Leaving Pittsburgh Is A Good Thing
I’m not sure what it is, but the Phillies just don’t seem to play well in Pittsburgh. Well, at least they haven’t played well in Pittsburgh since I started covering the team in 2003. They’re 9-12 at PNC Park in that span. That’s pretty remarkable considering the Phillies have had a winning record every season since 2003 and the Pirates haven’t even hit .500 since 1992.
Nah, don’t blame me.
But the Phillies left Pittsburgh last night with a three-game series this weekend against the Braves at the Bank. The Braves are throwing Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens at them this weekend. The Phillies are throwing Pedro Martinez, Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton. It should be an interesting series, and if the Braves go crazy they could make things a little more interesting in the National League East.
J.A. Happ pitched well in last night’s 3-2 loss. He is 10-3 with a 2.63 ERA. That’s the lowest ERA of any Phillies rookie since Ben Tincup‘s 2.61 ERA in 1914. I’m not familiar with Tincup, besides the fact he has a cool last name. He went 8-10 in 1914, but appeared in just 10 games in 1915. He didn’t pitch again in the Majors until 1918 with the Phillies. And he did not pitch again in the Majors until 1928 with the Cubs.
Wikipedia has some interesting info about Tincup. And we know 100 percent of everything in Wikipedia is factually accurate.
The Phillies were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position last night. They hit .107 (3-for-28) with one homer and six RBIs with RISP against the Pirates this week, and have hit .214 (52-for-243) with 14 homers and 86 RBIs with RISP since July 27.
Raul Ibanez has hit just .227 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 38 games since he returned from the disabled list July 11. He has hit .140 with one homer, four RBIs and 20 strikeouts in 57 at-bats since Aug. 9.
Matt Stairs‘ hitless streak reached 25 at-bats. He hasn’t had a hit since July 11.
The Phillies have not talked to Lee about a potential contract extension, according to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. He said the Phillies are focused on 2009. Lee said he also is focused on 2009. But ESPN.com reports that Lee is going to go for a big payday down the road. I wouldn’t see why he wouldn’t, but in the meantime I’d just enjoy the ride.