Two home runs by Bobby Abreu in Game 1. Two by Placido Polanco in Game 2. Two big hits by Kenny Lofton. Last night's double-header sweep was too, too sweet.
Saturday night fever
There’s plenty of man-love to go around this morning. Last night’s double-header sweep was a gritty team effort that should do Phans proud. The Phightins are the hottest team in baseball - five straight wins is the longest streak in the majors, pushing their record to 8-2 in the last ten. The Cubs are also 8-2 and continue to rise in the standings.
For the Phils, now two games over .500, it’s been an outstanding stretch thanks to clutch hitting with men on base, including seven, two-out RBIs in Game 1, and for all that hitting, they only stranded eight runners the entire night.
As complete a team effort as you could ask, the night belonged to flashy center fielder Kenny Lofton.
In a night filled with timely hitting, Lofton’s two-out, two-run single in Game 1 rattled pitcher Javier Vasquez enough that he gave up a two-run blast to the next batter, Abreu, and that sealed it.
He carried that magic into Game 2, delivering a triple in the sixth inning just as hope was beginning to fade against skin-of-his-teeth pitcher Russ Ortiz. I hate Ortiz, who always seems to luck out against the Phils. Serves that punk right.
Lofton is exceeding expectations more than any player on this team. So far, he's added a dimension to the lineup unlike any they’ve had in years - speed, veteran hitting and fire. I like the feeling I get when he steps to the plate. Lofton delivers - and he's still got some wheels.
“Why change anything”
The quote of the night came from color man Larry Andersen following Polanco’s first home run in Game 2:
“With Utley, Bell and Polanco playing the way they are,” he said, “why change anything?”
You know what … that’s not a bad point.
Polanco had a big Game 2 replacing David Bel, but Bell showed why his glove makes him the biggest asset at the position by preserving the lead in Game 1.
With the bases juiced and one out, Phils up 10-6, Bell backhanded a scorcher down the line, fired to second and Utley fired to first for the bang-bang double play.
Let me ask this question: With Bell, Polanco, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Tomas Perez, Jim Thome, and Ryan Howard as insurance in Scranton, is there a deeper infield in baseball?
Come September, having that kind of depth will be huge.
10-6 (W-Padilla) 5-3 (W-Myers) were the finals, and it was good to see the team finally give Myers a break by getting the lead in the sixth, making him the pitcher of record.
But the big story was Vicente Padilla, who looked like the Padilla of old at times. Last night was the first time you heard things like “unhittable” to describe his pitches.