Gavin Floyd gave up five hits over six innings, enough to secure a victory over Atlanta 7-6, and the first series win of the Phillies season.
Philadelphia Daily News writer Marcus Hayes correctly identified the big story from last night, setting aside the four homers and focusing on Gavin Floyd.
The newly aggressive Floyd didn’t crumble after a rough start and shaky command of his fastball. After a home run given up to Jeff Francoeur, he settled in and mixed up his first pitches, going back to his bread-and-butter curve for outs. Even when he’s not trying to put a lot on it, his curve is still excellent, said Larry Andersen during the broadcast.
Andersen’s take on Floyd, dating back to last season, is perhaps the best single analysis from any broadcaster, and I look forward to hearing him every time Floyd pitches. Thanks to L.A., I know pitching better.
Floyd's start is certainly encouraging for a team that will lean on him heavily. The bats of Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu and Chase Utley were his best friends yesterday, giving him a comfortable 5-0 lead.
I find it interesting that the only starting pitcher yet to have what I would consider a positive outing so far is Brett Myers, considered by most the best pitcher in the rotation.
I’ve never seen a catcher cheer for his pitcher more than Sal Fasano. His defense behind the dish is certainly unorthodox, but his coddling approach seems to be the right fit for Floyd. Frequent commentor, That Dude, nailed it on the head in the previous post, calling Fasano one-part wet nurse, one part drill sergeant.
It looks like Fasano will be working exclusively with two pitchers, Floyd and Jon Lieber, so we should probably brace for offensive production that's on par with Todd Pratt, or worse. He's an all-or-nothing hitter, but he's not there to win a batting title.
Defensively, Fasano squats as if he doesn’t know what to do with his legs and arms. He’s so large that if he falls off balance and lands on his knees, it doesn’t make much difference because the target doesn’t move. Fasano engulfs the baseball. I don't know much on his prowess at throwing out baserunners, but last season he could not hold runners.
Is it hypocritical of me to say Fasano deserves to catch as many games as necessary, even though he will probably be a worse eight-hole hitter than Mike Lieberthal? After all, I’ve been riding this next guy hard for the same reason.
Charlie Manuel appears to have no interest in platooning David Bell, who proved Manuel right and rebounded very well in this series. He raised his average to .250 against right-handed pitching, but like Fasano, his greatest contribution has been at his position.
The Phillies went to the well once too often with Ryan Franklin, using him for the fifth time in six games. After nearly blowing the lead, and getting saddled for the loss in Monday’s game, his ERA stands at 5.14. It’s obvious he needs a break after getting taxed hard in the early-going. The best remedy is longer outings from starting pitchers.
Pat Gillick asserted back when Tom Gordon was signed that we were getting a 100 percent healthy pitcher. Pitching as a closer for the first time since 2002, Flash has been as advertised by Gillick, throwing a high-velocity fastball and sharp curve. So far, no reason to believe he'll falter as closer for the Phillies.
The Phillies will soon need to decide what happens with Rule 5 pick Chris Booker. Booker has been on the 15-day disabled list since March 29, and once he returns, must stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to Washington.