Saturday, March 5, 2011

2007 Topps Wal-Mart #WM11 Ryan Howard

Phillies 7, Pirates 4
Spring Training Game 7 - Friday Afternoon, March 4th in Bradenton

One Sentence Summary:  The offense arrived in Florida on Friday as the Phils defeated the Pirates behind the bats of Jimmy RollinsRyan Howard and the team's 14 hits.

What It Means:  And in the seventh game, the offense showed some punch.  The Phillies opened the game with four consecutive hits and took an early 2-0 lead.  Howard's first home run of the spring in the sixth gave the Phils a temporary 3-2 lead.  They regained the lead for good in the seventh with three more runs.

Top Hitters:  Rollins went 2 for 3 with a run scored, Howard went 2 for 3 with a couple of RBIs, and top prospect Matt Rizzotti started the scoring in the seventh with an RBI-double.  Wilson Valdez started in right and went 3 for 4 to go along with an outfield assist in the first.  He also stole two bases, just for good measure.

Top Pitchers:  Joe Blanton pitched well, despite his pitching line of two runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings.  Eight of the eleven outs he recorded were via the ground ball - a very good sign.  Antonio Bastardo made his spring debut and recorded a save after pitching a perfect ninth.

Featured Card:  A few years back (maybe it started in 2007?), mega-retailers Wal-Mart and Target began including exclusive cards within packs of Topps sold at their stores.  This is one of the exclusives found within packs at Wal-Mart in 2007, and it mimics the style of the 1958 Topps set.  It does a decent enough job, but I'm puzzled as to why the Phillies logo is found within a black circle on this card, while there's no black circle on the Topps Heritage cards released in the same year.  It's a mystery.

Other Stuff:  Pitching coach Rich Dubee got to see his son Michael pitch for the Pirates.  Michael entered the game in the seventh and allowed a hit to Dane Sardinha before striking out Matt Miller.

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