It is extremely encouraging to watch the Phillies walk. I don’t mean in a literal locomotive sense, but more in the making the opposing pitcher throw four pitches out of the strike zone thus being awarded first base without having to make contact with the baseball sort of sense. The only members of the Phillies that can work a count are a 40 year old part time first baseman and an exceedingly handsome second baseman with a chronic knee condition/death sentence. The combination of Thome playing and the Godawful Randy Wells on the mound signaled that the team would get at least one base on balls in this one. They got four.
Wells is really terrible. He managed to hit Joe Blanton with a pitch and walked him to load the bases. He absolutely fell apart in the fourth inning allowing four runs, three walks (including Blanton) and three hits. This start will probably signal a return to AAA for Wells because it is readily apparent that he can not get major league hitters out. The surprising part about his absolute awfulness is the promise that he showed following a strong rookie year. Wells was 12-10 with an ERA just about 3.00 in 2009 and has regressed significantly since then. Here’s to hoping that our own Vance Worley doesn’t suffer the same fate.
In two out of his last three starts Joe Blanton has been terrific. He went 7 1\3 innings against the Cubs, striking our eight and was generally not in trouble the whole night. The Cubs scored one run in the top of the first after a missed call on a stolen base attempt left Starlin Castro on second for Bryan LaHair. LaHair responded by driving in Castro with a double. Blanton didn’t allow another run until he ran into trouble in the eighth inning. I suppose we should take this type of outing with a grain of salt as Bryan LaHair is the Cubs clean-up hitter and their offense is generally awful, but I am going to focus on the positive. The positive here is that Joe Blanton is not a terrible pitcher.
It is funny how a couple of walks and extra base hits against Randy Wells can make you feel a whole lot better about the offense. Jimmy Rollins lead off today and rewarded Charlie Manual with a bases loaded double after Wells walked Blanton. Jimmy is mired in a fairly horrific slump and hopefully this can make him remember that he knows how to play baseball. Ty Wigginton extended his hitting streak after replacing Jim Thome when his back unsurprisingly broke.his back. Carlos Ruiz was the offensive star of the day going 2-4 with three RBI and a home run. Wells is bad, but is still is nice to see the Phillies score more than one run.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth inning and made the Cubs look terrible. This may be because the Cubs actually ARE terrible, but it is still nice to see him earn his money. He is 7-7 in save opportunities with an ERA of 1.00 thus far.
Last time Kyle Kendrick pitched, I predicted doom. This time, he will fare much better. Kendrick versus Matt Garza.