Nothing is more frustrating than watching the Phillies try to score runs. The top of the order does not generate base runners, the middle of the lineup has no runs to drive in and the bottom of the order provides too many automatic outs. This is a recipe for disaster!
Team USA’s manager Mike Scocia has it right. Make sure the top of the order gets on base and good things will follow. The two top hitters in the order went 6 for 9 with two walks in 11 at bats in the 7-1 Team USA win over Nicauagua.
This is what happened last night in the first game of an Olympic qualifying tournament in St. Lucie Florida. The Team USA’s lead off hitter, normally buried in the Phillies farm system Luke Williams, was on base five times with three hits, two walks and a sacrifice bunt in his six plate appearances.
One of the top Boston Red Sox prospects batting second, Jarred Duran, went 3 for 6 with two RBIs. Before you knew it Team USA took the lead in the first inning and never looked back. The only time Williams and Duran we not in the middle of scoring runs was on a solo home run in the fourth inning.
Williams most impressive at bat came on a ten pitch walk in the seventh inning and in the ninth inning his two out bunt single set up a three run inning and broke open the game.
Last night’s game was the most fundamentally sound game I have followed this season. Timely hitting with no errors in the field and strong starting and relief pitching were the keys to the win.
Yes, a Team USA batter hit a home run but fundamentally sound baseball generated the offense especially when 6 of Team USA’s 14 hits came from the first two batters in the lineup.
It would be nice if the Phillies could have a lead-off hitter in their lineup perform like Williams did last night. Maybe they would not be playing under .500 baseball!