Last night was one of those nights where you had your game story written by the end of the sixth inning, then spent the entire ninth inning hitting the delete key.
A few points to ponder:
1) So Taguchi came up huge, as any one watching the game is well aware of. What's interesting is that Taguchi wasn't the last hitter available. Eric Bruntlett was still on the bench. Taguchi was 0-for-16 as a pinch-hitter this year. Even more interesting is that Taguchi might not have been up had Charlie Manuel not been ejected. Bench coach Jimy Williams made the decision to put Taguchi in the game. Manuel was very complimentary afterward, both to Taguchi and to Williams.
2) Curious what the public reaction to Joe Blanton's start will be. All in all, it wasn't a terrible debut, even considering the fact that he gave up five runs. He never looked sharp. It seemed like he was behind in almost every count. But you also never got the feeling that he was going to implode. Certainly, the Phillies won't be satisfied with five runs in six innings every start. But I think its clear that the rotation has been upgraded. By how much, it remains to be seen.
3) Unsung hero of the game: Shane Victorino. The center fielder made a tremendous hustle play to reach second base safely on an apparent double play ball hit by Carlos Ruiz with the bases loaded and no out in the ninth. If Victorino dwadles down the basepath, the game is very much over there. Instead, he beats out the throw, slides in safely, and breaks up the relay to first. Oh yeah, he also hit a home run in the seventh. Off of Santana.
4) In the last two games against the Mets, the Phillies have scored 14 runs in the final three innings, versus three runs in the first six innings.
5) Caught up with Chris Coste prior to the game yesterday. He's currently mired in a 2-for-29 slump that included a pinch-hit strikeout last night. Coste isn't hurt - remember he had that nasty collision with Chris Duncan a week ago against St. Louis. He's just slumping. And believe me, he's well aware of the perception that as his playing time increases, his performance decreases.
6) Another very interesting game today. Sometimes baseball games are just baseball games. But sometimes the subplots are more interesting than the final score. Today is one of those days. Brett Myers returns to the mound. He didn't speak with the media yesterday, but really, it doesn't matter what he says. It's all about performance, and today is his first opportunity to prove that he has turned it around. Here's a question: what if Myers goes out there and gets lit up today? How much patience will the Phillies display with him the second time around? How much should they display?