Jamie Moyer pitched 7 strong innings, giving up only 1 earned run and Ryan Howard hit two home runs as the Phils beat the Cardinals in a Business Person Special at CBP by a score of 4 - 1.
Moyer struck out 4 and walked 2 in winning his eighth game of the year against 6 losses. The win for Moyer is the first win in almost a month (6/12 vs. Fla) and despite his relative lack of success lately, Moyer's ERA is now below 4 at 3.95. Not bad for an old guy.
As for Ryan Howard, he certainly seems to have heated up at the plate as the weather has gotten hotter. For the month of July to date, Howard is hitting a cool .375 with 7 homers and 15 RBI. This surge has been good enough to put him in the NL lead for both home runs (27) and RBI (83). With that sort of run production, it is now a little easier to ignore his MLB leading 125 strikeouts.
Since Brad Lidge was unavailable due to extended usage the night before, JC Romero came on in the 9th to nail down his first save of the season.
Tonite, the Phils open up a series at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Probable starters for the weekend:
Fri: Doug Davis vs. Kyle Kendrick (7:05pm)
Sat: Randy Johnson vs. Adam Eaton (3:55pm)
Sun: TBA vs. Cole Hamels (1:35pm)......although I was reading somewhere that this is typically Brandon Webb's turn, but since the All-Star break starts on Monday, he may not be pitching).
As you no doubt have heard by now, Chase Utley will be the latest Phil to compete in the Home Run derby at the All-Star game.
Am I the only Phils fan NOT excited about this prospect? Do I really need my All-Star second baseman and perennial MVP candidate screwing up his swing at a whorish, made-up event like this?
The Phils do have a history with the home run derby. Bobby Abreu won the event in 2005 in Comerica Park and Ryan Howard won the event in 2006 in PNC Park. The results for the reminder of the year, for each player were a bit of a mixed bag.
Bobby Abreu slumped in the 2nd half of 2005, hitting just .260 with 6 HR and 44 RBI. Ultimately, Abreu was traded in a well publicized salary dump the following year. Ryan Howard, on the other hand, hit .355 in the 2nd half of 2006 with 30 HR and 78 RBI on his way to winning the NL MVP.
Utley has a swing that is more of a quick whip of the bat designed to produce line drives rather than home runs, which differs from Howard's power stroke. I also don't believe that Utley's swing can be compared to Bobby Abreu's stroke, whose hands are not as quick as Utley's and can spray the ball to all fields. I personally don't think Abreu has been the same player since he won that Home Run derby. Is it all the fault of the event? Hard to say.
Ultimately, though, I think Utley has the disposition and attention to detail to be able to handle what the event entails, but I would just as soon that he not have to worry about tweaking his swing or artificially trying to drive the ball out of the park just for the sake of this event.