Behind the power of 12 hits, including back-to-back home runs, and stellar pitching from the bullpen, the Phillies slugged their way to an easy 9-4 victory over the Mets today. The win was their fifth straight at Citifield, and the first of rookie Jonathan Pettibone’s career.
– In his second career start, the 22-year old Pettibone wasn’t flawless, but he had the luxury of pitching with a lead, and he did a great job of limiting the damage through five innings.
– He started the game by putting two men on, first hitting Mike Baxter with an inside slider, and then walking Ruben Tejada. However, a timely 6-4-3 doubleplay–he’d get two of them on the day–and a strikeout of David Wright would allow Pettibone to escape the inning without any damage.
– The Mets broke through in the second after back-to-back, two-out doubles–one a line drive that glanced off the glove of Jimmy Rollins–made it 1-0. They put the pressure on Pettibone again in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs. But, just like in the second, he limited the damage by allowing one run. He’d allow one more run in the fifth before being pulled from the game.
– Pettibone’s final line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2BB, 4 K. One thing to take away from this start is Pettibone’s composure. He worked himself into a few jams, but never seemed afraid to throw his fastball over the plate. If he can continue to do that, it will work to his benefit, helping him to avoid compounding rallies by issuing free passes. Having said that, he allowed a ton of hard hit line drives over five innings. He’s throwing the ball over the plate, but he still needs to learn to command the strike zone a little better and avoid the barrel of the bat. Still, this wasn’t a bad couple of starts for the young Pettibone. He’s shown some encouraging signs and has kept the team in games.
THE LINEUP FINDING LIFE?
– After going 6-for-15 and scoring all four runs last night, the Phillies top four once again got the job in route to a victory. Collectively, they hit 7-for-17, scoring six runs and driving in three. Their effort helped lead the team to a season-high nine runs.
– It was Pettibone of all hitters who got the offense started after the Phils failed to breakthrough in the first two innings. His leadoff single in the third was the first of three straight hits, including an RBI double by Chase Utley. After Rollins scored on a passed ball, and Michael Young struck out, Ryan Howard hit a sac fly to left to give the team its third run. They would add on another five runs in the fourth with an RBI single from Howard, a three-run bomb by Domonic Brown, and a solo shot by John Mayberry to make it 8-2. Laynce Nix drove in the ninth run with an RBI single in the seventh.
– The Phillies have hammered Mets pitching early on, scoring an impressive 30 runs in five games (my superior math skills tell me that’s six runs a game), while notching 19 extra base hits. If only they could play the Mets all the time.
– File it under “How ’bout that?” stats, but Pettibone has reached base in two of his four plate appearances this season and scored both times. He’s helped the team in two rallies so far, and looks to be the spark this offense so desperately needs (I’m just kidding, you guys).
THE BULLPEN DOMINATES
– After watching Pettibone exit the game in the fifth, it was hard not to wonder if a five-run lead would be enough for the Phillies to win with 12 outs needed from the bullpen. Such worries would be ill-found, however, as the bullpen cruised. Raul Valdes lowered his ERA by a full run, as he effortlessly worked his way through a perfect sixth and seventh, striking out two. If that wasn’t enough to shock you, Chad Durbin followed up with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. The effort capped a stretch in which Phillies pitchers retired 10 straight batters.
– Tomorrow’s game marks the return of Carlos Ruiz after a 25-game suspension. Pop the champagne!