A tenacious offense and quality pitching completed the Phillies’ trifecta in Milwaukee. The Brew Crew searches for answers after losing all six games on their homestand by a combined score of 51-20.
The Brewers, losers of eight in a row at home at 14 of 18 games overall, will look back and identify this stretch as the point where they wanted to crawl under a rock. The Phils caught them at their absolute lowest and systematically picked them to pieces, despite being shorthanded themselves. Once again, the Phils ran roughshod over a pitching staff, leaving them in absolute ruin.
For the Phillies, this could be known as the Paul Hoover series. For a journeyman catcher living life just beneath the big league surface, seizing the moment, as he did this weekend, might be enough to seduce a team into giving him a backup job down the line. Big league experience is the be-all, end-all in the life of a backstop. At the very least, the 34-year-old veteran has secured gainful employment, somewhere, and at some level, next season. The same can be said for Wilson Valdez. Over parts of five seasons, the soon-to-be-32-year-old shortstop has appeared in just 169 Major League games, 17 of them coming in this high-profile gig with the Phillies. Give Ruben Amaro and his men some credit for securing such depth when there’s such a shortage of talent at these positions, but tip your cap to Hoover and Valdez most of all for rising to the occasion while Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins make their way back.
Pitching-wise, Cole Hamels’ performance was in the same pretty-good ballpark as Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer in games one and two, and I’d happily skip writing about pitching today, because I think it’s time to lay some serious praise at the feet of Placido Polanco.
Polly (.318/.348/.415) has far and away been the Phillies’ best pure hitter this season, as in, the hitter with the best plan and best situational execution. Last night, he doubled in Shane Victorino to initiate the Phillies’ scoring and added a hit later in the game. This was a signing that was met with near universal disapproval as critics said it reeked of old-fashioned, outmoded thinking. But it’s worked precisely as the Phillies had planned. When it comes to the "classic" approach, nobody does it better.