It certainly hasn’t been the smoothest of seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies. Not one week after center fielder Shane Victorino was sent to the disabled list due to a strained oblique muscle, Ryan Howard is placed on the 15-day shelf today with a mild ankle sprain. Howard is expected to miss 10-14 games with the injury.
But, as they say, the show must go on. And what better way to forget about what ails you than to have Roy Halladay take the mound against the floundering Florida Marlins. Halladay pitched seven solid innings tonight, giving up one run on five hits and one walk, while striking out nine batters. The Marlins’ lone run came off of a solo homer hit by second baseman Dan Uggla in the second inning. Halladay left after the seventh inning after throwing 109 pitches, and was replaced by Chad Durbin in the eighth. Durbin threw the eighth and ninth innings, giving up no runs and three hits.
The one run given up by Halladay was more than made for by the patchwork lineup Charlie Manuel was forced to deal with tonight, and will be for the foreseeable future. Charlie shifted Raul Ibanez to bat second, with Placido Polanco hitting third. Jayson Werth took the cleanup spot, followed by Ben Francisco, Carlos Ruiz, Cody Ransom, and Wilson Valdez. Not exactly the lineup you’d hope for to begin the final two months of the season. However, whatever lever Charlie pulled tonight certainly worked as the Phillies combined to score 6 runs on 13 hits. It also didn’t hurt that Florida starter Sean West was making his first start of the season after being called up from the minors. The Phillies tagged West for five runs (four earned) on nine hits in five innings. Ruiz and Francisco played the heros tonight, as they combined to go 8-10 with two homeruns and three RBIs. Not to be upstaged by his own pitching effort, Roy Halladay hit a two-run single in the top of the 4th, which gave the Phillies a 4-1 lead at the time.
There’s no doubt, despite his faults, how important Ryan “the Big Piece” Howard is to this lineup. The team was able to step up tonight and get a much needed win, as the Atlanta Braves were defeated tonight by the New York Mets, cutting the division lead to 2 games.
Everyone’s favorite fifth starter Kyle Kendrick gets the ball tomorrow against Florida’s Anibal Sanchez, who is 8-6 with a 3.33 ERA this season.