haha! GET IT!? He strikes out looking. 10:07 — Wilfredo Ledezma is warming up in the bullpen, which is something I highly recommend ordering if you ever go to Olive Garden. 10:05 — He quickly corrected himself, but Jon Miller called catcher Luke Carlin "Larkin." And yet it's still more poignant than Joe Morgan's "you're in a situation where you have to score some runs." Well, this is the middle of a baseball game, so I would agree. 10:02 — That's all for Baek. Quite a nice evening for him, actually, going six innings and allowing two. The SaBasementricians call that a quality start. In comes Get Smart's Mike Adams. I don't know what it is about cell phone commercials that triples my age and raises my belt to navel level. How do I hate something so much when I actually have no quarrels with the one I own? Bottom 6th219:58 — Actually that's all they'll get and like it. 9:56 — With dudes on first and second, Chase Headley (Minus World Utley) singles over Rollins glove, and there's a run for the Parental Guardians. 9:54 — Joe Morgan doesn't know who to root for in the Cal-Stanford game, since he has family ties to both. I gotta say, I don't think he'd know which one to pick even if he had zero emotional ties in the game. 9:52 — Jon Miller slightly bashes Stanford, where Joe's daughter is going. 9:50 — I have to say, this game hasn't been bad to date. Looks like it'll get over by 11, allowing me to watch the replay of Saget's roast. (Spoiler: I hear Jeffrey Ross is going to tell us who he wouldn't fuck using someone else's dick.) Top 6th209:48 — Joe Morgan stops staying "slide piece," and the inning ends. 9:43:30 — STOP SAYING "SLIDE PIECE" OVER THERE. 9:43 — Burrell doubles the lead. By himself! What a feat. 9:40 — Ryan Howard has the most home runs, RBIs, and strikeouts since 2006 than anyone else. I like how strikeouts are counted as bad things, but weak groundballs and pop flies are hardly mentioned on the back of a baseball card. Bottom 5th9:38 — Glad that inning's over. T'was a silly one. 9:34 — Luke Carlin is up to bat. I didn't have "Jon Miller says 'Luke Feel The Force' " on my bingo sheet. I probably should have. 9:32 — They gave me the one room in the hotel where the TV will, after an hour of untouched viewing, will "blink" every five seconds, and if I don't change the volume or channel, will turn off on its own. The reason, legend has it, is this TV is possessed by the ghosts of unborn fetuses. So, a practical question. How come Cha Seung Baek is pitching effectively? Top 5th109:29 — Utley doesn't touch the changeup at all. Then again, it touched the ground, and there's no 5-millisecond rule in San Diego. You don't know where that dirt has been. 9:26 — Baek's wild pitch, or "crazy piece," enables Werth to scoot up into scoring position. (Oh, Werth was on first, by the way. I'm not really worrying about the specifics here.) 9:23 — Gaaaaah. Fuckin' "slide piece." I don't know what the hell that is. MARK IT DOWN WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT. Joe Morgan says that's the official term. It's actually not. He now has Jon Miller speaking it. Or Jon Miller is speaking in tongues. I don't know which, but you will have blood plasma to pay for this, Morgan. 9:23 — A quick promo on tomorrow's Little League games. One of them is "Guam vs. Mexico." Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Guam not a foreign country or territory? 9:21 — Cole Hamels gets out with little pain, proving he would probably make a poor AL pitcher. 9:19 — There's Only One October™. The other thing you thought was October is actually March. Bottom 4th109:18 — Now Edgar Gonzalez bats. Oh, my God, could he drive in his brother? (Answer: newp.) 9:16 — Adrian Gonzalez gets hit on his body. That's one free base. 9:15 — Kevin Kouzmanoff hits a deep fly to left-center, where the fence extends ever far. Just another warning track out. 9:13 — While ESPN sits down with Hamels on how he developed his changeup, let's get down to the real scouting report: Name: Cole Hamels Born: December 27, 1983 Throws: Left Bats: Left What Two Wrongs Make: Right WHIP: 1.07 HANDCUFFS: N/A (wife not into that) Gets Batters Out When: Curveball dips down below knees Doesn't Get Batters Out When: Curveball dips down below left field scoreboard Top 4th109:11 — They're going to keep saying that Edgar Gonzalez and Alex Gonzalez are brothers, every time they throw from second to first, aren't they? Although maybe it's good they do that, because otherwise people are just going to assume that the baseball world is frought with Gonzalezeses. 9:09 — Melky Cabrera and Richie Sexson were demoted and released, respectively, for the Yankees. That's teetering ever close to the "are they done or not" square. One more outburst like that, and it's so covered with a red dot. 9:08 — I looked it up. The active leader is Matt Stairs. I retract the previous statement. 9:05 — Pat Burrell has the second most career home runs of any active player not to make the All-Star game. They say that's preposterous. You know what's more preposterous? The guy with the first most home runs of any career player not to make the All-Star game. Bottom 3rd109:03 — American League pitchers are also great at futilely legging out Brian Giles' inning-ending groundouts. They just don't get the chance. 9:01 — A bigger turn-on than pitchers hitting? Pitchers trying to steal. Baek wasn't being held, and the jump was restaurant quality. 8:58 — Joe Morgan is pretty sure all AL pitchers are good hitters. A backhanded compliment at the American League, telling them to get rid of the DH. (Hey, the Reds didn't need it.) 8:58 — Baek fends off a pitch the other way between Howard and the first baseman for a hit. Commotion! Helping his own cause! 8:56 — Ah, what a time for the hotel wi-fi to force me to renew my 24-hour voucher and restart my laptop. Maybe it's a sign. 8:55 — Maurice Jones-Drew loves his Madden games. If I were paid to do a commercial for it, I would too. Top 3rd8:52 — Ryan Howard strikes out to finish off that inning. How many times have we said that? 8:50 — Right field is what Joe Morgan says Tony Perez called "big man territory." Anecdotal enough? Sure. Mark it. 8:47 — Brian Giles can't get to that foul ball short of the foul pole, and as a result barrels into the padded door. Proving he wasn't raised in a barn, Giles kindly tries to close the door. 8:43 — So, they're still on the "This Is Our Country" TV spots, aren't they? When do they get Christina Aguilera to lip-synch to it? Bottom 2nd108:42 — Inning over. They got bored with it, probably. 8:40 — There's a 90-year-old man in Baltimore who watches SNB every week, but Jon Miller points out that because he's getting older, he doesn't always stay up for the entire game. Morgan replied with something about the East Coast/West Coast. I really hope he wasn't implying that because this game is played on the West Coast, he can stay up for it. 8:39 — The one thing I will trust Analyst Joe Morgan on is how to turn a double play. Not in 2008, though. 8:38 — Chase Headley and Chase Utley. Which one's the evil twin? Headley flies out to left. 8:35 — OK, commercials for "back to school" cell phones just irritates the problem further. I am a big-time advocate for corporal punishment on those who can't silence their cell phones during classes. 108:33 — See, this is why you listen to the scouting reports. Quickly Baek finishes his 2nd inning of work. 8:31 — With one quick out, Let's take a look at the scouting report on the Padres' hurler: Name: Cha Seung Baek Born: May 29, 1980, Pusan, South Korea Throws: Right Bats: Right Scratches: Left Years in MLB: 3 Memorable years in MLB: 0 Pitches: Fastball, curveball, change-up, slider Snitches: When he was 10, told his teacher that the kid behind him was an international arms dealer How To Approach Baek: He doesn't have a strong out pitch and doesn't always go deep in a game, so be patient How To Approach Baek If You're Jon Miller: As an over-enunciating Hispanic announcer trying to over-enunciate a Korean name Bottom 1st108:28 — Wait ... what happened? That was it? Did Hamels throw three baseballs, all of them strikes? Because I thought you could only do that in Baseball Simulator 1.000.8:27 — Working quick, Hamels already has two out. Top 1st108:23 — Shane Victorino, he grounds out. Just the one run for now, thankyouverymuch. 8:21 — After walking Ryan Howard, Baek gives Pat Burrell the gift of first base, which might be the gift that keeps on giving this inning. Another tree visits the mound to speak with Baek. 8:19 — A ray of sunlight peeks through the clouds onto Baek and his uniform. He's been spotted. I'd have loved to have seen the Phillies come out wearing bright orange vests. 8:16 — Joe Morgan appears visibly distracted. Probably didn't finish his Bejeweled game in time. 8:13 — Jayson Werth sacks the fly and Rollins tags up. Nine runs to Saget. 8:12 — Jimmy Rollins is already at third base. Slow down, tiger. 8:09 — Interesting move by the Padres. They're wearing these: Apparently they have decided to try and blend in with the field, in hopes the Phillies think they're actually playing in a slightly decimated forest, will give up, and San Diego will win by forfeit. 8:05 — Something about this Yellow Pages commercial bugs me. So the girl wants to remove the tramp stamp with her ex-boyfriend's name. How did she get a new fiancé with that tattoo there the entire time? Maybe she just kept it missionary style while living in sin. Or maybe in the future men aren't allowed to object to their girlfriends' ink. 8:00 — Wow. "Tony Gwynn" in the first sentence of the telecast. Jon Miller has seen the bingo card and is coming out swingin' tonight. Pregame Babble It's probably too late to take the cameras and crew down to Texas for the Rays-Rangers game, isn't it? Because exactly one group of people cares about this one: Phillies fans. The Padres faithful are probably too busy trying to rig their fantasy draft order so they can nab LaDainian Tomlinson. Then there's me. I haven't done a Jon Miller-Joe Morgan Joint yet, and there's not much time left in the year. Now, this one has the potential to get ugly. Cole Hamels has pitched well — the run support just hasn't been there for him. The Padres' starter, Cha Seung Baek, has an ERA on the wrong side of five. If Howard-Utley-Burrell-whoever-else-they-have wake up (much like my college roommate did, hungover and next to Cha Seung Baek), this one might turn into a 12-2 rout or something like that. So at least there's something to look forward to. If this game gets into a double-digit laugher, I might start live blogging the Bob Saget roast. And if it goes 15, I have the noose tied up and ready to go. Now for the bingo-age: By the way, DUAN is the official sanctuary of off-topic discussions. If you want to talk there, go right ahead. Or chat here. It basically comes down to who you respect more: Zerkle or myself.