And what a game it was!
Though it was only one game, and it was only against the New York Mets, a team that has already decided that they are sellers in this pre-trade deadline period—they traded closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday—that’s not going to stop me from sharing the three most important things I learned about the Philadelphia Phillies from last night’s win.
WARNING: Admittedly, I will be exaggerating and making rash statements based on limited evidence. But come on, you know you want to read it anyway.
Rash Generalization No. 1: The Phillies found their right-handed bat. (And Ruben Amaro, Jr. didn't even have to spend a penny.)
He has driven in 12 runs in his last 5 games, 9 in his last two, including a career high 5 RBIs last night. When he was sent down to the minors last month, John Mayberry was told by Phils manager Charlie Manuel that he had to improve on his hitting against right-handed pitching, one big thing the Phillies have been lacking in their anemic first half offense.
You might say Mayberry took Charlie‘s words to heart. Eleven of those 12 above-mentioned RBIs have come against right-handed pitchers.
Advice to Charlie? Next time, tell Mayberry to improve on his home run hitting!
Rash Generalization No. 2: Great pitching is contagious.
He is 5-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 11 starts. Cliff Lee? Roy Halladay? No. Oh, it must be Cole Hamels, then. Nope, not Cole either.
Vance Worley, the 23-yearold right-hander, filling in for injured Phillies starters Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton has virtually come out of nowhere to earn a spot in this ace-filled starting rotation.
With Lee and Halladay both pitching in the mid-summer classic, helping the NL capture home field in the World Series, the Phils wanted to give them both the days off they missed.
So, after a brief return to the minors during the All-Star break, Worley was called on last night to kick off the three game series against the Mets. With the young rookie on the mound, the Phillies barely missed a beat.
Worley pitched five and a third innings, allowing just one run in 3-hit innings last night. Other than needing to work on his pitch count so he can go deeper into games, he has been nothing short of terrific.
Advice to Charlie? Dust off that dugout bench next to Lee, Halladay and Hamels to make room for Kendrick and Blanton. It seems that even sitting next to greatness can rub off!!!
Rash Generalization No. 3: Raul Ibanez will finish his Phillies career the way he started.
No, those were not boos you heard last night at Citi Field after Raul Ibanez‘s sixth inning solo home run. It was Phillies fans chanting, “Rauuuuuul.”
Raul Ibanez has quietly been mounting a hot streak. He has hit in six straight games, during which time he is hitting .379 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Add to that his diving catch in the outfield last night and you might forget that this classy veteran is pushing 40.
This is likely Raul’s last year with the Phillies, and maybe even his last in the game he has played so well for so many years. I say he finishes with an end to this season like his scorching start with the Phillies in 2009.
Advice to Charlie? Make sure Raul gets plenty of rest, takes his vitamins, and sneaks in an afternoon nap whenever possible.
So there you have it, three groundless predictions based on one game.
Have a great Saturday. And remember, the Phillies play the Mets again today at 4:10.