The Phillies won 11-7 yesterday but received some bad news. Ryan Howard will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left quadriceps, retroactive to Thursday. Meanwhile, the Phillies welcome back Beerleaguer favorite Chris Coste.
In addition, Tom Gordon, already on the DL with an inflamed pitching shoulder, remains hospitalized with an upper respiratory infection. He is undergoing testing, according to the Inquirer.
With both Howard and Gordon, the injuries and discomfort started in Spring Training. and both players battled through rocky starts to the season. With Howard, it is believed the strained thigh limited how much he could push off with his back leg, causing him to take unbalanced swings. Although he delivered a game-winning, pinch-hit grand slam Wednesday in Arizona, Howard appeared to be pressing as a result of his slow start. Time off will be as much about recovering mentally as physically it would seem.
Meanwhile, Chris Coste will return to take Howard's spot on the 25-man roster. In 25 games (90 AB) Coste had only been hitting .233 with a .606 OPS, but if Coste can contribute what he did last season, Charlie Manuel will have pinch-hitter/spot starter at his fingertips who will make pitchers work and deliver clutch hits.
Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs are expected to share time at first base in Howard's absence, with Abraham Nunez taking over at third base and Coste in the mix at first base and in pinch-hit situations.
Phillies get help from unlikely sources
Abraham Nunez and Carlos Ruiz had three RBIs apiece and Greg Dobbs went 4-for-4 with two RBIs to help the Phillies pull away late in the Phillies 11-7 victory over the Cubs. Ruiz homered and executed a successful suicide squeeze to score Abraham Nunez from third. According to the Inquirer, it is believed to be the Phillies first squeeze since 2000. Chase Utley also homered in a winning cause.
Pitching-wise, Brett Myers tossed two scoreless frames, taking over for Antonio Alfonseca, who pitched 2-3 scoreless innings. And although Freddy Garcia was charged with three runs over six, it was probably his strongest effort as a Phillie. Mechanically, he looked better - less bunched up. He even helped himself with an RBI double of his own. Garcia appears to be on the right track, which is a very encouraging development.
Phillies try for sweep today at 1:35 p.m. ET
Today’s game features a pair of veterans who’ve both been nice surprises for their respective clubs. The Phillies will get a look at left-hander Ted Lilly (2-2, 2.78 ERA), who spent the past seven seasons in the AL before being acquired by Chicago in December. Former Cub Jon Lieber (1-1, 3.33 ERA) is the reason Cole Hamels was pushed up to Friday’s start. Lieber had some kind of finger injury, but is expected to be 100 percent for today.
A Sunday game against a left-hander could mean a different lineup for Manuel’s club. Outfield reservist Jayson Werth has not started a game since May 2. Wes Helms could return to the starting lineup, as could catcher Rod Barajas, who Manuel likes to use against left-handers.