Hero of the game- Rod Barajas. He had one helluva game with the stick, mashing a homerun and mashing Braves' superstar catcher Brian McCann's hand on a catcher's interference. When Barajas hacked the mitt of McCann, who slays Phillies pitching, it effectively knocked him out, and that was the turning point in the game as the Hamels didn't have to worry about McCann's bat torching him again...too bad Barajas didn't cleat Chipper Jones. From now on when we want an opposing player disabled, we call on our hitman, Rod Barajas.
Rod Barajas began his time with the Phillies getting 1 hit in his first 13 at bats. Since then, he's gone 8-18, as he now has his average up to .267, 2 homeruns, with a .966 OPS. I'm not flip-flopping and saying the signing of Rod Barajas was a stroke of genius by Pat Gillick, because I still feel Chris Coste could have done a comparable job, but right now things do seem to be working out. Between Barajas and Ruiz the Phils have a steady 8 hole hitter and solid defense behind the plate.
*Ryan Howard's continues to toil without a positive outcome. I notice he is unable to drive the outside pitch like he did so well last season, as he's just turning over on them for easy ground outs. Sarge, who isn't exactly the smartest kernel on the cob, has suggested he move in towards the plate, and I agree that Howard should do so, until he gets his powerful swing back.
*Cole Hamels was far from dominate last night, but he battled through some control problems and effectively used his bread-and-butter to his advantage...damn fine change-up.
*Charlie Manuel may have stumbled upon something, batting Aaron Rowand 2nd makes sense. I love Shane Victorino, but he is slumping and flailing aimlessly at pitches for lazy fly outs. Plug Rowand in the 2-hole, that's just gross, while he's hot and see if that can ignite the offense for a week, month, or possibly even the season.
*Freddy Garcia takes the hill tonight, hopefully making it to the 6th inning for a change. I understand he's working his way back from injury and into shape at the same time, but we need him to be the top of the rotation pitcher he was hyped to be. In fact, I'd like to see Garcia, Hamels, Moyer, and Lieber have a season long contest to see who can be king of the hill.