Monday, June 09, 2008

Magic Carpet Ride

The weekend just passed resembled a magic carpet ride more than your traditional march through Georgia but the results were the same as the Phils swept the Braves at broiling Turner Field. (We're sure at least some of the traveling party kept the players informed of the hour-by-hour weather reports emanating from back home thus offering little consolation if relief from the Georgia heat.)

Following Friday night's last out reprieve and subsequent right-handed marksmanship by that fellow from Hawaii, the Phils scored a more conventional 6-2 win Saturday night. They followed that with what can only be described as a typical (for this installment of your Philadelphia Phillies) victory, winning 6-3. In the Sunday matinée, the Phils jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the opening frame, surrendered that lead the very next half inning, played the Braves even until the ninth inning at 3 runs apiece, were held hitless from the fourth to the ninth inning and rallied for three runs in their final at-bats to cap the win and sweep.

Throughout the season to date the bullpen has been nothing short of phenomenal. No one expected them to be this good, probably not even Mssrs. Durbin, Romero, Madson, Gordon and Lidge included. And when the vaunted offense gets shutdown, someone manages to find the on button just in time. Yesterday as he's done quite often of late, Shane Victorino was in the middle of the rally. Prior to the start of the season very few bloggers and their followers were thrilled with the prospect of Victorino taking over the centerfield job for the popular Aaron Rowand. Well, Victorino is clearly Rowand's superior in the field and though his average isn't as lofty and his power figures pale compared with Rowand's the last two seasons, Victorino provides a spark at the top of the order when combined with Jimmy Rollins and does a fine job not only setting the table for the bangers who follow in the order but has done a nice job knocking in runs himself of late. Any arguments that Jayson Werth deserves to split playing time with Victorino in center should be dropped immediately. Werth, who just returned from the DL, looked awkward and tentative at the plate yesterday in two appearances. Some may attribute his swing to rust, but, frankly, he has as many awkward AB's as good ones his health notwithstanding.

Ryan Howard was named player of the game yesterday, hitting three doubles and knocking in four runs. He also committed two base-running gaffes and could have as easily been named goat of the game. So it goes when your team is on a magic carpet ride.


Anonymous said...

Victorino looked rusty, in fact, very rusty at the plate after his stint on the DL this season, so I wouldn't come down as hard on Jayson Werth's return from the DL. Victorino is just starting to hit better, he has not been consistent. Therefore, his offense is NOT superior to Rowand's.

Tom Goodman said...

I didn't say Victorino's offense was superior to Rowand's only that he provides an important spark at the top of the order and is hitting well. Werth, on the other hand, looks awkward no matter the circumstances, e.g., just coming off the DL. The more pitchers see him the worse he will do. He just doesn't have a good idea of the strike zone.