Vance Worley has been playing with a chip on his shoulder all year since being called up the first time. And why not? He has everything to gain from this experience toeing the rubber after guys like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. All he can do from here on out is get better.
Worley has continued to fall in line with what Charlie Manuel has been telling him to do. He says ‘go out pitch John Lackey and the most potent offense in the Majors’ and Worley does it. The 23-year old pitched a career high seven innings tonight allowing only one run on five hits.
The Boston Red Sox lead the American League in hitting (.275) and are second in runs scored (409). For the past two games Phillies pitchers, mainly Worley and Cliff Lee, have stifled Red Sox hitters to the tune of seven hits and one run. Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz were a combined 1 for 8 off the right hander tonight. It was the first hit of the series for Gonzalez.
Boston scored their only run off an RBI double from starting pitcher John Lackey in the fifth inning which tied the game at one. Raul Ibanez would put the Phillies up for good with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. Ibanez, who has hit Lackey very well in his career, finished the night 3 for 3 and only a triple shy of the cycle. This is great news for the Phillies as Ibanez came into tonight’s game with only five hits in his last 44 at bats. It was his first homer in almost a month; the last one came May 30th.
Chase Utley had two hits on the night and stole his 100th career base. Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo pitched a perfect eighth and ninth. respectively, to finish out the game. The Phillies are now 51-30 and look to sweep the series with Boston tomorrow.
This series has been dubbed a World Series preview and for good reason. There is no question that if this holds true, then starting pitching will be at the forefront of the success of this Phillies team. If you go back and look at the last 8 games, minus Roy Oswalt‘s backiotomy night, you will see Phillies starters throwing 65.1 innings and allowing only eight earned runs.
Obviously there are big names that pop out on this list like Lee and Halladay. But Worley has held his own starting three of those games pitching 18 innings and allowing only two earned runs. The kid is definitely earning his stripes, as he so proudly wore on the top of his head tonight.
The Vanimal has that Philly swagger. Maybe it’s the mohawk, maybe it’s the glasses. All I know is I like it, and maybe you should to.