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Phillies vs. Braves – A Season Preview?

Today the Phillies battled the Braves, came back from a 2 run deficit but then blew a 2 run lead and ended the game with 4-4 tie.  Ryan Franklin started and his sinker was looking great early on as he struck out 4 through two and a third.  For the most part he looked sharp overall, keeping the ball down and causing the Braves to ground out.  He worked quickly, which may have helped him throw strikes and even picked off Marcus Giles at first.  His first hit allowed came when he gave up a home run to Andruw Jones off a breaking ball.  His second hit came in the fifth and was another homer – this time to Jeff Franceour.  His decent pitching overall kept runners off the base so they were both only solo shots, but let’s leave the Clemens or Schilling comparisons for another day.  Franklin also laid down a nice bunt with two strikes to advance two runners in the fifth.  Ruben Amaro, Jr. was in the broadcast booth during the sixth inning and said he would take Franklin’s starting line of today anytime – so would I for that matter.

                        IP        H       R      ER      BB     SO     HR      ERA
Franklin          5.0      3     2      2      2      4      2      3.57

Amaro also witnessed Ryan Howard give the Phillies the lead with his ninth home run of the spring, mammoth 3-run shot in the sixth.  Then Yoel Hernandez promptly blew the lead in the seventh.  First he walked Todd Pratt to lead off who later scored the Braves’ third run on a sacrifice fly.  Pratt was on third after advancing on what was scored as a wild pitch, but in actuality was a poorly played passed ball by Sal Fasano.  Hernandez also unimpressively walked the pitcher to keep the Braves rally going.

Chris Roberson started in leftfield today and went 3 for 5 scoring the Phillies first run.  He had a stolen base but was also thrown out once.  Amaro mentioned him while in the booth and said "he is doing a nice job."  But listening between the lines, his inflection sounded as if he’ll be in starting the season in AAA as most have assumedCharlie Manuel was quoted earlier in the week saying, "Do we want him just sitting there? He’s right in the mix, [but] we want an experienced bat, somebody who can consistently hit the ball out of the yard."  The rumors abound are that the Phils are looking to pick up a veteran left-handed bat to come off the bench and would fill the 25th roster spot.

Finally, also making a stop in to broadcast booth was the Braves GM John Schuerholz out plugging his new book, Built to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies from Baseball’s Winningest GM.  Needless to say, I’ve already preordered a copy and am having it delivered to 1 Citizens Bank Way.

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