Sunday, September 14, 2008

Phils Chug Brew; Gain Ground

The Phillies jumped on the Brewers early and captured a 7 - 3 win in front of 45,000 folks at Citizens Bank Ballpark. The win, coupled with a Mets loss to the Braves, puts the Phils 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in NL East and only 2 games behind the Brewers in the Wild Card race.

The Phils wasted little time in this one, sprinting out to a 3 - 0 lead in the first inning on the strength of run-scoring hits by Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, and Shane Victorino. They struck again in the 2nd inning on a Ryan Howard 2-run single, giving Cole Hamels an early 5 - 0 lead.

Cole Hamels, while not dominant, pitched more than well enough. He had baserunners on in every inning but the 2nd and the 6th, but managed to strand most of the men he put on base. The 2 runs he did give were ultimately preventable, in that the ball that Jason Kendall hit to left to score the first 2 Brewer runs should have been caught by Pat Burrell. Burrell misjudged the fly ball, took a bad angle, and allowed the ball to get over his head.

Hamels ultimately gave way to the bullpen in the 7th inning.

Offensively, the Phillies were led by their catalyst, Jimmy Rollins. Rollins, in addition to getting on base and scoring in both the 1st and 2nd inning, hit a 2-run homer to put the game out of reach in the 6th inning, when it looked like Hamels was tiring a little and the Brewers seemed to be getting a little frisky. Chase Utley also went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored.

As a result of Friday's rainout, the Phils and Brewers will play a day-night doubleheader. For the Phils, it's their second Sunday in a row playing a doubleheader and for a Philly fan, it's just as well as the Eagles don't play till tomorrow night anyway.

Pitching matchups:

Day game: Joe Blanton vs. Dave Bush
Night game: Brett Myers vs. Jeff Suppan


- I was critical of Cole Hamels when he lost that game against the Mets on 3 days rest; this game is probably the biggest game that Hamels has won in his young career. Contrary to what I read in some outlets describing Hamels as "sharp", I would contend that Hamels can pitch much better. All in all, though, the outing was a positive step in Hamels' development as a big game pitcher.

- With Pat Burrell's struggles, there is no way he should be batting 5th as he did yesterday. Right now, I'd put him no higher than 6th. I'd even rather see Pedro Feliz or Victorino batting 5th right now. Burrell and Ruiz were the only starters to not get basehits yesterday.

Photo from Shaffer (UNITED STATES)

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