The race for fifth starter is full of â€” something. Travis Blackley went just 1.2 innings in a 9-5 loss to the Indians. He surrendered four hits and four walks as five runs came across. Going against him was a wind blowing to the right field fence, taking a few balls that seemed like routine fly outs over the fence. But his control lacked and hurt him bad. That’s not what you want to see out of any starter.
Right now, Blackley seems mired, maybe a half step ahead of the Durbin Duo and a step ahead of Kris Benson, who threw 45 pitches in a Minor League game and looked good. Still, a better performance will be needed from the Aussie left-hander, who will likely get another couple innings before next week is through.
Elsewhere, Clay Condrey worked seemingly his first scoreless frame of the spring. Joe Savery gave up a run in two innings, but walked three. Josh Outman did no better, surrendering a three-run homer by the hot Ryan Garko. He also walked two and gave up another hit in his two innings. Gary Knotts, a long shot for anything, cleaned up with a scoreless inning.
Offensively, yet again, Ryan Howard drove an RBI double, and it was to the left-center field area, just missing a home run. I wrote about Howard’s resurgence; with the way he’s spraying the ball, it sure seems as if the big man’s going to have a mammoth 2008.
As an aside, in that Benson game, Jamie Moyer opposed him and breezed through a scoreless three innings. Moyer has yet to let a guy cross the plate this spring.
What we got out of this game:
- The fifth starter battle: Feel the excitement!
- Kris Benson is gaining on Travis Blackley and the Durbin Duo quickly.
- Ryan Howard will have a giant 2008. Mark it.
Today the Phillies get the Blue Jays. Kyle Kendrick â€” who had his worst “professional” start ever last time out â€” starts for the good guys. Expect Francisco Rosario to make an appearance â€” he’s been, with Moyer and Brett Myers, the Phils best pitcher this spring. Game time is 1:05 p.m.