The Phillies’ moms should be proud; their boys have completed yet another series sweep. Brett Myers improved his daytime ERA to 1.25 by allowing just one run and Ryan Howard provided all the Phillies offensive with solo home runs in the 8th and 12th innings. Interestingly enough, Howard did not start the game because Brandon Claussen, a lefty, started for the Reds, but both of his shots came off left-handed pitchers, including the first one off Claussen. These were only Ryno’s second and third homers off lefties (as opposed to his nine off righties) but came at the most opportune times. He also ended the game with a nice grab off a line shot by Ken Griffey, Jr. Apparently, he isn’t as big a defensive liability as I like to make him out to be.
Jimmy Rollins went 1-5 with a walk, giving him his only hit in the series. He is now batting under .250 and seems to really be struggling at the plate – back in his old habit of popping up. Luckily his defense has maintained its superior quality and was demonstrated as he made a great diving grab to end the second inning and save a run. Geoff Geary, after a weekend of being toyed with by the Phillies brass, came on in the 11th to record his first win of the season.
With this spectacular run that the Phillies have been on they have shown their ability to beat quality teams, just as we were complaining about their difficulty beating weak ones. The talk of Charlie Manuel’s departure has been put on pause, some of which has been due to Mike Arbuckle’s and Pat Gillick’s decisions to bring up fresh talent which have helped the Phils. But many of the qualms with Charlie early on were about his decisions concerning bringing in relievers and pinch hitters. Now that the starters have settled down and have been able to pitch effectively through 6, 7, 8 innings, it greatly reduces the margin of error for Charlie. Although he second guessed himself taking Hamels out after five innings, I didn’t mind the decision since it was the kid’s first start and its better to have him go out on top and maintain some confidence. Therefore, for now, the head hunting will recede especially since the Mets now only lead the division by one game as they were unable to mimic the Phillies and lost to the Brewers in extra innings. Tomorrow will be a well-deserved day off for the Phils.