Friday, September 08, 2006

Game Notes

The two teams entered the contest tied for second in the Wild Card chase but, for the moment, on very different paths. The Phillies had managed an average of six hits per game in dropping two of their previous three contests while the Marlins had won five of six including a no-hitter the night before.

Any resemblance to their recent histories was long gone by game’s end as the Phils pounded out 17 hits and 14 runs to take the opener of a four game series in Miami, 14-8.

Details of the game are available elsewhere so I won’t bother to recapitulate them here. Throughout the game, I made notes, some of which I offer here almost verbatim:

Yikes. Three runs right out of the chute. This could be a long night. Lieber throwing the ball right down the middle.

Harry observes Florida fans giving Conine a warm reception. Yeah, all eleven of them. If I owned the Marlins I would be contemplating a Bob Irsay departure. You know, load up the vans under cover of darkness and sneak out of town before daylight. These kids are facing the team with whom they are tied for second in the WC chase and coming off an emotional high after last night’s no-no and there can’t be more than a few thousand people in the stands. Disgraceful. Don’t care if Dolphins playing Pittsburgh in NFL opener (in Pgh). This town has never supported baseball.

Watching telecasts from Miami always a unique experience. They must have mikes buried behind home plate and all along the stands. Really hear pop of ball into mitt, crack of bat and calls by umpire more clearly here than anywhere else in MLB. Best place in baseball to hear a game. Must explain poor attendance. People stay home to watch on TV. Poor FL players. They must have routinely seen more people in stands in AAA. Clearly hear guy seated in first row behind home plate clapping. Almost like he’s next to me. Maybe sound so clear because stadium empty. Reminds me of sounds Robert Redford made when he first took batting practice in The Natural. Stadium was empty there, too.

Chris Coste won’t let the magic go away. Two-run double. Glad for him. Now Jimmy. Wow. Game tied. This is going to be a slug-fest. Last man standing type game.

Number 54!! Cannot believe they didn’t pitch around him or at least carefully. Johnson just challenged him and lost. Typical young stud. All stuff no brains. Howard almost hit one out in first AB but didn’t quite get under it. Hitting for average and power. Love the kid.

Way to go, Chris. Home run. The story continues. Pat pops up. He has become forgotten man. Almost feel sorry for him…but don’t. There it is!!! Home run, Chase Utley. Looks like he may be finding his stroke. Couldn’t come too soon.

Why does Charlie stick with Nunez? His glove? There has to be another warm body on the bench who can play third. Nunez always bailing out. Explains number of ground balls and foul pops to opposite side. He’s killed virtually every rally he’s been in the middle of. Play him occasionally, Charlie, but for God’s sake get someone in there who can hit!! Ran himself into rally-killing third out. Can’t run. Can’t hit. Nowhere to hide him but Charlie will try.

What a pickup Conine has been. Hey, how ‘bout that Randall Simon?! Talk about a free swinger. Winds up and lets it rip, bat twirling around his head at follow through. Quite the flourish!! Quite the character. No wonder he swung at sausage. Looks like he swings at anything that moves.

Uh oh! Arthur coming in. Hope George S. isn’t watching. Stay away from sharp objects, George. Hey, wasn’t his shoulder bothering him only last night? Quick recovery for an old guy. Well, what do you know?! Rhodes with a 1-2-3 inning. OK to watch again, George.

Gordon looks rusty. Also looks pissed. He and ump in staring contest. Umps calls looked good to me. Two men on. Long inning. Needed work but cannot think this is good in a 14-8 game. Probably cannot pitch tomorrow if needed. Another questionable decision by Charlie.

Game over. Reversal of fortunes. Phils are last men standing.


J. Weitzel said...

And on the subject of Chris Coste, starting pitching has been downright bullish with Coster behind the plate. Lieber's late-season turnaround all but coincides with making Coste his personal catcher. Most impressive is probably the Coste-Hamels combo.

These are two very fast workers, and deserve most of the credit, but Coste must be doing something right, even if it’s unintentional. When alleged pitching guru Sal Fasano was back there, the difference was night and day. Six run games, seven run games.

Haven't seen too many of those with Coste handling the staff. With both Hamels and Lieber part of the picture next year, would anyone even think of breaking up a good thing?

Tom Goodman said...

Coste will be back in some significant capacity next season on merit. Will he hit .331? Not likely. Nevertheless, he brings more than a warm and fuzzy storyline; he has a great attitude. The pitchers clearly like throwing to him. Do you think he could be the every-day catcher?

J. Weitzel said...

Well, he's been slightly more than part-time for a month and seems to be doing more than okay. He makes contact, despite that bad swing.

Shane Victorino is another guy who keeps hitting in a full-time role. His average is up something like 35 points since Rowand went down. His speed alone is such an asset in these games at Florida. Hit a gapper, get a triple. That's such an improvement over someone like J-Mike or Rowand with limited speed. No wonder the Marlins won a world championship with leadoff hitters with no power.

Tom Goodman said...

Victorino will be a big part of this team going forward. He is as fearless in the outfield as Rowand but superior in every other respect. His speed at the top of the order is, along with Jimmy, something the Phils have lacked for a long time. I love his attitude. One gets the feeling he is going to do something productive every time he comes to the plate.

egrissom said...

I totally agree with you on Simon. I think he's been a great pickup, as far as lefty bats off the bench go it doesn't get much better. The thing with Simon is that he strucks out so infrequently -- he looks crazy up there but usually makes contact. If only he would take a walk or could play a position.

Tom Goodman said...

Simon looks like he is having a helluva' good time, doesn't he? Talk about reversal of fortunes! Speaking of which, when was it that players wanted to come to Philadelphia? And the nice thing about all of these pickups is that all are seeing action and contributing. I expect Matt White to take over for Rhodes if the latter falters one more time. Charlie may not like throwing kids to the wolves, but Smith has shown plenty of grit and Charlie is running out of time to stick to his "principles".