Tuesday, May 06, 2008
For those too bleary-eyed to stay up last night (or are too fixated on the Flyers impending series against the Pittsburgh Penguins) the Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks, the best team in the majors right now, 11-4 thanks to 17 hits and a nice outing from Jamie Moyer (seven innings pitched, two runs allowed, five strikeouts and zero walks). The victory kept the Phillies in first place and gave them a win to lead off their seven game road stand. As of this morning the Phillies own the N.L. East by a game:
1. Phillies: 19-14
2. Florida: 17-14 (1.0 Games Back)
3. Mets: 16-14 (1.5 Games Back)
4. Braves: 15-15 (2.5 Games Back)
5. Nationals: 14-18 (4.5 Games Back)
As I noted, the Phillies clocked 17 hits and not one was a home run. You know it is a good night at the plate when your pitcher (Moyer) goes 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Even more remarkable: Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell combined to go 1-for-9. Yes, it was a good night in the desert.
Tonight it is Adam Eaton vs. Randy Johnson. Read my post from yesterday to gain a better sense of the quasi-remarkable season that Eaton is having. Eaton will be hard-pressed to notch his first win of the season though against the Big Unit, who is pitching a lot better than his stats suggest: 1-1, 4.79 ERA. Johnson's DIPS ERA is 3.84, which is nearly a run better. The simple problem is that the D-Backs aren't playing good enough defense behind him. They've converted just 68.3% of the balls Johnson has allowed to be put into play into outs. Johnson is, as always, a formidable strikeout pitcher: 22 strikeouts in 20 and two-thirds of an inning of work. This is a mismatch that heavily favors the D-Backs.
Nice post on yesterday's game from the Inquirer's Todd Zolecki.
Quick look at a minor-leaguer of note: Jeremy Slayden. An eighth round pick in the 2005 Draft out of Georgia Tech, Slayden hasn't caught the attention of publications like Baseball America or has really registered in the minds of most fans. That's a shame because Slayden is a real talent:
w/ Double-A Reading ('08): OPS: .903 / HR: 3 / RBI: 20 / Doubles: 7 / OBP: .386 / ISO: .197
w/ Single-A Clearwater ('07): OPS: .834 / HR: 14 / RBI: 73 / Doubles: 24 / OBP: .376 / ISO: .171
w/ Single-A Lakewood ('06): OPS: .891 / HR: 10 / RBI: 81 / Doubles: 44 / OBP: .381 / ISO: .200
Even in the pitching-friendly Florida State League (FSL), Slayden mashed the heck out of the ball. He's one of those players who doesn't get a lot of ink because he wasn't highly drafted, he isn't flashy and pro scouts likely have a low opinion of his abilities. "Slow-footed slugger" is probably the most commonly written description of Slayden in the notebooks of scouts.
Slayden's rise through the Phillies system is a testament to the idea that a player's performance trumps the assumptions made. Perhaps Jeremy Slayden is a slow-footed slugger, but he wields a powerful bat. You'll see him in Philadelphia later this year, or early next.