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July 30 2006

Yuck.  This is the kind of thing I had in mind when I suggested that Phillies fans might need to prepare for an Abreu trade that doesn't look real good on paper. 

Bobby Abreu is a great hitter.  The problem is that he makes about as much money as guys like Carlos Beltran, Albert Pujols and Vladimir Guerrero.  Great hitter or no, none of those guys started the day sixth on their team in home runs.  None of those guys are the third best hitter on their team.

The Phillies traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for four minor-leaguers.  Coming to the Phillies are shortstop CJ Henry, left-handed pitcher Matt Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez and right-handed pitcher Carlos Monasterios.

There aren't many teams that could take on a contract like Abreu's, but the problem with dumping to the Yankees is that their farm system is almost as bad as our own.

CJ Henry is a good prospect, a first-round pick of the Yankees in 2005, but he's 20-years-old and years away from helping the Phillies.  Matt Smith could contribute sooner as yet another lefty out of the pen.  He's been good at Triple-A but is 27.  The other two guys are years away.

Lots of stuff going on with the Phils today.

The Phillies activated Randy Wolf to make his first start in over a year and designated Ryan Franklin for assignment.  Someone's going to want Franklin.  He pitched to a 4.58 ERA in 46 games for the Phillies, giving up 59 hits and 17 walks in 53 innings.  He surrendered ten home runs.  If you believe the Phillies started the season with the intention of trying to make the playoffs this year their handling of Franklin, who got no starts on the team with the worst starting pitching in the National League, was bizarre.  Even if you buy into the idea that you have to add a run to a reliever's ERA to compare it to starter's ERA's, Franklins 5.58 ERA would still be better than the marks for Madson, Hamels and Floyd, who have combined to start 31 games for the Phils.

The Phillies pen is a mess.  With Franklin gone, they're righty-light now.  They'll need another righty in the pen and, with Lidle gone, it's not clear that Madson will lose his spot in the rotation even with the return of Wolf.  Geary and Rick White can't do it all, especially if they don't have the confidence in White to use him in a big spot. 

The Phillies beat the Marlins this afternoon 11-5 to improve to 48-54 on the year.

Randy Wolf got the start for the Phillies and pitched well after the first inning.  He pitched better than his ugly line -- he went 4 1/3 innings and was charged with three runs on three hits and five walks.  He struck out four and threw 97 pitches.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. 

Wolf struggled mightily out of the gate, needing 40 pitches to get out of the first inning.  He got the first two, getting Ramirez to fly to left and striking out Uggla on a horrid call from home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman.  The next two batters walked before a Josh Willingham single put the Fish up 1-0.  Yet another wild pitch with Lieberthal behind the plate followed, sending the runners to second and third.  Wolf walked Wes Helms to load the bases but got Joe Borchard to fly to right to end the inning.

Wolf settled down after that, allowing just a hit and walk in the second and third while keeping Florida off the board. 

In the fourth, Miguel Olivo hit a solo home run with one out to put the Marlins up 2-0.

The Phillies got five in the bottom of the fourth to go up 5-2.  Wolf started the fifth and walked the leadoff man before getting Cabrera to fly out for the first out of the inning.  With righty Cody Ross at the plate, Manuel called on Aaron Fultz, whose role of the day is apparently not lefty specialist out of the pen but guy-who-comes-in-in-the-fifth-to-pitch-to-back-to-back-righties-and-stays-to-throw-2 2/3-innings.  Fultz got Ross, but Willingham followed with a two-run homer to make the score 5-4.  Futlz got Borchard to end the inning, but he was an odd choice to bring in to pitch to back-to-back righties.

Fultz pitched perfect innings in the sixth and seventh.  He started the eighth and gave up a solo home run to Willingham, which made the score 9-5.  Helms followed with a single and Geary replaced Fultz, getting out of the inning without further damage.

The Phillies lineup against the righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Victorino (2) Dellucci (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Nunez (7) Lieberthal (8) Sandoval.  Sandoval continues to play shortstop for Rollins, who is out with a hamstring problem.  Lots of guesses out there about what's going on with the Phillies, here's mine:  They put Dellucci in a lefty/righty platoon in left before the deadline to see if they could get something significant for him.   They'll hold onto Dellucci, putting Dellucci and Victorino in right once Abreu is gone and put Burrell back in left as their everyday left fielder.

The Phillies didn't get a hit through the first three innings against Sanchez.  They got two walks in the first, putting runners on first and second with two outs before Rowand flied to right to end the inning.

The bottom of the fourth inning took place with Bobby Abreu hugging his teammates goodbye in the dugout.  Utley doubled to lead off the inning and Ryan Howard followed with a walk.  A double from Rowand scored Utley and moved Howard to third with the score 2-1 Florida.  Nunez walked to load the bases and Mike Lieberthal followed with a grand slam, putting the Phillies up 5-1.  The next three Phillies went in order to end the inning.

The score was 5-4 when the Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the fifth.  Dellucci struck out to lead it off, but Utley followed on a badly played triple to Borchard in right.  The next two Phillies walked to load the bases with one out and a single by Nunez scored two to put the Phils up 7-4.  Lieberthal followed with a single, making the score 8-4 with runners on first and third.  Sandoval followed with a ground ball that Uggla didn't field for an error, scoring another run to put the Phillies up 9-4 with runners on first and second.  Fultz bunted, but they got Lieberthal at third for the second out of the inning and Victorino grounded out to end the inning.

The Phillies were kept off the board in the sixth and seventh.  In the eighth they loaded the bases with two outs for Rowand, who hit a two-run double to extend their lead  to 11-5.

Victorino was 1-for-5.  Dellucci 1-for-4 with a walk.

Utley, who looks likely to become the Phillies new three-hitter, was 2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 30.

Howard was 0-for-0 with five walks.  Really he was. 

Rowand was 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI.  Nunez had a big day, he was 2-for-4 with two RBI and made several nice plays in the field. 

Lieberthal was 2-for-4 with the grand slam.  He had five RBI on the day.

Sandoval was 0-for-4.

Madson and Moehler pitch tonight.

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