Milestone Phillies Loss No. 9,971 was a bit of an oddball affair -- and that means that there was more to the 4-3 loss in The A-T-L than the MLB debut of the player with the longest last name (14 letters) in MLB history.
And, as any Phillie fanatic would expect ... Saltalamacchia was smack dab in the middle of the go-ahead rally for the Phillie opponent.
As fate would have it, Saltalamacchia was hit by a pitch from Freddy Garcia -- the last pitch of the night thrown by Frickin' Freddy -- before Geoff Geary was summoned from the 'pen to surrender an RBI single to Willie Harris which snapped the 3-3 tie.
Willie Harris? That does seem like an odd choice for the the Bravos's LF job ever since Langerhans was jettisoned.
Sure ... there's the so-called "established star" in CF (Andruw Jones ... who's good, no doubt, although he's a career .260-something hitter with a lousy arm and someone who stopped stealing bases at age 24 because it was interfering with his ability to appear on ESPN's home-run derby highlights and "Web Gems") and the alleged "rising star" in RF (Francoeur ... Mr. Swing-At-Anything, although he IS a very nice gent) -- but Harris in LF???
He's the perennial journeyman OF'er, given his track record of sub-.250 nonsense for the O's (9 gms. in '01), the Chisox (nuthin' much in '02 thru '05) and the Bosox (47 games last year; a .156 avg.).
Bobby Cox is gonna try n' win a pennant with that?
Well, maybe if Saltalamacchia has a rookie year to remember (more than his 14-letter last name), no one will notice that Andruw and Francoeur are tremendously overrated and that Willie Harris is complete slugbait.
Alas, the Phils no longer have a Campusano or an Altamirano to throw out there when the bad guys put a Saltalamacchia in the lineup, so there's nuthin' much that Manuel Labor can do 'cept maybe order another plate of SALTIMBOCCA.
There are a lot of conflicting viewpoints re: Saltimbocca. Traditionalists insist that thinly-sliced veal should be used as the main meat before the prosciutto and sage are added. Others argue that chicken or pork can be used.
And, don't get the traditionalists and the free lancers started about whether the meat should be marinated in white wine or oil or merely braised in wine.
Hopefully, Saltalamacchia has his Saltimbocca strategy all squared away -- and, hopefully, Saltalamacchia won't discuss Saltimbocca recipes with that Reds pitcher, Cunnilingus.
Oooops ... that's "Coutlangus."
As per the Phillies, that 12-15 record indicates that, at the exact one-sixth mark of the season, they are on pace to finish 72-90 and that the high-priced "talent" such as Burrell and Garcia are not hindering the wild-card process.
Burrell's on pace for 6 HRs -- and Freakin' Freddy's on pace for 6 wins and an ERA higher than 6.00.
Moreover, the team will limp outta The A-T-L with a 1-5 record vs. the Bravos.
There'll be plenty of time for Manuel Labor to ponder that next year when he's the bench coach for the Devil Rays.
Unless he ends up as the bench coach in Seattle ...