It has been a very weird day for the Phillies. For starters, Raul Ibanez returned to the team and is expected to play the next two games before the All-Star Break. Then, Chris Coste was let go and picked up by the Houston Astros. Coste has not had a great year off the bench and apparently, the Phillies prefer Paul Bako’s skills behind the plate as the back-up; neither Coste nor Bako have performed well offensively, so the defense was the deciding factor. Coste is a great guy and has been a huge part of this team; he will be missed :O(
And then to round out the day of weirdness, Charlie Manuel chose his outfield replacement for the All-Star game – it is Jayson Werth. Many have questioned the selection as Werth’s batting average is below many others who could have been picked, like Matt Kemp, but it is Charlie’s team and he gets to make the decision. The Phillies have gotten screwed several times in the past with All-Star picks, like Pat Burrell last year, so I guess what comes around, goes around. But Werth has been great and his power numbers are excellent; many players deserve to go and he is certainly one of them. Either way, the Phillies now have 5 players headed to St. Louis :O)
Then tonight the Phillies began a series with the Pirates. Joe Blanton had another great start and pitched through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just 1 run, a solo homer. It was a great job by Blanton and a real boost to the starting rotation.
The offense did not score much, but got just enough to win the game for Blanton. Werth rewarded Manuel for his All-Star decision by smacking a 2-run double in the 3rd inning. Shane Victorino did the same for the fans who voted him in by going 3 for 4 on the night. And Chase Utley, Mr. All-Star himself, had 1 hit, 1 walk and scored a run. Final score was 3-2 with Brad Lidge getting the save, although another nerve-wracking one after he gave up a solo homer. But, a win is a win :O) We’ll take it.
By the way, for anyone who has been following the Friday Night Phever game on CSNPhilly.com with Ricky Bottallico, I just won! Whoo Hoo!
Photo by Jenn