May 24 2007

Save yourself if it's not too late.


Brett Myers started the ninth inning of a game the Phillies were winning by four runs last night.  He didn't finish it.  Four hits, a walk, a hit batter, and two of the worst decisions you'll ever see on a baseball field later, the game was tied and the Marlins had runners on first and second with two down.  Myers delivered a 1-0 pitch to Miguel Olivo that was wild and way wide and that was it.  The former starter turned massively overused reliever was done.  He left the game clutching the back of his upper-right arm.

Nearly as amazing, the Phillies somehow regrouped and won the game.  The struggling Jimmy Rollins got aboard to start the tenth and came around to score the go-ahead run on a two-out single from whoever it is wearing Abraham Nunez' uniform these days.

The Phillies beat the Florida Marlins last night, winning 8-7 in ten innings.  They get back to .500 for the fourth time in seven games.  They are 6-0 in their last six attempts to reach .500 and 0-3 in their last three attempts to go over .500.  They're in third place in the NL East, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Mets.

Freddy Garcia got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks.  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs.  He struck out four. 

With a 2-0 lead in the first, he got the first two before Hanley Ramirez hit one out to left.  2-1.  Miguel Cabrera was next and he hit the first pitch from Garcia off the wall in left for a long single.  Josh Willingham grounded to second to end the inning.

Garcia set the Marlins down 1-2-3 in the second.

He got the first two in the third inning before Uggla blooped a double into right-center.  Ramirez was next and he laced a single to right.  Victorino threw home but Uggla scored easily to tie the game at 2-2.  Ramirez went to second on the throw home and was safe on a close play as Barajas fired to second.  Cabrera was walked intentionally and Josh Willingham unintentionally, loading the bases with two down for Jeremy Hermida.  Hermida flew to center to end the inning.

With a 3-2 lead in the fourth, Garcia threw a 1-2-3 frame.

Dan Uggla crushed a ball way out to left with one out in the fifth.  3-3.  Garcia struck out Ramirez and Cabrera to end the inning.

Willingham walked to start the sixth.  Hermida was next and hit a ball hard to short, but Rollins handled it and started a double-play.  Garcia hit Aaron Boone with pitch up and in, but Matt Treanor flew to right for the third out.

Geary started the seventh and was greeted by pinch-hitter Joe Borchard who hit a ball over Rowand's head in center for a ground-rule double.   The Marlins bunted him to third for the first out and Geary struck out Uggla for the second.  Geary hit Ramirez, bringing up Cabrera with men on first and third and two down.  Cabrera hit it hard to first, but Dobbs handled it to end the inning.

Alfonseca started the eighth and got he first two before Boone singled to right.  Pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo followed Boone and looped a foul ball down the first base line that Dobbs made a nice running play on near the Marlins' dugout for the third out. 

Nicely done by Alfonseca in a one-run game.

Myers started the bottom of the ninth with the Phillies up 7-3.  He had warmed up when it was a one-run game, but the Phils had plenty of time with the long top of the ninth to warm up someone else, Rosario in this case.  Didn't happen.  Pinch-hitter Todd Linden led off and slapped a single to left.  Alfredo Amezaga was next and he hit a high bloop behind third base that dropped just inside the line for a single.  Uggla followed and smoked a triple down the line in right.  Two runs scored and the Phils' lead was cut to 7-5 with a man on third and nobody out.  Ramirez followed and bunted for reasons unknown.  The ball was fielded by Dobbs who for reasons really, really unknown threw home.  It was a terrible, absurd decision if he had a chance to get Uggla.  He didn't.  Uggla scored, Ramirez safe at first.  Myers struck out Cabrera for the first out of the frame.  Willingham was hit by a pitch, putting men on first and second with one down.  Myers struck out Hermida for the second out of the inning.  Boone was next.  He singled over Rollins and into left.  Werth charged and made a perfect throw that beat Ramirez to the plate by about ten feet.  It was so far ahead of Ramirez that Barajas started to stand.  Ramirez slid under his glove, between his legs and was called (and was) safe.  Unbelievable.  Second huge mental mistake of the inning by the Phillies.  Barajas and Manuel were ejected in the ensuing argument and Ruiz came in to catch.  Good job by Ramirez to slide in between Barajas' legs.  With the count 1-0 on Olivo, Myers delivered way outside for a wild pitch.  The runners moved up to second and third, but Myers was hurt and left the came holding his right tricep, which seems like an unusual reaction for someone with a strained shoulder.  But I'm not a medical professional.  Clay Condrey came in to pitch and walked Olivo, loading the bases.  Linden was up and smashed a ball back at Condrey about as hard as you can hit it.  Somehow Condrey held the ball, which may have hit him.  He dropped the ball with the disgust of a guy considering whether or not this really does beat selling Lady Kenmores at Sears.  Amazing catch, but I'm not sure he really had a choice.

Condrey returned to pitch the bottom of the tenth with the Phillies up 8-7.  He got the first two before Ramirez singled into right, bringing Cabrera to the plate as the winning run.  Cabrera hit a ball into center that Rowand charged and put away to end the game.

Phenomenal job by Condrey.  Wish he'd done it in the ninth.

The Phillies' lineup against righty Byung-Hyun Kim went (1) Bourn (2) Victorino (3) Rollins (4) Utley (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Nunez (8) Barajas.  The Phils load up with lefties on Kim, who has been awful against left-handed hitters this season.  Bourn gets his first career start in left as Dobbs plays first.  Burrell gets a rest.  No Werth despite the two home runs yesterday.  Rowand drops down to fifth, breaking up the lefties Utley and Dobbs.

Bourn led off the first with a walk and stole second.  Victorino struck out, but with Rollins at the plate, a pickoff attempt at second hit Bourn and went into the outfield.  Bourn went to third with one down.  Rollins struck out for the second out of the inning.  Utley picked him up, though, hitting a ball out to right to put the Phils up 2-0.   Rowand flew to center to end the inning.

Dobbs led off the second with a single and moved to second on a walk by Nunez.  Barajas popped to second for the first out.  Garcia bunted and the Marlins forced Dobbs at third, but Cabrera threw to first wildly.  Garcia wound up safe at second with Nunez at third and two out.  Bourn got up 3-1 but wound up striking out on a pitch way inside to set the Phillies down.

Utley walked with two outs in the third, but Rowand grounded to second on a nice play by Uggla to end the inning.

Nunez doubled to left with one out in the fourth and scored on a single by Barajas to put the Phils up 3-2.  Garcia bunted Barajas to second for the first out, the second time on the night he had gotten the bunt down.  Bourn walked, but Victorino grounded to first to end the frame.

Utley singled with one out in the fifth, but Rowand and Dobbs went down behind him.

Nunez started the sixth with a walk and moved to second on a ground out by Barajas.  Garcia hit for himself and walked.  With men on first and second and one down, lefty Taylor Tankersley came in to pitch to the lefty Bourn.  Werth pinch hit for Bourn -- he is notably not Pat Burrell who was on the bench and kills lefties.  Werth walked on four pitches to load the bases.  Victorino was next and he walked, but it was harder than one might have hoped.  After Werth had walked on four pitches, Victorino swung at a 2-0 pitch that was way out of the strike zone.  Victorino's walk scored Nunez and put the Phils up 4-3.  Rollins came up with the bases loaded and one out and struck out for the second out of the inning.  Second time on the night Rollins comes up empty with a runner on third and less than two outs.  Utley flew to left to end the inning.

Dobbs walked with one out in the seventh but the next two went down behind him.

Burrell led off the eighth, pinch-hitting for Geoff Geary against the righty Lee Gardner.  So instead of using the best right-handed bat on his bench in the sixth against a lefty with two men on, Manuel winds up with Burrell leading off an inning against a righty in the eighth.  He struck out.  Werth followed with a walk, but Victorino and Rollins went down behind him.

Utley started the top of the ninth with a triple and Rowand scored him with a double down the line in left.  5-3 Phils.  Dobbs grounded out to second, moving Rowand to third.  The Marlins walked Nunez intentionally before Barajas struck out for the second out.  Helms pinch-hit for Alfonseca and singled to left, scoring Rowand to put the Phils up 6-3 as Nunez went to second.  Werth was next and singled to center, Nunez scored and Helms went to second with the Phils up 7-3.  Victorino flew out to center to end the inning.

Rollins led off the tenth with a single, but Utley flew to center for the first out.  Rowand was next and he blooped a ball behind second.  It dropped and Rollins moved to second, but the center fielder Amezaga overran it, allowing Rollins to go to third.  With one out and men on first and third, Dobbs struck out.  Not a good endgame for Dobbs.  Nunez was next and he got it done with a single into left that scored Rollins and put the Phils up 8-7.  Ruiz flew to right for the third out.

Bourn was 0-for-1, walked twice and stole a base.

Victorino was 0-for-5 with a walk and an RBI.  He left six men on base.  1-for-his-last-14 with a double.

Rollins was 1-for-6 with a single that started the Phillies' rally in the tenth.  He came around to score the inning run on the single by Nunez.

Utley was 3-for-5 with a triple, a homer and two RBI.  Home run number nine on the year for Utley.

Rowand was 2-for-6 with a double and an RBI.

Dobbs 1-for-5 with a walk and two strikeouts, including one that came with one down and the go-ahead run on third in the top of the tenth.

Nunez was 2-for-3 with three walks.  His single in the top of the tenth drove in the winning run.  He's hitting 390/446/508 in May and 315/370/402 overall on the year.

Barajas 1-for-5 with an RBI.  He left six men on base and made one of the worst defensive plays I've ever seen.

Werth was on base three times after he entered the game in the sixth.  He was 1-for-1 with an RBI and two walks.  He made a perfect throw to Barajas in the bottom of the ninth that should have ended the game.

Jon Lieber (2-2, 3.00) tries to get the Phillies over .500 as he squares off against lefty Dontrelle Willis (6-3, 4.86) tonight.  Lieber will be making his seventh start and has gone at least seven inning his last two times out, which is good cause the bullpen was bad before it lost it's best pitcher.  He's allowed four home runs over his last four starts.  His last time out home runs by Aaron Hill and Matt Stairs drove in all three runs he allowed to the Blue Jays over seven innings.  Lefites are hitting .273 against him this season, righties .233.  He's walked ten left-handed batters and two right-handed batters.  Willis will be making his 11th start, he's allowed two or fewer runs each of his last two times out.  He's given up nine homers, all nine of which have come from righties.  Righties are hitting .320 against him with a 1.81 ratio, lefties .089 with an .056.  If the Marlins could somehow combine him and Byung-Hyun Kim into one person, he or she would be a force.

The Phillies may be interested in Troy Percival.  He last pitched in 2005 and was last really good in 2004.  If you read Fantasyland you aren't in the dark about what part of his body he asked the author to suck in a heated moment.  Those of you who have been to seventh grade might even be able to guess.

There is not much info yet about how long Myers will be out with his strained right shoulder.  He will be examined today and return to Philadelphia if he needs an MRI.  This is pretty clearly a disaster, but the Phillies need to be sure not to make it worse by letting Myers pitch again before he's healthy.

My guess would be they would give Alfonseca the first chance to close, but we'll have to wait and see.

Ryan Howard would put up good numbers at Lakewood given enough at-bats.  He should be back tomorrow in Atlanta.

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