Monday, June 2, 2008

Utley once again powers Phillies

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Another great win by the Phillies, 5-4 over the Reds, capped by Chase Utley once again going yard. With this article, I am starting something new: after every Phillies game I will post 3 Up and 3 Down, where I highlight the good and the bad from the game.

3 Up:
1. Chase Utley = MVP Another day, another homer for Chase Utley. Utley smashed his major-league leading 21st home run in the 1st inning, his 7th homer in his last 8 games. Tonight's homer was of the line-drive variety and it came on a 3-0 count:

Utley is absolutely tearing it up right now, raising his average to .320 and picking up his NL leading 52nd RBI. Utley even made a diving catch in the 9th inning to finish off the game. He is making it a very real possibility that we will have back-to-back-to-back NL MVPs from Philadelphia.

2. Feliz and Coste go back-to-back Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste did their best Chase Utley impersonation in the 4th inning when they hit back-to-back home runs. Feliz hit a 2-run shot and Coste added a solo drive:

Coste has been getting more playing time lately and he has been making the most of it. There was some talk that Carlos Ruiz was taking time off to recover from a hand injury, but with the way Coste is swinging the bat (.327 average on the season), expect Charlie Manuel to keep finding a spot for him in the line-up.

3. Man-child Jay Bruce continues torrid hitting Not really a Phillies Up, but this guy deserves mention. Since being called up by the Reds on May 28th, 21 year old Jay Bruce is hitting .577 with 3 homers and 7 RBIs. Tell me again why the Reds wanted to keep him in the minors for so long? Oh, that's right, Corey Patterson and his .240 OBP needed to get playing time.

3 Down:
1. Kendrick has a weak outing Coming off his solid start last week against the Rockies, Kyle Kendrick looked good for the first three innings, but as soon as Bruce took him deep in the 4th, he seemed to lose confidence, giving up another homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the 5th and then a pair of hits in the 6th before getting yanked. Giving up 4 runs in 5 innings will earn you a win with this offense, but it still isn't very good.

2. Howard strikes out two more times Ryan Howard still occasionally looks lost at the plate and he struck out twice tonight, although he did manage to get a double. Howard is now on pace for well over 200 strikeouts, a total that would shatter his previous MLB record of 199 from last year.

3. Lidge fails to strike out the side in the 9th So I am grasping for another negative here, but in picking up his 14th save of the season, Brad Lidge only struck out two batters in the 9th instead of all three. Get it together, Lidge!

TRANSACTION NOTE: Chris Snelling is back! Snelling was activated from the disabled list today and T.J. Bohn was sent back down to the minors. Snelling has a few days to prove he should stay with the big club before Jayson Werth comes back. I hope we don't see Bohn again for a long time.

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