05/18/08 1:35 PM EDT
|Toronto Blue Jays||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Brad Wilkerson - 1B||Jimmy Rollins - SS|
|Aaron Hill - 2B||Jayson Werth - CF|
|Alex Rios - CF||Chase Utley - 2B|
|Scott Rolen - 3B||Ryan Howard - 1B|
|Matt Stairs - RF||Pat Burrell - LF|
|Shannon Stewart - LF||Geoff Jenkins - RF|
|Rod Barajas - C||Pedro Feliz - 3B|
|Marco Scutaro - SS||Carlos Ruiz - C|
|Shaun Marcum - P||Kyle Kendrick - P|
called "Memo To My Son". It seemed appropriate given Rod Barajas' sweet sweet revenge yesterday. Barajas was booed endlessly when with Philadelphia last season. Not that they don't boo everyone, but in the games I went to/watched it was quite mean-spirited with respect to Barajas. Anyway, after Barajas pounded a grand slam in the first inning yesterday and followed up with a solo shot later, it will be interesting to see whether he gets the start today even though it's a day game after a night game and there's a righty on the mound. Yesterday's game featured a nice start from A.J. Burnett, who evened his record to 4-4 with a 6 1/3 inning, 8 K performance. A.J. walked three. Armando Benitez, on the other hand, followed up his strong performance a few days ago with another shaky performance. Benitez walked pinch-hitter Shane Victorino and then surrendered a double to Jimmy Rollins. Rollins took third when the ball got by Barajas, but Benitez struck out Jason Werth. Scott Downs came in and struck Chase Utley with the pitch. Gibbons was ejected arguing that Utley swung at the pitch (which it looked like to me, though I would not expect to get that call either) but Ryan Howard flew out and the threat was over. Downs followed it up with a nice 8th and Ryan closed it out without too much drama in the 9th. Barajas provided most of the offense but Marco Scutaro and Scott Rolen each reached base safely 3 times. I know people don't love Scutaro, but for my money he's done a great job filling in at Short. He's a third-string SS who can hit a little bit (.313/.377/.396 in May, which roughly corresponds to when Eckstsein and MacDonald went down, and getting on base at a .362 clip this season) and doesn't embarass himself in the field (1 error so far this season from SS, though he had his ups and downs at 3rd base when Rolen was out). Not someone you want starting, but not someone who is bad to have around, if you're like the Jays and you really don't have anyone in the high minors who is capable of filling in at infield positions on an everyday basis (Inglett's not a terrible hitter either, but is no shortstop).Anyway, back to today's game - Shaun Marcum has been lights out this season and will get the start. Of course Marcum's been fortunate with respect to balls in play (his .184 BABIP this season can't be expected to continue) and with baserunners (most pitchers can't leave 80% of their runners on base) but striking out 49 and walking 16 over his 56 2/3 innings this season suggests that he's going to be just fine. One interesting thing is that Marcum is getting a ton more grounders this season (46.4 GB% to last season's 40.2%) which is great and has been part of why his home run rate this season is basically half of what it was last year.
I'm looking forward to today's game, which I'll definitely be watching, and hoping that the Philadelphia weather cooperates, since it has been rather rainy here in nearly Washington D.C.