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Saturday, April 25, 2009


I will admit it. Following last night's game on my desktop while working late at the office last evening -- after Lou Marson looked at his second straight called third strike -- I stayed just a bit longer to see his third at bat -- with a post already written, and my right index finger quivering over the "send" button. Then-- Marson hit his line drive single. That was a turning point for me.

That third at bat by Marson -- followed by his patience in getting a walk in the amazing 9th inning after getting caught looking in his first two at bats -- showed me a lot -- and, with his throw-out of a baserunner -- I was impressed with the guy.

No, Marson should not be kept in the big leagues just yet. As Charlie ws quoted by Andy Martino in this morning's Inquirer: "Despite the catcher's early success with the Phils, Manuel said that Marson would be best served by returning to triple A and playing every day once Ruiz returns. "He still needs at-bats," Manuel said. "He is in the stage right now where he is going to get better."

That conventional baseball wisdom is hard to argue against -- and while Marson might survive at the major league level right away -- without a solid season this year in AAA -- those enamored of Marson right now will have been deprived of seeing how good Marson might have been -- in my opinion.

Well said.

Park v. Volstad.

Ug. Keep them in the game, Park.

One of those comebacks involved scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the first to go ahead 4-1. Not quite the same as most of the others.

EFF: But, it sounds better if you include that one.

To my recollection, this is only the second-best comeback over the Marlins in Phillies history. Was it three years ago they mounted that 10-run comeback in a game starte by D-Train? Saturday day game, I remember I was at a PSU football game that day.

Looks like keeping Stairs was the correct move. Now about that 25th guy!

I feel asleep in the fourth and woke up during the ninth - of the 1am replay!

Haha great way to watch a game.

Marson was totally overmatched in his first two ab's so it's nice he adjusted.

I was one of those that did'nt mind keeping Cairo as the 25th man. I was wrong. They should make a move to get someone better.

Bruntlett should have been non-tendered. But since they have to pay him close to 1 mil guaranteed, Cairo has to go. Last night's game proved that.

Trade Condrey for something while his stats look presentable. Then bring up Koplove or Majewski as 12th pitcher.

One thing you can't call this team -- "dull"

Bruntlett isn't a problem. He serves a purpose. Frankly, he's our only backup shortstop (although I suppose you can move Feliz there and put Dobbs at third).

But here's the larger point... Bruntlett is a fine 25th man trying to be a 24th man. We should dump Cairo and get a legit 24th man with a RH bat and let Bruntlett be what he can be... the 25th man.

If Manual believes Marson should be in AAA playing everyday (which i believe too) then while he is here in the majors he needs to be playing everyday. Let him get his at bats. I know Coste has more major league experience and knows the pitchers better but Marson isn't doing himself any good being a backup while he's up here. Let him play every and get his at bats, get to know the pitchers so he can learn to work with them and llet him even get to know the hitters on opposing teams so he gets a head start for when he finally plays for the Phils everyday permanently. This isnt doing him any good to be Coste's back up. Lets see what this kid can do.

A player with tons of speed and plus OF defense would be an upgrade over Cairo. I don't care if he can't get on base. Someone who can steal a bag late and you trust in the OF.

Bruntlett is no one to get excited about, but he definitely serves his purpose. Hopefully it's a more limited one than last year.

I think Jason Ellison would be a definite upgrade over Cairo right now (sorry Mr. Ellison for damning you with faint praise)

Marlins TV had Bruntlett at a .299 career pinch hitter. That right?

.295/.374/.397 in 94 PA.

Not so far from his numbers against LHP: .271/.359/.403

Sometime last season I became a fan of Bruntlett's. I guess the WFC season was a long season.

Bruntlett does serve a purpose but makes no doubt about it - he stinks. His value are his versatility, moderate speed, and ability to PH against a marginal LHP pitcher.

He is utterly useless against almost any RHP and is a defensive downgrade from Phils starter including 2B, 3B, SS, and even LF.

Still he is one of the last guys on the roster and nearly every team in MLB has a similar player.

Agree with the concensus though about Cairo. Made no sense why he was on the Opening Day roster over a guy like Jenkins and still makes no sense as the Phils aren't really carrying a natural OF on their bench.

Amaro deserves some credit for what he did this offseason but he deserves a failing grade for the bench he has assembled in the early going. All kinds of limitations that has shown themselves including offensive and defensive limitations. Sadly, I think they will keep this current bench together too until well into the summer either just because there really aren't many alternatives at Allentown.

The Phils basically played with 24 guys on the team last year, as Taguchi got 23 ABs in the final 3 months of the season (not counting the meaningless last game). So it seems Cholly can (and does) make do with a short/crappy bench.

Not that it makes up for Amaro failing to improve the bench somehow. I mean, at least Taguchi was an OF.

Well, the Mets play games where one or two of their starting OFers aren't natural OFers.

As I have said before -- I too believe that Marson should get the majority of the starts behind the plate before Ruiz comes off the DL and Marson is sent back for a needed season in AAA. They apparently want Ruiz to have at least four starts in Lehigh Valley before he is activated -- and with Ruiz apparently still hitting off a tee as of yesterday, you have Sunday's "day game after a night game" and no day off for a while. Ruiz is supposed to start his rehad assignment with the Iron Pigs today. So having Marson make 6 to 8 sraight starts seems a bit much -- and that Coste should get a start or two during that stretch.

Kevin - But Cholly won't play Marson when Ruiz gets back more than once a week or so. Marson has filled in capably but he needs to play everyday.

More than likely, I bet that Marson gets another callup with this team before Sept. 1 due to injury/ineffectivness.

With that starting pitching matchup, we can only hope another comeback is in order tonight.

Matt Stairs is the Pinch-Hitting God of Thunder. Don't believe me- click here.

I sympathize Weitzel, I have beer and chicken business to tend to.

I don't remember any comments on this, but I was wondering after Brett gave up the first inning homer , how much of the starters long ball woes have something to do with Ruiz' absence.
The Phillies give Chooch great marks for calling the game /handling the staff. Maybe they are right and our pitchers will improve when they get Chooch back.
Wishful cause and effect thinking!!

A great win last night. Not to focus on the negatives, but can you believe this quote from Brett? He comes up with more excuses than anyone. We all know the real problem is that he can't throw over 90 miles an hour anymore...

“It was tough because my ball was moving all over the place," he said. "It was tough to control it. I had to back off some to try to throw strikes with it. It was just going everywhere. I don’t know the reason why it was doing it. I don’t know if it was me or the elements. I just tried to battle through it, just tried to throw strikes with it."

Carlos caught 4 games this year. Phils gave up 4, 4, 11 and 10 runs and were 1-3.

Dukes: a little over five months to go before the post-Brett Myers era can begin. I am giddy with anticipation.

Dukes- what are some of his other excuses? Kinda funny to call the one guy who took a minor league demotion like a man a guy who makes all kinds of excuses, imo.

That guy you describe pitches for Baltimore now. Myers has always struck me, albeit a wingnut, as a guy who takes the blame, forthright and honest...sometimes even blunt.

He just isn't very good, that's not debateable...but he doesn't make excuses either...

"He just isn't very good, that's not debateable"

Fairly sure that is debatable.

Dukes - Myers pitched like crap last night but I don't know if that quote is an "excuse" per se.

More of an explanation - Myers couldn't locate his fastball at all last night and doesn't have much confidence in it because he realizes now that he can no power overhitters.

It is kind of disturbing though that Myers doesn't seem to have an explain of why his fastball is missing its spots so badly.

Simply put, Myers isn't a power pitcher at all anymore. Kind of compounded by the fact that while is curveball is excellent is that he has a pretty weak changeup and a spotty slider he can't throw for strikes.

Only way Myers is going to succeed is by locating his mid-upper 80s fastball low and on the corners and mixing his 2 other offspeed pitches to go with his curveball. I just don't know if Myers has the ability to locate his fastball with enough consistency to be a successful starter though.

Doesn't help though when Myers does dumb sh!t like he did last night - Tom Goyne over ballsticksstuff pointed it out perfectly in that Myers started Johnson with two changeups.

There is absolutely no reason why you ever start a pitcher with 2 changeups and Myers did that too often last night against some of the Fish's weaker hitters by starting them with one either a slider or a changeup.

The essential problem with Myers is that he now has to rely on savvy and smarts to be successful.

I think you know where I'm going with this.

Number of FanGraphs point a pretty clear picture of Myers' struggles:

- He is throwing way too many sliders (19.3% vs. 16.0% last year and changeups (15.6% vs 12.0% last year) and not enough 4-seem fastballs (35.6% vs. 46.2%).

- Myers AVG fastball has been at 89.5 MPH so far and it didn't have great velocity last night.

- Myers is also missing the zone too much and hitters are making more contact against him if you look at the numbers.

Two conclusions:

- Myers has no confidence in his fastball (both from a velocity and control perspective) and is trying to overdue it as a finesse pitcher with marginal slider and changeup too much.

- Myers better work with Dubee or whoever to figure out what is wrong with his fastball mechanics again or he is going to be in for a long season as a starter with an ERA over 5 and his share of Ls.

RSB, who exactly is going to replace Myers in this glorious post-Myers era? Not that I'm not looking forward to said era myself.

RSB - That compounds the problem because Myers strikes me a guy who does almost zero prep work before a game.

If I remember right last season, I remember Dubee becoming severely irritated with Myers about several things including his inability to listen to advice, lack of work ethic on long-tossing between games, and his general lack of preparation prior to a start (e.g., watching video, etc).

I would put money again that Myers is being lazy Myers again in terms of his physical and mental prep work between starts.

The only difference I haven't seen so far is that Myers don't appear to be trying the machismo crap he did early in the season last year with his fastball by challenging hitters at times in/up in the zone.

"I would put money again that Myers is being lazy Myers again in terms of his physical and mental prep work between starts."

But really, how do you know?

I'll say this for Myers--and, yes, the season's young--he leads the rotation in ERA, Ks and IP.

Also, HRs given up.

MG - Why is last year the benchmark for comparison when it comes to how often Myers should be throwing certain pitches? If you could narrow it to when Myers was successful last year, that might be more helpful. Myers' overall numbers were not so great. Ended up being just an average starter.

Dukes: A guy walks 6 batters in 6 innings, and throws nearly as many balls as strikes over the course of the entire game, and the "real problem" is that he can't throw over 90 MPH anymore?

Were you watching the second half of last season? He wasn't throwing over 90 MPH and he was lights-out.

The "real problem" with Myers this year is that he is giving up homeruns by the truckload.

Myers has always been maddening because of his inconsistency. But, despite his reputation as a head case, he has actually shown quite a bit of mental toughness this year. He is the only Phillies starter who has given them a serviceable outing every time out, and he has done so despite digging himself early holes in each game and battling his control in 2 of the 4 games.

Myers sure ain't worth $12M but, so far, he has been the best starter in our rotation.

Sophist - Depends. 2nd half Myers last year was the best stretch of his career by far until the last 2 starts. Myers basically was dominant for 2 months. He had never come close in his career to showing that kind of sustained dominance in his career either.

I don't have the time to break out the pitch f/x data this afternoon but Myers used his 4-seem fastball and curveball much more last year in the 2nd half and almost completely stopped using his cutter (which basically means he cuts the baseball to leave it over the inner part of the plate).

I would be curious to see a run down on types of the pitches on which Myers has given up HRs on though the past 3 seasons. I would be willing to bet they would be a large numbers of fastball but also a disproportionate share of change ups too.

BAP - Myers did show some gumption and didn't pitch that poorly in his first 2 starts. He has pitched poorly in his last two and has had stretches where his control largely abandoned. If Myers pitches like he did the last 2 starts for most the year, he will post an ERA north of 5 and have at least 12-13 Ls.

I said before the season that, although Jason Ellison stinks, he would nonetheless be preferrable to Miguel Cairo. I stand by that statement.

On offense, Ellison & Cairo are about a wash; neither can hit at all. Ellison, however, provides speed and plus outfield defense, whereas Cairo's speed is average at best and he can't even play the OF. We definitely need a right-handed bat off the bench, and Ellison isn't it. But being of more use than Miguel Cairo is not a tough standard to overcome, and Ellison overcomes it.

Up at Bailout field, each staff has allowed 1 ER. Score: Mets 5, Natinals 1.

Natinals starter made the mistake of allowing the Mets to hit a routine fly to center with 2 on and 2 out.

Hard to believe the Nats will be one of those "historically bad" teams like the '03 Tigers because they should have enough offense to avoid such a fate but man their bullpen is horrendous and likely to get some stretches of fairly shoddy starting pitching.

Line on Park tonight:

5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

another mixed bag with an "L" attached to it as the Phils' offense gets handled by Volstad tonight.

---Doesn't help though when Myers does dumb sh!t like he did last night - Tom Goyne over ballsticksstuff pointed it out perfectly in that Myers started Johnson with two changeups.---

I was always taught-never throw a changeup to an .067 hitter. NEVER.

Maybe Myers should be talking to Madson on how to add 3-4 MPH on his fastball...

Cody Ross sends his love to you guys that are his fans on this board.

"Myers' fastball is back in the low 90s, with his other offerings staying about the same. Instead of a mix of fastballs and sinkers to both right- and left-handed batters, Myers went to his fastball much more to right-handed batters and his sinker more to left-handed batters. Remember that Myers' sinker has excellent horizontal movement away from a left handed batter but in to a right handed batter. His fastball, on the other hand, has very little horizontal movement at all. It is a similar story with his off-speed pitches.

After he came back up. Myers' main off-speed pitch was his curve, with some sliders and change-ups mixed in. He almost completely stopped throwing his change-up to right-handed batters and sparingly used his slider to left-handed batters. His curve, which has great vertical drop, became his strikeout pitch no matter the handedness of the batter. What this meant was that now batters were much more likely to see a ball tailing away from them than tailing in to them. This is a huge adjustment and something I think more pitchers could benefit from.


While Myers' fastball returned to form after his trip to Triple-A, what really made the difference for him was how he used his pitches. His slider, which doesn't have great movement, took a back seat to his curve ball, which is an excellent pitch, especially in strikeout situations. While he was a threat to throw any of his five pitches on any count before going to the minors, he kept the ball moving away from batters upon returning.

While hitters had a better idea of what Myers might throw, he was able to beat them with his stuff because he was using his pitches better. By keeping the ball moving away from hitters, he kept them off balance and unable to square him up."

Thanks for the link

My conclusion is that Myers threw out his arm throwing 97-98 mph as a closer on '07.

As for the question of who replaces him: hopefully a kid in the minors. A free agent. I hardly think the kind of middling efforts Myers gives the Phillies most times out is irreplacable. I think the best one could call him at this point is 'serviceable'. My feeling is that a hell of a lot less money could probably be paid to someone of a similar caliber. That someone may or may not be as much of a known quantity of mediocrity as Myers is, but I think it'd be worth the drop in payroll to find out.

I would tend to highly doubt they would make a huge effort to retain a guy who's been a model of inconsistency and regression throughout his career, who appears past his prime at 28, and who appears destined to not fulfill whatever expectations which were held for him all this time. If he wants to take something like $16M/2 years, I'd shrug and say okay. My guess, however, is some other team will think they can be the ones to turn him into something other than the .500 pitcher he's become and offer him more money and years, and that'll be that.

Myers can forget about getting another 12 mil out of the Phillies next year. His "million dollar arm,10 cent head" act has run its course. He used to be described as having electric stuff. He no longer has that. He has to be more of a technician now to compete.

He does'nt have the necessities to be a technician.

"Trade Condrey for something while his stats look presentable. Then bring up Koplove or Majewski as 12th pitcher.

Posted by: mikes77phillies "

mikey, you've gotta be kidding right?

Condrey has been just about the best 7th arn out of any pen in baseball the last two seasons(no one is saying he's a closer, but there is value in that), and you want to trade him for who exactly? What makes you think you can get equal value?

"So it seems Cholly can (and does) make do with a short/crappy bench."

dwr, what you say is true, but it helps when you have 2 MVPs and a perennial MVP candidate in the lineup.

If your starters can perform at that level, maybe the best place on the roster for a hole or two is on the bench?

MG - They're crushing Volstad tonight.

Active Marlins versus Park:

BA .478 OBP .538 SLG .957 OPS 1.495

So change what I said to "They better plan on crushing Volstad tonight."

"I hope Happ is feeling rested."

In re: Replacing Myers after 2009

A lot depends on Happ and Carrasco and the development of guys at (and even below) AA.

Oh, I agree, RSB. I'm just not too up on the minor leagues, so I wasn't sure if Drabek or Carrasco or who have you are going to be ready by 2010, and I'd hate to see them overpay for some sort of aging, marginal #4 starter, which you can definitely see Amaro doing.

Beerleaguer is hilarious. With the exception of BAP and couple others, posters think the only thing that matters in pitching is the fastball and how hard you throw it. Location? Meaningless. Secondary pitches? What are they? Hamels' out pitch is a changeup? Myers' a curveball? Are you nuts?

Clout - Yeah his fastball is paramount because Myers throws his fastball (either a 4-seem or 2-seemer) over 50% of the time and his only other plus secondary pitch is his curveball.

Without his fastball working (either from a location or velocity standpoint), Myers just doesn't have the arsenal to be successful most nights.


"While Myers' fastball returned to form after his trip to Triple-A, what really made the difference for him was how he used his pitches. His slider, which doesn't have great movement, took a back seat to his curve ball, which is an excellent pitch, especially in strikeout situations. While he was a threat to throw any of his five pitches on any count before going to the minors, he kept the ball moving away from batters upon returning."

MG: You're wrong, as usual, on velocity.

I never really get the value of these debates about why Myers is a mediocre pitcher. He just is, and it's never going to change.

Sophist - Yeah but Myers still threw his fastball/sinker more when he came back and it was over 50% of the time.

If Myers doesn't have his fastball/sinker working properly, it doesn't really matter even if he throws more curveballs because neither his changeup or slider is a very good pitch.

It is like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is cracked or unstable, it doesn't matter really what else you do to the house. Need that foundation to be stable.

Tray: Carrasco should compete for a Big League job next season, assuming progress this year. Drabek, no.

clout's right.

Myers outpitch is his curveball. What has hurt him so far this year (and what hurt him last year) is he is missing with the fastball. It's not velocity. Too many people have hard-ons for the mid 90's+ heat. If you can't locate pitches it really doesn't matter how hard you throw.

Myers fastball has been missing which means it's not a threat. When the fastball is not a threat hitters sit on his out pitch (the curveball) and ruin that pitches effectiveness. Curveballs are hard to hit when you are guessing fastball. When you're guessing curveball though they aren't that hard to hit.

Sorry to pull an MG here:

Velocity is a fun thing for fans to look at but means very little in the grand scheme of things. Get a pitching machine and set it to throw 95 down the middle belt high. If you have any kind of athletic acumen you'll be able to hit it. If that pitch is moving it's much harder to touch.

Location is, has, and always will be tantamount to being a successful major league pitcher.

Clout - You act like velocity doesn't matter though. Myers used to have the ability to dial it up when needed and challenge hitters in the middle/upper part of the plate.

He tried doing that machismo crap last year early in the year at times and he generally failed more often than not because it was 89-90=1 MPH than at 93-95 MPH from when he a starter back in '05 and '06.

4 or 5 MPH on a fastball matters a huge deal and you I just surprised at how you act like it really doesn't make a difference.

Yes location is more important than velocity on a fastball. No denying that but Myers generally hasn't had either though and at this point in his career he generally isn't as capable of dialing it up anymore.

Not sure if it is mechanics or just age/wear & tear on his arm but there is a huge difference between a guy who throws his 4-seem at 93-94 vs. a guy at 89-90 MPH especially if he has a dominant second pitch like Myers (curveball at 78-80 MPH with lots of movement).

Point is this - Myers never has had great control on his fastball. Even when he was a starter in '05 and '06. He just got away with a bit more because he generally threw a bit harder.

He is just a different pitcher now and has to adjust accordingly. I just don't know if he has the ability or desire (from a preparation standpoint) to be able to locate his fastball consistently enough to be a top-tier rotation guy.

Truth - Yes almost every MLB hitter can hit a 94-95 MPH fastball down the pike but is ignoring both the consideration the hitter has to take into effect about the other types of pitches he might face and location in the zone.

Last rant - As my uncles's friend who was a minor league scout for a long-time told me when I was a kid, "you can teach a modicum of control to a kid who is willing to listen and learn but you can't teach velocity. At best you might add another 1-2 but there just isn't going to be a big deep to a kid who is physically developed."

MG: The issue is you are railing, and many others are railing more than you, that velocity is down and causing Myers problems. It's his location that is the issue. Same thing with Hamels in the first few starts where you blamed velocity.

It's not the speed, or lack thereof, on Myers' fastball that is causing him issues. It's his location with it that throws off his other pitches.

Of course velocity helps and, of course, Myers would benefit if he threw 94 MPH instead of 89 MPH. But if Myers' drop in velocity were the problem, how does one explain the fact that he has 23 strikeouts in 25 innings? And how does one explain the fact that, other than the runs he has allowed on homeruns, Myers has allowed a grant total of 1 run all year?

Myers' sole problem, both this year & last, has been the homerun ball. Homeruns balls are a result of location, not velocity. If his velocity were the issue, he would be getting pounded throughout the game. Instead, he's pitching well throughout the game, but throwing the occasional fat pitch which results in a homerun.

clout, what are these "secondary pitches" you speak of? I thought the only pitch was the fastball and the harder fastball.

Pitching is location when you come down to it. That's what made Maddux the best pitcher of the past 30 years...not his overpowering 91-92 mph fastball. Though in his early years with the Cubs he could dial it up to 94 mph if he absolutely had to.

Truth - Location always triumphs velocity. That is not the point though with Myers. He never has had great location with his fastball.

The only time I can remember Myers having great location on his fastball consistently over a prolonged stretch was last year after the ASB break. Otherwise he has always been kind of mercurial with the control on his fastball.

Velocity can cover up a ton though on a bunch of mistakes. Best way I can think of to get more clarity on this issue is to see what pitches (velocity/type/location) that Myers' has given up his HRs on the last 3 seasons.

Jimmy back to himself...unfortunately.

That's a .156 avg now for him.


Ugh, have to put a ball in play there.

Even Utley can't play situational baseball for the Phils. Well, except for the 9th inning.

Not going to get many opportunities like that against Volstad.

And with the Marlins up vs Park, let the Home Run Derby begin.

Screw that, we're winning this damn game.

Maybe Park just likes pitching in the State of Florida

Anyone care to guess which inning it will be when our distinguished pitching staff continues their HRs surrendered streak?

G-T D:
Wild guess the first...

4th inning G-Town.

The Marlins are still paying money to Al Leiter? Jesus.

Park's got hop on the heater tonight.

I'm going with none...Park won't give one up tonight.

LA - "Myers really battled last night and that was a sign of a guy figuring it out." If that is Myers trying to figure it out, then the Phils are going to be on the short end of the stick in most of his starts.

I'm going to be ambitious and guess the 4th inning.

G-T D:
I'm also gonna guess not the second...

Leave it to Andy to make the bold predictions.

Future LOOGY Antonio Bastardo pitched 5 no-hit innings today in Reading before being pulled.

Impressive. He'll be in our bullpen in the next few years...or tossed into a mid-season trade.

MG - For Myers that was actually pretty good. Usually when he wants to "figure something out" he stands in from of the mirror banging both sides of his head saying "Think! Think!"

Like Winnie the Pooh.

Velocity is fairly low in ranking importance of a pitcher's assets - but it is not by any stretch irrelevant. If Myers velocity was what it once was, I guarantee you there would not be as many HR balls. Increased velocity sometimes - not always, but definitely sometimes - allows a pitcher to get away with poor location, especially up in the strike zone.

I know that it's said that 'it doesn't matter how hard you throw it, major league hitters can hit a fastball' - true, but they also quite often swing through fastballs thrown at an above average velocity, and sometimes even when they know it's coming. Some pitchers throw hard enough to rely on their fastball when they aren't getting their other pitches over. Myers can't do that.The key is establishing another pitch that can be thrown for strikes so that hitters aren't sitting on the fastball.

I like that Marson has patience like this...granted he's gonna have alot of called 3rd strikes till he figures out the strike zone for the umpires in MLB but it bodes well for future success.

It will be frustrating for a while though. Its great that he got 2 starts in a row to start getting a routine set up.

Chan Ho!! There's your HR!! Opposite field

Thanks, Knight. I try to stay on top of this prognostication stuff.

THAT's how you get RUN Support, baby!



Huh ... maybe I should rephrase my question ...



Well if it doesn't work out in the rotation for Park he can be our dangerous right handed hitter off the bench!

Anyone else recall a Phillies pitcher ever hitting a homerun to the opposite field? Jeff Juden comes to mind...

G-T D:
First home run with a Phillies pitcher involved will come in the third, I think.

chan ho!

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