Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Werth helps Phillies steal one from Dodgers

(AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Maybe Jayson Werth should be the new lead-off man for the Phillies?

In a game that saw Charlie Manuel drop Jimmy Rollins from the lead-off spot to 5th in the batting order, Jayson Werth made his case for taking over the top spot in the order when he stole four bases against the Dodgers in a 5-3 Phillies victory.

Werth stole his first base in the 2nd inning, then proceeded to steal second, third and home all in the 7th inning after singling his way on base. Werth's steal of home was the first for the Phillies since Carlos Ruiz did it in 2007, although Ruiz's steal was on the back end of a double steal. Werth also tied the Phillie record for steals in a game and was the first player to steal second, third and home all in the same inning since 1996. The Phillies also got two more steals on the night, one from Jimmy Rollins and the other from Ryan Howard of all people. Every steal was against Dodgers catcher Russell Martin; apparently the Phillies did their homework on how to steal on that guy.

With all of the amazing steals, Werth managed to overshadow another strong performance by Chan Ho Park, who solidified his spot in the rotation by going 6 innings and giving up only 2 runs. Jamie Moyer now appears to be the low man in the Phillies rotation.

As for Rollins, I have been hoping the Phillies would drop him from the top spot for a while now. Despite his claim that he only wants to be a lead-off hitter, J-Roll was never the type of player you want atop the order. A drop in the lineup, even if it's only temporary, should get Rollins motivated to get his act together and stop swinging at the first pitch all the time.

The win helps the Phillies stay one game behind the first place Mets. If Jayson Werth can keep up this prowess on the base paths, it should only be a matter of time before the Phils get back atop the NL East.

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