After the Phillies starting pitching gave up some more first inning runs, the offense battled back yesterday in San Francisco and powered the team to a 14-6 victory. Pat Burrell continued his recent outburst by going 4 for 4 with a double, homer, and 4 runs batted in. Ryan Howard also launched a bomb 460 feet to right-center which gave him 30 homeruns on the season. Chase Utley’s hitting streak increased to 17 games on his 2 for 5 day. Only Mike Lieberthal, in his first start since returning from the DL, was unable participate in the Phillies’ 18-hit parade. One troubling stat from the game was the another two errors for the Phillies; fortunately they did not have any game-changing implications like Utley’s on Friday.
Cory Lidle pitched five and two-thirds innings and surrendered 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned) and 4 walks. His record improved to 6-7 which gives him the most wins among Phillies starters (not counting Madson’s wins as a reliever). Cory Lidle, it can be argued, is the Phillies most consistent pitcher for reasons surrounding his mediocrity. He leads the team in innings pitched since he is the only starter to remain healthy, out of jail and at his abilities. His slightly sub-.500 record and 5.02 ERA is about what we expected from Lidle. Just before the All-Star break he complained that he was pitching better than his plus-5 ERA indicated. He claimed a comparison between his road ERA and home ERA would prove it. Well, Cory, I’ll let you in on a little secret, a 4.40 road ERA is not much better than a 5.49 ERA. Giving up twice as many homeruns at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark will tend to inflate that average. Say what you want about the park, but Lidle is supposed to be groundball pitcher. While that statistic has remained constant, his fly ball-to-line drive ratio has increased in favor of the former. Still, thanks to low expectations, Cory Lidle has been the Phillies most consistent pitcher.
Today the Phillies face a rubber match against the Giants. The magic number for the Phillies wild card berth stands at 49, meaning they need to go at least 49-24 the rest of the way to finish with 90 wins which will likely secure them a playoff spot. Brett Myers takes to the hill in his first start with the team since the Phils unwisely sent him out in Boston. The afternoon should give the San Francisco fans a prime opportunity to return the hospitality showed to Barry Bonds upon his visit to Philadelphia. Of course, it was wise of the Phillies to keep Myers on the road for the time being, but there is little chance him being spared the wrath of his hometown fans. He is slated to pitch in South Philly this Saturday against the Braves. Pitching perfection might be his only chance for absolution in the eyes of the fans, and likely not even that will be enough.