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-Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

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August 26 2006

Everybody said it was coming and it finally came.  With the help of some horrid outfield defense from one guy you can expect to play horrid outfield defense and one guy who shouldn't be in the outfield at all, the Phillies bullpen finally blew up tonight.  The Phils got another huge blast from Ryan Howard, who continues to make his case to be the league's most valuable player, but couldn't make it stand up.

The Phillies lost to the New York Mets tonight, falling 11-5 to drop to 65-64 on the year. 

Jon Lieber got the start for the Phillies.  He went six innings, allowing four runs on ten hits and two walks.  Three of the ten hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs.  All of the runs he allowed came on the long ball.

Jose Reyes led off the first with a ground rule double and went to third on a ground ball to Howard.  Beltran followed with a home run that put the Mets up 2-0.  Lieber got the next two to end the inning.

The Mets got a two-out single from Endy Chavez, but Lieber got the pitcher Perez to ground to Nunez to end the inning. 

Lieber got the leadoff man in the third before allowing a single to LoDuca.  Beltran followed and grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Lieber gave up a leadoff single to Delgado in the fourth, but got the next three in order to end the inning.

The Phillies gave Lieber a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth and he celebrated in the bottom of the inning by giving up a single and a walk to the first two Mets he faced.  Reyes was next and popped to short before Lieber got a double-play ball to short from LoDuca to end the inning.

Lieber walked Beltran to start the sixth and Delgado followed with a two-run homer that made the score 5-4 Phillies.  He got Wright to piddle out to Coste for the first out of the inning, but Green, Valentin and Chavez all singled to load the bases.  Lieber got pinch-hitter Julio Franco to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Rick White started the seventh and gave up back-to-back singles to Reyes and LoDuca to start the inning.  White then hit Beltran, who was showing bunt, to load the bases.  That was it for White, who was replaced by Aaron Fultz with the lefty Delgado at the plate.  Delgado hit a long fly to center, which Victorino caught for the first out of the inning as the runner scored from third to tie the game at 5-5.  Fultz walked the righty Wright to pitch to the lefty Shawn Green and set up the double-play.  Green hit a ball to left out of the reach of the slow, slow Burrell for a two-run double that put the Mets up 7-5.  Fultz then intentionally walked Valentin to load the bases and get to Chavez.  Odd decision there -- it did set up the double play or a force at home, but there's almost no chance you're going to double-up the speedy Chavez.  Chavez hit a line drive to Hernandez in right and the ball went off his glove for a double, scoring two more runs to put the Mets up 9-5.  Pinch-hitter Chris Woodward followed with a two-run single and the Mets lead was extended to 11-5.  Fultz got the next two to end the inning.

Matt Smith made his debut with the Phillies in the bottom of the eighth.  He set the Mets down 1-2-3, giving up a long fly ball to Delgado that Thurston grabbed on the warning track for the second out of the inning.  He's now thrown 13 scoreless innings this year between the Phillies and Yankees.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Oliver Perez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Hernandez (7) Coste (8) Nunez.  Coste catches Lieber and Hernandez plays right with Dellucci on the bench against a lefty.  Hernandez against the lefty makes sense to me, but I'd rather see him at third for Nunez instead of in right.  It pretty much comes down to whether you want Nunez in the lineup or Dellucci against a lefty.  I'd rather have Dellucci.  Even if you think Nunez is better at third than Hernandez I don't think the difference is enough to account for the offense that Dellucci brings, especially once the lefty starter leaves the game.  You have to think Dellucci is better in right than Hernandez as well.

Perez had walked 51 in 76 innings going into tonight's game.  If the game plan had Jimmy Rollins swinging at a ball out of the strike zone on the third pitch of the game and grounding out to second it worked flawlessly.  Victorino and Utley followed with walks before Howard grounded to first for the second out of the inning, with the runners both moving up a base.  Burrell struck out to end the inning.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the second and again in the third.  In the fourth they got a two-out walk from Burrell but Hernandez struck out to end the inning. 

The Phillies broke through against Perez in the fifth.  Chris Coste led off with a walk.  Nunez followed with a ground ball to second -- Coste was out at second with Nunez safe at first.  Perez then walked Jon Lieber, who was trying to bunt.  Rollins followed with a ground ball to third, Wright got an out at second with Nunez going to third.  Victorino singled, scoring Nunez to get the Phillies on the board at 2-1 with two outs and runners on first and second.  Utley was hit with a pitch to load the bases.  Ryan Howard was next and hit a grand slam, his 46th home run of the season to put the Phillies up 5-2.  Burrell struck out to end the inning.

Chris Coste doubled with one out in the sixth.  He was stranded when Nunez flew out to right and Lieber struck out to end the inning.

Victorino singled with one out in the seventh but was stranded when Utley and Howard went down to end the frame. 

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the eighth and again in the ninth.

Rollins was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Victorino was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Utley was 0-for-2 with a walk.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a grand slam.

Burrell was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice.

Hernandez was 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 

Coste was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double.  Howard's slam and Coste's double were the only extra-base hits for the Phils.  The Phillies only had four hits in the game and the other two were singles by Victorino.

Nunez was 0-for-4.  He's 0-for-his-last-15.

Jamie Moyer faces John Maine tomorrow.

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