Let's hear it for Raul!

Here’s two thoughts as we get used to being spectators again in the Major League Baseball playoffs. The Phillies’ majestic run atop the NL East ended with a thud. They took a step back each year after winning the World Series in 2008. First it was a loss in a return trip to the World Series. Then there was a setback National League Championship Series. That was followed by that hugely disappointing loss to the Cardinals in last year’s NLDS. Of course, this year they finished out of the money altogether.

That does not mean some ex-Phils are not seeing action.

Remember Raul Ibanez? The Phillies left-fielder found a home with the Yankees. Last night he was sent up in the ninth inning to pinch-hit for struggling superstar Alex Rodriguez. Yes, you read that right. Think the Phillies would ever hit for Ryan Howard? Yeah, I don’t either.

All Ibanez did was hit a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game. And he wasn’t done. His second homer of the night, leading off the 12th, gave the Yankees a walkoff win and a 2-1 lead over the Orioles.

All together now Rauuuuuuuuuuuu!

Then there’s Jayson Werth. The Nationals are not hitting. Yesterday they got shut out while being pounded by the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-0. They’re now on the brink of elimination.

Think they might be second-guessing that decision to shut down their ace, Stephen Strasburg, right about now?

Here’s a hint for the Nationals’ front office, who decided to put their best pitcher on the shelf to protect his fragile arm and extend his career.

There is no guarantee that you’ll ever get back.

Take our word for it.

The view from outside is lousy. I guess the view being down 2-1 in a best of 5 isn’t a lot better. Especially when you don’t have your best pitcher available to take the mound in a must-win situation.