Monday, June 02, 2008

Round One To The Phillies

You know the Phillies have arrived when they can take two out of three from the Marlins while averaging "only" seven hits a game and seeing their top pitcher struggle mightily for the second straight outing.

Good teams find a way to win and the Phils did so by making the most of their hits in the rubber match of the weekend series. Trailing early, they came back on the strength of home runs by Chase Utley, his MLB-leading 20th, and Geoff Jenkins and a game-winning double by Pat Burrell. The win vaulted the Phils over Florida into first place by half a game. The Phils pounded a lot of home runs over the course of the three games but the real story line was pitching.

Brett Myers began the proceedings by getting roughed up, but he straightened himself out and pitched better than he had nearly all season in winning the opener Friday night. For the first time in several starts Myers' hit his spots and pitched inside. The next evening Cole Hamels pitched poorly for the second straight game, yielding three home runs and seven earned runs total in less than six innings. He couldn't hit his spots and the Marlins sat on his fastball.

Jamie Moyer got the start Sunday. Previously, he had owned the Marlins, sporting a lifetime 7-0 mark against the Fish. After a routine first inning Moyeryielded five earned runs in the next two innings, all four coming in the third with two outs. After that he settled down and allowed his mates to perform their customary comeback heroics.

Players from both teams pooh-poohed the significance of this first meeting, coming with a third of the season already in the books, but no one really believed them. The Marlins were out to prove the pre-season prognosticators had misjudged their chances for success while the Phillies were out to prove a veteran club with a much bigger payroll was clearly superior. They will have fifteen more opportunities before the regular season ends to continue to make their respective points.

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