No slide-stepping this issue
The New York Mets stole seven bases without being caught during the first two games of their series with the Phillies at Citi Field.
Four of them came Wednesday off righthander Joe Blanton.
When Rich Dubee was asked Thursday if he considered implementing a slide-step for his pitchers to try to slow down the Mets' track meet, the Phillies' pitching coach reacted as if he'd just been told to swim through a pool of crocodiles.
"We know that team is going to try to run on you," Dubee said. "We're not going to change nothing. We're not going to have Jamie Moyer at 47 years old trying a slide step. I've seen so many ... slide steps go out of the ... ballpark. You're worried about a guy stealing a base and you hang a slider and it lands 40 rows up. You can take that slide step and stick it as far as I'm concerned."
Without question the most infamous slide step in Phillies history occurred in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Mitch Williams used a slide step on the fatal pitch that Joe Carter blasted into the left-field seats for a championship-clinching home run.
Dubee said his pitchers need to pay attention to the baserunners and get to the plate quickly without using a slide step. He said Blanton might be the best at doing it.
"Joe hasn't given up many stolen bases in a long time," Dubee said. "He's 1.2, 1.3 (seconds) to the plate. All of a sudden he was 1.5 (Wednesday). He had a bigger lean and a longer load."
Dubee described Blanton's pitching perfromance -- 5 1/3 innings, six hits, five earned runs, four walks and two strikeouts -- as all right. He said the righthander wasn't feeling well before the start. Blanton slipped to 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA, but his performance on the mound against the Mets was overshadowed by the Phillies' inability to score a run for the third time in four games.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz was back in the lineup Thursday night after sitting out Wednesday with a sore throwing shoulder.
"He says he's OK, so I'll put him in there," Manuel said.
The manager wasn't happy that Ruiz revealed that his right shoulder has been sore for quite some time.
"He shouldn't have said that because we don't want you guys broadcasting that his shoulder is hurt," Manuel said. "I know you guys have to know everything, but there are a lot of things that you don't have to know. If they don't know his shoulder is hurt, then they might not run. I'm not upset he said it, but it's like when you don't have somebody in the bullpen available, it makes it much easier (on the other manager)."
The Phillies held a players-only meeting before Thursday's game, but it wasn't to talk about the AWOL offense. The team voted to play its makeup game against the Colorado Rockies Sept. 2 at Coors Field. The game was postponed by nasty weather earlier this month. The Sept. 2 makeup date is at the end of a six-game West Coast trip to San Diego and Los Angeles.