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Phillies Bats STILL Held Hostage Despite Beating Rockies: Game 12

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I know, I know, the Phillies won. They beat Jorge De La Rosa (no, not the guy from Rage Against the Machine), who entered the game 0-3 lifetime against the Fightins with a  11.34 ERA in four career starts. Much like Jake Westbrook Monday night, this guy should have been tattooed.

But these are the new-look Phillies, who have scored a total of nine runs in their last five games. Moreover, the team had no walks and no extra base his Wednesday night. Wilson Valdez knoked in a run and scored the winning run. Brutal.The Phils won, but barely. Photo: http://content.usatoday.com

The Phillies pretty much won this game with the combination of small ball and a wild pitch.

They are not out of the woods by any means necessary, but a win is a win.

The Phillies are a classy bunch in the clubhouse, but you really have to wonder if something’s got to give, and one of our aces says something regarding the team’s lack of any offense to the press. If a veteran club like the Yankees can have issues, it can happen to the Phillies, too.

In shades of 2010, the Phillies failed to get Cole Hamels any runs, but he threw another strong game and (as of now) could be on pace to win 20 games. Hamels is clearly in a groove. And when he is, he is as nasty as anyone in baseball.

As far as the bullpen goes, see how great things are when J.C. Romero and Danys Baez aren’t allowed to pitch?  We are truly seeing a new Ryan Madson in the ninth inning than we have in years past. He is a perfect 7 for 7 in save opportunities this season, and his 0.53 ERA is beyond outstanding. Although he is technically third in line for the closer’s role behind Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras (who got knocked around in Wednesday’s rehab outing), it’s going to be hard to take him out of there when those two come back.  

Also making things messy is what to do in 2012. As you know, Madson is a free agent, and his upside is clearly better than Lidge’s and Contreras’. You clearly can’t sign Madson to an extension in the middle of the year because 1. He has to prove he can close for a full year, and 2. You’re pretty much telling Lidge to go pound sand for the rest of 2011. Judging how Lidge throws when he returns, it may or may not matter, but I still think you need to see Madson do this for a little while longer. Decisions, decisions.

Speaking of decisions, the return of Chase Utley and Domonic Brown might come sooner than later. With Interleague play coming up in the next few weeks, don’t be surprised if Charlie Manuel inserts Utley in the DH role to rest his knees. His return is still a work in progress of sorts, but he is playing all nine innings of games. Both Utley and Brown are progressing well in the minors, but the Phillies do not want to rush either one of them.

If they keep hitting the way they do however, they may have to.

I really, really hope that you don’t have to tune in tomorrow night for another abysmal episode of “Phillies Bats Held Hostage.”   

Good night.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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