In each of his last starts, David Buchanan had allowed seven, four, and three earned runs. Last night, he allowed just one through a career-high 7 2/3 as the Phillies spotted him an early 4-0 lead and he never looked back. Buchanan would surrender an RBI single to Matt Carpenter in the eighth to make it a 4-1 game but the suddenly lock-down Phillies bullpen put the game away, retiring all four remaining St. Louis hitters for the 4-1 victory.
Buchanan’s Big Day
The 25-year old righty from Fayetteville, GA had the best game of his young Major League career, going 7 2/3 IP, striking out four, surrendering just four hits, one walk, and one earned run in an economical 105 pitches. While it assumed that Buchanan will be optioned back to Lehigh Valley when Cliff Lee is return to return in a few weeks, Buchanan has wedged himself in an interesting spot against veteran Roberto Hernandez (3-5, 4.52 ERA, 1.548). With Hernadez’s high WHIP and propensity for long pitch counts, it is only a matter of time before he runs into more outings like he did against at Atlanta whereas Buchanan has fared better at keeping runners off base.
Howard Stays Hot
Howard went 2-4 with a homer and a single, driving in three runs. Howard is now hitting .281/.361/.484 in June with 4 HR and 24 Ks in 17 games. We certainly shouldn’t expect this level of production to remain at this high a level for Howard but he is absolutely seeing the ball better now than he has in what feels like years. In a smaller sample, since June 6, Howard is hitting .318/.412/.545 with 3 HR in 51 PA – that’s a pace that wins an MVP award and it is no surprise the Phils have suddenly woke from their slumber during this stretch.
Reid Brignac injured his left ankle last night in a nasty looking play. Early reports indicate Brignac has a sprained left ankle and no additional roster move is anticipated even if Brignac is placed on the 15-day DL as Cody Asche is set to return tonight.
This was the Phils fourth win in a row and pulled them to within four games of the NL East lead. Last night’s win pulled them a game closer to the third place Marlins, as well as pulling them within 5 of the NL Wild Card. The Phillies look to extend their season-high four game winning streak to five tonight at 8:15 when the Fightins send A.J. Burnett to the hill to face Jaime Garcia. In three days, the Phils playoff odds, per ESPN’s calculations have improved from 3% to 11.4%.