Phillies Blog – Davey and The Statman Contributors - Phillies blog will feature renowned Sports Handicapper Davey Sharpe and his partner Mike the Statman.  Combined they operate a successful sports handicapping business together and are both lifelong Phillies fans.

Sandberg, Bullpen, Mayberry, Rollins - Come up HUGE!!!!! 

If I am going to trash Sandberg when he blows a game – then I have to give him kudos when he wins a game.  And that is exactly what he did last night – although his move wasn’t the most popular with 1/5 of the starting rotation.

Last night kicked off a season making or breaking 20 straight game stretch and a brutal 54 games in 55 days for our Phillies.  And they started out of the right foot.

We won our 3rd straight game last night – even though the news earlier in the day was not great.  Cliff Lee was placed on the DL with a flexor tendon strain.  Let’s hope for a speedy recovery for Mr. Lee.  We really need him in May and June to get us into first place.  Yes first place.  Let’s face it, the NL east is horrible.  No reason why we can’t be the best in a lousy division.

Last night, the Phillies started the game with Rollins making himself at home in the leadoff position – as he singled to right to start the game.  The top of the order did the job as Howard and Byrd both knocked in first inning runs to give us a 2-0 lead.  Burnett got into early inning trouble though and the 1st ended 2-2.

Burnett struggled the rest of the way, but never letting Miami blow the game open.  Burnett kept the Phillies close while racking up a high pitch count through 5 and only giving up 1 more run through his 5 inning tenure.

Rollins kept his hot strak going as he put the Phillies ahead in the 5th with a 2 run HR – his 6th of the year.  

Philadelphia loaded the bases in the top of the 6th when Gwynn was intentionally walked to get to AJ Burnett’s spot in the batting order.  Sandberg opted to pinch hit for Burnett here, despite Burnett showing some stick earlier in the game with a double to the gap in right.  

When Phila was loading the bases – Sandberg likely noticed there was no activity in the Miami bullpen – and knew if he sent Mayberry up, he would be facing a lefty with no chance of a reliever being ready in time.  EXCELLENT decision and very forward thinking, Skipper.  Kudos.

However, Burnett wasn’t a fan of the Sandberg’s decision as he unloaded on the water cooler in the Phillies dugout – tossing it in anger as if water cooler tossing was an Olympic event.  

Mayberry came to the plate in lieu of Burnett – and drilled a 2 out, 2 run single to score Byrd and Asche giving the Phillies a 3 run cushion.

That gave the way to our shaky bullpen.  However, Diekman came into the 6th and showed why he has tremendous potential.  The fire-baller went 2 full innings, allowing no hits and striking out 3.  Adams worked through a shaky 8th and Papelbon made some 9th inning drama – but eventually closed the Marlins out in fine fashion – and we win the first game in Miami, 6-5.

Tonight – our Phillies go for 4 in a row as we send Kendrick to the mound – and he needs a good outing with the way that we used the bullpen last night.  The injury bug finally bit us hard with Lee.

But last night, the game and the win belonged to Sandberg and the entire team.  Let’s duplicate that guys. . . . and let’s get em!