Firing Of Hitting Coach Lights a Fire Under The Offense
The Phillies returned home today after a very bad road trip hoping to turn things around against the Rockies. For starters, they fired their hitting coach, Milt Thompson and replaced him with Greg Gross. Thompson is the fall guy for this severely underachieving offense. But would this slap to the face be the wake-up call the Phillies are certainly in need of?
At first, it looked like the same old routine of hitting into double plays and leaving the bases loaded. But in the 5th inning, the offense woke up and figured out how to score some runs. Three straight hits, including an RBI double from Raul Ibanez, got things started.
Ryan Howard even stole a base, as his teammates giggled in the dugout after seeing the big man scamper to second. Jayson Werth hit a sac fly and then Ross Gload, getting a rare start in the outfield, smacked a 2-run homer for his second hit of the night.
The only starter who did not contribute tonight was Wilson Valdez who went 0 for 4. Everyone else, even the pitcher, got a hit. Ibanez finally looks like RAUUUUUULLL again! He had 3 hits and 3 RBI tonight. Ibanez likes hitting 3rd, as I mentioned yesterday. Jimmy Rollins, back in the lead-off spot as I also suggested yesterday, seems to have found his groove as well. J-Roll collected 2 hits and a walk.
On the mound, Roy Halladay returned to his usual dominating form after allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in his last outing. Tonight, he pitched extremely well, allowing only 5 hits and no runs over 8 innings. Oddly enough, the hitting was a bigger story today than 8 shut-out innings from Halladay. Because we expect Halladay to be good; but the offense has been so bad, seeing the Phillies score 6 runs was more exciting.
JC Romero pitched an easy 9th inning and looked very sharp. He hit the leadoff batter, but was lights-out after that. The Phillies won by a score of 6-0 and Halladay finally experienced some run support. Hopefully, this win will be a much needed boost for the team.
The starting pitching for the rest of the weekend has finally been announced. Kyle Kendrick will be brought up to pitch Saturday as Jamie Moyer is placed on the DL. And on Sunday, JA Happ will get his first start since 4/15/10 when an injury sent him to the DL.
As for Moyer, the news is not good. An MRI showed that he has both a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator muscle; those injuries are to the left forearm and elbow. The two injuries may require surgery and this may also signal the end of Moyer’s career. He is going for another exam early next week and should know for sure after that. Either way, the injuries are more serious than what Happ had this year and Happ missed more than 3 months.
Moyer is in the last year of his contract with the Phillies and it is unlikely that a team would sign a 48-year old pitcher fresh off multiple injuries and possibly surgery. So Moyer may have pitched his last inning. Then again, if anyone can bounce back after such damage, it would be Moyer. I wish him luck :O)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography