Last night we made the pilgrimage to Bright House Networks Field to watch the Phils take on the Blue Jays in a rare night Spring Training game. It was great to see the place packed with fans, though many Jays supporters made the short trip south from Dunedin. The Phils ended up losing the game 11-6, but by the time the game ended, most people were out in left field at Frenchy’s bar rooting on VCU.
Cole Hamels started the game, but was rocked for 2 runs in the first and another 2 in the third off 3 home runs. Fabio Castro didn’t perform much better in relief as he struggled to find the strike zone and gave up another four runs himself. The Phils though made a valiant comeback in the seventh led by home runs by Aaron Rowand and Jayson Werth. Werth’s 3-run shot nearly left the park and traveled at least 430 feet. It was interesting that Rowand was still playing in the seventh after most other starters had been pulled and were signing autographs in foul territory. Most likely the packed house included a score of scouts and the Phils wanted to give him another AB. The home run probably helped his trade value, but his .147 average this Spring does not.
Other notes from the game include Ryan Howard going 0-3 with 3 strikeouts. Chase Utley had errors on back-to-back plays in the third, although one wasn’t recorded because it was a double-play ball. But in true Utley form, he redeemed himself in the bottom frame with an RBI single. JRoll hit the ball well, roping two singles, but was caught stealing after one. This year’s Chris Coste, Greg Dobbs had an RBI single in his only at-bat of the night. For as good as he’s played this March (.371 AVG), he’s still deep on the 3B depth chart behind Helms and Nunez so he will likely start the season in Ottawa. Also, everyone’s favorite ex-Phillie catcher, Sal Fasano made an appearance for the Blue Jays and was treated to a rousing ovation by the Phillies fans.
All in all it was a good game but the club certainly showed signs of rustiness. I’m not worried, though it’s only Spring. Saturday’s game against the Yankees should be a decent test in the face of quality pitching. We’ll be there and will have pictures to share if you can’t make it.