The Phillies won for the eighth time in nine games last night, but some wins are prettier than others. The Phils didn’t hit much and failed several times to execute offensively when they could have helped themselves out by moving a runner along. Gordon and Lidge both pitched for the third day in a row and each struggled to get through their inning. The Phillies won the game because Gordon and Lidge made it through, though, and because Burrell gave them one huge swing of the bat and Adam Eaton was absolutely awesome.
Eaton allowed two singles and a solo home run and pitched into the seventh. With the score tied at 1-1 in the sixth, Burrell blasted a ball way out to left and the Phils made the lead stand up.
They lead the NL East by two and a half games. The last time they had this big a lead in the NL East was July 5, 2004. They were 44-37 and led the division by three games — they ended the year 86-76 and in second place in the division, ten games behind the Braves.
The Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds last night, winning 3-2 to improve to 35-25 on the season. They are ten games over .500 for the first time this year. They have won two one-run games in a row.
Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run to righty Edwin Encarnacion. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. His ERA for the season in 4.63.
Eaton now leads the Phils with seven quality starts in his 12 starts for the season. Myers has five and Moyer, Kendrick and Hamels each have six.
Eaton threw a 1-2-3 first and a 1-2-3 second.
Edwin Encarnacion led off the third and he drilled a 2-2 pitch down the left field line and out for a home run that put the Reds up 1-0. Eaton got the next three.
Ryan Freel started the fourth with a single to left. Eaton struck out Jay Bruce, got Brandon Phillips on a fly ball to left and struck out Adam Dunn to leave Freel stranded.
1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth. Freel grounded out to short for the third out in the sixth and crumpled half way to first base. He hobbled off the field with an injury to his right hamstring.
He started the seventh with a 3-1 lead. Bruce led off with a ball slowly hit to third base that he beat out for an infield single. Phillips was next and Eaton him got him to hit into a double-play. With the lefty Dunn at the plate, Manuel called on Romero. Romero walked Dunn on five pitches, but struck Joey Votto out swinging to end the frame.
Romero’s role has changed dramatically since the start of the season.
Gordon started the eighth with a 3-1 lead, pitching for the third straight day. Encarnacion got ahead 2-0 before he hit a 2-1 pitch off the wall in left-center. It took an odd bounce back past Victorino and Encarnacion had a triple. Javier Valentin pinch-hit for Paul Bako and flew to left deep enough to score Encarnacion. 3-2. Ken Griffey Jr, looking for career home run number 600, hit for the pitcher Danny Herrera. Gordon walked him on four pitches. Jerry Hairston flew to right for the second out. It brought up righty Paul Janish and Gordon struck him out swinging for the third out.
Gordon turns 41 in November. Pitching him three days in a row is a recipe for disaster — he fared far better than I expected in this outing and left with the Phils still on top. How bout Madson, who has made one appearance since May 28? Or Seanez (one appearance since May 25)? Glad to see it work this time, but it’s not going to usually. Even if you’re willing to accept the long-term consequences of pitching Gordon three days in a row, I still think that a healthy and rested Madson or Seanez in the eighth gives you a better chance to win this game.
Gordon went three days in a row four times in 2007, all in September. The Phils had few other options in the pen at that point and there is little doubt that they would have won the NL East if Gordon, Romero and Myers hadn’t been as absurdly fantastic as they were despite all the work. But Gordon had a 12.00 ERA in those four appearances, three of which were good and one of which was miserable.
On the other hand, from September 18 to September 22 last season, Gordon pitched five days in a row and allowed a total of one hit. Still wouldn’t do it.
Lidge started the ninth with a one run lead, also pitching for the third straight day. He walked Bruce on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Phillips was next and hit the first pitch of his at-bat hard on the ground to third. Feliz picked it nicely to start the double-play. It brought the lefty Dunn and Lidge walked him on a 3-2 fastball that was just low. The lefty Votto was next, hitting as the go-ahead run. Votto hit a 2-1 pitch back through the middle for a single. It sent Dunn to second. Encarnacion was next and he popped into shallow right to end the game.
The ball that Phillips hit was hammered, but Feliz made a nice play and the Phillies might not have won without it.
No problem with Lidge three days in a row cause he that’s why he gets the big money and he’s not almost 41. He just battled through but all the work showed. The Phils should go somewhere else tonight if they need a save.
Not a great night for the pen as Gordon and Lidge, both working a lot, weren’t great. Phils’ relievers went 2 1/3 innings and allowed a run on two hits and four walks. Manuel is not guilty of calling on his pen to throw too many innings, but he is guilty of using the same guys over and over when he has other, better-rested options. Gordon threw 22 pitches, Lidge 20 and Romero ten.
The Phillies’ lineup against righty Aaron Harang went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Ruiz catches against the righty. Jenkins in right.
Rollins led off the first with a single and Victorino followed with a walk that moved him to second. Utley and Howard both flew out, though, and Burrell grounded to second to end the inning.
Nothing for the Phils after they put men on first and second with nobody out and 3-4-5 coming to the plate.
They went 1-2-3 in the second.
With the Phils down 1-0 in the third, Eaton led off with a single. Rollins followed with a ground ball to short and Eaton was forced at second for the first out. Rollins stole second and moved to third when Victorino flew to center for the second out. Utley hit the first pitch of his at-bat in center for a single. Rollins scored to tie the game at 1-1. Howard grounded to short for the third out.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth.
With two outs in the fifth, Rollins singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Ross. Victorino lined a 3-2 pitch into center, but Freel made a diving catch to rob him of a hit and turn the Phillies away.
Utley led off the sixth and split the gap in left-center for a double. Howard struck out for the first out. Burrell was next and he hammered a 2-2 pitch way out to left, putting the Phils up 3-1. Jenkins was next and he ripped a double into right. Feliz and Ruiz both flew out to leave Jenkins at second.
Two bad at-bats for the Phillies in the inning — Howard after Utley’s leadoff double and Feliz after Jenkins’ double with one out.
Dobbs hit for Romero to start the seventh and blooped a single into left. Rollins followed with a double into right that moved Rollins to third. Lefty Danny Herrera came on to pitch for the Reds, making his major league debut. With the infield in, Victorino hit a hard ground ball to short for the first out. The runners had to hold. Utley was walked intentionally to load the bases. Herrera struck Howard out swinging for the second out and the lefty stayed in to pitch to Burrell. Burrell hammered the first pitch of his at-bat way out but foul before he struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the inside corner. Burrell, who hardly ever argues, argued, but the pitch was a strike.
Absolutely absurd to leave the lefty in to pitch to Burrell. That’s just a bad decision and it worked out great for the Reds. Walking Utley intentionally also means that Herrera faced the righty Burrell instead of the lefty Utley.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the eighth.
Rollins was 3-for-4 with a double. Hopefully that signals the end of the mini-slump.
Victorino 0-for-3 with a walk.
Howard was horrid. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and seven men left on base. Bad strikeouts in the sixth and the seventh when he need to not strike out.
Burrell 1-for-4 with his 14th home run and two RBI.
Jenkins 1-for-4 with a double.
Ruiz 0-for-4. He’s 0-for-his-last-11. Just a miserable season for Ruiz.
Brett Myers (3-6, 5.52) faces righty Edinson Volquez (7-2, 1.46) tomorrow. Volquez has made 12 appearances on the year, 11 of them starts, and has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of them. In 68 innings he has struck out 83. Righties are hitting .170 against him for the season and don’t have a home run for the season. Lefties are hitting .220 and have hit all three home runs he has allowed. He started against the Phils on April 6 and struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings while allowing a run five hits. Myers was great after the first inning his last start and struck out 11 for the game over eight innings. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last three starts after allowing 15 through his first nine of the year. He started the April 6 game against Volquez and took the loss.