May 02, 2005

Phils-Marlins series wrap

One for the road: Benefiting from a clutch five-out save from Billy Wagner, the Phillies pick up a 8-6 win at Citizen's Bank Park Sunday. Though they lost the series 2-1, the Phils created a positive springboard as they open up a 10-game road trip tonight in Queens. (AP Photo)

Picking a winner
Sunday was a great game to attend live, as I lucked into seeing best home game of the year. The weather was a little chilly and parking was a nightmare with the Sixers tipping off a half-hour earlier, but five quick runs calmed those nerves and allowed us to sit back and enjoy. You wouldn’t have known the Phils entered the game in the NL East basement from the positive attitude of the crowd. It was a great time.

The big story yesterday were some great first-inning ABs to help knock Josh Beckett out of the game early. The best was Bobby Abreu’s three-run homer, following about five 3-2 foul balls. Ironically, I had just said to my friend "Bobby likes to have the ball in a certain spot, otherwise he’ll foul off pitches by just lunging at them." The very next pitch was right in the basket and he slung it to the upper deck. That was Bobby's best AB of the season from what I saw.

The rest of the lineup showed the same patience that first inning, batting around, drawing walks, and getting hits deep into the count. With the Marlins bullpen battered, they couldn’t have picked a better time to knock a starter out early.

Perez and Pratt
The Phils fielded their Sunday afternoon favorites, Todd Pratt and Tomas Perez, and like always, they capitalized on the opportunity. Perez in particular had a career game, going 3-4 with 3 RBIs filling in for Jim Thome at first.

After the second inning, the Phillies showed a Tomas Perez career highlight reel on the big screen. I caught Tomas watching it as he slowly rolled grounders to the infield, with a little smile on his face. My sense is when he retires, fans will look back fondly on his career. As for Pratty, he went 1-4, but more importantly, they’re now 4-0 in games he’s started.

There’s certainly no reason to groan when the bench gets the call.

Cory Lidle
As for Cory Lidle ... give me a sec to go back in my achieves to copy what I wrote last week ... ah yes ... here it is:
Cory Lidle is giving the Phils exactly what was expected from him this season – about five good innings each start. Like his previous outings, things became a little unraveled in the sixth, but so far, he hasn’t been badly burned.

That about covers it.

Enter Sandman
I was certain Tim Worrell would turn it around, but yesterday was likely his last as a set-up man. Relieving Ryan Madson, who pitched two strong and will likely take over eighth-inning duties, Worrell nearly cost them the game again, giving up a double, a single and an RBI single until it was Billy Wagner time, trotting out of the bullpen to Metallica's "Enter Sandman."

It took the Sandman about four pitches to get Mike Lowell to hit into an inning-ending double play. Then he took a rare turn at bat in the bottom half and laced a single to right. In the ninth, he delivered the dagger for save number six.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Sandman is back.

Fishy observations on a stinky team
* Mike Lowell is really struggling, grounding into two costly double plays yesterday. They had him batting seventh. Not to imply anything, but to the casual eye he looks a little leaner this season.

* Paul LoDuca is my least-favorite type of player, a total slap hitter with a high BA. He reached on a couple joke hits yesterday.

* Alex Gonzalez is probably my least favorite player in baseball. For some reason, he saves his power stroke for Phillies games, and hit a two-run shot yesterday.

* Dontrelle Willis pinch hit for Beckett in the third and smacked a sharp bouncer up the middle. On the bases, he looks like a seasoned position player, and managed to reach home. The idea he's only 23 is scary.


At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Tom G said...

I guess it's all in the eyes of the beholder. You said Willis looked seasoned on the bases, while the Phillies announcer (I was listening via XM) described Willis's running as "all arms and legs flying around the bases"...Funny...

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

He certainly is physical in a crazy loonball sort of way. I meant to check his batting stats because I don't know anything about his bat. He's a career .216 hitter.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

I'm not sure why Alex Gonzalez is your least favorite player, but for some reason I can't stand him either. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's joyless play out on the field or the fact that he seems to whine a lot. Or the fact that he thinks he's some kind of superstar. IMO the worst kind of players personality-wise are the players who act like they're good when they're not.

By the way, great job on the blog. I'm a huge Phillies (despite every effort on their part to drive all of their fans away with poor starts every year) and I check your site daily. Keep up the good work!

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

Thanks for the compliments, H.E. Gonzalez is just one of those bums you'd love to smack. Encarnacion and Castillo are right there with him.

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous RandeB said...

I thought I went to the best home game of the year!

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

Oooo ... that was a good one. 58 degrees though .... we'll call it a push.

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous RandeB said...

It's the what's more fun to watch-good pitching or good hitting.

My game, besides coming in at a very speedy 2:11, came before the Phils were in last place which made it more fun than a 'salvage a game in the series' win from a disappointing team.

And was against the hated Braves and Smoltz (don't hate Beckett as much yet).

And was the only game I remember attending that ended on a great defensive play.

But the Phanatic didn't have a party, so you've got me there.


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