Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Phillies @ Yankees 3/28

The Phillies beat the Yankees 3-0 last night at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida. What did I think of the game? I'm so glad you asked...

*** I think I only saw that Subway commercial with Joe Torre and Willie Randolph pitching the new Caribbean lime chicken sandwich four times during the game tonight. I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed, I was hoping for a double digit showing. I really should mention that Caribbean lime chicken sandwich commercial for Subway starring Joe Torre and Willie Randolph of the Yankees and Mets respectively as often as I can - you wouldn't believe how many hits I get from people searching for "Caribbean lime chicken sandwich," "Subway commercial with Joe Torre and Willie Randolph," "Yankees and Mets Subway commercials," etc. So, to repeat, I saw that Subway commercial with Joe Torre and Willie Randolph pitching the new Caribbean lime chicken sandwich four times during the game tonight. (The post gets better after this, I swear...but please keep in mind that "better" is a very relative term - you've been warned)

*** Interesting lineup tonight: 2B Chase Utley bat cleanup, RF Bobby Abreu hit third – wonder if that is a sign of things to come? Fasano did the catching (and hit ninth for unexplained reasons), Lieberthal was the DH, and Alex Gonzalez played first with Ryan Howard in Philadelphia for the day at his scheduled appearance with Mayor John Street. Why is Ryan Howard appearing with the major of Philadelphia you might ask? Good question. Better question – why am I talking to myself? The answer to the first question is obvious – yesterday (3/28) was Ryan Howard Day, of course! Didn't you have it marked off on your calendars? The answer to the second question…I don't know...and I don't have any think remotely witty to add...hate when that happens.

*** Spring baseball in the daytime is great, but it really is fun to see night baseball again. It’s weird that I missed seeing the game played under the lights so much…I guess it feels more like regular season baseball this way…

*** In the first…Aaron Rowand got drilled by a Scott Proctor fastball tailing in on him…the ball had so much spin on it that Rowand just froze up – he didn’t even make a move to get out of the way. Very, scary injury – it didn’t look good at all, very reminiscent of any one of the two dozen times or so that Dave Hollins had his hand/wrist broken by an inside fastball. Rowand shook off the injury and trotted down to first, but eventually came out of the game…I don’t know anything beyond what the YES broadcasters told me and what I saw with my own two eyes, but I fear the worse with this one. I’m sure I’m overreacting; it is all part of being a Philly sports fan anyway…

*** Abreu and Utley both ran really hard on their groundball outs in the first. This should of course be expected by all major leaguers, but it is nice to see nonetheless. I’m not trying to make any kind of point by lumping in Abreu, he of the lazy rep, with Utley, the gritty team player who hustles on every play. Or maybe I am…

*** According to the YES crew, SS Jimmy Rollins had the most games with three or more hits last season (he did it 21 times). I either never heard this before, or, more likely than not, heard it but forgot it after the long, cold winter. Johnny Damon was second on the list…that’s why they brought it up in the first place.

*** Tonight’s Phillies starter – Ryan Madson. It was another brilliant performance by the young righthander. The Gavin Floyd to the rotation/Ryan Madson back to the bullpen rumors have been gotten louder and louder over the past 48 hours, but I dearly hope that this game helps convince the Phillies to keep Madson in the rotation and just end any and all talk of him ever pitching in the pen again.

*** This was Madson’s second start against the Yankees that I’ve caught on TV this spring. Each game has featured a great Madson changeup moment…and each moment featured Yankees OF Gary Sheffield at the plate. Tonight, Madson threw a 2-1 changeup to Sheffield that made the big slugger look downright silly. It’s a corny phrase, but I like it nonetheless: “he [Sheffield] was looking for the express, but got the local.” Well done, Ken Singleton (the YES broadcaster who said it). I don’t want to get too sappy twice in one post (first with night baseball, and now this…), but talking about the “express” and the “local” really makes me look forward to my first subway right of the summer to South Philly for a ballgame. That Fern Rock stop has been good to me.

*** Pat Burrell…his name was tricky at first – you could go a lot of different directions with his the pronunciation of his last name (okay, maybe just two…). But if your job is to talk about baseball during baseball games, you really need to make sure you know how to properly say the names of the baseball players you are talking about! Right? You need to be able to pronounce Burrell correctly…I don’t care if you call the game for an AL team that rarely sees the guy. Ask somebody before you go live on the air and butcher the poor fella’s name! (Ever write something you intended to be a tiny, little comment and then look back at it with absolutely no idea that you had written so much? I sure have…)

*** Back to back bullet points knocking YES…I feel bad about it, but they brought it amongst themselves. Did you know new Yankees third base coach Larry Bowa was a 5-time All-Star with the Phillies…AND he was once the former manager of the team! It’s true! Thanks, YES! I’m so glad to know that baseball outside of the Bronx actually does exist! Too many exclamation points!!! I need to stop watching YES!!!, No?

*** Fasano showed off his power in the fifth inning with a homerun to left on a Scott Proctor hanging slider. I was totally against the Sal Fasano signing way back when, but much like the Ryan Franklin signing, I’d like nothing more to be proven wrong. So far, the results for each guy have been better than I expected. Then again, we are still in March.

*** Back to Rowand’s apparent hand/wrist injury – Shane Victorino is batting for him here in the fifth…is there anything to do this wrist injury or were they planning on giving Victorino some time in center no matter what? Inquiring minds want to know.

*** The Phillies haven’t lost on a Tuesday all about that? They are also assured their first winning spring since 1998…I think they have been for a game or two (maybe three), but I’d figure I’d still include that little nugget for you, just to be thorough.

*** Yanks brought in SP Carl Pavano to pitch the sixth. The guy hasn’t pitched because of injury since last August. So what happens on his first at bat of live action since then? Bobby Abreu hits a slow roller down the first base line…Pavano fields it, stumbles, and decides his only chance to beat Abreu to the bag is by diving for it. You’d better believe that is exactly what he did too. Pavano beat Abreu (who was hustling once again, thank you very much) to the base for the out as the Yankee coaching staff and management team held their collective breath at the sight of their million dollar pitching investment giving up his body for a spring training out. Pavano was fine by the way…

*** Well, Pavano was fine up until Chase Utley hit a high, hanging breaking ball way high up in the air…and out of the ballpark. The homer gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead at that point. There have been recent grumblings that Utley hasn’t looked particularly good this spring, maybe this homer will quiet that up a bit. I don’t worry about him a bit.

*** Madson was lifted with one out in the seventh and only 68 pitches on the night. LHP Arthur Rhodes replaces him. It was believed that Madson’s allotted pitch count tonight was in the 80-90 range, but I guess he was too efficient for his own good. Heck of a night for him…I’ll repeat my sentiment that he absolutely should have a rotation spot locked up right now.

*** The lefty Rhodes came into the game only to be greeted by a lefthanded batter (Jason Giambi). Giambi hit a ball on a 3-2 count a long way that would have been a homerun…if it hadn’t had been foul by about ten feet. Rhodes sat Giambi down with an 83 MPH slider on the next pitch.

*** 3B Abraham Nunez had a pretty impressive night in the field. He showed great range on a ball that was a good ten feet (is ten feet my standard measurement for all my estimates?) to his left to make a play on a Jorge Posada grounder. David Bell is a better fielder than the average fan gives him credit for, but his range is somewhat limited. I don’t know much about Nunez’ defense, but his plus range was notable on this one play. By the way, if anybody thinks David Bell is starting the season on the 25 roster, they are nuts – this back injury is not going away anytime soon.

*** Shane Victorino, in for Aaron Rowand, hit a ball waaaay out to rightfield for the Phillies third homerun of the game. It was a line drive shot that got out of the ballpark in a hurry. Then, as so often has it, in the bottom of the inning he made a solid diving grab on a looping liner off the bat of Miguel Cairo. By the way (again), Tom Gordon pitched the eight inning and made quick work of his old Yankees teammates in a 1-2-3 inning.

*** Robinson Tejeda worked the ninth for the Phillies…his 1-2-3 save included a strike out of Legends Field fan favorite Bernie Williams on a check swing he could not hold back.

*** Apparently, Chris Roberson caught the final out of the ballgame in left…I would have believed the YES guys on this one, except I know for a fact that Chris Roberson did not become a white dude overnight. No Michael Jackson jokes either (too easy)…and yes, I’ve seen White Chicks so I know it is possible (well at least kind of possible). Anyway, it was actually Ryan Fleming who caught the last out – he came in for the ninth and Roberson switched over to right.

*** For the record, I have never actually seen White Chicks. I swear. Not that I’m sure it isn’t an excellent film or anything, I just wanted to clarify that one up for my own piece of mind.

*** 5 hits for the Phillies tonight, 3 were homers…some people would see that as a negative (all they do is hit homers! They are going to have to learn to manufacture some runs someday!), but I think it is a lovely trend. I mean, if 60% of all their hits are homers these year…think about that. They’d be unstoppable. Maybe even (dare I say it…) a 162-0 season? Don’t laugh, it could happen…and it will happen!

*** Do yourself a favor and ignore the majority of that last bullet point…watching the YES network for the second time this spring killed whatever functioning brain cells I had left after the first Yankees-Phils game. In this regard, watching YES does shed some light on why Yankees fans are the way they are…I couldn’t imagine listening to that stuff 162 times a year.


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