Friday, April 14, 2006


The Phillies put together their first winning streak of the year after downing the Braves 7-6 in Atlanta. That first inning was a thing of beauty – after getting ahead 3-1, Jimmy Rollins swung at a pitch to his liking and blasted it to the seats in right, Aaron Rowand followed with a double to right on a two strike pitch, Bobby Abreu hit an opposite field homer to knock in two, Pat Burrell rocketed a single to center, and Chase Utley hit a long fly to the deepest part of the ballpark in center out and over Andruw Jones’ reaching glove and the wall. 5 hits, 3 homers, 5 runs, 40 pitches thrown for the opposing starter – now that’s a way to start a ballgame. That’s a way to give your young starting pitcher some breathing room. It had to have been a great feeling for Gavin Floyd to come up to the plate in the top of the first inning, no?

Ryan Franklin…not good. I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say about his performance. He was just…not good. He’ll do far less damage to the team pitching poorly out of the bullpen than he would have as a starter, but it is a shame that his is an arm they count on to try to hold on to a potential Gavin Floyd victory. Floyd, by the way, was better than his line (which was good to begin with) – the Braves broadcast crew said his heater was hitting 94 MPH on the gun and his curve was working nearly all night. Maybe it is just the vision of that great curveball fresh in my mind, but I think a young Daryl Kyle makes for a pretty good comparison to Floyd – I think he could very well follow a similar career path…mid-rotation starter, “innings eater” type, occasional flashes of brilliance (hopefully like Kyle, Floyd will do it in a contract year and get paid), with the potential for an unusual late peak to the career as the pitcher finally puts it all together.

Abe Nunez is 3 for 13, Sal Fasano is 1 for 10, and Alex Gonzalez is still searching for his first hit as a Phillie (0 for 7). David Dellucci, the supposed top bat off the bench, is 1 for 11 with 5 strikeouts. Only Shane Victorino has an OPS over 700. And to top it all off, Tomas Perez hit a homerun for the Devil Rays today. It’s early. It’s early. It’s early. It’s been said dozens of times in this space already and will be repeated over and over again for the foreseeable future. It’s early. Beware small sample size. Sal Fasano is not a .100 hitter. David Dellucci is not an .091 hitter. Abraham Nunez is not a .231 hitter…oh…wait…he’s a .248 career hitter? That bad? Are you sure? Well I’ll be. Guess this is just about as honest Abe is going to get. Anyway, the point remains – the bench has been awful so far, but it’s a long season. If they still stink come mid-May, then it may be time to panic and propose all kinds of wacky ideas to fix the problem (bring back Dave Hollins! Just keep those spiders away…).

In minor league action…

AAA Scranton-WB

  • Carlos Ruiz: 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 R
  • Chris Roberson: 1-3, BB, 2 R, K
  • Josh Kroeger: 2-3, 2 RBI, R, SB
  • Danny Sandoval: 1-5
  • Chris Coste: 1-5, K

Brian Sanches (W, 1-0): 1 IP 1 H 0 ER 0 BB 2 K
Yoel Hernandez (S, 2): 2 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 2 K

The bullpen keeps on chugging along...I love seeing a closer get a two inning save, it does my heart good...the game tonight started at 6:30 and was aired on MiLB.TV, so I caught the first hour or so while waiting for the Phillies to start - Ruiz looked very good at the plate and on the basepaths...impressive power/speed combination for him tonight and he now has 3 homers in his last two games...bad news is he was the DH again - I'm not sure what the story is there, but I figure it has something to do with lingering concerns about his health...if Ruiz can't catch, he won't be a big leaguer - simple as that.

AA Reading

  • Michael Bourn: 0-4, 2 K
  • Tim Moss: 0-3, BB, K
  • Jason Jaramillo: 0-3
  • Bryan Hansen: 0-4, K
  • Angel Chavez: 1-4, 2 K

Gio Gonzalez: 7 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K

Gio's final line also included 10 ground outs to 4 fly outs...too bad he didn't get any support at all from that lineup...guess he didn't learn from his buddy Dan Haigwood's performance last night...if you want something (run support) done, you have to do it (2-RBI single) yourself...

High A Clearwater

  • Mike Costanzo: 1-9, RBI, 4 K
  • Brad Harman: 1-6, BB, 3 K, E

J.A. Happ: 6 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 3 K

20 innings! Thankfully, the marathon ended with a win for the Threshers as Costanzo hit the game winning RBI single in the top of the 20th. I don't think there will be too many nights when he'll get 9 at bats in his future...lost in the shuffle was the decent performance by the young lefty Happ.

Low A Lakewood

Greg Golson: 0-4, 2 K
Tim Kennelly: 0-3, K
Welinson Baez: N/A
Lou Marson: 1-4, K

Matt Maloney (L, 0-2): 5 IP 5 H 5 ER 2 BB 9 K

This team is terrible. I know the emphasis is on developing the young talent and not necessarily on wins and losses, but...this team is just flat out bad at everything. They fell to 0-8 on the season tonight (makes 3-6 seem a lot better) and did everything they could to finish with more errors (4) than hits (5)...guess they even failed at that too.


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