You want a poster boy for this up and down season? Try one Greg Dobbs.
A mere two weeks after clearing waivers and going down to AAA, the veteran pinch-hitter and less than stellar infielder stroked a two-run homer of Atlanta's tough Derek Lowe to power the Phils to a 3-1 victory. There you have it. A guy no one wanted saved the day. Well, actually, he helped save the day. Roy Halladay, a guy everyone wanted, pitched another complete game marvel in his own up and down season (mostly up) to give the Phillies a much needed victory in the opener of a three game set with the Braves. Had they lost, the Phils would have fallen six games behind first place Atlanta.
Halladay surrendered a first inning home run to Chipper Jones and a base hit to Brian McCann before settling down to throw a masterpiece. We've gotten used to Halladay going the distance, but on a night when the temperatures were in the upper 90's, it was quite an effort. The guy simply does not like to hand the ball to his manager. We've also gotten used to seeing little run support for Halladay, who could easily have several more wins. This night, he got enough and made it stand.
The Phils ran out another makeshift lineup featuring a lot of bit players among the veterans and once again those guys came through, especially supersub Wilson Valdez, who started a critical double play in the seventh inning. Valdez has been the most pleasant surprise of the campagin. And fourth string catcher Dane Sardinha threw out Gregor Blanco in the eighth, preserving the Phils slim 2-1 margin. When guys like Valdez and Sardinha are making big plays, you have to believe the Phils might just hold on until the regulars return. Might. Tonight is another game and if recent history is any guide, we are in for a long one. Temperatures in Philadelphia are expected to reach 101 degrees today so look for checked swing home runs at the Bank this evening.