The following is commentary from the Sunday on TBS broadcast team of Chip Carey and Ron Darling, as well as an in-game interview with Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton.
Philadelphia Phillies (6) @ Atlanta Braves (3)
Announcers: Chip Caray and Ron Darling
Darling on Phillies second baseman Chase Utley being his NL MVP choice so far this season: “I think (Utley) is an MVP. He gives them a real workman-like kind of effort. He’s also got a toughness, he’s been hit by the baseball 10 times this year, and a mental toughness that typifies this Philadelphia team that in the past was considered a little soft by other people in the league.”
Darling on Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel benching shortstop Jimmy Rollins for not hustling on a play: “It says a lot about (Phillies’ manager) Charlie Manuel that he’s not afraid to bench (Jimmy Rollins) his MVP player, probably one of his most important players on the team. It shows that everyone has to play by the same rules.”
Phillies leftfielder Pat Burrell on playing for manager Charlie Manuel: “(Charlie Manuel) is a great guy to have around because he understands the ups and downs of the season, and the fact that it is a long haul and everybody’s going to go through a time when it’s a struggle. He’s very good at sticking with his guys, so I think from the players’ standpoint we have a lot of respect for him.”
TBS’ Chip Caray and Ron Darling spoke to Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton during the third inning.
Pendleton on coaching Braves slugger Chipper Jones: “A smart hitting coach leaves (Jones) alone, and that’s what I’ve been doing, I leave him alone until he needs me. He’s been great, he’s been Chipper Jones; he’s been swinging the bat like he’s capable of doing and he’s actually done more. It’s been great from our perspective, so as a smart hitting coach you leave him alone and let him do his thing.”
Darling on Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell needing to call the bullpen often: “Roger (McDowell) is going to get cauliflower ear this season from as many times as he goes to that bullpen phone.”
Darling on National League pitchers needing to be athletic: “One of the reason pitches have to run so much is not only to get your legs in shape to pitch, but in the National League you have to do baseball related activities; backup bases, cover first and run on the base paths.”
Caray: “As certain TBS analysts would say, you have to be a real athlete if you’re a pitcher in the National League.”
Darling: “I’d like to take exception to it, but there are too many of my brethren that don’t.”
Darling on Mets pitcher Johan Santana: “I think (Santana) has been great, he’s got seven wins, just recently lost a tough ballgame on a bad throw to third base and wasn’t able to get a bunt down in a key situation, but he’s on pace for 18 or 19 wins. New York can expect a lot from their new free agent. Santana hasn’t hit his stride yet, but when he does he’s a strike machine. The problem with the Mets is they’ll hit for a while and then they have a hard time scoring runs so they haven’t had that consistency scoring runs that they had at the beginning of last season and in 2006.”
Darling on the scrutiny that Mets manager Willie Randolph faces in New York: “(Randolph) is always going to be on a simmering seat especially in that town, and that’s unfortunate but that’s just how New York can be. But when you are ownership and you are a town that expects you to be a 95 – 100 win team and you look more like an 85 – 90 win team then a lot of frustration seems to build in a town where there’s more TV shows than actual players talking about baseball.”