Pardon me, they can hit...at least for one game.
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Chris Coste, three guys experiencing strong to moderate power outages, blasted home runs last night off Greg Maddux as the Phils exacted a small measure of revenge against the LA Dodgers, who swept them last week in California.
Kyle Kendrick got the win, pitching effectively after two straight horrible outings. Later, he credited a long talk with none other than Maddux himself as helpful. The two met when the Phils played San Diego last week, that is, when Maddux was still a member of the Padres. Have you got all that? Kendrick yielded a home run to the second batter he faced last night but settled down to pitch 5.1 innings of three-hit ball. Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre all pitched effectively in relief.
Meanwhile, poor Jimmy Rollins continues to slump. His average dipped below .260 with his o-fer last night. Rollins is well on his way to a personal first to worst kind of season. It's really too bad because he remains one of the best players to watch when he's on his game. Right now he appears so frustrated the joy has gone out of the game. I suspect it's temporary though he has languished in the doldrums for quite some time now.
Cole Hamels gets the start this afternoon. It seems the slender Hamels is forever getting daytime starts under the burning sun of mid to late summer and doesn't particularly like them. I'm sure most pitchers don't, but when television is paying so much of the freight they have little choice.