August 10 2006

The naming committee in Cincinnati apparently put on their thinking caps and came up with a good one.  The Phillies and Reds completed the Ryan Franklin deal yesterday, with the Reds sending 23-year-old right-handed pitcher Zac Stott to the Phillies.

In 32 innings with the Single-A Sarasota Reds this year, Stott has thrown 32 innings, allowing 23 hits and ten walks while striking out 22.  Yeah, he's 23 and still in A-ball, but at least he's tall.  He's 6' 5", 195 pounds, born in Bountiful, Utah, and was selected in the 23rd round of the 2003 amateur draft.  He also has virtually no chance to help the Phillies in any capacity other than minor-league pitcher, but ya gotta like the name and there's no reason to quibble with anyplace called Bountiful, Utah.  The cherry on top of it all is that he attended the fabulously name Dixie Junior College, perhaps due to a bias on behalf of Dixie Senior College against persons of tallness.

The Phillies have assigned Stott to Single-A Clearwater, where you would think things might be getting kinda crowded.  With any luck new Threshers teammate Kyle Kendrick will be good enough to give him one of his k's for the end of his name.  It would be a nice gesture and maybe Zac could buy him a watch or something. 

Yesterday the Phillies played game number 113 on the season, getting a win and ending the day at 55-58 and in second place in the NL East, 13 1/2 games behind the New York Mets.  The Phils trail three teams in the Wild Card hunt and, after a walkoff homerun from Dave Ross gave the Reds an 8-7 win against the Cards last night, are 3 1/2 games out.

On August 9, 2005, the Phillies played the 113th game of the 2005 season.  They beat the Dodgers 8-4 to improve to 59-54 on the year.  The win put them six games behind the Braves and a half game behind the Nationals in the division.  They were 1 1/2 games out for the Wild Card.

Robinson Tejeda got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, holding the Dodgers to two runs on five hits and four walks.  He struck out eight.  The Dodgers broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth, getting two runs on a walk and two hits to go up 2-0.  Milton Bradley doubled in Caesar Izturis for the first run, and the Dodgers got a one-out ground ball off the bat of Olmedo Saenz to bring in the second. 

The Phillies came back with a run in the top of the sixth off of Dodgers starter Brad Penny.  Lofton singled with one out and stole second before coming around to score on an Abreu single to cut the Dodgers lead to 2-1. 

Fultz and Madson shut down Los Angeles in the sixth and seventh and the Phillies went into the top of the eighth against right Steve Schmoll still trailing by a run.  They hit Schmoll hard, getting a three-run homer from Burrell and a solo shot from Howard before they chased Schmoll.  Lieberthal doubled in David Bell for the fifth run of the inning and the Phillies led 6-2.

The Dodgers came back in the eighth with a two-run homer from Ricky Ledee off of Urbina that made the score 6-4, but the Phillies extended their lead in the top of the ninth with two runs off of Jonathan Broxton.  Rollins created a run in that inning, leading off with a walk and moving to second on a ground out before stealing third and coming home on a passed ball.  The Phillies made their lead 8-4 when Utley doubled and Burrell knocked him in.

Burrell had a big day, going 3-for-4 with his 22nd home run of the year and four RBI.  The four-RBI gave him 79 on the year.  Pat also homered yesterday, his 23rd of the year, and drove in his 71st run of the year.  He was hitting .284 a year ago, he's at .258 in 2006.

Howard, who was in the minors for much of 2005, hit home run number seven on the year and drove in his 22nd.  He was hitting .271.  He was 1-for-5 with a single yesterday with RBI number 102.  He's hitting .293 with 39 home runs in '06.

Rollins was 0-for-4 but helped created a run on the basepaths in the ninth after drawing a walk.  He stole his 26th base of the year and was hitting .278 (he would end the year at .290).  J-Roll also stole a base yesterday, his 26th of the year, and went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .267.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a double, his 26th of the season, raising his average to .307.  He went into a funk at the end of last year and finished the season at .291.  Utley was 2-for-5 yesterday with a huge double, his 33rd of the year.  He's hitting .328.

The Phillies were still having lots of problems at third base and catcher.  Bell was hitting .250 and having an awful season, and Lieberthal was at just .236 en route to a year where he'd hit 263/336/418.  Lieberthal is hitting .234 this season.

The Phillies were getting more offense from center field.  Lofton was 1-for-4 on the day but scored two runs and was hitting .316 on his way to a year where he'd hit 335/392/420 in 367 at-bats while sharing time with Jason Michaels. 

There's probably not as many people bent out of shape about Robinson Tejeda and Jake Blalock for David Dellucci at this point now that Dellucci gets to play every now and again.  Curious that Tejeda just went five in the 2005 game -- the Phillies pen is getting up there in innings pitched this season.  They've been very good but have thrown 375 2/3 innings, which is second in the National League and fifth in all of baseball.  I still think it would have been a different year if Madson had pitched out of the pen, where he could have made a significant positive contribution, rather than in the rotation where he was awful in 17 starts.  In the '05 and '06 games combined Madson threw three scoreless innings out of the pen.

In 2005 the Phillies pen threw 478 innings, which was just the seventh most in the league.  The pen's ERA was 4.24 -- worse than the 3.64 the pen has thrown to in 2006, even with all of the additional work.  The bullpen is on a pace to throw over 538 innings in '06.

Fultz pitched a scoreless sixth in the '05 game.  In 2005 his ratio was 0.97.  In 2006 it's 1.45.  Walks haven't been the problem -- in 2005 opponents hit .186 against him.  In 2006 they're hitting .281. 

Finally, Urbina and Wagner pitched at the back end of the Phillies pen in the '05 game.  Gordon has been solid as a replacement for Wagner, but the Phillies really struggled with Arthur Rhodes in the eighth inning of games for most of this year.  Rhodes had been very solid of late, however, and the most important games of the year for the Phillies may be yet to come.

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