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Rays 1, Royals 0: Phillips on Phillips

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Wherein the author writes nearly exclusively about his namesake, Brett “Maverick” Phillips

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

syz·y·gy

ˈsizijē/

noun-ASTRONOMY

1. a conjunction or opposition, especially of the moon with the sun.”the planets were aligned in syzygy

“the planets were aligned in syzygy

2. a pair of connected or corresponding things.”animus and anima represent a supreme pair of opposites, the syzygy”

“animus and anima represent a supreme pair of opposites, the syzygy”

3. when the writer of the baseball recap has the same name as a player on the other team

“hoo boy howdy looks like Brett Phillips is coming to the plate, hope that Pulitzer Prize-winning blogger Brett Phillips is ‘capping this one so it’ll be a dang syzygy i tell you hwat”

I have a vested interest in tonight’s game because tonight, I get to see my doppelganger take the field against my favorite team. Who do I root for? The answer, of course, is everyone. Everyone wins when we cheer each other on.

But in another, more accurate way, only one team wins tonight, and it’s the team with the guy named “Brett Phillips” on it. You know how when you say a word over and over again, it loses all meaning? Enjoy your last few moments of understanding this name. You’re gonna be hearing the name “Brett Phillips” even more than the guy that picks the names for the Nobel Prizes.

Brett Phillips Report: Part 1

With two outs and two men on base, the Royals called to budding wunderkind Brett Phillips to score the first run of the game. Lucas Duda (the former Ray) managed to reach base, doing his part to ensure that Phillips—who is almost as handsome as I am—would have an impact bat. After Rosell Herrera singled to put a man in scoring position, Phillips entered to a massive menagerie of adoring fans.

The cowardly Rays, perhaps sensing that Brett Phillips would toy Opener Hunter Wood like King Kong toying with those biplanes, went to the bullpen to Ryan Yarbrough. Phillips, knowing how to energize the crowd, worked the count full, playing the tense Tropicana Field crowd like a fiddle: an instrument Phillips likely plays fluently. And in true “Casey at the Bat” fashion, Phillips struck out to end the inning on a 90 mph Ryan Yarbrough fastball that caught a whole lot of plate.

In the top of the very next inning, the Rays were wholly inspired by Phillips’ gallantry, and collected their first run of the game.

Ji-Man Choi bunted against the shift for a base hit, and Kevin Kiermaier pushed the runner (now Joey Wendle, who reached on a fielder’s choice) to third base. With two outs, Willy Adames stepped up. After falling behind 0-2, Adames worked the count full, eventually hitting a soft dribbler to the third baseman. The ball was hit just so, however, that Adames managed to race to first and—after initially being called out—was ruled safe, scoring the gritty hustling Wendle for a 1-0 lead

Thanks to DRB’s own Dominic for that excellent GIF that doesn’t move and is just a still frame.

Yarby responded to the run with a nice lil’ shutdown seven pitch inning. Like my childhood Little League coach, the Royals seemed to want to get Brett Phillips to the plate as fast as possible.

Quick Brett Phillips Update:

Check out the swarm of people who showed up to see Phillips’ first game. If you look closely you can seen such luminaries as former President Obama, Will Smith, and Charlie Chaplin—all folks that just didn’t quite make the guest list for my last birthday party.

In the fourth inning, the Rays put a couple men on but did not score. An excellent at bat by Mallex Smith put the speedy outfielder on first base to start the inning. Royals’ starter Lopez loaded the bases on three walks. Unfortunately, with Smith and Jake “Trevor” Bauers in scoring position, Tommy Pham and Joey Wendle put up unproductive at bats to strand them in scoring position.

Yarbrough put up perhaps his most impressive inning in the top of the fifth, when he worked out of a bit of trouble by striking out three consecutive Royals on essentially the same pitch: a swooping breaking ball that painted the bottom right corner of the plate. Despite allowing an excuse-me double to Salvador Perez and walking Lucas Duda (on a pitch that was not that dissimilar to his strikeout ones), Yarby closed out the inning with nary a run scored. Yarby knew the pressure was on because right after Rosell Herrera was...Brett Phillips. But like the time I was late to my Carnival cruise, Brett Phillips was stranded on deck.

Kevin Kiermaier matched Salvador Perez with a doinker of a double of his own, but KK was picked off at second by Perez while Willy Adames tried to lay down a bunt inexplicably. The Rays went down in order, making it time for:

Brett Phillips Report Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

dude grounded out

The game seemed to both slow down and speed up for a while, in that very little happened, but it still took a good while. Mallex Smith hit an infield chopper to lead off the bottom of the fifth, but was doubled up on a grounder by Matt Duffy. Yarby struck out a pair of Royals to finish the visitor’s sixth inning. The Rays stranded a pair of runners in the bottom of the sixth, to the ire of this particular sportswriter. The game seemed to be spiraling into that thick, tense one-run affair that Rays games have been recently defined by. Games that come down to the bullpen are fun, but boy it would be nice to play in a game that’s already been decided by the seventh inning. And, like, not like this past Red Sox series. In a good way. In a winning way.

Brett Phillips Report Part 3: Season of the Witch

Look I’m gonna be honest. When I started writing this recap I had assumed that Brett Phillips would have a much bigger impact on the game. But the handsome devil grounded out yet again to end the seventh inning, keeping me from using all of my good Brett Phillips puns. Oh I had so many, but now you readers will never know the sheer level of ecstasy that these puns gave me. And you have Brett “Not the Sportswriter” Phillips to blame.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH, THE ROYALS TWITTER ACCOUNT

Mallex Smith, who constantly seemed like he was running wild all over the bases tonight, reached base again but was stranded in scoring position again after the Royals went to a funky reliever who was approximately 8 feet tall but threw the ball like 6 inches off of the floor. Ryne Stanek relieved Yarbrough, and promptly gave up a pair of hits to Royals. Stanek, however, benefitted from a smart play by Joey Wendle. With one out and runners on first and second base, Salvador Perez bounced a ball up the middle towards second base. Wendle, knowing Perez isn’t the fastest crab on the beach, waited for the ball to roll to him. With a foot already on second base, Wendle leisurely turned to first and threw out Perez to earn himself a nice steak dinner from Ryne Stanek.

The Final Inning

Jose Alvarado worked the ninth inning to close out a tight one-run Rays win. Alvarado, who has worked 22 consecutive scoreless innings, faced the middle of the Kansas City order. He struck out Lucas Duda, walked Julio Bonifacio, rung up pinch hitter Mondesi (not that one) for the tenth strikeout of the game, and coaxed a grounder from Herrera for the final out. Here Brett Phillips was waiting on deck, waiting to make a move on the game, and his final run would be denied.

Brett Phillips Final Report

The Rays somehow eked out a win here, using sport sorcery the likes of which we’re not often privy to. With his 0-for-3 game, I hope we can all agree that I am the superior Brett Phillips. As a result, I am entitled to take Brett Phillips’ place on the Royals. Excited to report to St. Petersburg tomorrow to play in front of The Other Phillips’ 800+ screaming fans.

Look for me tomorrow as I play left field for the Kansas City Royals, and acquire the lowest one-game DRS value in the history of the sport.