The Phillies dropped the first two games of this important series against the NY Mets at home on Friday. It was a day/night doubleheader that threatened to fuse together as the first game lasted 3 hours and 13 minutes and the Phillies almost tied the game to send it into extra innings. I am not a fan of these day/night doubleheaders, imagine the calamity as the Phillies tie the game here and send the game into extra innings to a five plus hour, 16 inning game. You have a full or mostly full stadium and parking lot and you also have thousands of people arriving for the night game on top of that. In the not to distant past, you would schedule a 5:05 pm first game and then the second soon afterwards. Two games for one price. Not these days though, it's all about money and squeezing them into the ballpark even if it turns into the situation I mention above.
J.D. Durbin (Joseph Durbin) got a rude welcome to the bigs as a starter, but facing a potent squad as the NY Mets are, it could have been worse! His era is a lofty 21.94 but if he has a couple more starts we will be able to see a better picture of his abilities. The Arizona Diamondbacks outright dropped Durbin in 2006. J.A. Happ (James Happ) starts tonight for the Phils, another first time starter. This business of first time starters going against the Mets is terrible for the Phillies. They should have made a better move by now but it appears the upper management doesn't care if the Phillies slide back into the standings because the ballpark is full perhaps. Make money, fill the seats. Pat Gillick and his sidekick Ruben Amaro have this team on autopilot and whatever happens, happens. Strategy is not playing a big part upstairs at Citizen's Bank Park.
The Phils now slide 5 games back and suddenly the surging Braves are back in the picture. The remaining games against the Mets remain crucial. This is no time for the Phillies to fall flat on their faces. Let's give them the support they need at the ballpark by cheering them on!
Pat Burrell is back in the lineup. I know why. He seemed to have played the Mets well over the past couple seasons. What the Phils are doing to Burrell is almost as bad as what the Phillies did to Brett Myers. Here you have the highest paid player on the team who is struggling a little and you outright bench him. I don't understand this logic. Despite his 8 games benched in this recent past 11 games I bet he will still have a decent year. I didn't hear all this bad publicity when Ryan Howard struggled with the mendoza line. No, that wasn't even an issue. Howard has had 220 at bats with 85 strikeouts already this season. Burell has had 212 AB's with 54 strikeouts but his current average is .203. I don't think that is just cause for benching a player that still has great explosive power as Burrell has. Support Pat Burrell through his struggles Gillick, don't just try to embarrass him. Just for giggles here is Albert Pujols numbers so far this season: 279 AB's with only 34 strikeouts.
Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phillies 2007 Blog