Ross Gload was brought in by Ruben Amaro this offseason in an effort to upgrade the bench a bit. He was supposed to fill the role that the Bearded Wonder Eric Bruntlett occupied last season. Provide some depth in the infield & outfield and be a pinch hitter off the bench.
Gload hadn’t really contributed much so far this season, which can be attributed to him only getting limited opportunities to do anything.
That all changed last night. After Carlos Ruiz (who is having a great start to the season) singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth against Colorado last night, Gload followed with a 3 run homer to give the Phillies some valuable insurance runs. Those are always nice to have when playing in Coors Field.
The game was a back and forth affair the entire night. Both teams came back from deficits to keep the game close, and it wasn’t until the ninth inning where the Phillies finally found some breathing room.
The Phillies are loaded with high quality players in their starting 8, but getting valuable contributions from bench players is absolutely necessary. The 2008 WFCs had Greg Dobbs having one of the greatest seasons a pinch hitter ever had. Things like that are what allows a good team to take that next step to a championship team.
Another interesting development came up in the bullpen last night. After Ruiz gave the Phillies a 1 run lead, Jose Contreras was warming up in the bullpen to come in for the save, not Brad Lidge. While Gload eventually made it a non-save situation, it seemed as if Charlie Manuel was brining in Contreras for the save over Lidge. Contreras has settled in nicely in Philadelphia after a rough start and has been the best reliever in recent weeks. Giving him the save opportunities while Lidge works his way back makes sense. In addition to that, Lidge said after the game that he was experiencing a bit of pain in his elbow. Could be nothing, but something to keep an eye on.
The Phillies and Rockies are most likely going to be in the thick of things for the National League playoffs and could potentially meet in the postseason for the third time in the past four seasons. They seemed pretty evenly matched last night, but that was with Kyle Kendrick on the mound for the Phillies. The Rockies get to see Roy Halladay pitch in front of his hometown fans tonight for the first time ever, so I think Doc will be pretty amped up for that.
Maybe Doc could do us all a favor and sail a fastball right at that annoying purple fake-Phillie Phanatic monstrosity behind home plate tonight.