Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Topps Opening Day Stadium Lights #UL-6 Chase Utley

Phillies 8, Pirates 5
Spring Training Game 34 - Tuesday Night, March 29th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Baseball returned to South Philly as the Phillies defeated the Pirates, 8-5, behind new double play combo Jimmy Rollins and Luis Castillo.

What It Means:  Since 2004, the Phillies have hosted two "On-Deck Series" games at Citizens Bank Park before the start of the regular season.  Back in 2004, the games were almost a necessity as the team was working out more than a few last minute kinks within their new ballpark.  Now, the two games seem like a thinly veiled money grab.  Game time temperatures were in the 40's, but the paid attendance was still almost 43,000 fans.

Top Hitters:  Castillo enjoyed a multi-hit game and Rollins drove in a pair.  Both infielders also stole a base.  Ben Francisco hit his fifth home run of the spring.

Top Pitchers:  Could Michael Stutes usurp David Herndon for the final bullpen spot?  The righty was brought in to close the game out in the ninth and he struck out the side.

Featured Card:  Sadly, Chase Utley didn't actually get to enjoy the first night game of 2011.  This insert card from Topps Opening Day actually glows in the dark and is one of the cooler insert sets from the past few years.  The set is especially popular with Night Owls.

Other Stuff:  Roy Oswalt was roughed up a little in his final spring start, allowing five runs in his four innings of work . . . It was announced today that Brad Lidge will miss at least the first few months of the season with a strained rotator cuff.  He'll be completely shut down for the next three to six weeks.  Charlie Manuel made some pre-game comments pretty much naming Jose Contreras as the team's new closer and Francisco as the every day right fielder . . . Apparently Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins worked a few innings behind one of the concession stands during the game, selling soft pretzels.

Transactions:  Matt Rizzotti was outrighted off the Phillies 40-man roster, most likely in order to open a spot for Castillo.

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