In a World Series rematch (if that can even be said for a spring training game), the Phillies defeated the Rays in a similar manner to the four games they won in last year’s Fall Classic: with the long ball. The game was not as close or intense as four of the five games in that series, but a gusty Clearwater day made for a few long drives at Bright House Field. But before a ball left the yard, former Phil Pat Burrell came to the plate in a Phillies game for the first time since since he hit a leadoff double in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the World Series. Needless to say, Pat garnered a standing ovation from the largest crowd in Bright House Field history (though there were a select few in the front row who felt 70 degrees was much too hot for them to get on their feet). Pat took a step out of the batter’s box and tipped his helmet to the crowd. The at-bat resulted in a pop-up for Burrell, but he would double in his next trip to the plate.
For the first three games of the spring, the pitching had been in the spotlight, but yesterday, the offense finally arrived. The Fightins jumped out ahead of the Rays early, putting a five-spot on the board in the first inning. It started with a Jimmy Rollins leadoff double. Victorino followed with a good looking swing that produced a line-drive single and the first run of the game. After Ibanez popped up for the first out of the inning, Howard popped one out of the yard. It was a very encouraging opposite field shot. The big man also went the opposite way (in the infield!) in a later at-bat in which he beat-out a gounder to short for an infield single. John Mayberry Jr. went back-to-back with Howard. He continues to better his chances (especially with the news of Werth’s sore shoulder) of obtaining the final bench spot, despite misplaying a ball in right field later in the game. Two batters later, Miguel Cairo hit one out to left field. The Phils would tack on seven more runs in the ballgame, including four runs in the eighth inning, thanks in part to the Rays’ defense.
Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and was solid through two and two-thirds innings. So far, he has had the least impressive start of the four players auditioning for the fifth spot, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering how well Carrasco and Happ did in their opening statements. Philly native Mike Koplove gave the Phillies another scoreless inning out of the bullpen and Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey saw an inning of action each.
Pat Burrell will return to Citizens Bank Park on April 8th to receive his World Series ring with the rest of the World Fucking Champs. Pat’s Rays have a game in Boston that night which allows him to make the trip down to Philly during the day. Unfortunately, the game is sold out, but for those of you who like Chris and I already have tickets for the game, this news made your day.
The Phils won again today, defeating the Atlanta Braves 7-3. The offense stayed hot and Brett Myers and Chan Ho Park threw for the Phillies in the win. We’ll have a full recap of the game for you later.