After taking the final two games from the Diamondbacks to split a four game set over the weekend, the Phillies returned home after an off day to open up a two game set against the Cleveland Indians. Just last month, the Indians put up over 20 runs against the Phillies in a two game set at Progressive Field in Cleveland, so the Phillies hoped that a change of scenery could change the Phillies fate against the Tribe. Jonathan Pettibone, who is 2-0 with a 3.41 ERA thus far, took the mound for the Fightins’ tonight looking to improve to 3-0 and extend the Phillies winning streak to three games. He was opposed by Scott Kazmir, who has resurrected his MLB career this season with the Indians.
The Phillies got off to a great start in the bottom of the first when Kevin Frandsen, who was playing second-base for Chase Utley tonight, hit a ball that just got over the left-field wall to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. It was Frandsen’s second homerun of the year.
The Indians made up for the Kazmir’s early mistake in the second, when Indians left-fielder Michael Brantley singled in Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana to give the Tribe an early 2-1 lead.
After the second it appeared like Jonathan Pettibone may be headed for an early exit, but he settled in, and got quick outs the rest of the game. Pettibone would go 6.2 innings, while allowing only four hits and giving up only two runs. How well Pettibone is pitching has really been lost in all the Roy Halladay drama, but Pettibone has done more than expected in his first stint in the big leagues. And with run support tonight, was able to pick up his third win.
That run support came from the bats of John Mayberry and Dom Brown, who both appear to be coming around at the plate. Mayberry belted a double to center in the fourth, which plated Dom Brown and Carlos Ruiz. And then in the sixth Dom Brown crushed a line-drive homerun, on a tremendous swing. It is swings like the one Brown put on that homerun, that keep me on his bandwagon. Brown seems to have a knack for hitting bullet line-drive homeruns. He also is now tied with Chase Utley for the team lead in homeruns at seven.
If you missed the game, it certainly wasn’t as simple as I made it sound to this point. What would a Phillies game be without the middle relief making it an adventure to get the ball to Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth? And they did just that, as Antonio Bastardo stayed on to begin the eighth after finishing off the seventh inning. And as Bastardo seems to do, he made things interesting getting only one out, but allowing Asdrubal Cabrera to triple and Carlos Santana to reach first on a walk. Fortunately Charlie Manuel pulled the plug on the Bastardo experiment, at least for the night, and brought on Justin De Fratus, who got an out. With runners on the corners and two outs Jeremy Horst struck out Michael Brantley to finish off the eighth and bridge the dreaded gap from the starting pitcher to Jonathan Papelbon.
In the top of ninth Freddy Galvis, who did get thrown out at second, tacked on a run with an RBI single and put the game out of a save situation. That didn’t stop Charlie Manuel from bringing on Jonathan Papelbon, and quite frankly the way the rest of the bullpen has gone this year, I don’t think anyone can blame Charlie.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jonathan Papelbon was lights out as usual, only throwing six pitches, and getting a Michael Bourn groundout to end the game.
It certainly looks like at this point John Mayberry is a better option in center field than Ben Revere, and it looks like games where the Phillies can find a way to get the ball from the starter to Jonathan Papelbon, they will win.