Smart base running, solid defense, decent pitching, and timely hitting will win you ball games. Case in point, the Phillies 6-3 win over the Nationals last night. Chase Utley and Pat Burrell read a looping liner to center off the bat of Wes Helms to score from 2nd and 1st respectively (Burrell forced a throwing error). Helms also played some sparkling defense at 3rd last night (even with his error) and Ryan Howard made a nice grab on a ball down the 1st base line in the 9th. There was nothing spectacular about Grand Pappy Moyer's 6 innings of 3 run ball last night, but it kept his team in the game, and Ryan Madson, Antonio Alfonseca, and Tom Gordon came on in relief to shutdown Washington's offense. Aaron Rowand had a 2-out RBI double and a game tying homerun, and as mentioned above Helms has the single that gave the Phils the lead and Chooch Ruiz followed him up with an RBI single of his own. That my friends is good baseball, and it's a beautiful thing to watch. Yesterday the Phils accomplished Quattro, but it's time to graduate to the Gillette Fusion 5-blade system...feels so good.
*Patty G has been taking a lot of flak from Phillies fans, and rightfully so, but last night was a showcase of two good things he has done- Jamie Moyer and Antonio Alfonseca. We all know Moyer is a consistent starting pitcher, but his clubhouse presence and tutoring of the pitching staff is one of those unmeasurable intangibles that needs to mentioned. 6-Fingered-Ant is turning into the setup man we desperately need- .94 WHIP and .77 ERA.
*The Phils record is now 8-11, still not good, but improving nonetheless. The crazy thing about how crappy this season started is that they technically can still leave April with a winning record or at least a better record than their past 2 Aprils (10-14).
*The Pirates (8-10) are scuffling along too, but in the weak NL Central anything is possible. They've gotten some nice pitching performances from some of their young starters (Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm, and Ian Snell) that have gone wasted due to lack of offense. Power pickup Adam LaRoche apparently hasn't gotten his shipment of bats from his former team Atlanta yet because he's batting an Abe Nunez like .098...ouch!
*There are rumblings that Ace of Walks, Matt Smith, may be optioned to Ottawa with Thee Model Dictator being summoned. If indeed Fabio Castro is in the bullpen when the WSBGM's tailgate/game takes place, we need to get long blond wigs, cigars, and military green caps to form his fan club...do you think Harry Kalas, Chris Wheeler, or Sarge will get the joke/reference?
*Speaking of Sarge, he hit an all-time low last night. We all know the man can't pronounce names (J-Row, Mo-Zis Alou), but he was questioning Manuel's reasoning for bunting Nunez, thinking the Phils took the lead...the score was tied moron and Wheeler actually had to point that out to him after he continued to ramble on aimlessly. Then later in the game Kalas asked him a question 3 times in a row and he never did respond. Why the hell is he in the booth?