Wind makes for wild adventure in Philly
Gusts over 40 mph produce challenges for outfielders
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez said he knew it was uncommonly windy when he tossed up grass to gauge which way the breezes were blowing, and the trimmings almost flew all the way from his left-field post to center fielder Shane Victorino.
Rockies reliever Matt Daley had to step off the mound and remove a big plastic bag that had blown in from the stands.
Colorado outfielder Dexter Fowler said the only other time he'd played in conditions as blustery as what he encountered in Game 1 of the National League Division Series was in rookie ball -- in Casper, Wyo.
The official readings Wednesday afternoon had the wind at 25-35 mph, with occasional gusts over 40 mph.
And for the players on the field at Citizens Bank Park during the Phillies' 5-1 victory, it added up to an extracurricular physical and mental workout, courtesy of Mother Nature.
"Between the wind and the sun in right field, it was probably the toughest day defensively in Philly that I've seen," said Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, who was tested right away in the first inning when Rockies leadoff man Fowler lofted a lazy fly to right that drifted, drifted and drifted until a clearly confused Werth hauled it in near the warning track.
"I had to wait until the ball got out of the sun to really see where it was, so I kind of just let it come out, and I realized I was a long way away from it," Werth said.
"So when I went to run after it, then I realized how much the wind was actually playing a part down the line into the corner. So I really had to go. That ball drifted a lot. I looked at Shane and was ... telling him the ball was going this way."
The problem, especially for Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez, was that the ball was going that way, too, and maybe in a few other directions.
"I didn't have any problems with the wind when I was pitching," Jimenez said. "But when they hit the ball in the air, you didn't know what was going to happen, and I was thinking, 'We're going to get in trouble.'
"It was hard for the fielders today."
Part of the problem was the fact that high fly balls seemed to rise straight up off the bat and then travel in arbitrary directions in the air based on the swirling currents that would catch them.
"I didn't get any really, really high ones," Ibanez said. "I'm quite pleased about that."
And Werth was pleased to move on to a Thursday forecast that is predicted to be much calmer and with a 1-0 series lead in the books.
"It was pretty intense as far as the sun just bearing down on you, and then the wind, not only was it blowing, it was swirling, so it wasn't always doing the same thing," Werth said.
"I actually talked to [Rockies outfielder] Brad Hawpe just in passing out there, and we were just shaking our heads about how tough right field was today."
Doug Miller is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.