Late notes from last night’s win.
How much credit does Robinson Tejeda deserve for keeping Phillies pitching from sinking? A ton. Paul Hagan had that story this morning:
Taking nothing away from the specter of losing lefthander Randy Wolf for a year or more - he's expected to decide today whether to have reconstructive elbow surgery - Tejeda certainly has lessened the level of anxiety somewhat.
Manuel said Tejeda has succeeded because he has better command and suggested that his focus has improved, that he's pitching up to the level of competition.
Said Tejeda: "Every year is not the same. I'm still working on trying to get better. But I like to compete. I hope I've showed them that I'm the guy."
Manuel sounds convinced.
"He came up basically to be a long guy," he said. "We put him in there [as a starter], because that's what we had. And he'll stay there. He's done a good job."
On the opposite side, Victor Zambrano faked his way through six innings, giving the Phils plenty of chances just like the first time they faced. The Phightins stranded 10 in this one, and for a while it looked like another wasted opportunity against a divisional foe.
Fortunately for the Phils, Kenny Lofton has gone totally nuts.
Kenny Lofton has gone totally nuts
Kenny Lofton and Chase Utley represent unique pieces the Phils never had the last few seasons. They’ll hit to opposite fields, they’re fast, and they’re clutch. They’re both aggressive, but in the right way.
No one is stepping to the plate with more confidence than Lofton, who busted the game wide open with a three-run double in the seventh. It’s insane, but when Lofton steps to the plate, my gut tells me good things will happen.
Lofton: .387 BA .455, OBP, .482 SLG, 137 ABs
Through June 14, his 10 runs created per game were tied for the team lead with Bobby Abreu.
Looking at his overall contribution, Lofton’s nine win shares is tied with outfielders like Andruw Jones, Moises Alou and Jose Guillen, with 1.9 fielding win shares good for 19th among all outfielders. Trading for Lofton has turned into Ed Wade’s greatest achievement this offseason.
Chase Utley also deserves credit for a great game, going 3-5 with a big RBI single in the seventh. Since the Polanco trade, Utley has cooled off a little, and it’s not that he’s seen many lefties since then. Chalk it up to his transition to full-time second baseman, which is easier said than done.
What can be more holly-jolly than the sight of Jim Thome plodding around the bags? It was good to see his homer. It was even better to see it land in the upper deck.
Ugueth Urbina allowed another home run last night. Patience must be exercised with the veteran stopper as his role on this team will prove vital in the last months of the season. In the meantime, Manuel would be wise to air on the side of caution when using him in a setup role in Citizen’s Bank Park.
Manuel and the media
I agreed with Manuel’s decision to limit Tejeda to six innings. With questions regarding Padilla’s health, Tejeda could pull extra duty, plus it’s not a bad to ease the rookie into things.
I watched the press conference afterwards. The first question Cholly answered was why he pulled Tejeda after 67 pitches. It’s not the first time Manuel has been second-guessed for a decision that actually worked. But still, that slick reporter had to show Charlie who’s boss.
"You see, Mr. Manuel, where we come from, double switches and pitch counts mean something. Don't they teach you that out on the farm?"
We’re really impressed.
DJ Jazzy Jeff
The Phightins did their best Uncle Phil impression last night, grabbing the Mets by the seat of the pants and tossing them out the door, Jazz-style.
It was indeed a great night for the Phils, AND for Philadelphia-native Jeffery A. Townes, affectionately known as DJ Jazzy Jeff and popular guest star in the long-running sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air."
Townes received some kind of award (we’ll call it the award for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence) before the game.
Those who remember Jazzy Jeff know him as the better half of the ’80s rap group DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. The Fresh Prince, Will Smith, went on to achieve moderate success in television and film. Townes went on to receive ... the award for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence.
Definitive Jazz quote from the show: [Explaining a shrunken shirt] The directions on the shirt said "Hand Washed." So that's exactly what I did. Before I put the clothes in the washer, I washed my hands.
Cory Lidle vs. Kaz Ishii starting in, oh, three minutes.