Jays vs. Phillies - The Tampa derby
No sign of rain on the Gulf Coast, but my lovely wife tells me that she's been out all morning shovelling on your side of world. My sympathies. To her. Not you. I'm not married to you.
The Phillies make the short drive from Clearwater to visit Dunedin today. Brett Myers versus Roy Halladay, who will still be working on the change. No cutters for some time yet, Halladay assures us. We have faith, Roy. We believe you could underhand it up the plate and still eke it out. Halladay due to pitch three.
Casey Janssen will continue his attempt to nudge his way into the starting rotation. He'll get innings four through six. Janssen says he's not bothered about where he ends up, but that getting stretched out for a starting job will give him a chance to work on all his pitches. From that point, he can just pull back a bit for the bullpen if that's where he lands.
CORRECTION - The Fan's Mike Wilner points out that Janssen goes for three after Dustin McGowan tomorrow, not today. My bad. Jason Frasor - who's been out sick with the flu - follows Halladay today.
12: 33 - RE-CORRECTION - These people are playing with me. Frasor has now been bumped to the minor-league game. Jays braintrust on hand there this morning to watch B.J. Ryan throw.
Jays Line-Up versus the right-hander Myers.
1 - David Eckstein
2 - Scott Rolen
3 - Alex Rios
4 - Vernon Wells
5 - Frank Thomas
6 - Lyle Overbay
7 - Aaron Hill
8 - Reed Johnson
9 - Gregg Zaun
For the second day running, Scott Rolen bats second. Hmm.
Phillies Line-Up (and its a good one owing to the inconsiderable travel distance):
1 - Jimmy Rollins
2 - Eric Bruntlett
3 - Chase Utley
4 - Ryan Howard
5 - Jayson Werth
6 - Geoff Jenkins
7 - Wes Helms
8 - So Taguchi
9 - Carlos Ruiz
Song of the Day: This is for the moron who pulled in below my bedroom window at four in the morning blaring bad R'n'B out of what I can only assume was a convertible, given the painful volume. He almost rolled me out of bed with the bass. He's lucky I'm only too aware of Florida's wafer-thin gun-control laws.
As a result, I am down on bass this morning. So let's try something acoustic - the marvellous, heart-breaking and low-volume 'Flying Shoes', a Townes Van Zandt classic reinterpreted by the desperately underrated Lyle Lovett. This song takes me to my happy place, except that it's about suicide.
Courtesy of Tao of Stieb, by way of Neate Sager, we learn this morning that famed Canadian nutbar and neocon poster child Rachel Marsden is selling her ex-boyfriend's clothing on eBay. The ex-boyfriend is Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The Post's Jeremy Sandler quickly determines that Wales lives in nearby St. Petersburg. MacLeod, you ready for a roadtrip? I'll bring the fatally flawed Google map.
1:02 - Canned anthems. Hey, at least they got the words right.
1:03 - Jimy Williams assumes the managing duties for the Phillies today. Jimy looks, er, well fed.
1:05 - Rollins-Bruntlett-Utley due up for Philly. First pitch. Halladay vs. Rollins. He drives one over the head of a leaping David Eckstein. Single.
1:08 - Bruntlett knocks it hard straight at Hill. He and Eckstein turn the 4-6-3 double play nicely.
1:09 - Utley flies out to right field. Eckstein-Rolen-Rios due up for Jays.
1:10 - I enjoy watching Eckstein in the on-deck circle. He helicopters that weighted bat around so enthusiastically, it looks as if he might leave the ground.
1:12 - Jimmy Rollins barehands a hard hopper to catch Eckstein. Beauty play.
1:12 - Philly crowd getting on Rolen a little bit. Just a little bit.
1:13 - There's revenge for you. Rolen gets hold of one and knocks it over the head of centre-fielder So Taguchi's head. Ball hits the wall and caroms into no-man's land. Rolen in with a stand-up triple.
1:14 - Rios hits the ball hard, but straight at 3B Bruntlett. He's out.
1:15 - Wells hits deep in the hole at short. No problem for Rollins. Inning over. Howard-Werth-Jenkins due up for Philadelphia.
1:17 - Halladay picks at the corners, then catches Howard out swinging. That change-up appears to be coming along.
1:19 - Werth caught looking at called strike three.
1:20 - Now Rolen shows his defensive range, moving to his left almost to second base to catch Jenkins grounder. Inning over. Halladay threw nine pitches there, eight strikes. Thomas-Overbay-Hill due up.
1:22 - Thomas gets juuust a little too much underneath it. It's caught on the warning track in left-centre. Overbay quickly flies out as well.
1:24 - Hill knocks one past a sprawling Eric Bruntlett. Then he steals second. Two out, Reed Johnson standing in.
1:25 - Johnson grounds out. 0-0 after two innings. Golf putting challenge gets underway. Put it to the right of the hole. THE RIGHT!
1:26 - "Juuust a little left." Then he gets another shot and DOES IT AGAIN! Give me the putter. Helms-Taguchi-Ruiz due up for Halladay's final inning.
1:29 - Helms catches one on the wrists and pops out weakly to short.
1:29 - Taguchi grounds the first pitch to second. Two out.
1:31 - Ruiz grounds out to second. Very encouraging showing for the cutter-less Halladay. His line: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 SO, 30 pitches-21 strikes. He has to go to the bullpen to throw some more. Zaun-Eckstein-Rolen due up.
1:36 - Okay, got sidetracked for a sec. Zaun strikes out. Eckstein grounds out. Rolen stands in. They're afraid to boo him this time.
1:37 - Rolen pops out to shallow centre.
1:41 - Josh Banks in for the Jays. He strikes out Rollins.
1:42 - Bruntlett knocks one back up the middle for a single.
1:43 - Utley hits one a half-inch foul down the first base line. Then he flies out to centre. Big Ryan Howard steps in. "You expect him to hit a home run every time he's up," the Post's Sandler observes.
1:46 - Howard lines one into right field. Bruntlett moves to third. Men on the corners, two out. Werth up.
1:47 - Werth flies out to right. Still a scoreless game. Rios-Wells-Thomas due up. Myers still pitching in the fourth for the Phillies.
1:50 - Rios grounds out to third.
1:52 - Wells hits one hard to short. Rollins is able to knock it down, but that's it. Single.
1:53 - Thomas hits it again to the deep, deep left-centre here at Knology. Once again, he's fifteen feet short. But he's making nice contact. Man on, two out. Overbay up.
1:55 - Howard makes an athletic play to snare a high Overbay hopper right up the line. He needed every one of those 76 inches. Banks will now face Jenkins-Helms-Taguchi.
1:57 - Overbay gobbles up a Jenkins grounder. One out.
1:59 - First walk of the game. Helms on first, Taguchi steps up.
2:00 - Taguchi taps one into right field. Men on first and second, one out.
2:02 - Ruiz lines one to the corner in left-field. Helms home easily. Taguchi slides in under Zaun's tag. Double for Ruiz. It's now 2-0 Phillies. Rollins up for the third time.
2:04 - Banks walks Rollins. Runners on first and second again, still only one out. Bruntlett stands in.
2:06 - Bruntlett pops it up in foul territory. Two out. Utley up now.
2:06 - Banks lets one drift up and Utley nails it a mile, but just foul.
2:07 - Not as much power the next time, but it's fair. Utley's liner dribbles into the corner. Two runs score. Utley has a double. 4-0 Philadelphia. Ryan Howard now looks to bury Banks.
2:10 - Howard takes it the other way hard. Johnson has to backpedal awkwardly, but makes a great mid-stride correction to snare it. I don't think any other prospective left-fielder makes that play. Four-run inning. Hill-Johnson-Zaun due up.
2:12 - I'm off to catch Halladay in the clubhouse. See you soon.
3:31 - Game over. 6-1 Phillies. Jays only managed seven hits. Travis Snider had an RBI-single in his only at-bat in the ninth.
Halladay looked sharp, said he threw three cutters today. So he's officially ramped it up. He was also full of post-game praise for David Eckstein and Scott Rolen. He said he'd had high expectations for their professionalism and that those expectations had been 'exceeded'.
Tomorrow, many of the starters - Wells, Rolen, Eckstein - will be in Bradenton to take on the Pirates. Dustin McGowan gets three innings to start, followed by three for Casey Janssen (No, I'm sure this time).
See you then.