It is still very early in Spring Training, but the Phillies offense looks to be in midseason form. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Mr Everywhere Wilson Valdez led the charge as the Phightins mashed out 14 hits and seven runs against the host Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon winning 7-4.
Howard connected for his first home run of Spring Training and Valdez went 3 for 4 and is hitting .417 for the Spring. With Chase Utley still ailing, Valdez could fill in at second although he played in right field today. Delwyn Young, who Ruben Amaro does not see as a permanent replacement if Utley needs surgery, played second base and went 0 for 3. He is hitting .286 this Spring.
Youngsters Matt Rizzotti, Freddy Galvis, Brandon Moss, and Carlos Rivero all saw time today and each recorded their first Spring Training hit.
Joe Blanton made his second start in the Grapefruit League and still seems determined to prove he is not just a fifth starter. He pitched 3.2 innings giving up two runs and striking out two. What I really liked about today was, aside from strikeouts, Blanton recorded eight outs; all ground balls. It seems he is keeping his pitches down, which is always good pitching in CBP.
Dan Meyer, Drew Carpenter, Mike Zagurski and Antonio Bastardo each pitched an inning while Danys Baez went an inning and a third. Meyer was charged with the other two runs and struck out two, as did Carpenter and Bastardo. Blanton leads the team in innings pitched with 6.2 this Spring.
The Phillies were 4 for 14 with runners in scoring position but did strike out 11 times in the game. Domonic Brown did not get into the game today and has been struggling all Spring. He has yet to collect a hit in 15 at bats and has struck out nine times.
The Phils will be back in Clearwater tomorrow taking on this same Pirates team. The team is 4-3 this Spring.