Ah, a walk in the park.
The Phils salvaged the Cincinnati set, taking two of four against the Red Stockings behind a stellar effort by the ace, Cole Hamels. Hollywood went seven innings, giving up five hits while walking three and striking out four. He surrendered two runs â€” one earned â€” to raise his ERA to 1.20. Behind him, Tom Gordon pitched a splendid 1-2-3 eighth (hopefully that continues) and Brad Lidge got his first Phillies save, gutting out a tough ninth after a So Taguchi error and two walks (one intentional).
Pat Burrell was the offensive star, knocking two homers early and driving in three. Through the first week, Burrell is hitting .435 with three homers and nine ribbies. A machine, for sure. Geoff Jenkins added his first homer and Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a knock off Reds’ starter Bronson Arroyo, who went five and change.
A few negative trends continued, however. Shane Victorino came up short in a bases loaded situation where the Phils could’ve blown the game open. He’s hitting a paltry .143. Carlos Ruiz, too, is struggling, as he’s at .158. Defense also is killing the Phils â€” supposed defensive wizard Pedro Feliz committed his second error of the season; Taguchi’s ninth-inning blunder could’ve opened the door for the Reds â€” a no-no for a defensive replacement.
Still, a win is a win, and this one was good. Lidge looked good enough â€” just the one walk was his fault. His wild pitches against Javier Valentin didn’t prove to be too costly. He’ll be fine. Most of all, it’s good to see Hamels come up big in a big situation â€” this was a must-win if there ever was one this early. You don’t want to lose three to the Reds, dropping to 2-5 before arriving at Shea Stadium for the first three-day bender with the hated Mets.
So with today out of the way, now the fun begins.