Lopez Shines


lopez 0703.jpgRodrigo Lopez
said he felt a whole bunch of butterflies as he stepped onto the mound tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

He had not pitched in the Majors since July 26, 2007.

It hardly looked like it. He allowed six hits, two runs and one walk and struck out four in six innings in a much-needed 7-2 victory over the Mets. Lopez would have pitched next week for the Phillies pretty much regardless of how he pitched tonight, but he solidified himself a few more starts with a solid effort.

Lopez spent nearly two years recovering from Tommy John surgery to get to this point. But this moment almost never came. He spoke tonight about how he almost bailed on his big-league aspirations last month.

Lopez signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies at the end of Spring Training. He had an out clause in his contract that allowed him to become a free agent if he was not on the big-league roster by June 15.

He gave up six hits and five runs in five innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a loss June 13, which dropped him to 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA.

“I was very upset about it,” Lopez said. “So I talked to (Lehigh Valley pitching coach Rod Nichols). I asked for his advice. I told him, ‘What do you think about me going to Mexico to try to get my confidence back?’ He told me, ‘The challenge is here. You can go to Mexico, but the challenge is here.’ Those were words that I’ll always remember.”

Lopez stuck with it. He went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his next three starts for the IronPigs. And once left-hander Antonio Bastardo injured his shoulder, the Phillies chose Lopez over Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Carpenter and Kyle Kendrick to take his place.

Good call.

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Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 5 with two doubles, two RBIs, a run scored and one Marco Scutaro.

Scutaro infamously took second base on a walk a couple weeks ago at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies fell asleep and nobody covered second base. Rollins pulled a similar move in the third inning when he took second after he hit a ball to center field. Nobody covered second and Rollins took advantage.

“Everybody parted the sea and there’s like this golden case sitting right in front of you,” Rollins said. “I hit the ball up the middle and I saw (Ryan) Church and he was looking to throw the ball to somebody. I never stopped running. I took three hard steps around first and I saw somebody in the middle and I said, ‘He’s not beating me to the bag,’ and I kept going. Those things happen.”

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Tonight’s victory snapped a six-game losing streak at home. … Rollins broke out “Billie Jean” and “Smooth Criminal” as his intro music tonight. Nice touch.

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6 Comments

Good to see Rodrigo with the impressive debut on Friday night. Jimmy is back, his swagger and hitting are back!

Nice move by Jimmy to bring on the new music. A few of the players should consider this, Jason Werth’s song is getting long in the tooth, how about some new tunes guys?

Folks talk about Philadelphia fans being a bit obnoxious, rude, etc. Last night when the sell-out crowd gave Rodrigo a standing “O”, I thought it was such a classy thing to do. Nice to see our Fightins play a bit of small ball (w/the exception of Werth’s HR). Let’s start winning at home! GO PHILS!!

WIP’s morning show talked about the same thing a couple of weeks ago regarding Chase’s intro music. I think they decided his intro music should be “Bad to the Bone”.

Maybe worrying about intro music is part of the distractions that the players have been going through. Get into the box. See the pitch. Hit it.
Or as ‘Crash’ Davis put it…””This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”

Cheers for Rodrigo Lopez. Conspicuous by their absence last night where gopher balls given up by Phillies pitchers. This problem has plagued Hamels, Blanton, Moyer, Madson, Park, and Lidge. Take Park the other night. After a disussion with Ruiz and everyone and his brother concluding Park needed to throw a curve ball or off speed pitch in the last game with Atlanta, what does Park do? He throws a fastball down the middle of the plate. He throws a pitch with the least margin for error. Who decided to use a fastball? Park? Ruiz? Just as I am getting to the point where I start to have a begrudging respect for Park, he does something like. It keeps going back to a feeling that either Park does not take instruction well or he is arr0gant.

I’m waiting for the admissions and apologies to Amaro for doubting his decision to bring Lopez up to pitch today.
Anyone? I didn’t think so.

“Bad to the Bone” would be perfect for Chase!!! Funny thing is….He’s admitted he’s not a huge Led Zepplin fan. Just likes the power of the riff from “Kasmir”. They outta turn the volume up a little, during intros. I barely hear them.

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