Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Victorino to be suspended, helps lift Phils over LA

Shane Victorino is the only player to be suspended for his role in Friday's benches clearing incident in San Francisco. MLB handed down a three-game suspension which Victorino has appealed.

Thankfully he did. His solo home run in the top of the ninth in Los Angeles, where he still receives his share of boos for the playoff incident when he took exception to them throwing at his head, helped the Phils hang on for a 5-3 victory and give Roy Halladay his NL leading 15 win.

Victorino should not be the only player targeted by MLB. Ramon Ramirez started the incident by throwing at Victorino. Maybe it was because he was frustrated from getting lit up. Maybe Jimmy Rollins swiping second base irritated them. Even if it was partially because J-Roll ran, it's not like the game was out of hand. Whatever the case, Ramirez started the incident and Shane reacted. He didn't throw any punches. He just walked toward the mound. Eli Whiteside was the biggest antagonizer in the whole scene, jumping up and down in Vic's face as if saying "bring it on," and then tackling Placido Polanco.

Victorino could have stopped though. He did push an umpire off of him and dive back into the pile, which was his biggest offense. Pitchers can throw a baseball at 90+ MPH at a hitter, but how is a hitter supposed to defend himself? If he charged the mound, that's different. But he has to be allowed to say, "you know what, I'm not gonna take that." Whiteside, Ramirez and Victorino should all be suspended an equal amount of time, but that's not the case. Fortunetly, the Phils are running away with the NL East while the Giants look less and less like a play-off team everyday. Victorino's appeal will likely drop the suspension down  to two games.

In the meantime, let's hope he keeps producing like he has been while the Phillies get the chance to enjoy his services.

They'll look to win their eighth game in nine tries of their current road-trip tonight with Cliff Lee (11-7, 2.96) on the mound fresh off a complete game shut-out over the Giants. Ted Lilly (7-11, 4.86) takes the ball for the Dodgers.

Hunter Pence has the most AB's on the Phils against Lilly (32) with little success. He's batting .188 with one RBI against him in his career. Ryan Howard is hitting .286 against him with two homers, and Victorino is batting .333 with a home run. It will be interesting to see if John Mayberry Jr. will get his first look at Lilly tonight, but Raul Ibanez has a homer and three RBI in just four at bats against him.

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