Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres, is well-known for its anti-hitting properties. The Phillies, with two home runs and twelve hits, proved somewhat immune on Monday night. In the fifth inning, Chase Utley curled a Kevin Correia pitch around the foul pole in right. Ryan Howard followed by drilling a bomb over the fence in center, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. Phils' starter Joe Blanton chowed seven innings, and allowed only three runs, in a (non-quotation mark) quality start. Brad Lidge picked up the save in the ninth, securing a 5-3 victory. It was definitely worth staying up until 1am for this one.
-Joe Blanton turned in his second consecutive strong start, giving him three good outings in his last six attempts. Considering that two of those outings were against Florida, at the ninth-worst park to hit in (Citizens Bank Park!), and against San Diego, at the worst park to hit in, the Blantonian Excitement should be tempered a bit. He still projects to be sixth in the (likely, four-man) postseason rotation of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Doug Davis, Carlos Carrasco, and J.A. Happ.
-Brad Lidge saved his fourth consecutive game. That success rate is promising, but Manager Charlie Manuel probably should be mixing Ryan Madson in for an occasional save, if it is necessary to prevent Lidge for being overworked. Hopefully, J.C. Romero's return will give the Phils another quality eight-inning option, and reduce the usage of Madson/Blanton.
-Ryan Howard had a home run and four strikeouts in the game. The homer isn't worth the four whiffs, right? Well, actually, I'll take a homer/game and zero GIDP/game, with little complaint.
-Usual LOOGY Scott Eyre did well setting up in the eighth, and covering for a Madson day off, but his chin is getting a bit mangy.
-The defensively-adept Phillies are ascending to even higher levels of proficiency.
Chase Utley caught a ball, while running away from the infield, by utilizing his armpit. Jimmy Rollins acquired a big out in the ninth inning, by nudging a Padres baserunner off second base, and tagging him out. New defensive metrics may need to be constructed, in order to measure the Phils' brilliance afield.
-It might have been a dream, but I vaguely remembering Phillies announcer Sarge Matthews offering fans free hats from his Collection, if they brought signs celebrating his broadcast partner Chris Wheeler (a.k.a. "Muffin"). It must have been a dream, right?
The Phillies face the Padres again Tuesday night, in another 10:05pm Eastern start. Antonio Bastardo makes his long-awaited major league debut, opposed by Padres ace/trade bait Jake Peavy.