07/09/09 11:53 PM ET
Hot-hitting Phils rally past Reds in finale
Werth goes deep, could land All-Star nod as replacement
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He must replace Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran on the National League All-Star team. Shane Victorino could have taken the injured Beltran's spot, but he won the Final Vote competition Thursday to put him on the roster.
Manuel can go a lot of ways.
How about Jayson Werth?
Werth went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, two RBIs and a walk in Thursday night's 9-6 victory over the Reds at Citizens Bank Park. Werth is hitting .268 with 20 homers, 54 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Those are impressive numbers, but are they enough to put him in the All-Star Game as Beltran's replacement? Manuel wouldn't say, although he will work with Major League Baseball to name an alternate.
"His stats definitely go up there with those other guys," Manuel said.
Those other guys could be Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (.328, 13 homers, 48 RBIs), Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (.319, 10, 46, 19 stolen bases) and D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds (.262, 24, 62, 15 stolen bases).
In the end, it might be tough for Manuel to convince the league to take three Phillies outfielders to the All-Star Game on Tuesday in St. Louis. Phils left fielder Raul Ibanez has been elected as a starter, and he could rejoin the team Friday night against the Pirates. If Ibanez plays at least two games this weekend, he is expected to play in the Midsummer Classic.
But Werth at least has proved himself more than capable of handling the everyday job in right field.
Much was made about that before the season started.
"Am I happy with the first half I've had? Absolutely," Werth said. "Opportunity-wise, just getting to play every day has been great. I can't say enough about the organization and Charlie putting me in there every day. But we've got a long way to go, and it's way too early to be satisfied."
Werth put the Phillies in select company with his solo homer to right-center field in the sixth. The Phils became just the second team in Major League Baseball history to have four players with at least 20 home runs before the All-Star break: Raul Ibanez (22), Ryan Howard (21), Chase Utley (20) and Werth.
The 2000 Blue Jays also had four players with at least 20 homers before the break: Carlos Delgado (28), Tony Batista (24), Raul Mondesi (23) and Jose Cruz Jr. (20).
"They're a great hitting team," Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "It seemed like when people get on base, they turn into the mighty Phillies. That team can hit."
Utley hit an inside-the-park homer in the third. He crushed a ball just to left of the 409-foot marker in center field, which sits along an angled wall. The ball hit off the wall and shot straight toward the 398-foot sign in right-center field. That allowed Utley plenty of time to race around the bases for the second inside-the-park home run of his career.
Utley hit his first Sept. 25, 2005, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
It was the first inside-the-park homer for the Phillies since Werth hit one in Colorado on April 21, 2008.
Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer (8-6) allowed eight hits, six runs, one walk and two home runs in five innings, but picked up the win. That is because Philadelphia scored four runs in the fifth inning to take an 8-6 lead when he was still the pitcher of record.
Right-hander Chan Ho Park threw three shutout innings. Park has a 1.83 ERA (four earned runs in 19 2/3 innings) in his past 14 relief appearances.
"He just goes out there and deals for three innings and picks everybody up," said closer Brad Lidge, who notched his 17th save with a scoreless ninth. "That's the sign of our bullpen really doing the things that we can do."
The offense has been doing its part for much of the season. And lately so has Jimmy Rollins, who went 2-for-4 with one RBI. He is hitting .452 (14-for-31) since snapping an 0-for-28 slump last week in Atlanta.
That is a good sign.
Another good sign is the Phillies have three outfielders who are All-Star worthy.
"I would say we're pretty damn good," Victorino said, asked how the Phils' outfield compares to others in baseball. "I'd say we could match up."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.