Well they say that the last week or two of spring training is much more indicative of how a club will fare during the season than the beginning of March foretells, and sure enough the Phillies are showing that they’ll struggle to score runs and hold on to late leads. Ryan Howard will struggle to hit left-handers, or possibly any-handers, and Darrin Ruf will hit them well. We carried a picture of Darrin being congratulated by Cody Asche as he crossed the plate in Reading in 2012 to break Howard’s minor league home run record – and he was kind enough to sign it at the end of the game.
Meanwhile, Ryan Howard sulked off the field without so much as looking in the direction of fans who were calling to him for an autograph at game’s end in Dunedin’s Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Not even KazooMan (Frank from Doylestown) could rally the Phils to victory today as once again they struggled to get runners in who reached third base.
Vince Velasquez showed electric stuff on the mound, ranging between 77 and 96 MPH on the stadium radar board and keeping a talented Blue Jays lineup at bay for his six inning stint. Vince was named to the Phillies starting rotation today, and it’s obvious that the Phils are very high on him as the key piece they received in the Ken Giles deal.
If Russell Martin is acknowledged to be the best catcher in the major leagues at framing strikes, Vic Carapazza has to win the award for leading umpires who get framed at home plate. Vic’s calls were ridiculous all afternoon, and both Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco turned around to look at him several times in disbelief.
When Darrin Ruf led off the top of the 7th inning and was immediately victimized by a phantom Carapazza strike, he caught an earful from the Phils’ dugout. He took off his mask, and looked like he wanted to throw someone out, but I don’t think he could see well enough to determine who was on his case.
By the way, Darrin deposited the next pitch over the center field wall. Phils probably felt like they could use a drink after Carapazza’s fiasco. They may have stopped in to Bauser’s for the post-game “buy one get one” special.
Speaking of Bauser’s, what’s up with their offer of free beer with parking?