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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Game 51: Happ wins again; Romero returns as Phils sweep Dads (31-20)

Well, the Phillies are all of a sudden 3 games up in the division. Fantastic, but they have a 4-game series coming up in LA against the first-place Dodgers (possibily without Shane Victorino, who left tonight's game with a hip injury).

Normally, we do not like to see JC Romero pitch against righties because even though he is deadly against LHB, his OBP-allowed against RHB is well over the .400 mark. Nevertheless, he pitched 1 1/3 innings tonight (facing at least three righties). He struggled in his appearance: he allowed one run in the 8th, and the only righty he retired on the night was Kevin Kouzmanoff, who lined into a double play on a hard-hit ball. His other two outs were lefties. Tonight's game was a microcosm of why Romero should be used almost exclusively against LHB, but since it was his first game back and the score was 5-0, his appearance tonight was just fine.

Ryan Madson, on the other hand, probably should not have appeared in the ninth inning. He has now pitched two straight days, and with the strong Dodgers lineup facing the Phils for four days (with no off day tomorrow), the Phillies will need Madson's availability. He retired the final two batters without a problem, but Clay Condrey or Jack Taschner easily could have shut down a 5-1 game with 1 out and nobody on.

I especially enjoyed Greg Dobbs' appearance in the lineup against a RHP. Although he did not replace Pedro Feliz (he spelled Werth in right), it's still good to see Dobbs replacing a righty when a RHP is on the mound.

Reality check: the Phillies just played essentially a third of the season without their best lefty reliever, and they are in first place with a 3-game lead on the Mets. Exxxxxxxxcellent.

Tomorrow at 10:15pm, LHP Cole Hamels faces LHP Clayton Kershaw.

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