The match up tonight pits Vicente Padilla and his high 5 ERA against Tim Stauffer and his high 4 ERA. Call me crazy, but I don't think we are going to see the CBP's 3rd 1-0 game tonight. Padilla has been effective (and a bit lucky) with two consecutive games in which he has not allowed a run. For him to continue to be effective he has to get his strikeout rate up.
Utley continues his role as the 3 hole hitter with Abreu batting 4th. While I love the fact that Utley is batting higher in the order, Abreu is now getting less at bats because of it. It is time to drop Rollins down in the order and move everyone up one spot (not going to happen, but that is another column). Nothing else too exciting about either lineup tonight as they are both the regular group that plays for both teams.
Padilla looks solid through the first 4 innings and Howard drives in 3 runs (2 on a homer) and Bell kills a first and second with a DP. People harp on Lieby for being a rally killer, but Bell has been brutal. The guy had hit into 12 double plays coming into tonight's game. That is 12 times a man has been on base in front of him with less than 2 outs and Bell erased them both. He obviously can't get down the line and should probably not be playing...ever. Either way, he should talk to Pat about how to strike out to avoid the DP.
It always seems that the guy who starts a rally killing DP in the top half of an inning kills you in the bottom. Loretta hits a pop fly that somehow landed into the stands. Padilla, not liking to pitch with the lead, then gives up a blast to Giles. There goes Padilla's shutout streak, but this is probably his best game out of the last 3. Phils then get the 3 runs back in the bottom of the 6th on a double (not play) by Bell and a Chavez single that was luck. I am not sure where the mindset is, but the bases were loaded, Chavez was doing his best acting by flopping on pitches just a couple inches off the plate and gets the count to 3-2. The next pitch was shoulder high and for some reason unbeknownst to anyone, Chavez swings, kneels and prays for a second and gets the hit. The Gods can be forgiving.
After Cormier and Madson make the lead disappear, the Hernandez and Blum hit back to back doubles off of Triple U (I must trademark that nickname). The Pads pull a play out of the Phillies book and get Hernandez thrown out at home (though Lieby did a piss poor effort to make a tag) by 10 feet. This makes you wonder if it is just our perception that this happens to the Phils more than anyone else. After further review, it has been concluded that, yes, this stuff does happen to the Phils more, just because it does.
Wagner pitches the 9th and Fultz pitches the 10th and, somewhere, Bowa is smiling because the Phils have used 5 relievers in 4 innings. Bobby, in a obvious attempt to prove to his detractors that he is not timid when it counts, walks to lead off the 10th. Burrell doubles and Bobby holds at third on what would have been a pretty easy game winner. Usually, you want to hold him there with less than 2 outs as it is not worth the risk of an out. However, the Phils only need one run, and a play at the plate would have allowed Burrell to move to third (well, we assume). Thus, we would have had a chance at the win or an out with a man on third and 1 out. It was worth the risk to send him and hope for a missed ball or a bad throw. Cooler heads prevail, Howard gets walked and Bell decides that 1 DP is not enough in a game (he waited long enough, we WERE in extra innings after all). Lieby does what Lieby does with men on base and we are off to the 11th. The key to the 11th was hitting Jason Michaels with 2 outs. How this guy hits after Tomas Perez and the rest of this pathetic bench is sad indeed. He, of course, laces a single to left and Utley follows with a walk off homerun. Phils 8 Padres 6.
In the three true outcomes department:
Phils hitters: 4
Padres hitters: 4
Phils hitters: 6
Padres hitters: 2
Phils hitters: 3
Both teams seemed to not want to win, but the Padres just didn't want it more. Utley becomes the hero again and has already justified me purchasing his jersey on my birthday a few weeks ago. He should be getting everything that Jimmy got (preferably instead of Jimmy). Good win for the Phils and they pretty much have to start winning series consistently.