Friday, September 08, 2006

Phillies - Marlins - 9/7 - Butt Whippin'

"It's a good story, a very good story," Manuel said about a Marlins team with a $15 million payroll and 21 rookies on the roster. "They have a bunch of young guys that want to play and establish their Major League career. After a slow start, they relaxed and when they finally got to .500, they looked up and were in a Wild Card race."

But ...

"I look at whipping their [butts], if you want to know the truth," Manuel said. "They're a threat, but I like the fact that we can determine where they go."

Well put, Charlie. I don't have much to add to the chalk game story on, aside from complaining about the terrible Marlins TV broadcast on MLB.TV...something I'll spare you, the loyal reader, for the time being. Four quick things I noticed:
  1. It was pretty cool/random that the Phillies hit for the cycle through 13 batters last night. It set the tone for an unbelievably well balanced offensive attack: 17 total hits - 8 singles, 2 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 homers. You won't lose many games when you put those kind of crooked numbers on the board...
  2. I'm sure many Phillies fans thought they were in for a long night after Jon Lieber's struggles (3 earned runs, 2 homers allowed) in the first inning. The Phillies responded with 3 runs of their own in the second and 1 in the Josh Johnson, the current NL ERA leader, no less. I'm sure Phillies fans thought the game was slipping away after Rick White gave up 4 earned runs in just one third of an innings work in the 7th. The Phillies responded with a huge run in the top of the eight and then three more in the top of the ninth to put it away. This team is playing a lot like the September version of last year's club, no?
  3. Chase Utley had the best at bat of the night and is hopefully started to fully figure out what it takes to bat in front of the most feared slugger in the game. The rap on Marlins relief pitcher Randy Messenger is that although he has a hard fastball (consistently hitting the mid-90's), it is a bit too straight for his own good. Utley knew he would get nothing but fastballs when he came up to the plate with two on and two out in the 7th inning of last night's game...he jumped ahead of the count 3-1, sharply fouled off those 3 straight fastballs in a row, and then finally jumped all over a 94-MPH hitter for his 26th home run of the season. Very smart at bat by Utley.
  4. The game ended with an oufield of Chris Roberson in left, Shane Victorino in center, and Michael Bourn in way there is an outfield in baseball that can touch that one in terms of pure speed across the board.
The Phillies won one of the two closer pitching matchups last night, so they already have a huge leg up on winning this 4-game set with the Marlins. Tonight's Jamie Moyer vs. Scott Olsen's matchup swings heavily in the favor of Florida...a win by the Phils tonight to go up 2-0 in this 10 game stretch against the Fish would be a huge boost heading into the weekend.


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