Friday, May 30, 2008

Phils Reel In Marlins; Move Into First

Brett Myers got off to a terrible start in tonight's game, giving up three runs in the first inning to the NL East-leading Florida Marlins. However, after that he settled down and was flat-out dominant, throwing seven scoreless innings after the first. The Phillies offense was no slouch either, giving Myers a lead with a seven-run second inning and from there the Phillies coasted to a 12-3 win, moving into first place in the process.

The Phillies have been phenomenal of late, but it looked like their four-game winning streak would come to an end when Luis Gonzalez singled in two runs in the first to make it a 3-0 game. It didn't help that the Phillies hitters went down in order in the bottom of the inning. However, it was a different ballgame after the first.

Philadelphia's bats went to work in the second, tearing into Marlins starter Mark Hendrickson. Chris Coste hit a three-run homer to tie the game, Shane Victorino doubled in two runs, including Myers, and Chase Utley followed up with a two-run shot, his eighteenth of the season. The second inning outburst allowed the Phillies to take a 7-3 lead.

The offense struck again in the fourth. Jimmy Rollins hit an RBI single and, two batters later, Utley singled to put runners on the corners and chase Hendrickson. Burke Badenhop replaced him and Ryan Howard gave him a Phillies welcome with a three-run homer. Pat Burrell grounded out to end the inning, but the Phillies had built up an 11-3 lead. They would tack on one more run in the seventh, when So Taguchi walked with the bases loaded.

While the offense was impressive yet again, Myers did his part as well, after the poor start. He allowed only four baserunners after the first and his final statline was 8 IP, 3 runs, 6 hits, 3 BBs, and a season-high 11 Ks. It was a very encouraging outing for Myers, who improved his record to 3-6 with the win. He had failed to pitch seven innings in his last four starts, which were all losses. In fact, tonight's win was his first since April 17th when the Phillies beat the Houston Astros 8-2.

However, it should be noted that Myers had suffered from poor run support of late. Only once in his last six starts (all losses) had the Phillies scored more than three runs. Fortunately the Phillies brought their bats to the park today and Myers earned an elusive win as a result.

The bats have been showing up en masse in the Phillies five-game winning streak. The Phillies have outscored their opponents 60-19. While three of these wins came against the battered Rockies (which made the Phillies the second team ever to sweep a team in the season-series the year after that team swept them in the playoffs), the wins against Houston and Florida are notable, considering how well both teams have played.

This is a very important homestand, as the schedule gets a little tougher. June will feature series against the Braves, Cardinals, Red Sox, Angels, and A's, plus a two-game set in Florida. It won't be easy to stay atop the East with that kind of schedule, so the Phillies will have to take advantage of the current homestand. Charlie Manuel must have told them as much, as they are off to a 5-0 start.

No comments: