OFFENSE STRIKES EARLY
-Big innings are the new black for the Phillies. On Sunday, they dropped five in the eighth inning on the Mets. On Monday night in San Francisco, they put up four in the opening inning, en route to a 5-2 win to open up the three-game series. It was a positive sign to see them jump on Tim Lincecum early and not let him get settled in.
-Placido Polanco started off the wild first inning by doubling to right-center field as the Giants outfielders, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, looked at each other to make the play. In the seventh inning, Polanco would be plunked on the arm by Giants reliever Dan Otero, but did stay in the game and appeared to be fine.
-Roy Halladay helped himself in the fourth inning, knocking in Freddy Galvis with a single down the right field line. Galvis smacked a two-out double to right field, and Halladay added to his lead. That made up for some of those unlucky bounces on the other side.
-Juan Pierre, getting his second straight start in left field, went 0-for-4. No one is taking the reins in left field just yet. And Jimmy Rollins took a walk, just his second of the young season. I’d like to see more of that.
-The Doc wasn’t spectacular, but once again ends with a nice line at the end; eight innings, seven hits, two runs, three walks, six strikeouts. The Doc tossed 109 pitches, 76 for strikes. He battled a tough zone throughout the evening, but really settled in over the final few frames. Over the final three innings, Halladay threw only 24 pitches. That’s why he’s the best. You think he’s struggling a bit and he winds up going eight strong.
-Tim Lincecum has not looked like the Freak of old here in the early going. It was an ugly first inning; one in which he threw 30 pitches. He would settle down a bit and strike out six over six innings. But his fastball routinely topped off around 91, well below where it once registered during his Cy Young years. You wonder if there is something wrong with his arm or if he’s just headed on a downward plane.
STRANGE STRIKE ZONE
-Home plate umpire Marty Foster is lucky he’s alive. Roy Halladay was staring him down and if looks could kill, the man would be dead. The strike zone was tight and Halladay wasn’t very happy about it. On multiple occasions, Doc shows his contempt for Foster, even gesturing at him on some close calls. How many other pitchers get away with that? Amazingly, it’s the first time Foster had ever called a game started by Halladay.
-Hunter Pence made a great grab in right field to end the fourth inning, robbing Pagan of extra bases. That ended a Giants threat that could have made things interesting. Pence isn’t known for his glove, but made a nice play in a tough ballpark.
-The Phillies offense finished 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Lacking power, this lineup will have to hit for a higher average with men on base to keep coming up with runs.
-Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth to record his third save in as many opportunities.
-It was a fine start to the 10-game road trip. The victory pushes the Phillies to an even 5-5. Tomorrow, Joe Blanton takes on the newly-rich Madison Bumgarner.