Ryan Madson certainly threw a gem of wrench into the proceedings, didn’t he? The up-and-down youngster was obviously up last night as he threw 8.2 innings of shutout ball. Flash Gordon got the final out.
One start after a disastrous outing in Boston and Madson set down a good-hitting Baltimore lineup by doing what good pitchers do: getting ahead in the count; mixing up his pitches; working quickly.
It would be nice if he could string together a few successive starts similar to last night’s.
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The final game against Baltimore also found Pat Burrell sitting again and Bobby Abreu in the DH role. Both moves gave more playing time to David Dellucci and Shane Victorino and provided more offense and defense to the Phillies’ lineup. Dellucci becomes a free agent after this season. His first few months in Philadelphia were a struggle as he was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter, a role to which he was unaccustomed and ill-suited. Once he got a few more chances to start and the consistent at-bats that come along with them, he started producing. The Phillies should have a serious talk with Dellucci about next year. If they can offer him fulltime work he just might be interested in re-signing. The key would be to make sure they don't mention the word “pitching” during any such discussions.
Victorino is a spark-plug. He runs hard on every ground ball. He hustles in the outfield. He provides an otherwise leaden team with lots of energy. He has earned a chance to play more.
Do Dellucci, Rowand and Victorino strike as much fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers as Burrell, Rowand and Abreu? Probably not. But if the Phillies want to stop relying on the long ball for their scoring and improve their overall defense, the former trio is the way to go. More significantly, if they want to shake up this team and acquire the pitching they desperately need, Burrell and Abreu remain the best bargaining chips they have.
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More than a few bloggers and commenters were upset with the Phillies for trading yet another pitcher to the Texas Rangers. When the news was announced yesterday that 22-year old starter Daniel Haigwood, acquired in the Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome deal, was dealt to Texas for 21-year old left-handed reliever Fabio Castro, the blogosphere was up in arms. The more tame comments ran along the lines that the Phillies hardly had a surplus of pitching at any level and that Haigwood seemed to be one of their better prospects. They might be right; then, again, we’ve seen a lot of higher rated prospects – Floyd, Hamels, Mathieson, and Brito -- come up from the minors lately and they haven’t exactly set the world on fire. Indeed, the only Phillies’ prospects who are prospering in the big leagues are doing so for other teams.