One everyday player was in the line-up today for the Phillies. Let me repeat that. One everyday player was on the field today. That meant we got to see a ton of Jeff Larish and Pete Orr. Think of yourself as an advanced scout looking for the next third baseman for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Maybe this will keep you from falling asleep on the couch, or eating an entire pie. In addition to the lack of everyday players, the Phillies ran out a sextet of relief pitchers in lieu of proposed starter Roy Oswalt. Oswalt was sent to throw a game against minor leaguers at the Carpenter Complex to avoid sitting on a bus.
Michael Stutes was tagged to start the game in relief (what?). He managed to lower his spring ERA to 1.00 by going three innings without allowing a hit while striking out one. The only baserunner he allowed was a third inning walk to Chase Lambin who was erased on a strike out/caught stealing double play one the next batter. As evidenced by his spring ERA, Stutes has been the most impressive of young Phillie relievers. He even got the opportunity to face some of the meat of the Twin’s line-up. He retired Delmon Young, Justin Morneau and Jim Thome in order spanning the second and third inning.
Francisco Liriano started for Minnesota having the best outing of his spring thus far. Remember when the Twins decided that they could let Johan Santana go because they had a young top of the rotation starter to replace him with? Liriano went 12-3 with 144 strikeouts in 121 innings and looked like he was going to be a superstar. Then came Tommy John surgery and a long recovery in which he had a season with a 5-13 record with an ERA approaching six. Now Liriano is not quite as young and is probably the number two on this staff behind Carl Pavano. The Phils had him on the ropes a number of times, but he managed to escape all trouble without allowing a run.
The Phil’s offense capitalized on another recently injured Minnesota pitcher; Joe Nathan. Until today Nathan had not allowed a hit in any of his four outings following his Tommy John procedure. Nathan allowed five hits and six runs in 1/3 on an inning of work. The Phils were aided by a sun aided double to Michael Martinez and a dropped fly ball by Delmon Young. It is always nice to tune up one of another teams best pitchers.
Danys Baez earned the win today by throwing a clean frame following Stutes and has proved that he remembers how to throw strikes this spring.
Delwyn Young went 2-3 today with three RBI, Wilson Valdez went 2-3 with two RBI and Jesse Barfield went 2-4 with an RBI. These three will be the primary replacements for injured second basemen Chase Utley when the season begins. Each player seems to be making a push to be the substitute and each player has invested heavily in hair gel in a desperate attempt to land the position.
John Mayberry Jr. managed to ground into two double plays and left five men on base during his three at bats providing some bad news in an otherwise encouraging performance from the random quasi major league line-up.
Matt Anderson was the only Phillies pitcher to allow any runs by giving up 3 runs in his 1/3 of an inning to make the final score 6-3 Phillies.
Next up maybe the team will actually put some people on the field that we recognize when the Phillies play the Astros/former Phillies tomorrow at 1:05. Does anyone miss Ed Wade? If so you will probably have the opportunity to see the former Phillies GM. If you miss Ed Wade you should probably see a doctor.