It was good not to be the Detroit Tigers yesterday.
Justin Verlander’s one of my favorite guys. What he can do with a baseball is just… graphic. A “TV MA” rating appears in the upper right corner of the screen every time he starts his wind up. But Ryan Howard, with his first home run of the spring (Psh, about time) (Please don’t kill me, Ryan Howard), took no notice of Verlander and his widely touted pitch movement, punching the shit out of a pitch to his liking as the Phils trotted past the Tigers, 6-1.
But we’ve all seen Ryan Howard hit home runs.
Domonic Brown torched Detroit’s ace as well, going a breathtaking 3-3 with a pair of dingers, a walk, and four, count ‘em, four RBI. Off Justin Verlander, remember.
“Facing someone who is established in the big leagues, I think it kind of tells you where you’re at, it’s kind of a measuring stick,” said Ryan “Old News” Howard (Seriously, Ryan, I make jokes that aren’t funny. Please don’t put a bat in my head).
Let’s switch to pitching before I get myself murdered by one of my heroes.
Cole Hamels continued his quest for redemption with a prolonging of that 1.69 ERA you can’t ignore any longer. He even shut up Johnny Damon with two runners on in the only inning that didn’t see him throw the off switch on all three Tigers’ batters in order. Johnny Damon also lost a double “in the sun,” according to the Detroit News. “The Tigers believed fan interference should have been called on the homer when a fan reached over the wall and caught the ball in his hat,” it continues.
But then the Tigers remembered it was an exhibition game, and continued losing without incident.
I don’t need to hear Cole Hamels’ mission statement again to know that he’s eager to repave the dominant road he walked in 2008. Allowing 2 runs in 10 2/3 innings speaks for itself.
Now, we can turn our attention to the next Phillies pitcher to be ogled under the microscope: J.C. Romero. Ah, yes. The steamin’ mad lefty is scheduled to make his debut today after getting that bionic elbow locked into place during the off season and being summoned to court for punching a guy in the neck.
We’re not going to see J.C. Opening Day. We’re not even going to see him by week two, most likely. But with the amount of pitchers the Phils just sent packing, Romero’s first stint in the Grapefruit League is an important one, because as as lefty, he’s a precious commodity in that bullpen, and as one of the returning relievers, he’s got pressure to fix what was a weak link in the chain in 2009.
A chain that was used to beat us stupid a couple times, including the World Series, which, apparently, we lost. Bummer.