Brett Myers warmed up in the Phillies bullpen on Friday night, but was not called upon to pitch in his first game since May 27th. The Phillies chose instead to use Tyler Walker and Jack Taschner. Myers is expected to pitch in a 6th or 7th inning middle relief role, upon his return to game action.
Raul Ibanez continues to slump and that made it easier for manager Charlie Manuel to give Ibanez a night off against a tough lefty like Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez. Ben Francisco got the start on Friday in Houston. Francisco got one hit in four at bats and is batting .217 since joining the Phillies. Raul, meanwhile, has become Pat Burrell, performance wise. Burrell made a name for himself, as a Phillie, by being inconsistent, but generally averaging things out with good offensive totals by seasons' end. Over the first two months of the season, Raul had a .332 batting avg. Since then, Raul has a .222 batting avg. In 64 first half games, Ibanez had 22 HR and 60 RBI. In 42 second half games, Ibanez has just 5 HR and 18 RBI. Seems like those oh-so-familiar Burrell-esque slumps to me. And by the end of the season, Ibanez should provide the offense with a 30 HR/90 RBI season, just like Pat Burrell (roughly) did almost every year.
The Phillies have scored just 7 runs in the past week. They allowed that many in a loss to the Astros on Friday night. The offense is sluggish to say the least. It's certainly not going to get easier, with 10 games in the next 9 days, and no days off. Somehow during this offensive drought, Carlos Ruiz has managed to have a shining week. In the past 7 days, Chooch is 9-for-15 (.600 avg) with 2 RBI. Shane Victorino, however, is 3-for-24 (.125 avg) over that same stretch. It'll be up to the whole team to try and turn things around on Saturday night against Houston's Roy Oswalt, who is 6-1 with a 3.28 ERA in 10 career games against the Phillies.
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