Raul Ibanez brought the pain to the New York Mets last night with a 3-run shot into the bullpen in the 10th inning. The Phillies win the series in New York, 2 games to 1 and come home with a 7-3 record on this most recent road trip.
Ibanez has been the biggest surprise of the year for this team, bringing the defense to match his offense. In the 4th, Ibanez played a hot shot off the wall and nailed David Wright at 2nd who was trying for a double. From all the way back on the warning track, not only did Ibanez get the ball to Chase Utley without a hop, he placed the toss perfectly so Utley could make an easy tag.
This guy has been like the Incredible Hulk for the Phillies (or the Ibanez Hulk), tossing opponents around as if they were small woodland creatures instead of professional ball players. While leading the majors with 58 RBI’s, slugging percentage (.674) and he is also second in homers with 21, Ibanez has put this team on his back and intends to carry them to the promise land. Could chants of “MVP!” from the fans at the ball park be far behind? Just wait; it’s coming.
And the starting pitching continues to improve as well. Jamie Moyer had another quality start against the Mets, going 6 innings with 3 runs on 8 hits and did not walk anyone. He looked a bit frustrated at times, but he is the master at buckling down and getting it done. The bullpen had another great outing too. Clay Condrey continues to turn heads with his 2.27 ERA and last night he pitched 2 scoreless and hitless innings. Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre took care of business in the 9th and Ryan Madson saved the game in the 10th.
But just when everything is about to click….the Phillies are getting ready to butt heads with the Boston Red Sox who are coming off a 3-game sweep of the Yankees. The Phillies have been extraordinarily bad in inter league play historically; will 2009 be different? Or will the Sox derail the train in Philly? We shall see…
Save A Pet
If you are going to the game tonight, stop by the Save A Pet charity booth which will be located at the first base gate and run by the Phillies Wives. You can adopt an animal in need, donate toys and blankets, and/or purchase a calendar for which the proceeds go to benefit the SPCA. Phillies players were photographed with either their own animals or adoptable pets from the SPCA and the result is a very adorable calendar. You can also buy the calendar online if you are not able to get to the game. I may need to get about 10 copies… :O)
“Minor” Steroid Issue
Pablo Ozuna signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies on Jan. 22 and has since been playing 2nd base for the AAA Iron Pigs. Yesterday, he was suspended 50 games for violating the league’s drug policy with an elevated testosterone level. Prior to this year, he spent a short time with the Dodgers in 2008 and 3 years with the White Sox before that. The Phillies are the 5th team he has played for.
Utley photo: Phillies.com