Well, the Phillies' bats are still quiet, but they delivered two runs last night against the National League's best pitcher, Tim Lincecum. Those two runs were enough.
Pedro Martinez needed only 87 pitches to get through 7 very solid innings last night. He gave up 5 hits and no walks, with 9 strikeout and only 1 earned run, a lead-off homer by Eugenio Velez. The Pedro Martinez who pitched last night looked like the Pedro Martinez of 1997--dominant, hard to hit, and efficient. "I flashed back to the good old times," Martinez said. "I don't have the power I used to have, but I always said it's not about power, it's about hitting your spots." Martinez dueled Lincecum pitch-for-pitch, hitter for hitter, and he was simply superb in improving his record to 3-0 with the Phillies, and lowering his ERA to a solid 3.52.
Lincecum had 11 strikeouts, and dominated the Phils for much of the game. "He reminds me a little bit of me, but he's twice as good as me at this time of my career," Martinez said of Lincecum. "It took me seven years to win a Cy Young." Lincecum made up a mutual admiration society for the old pro. "It's ridiculous how nasty his stuff still is," he said of Martinez. "When you watch him, it's obvious he knows what he's doing out there."
The Phils relied on a solo homer by Jayson Werth, his 30th of the season, adding to his career high, and a clutch double by Ryan Howard and some excellent baserunning by Chase Utley who scored from first on Howard's double to tally the game-winning run. Ryan Madsen pitched a solid 8th inning, and then Brad Lidge finished it--not before giving up a walk and a hit--in the ninth for his 28th save before a huge--sell-out--crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
The starting pitching continues to do as well as it has since the All Star Break, the Phils will stay in the hunt of things. "It goes without saying that we can beat people a lot of different ways," observed Werth. "Our starting pitching has definitely been upgraded. We've got some guys coming back, too, to bolster up the pen. We're going to be tough. We're going to be tough down the stretch. And hopefully when it gets down to the playoffs we'll be tough again this year." Utley sounded a similar note. "I think last year it showed in the playoffs that pitching and defense can win you a lot of games," he said. "You're not going to score every single night. You're bound to run into a tough pitcher occasionally. But if you have good pitchers on your side and play good defense, it's going to be a good game." Exactly correct on both counts. And, on top of it all, Brett Myers came off the disabled list yesterday after a very strong outing in relief with the Iron Pigs. The bullpen just improved.
Let's hope that their bats wake up soon, because if they do, the Phightins are going to be very tough to beat......