Before the game, the Phillies held a morning workout at the Carpenter Complex. It consisted of stretching exercises, sprints around the bases, long toss, and BP off the coaches. I spotted Dugan and decided to watch him and his group which included Franco, Joseph, and Marson, who followed Brown, Byrd, and Gwynn. I didn’t pay much attention to the first group while waiting for Dugan and Franco. Dugan started slow but really picked it up after his first two ABs. He made good contact before launching a couple towering home runs to right. However, towering drives is not his trade mark result. Franco launched a couple over the left field fence. But otherwise made inconsistent contact on his other swings. Joseph looked good and showed a little power. Marson had a nice swing and hit a lot of line drives, but no power. Practice ended, on to Bright House.
The visiting Team Truby consisted of Revere, Ruiz, Brown, Howard, Byrd, Asche, Frandsen, Galvis, and Castro with Camp as the starter. The home Team Abad consisted of Gwynn, Rollins, Utley, Ruf, Abreu, Mayberry, Franco, Thomas, and Nieves, with Biddle as the starter.
Biddle started off with a couple of first pitch strikes to Revere and Ruiz, but Revere smacked a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and Ruiz walked on a 3-2 pitch. Biddle seemed to lose composure when he didn’t get the call on a 2-2 pitch that looked like a third strike to Ruiz. Biddle allowed a double steal while falling behind Brown 3-1 and allowing an RBI single trough the hole between first and second. Howard guided an 0-1 pitch through the same hole for an RBI and Brown went from first to third. Byrd was frozen on an 0-2 curve for the first out. Asche was called out on a 1-2 fast ball. The inning was called because Biddle had reached his pitch count.
Camp got ahead of Gwynn 0-2 before retiring him on a come-backer. Rollins took a ball, then fouled off two balls that looked to be about chest high. He finally popped out to Asche in foul territory. Utley reached on a throwing error by Asche. Ruf grounded out to Asche.
Biddle looked better in his second inning recording first pitch strikes on 4 of 5 batters. He started off with curve balls on most hitters. He gave up a single up the middle to Frandsen on a 1-1 pitch. Galvis launched a deep fly ball on a 2-2 pitch that Thomas had in his glove before crashing to the wall and losing his grip on the ball. With runners on second and third, Biddle minimized the damage to Castro’s 1-0 RBI ground out to second, Revere’s 0-1 fly ball to shallow left (the first pitch was a knee-buckling curve), and an 0-1 fly ball to left by Ruiz.
Buchanan took the mound in the bottom of the second and gave up a lead off single to right-center by Abreu. He then confused Mayberry, Franco, and Thomas striking out all three looking with fast balls on 1-2, 2-2, and 1-2 counts.
Jimenez took the mound in the top of third and struck out Brown on an 0-2 off speed pitch. He got ahead of Howard 0-2 and tried to get him to offer at a low and away pitch. Didn’t work. Howard crushed the next pitch to deep center, clearing the wall just to the right of the batter’s eye. This was the first ball I have seen Howard hit out of the park all spring. It was also his second hit off a left hander today. Jimenez gave up a first pitch single to center by Byrd before retiring Asche on a first pitch fly ball to center and Frandsen on a 1-2 pop out to short.
Buchanan retired Nieves, Gwynn, and Rollins on 9 pitches.
Giles came on for the fourth. Galvis doubled off the fence above the Westbrook Pizza sign in right on a 2-2 pitch. Castro singled up the middle on a 1-2 pitch driving in Galvis. Revere bunted foul down the third base line. He tried again on the next pitch but Franco caught it in the air and fired to first in a failed attempt to double the runner. Ruiz hit a first pitch single through the hole to left. Valle fouled an 0-2 pitch to first. Brignac produced a single on a 3-2 pitch through the hole to left. Dugan hit an 0-1 soft liner to second.
De Fratus came on and threw an 11 pitch inning retiring Utley, Ruf, and Abreu. Abreu almost beat the throw on his ground ball to second.
Giles looked better in his next inning. He took 12 pitches to retire Asche on a fly ball to center, and strike out Frandsen and Blanco swinging.
De Fratus allowed a 1-2 single up the middle by Mayberry. Franco chopped a 1-2 pitch to short that erased Mayberry. Franco was safe at first when the first baseman couldn’t hold the throw. Thomas hit a shallow fly to center on the first pitch. Revere took a circuitous route to the ball and had to dive to catch it. Maybe he had trouble with the sun. Rupp grounded out to third on a 1-2 pitch.
Garcia pitching, Castro grounded a double down the line between Franco and the bag. Honestly, I thought he should have had it. Revere singled to left on the first pitch and drove in Revere. Marson struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Valle and Brignac were retired.
Horst pitched the bottom of the 6th. Gwynn was retired on a 2-1 fly ball to right. Cedeno singled on a 1-1 pitch. Cesar Hernandez homered to left. He was able to stand and admire it for a moment before rounding the bases. It was caught by a guy sitting at the Tiki Bar above the Tiki Terrace. Ruf popped out to first and Abreu struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch with Tyson Gillies in the on deck circle.
So, Truby’s team won 7-2.
Individually, Biddle and Giles were disappointing in their first innings. Biddle pitched himself into trouble and had difficulty spotting his pitches. He looked better in his second inning, but you would rather see him use his curve as his out pitch rather than using it to get ahead in the count. His fast ball really wasn’t good enough today to be his out pitch. Giles threw hard but there was no movement on it. When they guessed right, the hitters were making hard contact. His slider (?) worked much better in his second inning and he overpowered the batters.
Buchanan looked good. This was the first time I saw him. He mixed his pitches well. I can’t believe three consecutive batters took called third strikes on fast balls. De Fratus also looked good.
Offensively, Revere, got on base twice and stole two bases. Howard got a couple hits off two lefties, one a HR to center, and Hernandez introduced himself to the crowd of 4,000 with his blast to left.
I’m going to skip tomorrow’s game, it’s a featured game on MLB. I’ll be in attendance for the Thursday game in Dunedin. For those of you who are interested in football, I watched the game with Darren Hambrick. He stood with me behind section 113 during the game. He was an All-American, drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1998. He’s from Domonic Brown’s home town here in Florida. He’s a nice guy for a former Cowboy. I think he thinks I’m a real baseball writer. He asked me a lot of baseball questions, some of which I could answer.