If you like the Phillies, you had to like tonight’s win, because the team showed what they can be when the get a good effort from their starter and closer. The only blemish was a hairy ninth--which was on Chad Durbin, not Brad Lidge, and was made hairier by Ryan Howard’s throwing error. But the big guy has earned some slack with solid defense this season, wouldn’t you say? That was, after all, his first error of the year.
The gaffe allowed Lidge the opportunity to earn a save, and the embattled closer pitched well after a leadoff walk (he admitted that he was “amped” coming into the game, but was quickly able to settle). Lidge has been insisting lately—you’ve all seen the million or stories where he does this—that he feels good, everything’s coming along. After tonight’s save, he went a step farther, predicting that he was about to take off on a long run of successful appearances.
Joe Blanton broke through, and snapped the pattern of pitching well for several innings at a time but falling victim to one lousy inning. I wrote in Tuesday’s paper about a mechanical adjustment Blanton made from the stretch, moving his feet further apart; he utilized the new approach tonight and held the Marlins to 1 for 7 with two walks when there were runners on base. That was after opposing batters were hitting .342 off him with runners on, and .286 with the bases empty so far this season.
Shane Victorino, who began the day by climbing into a steel laundry basket while Brad Lidge made fun of Monday's baserunning error (I don’t know why the man does the things he does, but he is quite often entertaining), went 4 for 5 with an RBI an run scored. He denied after the game that he was motivated by or thinking about Monday. Whatever the reason, he bounced back nicely.
Jayson Werth broke a 2 for 30 stretch with a seventh-inning double. Some interesting stuff about Werth from Charlie Manuel in tomorrow’s paper. Sample quote: “This is the year that we see if he’s really an everyday player.”
Two links for you: my live chat
from earlier, in case you missed it, and the New York Times story on how Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor became a friend to baseball.