A Look Ahead After the Phillies Win a Wild One

admin Last updated on: February 17, 2024

The Phillies and Rockies combined for five lead changes, thirty hits and nineteen runs this Easter Sunday.

After experiencing a perpetual power outage, the Phillies finally took advantage of the league’s most hitter friendly ballpark.   The Phillies broke out of their nearly week long slump in the season finale with seven extra base hits.  The last time a team went as long as the Phillies had without an extra base hit was more than two decades ago (Marlins, 1993).

Ryan Howard almost hit for the cylce as did Jimmy Rollins, falling a double and triple short respectively.   Aside from the slumping Cody Asche, every starter in the lineup had at least one hit, but it wasn’t just the volume of hits or even the amount of extra-base hits that made the Phillies offense so effective.

A number of RBI’s came on sac flies and sac groundouts, and a beautiful seventh inning bunt by Ben Revere started a go ahead rally for the visiting Phillies.  Every club needs to know how to play small ball, but for the Phillies, small ball isn’t a luxury, its necessity.

The pitching held off the league’s number one scoring offense just enough to secure the win. Jonathan Papelon’s fifth save in six chances ended the series.

Ryan Howard spoke after the game about not wanting to start out the road trip 0-3.  He couldn’t have said it better.

The Phillies’ next series is against the Los Angeles Dodgers, or as I like to call them, the New York Yankees of the west.  They have a stockpile of talent, and despite Clayton Kershaw being out for the series, four games against the Dodgers will make or break the Phillies month of April.

Swinging hot sticks in the series finale gives some much needed confidence to the ailing Phillies offense.  In addition to the Phillies offensive outburst, another positive sign for Phillies fans was the performance of their starting pitching.

Cliff Lee, off a solid appearance (9 allowing, one run), starts Monday’s game against Paul Malholm.  AJ Burnett’s best outing of the season came in his last start, and he is set to duel  Hyun-Jin Ryu Tuesday night.  Kyle Kendrick is set to finish out the series on Thursday.  He allowed just three earned runs against Colorado (and it should have been less if not for a missed Ryan Howard backhand).

Last but not least, the much anticipated return of Phillies fan’s favorite October arm is finally here.  Cole Hamels returns for the Dodgers series, scheduled to pitch Wednesday night.

Don’t expect Cole to be rusty either.  Down in Florida, pitching for the Clearwater Single A affiliate, Hamels pitched 17 innings over three starts allowing just four runs, twelve hits, and striking out twelve to just one walk.

Hamels will take the spot in the rotation of the struggling Jonathan Pettibone whose ERA this season is nine.

The Phillies end he week in Arizona, another hitter friendly park.  The Phillies will be tested in LA.  If they are up to the test, their prize will be a series against one of the worst teams in baseball, and a chance to get above 500 for the first time since they started 3-2.

Taking three of four from Dodgers is a tall task, but with Kershaw down, the bats hot, and the return of Cole Hamels, the cards are as stacked in the Phillies favor as they’re going to get.

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