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April 20 2007

 

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL Rank) SB CS
CIN 8-8 68 4.25 T-6 692 (12) 14 3
PHI 4-10 62 4.43 11 769 (4) 8 2

 

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
CIN 8-8 71 4.44 11 3.82 (9) 4.30 (15)
PHI 4-10 79 5.64 14 4.98 (15) 3.91 (11)

Who knew?

You almost got the feeling that Charlie Manuel wanted to make sure everyone knew Tom Gordon wasn't pitching well.  After Gordon blew the save and turned a one-hit shutout into a 1-1 tie with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Manuel brought him back to pitch the tenth with two rested arms in the pen.  It didn't work. 

The Phillies lost to the Reds 2-1 in ten innings tonight.  They are 4-11.

Jon Lieber got the start and gave the Phillies their second straight tremendous outing.  He went just 5 2/3 innings but held the Reds scoreless on one hit and one walk.  The hit was a double and he struck out five. 

Lieber set down the Reds 1-2-3 in the first. 

In the second he set them down 1-2-3 again, this time on three ground balls.

Alex Gonzalez led off the third with a double to right-center.  Lieber struck out David Ross, got Kyle Lohse on a fly ball to right and got Ryan Freel to ground to second to leave Gonzalez stranded. 

After getting the first two men in the fourth, super-hot lefty Josh Hamilton walked on four pitches in what looked like a pitch-around.  Edwin Encarnacion flew out to left to end the inning.

Lieber threw another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.

He started the sixth up 1-0 and got Lohse on a ground ball to short for the first out.  Freel was next and he chopped a ball to third.  Nunez backhanded and threw to first.  His throw was in the dirt and Helms couldn't scoop it.  Freel went to second and Nunez was charged with an error.  With Dunn at the plate, Lieber turned to throw to second on a pickoff play and tried to hold up his throw midway through.  He couldn't and half-threw the ball into left, allowing Freel to go to third on the error.  Lieber struck out the righty Dunn and with righty Brandon Phillips at the plate, Manuel called on Geoff Geary.  A nutty time to go to the pen, but Lieber, who had thrown 77 pitches, must have been on a strict pitch count.  Geary walked Phillips and the lefty Matt Smith came on to pitch to the lefty Hamilton.  Phillips stole second and Smith walked Hamilton, loading the bases with two down for Edwin Encarnacion.  Manuel went to his pen again, calling on Alfonseca as his fourth pitcher of the inning and Alfonseca got Encarnacion on a ground ball to short to end the inning. 

Another bad, although short, outing from Smith.

Alfonseca returned and threw a 1-2-3 seventh.  Tremendous job by Alfonseca, who lowered his ERA on the season to 0.93 in eight appearances.

Brett Myers started the eighth and got the first two men he faced before walking Dunn.  Myers struck out Phillips to end the inning and looked really good doing so.

Flash came on in the ninth.  Josh Hamilton was first and hit a hard ground ball to short that Rollins handled for the first out.  Phillips chopped one to Nunez for the second out before Scott Hatteberg hit a 3-1 pitch out to right-center to tie the game at 1-1.  Gonzalez grounded to third to end the inning.

Gordon pitched so well in the ninth he got to come back in the tenth with a rested Madson and Rosario in the pen.  Bad decision even if Gordon hadn't pitched yesterday.  Gordon got pinch-hitter Jeff Conine on strikes before pinch-hitter Javier Valentin walked.  Freel followed with a single that sent Valentin to second.  Gordon walked Dunn to load the bases and Manuel still didn't go to the pen.  On Gordon's 37th pitch of the night, Brandon Phillips singled to left to score Valentin to give the Reds a 2-1 win.

I don't mind using most of the pen in the sixth.  I think Manuel needed to call on someone else in the tenth.

The Phillies lineup against righty Kyle Lohse went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Burrell (5) Helms (6) Rowand (7) Nunez (8) Ruiz.  Helms starts at first with Howard still on the mend.  Nunez starts at third, which shouldn't happen.  He also hits seventh, ahead of Ruiz.  Rather see Dobbs and Ruiz should be ahead of Nunez.  Ruiz starts at catcher again, ninth time in 15 games.

The Phils went down 1-2-3 in the first. 

Burrell led off the second with a single but the next three Phils went in order.

Rollins singled to right with two down in the third, but Victorino flew out to center to end the frame.

Utley struck out to start the fourth and Burrell followed with a walk.  Helms singled to left, sending Burrell to second.  Rowand was next and reached on another single that loaded the bases with one down for Nunez.  Nunez grounded into a double-play.

Ruiz led off the fifth with a single.  Lieber was next and tried to bunt.  He couldn't get it down and with two strikes he hit a grounder to first that Hatteberg didn't handle.  The ball hit the bag and bounced high in the air.  Phillips grabbed it and threw wildly into left field trying to get Ruiz, allowing Ruiz to score and put the Phils up 1-0.  Two errors on the play for the Reds, one on Hatteberg and one on Phillips.  Lieber wound up at second with nobody out.  Rollins flew out to left, Victorino popped to third and Utley fouled out to thrid, leaving Lieber stranded at second.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth.

In the seventh, Greg Dobbs, who entered the game to play first when Alfonseca came in, singled to right with two outs.  Rollins flew out to left on a sliding catch by Dunn.

Shane Victorino popped to second to start the eighth but Utley was next and was hit by a pitch.  Burrell grounded into a double-play to set the Phils down.

Bourn, who replaced Burrell in left in the eighth inning, led off the ninth and struck out.  Rowand was next and he bounced a single into center.  Nunez hit a soft ground ball to short for the second out.  Rowand moved to second.  Ruiz struck out to end the frame.

Dobbs struck out to start the tenth.  Rollins was hit by a pitch and Victorino hit into a double-play.

Seven hits for the Phils.  All singles.  They've scored ten runs in their last four games.

Rollins was 1-for-4 to drop his average to .299.

Victorino 0-for-5.

Utley was 0-for-3 and struck out twice.  He was hit by a pitch.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk and hit into a double-play.  I would take him out for Bourn in a one-run game even less with Howard out of the lineup.

Helms was 1-for-3.

Rowand 2-for-4.

Nunez 0-for-4, left five men on base and made an error.  He's hitting .125.  Please stop.

Ruiz was 1-for-4.

Cole Hamels (0-1, 3.32) faces lefty Eric Milton (0-2, 5.06) tomorrow night. 


April 20 2007

Here's a look at the six Phillies who have gotten the most plate appearances with runners on base so far this season:

 

Player PA AVG OBP SLG RBI
Utley 41 206 317 324 4
Howard 37 160 432 320 7
Helms 31 292 387 375 6
Rowand 30 318 448 409 5
Burrell 28 286 464 476 6
Rollins 27 333 407 875 10

Utley and Howard.  Utley is struggling massively while Howard is getting on base but hasn't done much damage.  Except for Utley, everyone is at least getting on base.  After Utley's .317 on-base percentage with runners on, Helms is the second-worst of the group at .387. 

Burrell's plate appearances are low because of a combination of Bourn in the outfield late in the game and Howard and Utley struggling ahead of him.  The guy who is really tearing things up, Rollins, gets to bat with runners on base less than the others in the group because he hits after the pitcher who rarely gets aboard.

After Utley and Howard's numbers, there's little to worry about there.  Helms' slugging percentage maybe, but if the other four guys on the list keep hitting like that the Phils will score a lot of runs when the big lefties come around.

Jon Lieber (0-0, 11.57) makes his first start of the year against the righty Kyle Lohse (1-0, 2.53) and the Reds tonight.  Lieber has put some pressure on himself after being obviously unhappy with being sent to the pen.  He's in the rotation now after two bad outings as a reliever.  In 2 1/3 innings this season he's allowed four hits and two walks.  Morgan Ensberg hit a three-run homer off of him a week ago today.   It may or may not be a coincidence, but Lieber makes his return as a starter against the Reds after having tremendous success against them last year.  In two starts he was 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA.  He allowed just seven hits in 15 2/3 innings while striking out 13.  Edwin Encarnacion was nearly the only guy that hit him well, Encarnacion was 2-for-6 with two homers against him last year.  The Reds hit .130 against him overall.  The righty Lohse has made three starts on the year and was absolutely wicked the last time out.  On Sunday he went eight shutout innings against the Cubs, allowing four hits and striking out 12.  He allowed six earned runs in 13 1/3 innings in his two starts before Sunday.  He made one start against the Phillies last year and got the win, going 6 1/3 innings and holding the Phils to a run on six hits.  He struck out eight.

Best case for the Phils is that Lieber pitches well enough over his next few starts that the Phillies can trade him for a solid reliever and put Myers back in the rotation.

Ryan Howard is day-to-day.  Phillies hope to have him back sometime this weekend.  Not tonight.

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