Yes, yes, Pedro's start got all the headlines last night but the bigger news was the awakening of the offense. At least that's what Cliff Lee must have thought.
The Phillies offense depends heavily on the long ball, too heavily some might say, and every one of the sluggers in the lineup had been suffering through a serious power outage since the end of July. Last night the Phils banged out fourteen hits, scoring a bunch of their runs on homers by Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino in thumping the Cubbies 12-5.
Now to Pedro. The overall impression he made was certainly positive. At times he looked quite good; at other times he didn't. He hit 93 on the local radar gun and was consistently throwing in the high 80's and low 90's with his fastball. He threw a wide assortment of pitches. He gave the Phils five innings, which might have been a little shorter than they hoped for but was to be expected given the circuitous route he took back to a big league mound. By the end of his stint he looked tired according to some reporters who were there. In that fifth inning he was leaving the ball over the middle of the plate too much and he paid for it, but he also worked out of any more damage like the great veteran he is.
The Phils staked him to a three run lead that turned into a huge lead when they scored eight runs in the fourth inning. Many pitchers struggle when given such a lead but Pedro remained focused. If he builds stamina and confidence, he will be a good addition to the rotation.
The other good news on the pitching front was the continued resurgence of Chan Ho Park. Apart from a shaky outing against Florida last Sunday, Park has been brilliant lately. Not so for Chad Durbin, who followed up his good showing Monday night with a poor one last night.
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By the way....
A cretin in the bleachers threw a cup of beer on Shane Victorino just as he was making a catch near the wall. Security managed to eject the wrong guy but apparently the Cubs are making an effort to identify the real culprit. If this had happened in Philadelphia the national press would be all over it for days and the tired stories of how unruly and demented Philadelphia fans are would start all over again. It won't happen in this case.