Archive for April, 2008

Phils jump out to an early lead, hold off Eaton

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
PIT 9-13 97 4.41 10 669 (13) 6 6
PHI 12-11 109 4.74 T-4 799 (4) 10 4

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
PIT 9-13 139 6.32 16 5.98 (16) 5.25 (15)
PHI 12-11 100 4.35 8 4.22 (10) 2.60 (1)

Led by five-hitter Chris Coste, the Phils found themselves ahead 6-0 in the fourth inning last night. They got out with a win, but not the easy win you might have hoped for. For his second straight start, Adam Eaton appeared to be cruising but then ran into an inning where he was just lit up. Last night it was the fourth he couldn’t get out of and it meant the Phils had to call on their pen to throw 5 1/3 innings to escape with a 6-5 win.

The Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates last night, winning 6-5 to improve to 13-11 on the year. They are two games over .500 for the first time this season.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out three.

Eaton started the first with a 2-0 lead and set the Pirates down 1-2-3.

Ryan Doumit walked to start the second. Eaton struck out Xavier Nady for the first out and Adam LaRoche hit into a double-play to end the inning. Nice play by Utley at first to start the double-play.

The Phils led 4-0 in the third. Brian Bixler singled with one out, but Eaton got the next two to end the inning.

Eaton started the fourth with a 6-0 lead. Jason Bay homered with one out to make it 6-1 and Doumit and Nady followed with back-to-back doubles. 6-2. Nady moved to third on a ground out by LaRoche before Doug Mientkiewicz doubled into right, scoring Nady to make it 6-3. Eaton walked Brian Bixler on four pitches and Durbin came in to pitch to pitcher Zach Duke. Duke lined to third for the third out.

Durbin got the first two in the fifth before Bay walked and Doumit followed with a double that moved him to third. Nady was next and he singled into left, scoring both runners to cut the Phillies’ lead to 6-5. Durbin struck out LaRoche to end the inning.

Durbin came back to throw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Gordon started the seventh after throwing an inning the day before. He walked the leadoff man Nate McLouth to start the inning, but got the next three. Real surprised to see Gordon to go on back-to-back days with Madson, Seanez and Condrey pitching so little for the Phils.

Romero pitched the eighth and got the first two before walking Jose Bautista, who pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz. Bixler was next and he reached on an infield single slowly hit to third. It put the trying run on second for pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino, but Paulino grounded to third to end the inning.

Lidge struck out McLouth and Bay in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Durbin threw 33 pitches, Gordon 22 and Romero 21 as the Phils have to call on their pen to throw 5 2/3 innings. Lidge threw 11 pitches to get his fifth save and keep his ERA at 0.00.

The Phillies’ lineup against left Zach Duke went (1) Taguchi (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Burrell (5) Coste (6) Feliz (7) Bruntlett (8) Harman. Howard on the bench. Utley at first. Coste catches and hits fifth. Brad Harman makes his first career start and plays second. We knew Howard was going to be on the bench, but I was a little surprised it wasn’t Coste at first and Ruiz behind the plate instead of Utley at first, Harman at second and Coste catching.

Werth and Utley walked back-to-back with one out in the first. Burrell struck out for the second out, but Coste followed with a double that scored both runners and put the Phils up 2-0. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

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

Werth homered to center with one out in the third. 3-0. Burrell doubled with two down and Coste followed with a single off the glove of the shortstop Bixler. Burrell scored to make it 4-0. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

Bruntlett started the fourth with a single and Harman followed and smashed a double to left-center. Bruntlett scored and it was 5-0. Eaton tried to bunt Harman to third, but was called out on on batter interference for the first out of the inning. Taguchi flew to left for the second out before Werth drove Harman in with a single to left. 6-0. Utley grounded to short for the third out.

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

Durbin and Taguchi singled back-to-back with two outs in the sixth, but Werth struck out looking to leave them stranded at first and third.

With one out in the seventh, Burrell walked and Coste followed with a single that moved him to second. Bohn ran for Burrell at second and Feliz hit a ground ball to third. Coste was forced at second for the second out, leaving men on first and third with two outs for Bruntlett. Bruntlett grounded to second to end the frame.

With righty Tyler Yates on the mound for the Pirates, Dobbs hit for Harman to start the eighth and drew a walk. The next three Phils went down behind him, including Ryan Howard, who struck out yet again pinch-hitting against Damaso Marte.

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

Taguchi was 1-for-5.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run and two RBI.

Utley was 0-for-4 with a walk.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Coste was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI.

Feliz was 0-for-4 and left four men on base.

Bruntlett was 1-for-4.

Harman 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 5.59) faces righty Matt Morris (0-3, 9.15) tonight. Morris has been terrible this season. Opponents are hitting .380 against him and he’s allowed five home runs in 20 2/3 innings. He wasn’t great last year, throwing to a 4.89 ERA with a 1.52 ratio in his 32 combined starts with the Giants and the Pirates. He did have success in two starts against the Phils, though, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. He faced the Phils on May 4 and June 1. On June 1 he held them to one hit, a single by Victorino, over six shutout innings. Kendrick has struggled in three of his four starts this season. Lefties are hitting .371 against him, righties .239. He faced the Pirates once last season, on July 29, and was really good. He held them to a run on six hits over seven innings.


Phils consult village elders for wisdom on how to win when you score three runs

Jamie Moyer and Tom Gordon are old. Really old. Someday soon they’re going to be too old to play or at least too old to help a major league team. It might even be today. I don’t know. But I do know it wasn’t yesterday.

Moyer gave the Phils his second strong start in his last two outings. Gordon came on in the seventh with runners on first and third and nobody out and worked a near miracle to keep the Brewers off the board. It kept the game close enough that Burrell’s latest heroics, a two-run double in the eighth, made the Phillies winners for the fourth time in their last five games.

It’s tempting to say that everything is going well for the Phils. But the impressive thing is that it isn’t. The team misses Jimmy Rollins. Ryan Howard looks terrible at the plate and the results are just as bad. Every day the Phils put a whole crew of hitters on the field that just can’t get on base. Somehow the Phils are fighting through, though, with a list of things that are going well that’s a lot shorter than the list of things going wrong. The pen, Utley and Burrell are just out of this world. In addition to what Utley is doing with the bat, after a start to the season where he struggled to make the routine plays at second base it now seems like not a day passes without a brilliant defensive contribution.

Jayson Werth also deserves mention on the short list of Phillies’ hitters that are playing well. Werth bounced back from a wretched game on Wednesday yesterday, hammering ball out to center for one of his two hits. He also made a fantastic play in center, backing up Burrell and helping the Phils throw out a runner trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, winning 3-1 to improve to 12-11 on the year. The teams split the two-game set.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on eight hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out four. He’s allowed three runs over 12 innings over his last two starts and his ERA is down to 4.05.

Rickie Weeks led off the first and drew a walk, but Moyer picked him off and he was tagged out after a throw down to Bruntlett for the first out. Moyer struck out Gabe Kapler for the first out before Ryan Braun hit a long fly ball to left that went off the glove of Burrell for a double. Braun stole third, but Moyer got Prince Fielder to fly to center for the third out.

Bill Hall singled with one out in the second, but Moyer got the next two.

Weeks walked with one out in the third. Kapler followed with a ground out to third that moved Weeks to second and Braun followed and singled into center. Weeks scored to put the Brewers up 1-0. Fielder popped to third for the third out.

Corey Hart led off the fourth and ripped a double into left field. Burrell misplayed it and it rolled to the wall, but Werth backed it up brilliantly. Hart tried to go to third but was nailed for the first out of the inning. Bad idea by Hart and it cost the Brewers a run cause Hall followed with a single into center. Hall was picked off of first by Moyer with Dobbs again throwing to Bruntlett to apply the tag. Moyer had gotten 11 outs at this point, two on pickoffs and one on Hart trying to stretch a double into a triple. JJ Hardy walked with two outs, turning over the lineup, but Suppan struck out to end the inning.

Jason Kendall led off the fifth with a line drive snared by a diving Utley for the first out. Moyer got Weeks and Kapler behind him to end the inning.

Moyer started the sixth with the score tied at 1-1. Ryan Braun led off with a single. Fielder hit a high foul ball near the third base dugout and Feliz made a nice play leaning over the railing for the first out. Hart hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Hall started the seventh with a double and moved to third when Hardy followed with a single to left. It put men on first and third with nobody out for the pitcher’s spot and, with a short bench, it looked like the Brewers were going to let Suppan hit for himself. Gordon relieved Moyer and lefty Tony Gwynn Jr hit for Suppan. Gordon struck him out on three pitches for the first out. Kendall was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Weeks was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Kapler grounded to short to end the inning.

Just a fantastic job by Gordon to work out of first and third with nobody out.

JC Romero started the eighth with a 3-1 lead. He got Braun and Fielder to start the inning before Madson came in to pitch to the righty Hart. Hart has killed lefties this season, but I was still surprised to see Manuel make the change mid-inning with a two-run lead. All that said, I think it was a good move. Hart grounded to second to end the inning.

Lidge came on in the ninth to protect the two-run lead. He got Hall and Hardy on popups before lefty Craig Counsell hit for the pitcher’s spot and singled. It brought Kendall to the plate as the tying run. Kendall got ahead 2-0 before he flew to Bohn in shallow left to end the game.

Three more scoreless innings for the pen as they allow one hit and one walk. That makes it 15 innings in a row without being charged a run. Fifth save for Lidge, who keeps his ERA at 0.00.

Gordon and Lidge both threw 15 pitches. Romero eight and Madson six.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jeff Suppan went (1) Werth (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Burrell (5) Jenkins (6) Feliz (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Howard on the bench after 0-for-his-last-8 is the story here. Dobbs plays first with Feliz at third. Werth plays center and leads off while Bruntlett moves ahead of Ruiz and into the seven spot. Coste still can’t get into the game. Burrell moves into the cleanup spot with Howard out of the game. This says that Howard won’t be in the lineup tonight against lefty Zach Duke in Pittsburgh.

Werth singled to start the first, but Dobbs grounded into a double-play behind him. Utley flew to right for the third out.

Burrell walked to start the second. Jenkins struck out behind him before Feliz hit into a double-play.

Bruntlett led off the third and singled into center. Ruiz followed and hit into a double-play, the third the Phils had hit into in 2 2/3 innings. Moyer struck out looking for the third out.

Dobbs walked with one out in the fourth and Utley moved him to second with an infield single with an assist to Weeks. Burrell flew to right and Jenkins grounded to second.

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

Werth hit an 0-1 pitch out to center with one out in the sixth, tying the game at 1-1. Dobbs grounded to second for the second out before Utley singled. Burrell moved Utley to second with a walk, but Jenkins flew to left to end the frame with both runners stranded. Four men left on base in three innings for Jenkins.

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

Howard hit for Gordon to start the eighth with righty David Riske on the mound. Howard struck out and Werth followed with another strikeout before Dobbs drew a walk. Utley was next and he singled to left, moving Dobbs to second. Burrell followed and doubled to left, both runners scored to put the Phils up 3-1. It gave Burrell 24 RBI in April, which is a new team record. Bohn ran for Burrell at second. Jenkins grounded to second for the third out with lefty Brian Shouse on the mound for Milwaukee. The Brewers let lefties Dobbs and Utley hit against the righty Riske and they hurt him. They did bring in Shouse to pitch to Jenkins, but it was a little late. Interesting that they left him in with Burrell hitting fourth — if Howard had been in the four hole they almost certainly would have brought Shouse in earlier with three lefties in a row.

Bruntlett singled with one out in the ninth. Ruiz followed and was hit by a pitch, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard had a miserable at-bat, striking out again, this time on four pitches. Werth grounded to third for the third out.

Werth was 2-for-5 with his fourth home run yesterday. 3-for-10 with a double in the series and 8-for-his-last-24 with two doubles and three home runs. 300/391/567 on the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-2 and walked twice after coming into the game without a walk on the season. 2-for-5 with a home run in the series. He has raised his average from .200 to .355 by going 8-for-his-last-16. 355/412/581.

Utley was 3-for-4. 5-for-7 with a home run in the series. 385/453/835 on the year.

Burrell was 1-for-2 with two walks and a double. 2-for-6 with a home run in the series. 355/474/750 on the year.

Jenkins was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and left six men on base. 0-for-7 in the series and 225/276/324 on the year. He could really give the Phils a boost with Rollins out, but he’s been struggling. 1-for-his-last-10 with a single and four strikeouts.

Ditto Feliz, who was 0-for-4 yesterday. 0-for-6 in the series. 213/280/373.

Bruntlett was 2-for-4 yesterday. 3-for-8 in the set and 207/258/276 for the season.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 yesterday and 1-for-7 in the series. 194/242/242 on the year. Coste did not get an at-bat in the series and is hitting 370/469/704 on the year.

Howard was 0-for-2 and struck out twice. 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in the series. 176/297/341.

Taguchi walked in his only plate appearance of the series and is hitting 241/290/310 for the year.

Five Phillies regulars are on-basing under .300 for the season: Jenkins, Howard, Bruntlett, Ruiz and Feliz. So is Taguchi.

Given the large numbers of Phillies struggling to hit, I think they need to find a way to keep Dobbs’ bat in the lineup despite the weak defense. I don’t think giving Howard another night off tonight against the lefty is a bad idea. Howard is sure to get hot and when he does he isn’t going to carry the team for a few days, he can carry it for a month. But right now he looks awful. I’m surprised how much time Coste is spending on the bench with so few Phils hitting.

Adam Eaton (0-0, 4.74) faces lefty Zach Duke (0-1, 4.37) tonight in Pittsburgh. Duke was hit hard by the Cubs in his last outing, which came in Chicago on Sunday. In that start he allowed five runs on eight hits over four innings. Opponents are hitting .347 against him, although he hasn’t walked many, just six in 22 2/3 innings. He has struck out only seven batters on the year but hasn’t allowed a home run. He didn’t face the Phils last year. Eaton has been really good this season coming off a miserable 2007. Opponents are hitting just .267 against him after hitting .301 last season. In ’07 he good killed by the long ball, giving up 30 in 161 2/3 innings — he comes into tonight’s start having allowed just one in his first 24 2/3 innings. Eaton didn’t face the Pirates last year.


Hamels strikes out 11, but Prince parties like it’s 1999

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
MIL 12-8 99 4.95 T-5 706 (12) 14 4
PHI 11-10 102 4.86 4 800 (5) 8 3

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
MIL 12-8 86 4.30 6 4.00 (7) 4.34 (11)
PHI 11-10 94 4.48 8 4.23 (9) 2.76 (1)

Cole Hamels gave the Phils six fantastic innings last night. The problem was that he didn’t pitch six innings. Hefty lefty Prince Fielder jumped on his first inning cheese like it was, well, cheese, belting out a two-run homer on a 1-2 fastball. In the eighth, on another 1-2 pitch, Fielder hit another two-run shot, this one on a changeup. Fielder’s blasts led the Brewers to a 5-4 win.

Chase Utley hit his seventh home run in seven days for the Phils. Ho hum.

You know who didn’t have a good game? Jayson Werth. With the Phils up a run in the seventh, Werth was picked off of second base for the first out of the inning. Utley singled two batters last and Werth almost assuredly would have scored on the play if he wasn’t on the bench. With the Phils down a run in the bottom of the ninth, Werth struck out with one down and a runner on third.

Charlie Manuel might like to have last night’s game back as well. Manuel let Hamels come out to start the eighth inning having thrown 110 pitches with the Phils up a run. Hamels faced two batters in the frame — righty Ryan Braun doubled before Fielder hit the homer that won the game. Hamels is 24-years-old and you really want to try to limit the number of innings he starts after throwing 110 pitches in games where he’s already allowed three runs.

The Phillies lost to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, 5-4. The Phils are 11-11 on the season.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out 11.

Rickie Weeks led off the first with a double to left. Gabe Kapler was next and he singled into left. Burrell didn’t have a chance to get Weeks, but he threw home anyway. His throw was terrible, off line and over everyone. It allowed Kapler to go to second and Weeks scored to make it 1-0. No error on Burrell, but not a good play. With Ryan Braun at the plate Hamels tried to pick Kapler off of second and threw the ball into center field. Kapler went to third on the error. Two terrible plays defensively for the Phils back-to-back, but neither of them mattered cause after Braun popped to Howard in front of the mound, Fielder homered to right, putting Milwaukee up 3-0. Corey Hart was next and he singled to right. Hart was on the move as Hall grounded to second for the second out, Utley had to take the out at first. Hamels got behind the righty JJ Hardy 3-1 and put him on intentionally to pitch to the pitcher David Bush. Bush struck out for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 second, getting a nice diving play from Jenkins for the second out.

He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third and another in a 1-2-3 fourth.

Hamels started the fifth with the scored tied at 3-3. Jason Kendall led off the inning and reached on a single. Weeks followed with a walk, putting men on first and second with nobody out, but Hamels got Kapler on a popup and struck out Braun and Fielder to end the inning.

Hamels got the first two in the sixth with the Phils up 4-3 before Hardy singled to center. Bush, who would face one batter in the top of the seventh (Werth doubled), hit for himself and struck out.

He struck out Kendall and Weeks in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Hamels returned for the eighth and Braun led off with a double to right. Fielder was next and hit a 1-2 changeup out for his second home run of the day, putting the Brewers ahead at 5-4. Durbin came in to pitch and got the next two before Hardy singled to left. Tony Gwynn Jr hit for the pitch and walked, putting men on first and second, but Kendall grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Romero had last pitched on Sunday. It would have been nice to see him against Fielder.

Durbin’s ERA is down to 0.60 on the year after another scoreless inning. He threw 20 pitches. That’s 12 scoreless innings in a row for the pen.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty David Bush went (1) Werth (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Ruiz (8) Bruntlett. Dobbs at third against the righty. I was surprised not to see Feliz after the three hit day on Tuesday. Ruiz catches Hamels.

Dobbs singled with one out in the first and Utley followed with a walk. Howard grounded to second and Utley was forced at second for the first out with Howard safe at first and Dobbs safe at third. Burrell lined out to third for the third out.

Bruntlett singled with two outs in the second, but Hamels struck out behind him.

With two outs in the third, Utley hit Bush’s first pitch of his at-bat out to center. Tenth homer of the season for Utley and it cut the Brewers’ lead to 3-1. Howard grounded out to first to end the frame.

Ruiz singled with two outs in the fourth, but Bruntlett grounded out behind him.

Hamels started the fifth with a single. Werth followed and grounded to short. Hamels was forced at second for the first out with Werth safe at first. Dobbs was next and he hammered a 3-2 pitch out to right, trying the game at 3-3. Utley and Howard went down behind him.

Score one for Manuel for playing Dobbs after the big day for Feliz.

Burrell started the sixth and hit a 3-1 pitch out to left for his eighth home run of the year. It put the Phils up 4-3. Jenkins walked and stole second as Ruiz struck out for the first out. Bruntlett grounded to second for the second out and Jenkins moved to third. Hamels flew to left to leave Jenkins stranded at third.

Werth started the seventh with a double to left-center and lefty Mitch Stetter relieved Bush. Feliz hit for Dobbs against the lefty and Werth took off for third, but too early. Stetter stepped off the rubber and Werth was thrown out after a short rundown. Feliz struck out looking for the second out. Utley, perhaps on a one-man mission to demo why not to get picked off of second base, got ahead 3-1 and singled into right. Howard struck out swinging to end the frame.

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

Bruntlett struck out to start the ninth and Taguchi hit for Durbin and drew a five-pitch walk. Taguchi stole second and would have been out except that Kendall’s throw went into center field for an error. Taguchi took third. It brought up Werth, who got ahead 2-1 before he swung at a bad 2-2 pitch and then went down swinging for the second out. Feliz grounded to short to end the game. It worked out great for the Phils, but I don’t think I would have hit Taguchi, won’t just about can’t hit a home run, for Durbin, instead of Coste, who can, with the Phils down a run in the ninth. Assuming Coste is not hurt, I’m sure Manuel did it to get Taguchi’s speed on the bases. But even if Coste had singled the Phils could have used Taguchi to run for him. The only reason to save Coste’s bat was because Bohn was in the five-hole and you probably don’t want him to hit with the game on the line. But after Feliz the Phils still had Utley and Howard to hit before they got to Bohn.

Werth was 1-for-5 with a double.

Dobbs was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. He’s 8-for-his-last-14 with two home runs and doesn’t have a walk on the season in 29 at-bats.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run. He is slugging .839.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice to drop his average to .181. 0-for-his-last-8.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a home run.

Jenkins 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to Milwaukee.

Ruiz 1-for-4 to raise his average to .203. Coste did not play in the game and is hitting .370.

Bruntlett 1-for-4 to raise his average to .185.

Jamie Moyer (1-1, 4.79) faces righty Jeff Suppan (1-0, 4.13) this afternoon as the Phils try to split the two-game set. Suppan has made three starts on the season, three of which have been very good. His last outing came on Saturday against the Reds and he held them to two runs on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. Lefties have been much better against him than righties so far, they are hitting .304 with a 1.76 ratio against him while righties are hitting .227 with an 0.87 ratio. He faced the Phils twice last season and threw to a 3.55 ERA in two starts, which came on May 16 and August 5. Opponents are hitting .326 against Moyer so far and he’s yet to get an out in the seventh inning. Two of his four starts have been good, including his last time out on Saturday against the Mets. He made one start against the Brewers last year, on May 14, and was hit hard.


And when it’s well-rested the pen is so much mightier than the sword that sometimes the sword doesn’t even show up cause it thinks it might embarrass itself

Coming off a brilliant two-game set in Colorado, the Phils bullpen starts the day with an ERA of 2.76, the best in the NL and second-best in all of baseball behind only Tampa Bay. Here’s what the bullpen has done over the last ten games the Phils have played:

 
IP

ER

H

BB
4/22 2 0 1 0
4/21 4 0 1 3
4/20 4 0 3 3
4/19 3 2 2 2
4/18 2 0 3 1
4/17 2 1 3 0
4/16 2 0 0 1
4/15 3 0 2 2
4/13 5 1 3 4
4/12 2 1 2 1
         
Total 29 5 20 17

Five earned runs in 29 innings (1.55 ERA) with a 1.28 ratio. Over the last three games the Phils are 3-0 and the pen has allowed five hits and six walks in ten scoreless innings.

Not only has the bullpen been spectacular for the Phils in the early going, it hasn’t been overused. So far this season, Phillies’ relievers have thrown just 65 1/3 innings. Only two NL teams have had their bullpen throw fewer innings. Assist to Cole Hamels on that front — Hamels has gone at least seven innings in each of his four starts and will try to get the pen some rest again tonight.

65 1/3 innings over 21 games is about 3.11 innings per game or 504 innings over a 162 game season. Last year the Phils pen threw 520 innings, about 3.20 innings per game. The Diamondbacks pen threw the fewest innings, 483 or about 2.98 per game, while the Nats pen threw the most, 590 2/3 or about 3.23 innings per game.


Blast from the Pat

Maybe the Phillies have a bitter taste left in their mouth from getting swept out of the playoffs last season by the Rockies and maybe they don’t. Either way, they came to Colorado to play and twice in two games went hard all nine innings and twice got a dramatic win. On Monday they scored five runs in the last two innings after starting the eighth down 5-4. Last night they started the eighth down 6-4, added a run in the top of the eighth and got three more in the top of the ninth on a three-run double from Pat Burrell.

The bats of Burrell, Utley and suddenly Werth are carrying the Phils these days as the muddle by without Rollins or Victorino at the top of the order. They have won three in a row for the first time this season. Feliz added three hits yesterday, if the Phils could get his bat going it would be a huge help. But even with the torrid pace of Utley and Burrell, none of it would be possible without the contribution of the bullpen, who gave the Phils six shutout innings in the two-game sweep of the Rockies.

Charlie Manuel’s contribution can’t be ignored either. In addition to keeping his team playing at a high level through a ton of early adversity, Manuel rolled the dice and came up lucky last night. In the eighth inning he used the lefties on his bench to try to break through with a righty on the mound, pinch-hitting for his starting catcher and his starting shortstop in a close game. Not especially noteworthy except for the fact that he doesn’t have a backup shortstop. And it worked.

The Phillies beat the Colorado Rockies last night, winning 8-6 to improve to 11-10 on the season. The Phils sweep the two-game set and have won three in a row. They are finally above .500 for the first time on the season.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits and two walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles, a triple and a home run. His ERA is at 4.78 after five starts.

Clint Barmes singled with one out in the first, but Myers got Todd Helton and Matt Holliday to ground out behind him to end the inning. Utley made another good defensive play on the ball that Helton hit, diving to his right to snare the hard hit ground ball.

Garrett Atkins started the second with a single. Brad Hawpe flew to left for the first out before Jeff Baker hit a ground ball to short. Atkins was forced at second for the second out with Baker safe at first. Yorvit Torrealba moved Baker to second with a single before the pitcher Jeff Francis grounded to second for the third out.

Myers started the third up 2-0 and got the first two before Helton came to the plate. Helton smashed his first pitch into right-center for a double. Holliday followed and hit a ball that landed on the warning track in right for another double. Helton scored to cut the lead to 2-1. Atkins flew to center for the third out.

Hawpe led off the fourth with the Phils up 3-1 and lined a ball into left. Burrell dove for it and missed. He was in the right place to dive and almost made the catch, but mistimed the dive. Hawpe had a triple. I don’t think Burrell made a bad decision to dive, but the execution of the dive left some room for improvement. Baker was next and singled up the middle. Utley knocked it down before it got to the outfield, but Hawpe scored easily to make the score 3-2. Torrealba struck out looking for the first out before Francis bunted Baker to second. Willy Tavares split the gap with a drive to left-center and Baker scored easily to tie the game at 3-3. With two outs Baker probably would have scored from first without the bunt. Barmes flew to right for the third out.

Holliday homered to center with one out in the fifth to put Colorado up 4-3. Myers got Atkins on a popup to second for the second out before he walked the lefty Hawpe on four pitches. The righty Baker behind him moved Hawpe to second with a single. Torrealba popped up near the mound to end the inning.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

With the game tied at 4-4 in the seventh, Myers got the leadoff man before Holliday drew a one out walk. Atkins followed with a home run to left that put Colorado up 6-4. Hawpe and Tulowitski went down behind Atkins to end the inning. Utley, whose defense is suddenly sparkling after a miserable start to the year, snared a hard hit line drive by Hawpe for the second out.

Ryan Madson started the eighth with the Phils trailing 6-5 and Pedro Feliz playing shortstop. Torrealba led off the inning with a single, but Coste, who had just entered after pinch-hitting for Myers in the top of the inning, threw him out on a close play. Scott Podsednik hit for the pitcher and flew to left for the second out. Taveras grounded to second to end the inning.

The Phils scored three times in the top of the ninth and Lidge came on in the bottom of the inning with an 8-6 lead. Lidge was pitching for the third day in a row after throwing on Monday in a non-save situation. If it was a problem for him the symptoms are hard to find. He struck out Barmes and Helton and got Holliday on a ground ball to second to end the game and keep his ERA at 0.00 for the season.

Two more shutout innings for the amazing pen. By contrast, the Rockies pen went two innings and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk. In the series the Phils’ pen went six shutout innings, allowing two singles and a walk. Phillies’ starters went 12 innings, allowing 11 earned runs on 19 hits and four walks. Lidge is almost certainly unavailable tonight after going three days in a row — if he’s not he should be. The appearance with a four-run lead in the first game against Colorado still wasn’t fantastic. Madson threw 17 pitches and I would guess he’s available tonight.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Jeff Francis went (1) Taguchi (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Ruiz (8) Bruntlett. Taguchi in right against the lefty, Werth in center. Counting Myers in the nine spot, spots four through nine in the order the Phils come into the game with one player, Burrell, hitting above .212 on the season.

Werth singled with one out in the first, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

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

Bruntlett led off the third and lined a double down the line in left. Myers tried to bunt and fouled two off before grounding to short for the first out with Bruntlett holding. Taguchi flew to center and Bruntlett moved to third with two down. Werth walked, putting men on first and third for Utley. Utley hammered a double into left-center, scoring both runners and putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard struck out to end the frame. Nice to see Bruntlett get things going with the double after so many struggles at the plate. Myers almost hurt the Phils with the problems getting the bunt down, but Utley bailed him out.

Burrell walked to start the fourth and moved to second when Feliz dribbled a single up the middle and through. Ruiz hit a ground ball to short, which would have been a double-play but the umpire ruled that Baker did not touch the bag at second base. He didn’t, but they never do. Odd call. It put men on second and third with one out for Bruntlett. Bruntlett hit it hard, but right at Helton for the second out. Myers walked to load the bases. Taguchi was taking 2-2 and took a close pitch that was called a ball. Francis’ next pitch was way up and away and Taguchi had a walk, forcing in Burrell to put the Phils up 3-1. Werth grounded out to second for the third out. You can’t walk Myers there, that’s pretty bad. Nice to see Bruntlett hit the ball hard again, even though it was right at Helton.

Utley, Howard and Burrell went 1-2-3 in the fifth with the scored tied at 3-3.

Feliz started the sixth with a single with the Phils down 4-3. Ruiz fouled out to the catcher for the first out before Bruntlett hit a ground ball to third. Atkins threw to second to force Feliz for the first out, but Baker’s relay to first was way high and Bruntlett went to second on the error. Second time in two innings that Baker had trouble at second with a shoulda-been double-play. Myers hit for himself and struck out swinging to leave Bruntlett stranded at second.

With one out in the seventh, Werth hit a monster shot way out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Utley and Howard grounded out behind him.

The Phils found themselves down again in the eighth after two runs from the Rockies in the bottom of the seventh made the score 6-4. Feliz doubled with one out and, with the righty Matt Herges on the mound, Jenkins hit for Ruiz and struck out for the second out. Dobbs hit for Bruntlett and singled into right. Feliz scored and it was 6-5. Coste hit for Myers and grounded to third to end the frame.

Quite an inning for Manuel, who pulls his starting catcher and his starting shortstop to give the two lefties on his bench a chance against the righty. He takes Bruntlett out of the game and puts Feliz to shortstop in the bottom of the eighth in a one-run game. Wow. He would have been absolutely obliterated if Feliz had booted a ball in a close game in the eighth or ninth and the move didn’t work. It did. Dobbs got a clutch two-out hit and Feliz didn’t have to do much in the two innings he played short, his action primarily consisted of taking the throw from Coste to nail Torrealba stealing. I like the moves by Manuel even if they hadn’t worked, but whether you do or not you have to admit it was gutsy.

Feliz had played 23 games at shortstop over his career coming into last night’s game, including 14 starts there for the Giants in 2004.

Righty Manny Corpas came on to throw the ninth for Colorado with the Rockies up 6-5. Taguchi had to hit for himself after Manuel used the lefties on the bench in the eighth, and led off with a single. Werth struck out for the first out before Utley singled to center. Taguchi went to third and so did the throw from Tavares in center, which allowed Utley to go to second. The righty Corpas walked the lefty Howard, which is a no-brainer cause of lefty-righty and setting up the double-play, and it brought up Burrell with one out and the bases loaded. Burrell got behind 0-2 before he laced a 2-2 pitch into left-center, just out of the reach of a diving Tavares. It cleared the bases and put the Phils up 8-6 with one out. Burrell went to third on the throw home. Howard, who was right on the heels of Utley, slid in just safely. Feliz grounded back to the pitcher for the second out before Brad Harman made his major league debut, pinch-hitting for Ryan Madson. He got ahead 3-1 but popped up to Tulowitski at short to end the frame.

Harman did not play short in the bottom of the ninth — I think you have to interpret that as meaning that Manuel thinks Feliz is a better defensive shortstop than Harman. I don’t know if it means we’ll never see Harman at short or not — he was just about exclusively a second baseman in the minors in 2007 and so far in 2008.

Taguchi was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in the game. 1-for-8 in the two-game series. 241/267/310 on the season. Less lefties in Milwaukee is going to mean less Taguchi and more Jenkins in right for the Phils.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a walk and a long home run. 4-for-9 with a double and two home runs in the series. It’s going to be over-shadowed by what Utley and Burrell have been doing, but Werth surged to life against Colorado and the Phils really needed his bat. 300/407/540.

Utley was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. 4-for-9 with two doubles and a home run in the set. Preposterously, 357/429/810 on the year. His glove is suddenly back as well, after a weak start to the season.

Howard was 0-for-4 with a walk. 2-for-9 with two singles in the series. 190/316/367. He’s 3-for-his-last-22 with three singles and nine strikeouts. Utley, Burrell, Werth and the bullpen deserve tremendous credit that the Phils are keeping their heads above water with Rollins and Victorino out and Howard struggling so badly.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a walk and a three-run double. 4-for-8 with a double and a home run in the series. 357/471/729 on the year.

Feliz 3-for-5 with a double. 3-for-9 with a double in the series. 232/303/406.

Ruiz was 0-for-3. 1-for-7 with a double in the set. 200/241/255 on the year. Coste was 0-for-1 and 0-for-1 with a hit by pitch in the series. 370/469/704. How much better defensively does the guy hitting 200/241/255 have to be than the guy hitting 370/469/704?

Bruntlett 1-for-3 with a double. 1-for-7 with a double in the series. 180/241/260.

Jenkins mostly sat this one out against the lefties. 0-for-1 with a strikeout yesterday and 1-for-3 in the series. 250/294/359.

Cole Hamels (2-2, 1.86) faces righty Dave Bush (0-3, 7.02) tonight in Milwaukee. Bush has made three starts this season and opponents are hitting .290 against him. None of his starts have been especially good. The best was him most recent. Last Tuesday he held the Cardinals to three runs over six innings. His control hasn’t been good this season, he’s walked ten in 16 2/3 innings. Lefties are hitting .385 against him so far, but he’s been much tougher on right-handed hitters, holding them to a .222 average. He faced the Phils twice in 2007, those starts came on May 14 and August 4. Hamels allowed more than one earned run in a start his last time out, he was charged with four runs against the Mets over seven innings on Friday. Opponents are hitting just .181 against him on the season and he’s allowed just one run in 29 innings. He made two starts against the Brewers last season, which came on May 16 and August 4. In the May 16 start he took a perfect game into the seventh inning before he walked Rickie Weeks and JJ Hardy followed with a two-run home run.

The Start Log has been modified to include the number of pitches by the starting pitcher, his high for the season, total pitches and average number of pitches per start.


Pen agrees put up zeros for as long as it takes for Bohn and Ruiz to win the game

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
COL 9-9 76 4.22 11 697 (10) 14 5
PHI 9-10 85 4.47 7 784 (5) 8 3

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
COL 9-9 87 4.83 T-10 4.60 (13) 3.16 (3)
PHI 9-10 83 4.37 8 3.80 (7) 3.03 (2)

The Phillies’ bullpen has been fantastic this season. Coming into play yesterday the Phillies’ 3.03 bullpen ERA was second-best in the NL. The pen was in the middle of things again last night as the Phils topped the Rockies 9-5.

After Kendrick left his weak start after just five innings, four Phillies’ relievers combined to allow a hit and three walks in four shutout innings. In those four innings the Phils scored seven runs, including four driven in by the unlikely duo of TJ Bohn and the struggling Carlos Ruiz. Just about the only person on the Phillies giving the team more than the pen these days is Chase Utley.

Utley was at it again last night, doubling and hitting yet another home run. He has now hit six home runs in the last five days and homered five games in a row. Last night’s was a solo shot as well, his fifth of the six home runs, but we gotta give Jayson Werth, who hit ahead of Utley, a break this time. Werth homered himself in the sixth before Utley delivered his latest solo blast. As amazing as his contribution with the bat has been, the biggest boost the Phils got from Utley last night came with his glove. With one out and the based loaded in the third, Utley helped turn a ball smashed by Clint Barmes back up the middle into an inning ending double-play with a beautiful diving stab and a glove-hand flip to second.

Pat Burrell continues to do his best to help Utley carry the offense. He clubbed a two-run homer to left and singled twice. But Burrell and Utley got some help offensively last night and it came from some of the guys who have been scuffling of late. Carlos Ruiz had the biggest hit of the game, a bases-loaded double in the eighth with the Phils down a run. Jayson Werth was 2-for-5 with an inside the park home run. Slumping Ryan Howard had two hits in five at-bats and scored a pair of runs. Just called-up TJ Bohn delivered a two-run double in the ninth.

The Phillies beat the Colorado Rockies last night, winning 9-5 to improve to 10-10 on the season. Tonight they try to go over .500 for the sixth time since opening day and seventh if you count opening day. With 20 games played the Phils are in fourth place in the NL East and trail the division-leading Florida Marlins by 2 1/2 games.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phils and was pretty bad. The Phils made three errors in the game and two behind him, but he also was bailed out by a brilliant play by Utley to turn a two-run single into an inning-ending double-play in the third. He went five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and two home runs. He struck out two and his ERA is up to 5.59 after four starts.

Willy Taveras led off the first with a ground ball to short. Bruntlett’s throw to first was high for an error. Troy Tulowitski was next and hit a ground ball to short. The Phils got the lead runner at second with Tulowitski safe at first. Todd Helton and Matt Holliday both popped out on the infield to end the inning.

With one out in the second, Brad Hawpe hit a ball into left-center. Werth is still playing super deep in center, and in the huge outfield in Colorado that leaves a lot of ground to cover. Hawpe wound up at second with a double. Clint Barmes was next and he dropped a single right in front of Burrell, moving Hawpe to third. Yorvit Torrealba was next and got ahead 2-1 before he hit one way out through a strong wind to left, putting the Rockies up 3-0. The pitcher Mark Redman followed and grounded to second for the second out. Taveras was next and hit one over Burrell’s head in left for a double. Kendrick kind of forgot about Taveras and Taveras stole third without a throw from Ruiz. Tulowitski grounded to first to set the Rockies down.

Kendrick walked Todd Helton to start the third. Matt Holliday was next and drove the ball deep to right-center, but Taguchi took it for the first out. Garrett Atkins hit a ground ball to third that Feliz booted for an error. Not a hard play for Feliz, the ball just went in and out of his glove. It put men on first and second with one out for Hawpe and Kendrick walked him to load the bases. Clint Barmes hit a ball hard back up the middle, but Utley made a great play diving to his right and flipped the ball from his glove to Bruntlett at short who threw to first to nip Barmes and complete the inning-ending double-play. Fantastic play by Utley. Kendrick had thrown 54 pitches through three innings.

Torrealba started the fourth with the Rockies up 3-2 and doubled to left. Redman bunted him to third for the first out. Tavares hammered a 1-2 pitch down the right field line but just inches foul instead of at least a double for Taveras. Taveras looped a 3-2 pitch into shallow right, but Taguchi took it for the second out and Torrealba had to hold third. Kendrick struck Tulowitski out on three pitches to end the inning.

Helton singled to start the fifth. Kendrick struck out Holliday behind him before Atkins hit one out to left, putting the Rockies up 5-2. After Hawpe grounded out for the second out, Barmes singled but was thrown out trying to steal second.

Condrey started the sixth and walked pinch-hitter Scott Podsednik with one out. Podsednik stole second and third before Condrey walked Taveras, putting men on first and third with one out. Tulowitski hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Rudy Seanez pitched the seventh. He walked Holliday with one out, but got Atkins to hit into a double-play to end the inning. Third time in the game and second in two innings that Phillies’ pitchers got an inning-ending double-play.

Gordon started the eighth with a 6-5 lead. Hawpe led off the inning and looped a ball into left field, which was dropped by Bohn, who had run for Burrell in the top of the inning, for an error. Flash worked around it, though. He struck out Barmes for the first out and got Torrealba on a fly ball to center before pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs was called out looking to end the inning.

Lidge started the ninth up 9-5 in a non-save situation after pitching the night before. The Phils scored two runs on a double by Bohn with two outs in the top of the inning. If Madson was available, and he would be unless he’s injured cause he last pitched on Saturday, it’s unfortunate the Phils couldn’t get him into the game. Lidge gave up a leadoff single to Tavares, but got the next three to end the game.

Lidge threw 16 pitches in the game, which was the most of any reliever. Don’t know if the Phillies will use him three days in a row if they need to tonight or not. Probably. They may be reluctant to use Gordon on back-to-back days, but he only threw 14 pitches. Seanez and Condrey are well-rested and should be available tonight if needed.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Mark Redman went (1) Taguchi (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Ruiz (8) Bruntlett. Werth plays center with Taguchi in right against the lefty. Ruiz back behind the plate.

Utley doubled to deep left with two outs in the first, but Howard grounded to first to leave him stranded.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second. They started the third down 3-0 and went 1-2-3 again. Two strikeouts for Redman in the third, he got Taguchi looking at a pitch that was outside to end the frame.

Howard singled to right with two outs in the fourth. Burrell got ahead 3-1 and hit one just out to left, getting the Phils within one at 3-2. Feliz grounded out for the third out.

Kendrick singled with two outs in the fifth, but Taguchi grounded out behind him.

Werth led off the sixth with the Phils down 5-2 and hit a towering drive to deep center field. Tavares went after it hard and the ball bounced off the base of the wall and rolled a long way away from the center fielder towards left field. Werth stormed around the bases and slid in head first as an amazingly strong relay from Tulowitski came to the plate. Safe. 5-3. Utley was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out down the line. 5-4. Howard flew to center for the first out before Burrell singled, but Feliz and Ruiz went down behind him.

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

Howard and Burrell singled back-to-back with one out in the eighth. It put men on first and second and Bohn ran for Burrell at first. Feliz walked to load the bases with two outs and the Phils down a run. Lefty Brian Fuentes came in to pitch to Ruiz, relieving the righty Taylor Buchholz. Coste was available, but Manuel stuck with Ruiz. Ruiz got ahead 1-0 before he doubled softly down the right-field line. Howard and Bohn both scored, putting the Phils up 6-5 with two outs and men on second and third for Bruntlett. Bruntlett grounded out to first to end the inning. Not pinch-hitting for Bruntlett up a run with two outs and two men in scoring position may mean we’re just never going to see Brad Harman defensively. At least not at short in a one-run game. The Phillies have to have someone in their organization they can put on the roster who can play shortstop defensively well enough they can put him into a game — if they don’t they should get someone. If they don’t have someone and can’t get someone they shouldn’t take up a roster space pretending they do. I actually don’t think it was a big deal not to hit for Bruntlett in the inning, but it doesn’t make any sense to have Harman on the roster if he’s never going to play — there’s got to be somebody in the organization you’re willing to put on the field.

Jenkins, who had entered the game in the seventh, led off the ninth and singled into right. Coste hit for Gordon against lefty Micah Bowie and was hit by a pitch. It put men on first and second with nobody out for Werth, and Werth doubled to right on 1-2 pitch. Jenkins scored to put the Phils up 7-5 and Coste went to third. Utley grounded to first and Howard went down swinging for the first two outs of the inning, bringing up Bohn, who had run for Burrell in the eighth. Bohn quickly got behind 0-2 but worked the count full and then laced a double into the corner in left. Both runners scored and the Phils led 9-5. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

Taguchi was 0-for-4.

Werth was 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI.

Utley was 2-for-5 with a double and a home run.

Howard was 2-for-5.

Burrell was 3-for-4 with a home run and two singles. He’s actually hitting for a higher average than Utley, .364 to .354. Utley is out-slugging him .823 to .742.

Feliz was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s hitting .203.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a huge double and two RBI.

Bruntlett was 0-for-4.

Brett Myers (2-1, 3.96) faces lefty Jeff Francis (0-2, 5.89) tonight. Francis got hit hard in the first two of his three starts this year before looking like the guy that baffled the Phils in the NLDS last season. After getting hit hard twice by the Snakes to start the season, Francis threw seven shutout innings against the Padres on Thursday, holding San Diego to three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Opponents are hitting .297 against him on the season and he’s been hurt by home runs — he’s allowed six in 18 1/3 innings this year, all to right-handed batters. The Phils shelled him in two regular-season starts against them last year before he shut them down in the playoffs. Francis faced the Phils on July 6 and September 13, and in the NLDS on October 3. Myers did not start against the Rockies last season, but threw two innings of scoreless relief. He appeared in two games in relief in the NLDS and allowed two hits but was not charged with a run in 1 1/3 innings.

The Start Log is up to date and shows that each of the five Phillies’ starters has now started four games and the team has gone 2-2 in the games started by each of the five.


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