Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lehigh Legion

It's hard to say what may be churning inside them, but the rookie troika of Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo all looked cool as cucumbers on the outside as they led the Phils to a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox last night. All three players began the season at AAA Lehigh Valley.

Raul Ibanez, batting 1 for his last 22 prior to the night, paced the offense, driving in both runs while falling a triple shy of the cycle. And in the don't-look-now-but category, Chase Utley had two hits to raise his average to .281. Utley also had a stolen base. Watching him run the bases, one would be hard pressed to believe in the Spring he was suffering from a serious injury that might have ended his entire season.

The Lehigh Valley legion was impressive, none more so than Worley. The only Red Sox run came on a double by pitcher John Lackey. After the game many Boston players expressed admiration for Worley's mound presence and assortment of pitches. No one, however, was more impressed than his own manager and teammates. On a squad that doesn't lack starting pitching, the kid held his own.

Stutes pitched a perfect eighth inning and Bastardo, pressed into service as the team's fourth closer of the season after Ryan Madson went on the DL, pitched a perfect ninth. Both have been nothing short of stupendous this season and despite their youth and lack of big league experience, they come into games at critical moments and dominate.

What, us worry?

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