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July 26 2007

The Phillies will put Chase Utley on the DL with a broken hand.  Utley broke his right hand when he was hit by a pitch from the Nationals' John Lannan in the fifth inning of today's game.

He's one of those guys who is kind of hard to replace.  The linked article suggests Joe Thurston may be on his way from Triple-A Ottawa, where he has hit 277/346/390 in 390 at-bats.


July 26 2007

Unbelievable game last night as the Phillies topped the Nationals in fourteen innings on a two-run blast by Ryan Howard.

The game looked all but lost as Jimmy Rollins lofted a ball to the warning track in left-center with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Phils down a run.  Rollins kept running long enough for the Nationals to drop the ball, the relay and the throw home and scored the run that sent the game to extra-innings.

The game had it's shared of heroes.  Howard and Rollins.  Clay Condrey gave the Phillies three shutout innings, long enough for them to win the game.  Mesa, Romero and Gordon combined to allow one hit in 2 2/3 innings.  But Charlie Manuel had one of his worst games in recent memory.

With the Phils leading in the bottom of the ninth Manuel wound up with rookie Mike Zagurski on the hill against a righty to give up the two-run double that should have won the game for Washington.  Veterans Jose Mesa, Tom Gordon and JC Romero would pitch later in the game for the Phillies.  In extra-innings the Phillies put their leadoff runner aboard in five straight innings before they finally scored.  The worst decision of the night was to have the red-hot Aaron Rowand bunt with nobody out and runners on first and second in the tenth.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 7-5 in fourteen innings.  They improve to 52-48 on the year and have won five in a row.  Four games above .500 ties them for their high-water mark on the season.  They are in third-place in the NL East, five games behind the Mets and a game behind the second-place Braves. 

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies on Cole Hamels' bobblehead and went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk.  Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run.  He struck out six.

Ryan Zimmerman singled with two outs in the first, but Hamels got Dmitri Young on a fly ball to right for the third out.

Ryan Church walked with one out in the second and was picked off for the second out before Brian Schneider grounded to second to end the frame.

Nook Logan led off the third with a single past Helms at third who was in to guard against the bunt.  Pitcher Matt Chico tried to bunt him to second but struck out fouling the third strike off.  Logan stole second and Felipe Lopez scored him on a single to left to put the Nats up 1-0.  Belliard struck out for the second out before Lopez stole second.   Zimmerman grounded to short to set the Nats down.

Hamels struck out two in a 1-2-3 fourth.

Logan reached on an infield single back up the middle with one out in the fifth.  Chico bunted him to second, although I'm not sure why cause I don't think the Phils have much of a chance to throw Logan out if he wants to steal.  Lopez grounded to second for the third out.

Belliard started the sixth with a well-struck home run to left that cut the Phillies' lead to 4-2.  Hamels got the next two before Austin Kearns singled to left.  Church grounded to first to end the frame.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Madson started the eighth and got the first hitter before Belliard reached on a single to right that Victorino lost in the lights.  Madson got the next two to leave Belliard stranded.

Alfonseca started the ninth with the Phils up 4-2.  Kearns was the first hitter to face him and got ahead 3-0 before Alfonseca got the call on the fourth pitch of the at-bat to make the count 3-1.  Kearns popped the next pitch to first for the first out.  Church was next and stroked a double over Victorino in right.  Schneider walked, putting men on first and second for the righty Logan.   The Nats pinch-hit for Logan, but called on righty Tony Batista and not the lefty Ryan Langerhans.   Zagurski surely would have come in to pitch to Langerhans, but Manuel left Alfonseca in to pitch to Batista.  Batista smashed the ball off the wall in right-center for a double.  Church scored to cut the lead to 4-3 and Schneider went to third.  Lefty Robert Fick pinch-hit for the pitcher Ayala and Manuel brought in Zagurski.  Righty Jesus Flores pinch-hit for Fick and Zagurski fell behind him 2-1.   Zagurski got the call on a 3-0 pitch that was outside.  It looked like a break for the Phils until Flores smoked a two-run double to right on the next pitch, scoring both runners and putting the Nats up 5-4.  Mesa came in and got Lopez and Belliard to end the inning.

Manuel got smoked in that inning.  He winds up with Zagurski against the righty with the game on the line when he could have had Mesa, Gordon or Condrey against the lefty Fick.  Or the veteran Romero against Flores instead of the rookie Zagurski.  He also could have gone with Mesa earlier than he did -- Alfonseca didn't do much to make it look like he had a chance to get Batista, either.

Alfonseca was a disaster.  His time as closer has to be just about done.

Mesa returned for the tenth and gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Zimmerman.  Langerhans was next and fouled off two attempts to bunt before flying to center for the first out.  Kearns was next and dribbled one back to Mesa for the second out as Zimmerman went to second.   The lefty Church was next and Manuel brought in Romero, who had thrown nine pitches in Tuesday's game.  Romero didn't get the call he wanted on the 3-2 pitch and walked Church, putting men on first and second for the lefty Schneider.  Romero got ahead of Philly-killer Schneider 0-2 and struck him out with a 2-2 breaking ball.

Gordon pitched a 1-2-3 eleventh, getting the second out on a ground ball to second by Jon Rauch when the pitcher hit for himself with the Nats out of position players.  Close to zero confidence shown in Gordon, who throws his one inning against 8-9-1 of the Nats' order and doesn't enter the game in the ninth when the Phils needed someone to stop the bleeding.

Clay Condrey started the twelfth.  Gordon had thrown eight pitches in the eleventh but did not return.  Condrey got Belliard to start the inning swinging at a bad 3-2 pitch.  He got behind Zimmerman 3-0 before Zimmerman smoked the 3-2 pitch off of Condrey's foot and straight to Rollins at short.  Rollins threw Zimmerman out at first for the second out.  Fortunate to get the out and that Condrey, the Phillies' last reliever, was not hurt.  Condrey struck out Langerhans to end the frame.

Condrey returned for the thirteenth and gave up a leadoff single to Kearns.  He got the next two hitters on well-hit fly balls to left before he walked Batista intentionally, forcing pitcher Saul Rivera to bat.  Rivera grounded to second for the third out. 

Condrey came back for the fourteenth.  Lopez led off and reached on a single, but Belliard was next and hit into a double-play.  Zimmerman popped to first to end the frame.

Outstanding performance by Condrey who kept giving the Phillies chances to win.

The Phillies' lineup against lefty Matt Chico went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Burrell (7) Helms (8) Ruiz.  Helms plays third against the left with Ruiz behind the plate.

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

Rowand singled with one out in the second, but Burrell popped to second and Helms grounded to third to end the inning.

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

Victorino started the fourth with a double to left.  Utley was hit by a pitch and Howard walked, loading the bases for Rowand with nobody out.  Rowand popped to the first baseman Young in foul territory for the first out before Burrell walked, forcing in Victorino to tie the game at 1-1.  With the bases still loaded, Helms singled to left, scoring Utley and Howard and moving Burrell to second with the Phils up 3-1.  Ruiz popped to first and Hamels flew to left to end the inning.  Big hit for Helms.

Victorino and Utley reached on back-to-back bloop singles with one out in the fifth.  Howard struck out for the second out before Rowand blooped another one in, this time to right.  Victorino scored from second and Utley went to third with the Phils up 4-1 and Rowand safe at second with a double.  Burrell walked to load the bases for Helms, who was called out looking to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Burrell singled with one out in the eighth.  Bourn ran for him and was caught stealing for the second out with Helms at the plate.   Helms grounded to short to end the inning.

In the ninth, Ruiz flew to right for the first out and Dobbs hit for Nunez and grounded to short for the second out.  Rollins was next and hit a ball deep to left-center.  Langerhans and Church converged at the warning track and the ball went off of Church's glove as Rollins tore around the bases.  Church's relay was short-hopped and dropped by Lopez at short, allowing Rollins to go for home.  He did, and the ball arrived at about the same time he did but dribbled away from Schneider.  Rollins slid in safely to tie the game at 5-5.  Fantastic play by Rollins to go all-out on what looked like a well hit fly ball that was going to end the game.

Utley and Howard started the tenth with back-to-back walks.  An unbelievably bad decision had Rowand trying to bunt, which is a terrible play if it works because a) Rowand is unbelievably hot b) Rauch, the Nats' pitcher, had yet to get an out and had walked every hitter he had faced c) Bourn was hitting behind Rowand and d) with Utley on second you already win the game on almost any single.  Rowand bunted at the first pitch and missed and bunted the second pitch in the air to third for the first out.   Bourn grounded to first for the second out and the runners moved to second and third.  Coste hit for Romero and popped to first to end the inning.  That's absolutely terrible.

Ruiz started the eleventh and walked on four pitches against new Nats' hurler Saul Rivera.  Dobbs bunted the first pitch back to the pitcher who threw to second and got Ruiz with Dobbs safe at first.  Again, Dobbs is a lefty and the righty Rivera had walked the only batter he had faced on four pitches.  Rollins grounded to second and Victorino grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning. 

Utley started the twelfth with a walk.  Howard followed and laced a single to left, moving Utley to second.  It set up the same situation as the Phillies had in the tenth, Utley and Howard aboard with nobody out for Rowand.  No bunt this time, it might have been more than I could take.  Rowand flew to center for the first out and Utley went to third.  The Nationals walked Bourn intentionally, loading the bases for Condrey.  The Phillies had one hitter left, Barajas, but no relief pitchers.  Manuel let Condrey hit and he struck out for the second out.  Ruiz grounded to short to end the inning.

You have to give Manuel credit for not bunting there -- some guys would have bunted again just so they wouldn't have to defend the first decision.  I was glad to see him do it differently the second time, even though it didn't work.  It's not nearly as bad as the bunting or Zagurski in the ninth, but I would have hit Barajas for Condrey as well.  Durbin was warming in the pen when Howard won the game two innings later anyway, presumably to pitch the fifteenth -- you don't want to bring him in but if you don't strike out in Condrey's spot there's a good chance you won't have to.

Dobbs started the thirteenth with a single, the fourth straight inning the Phillies had put their leadoff man aboard.  Rollins followed with a ground ball to second and Dobbs was forced at second for the first out.   Victorino fouled out to the catcher for the second out, and with Utley at the plate Rollins was thrown out stealing second to end the inning.

Utley walked to start the fourteenth and Howard followed and launched one way out to right, giving the Phillies a 7-5 win.

Rollins was 1-for-7 with a huge triple.

Victorino was 2-for-7 with a double.

Utley 1-for-3 with three walks.

Howard was 2-for-5 with two walks and won the game with his 28th home run.  He's slugging .787 in July.

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

Burrell was 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI.

Helms was 1-for-4 with a big hit early and two RBI.  Dobbs was 1-for-3 with a single.

Ruiz was 0-for-5 with a walk and left five men on base.

Bourn was 0-for-1 with an intentional walk.

Adam Eaton (9-6, 5.84) faces lefty John Lannan (NR) this afternoon.   Eaton has made one start against the Nationals this season, on April 18 he took the loss after allowed four runs in six innings.  Brian Schneider hit a three-run home run against him in that game.  In his ten starts at Citizens Bank Park this season Eaton has thrown to a 6.33 ERA.  John Lannan will be making his major-league debut.  Lannan has pitched at Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A this season, throwing to a combined 2.35 ERA in 20 games, 19 of which were starts.  In 122 2/3 innings he struck out just 72 but held opponents to 92 hits and six home runs.  He walked 42.  The Nationals took him in the 11th round of the 2005 draft.   Both pitchers go with a short pen after the long game last night.

The Start Log is updated to include a column for the Game Score of the Phillies' opponent.

The 2006 Start Log has been updated to the '07 format.

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