Pregame greetings from a possible clincher. Last night’s game will be hard to top; hope you were able to stay up for what I thought was the most entertaining game of the season. Some news and notes to chew on as you settle in for Game 5:
--When Scott Eyre collapsed on the field while fielding a bunt last night, Charlie Manuel feared that the important lefthanded reliever was seriously hurt.
But Eyre insisted after the game that he suffered only a mild ankle sprain, and team brass backed that today. “He wasn’t limping when I saw him this morning,” Manuel said yesterday.
“He is fine,” said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “He can pitch.”
Lefthander Sergio Escalona is working out in Clearwater, Fla., but Amaro said he would not be needed.
The 2009 regular season for Chad Durbin mirrored the experience of the entire Phillies bullpen: Disrupted by injury and not as effective as last year. But in a crucial division series inning Sunday night, Durbin provided his team with relief pitching, 2008-style.
He earned the win with a perfect eighth inning, which came after a dominant September. Earlier in the summer, Durbin attempted to pitch through an upper back strain, and changed his arm angle. That hurt his command, and led to 21-day stint on the disabled list.
Fully healed, Durbin posted a 1.98 earned run average in Sept., convincing the Phils to include him on the playoff roster.
“His arm angle has been better, so he has been throwing strikes,” said pitching coach Rich Dubee.
“(Sunday) night, when I brought him into the game, he was aggressive,” said Manuel. “A lot of times when I bring him in, he’g got what I call spor control. He wants to go out and he gets too fine with his pitches. (Sunday) night he was aggressive, came in and threw strikes. Got ahead of the hitters. If he missed with the first pitch, he stayed aggressive.”
Chan Ho Park (hamstring) participated in fielding drills Sunday in Clearwater, and threw a bullpen session yesterday. Amaro said that he did now know if Park would be ready to pitch in Thursday’s National League Championship Series opener, but the team remained hopeful he would be ready.