Storming from the break with 37 hits, 23 runs and two easy victories, the surging Phils reach for their brooms as they try to finish off St. Louis tonight at 6:05 p.m.
Preview: It seems the Phillies have decided the best way to solve their pitching crisis is to pummel opponents into submission. So be it. Cole Hamels, who improved to 11-4, didn’t have it yesterday, but the offense made it a total non-issue. Hamels allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings and continues to be a pretty mediocre pitcher in day games (4.58 ERA, .300 BAA).
But it didn’t matter; it’s practically a footnote to a superhuman weekend of hitting. The hottest hitter on the planet, Chase Utley, knocked in two more runs to give him a share of league RBI lead with 73. He’s hitting .332, good for fifth best. Add to it his league-leading 35 doubles and I’d say Philadelphia has another MVP candidate on their hands. (It won't happen if the Phils don't stay in the hunt. Voters won't endorse two-straight Phillies sitting home in October.)
Lately, the demise of Pat Burrell has been put on hold as the left-fielder is having some second-half revenge. His .811 OPS is the highest it’s been
since May 28, thanks to a 3-3 afternoon that included a two-run double.
Tonight, the Phils will see if they saved enough runs to overcome Adam Eaton’s first 30 pitches. The right-hander, who carts a 5.68 ERA to the mound, has a 8.77 ERA over his first 30 tosses, a trend he’s carried almost his entire career. Eaton allowed four runs and eight hits, including two homers, over six innings in an 8-4 victory over Colorado his last start. Adam Wainwright (7-7, 4.66 ERA) tries to prevent the sweep for St. Louis.
Myers/Gordon updates: According to the team Web site, Brett Myers threw 25 pitches during a bullpen session yesterday in Clearwater and felt fine, assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. reported. Myers has been targeted for a July 24 return, according to the Inquirer, and is expected to face live batters Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Tom Gordon made his third rehab start Friday in the Gulf Coast League. He pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. If all goes well, the Inquirer says he could be activated tomorrow.
Musical relievers: After the game, reliever Anderson Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa and Clay Condrey's contract was purchased. To make room for Condrey on the 40-man roster, Jon Lieber was moved to the 60-day disabled list. This is Condrey’s fourth stint with the club this season and sixth in the last two seasons.