Jon Lieber looks for his first win of the season when the Phillies battle the Rockies tonight at Coors field.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last night’s discussion. I caught the tail end of the game on 1210-AM while driving back from a shindig, just in time for Julio Santana’s ninth-inning debacle.
The big story of course is an offense that is now wide awake, with Chase Utley hitting four homers the last two nights, including a grand slam. Until two nights ago, he was in a 1-19 slump. Last night, he passed Pat Burrell for the team lead in OPS (1.018).
Utley isn’t the only one catching fire, as Aaron Rowand has started to pick it up, raising his OPS to .931. He's tied for second on the team in runs scored with seven.
Mike Lieberthal has quietly had a good season at the plate, including a team-leading .346 batting average. Lieby has hit safely in all but one game.
Ryan Howard may not be picking up home runs, but he's picked up base hits, many of them little infield tappers. He's hitting .343 and leads the team in OBP with .425, but is looking to ad to his home run and RBI total, which both stand at one.
In addition, Jimmy Rollins may not have had a hit last night, but he's still hitting the ball better than ever. Burrell is tied with Utley with four home runs. Bobby Abreu is right in the middle of all of them with his typical collection of offensive stats. As good as the rest have been, I've actually been most impressed with Abreu's approach at the plate.
This is a dangerous team if starting pitching can at least stay respectable. Lieber (0-2, 8.71 ERA) was a horse his last time out, throwing seven innings of two-run ball, the longest outing by any Phillies pitcher until last night, when Ryan Madson went seven and gave up three runs.
Lieber will face Jason Jennings (1-0, 2.77 ERA). Lifetime, he has not fared well against the Phillies, going 1-2 with a 7.40 in four starts.
A win tonight would pull the Phillies back to 5-6. With Florida, Washington and these Rockies waiting back home, they could still come away with that hot April they wanted so badly.