Anatomy of a Rally

Chase Utley Michael Martinez
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On Tuesday night in Chicago, the Phillies scored four ruins in the last two innings to rally from an early 2-0 deficit to drop the Cubs.

Under most circumstances, that would seem like a very Phillies-like thing to do, given their penchant for dramatic flourishes, as well as the Cubs' propensity to give games away at the drop of a hat.

But what was most interesting about this rally was not so much the "what" -- The fact that they rallied late isn't surprising, given the fact that the Phillies have long had this “27 Outs” mantra that practically kept them in every game until the end, even under the most dire circumstances -- but rather the "how" surrounding the four-run outburst.

You see, the Phillies haven't been known for their offensive prowess in 2011. The team is a bit older, guys are a bit slower, and they just aren't the team that set the National League on fire in 2007 and 2008. That said, they still have plenty of firepower in the lineup, despite having to deal with a handful of nagging injuries as of late.

So it's not a shocker to see that Chase Utley came through with a two-run, game-tying double in the top of the eighth. After all, he is Chase Utley, even if he was hitless in his last dozen or so at-bats. However, it was quite a shock to see the biggest hit of the game come from the unlikeliest of sources: Michael Martinez.

Martinez, the Rule-5 Draft pick from the Washington Nationals, has done plenty to earn the ire of fans in the greater Philadelphia area, but his versatility, combined with the Phillies' injury history, makes him sort of an indispensable player, if for no other reason than he can play seven positions with aplomb.

So when he comes to the dish with an average that is just above the Mendoza Line, we really can't expect much. Except that for one night at Wrigley Field, he was about as important a player as anyone, as he was the tying run in the eighth inning, as well as the go-ahead hitter in the top of the ninth.

After both Ben Francisco and Jimmy Rollins singled with two away, the game was in the hands of Martinez, who made fools out of a lot of folks by dunking in a bloop double to right field that rattled round long enough to allow both Francisco and Rollins to score to give the Phillies a two-run lead heading into the last of the ninth.

And just like that, the maligned 25th man etched himself into the annals of the 2011 Phillies by coming up big in a not-so-tiny spot.

Is this Martinez's grand finale, or just a sneak preview? If I had to guess, I'd say that he's used up just about all of his good fortune, but the thing about baseball is that you never quite know who is going to be the goat, and who will be the hero.

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