Sunday, February 27, 2011

1979 TCMA Baseball History Series #4 Robin Roberts

Yankees 7, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 2 - Sunday Afternoon, February 27th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  Starter Joe Blanton pitched well in his Spring debut, but the Phils managed just five hits and the Justin DeFratus/Michael Schwimer relief combo allowed six runs over two innings as the bad guys won.

What It Means:  Not a whole lot.  But friend o' the blog Christopher is back in Clearwater again this year.  He was kind enough to file this field report:

It's spring, and that means both tax season and Spring Training. Guess which one brings me more joy?

I took another trip to Clearwater to see the Phillies play, but today's game left me with only one positive: At least Joe Blanton pitched well....

The Phils' bats were silent for way too much of the game to really make it a contest, so a day after coming back to win 5-4 against the Yankees in Tampa, the Phillies lost their Clearwater home opener, 7-3, to those same Yankees.

As for Blanton, the least regarded pitcher in a rotation the likes of which have probably never been seen before, he pitched well for the early innings. However, once he came out, the wheels fell off the mound and the Yankees scored runs in bunches. Most of the Phillies regulars started, but they were fond of striking out and swinging at bad pitches. When the Phillies did hit the ball, they were already so far in the hole, it didn't matter.

Chase Utley didn't play, and we found out later that he has patella tendinitis in the right knee. He's had a rash of injuries the past few seasons, so let's hope this injury does not affect the games that count starting in late March.

Monday brings the Phillies to a game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin and a
Roy Halladay-Kyle Drabek match-up. It could be a great game, but even a so-so game in spring training is better than a Monday in the office.

Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks Christopher!

Top Hitter:  Ben Francisco doubled and homered, accounting for two of the team's five hits.  It's crazy early, but Francisco (the new regular right fielder?) has looked good in his first two games.

Top Pitcher:  Blanton walked the first Yankee on four pitches and then settled in to retire the next nine in order.

Featured Card:  Hall of Famer Duke Snider passed away today at the age of 84.  I've featured a card of Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, as Robbie holds the distinction of allowing 19 home runs to Duke, the most career home runs off one pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.  Snider also hit the final home run ever at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn off Roberts on September 22, 1957.  This card is from the 291-card collectors' issue from 1979, featuring the top stars of the 1950s.  The fronts and backs of the cards borrow from the 1953 Bowman Color set.

Other Stuff:  Check out the archives here, here, here and here for Christopher's prior year Clearwater reports.

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