Winning With Defense
Everyone recognizes the Phillies starting pitching is airtight. The offensive weapons can produce big numbers. Overlooked, is a phase of the game in which the Phillies excel, defense.
Defense was the difference in the Phillies’ Saturday night win in Milwaukee. Ryan Howard made a brilliant diving stop of a sure double in the ninth, Hawkins threw away a Ruiz bunt allowing the winning run to score and with two on and two out in the last of the 10th, Polly and Ryan combined on a great defensive play to give the Phillies their sixth straight win.
It marks the 21st time the Phillies are in a position for sweep. They have swept three four-game series and have two more four-gamers on the final homestand, St. Louis and Washington. Overall, they have won 33 series, lost 11 and split three.
Defensively, the Phillies have just 62 errors, lowest total in the majors. The club record for the fewest is 76, two years ago. Club record for the most, 403, in 1904. Hope I’m not around when that record is broken.
**In winning six straight, they have out-scored the enemy, 33-12. That includes 18-0 in runs scored with two out.
**When scoring first, they are 69-18.
**When they hit at least one home run, 71-16.
**Vance Worley and Michael Stutes, both drafted in 2008, are a combined 17-2.
Milwaukee has three, manager Ron Roenicke, lefty Randy Wolf, who started on Saturday night, and Don Money, their AAA manager who is with the big club for the rest of the season. Bob Uecker can be added in the broadcast booth.
Phillies fly to Houston after Sunday’s game. The Astros have manager Brad Mills, starters the next two nights, Brett Myers and J. A. Happ and outfielder Jason Michaels.
Down On the Farm
**Lehigh Valley advanced to the International League Governor’s Cup championship round (best-of-five) by sweeping Pawtucket as Kevin Bass threw a complete game, 3-1, win over the Red Sox Saturday night. Series with the Clippers begins with two games in Columbus, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
**Reading was shut out in its playoff opener, evened the series with and 11-2 romp and was blanked, 1-0, on three singles Saturday night by New Hampshire. RHP Austin Hyatt fanned nine in seven innings, allowing a run on three hits. Game #4 is tonight in Reading. RHP Tyson Brummett will start.