August 25 2006

The Phillies got another impressive win tonight, beating a tough Mets team on a blast by Ryan Howard and four more outstanding innings from the pen. 

The Phillies beat the Mets tonight 4-3 to improve to 65-63 on the season. 

Randy Wolf got the start for the Phillies.  He went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks.  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. 

Wolf gave up a one-out single to Paul LoDuca in the first but got Beltran and Delgado to end the inning.  In the second he gave up back-to-back walks with two outs but got the pitcher Bannister to end the inning.  He's gone more than 5 1/3 innings just once in his six starts this year. 

The Phillies were up 4-0 going into the bottom of the third.  Wolf struck out Reyes to start the inning, but LoDuca and Beltran doubled back-to-back to get the Mets on the board at 4-1.  Wolf walked Delgado to put runners on first and second with one out, but got Wright and Shawn Green to end the inning.

After a 1-2-3 fourth Reyes singled to start the fifth.  Reyes stole second before LoDuca popped to first for the first out of the inning.  Beltran was next and hit a two-run homer, cutting the Phillies lead to 4-3.  Wolf struck out Delgado for the second out before walking Wright, but he got Green to pop to Nunez in foul territory to end the inning. 

Geoff Geary came in to start the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Chris Woodward.  Endy Chavez followed and grounded into a double-play and Tucker followed Chavez and grounded to Utley to end the inning.  Manuel was ejected in the inning after the ball appeared to hit Chavez in fair territory on a bunt attempt. 

Geary returned and threw a 1-2-3 seventh.  Geary has not been charged with a run in his last 11 1/3 innings.

Arthur Rhodes threw a 1-2-3 eighth, setting down Delgado, Wright and Green.  Great job by Varsho (Manuel had been ejected) to bring Rhodes in for the eighth when he would face the lefties Delgado and Green.

Madson came in for the ninth.  He got the first two men he face before pinch-hitter Julio Franco singled to right.  With the tying run on first, Madson struck Reyes out on three pitches. 

The Phillies lineup against righty Brian Bannister went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Dellucci (6) Thurston (7) Lieberthal (8) Nunez.  Burrell was out of the lineup with a sore left wrist.  It's still a surprise to me the Phillies like Thurston in left better than the switch-hitting Roberson. 

The Phillies jumped out to a lead early.  Rollins led off with a single and Victorino followed with a single off the glove of Delgado.  Utley followed with another single, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 1-0 and moving Victorino to third.  Howard was next and hit a long fly ball to right, scoring Victorino to increase the lead to 2-0.  Dellucci followed with a ground ball to second and the Mets got him at first as Utley went to second on the play.  Thurston struck out to end the inning.

The Phils got a one-out walk from Lieberthal in the second but the next three went in order.

In the third, Utley singled with one out and Howard followed with his 45th home run of the year.  Dellucci walked with one out, but Thurston and Lieberthal went down to end the inning.

After a 1-2-3 fourth Shane Victorino led off the fifth with a triple with the Phillies up 4-1.  The Phillies would be unable to bring the run home with nobody out.  Utley flew to left, Howard was walked intentionally, Dellucci struck out and Thurston popped to short to end the inning.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the sixth and the seventh.  In the eighth Thurston drew a two-out walk but Lieberthal grounded to short to end the inning.

Rollins was 1-for-5. 

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a triple and has his average up to .274.

Utley was 2-for-4 with an RBI. 

Howard was 1-for-2 with a walk, a home run and three RBI.

Dellucci 0-for-2 with a walk.  Thurston 0-for-3 with a walk.  Lieberthal 0-for-3 with a walk.  Nunez 0-for-4 and is down to .195 on the year.

Jon Lieber goes for the Phillies tomorrow.  It looks like he will face lefty Oliver Perez and not Tom Glavine.

August 25 2006

The Phillies made a move today, sending Brian Sanches back to Triple-A and recalling 27-year-old lefty reliever Matt Smith.  Smith came to the Phillies in the trade that sent Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees.  His addition gives the Phils four lefties and three righties in their pen. 

Smith pitched 12 innings for the Yankees earlier this year without allowing a run.  Righties hit .071 against him with New York this year.  He last pitched in the majors on July 3.  At Scranton Wilkes-Barre he was charged with two runs in six innings.  Between his time with the Red Barons and the Yankees he's walked 14 in 18 innings.  You sometimes hear him referred to as a one-out guy, but he went two innings in each of his last two appearances with New York.  We'll have to see how the Phillies use him.  

Sanches got shelled in his time with the team and the bad news is he's actually older than Smith -- he turned 28 this month.  He was hurt especially by walks and the long ball.  In 18 1/3 innings this year with the Phils he's allowed 12 walks and four home runs.  There wasn't a lot of reason to have confidence in Sanches and the Phillies didn't show any.  They were consistently reluctant to pitch him in tight spots and his only appearance in the last six days came in yesterday's blowout.  They can't afford him to be 1/7 of their pen at this point and it's nice to see them put another arm out there, hopefully someone they're willing to call on.  The encouraging thing about Sanches are his numbers at Triple-A this year have been very good -- he's allowed 22 hits and 13 walks in 40 1/3 innings while throwing to a 1.80 ERA.  We'll no doubt see him again in September.

August 25 2006


NYM 78-48 667 5.29 264 334 450 122 26
PHI 64-63 673 5.35 266 343 446 77 21
NYM 1142.2 567 4.50 1094 416 891 4.10 1.32
PHI 1141.0 659 5.19 1243 414 885 4.76 1.45

If the new and improved Phillies are going to continue their August magic they're going to have to do so against the best team in the National League.  They Phillies made the most of their games against the Cubs and Nats but now face a tough Mets team they just beat three games out of four.

The way the Phillies have been playing you have to like their chances against anyone.  The starting rotation is rebuilt and looking good (possible exception: yesterday).  The problem is that the starting rotation it was rebuilt to fix was so bad the Phillies have left themselves playing without a net and with an overworked pen that has to be growing weary.

The Phillies will be in New York tonight for the first of three with the division-leading Mets.  The Phils come in at 64-63, winners of five of their last six.  With the loss yesterday and Cincinnati's win last night, the Phillies are once again 2 1/2 back in the Wild Card.  The Mets (78-48) have won seven in a row and are coming off a three-game sweep of the Cardinals.

The Phillies and the Mets have both been very good offensively.  The Phillies have scored the most runs in the NL while the Mets have scored the second most.  The Mets have been much better at preventing runs -- they have allowed the second fewest in the league.  The Phillies have allowed the second most runs in the league.

Shawn Green (283/350/429) is the newest addition to the Mets, he was acquired on Tuesday from the Diamondbacks in a deal that sent left-handed pitcher Evan MacLane to Arizona.  He is joined in the outfield by MVP-candidate Carlos Beltran (284/387/619).  Lastings Milledge was just sent down, so it looks as if Endy Chavez (300/341/436) will be getting much of the playing time in left.  Beltran leads the team in home runs (36) and RBI (103).  Cliff Floyd is on the DL. 

Jose Valentin (283/340/493) has missed some time with a hamstring problem, but played last night and should be able to go against the Phillies.  Reyes (297/352/486), Wright (299/373/520) and Delgado (261/359/546) fill out the infield.  Valentin has been solid for four months in a row after hitting .170 in limited at-bats for the Dodgers last year.  Wright is hitting .218 without a homer in 78 August at-bats.  Delgado has homered four times in his last four games, going 6-for-15 with nine RBI.

Paul LoDuca (312/353/418) catches.  He's slugging .418, which is the highest mark he's posted in the last three years. 

Lefty Billy Wagner continues to close for the Mets.  He's backed up by righties Aaron Heilman, Roberto Hernandez, Guillermo Mota, Chad Bradford and lefties Darren Oliver and Pedro Feliciano.  In his last ten appearances Wagner's notched nine saves and throw ten innings.  He was charged with one run and struck out 12.  Aaron Heilman, not to be outdone, has allowed three hits in his last ten innings without allowing a run.  Lefites are hitting .298 against Hernandez, but he's been solid against righties (.210).  The Mets got Mota on August 20 from the Indians -- he was having a terrible year in Cleveland, throwing to a 6.21 ERA, but has pitched two scoreless innings since coming to New York.  Bradford still looks weird when he pitches -- going back to last year he's walked just 13 in his last 72 innings.  Darren Oliver has been great this season, but the Phillies pounded him on August 14 for eight hits and seven runs in just 3 2/3 innings.  Feliciano has been good, throwing to a 2.01 ERA while striking out 44 in 49 1/3 innings.

Randy Wolf (2-0, 5.61) gets the start tonight against righty Brian Bannister (2-0, 2.89).  Bannister has been on the DL since April with a strained hamstring.  He was very good early in the season, making three starts without allowing more than three runs in any of them.  Righties have hit just .175 against him.  Wolf is 2-0 in his last two starts but has allowed 13 hits and five walks in his last 12 innings.  After five starts, righties are hitting .326 against him and lefties are still looking for their first hit.  He last pitched on Sunday and was hit hard by the Nationals, allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks.  He has allowed five home runs in his last 17 1/3, all (and if you were paying attention you'd know this) against righties. 

Jon Lieber (6-9, 5.04) starts tomorrow against lefty Tom Glavine (12-6, 3.92) .  Tom Glavine looks likely to return to action on Saturday and missing a start with blood clots in his shoulder.  Glavine's last start also came against the Phillies, he took the loss on August 16.  He allowed just three runs over seven innings, including a two-run home run to Chris Coste.  Lieber has been lights out of late, 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in four August starts.  His only two complete games of the season have come in his last four starts.  He last pitched on Monday against the Cubs, allowing three runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings. 

Jamie Moyer (7-12, 4.39) makes his second start for the Phillies on Sunday.  He will be facing righty John Maine (3-3, 3.58).  Maine has killed the Phillies this year, getting two of his three wins on the season against them.  Two of his last four starts have come against the Phils and he's allowed just two runs in 12 innings.  His most recent start came against the Cardinals on Tuesday and he was hit hard, giving up seven runs in five innings.  Moyer made his Phillies debut on Tuesday in Chicago.  He pitched very well, taking a no-hitter into the fifth and wound up allowing three runs on six singles and a walk in six innings.  Moyer has allowed 25 home runs on the year, 22 of which had been hit by righties.

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