Wednesday afternoon was a typical day for the 2011 installment of our favorite baseball team. The hitters broke out; the pitchers were stellar; and another regular went down with an injury.
Carlos Ruiz, mired in a horrible slump at plate but not behind the plate, hurt his back swinging in his first at bat of the day. He was replaced by Brian Schneider. Now we will wait and see as the Phils' inimitable medical staff and PR department keep us guessing as to the extent of his injury.
One player who's health previously worried us but no longer is Placido Polanco, who raised his average to an MLB second best .389 with a four for five day. The one time he failed to reach safely he sent the centerfielder deep. Polanco is all that stands between complete offensive ignominy and something approaching major league respectability for this club. He just gets his bat on the ball. While that doesn't seem to be such a big deal for guys who make their living playing baseball, one need only look at Raul Ibanez on the other side of the equation for a prime example of not getting one's bat on the ball. Ibanez pinch hit in the seventh inning yesterday and swung futilely at some pretty mediocre offerings. Ibanez head isn't exactly screwed on right now; indeed, he seems to be leading with his head on every pitch. Surely there is someone in the minors who can at least put his bat on the ball occasionally.
Cole Hamels pitched effectively yesterday. Antonio Bastardo yielded his first earned run (a solo homer) of the year. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard all homered for the previously punchless Phils. It remains to be seen how the Phils will fare against serious pitching. Yesterday's opponent, Joe Saunders, looked like he was throwing batting practice.