August 4 2006


NYM 64-43 578 5.40 267 337 456 102 24
PHI 52-55 555 5.19 263 341 446 64 19
NYM 975.2 490 4.58 946 363 754 4.10 1.34
PHI 958.0 562 5.25 1051 363 713 4.89 1.48

The Phillies will be in New York tonight for the first of a three-game series with the Mets.  The Phils come in at 52-55 and in second place in the NL East, 12 games behind the 64-43 Mets.  The Mets have the best record in the NL, no other team has won 60 games.

The Mets are 5-5 in their last ten games and come off of a series in Florida where the Marlins beat them two out of three.  They have scored the most runs in the NL while the Phillies have scored the third most.  Their 4.10 ERA is the best in the league and they have allowed the third fewest runs.  The Phillies have allowed the third most runs.

Reliever Duaner Sanchez injured his shoulder Sunday night in an unsuccessful bid to travel by cab.  He's on the DL with torn ligaments in his shoulder and looks lost for the year.  Looking for help in the pen, the Mets sent Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez and lefty Oliver Perez on Monday.

Endy Chavez (292/335/431) takes over a bigger role in the Mets outfield with Nady gone.  He's joined by Beltran (285/389631) and Floyd (249/336/424).  Beltran leads the Mets in home runs (33) and RBI (96) and is second in the NL in OPS behind only Pujols.

Reyes (291/349/466), Delgado (262/360/530), Wright (309/383/550) and Valentin (287/336/510) man the infield.  Reyes leads of baseball in stolen bases with 44.  His .466 slugging percentage is the lowest among the group. 

Catcher Paul LoDuca is at 315/359/420 on the year. 

The Mets pen has worked a lot this year, throwing more innings than any other team in the NL.  They've also thrown to the lowest ERA in the league (3.29).  Wagner still closes, backed up by righties Aaron Heilman, Roberto Hernandez, Chad Bradford and lefties Pedro Feliciano, Darren Oliver and Royce Ring.  Wagner took the loss in Tuesday's game, but his numbers are solid for the year.  He's struck out 65 in 50 1/3 innings.  Heilman sets him up after the loss of Sanchez and was hit hard on Wednesday and took the loss.  Bradford's numbers on the year are good and Hernenez has pitched to 3.20 ERA despite allowing 47 hits and 24 walks in 45 innings.  Among the lefties, Oliver has been fabulous, allowing just 41 hits in 57 innings while pitching to a 2.05 ERA.  Feliciano has also been very good, throwing to a 2.18 ERA. Ring was just called up on Wednesday and has yet to pitch.  

Randy Wolf (0-0, 6.23) faces righty Orlando Hernandez (7-8, 5.00) tonight.  Hernandez last pitched on Saturday, going eight shutout innings against the Braves.  Lefties are hitting .295 against him and have touched him up for 12 of his 17 home runs.  Wolf makes his second start on the road back from Tommy John surgery.  He pitched on Sunday against the Marlins and went 4 1/3, allowing three runs on three hits and  five walks.  He pitched a little bit better than his line -- we was alright after the first inning.  He threw 97 pitches in his first start and I'd be surprised to see him go deep into the game tonight.

Jon Lieber (4-8, 6.09) faces lefty Tom Glavine (11-4, 3.97) tomorrow afternoon.  Glavine last pitched on Sunday against the Braves and was hit hard.  He went four innings, allowing six runs on ten hits and three walks.  In his last two starts he's gone 10 1/3 innings and allowed 14 runs, 11 of which were earned.  Lefties are hitting .218 against him and righties .297.  I keep thinking Jon Lieber is about to turn his season around and I don't see any reason to stop now.  He's been horrid of late, allowing 24 hits in 11 2/3 innings over his last two starts.  He last pitched on Monday against the Fish and was shelled, allowing nine runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Scott Mathieson (1-2, 5.47) faces righty John Maine (1-3, 2.45) on Sunday night.  Maine has been tremendous of late, in his last two starts he's thrown 16 innings, allowing no runs on seven hits.  The last start for the 25-year-old came on Wednesday against the Cubs.  He went seven shutout innings, holding the Cubs to three hits and three walks while striking out seven.  Mathieson looked pretty good on Tuesday against the Cards.  In his fourth career start he got his first win, going five innings and allowing just three runs on three hits but walking five.  Righties are hitting a scary .308 against him.

August 4 2006

The new look Phillies have more than a new look, they have new life.  I don't know if it's what Cory Lidle said or the Abreu trade or a coincidence, but the whole team seems unified for the purpose of sending a single message:  It wasn't me.  It wasn't any of us.  We're not what's wrong here and haven't been for a long time.

It's no secret that what is wrong here for the Phillies is starting pitching.  You have to believe they'll get a boost with the return of Wolf and Mathieson to the rotation and Madson to the pen.  Madson can make a significant contribution in the pen, which was in desperate need of another righty.

This group of Phillies can't and won't play like this forever.  But it's a lot of fun to watch while they do.  Cole Hamels was absolutely awesome last night.  Chase Utley hit for the 35th game in a row.  Chris Coste, who the Phillies gave a chance when nobody else would, raised his line for the year to 375/419/588.  In the last two games the Phillies scored 24 runs on 34 hits.  Over the last three games their pen allowed three hits and four walks in nine innings and their starting pitcher earned the win in every game.

The Phillies beat the Cardinals 8-1 last night, earning them a sweep in the three-game series.  Their record on the year improves to 52-55.  They are in second place in the NL East, 12 games behind the Mets.  They are 2 1/2 games behind in the Wild Card and trail three teams.  I still wouldn't get real geeked up about the Wild Card chances -- I'm not sure when the last time a team went to the playoffs with a starting third baseman who was slugging .220, but I'm willing to bet that candy bars were two for a nickel.  Never is a good guess.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies last night and was dominant in the 13th start of his career.  He went seven innings, allowing a run on two hits and two walks.  He struck out 12 and did not allow an extra-base hit.

Hamels did not allow a hit through the first three innings and went into the bottom of the fourth up 3-0.  He got the first batter before giving up back-to-back singles, which made it first and third with one out and Scott Rolen at the plate.  Rolen hit a sac fly to center, which scored the runner from third and made the score 3-1.  Hamels struck out Encarnacion to end the inning.

Hamels then didn't allow a hit in the fifth, sixth or seventh.  In the fifth he gave up a two-out walk to Gary Bennett, but struck out the pitcher Marquis to end the inning.  Hamels threw 109 pitches on the night and struck out four of the last seven men he faced.

Geoff Geary pitched the eighth with a 5-1 lead and threw a 1-2-3 inning.

Brian Sanches came in for the ninth with an 8-1 lead and also did not allow a hit or a walk.

The Phillies lineup against right Jason Marquis went (1) Rollins (2) Dellucci (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Rowand (7) Coste (8) Nunez.  Coste finally moves in front of Nunez, which was overdue.  I was a little surprised that Manuel didn't rest anyone after taking the first two games of the series.

The Phillies loaded the bases in the first inning on an Utley single and two walks, but Rowand grounded out to Rolen to end the inning.  Utley's single extended his hitting streak to 35 games.

Coste led off the second with a single but was erased when Nunez hit into a double-play and the Phillies came away empty.

The top of the third started with the score 0-0.  Rollins and Dellucci walked to start the inning and Utley followed with a single that scored Rollins and moved Dellucci to third.  A Howard single made it 2-0 Phillies with runners on first and second and still nobody out.  Burrell and Rowand both went down without advancing the runners before Coste singled, driving in Utley from second and putting the Phils up 3-0.  Nunez was hit by a pitch to load the bases but Hamels went down swinging to end the inning.

The Phillies went quietly in the fourth, managing only a one-out walk from Dellucci, and started the top of the fifth with a 3-1 lead.  Burrell, Rowand and Coste started the frame with three straight singles, with Coste knocking in Burrell to put the Phillies up 4-1.  With nobody out and runners on first and second, the Phillies couldn't get anymore.  Nunez flew out.  Hamels bunted, but Rowand was thrown out at third, and Rollins grounded out to end the inning.

Dellucci led off the sixth with a single but was erased when Utley hit into a double-play before Howard struck out to end the inning.

In the seventh they got a one-out double from Rowand, who stole third and scored on a throwing error by Bennett to put the Phillies up 5-1.

Rollins doubled to lead off the eighth, and Dellucci followed with a walk, but the next three Phils went 1-2-3 to end the inning.

The Phillies went into the top of the ninth up 5-1.  Rowand led off with a home run to extend the lead to 6-1.  Coste flew out for the first out of the inning, but Nunez reached on an error and went to third on a double by Victorino, who had replaced Burrell in left in the bottom of the eighth.  With runners on second and third and one out, Rollins struck out.  With the lefty Randy Flores pitching for the Cardinals, Manuel again pinch-hit for Dellucci, and pinch-hitter Roberson singled, scoring Nunez to put the Phils up 7-1.  Chase Utley followed with a single that scored Victorino and the lead was 8-1 before Howard flew to center to end the inning.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a walk.  In the series he was 7-for-15 with two home runs.

Dellucci was 1-for-2 and walked three times.  In the series he was 5-for-8 with four walks.

Utley was 3-for-6 with two RBI.  He was 7-for-17 with seven singles and no walks in the series.  He hasn't walked in his last 34 at-bats.

Howard was 1-for-5 with a walk and an RBI.  He was 5-for-14 with seven RBI in the series.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a walk.  He was 3-for-12 with a double in the series. 

Aaron Rowand was 3-for-5 with a double and a home run.  4-for-14 with a double and two home runs in the series.

Coste was 4-for-5 with four singles and two RBI, raising his average to .375.  6-for-10 in the series with a double, a home run and four RBI. 

Nunez was 0-for-4 in the game and 1-for-11 in the series as his line for the year sits at 156/217/220.  That's not working.  It's not going to work and the Phillies should fix it.

The Phillies will be in New York tonight for the first of three with the Mets.

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