There are times when irrational, all encompassing hatred can blind someone to the actual ability of a baseball player. I am not Dan Uggla’s biggest fan. I took a great deal of pleasure in watching him have a historically bad first half at the plate and died a little bit every time he extended his hitting streak after the all star break. I may be understating the amount of vitriol I have for the musclebound second baseman with the statement “not his biggest fan.” Uggla won a silver slugger last year and based on what he did in Florida, Atlanta made him the highest paid second baseman in baseball. He is now hitting .237. Take your 33 home runs and go screw Uggla.
The Phillies do not seem to lose when Vance Worley is on the mound. Tonight’s 6-3 win was the fourteenth straight Worley start in which the Phillies have come out on top, giving him an 11-1 record thus far this season. Worley was not dominant tonight, but managed to wiggle free from a number of jams to hold the Braves to two runs on seven hits. In the top of the sixth inning, Worley worked out of a no out bases loaded situation allowing only one run. Worley’s stuff still seems slightly above average, but he keeps pitching well and winning.
Braves ace Tim Hudson allowed four runs on six hits while walking four over six innings. He seems to be the only healthy/competent pitcher left on the Brave staff. Hudson had been pretty tough on the Phillies this season, but they managed to jump on the right hander early with a Chase Utley solo home run and an RBI single from Raul Ibanez. Hudson allowed a run on a wild pitch after which Ibanez crushed a double to center to plate another run. The Phillies capitalized on a rare loss of control from Hudson.
Raul Ibanez seems to respond really well when returning from a night off. He went 3-4 with three RBI and the double he hit off of Hudson was inches from leaving the yard.
Michael Stutes worked an inning of relief and just about coughed up a two run lead. Stutes continues to look like he is out of gas. On a positive note, Brad Lidge looked fairly effective. He just about gave up a home run to Alez Gonzalez, but he responded well by striking out three batters in the inning. After 2009, it sure is hard to rely Lidge in any sort of high leverage situation. Ryan Madson pitched the ninth for his 28th save. He struck out Dan Uggla to end the game and made my night.
Next up, Roy Oswalt goes for the Phillies as they attempt to sweep the Braves. Atalanta counters with Brandon Beachy.