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Roy Halladay beats Rangers, Phillies call up Domonic Brown, and Blanton and Victorino to the DL

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"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN' WITH JOE VALLEE"

Going into Friday night’s Interleague matchup against the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers, Roy Halladay had thrown back to back complete game losses. Much like the entire Phillies’ pitching staff, they have been the victim of horrid run support this season.  
 
More often than not, the Fightins don’t particularly match up well against the junior circuit (think of the last few series against the Red Sox).  Adding salt to the open wound is the fact that the Rangers are third in the AL in runs scored.

Halladay is remarkably poised, but every athlete has his breaking point.

 

Yes, this had “Greek Tragedy” written all over it.  And it didn’t look good when the Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

But alas, Phillies’ corner outfielders Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, whose offensive input this year has been feeble at best, came through and accounted for all the Phillies’ scoring in a 3-2 victory with........... home runs! (remember them?).

Francisco struck first with a two-run blast (the first Phillies homer in almost a week!) of C.J. Wilson in the second inning. What makes this interesting is that Francisco isn’t even hitting his weight against left-handed pitching (.189). Moreover, Ibanez, who has been hitting better as of late, isn’t faring that much better against right handers (.236) vs. lefties (.222).

Francisco’s inability to hit lefties is going to lead to some potential matchup problems when the left-handed hitting Dominic Brown is in the lineup (more on that in a bit).

Halladay held the fort for eight innings to finally notch another win, and Ryan Madson picked up his eighth save. And to top it all off, the final out was recorded when David Murphy was caught stealing by Carlos Ruiz (a scenario I had never seen in person until tonight).

Halladay shut down a Rangers lineup missing a lot of its main pieces (including Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz). And make no mistake, the Phillies are still not hitting.

Help however, just might be on the way.

Just a day after claiming Domonic Brown isn't ready to be called up to the big club, Ruben Amaro changed his mind and now Brown is with the team. Chase Utley is expected to possibly return in just a few days. It’s fair to say that Amaro was forced to bring back Brown sooner than he wanted. But after watching Thursday’s debacle against the Rockies, it’s obvious more than ever that this team needs a spark.

On the injury front, the Phillies made several notable transactions going into Friday’s game. Joe Blanton was again placed on the disabled list with elbow soreness. The good news is that an MRI revealed no structural damage in Blanton’s arm. Shane Victorino also joined him on the DL with a Grade 1 to Grade 2 hamstring injury.

And speaking of needing a win, it's going to be very interesting to see how Cliff Lee  fares against his old team Saturday.

Bottom Line: Whether Brown and/or Utley will deliver that remains to be seen. In saying that, anything is better than having four or five automatic outs in your lineup before you even bat, which is what the Phils are dealing with right now.

As far as Blanton goes, you know what you’re getting with him when he’s healthy. When you think elbow, you can't help btu think Tommy John Surgery, so the team better rest him for as long as possible because it was obvious to everyone that he was pitching in pain. Vance Worley has done an outstanding job in his time with the big club and deserves that fifth spot in the rotation until Blanton comes back healthy.

Although the Phils probably need Victorino out there now more than ever, better to lose him now.  Is Ross Gload that bad of a fielder to where he gets the limited amount of playing time that he does? It’s sad to say, but Gload is actually one of the only hitters on this team right now that gives you the impression he can actually do something productive with the bat.


In the meantime, Keep On Phightin'

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: AP