Friday, June 6, 2008

Victorino leads Phillies past Braves with arm, bat

(AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)
Shane Victorino nearly single-handedly beat the Braves as the Phils squeaked by Atlanta 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday night.

3 Up
1. The Flyin' Hawaiian
Victorino did it all tonight, going 2 for 3 with 2 triples, 2 runs scored, 2 walks and he drove home the run that gave the Phillies a lead in the 10th inning. Oh, and he ended the Braves rally in the bottom of the 10th by throwing out the possible tying run at the plate:

Victorino getting going has been a real plus for the line-up, especially when you factor in Jimmy Rollins' slump. Since Rollins has been unable to get on base with any consistency lately, it has been crucial for Victorino to get on to set the table for the middle of the order. The only negative about his game tonight was getting thrown out trying to steal second.

2. More Bullpen Dominance Jamie Moyer pitched well but was only able to go 5 2/3rds innings. Enter the bullpen. Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero, Rudy Seanez, Ryan Madson and Tom Gordon combined for 3 2/3rds innings of shutout ball, giving up only 2 hits in those innings. The shutout innings enabled the Phillies offense to get past Braves starter Tim Hudson and into the Braves weak bullpen where they subsequently were able to fight back into the game.

3. Chipper is ridiculously good I hate to give an Up to a Brave, but Chipper Jones had two hits on the night and pushed his batting average up to .421 for the season. It's still fairly early in the season, but that's an incredible number. Chipper is going to make it impossible for Chase Utley to even challenge for the Triple Crown.

3 Down
1. Lidge bailed out
You'll notice I did not mention Brad Lidge when praising the Phillies bullpen. Lidge was spared from blowing his first save of the season by the rocket arm of Shane Victorino. Lidge looked shaky in giving up three hits, and while he did strike out 2 batters, he really didn't deserve the save that he is credited with tonight. He better be taking Victorino out to dinner.

2. The disappearing Phillie offense It's not time to sound the alarm because they are still winning games, but the Phils offense has really come back to Earth. After averaging 12 runs a game over a five game stretch last week, the Phillies are averaging 3.4 runs per game over their most recent five games. Much of this is likely due to Chase Utley coming down a bit from his recent hot streak, but they have been fortunate that the pitching staff has come through lately. On a positive note, this team is showing it can win ballgames in a variety of ways and we all know it's only a matter of time before the offense explodes again.

3. Feliz nailed at home I am not sure if we blame third base coach Steve Smith or Pedro Feliz on this one, but this play was just embarrassing, especially with two outs in the 9th:

The Phillies were pretty fortunate considering Eric Bruntlett scored on the play to send the game into extra innings but I have no idea what Feliz is thinking there.

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