The weekend was certainly interesting. It began on a muggy afternoon at Barack’s house, included four games, a rain delay, ugly pitching from both sides, progress from Brad Lidge, and wins for Sergio Escalona and Andrew Carpenter. In the end, the Phillies accomplished their first four game sweep in a road series since June 19-22, 1995, when they played the Mets at the parking lot formerly known as Shea Stadium.
A few items for you to chew on this Sunday night or Monday morning: It was interesting that Lidge did not begin the ninth today. Manuel left Scott Eyre in to face two lefties before summoning his closer. You could view this in a number of ways. Lidge pitched two days in a row, and Manuel said he wanted to get him rest. But methinks that if the manager had total trust in his closer right now, Lidge would have been out there. It’s not a big deal, and Lidge seems to be progressing. But that moment may have told us something about where he’s at.
Also, if you missed it, Lidge offered some thoughtful points
in this morning’s paper about the situation with Obama and Notre Dame (Lidge is a person of faith and attended the University). Thought you might be interested, as this issue was all over the news this weekend. Whether you or I agree with him or not, I’ll tell ya this: Lidge can always be counted on for thoughtful answers to serious topics.
Another interesting pitching decision: Jamie Moyer, originally scheduled to pitch tomorrow in Cincinnati, has been pushed back to Wednesday. Cole Hamels will start tomorrow’s series opener. Manuel gave two reasons for the change: It allowed extra rest for the struggling Moyer, and lined him up to face the Marlins next week, instead of the Yankees.
Moyer is 12-1 lifetime against Florida; the Yankees, of course, feature a powerful lineup and, because next weekend’s series will be played at Yankee Stadium, will have a designated hitter. “I wanted to give Jamie a little break,” Manuel said.
It makes total sense to avoid pitching Moyer in the Yanks’ new homer happy, fraudulent, taxpayer funded park(did I digress there? Oh well). But it’s too bad when you have to start moving around your rotation because your starters are virtually guaranteed to fail against certain teams.
Add this to the weird weekend file: As per Rule 10.17(b)(2) on page 120 of the Major League Baseball rule book, because the Phillies played five innings on defense, Drew Carpenter had to pitch just four innings to be eligible for the win if his team was leading at the time he was removed.
Carpenter left the ballpark thinking he did not earn the win, but (presumably) woke this morning to learn that he had. Clay Condrey, who originally got the win, instead earned a save.
And thanks to Sergio Escalona for offering a reminder of the emotional intensity of sports, which at this level is sometimes buried beneath ego, money and media-savvy. After winning his first big-league game, Escalona stood in front of his locker, head dripping sweat, and said this: “Oh my God. Amazing. Yeah. First game, first win.”
He then showed us his phone and exclaimed, “14 texts!”
Charlie Manuel chuckled and said, “I’m happy for the kid. He was into it.”
….okay, gotta get back to Philly, so I can fly to Cincy. In honor of the visit to our nation’s capital, I bought another history book on tape, Jon Meacham’s “American Lion,” a bio of Andrew Jackson. Though it recently won the Pulitzer, I’m not finding the book as impressive as “Founding Brothers.”
Remember the fun we had in March with analogies? Well, the obvious one with the brash and tempestuous Jackson is Larry Bowa, I think. If anyone wants to offer a baseball figure-to-president suggestion, and it’s good, you might just become an early contender for…comment of the week!