The Phils took two from the Marlins this week, while manager Ozzie Guillen was busy claiming that he “no speakada eenglis”. The breakdown:
The home opener was a bit of a lackluster game. Cole Hamels pitched better than his line would have indicated. He allowed 8 hits and 3 earned runs, but still posted 9 strikeouts in 5.1 IP throwing 66 strikes on 96 total pitches. He took the loss as Anibal Sanchez pitched very well for the Marlins, only allowing 2 earned runs on Freddy Galvis’ first big league hit – a double.
There were not many positives from this game for the Phils aside from, Galvis’ hit. We finally were treated to Jonathan Papelbon’s overhyped, under whelming entrance music and all we got was a lousy Austin Kearns homerun (Everyone in Philly should just start to steal this song by the way) .The Phillies just couldn’t figure out Sanchez. Hamels said himself that “things aren’t going to be easy this year”.
However, a polar opposite game occurred Wednesday, when it was Roy Halladay vs. Josh Johnson on the mound. Halladay was a typical stud, scattering 5 hits across 7 innings and only allowing a run on a single by Johnson in the second. This game figured to be a battle of the aces until the third inning. At that point the bats exploded. Here is a recap of the bottom of the third:
- Roy Halladay leadoff ground out.
- Pierre singles and steals 2nd.
- Polanco hits Johnson with the ball which plated Pierre, and went to second on the throw home.
- Then Rollins singles, takes second on an error.
- Pence singles, scoring Rollins and moving to second on the throw home.
- Victorino singles, moving Pence to 3rd and steals second.
- Mayberry popped out.
- Ruiz was intentionally walked.
- Freddy Galvis doubles to score Pence and Vic.
- Halladay flew out to end the frame.
I chose to break down this inning for a few reasons. For all of you who were crying Monday and Tuesday about how we can’t score runs after 3 or 4 games… I told you not to worry.
Stolen Bases: Pierre stole a base and didn’t get caught stealing (Even though he looked dead out, but refs/umps/officials have been nice to Philly recently). Victorino stole second for the 4th time this year. He attempted a total of 7 after the All Star break last season.
Smart Baserunning: Polanco and Rollins both advanced to second after the Marlins tried to get the runner out at home. This was heads up baserunning as both would eventually score (and more importantly not be forced out).
Taking Advantage: Pierre scored and Polanco moved up to second after a batted ball was deflected off Johnson to Reyes at short. Both were completely heads up the entire play. The ball didn’t even leave the infield. The fact that Pierre went 2nd to home on that is ridiculous. Polanco moving to second was also incredible because, as I said, the ball never left the infield (Plus Polanco is like 87 years old and has the head the size of a watermelon weighing him down). Rollins also took second on an error by Logan Morrison in left, taking full advantage of a fielding error.
Freddy Galvis: Galvis doubled again on a sharp hit he pulled RIGHT down the right field line. The ball exploded off the bat, and showed some of that pop that Charlie has been talking about. After the fans started chanting his name, Freddy was all smiles saying “It was the first time that many people yelled my name….I had to do something.”
Galvis also stated he is getting more confident with himself after seeing so many pitches. Let’s also remember that Freddy is learning to play a new position as well and in the words of Joe Blanton “He’s fabulous… he definitely bailed me out a few times”
Speaking of Blanton, Thursday’s game featured him vs. Mark Buehrle. Joe Blanton came into the game 29-13 at Citizens Bank Park including the playoffs, and he outdueled Buehrle only allowing 1 run on 3 hits in 7.0 IP. This was a classic Joe Blanton game. He had great command, worked the strike zone and looked to be racing Buehrle for the fastest game ever award. Victorino got on the board with a homerun in this game, as did Ty Wigginton and Papelbon earned his first home save.
Back to the third inning of Wednesday’s game. I realize that one inning is an incredibly small sample size (bigger is better), but if the Phillies can learn to string together hits like this, take advantage of errors and bad breaks for the opposition, continue to steal and continue to be smart on the basepaths, the runs will come. Two of the 3 outs in this inning came off the bat of our pitcher, leaving me to ask one question: How long would this inning have lasted in an interleague game?
Let’s take a look into the Phils-Mets series starting today at CBP:
The Mets will show Dickey some love and send him out against Cliff Lee later tonight (Yup I went there). The knuckleballer Dickey comes into the game (Yup I went there, too) with a 2.67 ERA against the Phils. He has put-out 27 batters (I know, I’m reaching) in 38 innings pitched. Historically no one in the Phils Lineup have jerked Dickey around too much except Carlos Ruiz who is 4 for 10 against him (that kinda thing must be allowed in Panama). Lee is 2-0 against the Mets with a sub 0.50 ERA and 17 strikeouts.
Saturday features Vance Worley vs. Jonathan Niese. John Mayberry, Carlos Ruiz and Placido Polanco all hit the lefty very well, so look for Charlie to use a heavy right handed lineup. This could be interesting since Schneider usually catches Worley, who is coming off a good outing on Sunday. He pitches pretty decent against the Mets, earning 23 strikeouts in 24 IP last season, good enough for a 3-1 record.
The matinee on Sunday will be Cole Hamels vs. the righty Mike Pelfrey. Cole Hamels has not pitched well against the Mets. He is 3-10 with a 4.46 ERA. Many of those losses can be attributed to lack of run support, however. He will try to bounce back after a rough home opener and earn favor with the Philadelphia fans again (hopefully we won’t boo him this year if he is sluggish to start again).
Last year, Pelfrey started against the Phils 6 times, and only made it to the 6th inning twice. He allowed a total of 24 earned runs in 28 IP. He was particularly awful at Citizens Bank Park in April last year, allowing the Phillies to hit .387 in the first game and .341 in the second game against him and lasting a total of 6.1 innings between the 2 stars It will be pretty warm Sunday, with a high of 81 degrees, so we just could see a lot of runs in this game.
With David Wright possibly out of the lineup for the Mets with a broken pinky (Dickey got a little rough with him...Sorry I had to get one more in), Lee and Worley pitching well against the Mets, and Pelfrey.