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April 23 2007

If you've been wondering what Brett Myers' role is going to be while pitching out of the pen, wonder no more.  Apparently he's the guy that pitches when the Phils are up seven runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Charlie Manuel has been comfortable trashing the pen.  But it's hard to see who is to blame besides Manuel himself if he's going to let Myers pitch in situations like he did yesterday.  Madson and Rosario haven't pitched since Wednesday.  If they aren't going to pitch in games that are close or games that aren't close it doesn't leave them with much to do.  I find it hard to believe that the organization doesn't have seven relief pitchers they feel comfortable using when the Phils are up seven runs.

Hopefully the Phils get their pen straightened out and can put Myers back in the rotation soon.  Until they do, I'm hoping they save him to pitch in critical spots as he is clearly the best arm they have out there.   

The Phils beat the Reds yesterday, winning 9-3 to improve to 6-11 on the year.  They have won two in a row for the first time this season.  They also won their first series of the year, winning two of three against Cincinnati. 

Freddy Garcia made his second start for the Phillies and was solid in his second start, although he did not go deep into the game.  He went five innings, allowing two runs on four hits.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple.  He struck out three and did not walk a batter.  Opponents stole two more bases with him on the hill.

Garcia hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch with two down in the first.  Josh Hamilton lined to right to end the inning with the Phils up 2-0.

He set the Reds down 1-2-3 in the second.

In the third the first two Reds went down before Ryan Freel hit a ball into left center that Rowand misplayed into a triple.  No dive but he took an odd angle and the ball got behind him.  Scott Hatteberg was next and dribbled a ball to third.  Helms charged, barehanded and threw to first.  Hatteberg was called out.  Nice play by Helms either way, but Hatteberg looked safe to me.  Saved the Phils a run.

Phillips led off the fourth with a single and stole second.  Hamilton was next and hit a ball to first that Howard got a glove on but did not field.  Should have been an error but Hamilton was given a single and Phillips moved to third.  Garcia struck out Adam Dunn for the first out of the inning.  Javier Valentin was next and he fit a ball in foul territory that Dobbs caught near the wall.  Phillips tagged from third and scored to cut the Phils lead to 4-1 with two down and Hamilton on first.  With Edwin Encarnacion at the plate, Hamilton stole second.  Encarnacion flew to center to end the inning.  Everyone's running on Garcia again this season.  Coming into the game, Ruiz had thrown out just 3 of 14 runners attempting to steal a base this season. 

Garcia set the Reds down 1-2-3 in the fifth.  He got the third out on a diving catch by Rowand on a ball hit by Freel that was in nearly the same place as the ball Freel hit for a triple in the third. 

Scott Hatteberg led off the sixth with a double and Phillips followed and was hit by another pitch.  That was it for Garcia, and with back-to-back lefties due up Manuel called on Matt Smith.  Smith struck out Hamilton but walked Dunn on a close 3-2 pitch to load the bases after getting ahead of him 1-2.   Smith stayed in to face the switch-hitter Javier Valentin and Valentin was retired on a line drive to Howard at first.  With the righty Encarnacion up, Manuel brought in Geary to pitch and Encarnacion singled to right.  Hatteberg scored to cut the Phils' lead to 4-2, but Victorino's throw was strong and Ruiz blocked the plate nicely to get Phillips and end the inning.

Geary returned to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh.

Alfonseca pitched a 1-2-3 eighth to drop his ERA to 0.84.

Myers came in to pitch the ninth with a 9-2 lead.  Crazy.  Myers got the first man before walking Valentin and giving up an RBI-double to pinch-hitter Ken Griffey that made the score 9-3.  He got the next two men on ground outs to end the inning.  Myers threw 21 completely unnecessary pitches -- hopefully he's available tonight against Houston.

The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Belisle went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Helms (6) Dobbs (7) Rowand  (8) Ruiz.  Howard returns to the lineup and no signs of the lineup shakeup from Saturday night's game.  Rowand drops back to seventh after hitting second against the lefty on Saturday.  Rollins back in the leadoff after hitting third.  Burrell on the bench and Dobbs in left.  Ruiz catches Garcia again.

Victorino singled in the first with one out and went to third or a hard double to right by Utley.  Howard hit a long fly ball to center for the first out, scoring Victorino to put the Phillies up 1-0 and moving Utley to third.  Helms was next and snuck a dribbler into right field to put the Phils up 2-0.  Dobbs hit the ball hard but it was snared at second to end the inning.

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

Rollins led off the third with a single.  On a hit and run, Victorino smoked the ball into right field and Rollins went to third.  Utley was next and doubled down the line to left, scoring Rollins and sending Victorino to third.  3-0 Phils.  The Reds walked Ryan Howard intentionally.  With the bases loaded, Helms struck out on three pitches for the first out of the inning.  Dobbs was next and he had a long at-bat that ended with a line drive into left.  Dunn made a running catch and Victorino tagged and scored from third to put the Phils up 4-0 as the other runners held first and second.  Rowand reached on an infield single to third, loading the bases again with two down.  Ruiz struck out to end the inning.

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

After Utley and Howard struck out to start the fifth, Helms hit a liner into center that a diving Freel couldn't come up with.  Helms was safe at first with his second hit of the day, but Dobbs lined to right to set the Phils down.

Rowand singled to lead off the sixth and Ruiz followed and struck out.  Garcia bunted Rowand to second, but Rollins struck out to end the frame.

Utley walked with one out in the seventh, but Howard followed and flew out to center for the second out of the inning.  Utley stole second and took third on a throwing error from Valentin.  Helms reached on another error, this on from Encarnacion, that allowed Utley to score and extend the Phillies' lead to 5-2.  Burrell pinch-hit for Dobbs and lined to short to end the inning.

In the eighth, Rowand led off and reached on yet another error, this one by Juan Castro.  Ruiz bunted him to second and Werth pinch-hit for Geary.  Werth grounded out to second, sending Rowand to third.  Rollins was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and third for Victorino, but Victorino struck out to end the frame.

Utley was hit by a pitch to start the ninth and Howard followed with his second home run of the year, putting the Phils up 7-2.  Helms doubled to right before Bourn popped out for the first out of the inning.  Rowand walked, putting runners on first and second, and Ruiz brought them both home with a double to right-center.  9-2 Phils.  Nunez was next and smashed the ball back to the pitcher, who snared it in the air and threw to second to double-off Ruiz and set the Phils down.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a single.  2-for-12 with two singles in the series.

Victorino was 2-for-5 to raise his average to .297.  4-for-14 with four singles.  Doing a great job of getting on-base (.395) but slugging .375.

Utley was two-for-three with two doubles, a walk and an RBI.  4-for-10 with three doubles, a homer and four RBI in the series. 

Howard was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI in his return. 

Helms was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.  5-for-12 with a double in the series.  He's been outslugged by Victorino so far.  Helms is at 286/333/339 with three extra-base hits, all doubles, in his first 56 at-bats.

Dobbs was 0-for-2 with an RBI.  1-for-4 in the series and 190/217/286 after 21 at-bats.  Burrell was 1-for-8 in the series and doesn't have an extra-base hit in his last 38 at-bats.

Rowand was 2-for-4 with a walk to raise his average to .355.  5-for-12 with a home run in the series. 

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.  Ruiz was 2-for-8 in the series.  Barajas 1-for-3.

Adam Eaton (1-1, 6.62) faces righty Chris Sampson (2-0, 1.20) tonight in Philly in a makeup of the April 15 rainout.  Eaton has made three starts, the last two of which have been okay after the Braves scored eight runs in 4 2/3 innings against him in his first start on April 5.  Opponents are hitting just .246 against him.  Sampson has appeared in three games, the last two of which were starts.  In his two starts he's allowed two runs in 12 innings.  He's allowed just ten hits and three walks in 15 innings this season. 

The Phils start a three-game set at home with Washington tomorrow. 

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