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April 9 2007

Whatever the problem is that's causing all of these slow starts for the Phillies, apparently it can't be solved by talking about it incessantly over the off-season.  The Phils early woes continued in Florida this past weekend as they dropped the last two to lose their second straight series to open the season.  Surely the guys who went 45-30 after the All-Star break will make an appearance before long.  Let's hope it's soon, cause the Phils play five of their next eight against the Mets, and despite what Jimmy Rollins or anybody else says, the Mets are the best team in the National League.

The Phillies lost to the Florida Marlins yesterday, falling 6-4 to drop to 1-5 on the season.  After winning the series opener the Phillies lost two straight to the Fish and the culprit this time was starting pitching.  Brett Myers got lit up on Saturday and Zack Segovia didn't fare much better yesterday.

Segovia got the start in yesterday's game and was predictably hit hard in his major league debut.  He went five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.  Four of the eight hits went for extra-bases, two doubles, a triple and a home run.  He walked one and struck out two.

Segovia threw a 1-2-3 first before the Fish got to him for four runs in the second inning.  Mike Jacobs led off with a home run to cut the Phillies lead to 3-1.  Cody Ross followed with a double and a single from Joe Bochard sent him to third.  A sac fly made it 3-2 before Matt Treanor tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI-triple.  Scott Olsen would bring Treanor in on a sacrifice bunt to put the Marlins up 4-3 before Segovia got Alfredo Amezaga to fly to left and end the inning.

Segovia gave up back-to-back singles to start the third, putting runners on first and second for Jacobs.  Jacobs hit a ball pretty well to left.  Burrell caught it and threw Uggla out tagging from second to go to third.  Segovia struck out Ross to send the inning.  He threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Dan Uggla singled in the fifth with two outs and nobody on and Miguel Cabrera doubled him home to put the Marlins up 5-3.  Segovia intentionally walked Jacobs and got Ross to ground to third to end the inning.

The Phils pinch-hit for Segovia in the top of the sixth and Matt Smith entered the game to set the Marlins down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. 

The Phillies scored a run in the top of the seventh to cut the Florida lead to 5-4 and Alfonseca entered to pitch the bottom of the inning.  He gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Aaron Boone and Alfredo Amezaga followed with an RBI-triple that extended the lead to 6-4.  Uggla walked to put runners at first and third with nobody out for Cabrera.  Cabrera hit a line drive into right that Werth caught.  Amezaga tried to score from third, but Werth made a nice throw to gun him down and earn the second assist from a Phillies' outfielder on the day.  The Phillies then intentionally walked Mike Jacobs for the second time in the game and Cody Ross grounded out to third to end the inning.   It worked twice, but it's really a lot of intentionally walking Mike Jacobs, who entered yesterday's game with two intentionally walks for his career.  Phillies could really use another lefty in their pen and if the work-around is to intentionally walk lefties with that kind of frequency it's sure not to work.

Geoff Geary pitched the eighth and kept the Marlins off the board despite hitting a batter and giving up a single to Alejandro De Aza, who was bunting, to start the inning.  Geary set down the next three to end the inning. 

The Phillies pen was a lot better against the Marlins, but still not fabulous.  In the three games they threw nine innings, allowing just three earned runs but seven hits and six walks.  Way too many walks.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Olsen went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Rowand (8) Barajas.  Again it's Werth in right field against the lefty, although on Saturday against a lefty it was Victorino.  I'm hoping for Werth against lefties every time.  Thou shalt not forget that even last year Pat Burrell posted a better OPS against lefties than Ryan Howard did.  Howard 923, Burrell 1.012.  Burrell should break up Utley and Howard against lefties.  Including Sunday's game, so far this season Howard is hitting 083/267/167 against lefties (1-for-12 with a double and five strikeouts) and 364/533/364 against righties (4-for-11 with four singles).

Rollins walked to lead off the first.  On Thursday against lefty Chuck James, with Werth batting second, Rollins led off the first with a walk and Werth sacrificed him to second.  A terrible play.  Today after Rollins walked to led off the first, Werth hit away and doubled, sending Rollins to third.  Utley followed with a strikeout, but Howard was next and hit a two-run double that put the Phils up 2-0.  Burrell singled him to third and Helms walked to load the bases for Rowand, who hit a sac fly that put the Phils up 3-0.  Barajas struck out to end the inning.  Don't know why the change between Thursday and Sunday with bunting Werth, but the answer may simply be that Manuel thought runs would be harder to come by against James.  Werth could have bunted on his own, but I kinda doubt it.  The time they didn't bunt they scored three runs, the time they did the bunt moved the runner to second and they scored none.

The Phils got just one hit in the second and third innings.  Werth singled with two outs in the second but Utley flew out behind him.  Burrell and Helms walked back-to-back in the third, but Rowand and Barajas both went down to leave them stranded.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth and the fifth.  In the sixth, Rowand singled with one out and stole second.  Barajas followed with a walk and Dobbs pinch-hit for Segovia and struck out for the second out of the inning and Rollins flew to left to set the Phils down.  It may have been a little early to use the best left-handed bat on the bench.

With one out in the seventh, Utley, Howard and Burrell all walked to load the bases.  Helms followed with a sac fly to cut the Florida lead to 5-4.  Victorino pinch-hit for Rowand and walked to load the bases for Barajas.  Ruiz pinch-hit for Barajas and grounded out to second to end he inning.   With righty Kevin Gregg on the hill I guess you could understand a little why Manuel would hit the switch-hitter Victorino for the righty Rowand, but Barajas must have been surprised to see the righty Ruiz pinch-hit for him.

Rollins walked with one out in the eighth, but Werth and Utley went down behind him. 

Howard led off the ninth with a single, but Burrell followed with a line out to left for the first out of the inning.  Helms doubled Howard to third and Victorino walked to load the bases.  With the go-ahead run on first base, Ruiz popped out to the catcher and Bourn struck out to end the game. 

Rollins was 0-for-3 with two walks in the game and 3-for-12 with two homers, five RBI and three walks in the series.

Werth was 2-for-5 with a double and 2-for-6 in the series.  Victorino walked twice in his two plate appearances yesterday and was 3-for-8 with four walks in the series.

Utley was 0-for-4 with a walk on the day and 2-for-13 with an RBI in the series.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI in the series.  3-for-12 with two RBI in the series.  He's not hitting lefties and the Phillies have seen a lot of them so far.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with two walks on the day and 4-for-10 with four RBI and three walks in the series.

Helms was 1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and two walks in the game.  2-for-6 with two walks and an RBI in the series.

Rowand was 1-for-2 with an RBI in the game.  2-for-10 with two singles in the series.  He hit into some tough luck in the series, especially on Saturday when he was the victim of two nice defensive plays.

Barajas was 0-for-2 with a walk and left four men on base.  It was his only action of the series and he's still looking for his first hit as a Phil.  Ruiz was 0-for-2 and left six men on base yesterday.  In the series he was 3-for-10 with a double and an RBI.  If Barajas is not injured, pinch-hitting Ruiz for him says a lot about Manuel's opinions of the pair as hitters.  Especially in the seventh inning.

On Saturday, the Marlins beat the Phils 8-5.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and was awful after a great start on opening day.  He allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings on eight hits and two walks.  Six of the eight hits went for extra-bases, four doubles a triple and a home run.  He struck out six.

Josh Willingham hit a solo home run against him in the second to put Florida up 1-0.

In the third, with the Phillies up 3-1, Myers walked Dontrelle Willis to lead off the inning but got the next two hitters.  With two down and Willis on first, Cabrera and Jacobs hit back-to-back-doubles, scoring two runs and tying the game at 3-3.  Willingham tripled to put Florida up 4-3 before Myers got Joe Borchard to fly to left to end the inning.

Myers allowed a single in the fourth but kept Florida off the board.  He started the fifth and walked Cabrera with one out before Jacobs hit a ground-rule double (Jacobs was 5-for-10 with three doubles and a home run in the series).  Willingham was next and he hit a two-run double, putting Florida up 6-3.  Joe Bisenius relieved Myers and walked Joe Borchard before getting the next two to end the inning.

Ryan Madson pitched the sixth and gave up a leadoff walk to Amezaga, who was caught stealing.  Madson set down the next two hitters.  Madson came back for the seventh and set the Fish down 1-2-3.  Manuel brought him back for the eighth and Borchard led off with a walk and scored when De Aza followed with a double that made the score 7-3.  Condrey replaced Myers and Matt Treanor bunted De Aza to third for the first out of the inning.  Jason Wood pinch-hit for the pitcher and came up with an RBI-double.  8-3.  Condrey got Hanley Ramirez to fly to right for the second out before hitting Dan Uggla.  With two down and Uggla on first, Cabrera flew out to center to end the inning.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Dontrelle Willis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Rowand (8) Ruiz.  Victorino stays in right even against the lefty with Werth on the bench.  Ruiz is playing more than Barajas early.

Rowand led off the third with a single.  He was the Phillies first base runner.  Ruiz followed with a single that sent him to second.  Myers was next and bunted and the Marlins forced Rowand at third.  Jimmy Rollins was next and he hit a line drive to left-center.  De Aza dove for the ball and couldn't get it and Rollins circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run that put the Phils up 3-1.  Victorino followed with a double, but Utley and Howard went down to end the inning.

Burrell walked to lead off the fourth but the next three batters went in order. 

Rollins doubled with on out in the fifth and Victorino followed with a walk.  Utley struck out and Howard grounded to first to end the frame.

Burrell lead off the sixth with a single and Helms followed with a single that sent him to second.  Rowand popped out, Ruiz flew to right and Werth pinch-hit for Bisenius and struck out.

Utley doubled with two outs in the seventh, but Howard struck out to set the Phils down.

After a 1-2-3 eighth, Greg Dobbs doubled with one out in the ninth.  Rollins walked before Victorino flew out for the second out.  Utley hit a double that scored Dobbs and Rollins scored on a balk by Jorge Julio, cutting the Marlins lead to 8-5.  With two outs and Utley on third, Howard grounded to second to end the game.

Cole Hamels faces John Maine this afternoon in New York.  Hamels made one start against the Mets in '06, throwing eight shutout innings in which he allowed four hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out nine.  Maine was great against the Phils as well in 2006.  In three starts he went 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA. 

The Phillies sent Joe Bisenius and Zack Segovia to Triple-A to make room for Jon Lieber and Francisco Rosario on the 25-man roster.

Chris Coste was also sent to Triple-A. 

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