June 28, 2009 2:41 PM

Happ Twirls Gem, Phils (Finally) Win


Maybe Charlie Manuel should have a team meeting after every game? The tactic paid immediate dividends, as the Phillies destroyed the host Blue Jays, 10-0, on Saturday. Rookie southpaw J.A. Happ, making his eleventh career start, pitched a complete-game shutout. Jayson Werth went 4 for 4, with a pair of home runs, one of which landed in the United States. Ryan Howard, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste, and Carlos Ruiz contributed two hits apiece. It might have been the Phils' most dominant effort of the season, and was the kind of victory the team can build upon. Hopefully, this game will be spotlighted as a turning point, in the 2009 World Series Champion Phillies DVD.

Happ was incredible, requiring only 100 pitches to procure the 27 outs. Happ permitted only five hits, and did not walk a single batter. His performance allowed the Phillies to rest their embattled bullpen, which is always a good thing. I could complain that, with the Phillies leading 10-0 after seven innings, the dreg (Jack Taschner) of the bullpen could have finished up, saving some bullets in Happ's young arm. (Happ pitched 167 innings, in AAA and MLB last season, and should be kept below 200 (including postseason) in 2009.) Also worthy of complaint was Eric Bruntlett's third consecutive start, in which he contributed another zero hits. But let's focus on the brilliance of Happ sand Werth, savor this victory, and hope that the Phils can gather some momentum. The bullpen is rested, Sunday's starter Jamie Moyer has pitched better as of late, and a series win is within the Phils' grasp.

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