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Worley's World: Don't F--- with The Vanimal

Our weekly talk with Vance Worley explores his intense mound presence — as told to beat writer Ed Condran.

When Roy Halladay pitches, he gives up about as much emotion as runs. It’s the opposite for Vance Worley, who is about as animated as any pitcher in baseball.

While dominating the San Diego Padres earlier in the season in Southern California, a big missing piece in the Phillies lineup was watching on television as Worley’s mouth moved like his curveball.

“When we came back to Philly, Ryan Howard came up to me and said, ‘Hey, man, what’s up? Everything all right?,’ Worley said. “Yeah, everything was all right. I was just expressing myself [against the Padres]. I was saying motherf---r after striking out some of these guys."

Worley did a lot of chirping as he whiffed a career-high 11 and the Phillies blanked the Padres, 2-0.

The verbal ‘Vanimal’ will even talk to himself on the mound before firing a pitch.

“I said, ‘Take this motherf----r before throwing [to Ruben Tejada]. It worked. I hit 94 [mph on the stadium radar gun]. I never hit 94 before.”

It’s nothing personal with Tejada.

“It’s just that we have some history and that’s baseball. We’ve had a lot of cat-and-mouse battles. But you have quite a few of those in the big leagues. When I faced the Cubs centerfielder [Tony Campana], he’s fast and he’s good. So you get into battles with these guys. It’s fun. I’m competitive. I want to win those battles and I want to win games.”

Don’t expect the emotional Worley to change since there is no reason for him to alter his approach. Big Vance is 14-6 so far in his brief, major-league career. That 70-percent winning percentage is impressive.

“It’s all about winning,” Worley said. “You continue to do what you do as long as you produce.”

The fun quotient is always high when Worley pitches. Adding some color to a game filled with vanilla characters is always good. Worley adds a shot of Tabasco to the ballpark hot dog.

 
 
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