It seems that the Phillies and Pirates have switched places defensively. Over the last few years the Pirates have seemed to play enough crappy baseball to lose games and the Phillies have done just the opposite. The Pirates committed four errors with two of them leading directly to Phillies runs. It is nice to watch another team be bad at stuff.
The Phillies jumped out to a four run lead on the unfortunate looking Jeff Karstens in the first inning of tonight’s game. Jimmy Rollins lead off the game with a double and from that point on Jose Tabata started to throw the ball all over the place. Juan Pierre moved Rollins to third. Hunter Pence blooped a single in front of Tabata, who tried to get Rollins at home, but couldn’t. Carlos Ruiz followed with an opposite field single, scoring Pence and advancing to third on throwing errors from Pedro Alvarez and Tabata. Shane Victorino singled in Chooch and was knocked in on another single from Placido Polanco who advanced to second on another error on the throw from Tabata. This sequence looked an awful lot like the old sub .500 Pirates.
Joe Blanton pitched well with the lead. He gave up a solo home run in the top of the third, but was pretty much around the plate and worked his way through seven innings. He also tied his season high with eight strikeouts. When you look at Blanton, it is pretty evident right away when he is going to be effective. If he is down in the zone with his fastball, he will be good. If he is up, it is batting practice.
The Phillies tacked on a couple more runs in the third with another Placido Polanco RBI single and in the fourth with an absolute moonshot from Jimmy Rollins. The Pirate bullpen has been really good this year, but managed to walk in a run in the bottom of the seventh. This was a stress free 8-3 Phillies win. As fans, we all really needed to see them play like this after Sundays’ crapfest. Here’s to hoping that Ultey’s supposed return this week can give the team a boost going into the all star break.
The moment that I knew this was destined to be a Phillies victory was when Chad Qualls got Casey MaGehee to ground out to end the game. The way that this season has been going for the Phillies’ bullpen, I am pretty shocked that Papelbon wasn’t warming up when Qualls came in the game.
The most attractive play of the game was possibly the longest home run of Jimmy Rollin’s career in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jimmy got the green light 3-0 and absolutely crushed the living hell out of a fastball, depositing it in the right field bleachers after banging it off the Budweiser sign on the second deck. Outside of Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy is the best hitter on the team right now.
The hero of the game was Joe Blanton. He managed to toss seven innings of three run baseball. He has seven more wins this season than Cliff Lee. I think that Blanton should be the hero of the game every time he isn’t terrible. He was not terrible tonight.
The games most hatable villain was Jose Tabata. He accounted for two of the three Pirate runs and hit a home run off of Blanton. He also committed two throwing errors leading to a couple of Phillie runs, but he probably contributed the most offensively as well. This wasn’t a real good one for the Pirates.
Tomorrow Vance Worley looks to get the Phillies a series win against Eric Bedard.