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Bats Make Appearance In 6-4 Win

Cue “Hallelujah,” we have an offense.

The Phillies bats came alive in a 6-4 win over the Indians on St. Patrick’s Day. Among the free-swinging specimen:

Jimmy Rollins: 2/3, R, RBI
Chase Utley: 2/2, RBI
Shane Victorino: 2/2, R, 3 RBI
Carlos Ruiz: 3/4, 2 R, RBI

It’s about time to laud Ruiz for a great spring. Quietly, the starting catcher has posted a .417 AVG out of the eight-hole. If he can carry this into the season, the bottom of the order will clearly benefit.

While it’s great to see the big bats come around a bit, it’s also nice to see a passable pitching performance from a fifth starter candidate. Chad Durbin went five innings, giving up three runs on four hits while walking two. Certainly not a great outing, but for a No. 5 guy, it’s not terrible.

Updating the fifth starter madness, it looks as if the battle is now between Durbin and Adam Eaton. JD Durbin pitched himself out of contention with his last performance, while Travis Blackley is being told to throw less pitches per session. It’s clear Blackley is being groomed for the LOOGY role, while Fabio Castro will start the season in AAA Lehigh Valley, possibly along with Vic Darensbourg.

Then again, Darensbourg had another strong outing, striking out one in an inning yesterday. He was joined by long-man candidate Clay Condrey, who is fighting to stay on the organization. He gave up just a hit in his inning. JC Romero pitched a scoreless seventh, while Tom Gordon gave up a solo home run off Victor Martinez in the ninth.

As we approach Easter Weekend, which I’m now calling D-Weekend because it’ll determine a lot of things, the roster is coming together. With all the preliminaries out of the way, hopefully the offense can carry this strong outing through the rest of the spring.

What we got out of this game:

  1. That maybe that light has turned on for our offense.
  2. Chad Durbin kept himself in the fifth starter race another start.
  3. Vic Darensbourg and Travis Blackley are now in a heated LOOGY battle.
  4. Carlos Ruiz is the unheralded star of the spring.

Cole Hamels hits the mound at 1:05 today, when the Phillies take on the Rays in Clearwater. Fabio Castro and Ryan Madson will follow. For the former, it’s a last gasp attempt to stay in the LOOGY race. For the latter, it’s just another tune-up.

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