Monday, April 19, 2004

Home Cooking | The Phillies are 4-1 at Citizens Bank Park, and the Inky's Phil Sheridan draws a couple of conclusions after just a week of games at the new place: One, it sure does generate considerable excitement among fans, and two, batted balls seem turbocharged.

Yesterday's win (Inquirer; Daily News), meanwhile, was not without a few eyebrow-raisers.

I've long complained that in addition to having no clue on how to motivate people, Larry Bowa is an inept handler of pitchers. Well, he provided the jury with a couple of huge pieces of evidence yesterday. Exhibit A: He lifted Randy Wolf, who got past a rocky first inning and by all accounts was sailing along, after six innings, despite Wolf's allowing just three hits and no runs over his last five innings and throwing just 86 pitches total. Exhibit B: Bowa called on closer Billy Wagner for a fourth straight game, even though the game was tied when he entered it. Wagner made all the right statements after the game about being a competitor, and he did pick up the win, but he admitted that he was exhausted and without his best stuff. Larry, it's April, for Christ's sake -- you don't need to run him out there every day yet. Bowa claimed that neither he nor pitching coach Joe Kerrigan "dictates" appearance terms to Wagner, to which I say: You're the manager! That's exactly what you're supposed to do! Someone please tell Bowa that this line of thinking got Grady Little run out of Boston, and Little was within a few outs of reaching the World Series, an event that has been nothing more than a rumor to Bowa during the course of his managerial career.

As for the hapless Expos, they suffered severely bruised egos after getting a taste of Philadelphia hospitality courtesy the leatherlungs who can get up close and personal just above the visitor's bullpen at CBP. Poor, poor dears. Thank God they have all those dollar bills to stuff in their ears to drown out the noise.


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