Friday, May 05, 2006


There is something about the whole Phillies gameday experience that I have been silent about long enough – I’m a proud supporter of the Phillies announcers and I don’t care who knows it. No matter how old he gets, I’ll love Harry Kalas. I like Chris Wheeler (especially on radio)…same goes for Larry Andersen (the part about better on radio applies with him as well). Scott Graham is what he is and I am okay with that. Scott Franzke is new, so we’ll just let his somewhat annoying tendency to sound like he doesn’t care about baseball at all slide…for now. All in all, I like the group. So there.

On to some random notes from last night’s 6-3 win over the Atlanta Braves:

*** What I said yesterday: As the Phillies shoot for that elusive .500 record tonight (14-14) there are some interesting subplots to keep on eye on…what in the world will the lineup look like? How will the Phillies handle a potential late lead with no Tom Gordon (I’m assuming) to close it out? And will the Phils be fortunate enough to get another crack at Mike Remlinger?

*** What I say today: It’s good to be .500, the lineup was the typical righthanded one that Charlie Manuel uses when no regulars sit (Utley second, Rowand sixth, etc.) – this pleased me very much as I thought he would try to ride Rowand’s hot streak and keep him batting third (though lineup construction has proven time and time again to make very little difference, it is still something to talk about and damnit that’s what I’m going to do), the Phillies mixed and matched their way through in the bullpen (Fultz, Geary, and Cormier all helped set up closer for the night Arthur Rhodes), and while the Phillies did not get another shot at Remlinger, they did just find without seeing the old man from the bullpen thank you very much.

*** Pat Burrell forgot the outs in the first inning and got doubled up 8-6-3 on a flyball to centerfield. Stuff like this should not happen, but it does from time to time and all you can do is move on. Burrell was booed on the play (deservedly so), but one can only imagine the volume of the crowd if it would have been Bobby Abreu making a similar mental error…just saying.

*** Real tough break for Mike Lieberthal in third inning – there was a high pop up hit that brought him way out from behind the plate – an infielder (David Bell in this case) has got to take charge and catch that ball. I have no problem criticizing Lieberthal when he deserves it and this play looked rather ugly at first glance, but upon further reflection I’ll let him off the hook.

*** Chipper Jones hit a third inning single that Cory Lidle just missed right as it bounded by him right back up the middle. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley both looked at the ball, then each other as it bounced its way into centerfield. Needless to say, the Phils committed their fair share of mental miscues early on.

*** Pat Burrell stopped at first on his RBI single to leftfield in the third inning – what a welcomed sight this was. Watching Burrell get gunned down at second for a third time this year would have been too much to take. Burrell’s mistake on the bases was mentioned early, but lucky for all parties involved baseball is one funny game. Burrell found himself in the same exact situation in the third inning as he was in the first - Bobby Abreu on third, Burrell on first, Ryan Howard at the plate, one out. Fortunately, Burrell had clearly learned the benefits of knowing how many outs there are in a given situation – he showed off his newfound skill by staying on first after another Ryan Howard sacrifice fly to dead center. Watching Abreu make sure Burrell knew how many outs there were after he singled was priceless, as was the reaction of the Phillies dugout immediately after Howard made contact (it seemed everyone in the dugout was screaming at Burrell to stay on the bag, some even pointing to first just so there was no confusion…good times).

*** There were two deaf gentlemen behind home plate tonight having a grand old time just talking away through the early innings. It was a unique sight to see. Good for them, right?

*** Ryan Howard looked very good at the plate all night long…his two sacrifice flies were to the deepest part of the ballpark in center (both on Howard’s now recognizable “homerun swing”). He followed that up by actually putting one in the seats in the sixth inning – a crucial insurance run that gave the Phils a two run lead at the time.

*** Mike Lieberthal got plunked in the knee in the sixth and it was one of the nastiest HBP I’ve seen in a long while. The ball ricocheted off his knee almost as quickly as it hit him. He left the game with what the Phillies are calling a left knee contusion. This is not a good injury for the Phillies because it doesn’t seem severe enough to put Lieby on the DL (and earn Carlos Ruiz a promotion), but it could very well put him on the bench for a couple of days (that means they’ll be more Sal Fasano than I can take).

*** Pat Burrell’s (the man is getting a lot of noise today, is he not?) arm in leftfield…yeah he’s still got it. He showed it off in the seventh inning when he kept Matt Diaz bolted to third base with only one out. Burrell’s throw home was perfect; he would have had Diaz by 15 feet.

*** I’ve been maybe unnecessarily hard on Aaron Fultz this season, but his performance in the seventh inning was nothing short of spectacular. He hasn’t pitched in two weeks, the first batter he faces gets a leadoff triple on a ball badly misplayed by Aaron Rowand in center, and then Fultz responds with a strikeout, a shallow flyball to Burrell in left (see above for description), and then gets a little help from a Chase Utley diving stop to get Chipper Jones and survive the inning. The man stranded a leadoff triple…Aaron Fultz gets a gold star from me for that alone.

*** It took 23 months (and 4 different teams) for Arthur Rhodes to get career save number 27. Congratulations Art, buy yourself something shiny for your ear to celebrate.

*** Cory Lidle…what can you say about the guy? He has been everything the Phillies could ask for this season, plus his very strong peripherals indicate that more success could very well be on the way. I hope Lidle pitches extremely well this year, so well he prices himself right out of the Phillies range – I’m a big Cory Lidle fan and would love to see him get one last decent payday before his career is through.

So, the Phillies are finally at .500 at 14-14 and now have some space (2 games) between themselves and the third place Braves. They'll go for their six win in a row tonight against Matt Cain and the Giants...the atmosphere for these games should be electric, it should be a lot of fun.


Blogger John Hudome said...

Good draft? I think. Lots of pitchers and that's a good step. It certaily is a need. We'll see in about 4 years. GM Pat G. can't do any worse than Eddie Wade. Can anyone say J.D. Drew? Go Phils!

10:45 PM  

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