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July 31 2007

The Phillies have acquired right-handed relief pitcher Julio Mateo from Seattle for minor league shortstop Jesus Merchan. 

Mateo, who turns 30 on Thursday, has appeared in nine games for the Mariners this season, throwing to a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings.  He was sent to Triple-A in May of this season after being accused of assaulting his wife in a New York hotel room.

In 318 1/3 innings in the big leagues he has thrown to a 3.68 ERA and a 1.20 ratio.  All six years of his career he has pitched for the Mariners at Safeco.

He dominated hitters at Triple-A Tacoma, throwing to an 0.79 ERA in 34 1/3 innings.  He allowed 25 hits and just two walks while striking out 29 and earning 12 saves.

Merchan spent most of the year at Double-A Reading but also got 13 at-bats at Triple-A Ottawa.  Overall he hit an impressive 332/405/491 with eight home runs and ten stolen bases in 289 at-bats.  He was a mid-season All-Star in the Eastern League this season.  He turned 26 in March.

July 31 2007


Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL Rank) SB CS
CHI 55-48 482 4.68 8 741 (9) 62 23
PHI 55-49 571 5.49 1 815 (1) 84 14


Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
CHI 55-48 421 4.09 2 3.75 (2) 3.99 (10)
PHI 55-49 528 5.08 T-12 4.90 (14) 4.42 (13)

If nothing else, maybe he can play right field. 

Cole Hamels was brilliant on the mound and Aaron Rowand socked a three-run homer that helped give the Phillies their ninth win in their last ten games last night, but again the news was not all good.  Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn both left the game with injuries, leaving the Phils with big problems in the outfield if either of the pair is forced to miss significant time.

The injuries to Victorino and Bourn come a day after Madson was put on the DL with a strained shoulder.  Chase Utley broke his hand on Thursday.

The Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs last night, winning 4-1 to improve to 56-49 on the season.  They are seven games over .500 for the first time this year.  It was the fourth straight win for the Phillies.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils and was awesome.  He went eight innings, allowing a run on three hits and two walks.  Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run that accounted for the Cubs' only run.  He struck out eight and improved to 12-5 on the year.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 first.

Aramis Ramirez started the second with a single.  Hamels struck out the next two hitters and got Angel Pagan to fly to right to end the inning.

He got two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third.

Ryan Theriot singled to lead off the fourth and stole second after Hamels got Derek Lee on a fly ball to center for the first out.  Hamels got the next two hitters to leave him stranded. 

He walked Matt Murton to start the fifth and Pagan moved Murton to second with a ground ball to first.  Jason Kendall followed with walk, putting men on first and second for pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno.  Cedeno popped to first for the second out and Hamels struck out Soriano to leave both runners stranded.  Soriano's strikeout was huge for the Phils, turning away the biggest Cubs' threat to date.  During Soriano's at-bat he lifted a foul ball down the right field line.  Bourn raced towards it from right and looked to plant a foot awkwardly near the foul line.  He then took a big step over the relief pitcher's warmup mound and badly turned his left ankle.  He stayed in the game but was pinch-hit for two innings later.

Theriot started the sixth with a home run to left that cut the Phillies' lead to 4-1.  Hamels got the next three.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh and a 1-2-3 eighth. 

Brett Myers, who has apparently reclaimed his role as Phils' closer, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his seventh save of the year.

The Phillies' lineup against lefty Ted Lilly went (1) Victorino (2) Iguchi (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Burrell (7) Helms (8) Ruiz.  Victorino hits leadoff with Iguchi taking over the two-hole with Utley out.  Helms plays third against the left with Ruiz behind the plate.

Rollins doubled with two outs in the first and stole third, but Howard struck out to leave him stranded.

Burrell singled with one out in the second and Helms followed with a walk.  Ruiz flew to center and Hamels struck out.

Iguchi walked with one out in the third.  Rollins followed and popped to Lee at first in foul territory, but Howard doubled to right, sending Iguchi to third.  Rowand was next and he came up with the swing of the game, a three-run homer to center that put the Phils up 3-0.  Burrell walked before Helms flew out for the third out.

Hamels singled to left with one out in the fourth and Victorino followed and hit into a double-play.  Victorino hurt himself coming down the first-base line and had to leave the game with a strained right-calf.

Iguchi led off the fifth with a home run that extended the Phils' lead to 4-0.  Rowand singled after Rollins and Howard went down, but Burrell popped to second to leave Rowand stranded.

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

Dobbs pinch-hit for the hobbled Bourn to start the seventh and walked.  He went to second on a wild pitch with Iguchi at the plate.  Iguchi hit a ground ball back to the pitcher Mike Wuertz.  Dobbs took a step toward third and Wuertz threw to second.  Dobbs was caught off of second and tagged out for the first out of the inning.  Miserable base-running by Dobbs, who has made more than his shared of mental mistakes this season for the Phils.  Rollins followed with a walk, putting men on first and second for Howard with one out.  Howard struck out and Rowand grounded to short.

Ruiz singled with two outs in the eighth but Hamels fouled out to third for the third out.  Hamels hit for himself having thrown 103 pitches -- he would only need seven to pitch the bottom of the eighth and ended the game having thrown 110.

With one out in the ninth, Iguchi walked and stole second.  Rollins followed with a single to right that moved Iguchi to third.  With Howard at the plate, Ryan Dempster's pitch bounced off the chest protector of catcher Jason Kendell and Iguchi stormed home.  Kendell made a nice toss and Dempster a fantastic slide to block the plate with his leg as he tagged Iguchi out.  It took a nearly perfect play to get Iguchi.  Rollins went to second but Howard struck out for the third out.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Iguchi was 1-for-3 with a home run and two walks.  He's 4-for-10 with a double, a home run and three walks since joining the Phillies.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double.

Howard was 1-for-5 with a double, struck out three times and left four men on base.

Rowand was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk.  He's hitting .256 after ending June hitting .203.

Helms was 0-for-3 with a walk.  He's 2-for-his-last-15.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.  He's hitting 157/254/255 in 51 July at-bats after going 2-for-his-last-15.

Adam Eaton (9-6, 5.83) faces righty Jason Marquis (7-6, 4.20) tonight.  Eaton has thrown to a 6.11 ERA in his five starts in July, allowing 37 hits in 28 innings.  He has been slightly better at preventing home runs -- he hasn't allowed any in his last two starts.  He hasn't faced the Cubs this season.  Marquis hasn't allowed many hits but has walked a ton of hitters this year.  He's walked 49 in 122 innings, 34 of which have been lefties.  Opponents are hitting just .237 against him, righties .245 and lefties .225.  Because of all the walks to lefties his ratio against left-handed batters is much worse, 1.53, than his ratio against right-handed hitters (1.13).

Yesterday the Phillies acquired right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse from the Reds for 23-year-old lefty Matt Maloney.

Lohse, who turns 29 in October, has thrown to a 4.58 ERA in 21 starts with Cincinnati this season.  He allows a lot of hits but doesn't walk many -- in 131 2/3 innings he's allowed 143 hits but walked just 33 while striking out 80.  Oddly, he's was great at Great American Ball Park this season, throwing to a 2.57 ERA in nine starts at home while going 2-9 with a 6.42 ERA in his 12 starts on the road.  He faced the Phillies on April 20 and held them to an unearned run over six innings in Cincy.  He was miserable in his 12 starts in May and June, going 3-9 with a 5.68 ERA.  He's been much better in his four starts in July, going 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.12 ratio.  Two of those starts were very good and two of them not good at all.

Lohse twice won at least 13 games in a season, winning 13 with the Twins in 2002 and 14 with them in 2003. 

Matt Maloney was 9-7 in 21 starts with Double-A Reading this season.  He was a mid-season All-Star in the Eastern League where he is in the top five in the league in innings pitched and strikeouts.  He struck out 115 in 125 2/3 innings while allowing 117 hits and 45 walks.  Too many walks, but the hits allowed and strikeouts are impressive.  The Phillies took him in the third round of the 2005 draft. 

That's a tough one.  Maloney is good and it adds his name to those of Floyd and Gonzalez who we've just seen hit the road for the Phils.  On the other hand, what I really want out of a Phillies' GM is someone who is trying to win right now -- this move certainly reinforces that that's what Gillick is all about.  So if I have to go thumbs up or thumbs down I'd go thumbs up.  But that doesn't stop the cringe.

Victorino will have an MRI on his calf today and Bourn will get an X-ray of his ankle.

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