Pierre makes up for botched opportunities

Hunter Pence hit a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Pirates. (Michael Bryant/Staff file photo)


Here we are for the final game of the Phillies' season-opening series with the Pittsburgh Pirates offering some in-game insight. Happy Easter. Hope you find more eggs on your hunt than the Phillies found runs in their first two games of the season.   

Little things are so big

When your offense is missing two of its biggest power bats, you have to do the little things right or you're going to pay for it dearly.

We saw a couple examples of that during Saturday's 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Pirates. Laynce Nix failed to get a sacrifice bunt down in the ninth inning, but his bigger gaffe was failing to get a runner home from third base with one out in the first inning. That meant the Phillies had to settle for a single run in that inning and it came back to bite them.

We saw two similar situations already today.

First, Jimmy Rollins failed to get Juan Pierre home from third with one out when he struck out in a horrid sixth-inning at-bat and then Brian Schneider and Nix failed to get runs home when the Phillies had runners at second-and-third with nobody out in the seventh.

Juan Pierre bailed out Schneider and Nix with a two-out, two-run single, but that does not change the fact that the other two did not get the job done.

One other costly mistake that occurred Saturday night was when the Phillies failed to run the wheel play on a 10th-inning sacrifice bunt by Clint Barmes. Rod Barajas had opened the inning with a bunt and it appeared as if third baseman might have a chance to throw out pinch-runner Michael McKenry on the Barmes' bunt, but when he turned and looked at third there was nobody covering.

Location, location, location

In a touching Easter morning scene, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock had a dugout catch with his son John before the game. As 11-year-old John Proefrock played pitcher, the 52-year-old father played catcher.

Brian Schneider, who got his first start of the season Sunday, offered some advice to the younger Proefrock.

"The thing you have to remember about pitching is it's just like real estate: Location, location, location," Schneider said.

The advice was relevant because a lack of location had been righthander Vance Worley's problem in his final Grapefruit League start March 28 against the Minnesota Twins. Worley said he still had problems with his location in his final spring-training tuneup during a minor-league game Monday in Clearwater, Fla., but he felt he had made the proper mechanical adjustments by the end of that outing

Worley got away with a couple of poorly located pitches in the first inning, but again appeared to settle in quickly and was hitting his spots, which is when the 24-year-old righthander is at his best.