After a devastating loss on Wednesday, the Phillies have bounced back in the next series, winning their first 2 games against the Cubs. Friday’s game was a 7-2 score and today they won 2-0 as Cliff Lee stunned the Cubbies.
Lee was able to lower his horrible 14.40 Opening Day ERA to only 6.00 with this 7 inning effort. So all is well again with the Phillies ace…yeah!
And the offense is not too shabby to start the season. Chase Utley is absolutely on fire after a very slow Spring Training. In the last 2 games, Utley has 5 hits and 4 RBI including 2 home runs. He also hit his 300th career double today and ended the game just a triple shy of the cycle.
Domonic Brown has also come to life with 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 RBI in these 2 games, plus ZERO strikeouts. Nada. That alone tells me he is in the zone.
Another interesting note is that we are learning some things about the Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg, early in the season. First, he is totally in love with Jake Diekman. Diekman has pitched in 4 out of 5 games so far this season while fellow reliever Brad Lincoln has yet to throw a pitch. Justin DeFratus has pitched 1 inning and Jeff Manship has thrown exactly 2 pitches total.
Sandberg says he is trying to establish who fits in which spots in the bullpen. By the way, is that not what Spring Training was for? Just saying. And if he is looking for good fits, does this mean those 3 pitchers that have not been or barely been used do not “fit” anywhere? Hmmmm…
We have also learned that Sandberg is not totally sold on Roberto Hernandez. In Friday’s game, Hernandez appeared to be cruising in the 6th inning when, after one out was recorded, Sandberg pulled him and put in Diekman. Hernandez had given up 2 runs in the first 5 innings, but his pitch count was low (73). That was a weird move.
One last thing I like to mention about today’s game…Jonathan Papelbon saved a game! Miracles never cease! Yes, that comment is dripping with sarcasm. When he saves 3 or 4 in a row with minimal drama, I will curb my smart remarks. Until then, congrats Pap! You live to fight another day!
Can the Phillies sweep this series? Hope so! Game 3 is Sunday at 2:20pm and A.J. Burnett will pitch.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography