Split squad baseball only occurs one time of the year – you guessed it, in spring training. One Phillies squad followed Larry Bowa to Tamps to face the Yankees while the other remained him with Ryne to face the BoSox. The squad in Tampa lost 3-2 and by all reports nothing much else to say.
We ventured to our home stadium of course to watch the game between the Phils and the team from Fort Myers. It was mind boggling to see how many Red Sox fans make the trek up the Gulf Coast which is 130 miles each way.
Let me repeat that folks: 130 miles each way. In Spring Break Sunday traffic. And it’s not like the Sox were playing North of Ft. Myers anyway in Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa or Dunedin either yesterday or tomorrow. They played the prior two in Ft. Myers and will play the next two there. Shows you how dedicated Red Sox nation is to have flooded Bright House with their presence today.
One of the Boston prospects rumored to be on Ruben Amaro’s wish list in any deal of Cole Hamels is catcher Blake Swihart. The kid does look good at the plate, going 2 for 3 to sport a gawdy .538 batting average.
The hitting star for the Phillies in their 11-4 drubbing of the Sawx was Odubel Herrera, who went 3 for 5 and created havoc on the base paths in front of Freddy Galvis. I’m not sure he pronounces it “Oh-doo-bell” the way Chris Wheeler announces it, but if he does then Phillies fans just may have found a substitute for the Chooooch chant when Carlos Ruiz retires. How soon before we hear chants of “Dooooob”?
The guy who grabbed the hero’s headlines on the Phils’ website this afternoon for his run scoring double first time up and a subsequent solo homer was the beleaguered Ryan Howard, though he could have just easily been the goat for his errant throw into left field on a tailor made ground ball to first that he let set sail into left field, bypassing second base and heading straight fore the Coopers in Section 118. So Howard broke even with 2 RBIs and 2 runs that scored following his throwing error that subsequently allowed 2 runs to score. In fact, one sharp fan has already committed to Ryan Howard being the Goat in 2015 because most of the Phils’ power this spring has come from players certain to not follow the team back North to Philly.
Although Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez showed once again why he won’t make anyone forget about Cliff Lee going down, Jonathan Papelbon showed that he still has tread left on his tires at 94 MPH with excellent movement and location, inducing grounders that had Sawx fans mumbling in their seats.