A Step in the Right Direction
With Sunday's game being an afternoon game, the Phillies having Monday off, and Tuesday night's game against the Padres not starting until 10:05 EST, it seemed as if the Phillies had decided to not even finish the year. But instead, they decided to show up at PETCO Park in San Diego and give it one more try, which was a good idea, because they pulled out a win. Coupled with a Braves loss, the Phillies drew to within 4.5 games in the NL East and 4 in the Wild Card. Some notes from the game:
Brett Myers pitched a good game overall (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB) and got the "W". Its becoming more and more obvious that if Meyers can keep his pitches down, he is much more effective. After letting a run score in the bottom of the 4th, Joe Kerrigan and Mike Lieberthal had a meeting with Myers on the mound and thereafter, his pitches stayed down, hitters made weaker contact, and Myers was able to last through the 6th inning. From now on, the Phillies should fine him $500 for every pitch he throws above mid-thigh.
The youngsters came up big. Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd drove in key runs in the 7th. Utley's hit was as a pinch-hitter for Meyers and Byrd followed up his offense with a great diving catch into he bottom of the inning to kill a mini-rally by the Padres.
Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler had a mini-feud over the accuracy of a radar gun reading. Remember when the biggest controversy regarding the Phillies was the quality of their relationship? Those were the days. Throughout the game Wheeler raved and gushed about San Diego. Think Kalas would like to see the Phillies charter leave without him? I know we would.
Placido Polanco had a rough night. In the 4th inning, he took a Sean Burroughs knee to the head while sliding into second while trying to break up a 6-5-3 double play (the Padres had the Thome-shift on). Polanco was able to stay in the game until he was hit in the forearm by a pitch two innings later, he was then replaced by Tomas Perez.
The new bullpen was put into use and Todd Jones and Felix Rodgriguez did their job, particularly Rodriguez (1 IP, 2K's using a great fastball). The old bullpen - Tim Worrell to close in the ninth - was a bit shaky, but got the job done.