There’s a reason they call it the Grapefruit League. I’m not quite sure what the reason is, but if you were watching yesterday’s game, you have to think it has something to do with the way hitters see the ball in that warm Florida air. The Phillies and Bravos combined for an impressive 22 runs and 36 hits in their Spring Training game yesterday. Putting up 10 runs on 15 hits is usually a pretty good way to win a game, but that changes when Kyle Kendrick is on the mound. The former prodigy was putrid on the mound for the Phillies again, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits (including two homeruns). You have to wonder if Crazy K has killed his chances at obtaining the fifth spot in the rotation. Dubee has said that it is possible that Kendrick can turn things around at the end of spring training and still earn the job, but he’s also questioned Kyle’s mental buildup and Kendrick hasn’t done much to make anyone overlook that problem. At this point, it seems as if the competition for the final rotation spot is down to J.A. Happ and Chan Ho Park. I’ll continue to side with Chris’ pre-spring training prediction of Happ winning the job.
As is always the case with a high scoring affair, there was a very bright side. The offense shined in the game and managed to touch double-digits despite the fact that two-third of their 15 hits were singles. After a slow start to the spring, Jason Donald continues to thrive as he went 3-for-4 in the game with a double and two runs scored. With Chase Utley likely to be ready for opening day, Donald’s ability to play second base no longer puts him on a fast track to the big leagues. He’ll now have to throw his hat into the ring for the final right-handed bench spot on the roster. Though he’s raised his average to .379 this spring, his main competition hasn’t allowed him to pick up much ground in the race. John Mayberry Jr. hit yet another homerun yesterday and added an RBI double to boot. He now has three homers (tied for second in the Grapefruit League) and 10 RBIs (also tied for second) this spring, all while batting .290. His preseason statistics are very similar to Ryan Howard’s line of .292, 4 homeruns, 10 RBI. I’m not saying he can keep up a Howard-like pace for a full season, but you have to believe the coaching staff will have a hard time not giving him that final bench spot unless he really faulters in the few weeks before opening day.
Today the Phillies take on the Rays and as we write this, trail them 2-0 in the fifth inning. Jamie Moyer has gone four innings and given up two runs (this time without a stomach flu).