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June 30 2006

The next update to Philliesflow will be on Sunday, July 9.

The Phillies will play nine games in that time.  They start a three-game set in Toronto tonight.  Monday is an-off day.  On Tuesday they return home for the first of three against the Padres.  They follow that with a three-game series against the Pirates at home.  Then they are off for the All-Star break.

It doesn't seem real likely at this point, but the Phillies still have a chance to go into the All-Star break with a better mark than last year's 45-44.  If they went 9-0 in the last nine before the break they would be 45-42.  0-9 would put them at 36-51.  They would need to go 8-1 or 9-0 in the last nine to go into the break at .500 or better.  Given the current circumstances I would estimate the odds of the Phils going 8-1 or 9-0 over the next nine games are about the same as Sal Fasano hitting for the cycle tonight (Sal is still looking for his first triple in The Show after 963 at-bats).  But ya gotta believe.

The Phillies are blessed with several excellent and oft-updated blogs dedicated to the team.  Check them out on the right under the section titled, cleverly enough, "Phillies Blogs."


June 30 2006

The Phillies and their fans can expect the pitchers in the current starting rotation to get shelled.  Until they get some of their starters back, expecting anything else would be somewhat foolishly optimistic.  Last night in Baltimore, however, Ryan Madson gave the team something unexpected.  His outstanding pitching performance paced the Phillies to a 4-0 win, snapping a seven game losing streak. 

The Phillies pitching doesn't have to be great for them to win consistently.  Their offense is very good.  So far this season the pitching hasn't been great or good or even average.  The starting pitching has been abysmal.  Tonight is their 79th game of the season, and with Adam Bernero's start this evening they will have started Madson, Floyd, Hamels, Brito, Mathieson and Bernero a total of 36 of those games (45.6%).  When you are consistently putting guys with that level of experience out there it makes it almost impossible to win enough to make the playoffs.  Obviously the Phillies would like to make the playoffs -- if they were trying to make the playoffs rather than put themselves in a position to make a run next year I'm not sure we would have seen so many starts by so many guys with so little experience.  On a related note, one-fifth of the active roster tonight for the Phillies will likely be Fabio Castro, Chris Coste, Scott Mathieson, Rick White and Adam Bernero. 

The Phillies win last night improves their record to 36-42 on the year.  The Mets were swept in their three-game series with the Red Sox, so the Phillies pick up a game despite losing two of three to the Orioles.  The Phils are in second place in the NL East, eleven games behind the Mets.

Ryan Madson got the start for the Phillies and had the best start of his career.  He went 8 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk and striking out seven.  He came within an out of throwing a complete game, four-hit shutout.  Each of the five hits he allowed was a single and he didn't give up more than one hit in any inning.

With the Phillies out to a 2-0 lead in the first, Madson gave up a leadoff single to Brian Roberts to start the bottom of the inning and it looked like more of the same for the Phillies.  It wasn't to be, however, as Madson got the next batter, Brandon Fahey, to ground into a double-play and got Mora to end the inning.

He cruised after that, shutting down the Orioles in innings two through eight without ever getting into real trouble.  He got 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, sixth and eighth allowing a single base-hit in the second, fifth and seventh.  In the fourth he struck out the side.

Madson started the ninth up 4-0 and got the first two batters he faced.  He faced Fahey again, trying to get the last out and got up 0-2.  It was the 106 pitch mark for him and it looked like he was worn out.  He lost Fahey, eventually walking him in an eight-pitch at-bat.  The Phillies gave Madson one more chance to get his complete game, but Mora singled and the Phillies brought in Flash Gordon.  Madson ended his tremendous night having thrown 114 pitches.

Gordon retired Tejada to end the game and earn his 21st save on the year.

The Phillies lineup against righty Rodrigo Lopez went (1) Rollins (2) Dellucci (3) Utley (4) Abreu (5) Howard (6) Rowand (7) Victorino (8) Nunez (9) Fasano.  Dellucci played left, Victorino right and Abreu was at DH.  Nunez played third for Bell.  Burrell was out of the lineup again.  I really hope the Phillies get him playing regularly again soon.  He's the best right-handed bat on the team, last year he was second in the NL in RBI and the Phillies need him.  I guess that Manuel saw a chance to give Utley and Abreu a mini-rest by DHing them in the last two days, which makes some sense.  I hope the Phillies consider using Coste more frequently at catcher, too, cause Fasasno may not be able to handle the load everyday.  I don't think Coste is really a .296 hitter, but I'd let him play long enough to prove it.  He's looked good enough defensively as well, particularly with throwing out runners.

Jimmy Rollins led off the first with a walk and Dellucci followed with a two-run homer, putting the Phillies up 2-0.  It was the second straight day the combination of Rollins and Dellucci at the top of the lineup had given the Phillies an early lead.

The score stayed 2-0 until the seventh.  In that inning, Howard led off with a single and Rowand followed with a double.  Victorino piddled out to the pitcher, but Howard came in to score on a Nunez ground ball to third to make it 3-0.  Rowand was stranded when Fasano struck out to end the inning.

Utley and Abreu had back-to-back two-out doubles in the eighth to put the Phillies up 4-0.

Rollins was 1-for-3 on the day with a walk.  For the series he was 2-for-12 with two walks.  In each of the last two games he scored a run after getting aboard to leadoff the inning.  He's slugging .487 in June, with 15 extra-base hits in 115 at-bats. 

Dellucci was 2-for-4 with a big first inning homer.  He was 4-for-9 with two homers in the series.  He's at 349/378/605 in 43 June at-bats.  Dellucci gives the Phillies an advantage in DH games that other NL teams don't have -- hopefully the Phillies get him and Burrell both going in Toronto. 

Utley was 2-for-4 with a strikeout and 6-for-12 in the series.  He's hit in six straight.

Abreu was 1-for-4 with the big double.  2-for-10 with two walks in the series.

Howard was 2-for-4.  4-for-11 with two homers in the series.

Rowand was 1-for-4.  He was 3-for-13 in the series and is hitting .220 and on-basing .265 in 91 June at-bats.

Victorino played a lot in the series and went 1-for-11 including 0-for-4 last night.  He's hitting .233 in June.

Nunez was 0-for-4.  0-for-8 in the series and 0-for-his-last-13.

Fasano was 1-for-3 with a single and 1-for-6 in the series.  He's 2-for-his-last-20 with two singles.

Adam Bernero makes his Phillies debut tonight against Toronto.

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