Phillies do better job running bases

Posted: June 07, 2007

NEW YORK - After the base- running blunders of the sixth inning during Tuesday night's win over the New York Mets, it was hard to know whether to blame the runners or the base coach.

Yesterday, third-base coach Steve Smith took the blame fully. He explained to reporters that he didn't think Chase Utley, who was rounding third after an Aaron Rowand line-drive single to rightfield, could make it home safely with Carlos Gomez throwing home.

The holdup caused Pat Burrell, who didn't notice Utley had been halted, to get tagged out in a rundown between second and third base.

"[Gomez] has a great arm from out there. It was highlighted in our notes before the game," said Smith. "How accurate was he? I don't know but I know the kid has an arm, which is why I kept [Utley] at third."

Gomez' throw to home was off line and Utley likely would have scored on the play. Still, Smith maintains he made the right decision.

Smith, who is in his first season as the Phillies' third-base coach, compared Gomez' throwing ability to that of Shane Victorino, who leads the National League in outfield assists with nine.

Victorino saved a run in the fourth inning last night after he caught a fly by Ruben Gotay and gunned down Carlos Delgado at home plate.

The Phillies lead the majors with 24 outfield assists. This time last year they had just 10.

"It's a game of chances," said Victorino after the Phils' 4-2 win over the Mets last night. "Honestly I'm not really thinking about technique or timing, I just want to make a play at the plate.

"I know in my head that the guy is going to go, I would do the same thing. So in that case I have to make sure I make the best possible throw I can from out there."

There wasn't any second guessing last night. With Rowand at the plate and Utley on second, Rowand sent a single into rightfield. This time Smith could be seen waving his arms rapidly in a circular motion as Utley rounded third and scored giving the Phils a two-run lead in the eighth inning.

Smith said he can handle the pressure of getting beat on for a day. He said while he holds a thankless position, he likes the pressure it brings.

"I once had a coach tell me if I didn't get a guy thrown out I wasn't trying and doing my job right. I mean, it happens. What can you do?" said Smith.

Phillers

Brett Myers played catch in the outfield of Shea Stadium before last night's game. Still, Charlie Manuel says it could be as long as a week to 10 days before Myers is ready to return . . . Endy Chavez left the game in the seventh inning with an hamstring injury running out an inning-ending doubleplay. *

played catch in the outfield of Shea Stadium before last night's game. Still, says it could be as long as a week to 10 days before Myers is ready to return . . . left the game in the seventh inning with an hamstring injury running out an inning-ending doubleplay. *

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