Ryan Howard homered twice, while Jamie Moyer earned the win in relief of Pedro Martinez following a pair of rain delays, as the Phillies held on to beat the Braves 4-2 in the series opener.
If it feels like all the wins this month are blending together, you're not alone. Once again, Howard ignites the tater-fueled offense, Pedro gets the early hook because of the weather and Moyer steals the show. Since joining the rotation, Pedro has pitched 16 innings over four starts, allowing eight earned runs, posting a 14/3 K/BB and notching two wins. After tonight, we're no closer to knowing what to make of the guy. He's peppered in nasty pitches here and there. The rest of the time he's Rodrigo Lopez. Here's Jamie since the demotion: 10 1-3 innings, one run, 10/0 K/BB and a pair of wins. I'll take a moment to pat myself on the back; I said the summer weather would keep Moyer busy. Not only has he earned two wins, but he's preserved the 'pen.
Howard is seeing the ball and swinging the bat so well, indicative of the number of opposite-field shots. Kris Medlen didn't make an especially bad pitch on Howard's second homer. Earlier on, Howard would have swung over it. Right now, the Big Piece must feel like he can hit anything.
I jotted down a couple of notes. Rollins had another great night defensively. Everyone talks about his offensive, but his glove has improved, too, from very good early on to Gold Glove caliber as it is today. ... Forty-eight hours removed from a blown save appears to have iced Ryan Madson; he didn't appear to have the confidence tonight. On the flip side, Brad Lidge looked terrific and it started by getting ahead then retiring the first batter. Lidge pumped hard sliders almost exclusively and had himself a refreshing 1-2-3 inning. If they need to use him again tomorrow, do it. Then sit him.
With the win, the Phils moved eight games ahead of the Braves and Marlins. Huge win tonight.
Programming note: I'm on tomorrow at 8:40 a.m. with 610's Brian Startare talking September call-ups. Talking points will include Triple-A veterans, 40-man roster shuffling, left-handed relief, added speed and a third catcher.