Do you think that Tony Gwynn can still hit? I know that he just had some cancerous growths removed from his head, but I am pretty sure I would take a cancer addled, fifty year old Tony Gwynn over Will Venable. The Phils swept the series never scoring above four runs and they came within one out of shutting out the Padres in three of the four games. Column A is how fucking awful the Padres lineup is. Column B is how bad ass the Phillies starting rotation is. This sweep was facilitated by a little from column A and a little from column B contributing to a 3-1 Phillies victory this afternoon.
Column A is headlined by Roy Halladay. If there was a dugout shot of a robot repair man removing a metal plate from Roy’s back and augmenting his cutter circuitry, I would not be surprised. He has the same arm angle on all his pitches, he doesn’t smile on days that he starts, he has a perfectly groomed beard, he attempts to burn holes in the hearts of umpires that squeeze him with his eyes…. maybe there is a little more to my “robot theory” than a semi-coherent post on a Phillies blog. If the news ever surfaces that Halladay is a robot, I would like credit and to be spared when the machines intern all of us in work camps.
Doc came one out away from shutting out the Padres and tied a career high with fourteen strikeouts. Let me repeat that number, FOURTEEN STRIKEOUTS. Based on what I know about baseball that is a lot of strikeouts. He walked one and surrendered five hits. The aforementioned shit-basket Will Venable drove in the only Padres run of the game with a single up the middle with two outs in the ninth inning. Antonio Bastardo got the last out to earn his first save of the year. Where is Contreras you ask? More on that later.
The inside the park home run is a funny baseball play. It always starts with some sort of misplay in the outfield. In fact, most inside the park homers sort of remind me of home runs in tee ball. The person on the Phillies most likely to participate in a play that looks like it should have the Benny Hill Theme playing in the background is Shane Victorino. Shane hit a ball into the gap in right center at which point said misplay occurred. Right fielder Will Venable (this may be a record for Will Venable references) dove for the ball and had it skip off his glove away from center fielder Cameron Maybin. Shane ran really fast around the bases, slid into home just ahead of the throw and laid there motionless obviously in a state of rapture after embarrassing the poor San Diego Padres.
Ryan Howard did not strike out four times today. In fact, Howard avoided the strikeout altogether. Wade LeBlanc happens to be a left handed pitcher and Howard handled him by going 2-4 with a run scored. Hopefully having someone intentionally walked (especially someone hitting .250 with one RBI) to reach you served as a sort of wake up call for the Phillies slugger.
The Phillies have used Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo in the last three save situations. Jose Contreras is the make shift closer in the absence of Brad Lidge. It would stand to reason that there is a reason for the closer not to pitch in a bunch of games in a row. The reason for Jose’s recent absence is a strained right flexor pronator tendon in his right arm Contreras will have the injury examined on Monday which will probably be followed by an MRI. Michael Stutes will replace him on the roster, hoping to build off his impressive showing in spring training. Madson will replace him as closer. Here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery for Contreras.
The Phils take on the Arizona Diamondbacks tomorrow who are fresh off of a three game sweep at the hands of the Mets. Cliff Lee opposes Adam Kennedy as the Phillies go for their sixth straight win.