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September 20, 2017

Odubel Herrera on his ridiculous game-ending catch to preserve ridiculous week (so far) for Phillies

The impossible would be that the Phillies, who spent most of the summer as the worst team in baseball, would have a chance to complete a four-game sweep against the Dodgers, a team that just a month ago was flirting with matching the 1908 Cubs and 2001 Mariners for the best regular season record in baseball history.

But, here we are.

The improbable would be for the Phillies to get there by way of their offense, the bane of the team’s existence for a half-decade, and with a you-had-to-be-there-to-believe it, game-ending catch by Odubel Herrera, the author of such catches as You Just Made Cole Hamels Have a Heart Attack at Wrigley Field.

But, here we are.

The Phillies can pull off a four-game sweep of L.A. and even their post-All-Star break record to .500 in one fell swoop with a win in a matinee at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday.

The Phils have crammed what would have been a month’s worth of offensive heroics in the first half into three games this week, led by the resurgent Aaron Altherr.

After a breakout first half was followed by an injury-laden second half, Altherr has homered in three straight games (he has 19 on the season, three behind Tommy Joseph for the team lead.). Altherr also ripped a two-run single with the bases loaded to put the Phillies in front for good in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Let’s get to the highlight of the night, shall we? Sure, all of the offense is fun. We’re seeing it every night. Ho-hum and all that.

But that catch by Odubel Herrera? That was some vintage Ken Griffey Jr. Spiderman stuff.

Surely you knew you had it the whole time, right, Odubel?

“Yeah, yeah I did, from the moment to came off the bat I measured it and I knew I could get it,” the enigmatic, energetic lineup spark plug and outfield dynamo said afterward. “I just tracked it all the way and it worked.”

It worked. And the Phillies began celebrating. Well, most of them. Because for the second time on this lengthy homestand, a game-ending celebration was put on hold by replay.

The Dodgers challenged the catch.

Worried? Why worry, Odubel says.

“No, I was calm,” Herrera said. “I knew I had caught it and I was waiting for them to make the decision. I was fine.”

Pretty good catch though, right?

“I liked it,” Herrera said, laughing. “I liked it a lot. I know I can jump.”

But was this better than your game-ending catch 26 months ago at Wrigley Field to preserve Cole Hamels’ no-hitter?

“You say, I don’t know,” he said with a smile. “You tell me.”

Well, what we can tell you is this whole Phillies beating the Dodgers stuff, and looking like a competitive baseball team in recent weeks, is remarkable.

You look like you’re always having fun out there, Odubel. How has this week been, sparring with and beating the Dodgers on the regular?

“It’s very good, it’s definitely very good,” Herrera said. “They’re a playoff team so for everyone in this clubhouse, it’s great. We all get motivated when we win games against really good teams like them.”

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

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