On the hottest day of spring training, the Phillies' slow-warming bats showed signs of life in a 5-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins yesterday.
Bowa raved about the pitching of Kevin Millwood, Joe Roa, Rheal Cormier and Carlos Silva. But when it came to the offense, he was still shaking his head, even after his team snapped a five-game losing skid.
Despite getting 11 hits, including Pat Burrell's first home run of the spring - a mammoth shot to dead center - the Phillies left 13 men on base. They had the bases loaded in three innings and got only one run, on a walk to Jim Thome.
Stranding runners is a sensitive topic on this team. Last year, the Phillies led the free world in LOBs with 1,260.
Phillies pitchers held the Twins to just six hits. Millwood, the scheduled opening-day starter, allowed three. He also walked three and struck out three in his second start.
Lineup shuffle. Bowa continued to look at different lineup combinations. He batted Placido Polanco leadoff for the second day in a row and hit Bobby Abreu third and Thome fifth, with Burrell in the middle.
Bowa said he will not revisit the topic of Abreu's batting leadoff. Abreu's .409 career on-base percentage is 10th-best among active major-leaguers.
"He just doesn't want to bat leadoff," Bowa said. "There's no sense making him do something he feels uncomfortable with."
I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.