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June 30 2007

The Phils' freefall back towards .500 continued this afternoon as the Mets bombed a Phillies' starting pitcher for the third straight game.  The offense has also gone missing and has scored ten runs in the first three of the four-game set.

In the series, Phillies starting pitchers have thrown to a 9.22 ERA and allowed seven home runs in 13 2/3 innings.

The Phillies lost to the Mets this afternoon, falling 8-3.  They are 41-40 on the year and have lost four of five.  They have played half the season. 

Carlos Beltran had gone 6-for-10 with four home runs in his last two games against the Phils, hitting two bombs today and two last night. 

JA Happ got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks.  Four of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and three home runs.  He struck out five. 

Jose Reyes started the first with a single and Paul Lo Duca followed with a two-run homer to left that put the Mets up 2-0.  Happ struck out Carlos Beltran for the first out before David Wright hit the second home run of the inning, putting the Mets up 3-0.  Carlos Delgado followed with a double to left and Damion Easley followed and blooped a single into center.  Delgado had to wait to see if it would fall and could only go to third.  Happ struck out Shawn Green and Carlos Gomez to prevent further damage.

Happ threw a 1-2-3 second, getting the second out on a nice sliding play by Victorino after a long run into foul territory to retire Reyes. 

Beltran started the third with a single but Wright followed and hit into a double-play.  Delgado flew to left to end the frame.

Green walked with one out in the fourth, but Gomez followed and flew to center.  Jorge Sosa hit a ground ball to short that went through Rollins' legs for an error and moved Green to second.  Reyes struck out to set the Mets down.

Lo Duca started the fifth with a walk and Beltran homered to left, putting the Mets up 5-3.  Happ was done.  Madson came in and got the next three to end the frame.

Madson returned for the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Green.  Gomez flew to right for the first out.  The pitcher Sosa was next and he bunted back to Madson.  Madson threw to second to force Green.  Sosa beat the relay from second to avoid the double play but was injured on the play.  It looked like it may have been his left hamstring and he had to leave the game.  Reyes struck out for the third out.

Madson came back for the seventh and gave up a one-out homer to Beltran to center -- Rowand climbed the wall and got a glove on it, but couldn't catch it.  6-3 Mets.  Madson got Wright on a ground ball to first and JC Romero came in to face the lefty Delgado.  Delgado struck out to set the Mets down.

Mesa started the eighth and hit Gomez with two outs.  Ricky Ledee pinch-hit for Heilman and struck out to end the frame.

Mesa returned for the ninth and gave up a one-out single to Lo Duca.  Beltran followed with a single into right.  Utley took the relay from Victorino and threw to third to try to get Lo Duca, but his throw went wide and Lo Duca scored easily on Utley's error to put the Mets up 7-3.  Beltran went to second.  Beltran went to third on a wild pitch, which allowed him to score on a sac fly by Wright that made the score 8-3.  Mesa got Delgado on a fly ball to center for the third out. 

Another unearned run charged to Mesa, who has allowed five unearned runs in his nine appearances with the Phillies.  3.38 ERA in his 10 2/3 innings with the Phils.  7.60 if the five unearned runs had been earned.  The only Phillie who has allowed more unearned runs than Mesa this season is Geary, who has allowed and even more alarming eleven.  Jamie Moyer, for example, had been charged with two unearned runs in 102 innings.

Madson throws 32 more pitches.  He's thrown at least 30 pitches in four of his last six outings.  He threw 30 pitches on Thursday, got one day off and threw 32 today.  He didn't pitch particularly well in those two games, either, allowing three runs on four hits, including two homers, and two walks over 4 2/3 innings.  Ineffective and overused is a bad combination.  Is Alfonseca still on the team?  He is, but check back often the way people are flying around these days.  One inning (16 pitches) since June 24.  And yes, I know he's the closer, but you may have noticed that there's nothing to close.

The Phillies' lineup against righty Jorge Sosa went (1) Rollins (2) Bourn (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz.  Some kind of an intervention is required with this Michael Bourn thing.  If they're trying to showcase him it's hard to imagine who would see anything other than what we already know he is -- a backup outfielder who is really fast, can't hit yet but might be able to someday.  After today's game Bourn's career slugging percentage is down to .314 -- if they're trying to trade Bourn you have to wonder if they might be hurting his value.  Lefties 2-3-4 again for the Phils, since it's been working so well.  Burrell on the bench.  I'd really try to play Pat Burrell now and again.  This message will repeat.

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

The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the second on a single by Howard and walks by Rowand and Victorino.  Dobbs hit into a double play to third.  Howard scored to cut the lead to 3-1 and Rowand went to third.  Ruiz got a good pitch to hit and hit it good into left-center for a single, Rowand scored and it was 3-2.  I was surprised Sosa gave Ruiz anything hittable with Happ on deck and two outs.  Happ struck out to end the inning.

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

In the fourth, Howard led off and smashed a long home run to right to start the inning.  It tied the game at 3-3.  Rowand, Victorino and Dobbs went down behind him.

Ruiz started the fifth with a single and Madson bunted him to second.  Rollins flew to right for the second out and Ruiz went to third.  Bourn walked to put men on first and third, but Utley grounded to second to turn the Phils away.

Rowand singled with one out in the sixth, but Victorino and Dobbs both struck out to end the inning.

Rollins walked with two outs in the seventh.  Bourn struck out to end the inning.

1-2-3 in the eighth.  In the ninth, Helms pinch-hit for Dobbs against the lefty Feliciano and singled with one out.  Ruiz grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Bourn was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts.  2-for-his-last-13 with two singles and two walks.

Utley 0-for-4.  Top three in the order combined to go 0-for-10 with four strikeouts.

Howard was 2-for-4 with his 19th home run, the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. 

Rowand was 1-for-3 with a walk.  Almost made an amazing catch in the seventh.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.  1-for-his-last-16 with a single, his slugging percentage is down to .395.

Dobbs was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and hit into a big double-play in the second.  He's on-basing .299 in June and doesn't have a walk in his last 34 at-bats.

Ruiz was 2-for-4 with an RBI. 

Geoff Geary was sent to Triple-A today when JA Happ was called up.  Durbin stays up and will pitch out of the bullpen.  With a day off on Thursday and the All-Star break the following week, the Phils won't need a fifth starter until July 17.  After today's game, Happ was sent back to Triple-A and Anderson Garcia, a 26-year-old righty, was called up from Ottawa.  Garcia has pitched at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Ottawa this season.  Between the two stops he's thrown to a 3.09 ERA, allowing 37 hits and just ten walks in 46 2/3 innings.  He struck out 41 and opponents are hitting just .216 against him.  Surprised to see Geary go, but he had throw to an 8.53 ERA in June and allowed five runs on seven hits over his last 2 1/3 innings.

The Phillies rotation in the short term looks like Hamels, Moyer, Eaton and Kendrick with Alfonseca, Durbin, Anderson, Mesa, Zagurski, Madson, Sanches and Romero pitching out of the pen.   

Kyle Kendrick (2-0, 5.00) faces righty Mike Pelfrey (0-5, 6.53) tomorrow afternoon.  Kendrick will be making his fourth career start and has gone six innings in each of his first three, twice allowing three runs and once allowing four.  He's allowed just 17 hits in his 18 innings and righties are hitting .208 against him.  He has allowed three home runs, two of which have been hit by lefties.   Lefties are hitting .273 against him with a 1.42 ratio (1.00 for righties).  The 23-year-old Pelfrey has made six starts on the season.  Lefties are hitting .365 against him, righties just .262.  He's allowed just two home runs on the year, both of which were hit by lefties.  Tomorrow will be his first start against the Phillies.

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