Over the last few seasons the Phillies have been remarkably successful in unearthing a role player or two who have proven invaluable. Last year, super-sub Wilson Valdez filled in admirably for both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. It is reasonable to say without him the season might have turned out worse.
This season, it appears Pete Orr is assuming the mantle of key addition. The nearly 32-year old journeyman has already appeared in two-thirds of the Phillies' games this season and has made the most of his opportunities.
Last night Orr doubled twice as the Phils rallied from a three run deficit to beat Florida 5-3 to take the series in Miami. Orr has begun seeing more playing time, especially against lefties, as Valdez struggles. He may not be as slick as fielder as Valdez, but he has handled his position well, especially on the pivot. He has also come up with some nifty scoops of throws on attempted steals.
On the veteran side of the ledger, Jimmy Rollins continues his resurgence. A night after his uncharacteristic error cost the Phillies a victory, JRoll bounced back by doubling in the winning runs in the top of the ninth inning. He did this after arriving at his last plate appearance wearing a classic horse collar.
After Tuesday night's loss Jimmy was his usual candid self, taking the blame and clearly feeling he'd let his mates down. Last night he made amends.
Something In Between
Ryan Madson has been viewed as the closer of the future for a few seasons now but never seemed comfortable in the role when handed the opportunity. This season he wasn't so much handed the opportunity as he was forced into the role by injuries to Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras. Madson has never looked back.
Last night he converted his fifth save in five opportunities and looked impressive doing so. When the above mentioned injured players return, Contreras will return to the set-up role and Lidge...well...it's hard to know where he will fit. One thing is certain, however; Madson is more effective as the closer. The bet here is Charlie Manuel will agree despite his loyalty to veterans and his unwritten policy that veterans don't lose their jobs due to injury. The Phils can no longer afford the adventures Lidge brings, especially with Madson having matured into the role.