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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


There is a prevailing thought that since the Phillies will be so reliant this season on their pitching that they must supplement it with defense.


Because they are so strong on the mound, the Phillies can afford to take some chances in the field. Indeed, for two reasons, they must. One: They need as much hitting as possible, particularly with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley injured. Two: Their pitchers will get demoralized, and quickly, if they continue to pitch splendidly deep into games ... but without collecting W's.

So a plan, put into place Sunday in Pittsburgh: Juan Pierre leading off. Jim Thome at first. Ty Wigginton in the lineup. Thome, who walked around afterward in a cumbersome back wrap, is too creaky to play every day at age 41. Charlie Manuel said he will not be in the lineup for the home opener.

But Pierre's speed to first Sunday was clocked at 3.8. And he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base. Around that offensively challenged team, that's a virtual one-man Fireworks Night.

Wigginton started at third Sunday, with Placido Polanco having a day off. But if Freddy Galvis, who has still has as many big-league hits as Michael Jordan, keeps struggling, Manuel must play both Wigginton and Polanco.

It's the only way the Phillies will be able to cope.

That was a four-run outburst Sunday. And though it was in a loss, it was an improvement.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on


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