So this is what a game is like without the Phightins recording double digit hits.
Despite the offense cooling off for a game, Roy Halladay showed us exactly what the front office brought him here for and tossed a complete game, 2-1 victory to finish off the sweep of the lowly Astros. When the opposing #1 pitcher shuts down the offense, Halladay does them one better. Roy finished the game by retiring the last nine Astros in order.
One thing the Phillies have done during the first week of the season is continue to have quality at-bats against the opposing starters. Oswalt, despite looking strong after giving up a leadoff homer to Rollins to start the game and a second run in the 2nd inning, had to leave the game after six innings and 114 pitches.
This has been a trend throughout the first 6 games of the season, which has allowed the Phils to feast on the opposition’s middle relief. Rollins and Howard in particular have looked much more patient to start the season than at any point during the last few years. Before striking out three times this afternoon, Howard had struck out once during the first five games of the year. When was the last time we’ve seen that sort of patience from the big man? Oh that’s right, his MVP season… Hopefully today was just a hiccup and Ryan will make it a point to make better contact and lay off those pesky down and away off-speed pitches that he’s gotten killed with over the past two years.
It could be possible that Polanco is bringing a calmness to the top of the lineup. There’s no doubt that Victorino is one of the most popular players with the fans and his teammates. But it’s also well-known that Shane is not the most fundamentally sound hitter. Let’s call a spade a spade and say that he hacks at a lot of bad pitches, and nearly jumps out of his cleats when he swings the bat. Polanco brings a coolness to the plate, and a sense of intelligence that he knows exactly what he needs to do to move runners around the bases, even if it means sacrificing his own at-bat. This is not a complete knock on Victorino, as teams need guys like him to bring passion and fire. However, it’s obvious how much more potent this lineup has become this early in the year.