Weekends like the one just concluded are difficult to summarize but one comment stood out to me more than any other. Pat Burrell, not previously known for being loquacious or particularly fan friendly had this to say: "It's been spectacular, all the energy."
While all the focus was on Barry Bonds, the Phillies stole the spotlight including a convincing win on Sunday night before a national audience. Heretofore, the Phils have not exactly been ready for prime time players including last season when their few coast-to-coast appearances didn’t turn out so well. But last night they jumped all over a shaky Matt Morris on their way to a 9 -5 victory and their eighth straight victory. No doubt more than a few baseball fans around the country tuned in to watch syringes fly and boos rain down. They were disappointed as the local fans comported themselves quite civilly.
Enough of the Bonds carnival. Back to what matters.
A few short weeks ago many of us were ready to throw in the towel and declare the Phils DOA. Shows what we know!
The heroics have been distributed across the entire roster during their streak but no group has been more important than the bullpen. Every man in the pen has performed admirably and some spectacularly.
Offensively, the Phils continue to rely a little too much on the long ball and in last night’s game the generosity of the opposing pitchers, who issued a few bases loaded free passes. It is worth noting once again that Jimmy Rollins set the tone from the first at-bat of the night and Chase Utley, Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand supplied the bulk of the offense. Even David Bell got into the act with three hits.
The Phils’ streak sets up the three game series with the first-place Mets that begins tomorrow night at the Bank. As if the standings were not enough, Billy Wagner added more fuel to the fire by attacking the entire Phillies squad for conspiring against him last season. If nothing else, Wagner’s timing suggests that he believes the best defense against the anticipated fan hostility towards him is a good offense. Having already blown three saves this season, Wagner is looking for some relief to his suffering and what better place to begin, he believes, than in Philadelphia.
Nice try, Billy, but you are going to have to prove yourself on the field, not in the media. Bonds' perceived "crime" was against the game, but Wagner has made it very personal and the good citizens of Philadelphia will not take that sitting down. Expect approximately a 1:1 ratio of security to fans at the bullpen railing during the next few nights.