Monday, May 16, 2011

2001 Fleer Genuine #109 Nick Punto

Cardinals 3, Phillies 1
Game 40 - Monday Night, May 16th in St. Louis

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies lifelessly fell to the Cardinals tonight, 3-1, losing their third game in a row for the first time in 2011.

What It Means:  I was bored tonight watching the Phillies play and that doesn't happen often.  The Phils are now 25-15 and (as I write this) they have just a game and a half lead over the Marlins.  The offense will try to get it going tomorrow night off Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia (5-0, with a 1.89 ERA).  Yikes.

What Went Wrong:  Cliff Lee had to work with a postage stamp-sized strike zone tonight and walked a career-high six batters.  Entering into the game, he had walked seven in 52 1/3 innings so far this season.  He was saddled with low run support (again) and his fourth loss of the season.

Nick Punto victimized his original team, knocking in the Cardinals first run in the fourth and scoring their third run in the seventh.  The Phillies lone run came in the second when Ben Francisco's RBI-single drove home John Mayberry, Jr. from second.

Featured Card:  Normally a Nick Punto baseball card would cheer me up, but it's not doing the trick tonight.  There are Punto cards littered throughout the hundreds of 2001 baseball card sets, touting Punto as a top prospect, or in the case of this Fleer Genuine card, as having a "Genuine Upside."

Unfortunately for the Phillies, and their fans, that upside became evident after Punto had left the organization.  GM Ed Wade shipped Punto and Carlos Silva to the Twins in December 2003 for starting pitcher Eric Milton.  Milton lasted one season with the Phillies, putting together a respectable 14-6 record on an '04 team that finished 10 games behind the Braves and cost Larry Bowa his job.

Punto played seven years with the Twins, and went to the A.L.D.S. four times with the team as a valuable utility player.  He signed this past off-season with the Cardinals, and I can just about guarantee he'll hit for the cycle or drive in the game-winning run at some point this year against the Phillies.

Transaction:  Roy Oswalt was activated from the disabled list before the game and Vance Worley was optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley.  The team's preference is to keep Worley stretched out as a starter just in case Oswalt and/or Joe Blanton have injury relapses.

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