Two old dudes battled it out tonight in Atlanta; the Braves Derek Lowe, 36, and the Phillies Jamie Moyer, 47. When I say I old, I am talking in baseball terms, of course. The elder Moyer out-dueled Lowe allowing just 4 hits and no earned runs in 6 innings. Lowe fell victim to the powerful Phillies offense which ran him out of the game after only 5 innings and racked up 5 runs.
Moyer continues to amaze and defy the laws of time with every victory. And tonight, he did something I had never seen before; in the 2nd inning, he hit the Braves rookie Jason Heyward with a pitch. That was not the fun part though. As the ball left Moyer’s hand, you could hear him yell to Heyward, “Look out!” as the pitch ran too far inside. Moyer is a true gentleman. Of course, the ball was only travelling about 74 mph so I think Heyward will be okay ;o)
The defense behind Moyer was pretty good, although Chase Utley did have one adventurous inning. Right after announcer Tom McCarthy commented on how much Utley has improved and that he has a shot at a Gold Glove one day, Utley’s ears must have been burning because he committed two errors in the 5th inning.
While trying to turn a double play, Utley bobbled the feed from Juan Castro, dropped the ball twice and a run scored. The very next play, he tried another double play but threw the ball wide to 1st, which flew past Ryan Howard and allowed another run to score. So it is official; no one is allowed to talk about Gold Gloves in relation to Utley for the rest of the year. Clearly, it was a jinx.
Utley’s offense has not been affected by a jinx though, as he has now reached base safely in every game so far this year. He had one hit and 2 walks tonight. Greg Dobbs did a great job filling in for Placido Polanco; he went 2 for 3. Castro went 3 for 5 and had 1 RBI, making it 5 for 8 from the back-up starters.
Actually, the only other jinx I can see for this team is the bullpen, which has been fairly awful. Roy Halladay avoided that jinx yesterday by pitching all 9 innings himself. Moyer only went 6, which is about average from him so sadly, the pen had to be counted on. Chad Durbin worked his way into a bases loaded jam with 1 out in the 7th and then ran a 3-0 count to the next batter. Fans everywhere had to be saying, “Oh crap…here we go again…”
Durbin got a sac fly out of that one and thanks to the Braves generosity in swinging at balls, he escaped the inning having allowed just the one run. But there was no one exhaling just yet. The Phillies had an 8-3 lead, but still 2 more innings of scary bullpen work to get through.
This bullpen could totally blow a 5-run lead….I have seen it happen. But tonight, Danys Baez rebounded from his last disastrous outing and got through the 8th inning with no damage. In the 9th, rookie David Herndon pitched and things got hairy with a few base runners. But Herdon worked through it and the Phillies won, 8-3.
There was a bit of bad news today before the game began; pitcher JA Happ has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 16th. The left forearm strain that was revealed after an MRI is apparently a bigger issue than the Phillies first anticipated. Nelson Figueroa will take Happ’s place in the starting rotation for now and his spot in the bullpen will be taken over by JC Romero, who was removed from the DL today. Welcome back, JC! We missed you!
So it is a bit of good news with a bit of bad news. As for 3rd baseman, Placido Polanco, he was left out of the line-up tonight after being hit by a pitch in the elbow yesterday. Polanco told the media today that he should be ready to play again tomorrow night. Assuming this is the case, that is very good news. Losing another starter right now could be a small disaster.
And yes, it is already that time again…All Star Voting. Why they start this so early in the season always puzzles me, but nonetheless, VOTING began yesterday. Let’s get a head start; VOTE for your Phillies today!
And Happy Earth Day everyone! Remember to recycle and conserve energy…for Phillies fans, that might mean drinking a beer from a recycled can and lazing on the couch to conserve energy. But hey, every little bit helps. :O)
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography