Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Team To Beat

Good pitching still beats good hitting as the Phillies discovered for the umpteenth time last night in an 8-2 loss to the Florida Marlins that could have been even uglier.

Jamie Moyer lost his magic touch against Florida, dropping his first decision in eleven against them. By his own admission, Moyer beat himself with his lack of command and location. Had the Marlins not committed some questionable decisions things might have been worse. For some inexplicable reason Hanley Ramirez, their best hitter, chose to bunt with the pitcher on second and no outs. The Phils made the play, throwing out Josh Johnson at third base. Then, Geoff Jenkins made a diving catch that staved off further disaster.

Still, the Phils couldn't muster any offense against Johnson or his successors except for another home run by newly-minted slugger Shane Victorino.

Right now Florida looks like the team to beat in the NL East. Johnson and Anibal Sanchez have returned from injuries and if they remain healthy they constitute a formidable rotation along with Ricky Nalasco and Scott Olsen. The Marlins are always described as impatient free-swingers at the plate, but they produce. And let us not underestimate the lack of pressure on a bunch of underpaid youngsters who weren't expected to stay with the Phils or Mets this deep into the season. They play in front of such small crowds at home who could they be afraid of disappointing? Only themselves. And right now they don't look too disappointed.

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