Archive for July, 2008

Shane’s reign as the Phils’ best hitter may be short, but it’s sweet

The Phillies’ offense is suddenly looking good again, led at the top of the order by the hot bat of Shane Victorino.

Victorino drove in three runs last night, including one that came on his seventh home run of the month. He is hitting 327/370/624 in July and has hit six home runs in his last 54 at-bats. His .994 OPS for the month is the best among the Phillies’ hitters (but not by much — Howard is hitting 306/364/622 (.987 OPS) in July) .

Victorino and Utley combined to drive in five of the eight runs the Phillies scored last night. Utley homered for the second straight game and Jamie Moyer was solid enough. After a rough first inning, Moyer put up five scoreless frames and the Phils cruised behind a five-run fifth inning.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 8-5 to improve to 58-49 on the season. It was the fourth straight win for the Phils and with the win they have reclaimed the lead on the NL East. They lead the Mets by half a game.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and two home runs. He struck out five.

Moyer started the first with a 2-0 lead. Willie Harris hit his first pitch of the game out to right. 2-1. Moyer got the next two before Austin Kearns doubled to left. Jesus Flores was next and he hit a 2-0 pitch out to left to put Washington up 3-2. Ronnie Belliard doubled before Paul Lo Duca flew to center to end the inning.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 second.

He walked Ryan Zimmerman with one out in the third. Moyer struck out Kearns for the first out before Flores flew to center to set the Nats down.

Belliard led off the fourth with a walk. Lo Duca flew to center and Felipe Lopez struck out swinging as Belliard was caught stealing to end the inning.

Moyer started the fifth up 7-3. Harris doubled with one out and moved to third when Jenkins misplayed the ball in right for an error. Lastings Milledge grounded back to the pitcher for the second before Moyer walked Zimmerman. With men on first and third and two down, Kearns grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Flores led off the sixth with a single to left and Burrell threw him out at second as Flores went for two with his team down four runs. Moyer got the next two.

Madson started the seventh up 8-3. Lefty Kory Casto hit for pitcher Steven Shell and singled to left to start the inning. Pete Orr was next and hit a ground ball to first that Howard fielded and threw to second to force Casto for the first out. Harris followed with a double, his third extra-base hit of the game, moving Casto to third. Milledge grounded to short and Orr scored, cutting the Phils’ lead to 8-4. Zimmerman hit a ball to the warning track in left. Werth fell down and didn’t catch it — the ball bounced on the track and over the fence for a ground-rule double that scored Harris and made it 8-5. Kearns grounded to second for the third out.

Durbin pitched the eighth. He walked Belliard with one out but got Lo Duca to hit into a double-play behind him.

Lidge pitched the ninth. Pinch-hitter Ryan Langerhans led off with a double, but Lidge got the next three behind him.

Durbin continues to see a lot of time in the eighth inning. Madson got a tough break with Werth falling down on the track on a play that could have been made, but his outing was shaky as he allowed three hits, including two doubles, in an inning. In his last four outings Madson has gone 3 2/3 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits and five walks. That’s not good.

Overall in the game the pen went three innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Durbin and Lidge both pitched for the second straight day. I would have liked to have seen Manuel use someone from the bottom of his pen with the Phils up 8-3 in the seventh instead of Madson.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Tim Redding went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Jenkins in right against the righty. Dobbs on the bench with Bruntlett at third, which is a poor decision. Echoes of Nunez at third for Moyer’s starts ring in my ears. Ruiz catches.

Victorino, Utley and Howard singled back-to-back-to-back with one out in the first. It loaded the bases for Burrell and Burrell lined a single into left that scored Victorino and Utley and put the Phils up 2-0. Jenkins hit into a double-play behind Burrell to end the frame.

Ruiz singled with one out in the second and Moyer bunted him to second. Rollins grounded to second for the third out.

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

In the fourth, Jenkins singled with one out and Bruntlett hit into a double-play behind him.

The Phillies started the fifth down 3-2. Ruiz led off with a single and Moyer drew a walk. Rollins doubled to right and Ruiz scored, tying the game at 3-3, with Moyer going to third. Victorino was next and singled into center, scoring Rollins and Moyer to make it 5-3. He went to second when Lo Duca mishandled the throw in from the outfield for an error. Utley was next and he clubbed a 1-0 pitch out to center. 7-3. Howard and Burrell grounded out before Jenkins walked. Bruntlett struck out for the third out.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the sixth.

Victorino led off the seventh with a home run that put the Phils up 8-3. Utley, Howard and Burrell went in order behind him.

Jenkins singled to right to start the eighth, but Bruntlett hit into a double-play behind him and Ruiz flew to left for the third out.

Werth led off the ninth with a walk and Rollins hit into a double-play behind him, the fourth on the day for the Phillies. Victorino flew to center for the third out.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double.

Victorino 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.

Howard 1-for-4.

Burrell 1-for-4 with two RBI.

Jenkins 2-for-3 with a walk.

Bruntlett was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into two double-plays.

Ruiz 2-for-3. He has one extra-base hit since June 14.

Kyle Kendrick (8-5, 4.70) faces lefty John Lannan (6-10, 3.33) tonight. Lannan has allowed three or fewer runs in nine of his last ten starts, but the Nats have lost eight of those games. He’s actually been worse in his eight starts at home (2-5 with a 4.71 ERA) than in his 12 starts away from home (4-5 with a 2.57 ERA). Lannan made his major league debut on July 26, 2007 and broke Chase Utley’s right hand with a pitch. The Phillies have lost three of Kendrick’s last four starts. In those starts Kendrick has allowed 34 hits in 22 2/3 innings. Lefties are hitting .324 against him for the year. He has a 1.80 ratio against lefties and a 1.18 ratio against righties.


Brett all that against the Nats

Before this season is over the Phillies are going to need Brett Myers to pitch great against great offensive teams. Last night he didn’t get a chance as he faced the Washington Nationals, the worst offensive team in either league.

Meek offense or not, though, Myers gave the Phils his best start in a long time. He held the Nats to four singles and a walk over seven innings and needed just 88 pitches to pitch well into the eighth inning. He probably would have gotten through the eighth, but Utley booted a double-play ball in front of a left-handed hitter in a close game.

We’ll have to forgive Utley, what with winning the game and all. Bad hip or not, he gave the Phils all the runs they would need in the game with a two-run homer in the third. It was his first extra-base hit in 31 at-bats.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 2-1 to improve to 57-49 on the year. The Phillies have won three in a row.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and a walk. The run was unearned. All four hits were singles and he struck out two.

He set down the first six hitters he faced before he grazed Paul Lo Duca with an 0-1 pitch to leadoff the third. Felipe Lopez was next and a ground ball to first. Howard stepped on the bag and Lo Duca stopped in-between first and second and was eventually tagged out. Pitcher Collin Balester singled up the middle for the first hit of the game for the Nats before Willie Harris popped out to end the inning.

He hit Ronnie Belliard with another 0-1 pitch to start the fourth, drilling him in the middle of the back. Ryan Zimmerman hit into a double-play before Austin Kearns grounded to short.

Jesus Flores led off the fifth with a single, but Myers got the next three. Third straight inning the Nats put their leadoff man on base and he never made it to second.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Zimmerman walked to start the seventh. Myers got Kearns and Flores on fly balls before Lastings Milledge smashed a ground ball to third. Bruntlett, who had just entered the game defensively, didn’t field it cleanly. Rollins tried to pick it up but dropped the ball. Zimmerman rounded second and Bruntlett picked it up and threw to second where Zimmerman was tagged out. Awful base-running by Zimmerman gets Myers out of the worst situation he had faced all night.

The mistake on the bases also kept Myers’ pitch count down — he had already thrown 18 pitches in the inning.

Lo Duca led off the eighth with a single. Lopez was next and hit a double-play ball to Utley that Utley booted. With men on first and second nobody out, lefty Ryan Langerhans hit for the pitcher Charlie Manning and Cristian Guzman ran for Lo Duca at second. Romero came in to pitch to Langerhans and Langerhans put down a pretty bunt. Romero got on it quickly and nipped Langerhans at first for the first out as the runners moved to second and third. The lefty Harris was next and chopped a ball to third. Bruntlett threw to first for the second out, but Guzman scored and Lopez moved to third with the Phils’ lead cut to 2-1. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Belliard and got him to ground to second for the third out.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils up 2-1 and set the Nats down in order.

Two perfect innings for the pen coming off of a miserable series and then a day off, accentuating how critical rest (and pitching against terrible offensive teams) can be. Lidge threw 15 pitches and Durbin and Romero five each.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Prior to the game the Phillies put Feliz on the DL and called right-handed hitter Mike Cervenak back up. Dobbs plays third against the righty. Jenkins in right against the righty. Coste catches.

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

Burrell singled with one out in the second. Jenkins was next and hit a ball back up the middle that Lopez fielded and flipped to Belliard at second. Belliard tried to barehand the ball and dropped it. Both runners were safe. Dobbs fouled out to first and Coste flew to left.

Rollins singled to left with one out in the third. Victorino flew to center for the second out before Utley hit a 1-0 pitch out to right to put the Phils up 2-0. It was Utley’s first home run since July 7 against the Mets. Howard followed with a single before Burrell went down swinging for the third out.

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

In the fifth, Victorino singled with two outs and was thrown out stealing second with Utley at the dish.

Burrell singled with two outs in the sixth, but Jenkins struck out to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Myers hit for himself and struck out for the third out. He was up 2-0 and had allowed two singles in seven innings. He had only thrown 65 pitches.

Utley singled with two outs in the eighth but Howard flew to left for the third out.

Bruntlett singled with two outs in the ninth. Coste grounded to third for the third out.

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Utley 2-for-4 with his 26th home run, which was the Phillies’ only extra-base hit in the game.

Howard 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Burrell 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Jenkins 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Just a brutal season for Jenkins and it’s hurting the Phils. Even forgetting the possibility of a trade, though, you’d think the Phils would have a left-handed hitter in their organization that could hit better than 237/290/394 playing almost exclusively against righties. If they don’t they should. Think you need to think about Dobbs in right against righties when Feliz comes back off the DL.

Dobbs 0-for-3.

Coste 0-for-4.

The Phillies didn’t have a walk in the game.

Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.76) faces righty Tim Redding (7-5, 3.98) tonight. In two starts against the Phils this season Redding is 2-0 and has thrown 13 scoreless innings. Burrell, Howard and Rollins are a combined 0-for-17 against him this year. Righties have hit for a higher average against him (.270) this season than lefties (.252). The Phillies have lost five of the last seven games that Moyer has started and Moyer hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of them. He also hasn’t allowed a home run over 26 2/3 innings in his last four starts. Lefties are hitting .203 against him this season after hitting .309 against him in ’07. In 11 starts away from home he’s 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.18 ratio.


Call it a comeback

The Phils put 22 runs on the board in the final two games of their series with the Braves, leaving many fans believing their bats may have finally awoken. Given the way they’ve been pitching, let’s hope so.

Atlanta scored 27 runs in the three-game set and the Phils got more miserable work from the weary pen yesterday — the bullpen threw 15 1/3 innings in the series. In games one and three of the set they allowed 15 runs in ten innings.

Only way to overcome that is to score a whole bunch of runs. And the Phillies did. After coming back from a 9-3 deficit to win on Saturday, the Phils rallied behind five home runs yesterday after trailing 5-0.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves yesterday, winning 12-10 to improve to 56-49 on the season. The Phillies win the series two games two one.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went two innings before being forced from the game by a long rain delay. He allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out one. The Phillies have won both games that Blanton has started, but he’s allowed seven earned runs in eight innings (7.87 ERA).

With one out in the first Yunel Escobar singled to left. Mark Teixeira followed with a walk that moved him to second before Brian McCann ripped a 2-0 pitch into right field for a single. Escobar slid in just ahead of Werth’s throw to put Atlanta up 1-0. Mark Kotsay was next with men on first and third with one out and he doubled to left-center. Teixeira scored to make it 2-0 with McCann holding third. Blanton struck out Jeff Francoeur with men on second and third before Kelly Johnson grounded to first for the third out.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 second.

Eaton started the third after a long delay. Teixeira singled with one out, but McCann grounded into a double-play behind him.

Eaton returned for the fourth. Kotsay led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch before Francoeur struck out for the first out. Kelly Johnson was next and he blasted a 1-0 pitch out to right field to make it 4-0. Infante was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out to left. 5-0. Pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes was next and he doubled to left. Gregor Blanco followed with a walk, but Eaton got Escobar to hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Condrey started the fifth with the game tied at 5-5 and gave up a leadoff single to Teixeira. He got the next two before walking Francoeur. With men on first and second, Johnson grounded to first for the third out.

With the Phils up 6-5, Condrey threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Romero started the seventh, pitching for the fourth straight day. He walked Teixeira with one out but got Corky Miller to hit into a double-play behind Teixeira.

It’s been a brutal couple of days for the Phils in terms of how much they’ve had to use their pen. I’d try pretty hard not to pitch guys four days in a row, though.

Seanez started the eighth with the Phillies up 12-5. Kotsay led off with a single before Francoeur popped to second for the first out. Johnson moved Kotsay to second with a walk before Infante blasted a ball into the corner in left for a double that scored Kotsay and made it 12-6 with Johnson moving to third. Greg Norton was next and hit a ball back to Seanez that the pitcher didn’t handle for an error. It loaded the bases for the lefty Blanco and Madson came in to pitch to him and walked him on five pitches to force in Johnson. 12-7. Escobar popped to third for the second out, but Martin Prado hit for the pitcher Buddy Carlyle and cleared the bases with a three-run double to right that made the score 12-10. Werth made a dive for the ball in right and didn’t get it — he probably would have saved the Phils a run by playing back on it. Corky Miller grounded to third for the third out.

Awful inning for both Seanez and Madson. Seanez got bombed and Madson, a day after walking three hitters in an inning, walks in a run with a six run lead.

Over his last four appearances, Seanez has been charged with six runs on five hits and five walks in two innings.

Lidge started the ninth, pitching for the third straight day. He walked Francoeur with one out, bringing Johnson to the plate as the tying run. Lidge struck out the lefty for the second out before Francoeur took second on defensive indifference with Infante at the plate. Infante grounded to second for the third out.

Long day for a tired pen, forced to throw seven innings. They allow eight runs on nine hits and six walks. Eaton, Seanez and Madson all pitched badly. Eaton threw 42 pitches. Everyone should enjoy the off-day today.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jorge Campillo went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Bruntlett (8) Coste. Bruntlett at third with Feliz still out and surprisingly Dobbs on the bench against the righty. Werth also starts in right against the righty with Jenkins on the bench. Campillo has been tough on lefties, they are hitting .204 against him this season compared to .254 for righties. Coste catches.

Utley singled with two outs in the first. He was running on a 3-2 count when Howard singled into center. Utley tried to score and was thrown out easily to end the inning.

With two outs in the second lefty Jo-Jo Reyes relieved Campillo after a long rain delay and walked Bruntlett. Coste moved Bruntlett to second with a single. Eaton hit for Blanton, who was going to have to leave the game, and drew a walk to load the bases. Rollins struck out looking for the third out.

Would have been nice to use someone other than Eaton with two men on to hit for Blanton. Assuming Feliz cannot hit, Taguchi and Ruiz were two right-handed options the Phillies had on a short bench. Both hit later in the game, but it’s not a lot of right-handed depth on the bench that Manuel gave himself by putting Werth and Bruntlett in the starting lineup.

Victorino was hit by a pitch to start the third. Utley struck out and Howard grounded into a double-play.

The Phils started the fourth down 5-0. Werth walked with one out and Bruntlett struck out behind him. Coste was next and he got the Phillies on the board, hitting a 2-1 pitch out to left-center to cut the Atlanta lead to 5-2. Taguchi hit for Eaton and reached on an infield single. Rollins followed with a walk. It put men on first and second for Victorino and he hit an 0-1 pitch out to left for a three-run homer. Utley flew to center for the third out.

Another pinch-hit for Taguchi, although it wasn’t really a majestic blast. Victorino has six home runs in July and is slugging .609 for the month. He had two home runs coming into July.

Burrell homered with one out in the fifth to put the Phils up 6-5. Werth was hit by a pitch, but Bruntlett struck out and pitcher Julian Tavarez made a circus catch between his legs on a line drive Coste hit back up the middle to end the inning.

Ruiz hit for Condrey to start the sixth and doubled to left. Rollins followed with a single that sent him to third before Victorino singled into center field. Ruiz scored to make it 7-5 with men on first and second for Utley. Utley struck out for the first out of the inning. Rollins and Victorino pulled off a double-steal that put men on second and third with one down. Rollins scored easily to make it 8-5. Victorino and Francoeur’s throw from right arrived at about the same time and Victorino hammered McCann, who dropped the ball and would have to leave the game with the Phils up 9-5. Burrell flew to left for the second out before Werth popped a 3-2 pitch out to left-center, putting the Phils up 11-5. Bruntlett flew to right for the third out.

Rollins homered with two outs in the seventh to make it 12-5. Victorino lined to second for the third out to end the inning.

With the lead cut to 12-10, Utley led off the eighth with a single but was caught stealing (he was safe but didn’t get the call). Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and his seventh home run of the season in the game. He was 4-for-13 in the series and is hitting 271/333/435 for the season.

Victorino was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. 5-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the series. 283/350/431 for the year.

Utley was 2-for-5 and struck out twice. 4-for-12 in the series. 288/368/559 for the year with no extra-base hits in his last 27 at-bats.

Howard 2-for-5 with two RBI. 4-for-12 with a home run in the set. 237/324/504.

Burrell 1-for-5 with a home run. 2-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. 277/400/585.

Werth 1-for-2 with a walk, a home run and two RBI. 2-for-7 in the series and 272/358/485 for the year. Jenkins was 1-for-3 with a walk in the series. 241/295/400.

Bruntlett 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. 0-for-6 with two walks in the series. 234/318/325 for the year. I don’t think it’s a good idea to start him against a righty with Dobbs on the bench. Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the game and 2-for-5 with a huge home run in the series. 313/350/443 for the year.

Coste was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. 5-for-7 in the series, raising his average for July up to .227. 291/340/500 for the year. Ruiz was 1-for-2 with a double in the game and 1-for-5 in the set. 211/309/277 for the year. Seems like he’s picked it up of late, but he’s hitting just .195 in July with one extra-base hit (the double yesterday, which was his first extra-base hit since June 13).

No game today.

Adam Eaton accepted a minor league assignment and JA Happ is likely to be called up, presumably to work as the second left out of the pen.

Pat Gillick says that Utley has a problem with his right hip. Utley says no.


Big bats, big pen help rally Phils past their ace

If the Phillies needed some life from their bats and some help from their bullpen, they got both yesterday. Cole Hamels gave up nine runs in the fourth inning, but the Phils roared back with seven in the fifth. Greg Dobbs capped the rally with a three-run homer that put the Phils up to stay at 10-9. After Hamels couldn’t make it through the fourth, six Phillies’ relievers combined to toss 5 1/3 shutout innings.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves yesterday afternoon, winning 10-9 to improve to 55-49 on the season.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on six hits and three walks. Only four of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He walked Yunel Escobar with one out in the first, but Mark Teixeira hit into a double-play behind him.

Brian McCann led off the second with a single, but Hamels got he next three.

He threw a 1-2-3 third.

The fourth started with the Phils up 3-0. Didn’t end that way. Escobar led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Teixeira. A walk to McCann loaded the bases for Omar Infante. Infante doubled to left and two runs scored. 3-2 with men on second and third. Jeff Francoeur flew to left for the first out and McCann tagged and scored to tie the game at 3-3 with Infante holding second. Martin Prado hit a ground ball to second that Utley didn’t handle for an error. Infante went to third. Mark Kotsay ripped a single into right and Infante scored to make it 4-3. With men on first and second pitcher Mike Hampton hit a ball back to Hamels that Hamels threw into left-center. Odd choice. Prado scored and Kotsay went to third with Atlanta up 5-3. Gregor Blanco was next and put down a beautiful bunt that went passed Hamels and had to be fielded by Utley. Utley had no chance and Blanco had a single. Kotsay scored (6-3) and Hampton went to second. Escobar flew to right for the second out before Teixeira hit an 0-1 pitch out to left-center for a three-run shot that made it 9-3. Seanez came in and got the lefty McCann to pop to second.

Pretty frustrating inning for Hamels with the error by Utley, his own error and the pretty bunt by Blanco. He didn’t respond real well. In the inning he allowed two walks, three singles, a double and a home run. Teixeira’s shot looked like it had put the game out reach in the fourth inning.

Eaton started the fifth, making his first appearance since July 12. Francoeur singled with one out before Prado flew to right for the second. Kotsay singled on a ball behind Rollins, but Rollins threw Francoeur out going for third to end the frame.

Madson started the sixth with the Phils up 10-9. Kelly Johnson led off with a walk. Blanco flew out for the first out before Madson walked Escobar. Teixeira went down looking before McCann walked on four pitches to load the bases with two down. Infante flew to right for the third out.

Durbin pitched the seventh. With one out, Greg Norton hit for pitcher Will Ohman and singled. Kotsay followed with a walk, but Durbin got the next two to end the frame.

Escobar led off the eighth with a single off of Durbin. Romero came in to pitch and set down Teixeira, McCann and Infante to leave him stranded. Great job by Romero against Teixeira and McCann.

Coming off a miserable game on Friday, Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

The pen goes 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and four walks. Madson and Durbin bend but don’t break. Romero pitched for the third straight day, Lidge his second and Durbin his second. Madson threw 27 pitches, Durbin 22. Everyone else was under 15.

Mike Hampton, just off the DL, and not Jo-Jo Reyes, got the start for the Braves. The Phillies’ lineup against the lefty went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Bruntlett (8) Coste. Victorino stays in the two spot against the lefty, maybe because Bruntlett is in the lineup and maybe not. Werth plays right against the lefty. Bruntlett at third for Feliz, who was scratched Friday with back problems. Coste catches, which is unusual for a start made by Hamels (and the results for Hamels weren’t so good).

Rollins led off the first with a single. Victorino and Utley went down behind him before Rollins was caught stealing second to end the inning.

Howard walked to start the second and moved to third when Burrell followed with a double. Werth grounded to third for the first out with the runners holding. Bruntlett was walked intentionally to load the bases and Coste lined a 1-2 pitch into left-center for a single that scored Howard and Burrell and put the Phils up 2-0. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third, but Rollins grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Victorino led off the third with a triple and scored when Utley followed with a sac fly to right. 3-0. Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

Down 9-3 in the fourth, Coste doubled with two outs. Taguchi hit for Seanez and flew to center.

Rollins, Victorino and Utley loaded the bases with singles to start the fifth. Howard singled to center and Rollins and Victorino scored, cutting the lead to 9-5 with men on first and third. Burrell hit a sac fly to center and Utley tagged and scored. 9-6 with one out and a man on first. Werth singled before Bruntlett flew to center for the second out. Coste singled to right and Howard scored to make it 9-7 with Werth moving to third. With righty Blaine Boyer on the mound, Dobbs hit for Eaton and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to put the Phils up 10-9. Rollins tried to bunt for a hit but was thrown out by Boyer to end the inning.

1-2-3 sixth a 1-2-3 seventh.

With one out in the eighth and righty Julian Tavarez pitching for Atlanta, Jenkins hit for Romero and drew a walk. Rollins and Victorino went down behind him.

Rollins was 2-for-5 and started the rally in the fifth.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a triple. He’s slugging .580 in July.

Utley 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a double.

Werth 1-for-4.

Bruntlett 0-for-3 with a walk.

Coste 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Dobbs had the biggest hit of the game, his third home run of the year.

Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.08) faces righty Jorge Campanillo (5-4, 2.83) this afternoon. Opponents are hitting .230 against Campanillo, lefites just .196. The Phillies have hit him hard this year. He’s made four appearances against the Phils this season, two of which are starts, and the Phils are hitting .368 against him. Blanton didn’t pitch well in his Phillies debut, allowing a pair of two-run homers as he gave up five runs in six innings against the Mets on Tuesday.


Lidge spares the Phils the misery of another close loss

The list of tasks on the Phils to-do list is short but daunting: get the hitters hitting and the bullpen getting some people out. Right now they’re not real close on either front.

The Phils scored three runs of fewer for the third straight game last night and the fourth time in five games. Given how badly the bullpen is pitching they’re going to need a lot more than three runs if they want to win a game. Brad Lidge got lit up so dramatically last night it was hard to come away from the game with much besides that on your mind.

Kyle Kendrick and Jair Jurrjens battled in a splendid pitcher’s duel through eight innings. Lidge started the ninth inning down 1-0 and the Braves put up seven runs in the frame, the big blast coming on a Brian McCann grand slam.

The Phillies have now lost five of their last six and each of the five losses has featured a blowup by a different guy in the pen — Seanez, Condrey, Madson, Romero and now Lidge. Durbin is the only guy in the pen to remain unscathed unless you count Eaton as a reliever. Eaton apparently has settled into a new role as team mascot in the roster spot where you’d be looking for a seventh reliever (he has thrown 6 1/3 innings since July 2).

The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, falling 8-2 to drop to 54-49 on the season. They have lost three in a row.

Kyle Kendrick got the start and gave the Phils their second straight great start. He went six innings, allowing a run on seven hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Mark Kotsay singled with one out in the second. Jeff Francoeur followed with a ground ball to third and Kotsay was forced at second for the second out. Kendrick walked Kelly Johnson on four pitches to put men on first and second. Omar Infante was next and hit a rocket of a line drive back up the middle and off Kendrick. It knocked Kendrick’s glove off and Kendrick picked the glove up and looked in it, but the ball had rolled behind him. It loaded the bases for pitcher Jair Jurrjens and Kendrick got him on a ground ball to second to end the frame.

Kendrick set the Braves down in order in the third.

Brian McCann led off the fourth and blasted a 1-0 pitch out to center to put Atlanta up 1-0. Kotsay grounded to first and Jenkins made a nice diving play coming in on a soft liner by Francoeur for the second out. Johnson singled again before Infante grounded to short.

Gregor Blanco doubled to right with one out in the fifth. Yunel Escobar was next and Kendrick hit him with a 1-2 pitch to put men on first and second. Mark Teixeira hit a ground ball to first and Howard fed Kendrick covering for the second out and the runners moved to second and third. Kendrick walked the lefty McCann to load the bases and got the lefty Kotsay to fly to left to end the frame.

McCann is really good, but I hate putting another man on base for a lefty given how hard they hit Kendrick.

Francoeur singled to start the sixth. Kendrick got Johnson and Infante on fly balls before Jurrjens singled to right, moving Francoeur to second. Blanco flew to Burrell on a nice play in foul territory to leave both men stranded.

Romero started the seventh down 1-0 coming off a rough outing against the Mets on Thursday. He struck out Escobar and Teixeira before McCann walked and stole second. Kotsay grounded to first for the third out.

Durbin threw a 1-2-3 eighth to drop his ERA to 1.75.

Lidge started the ninth down 1-0. Switch-hitter Greg Norton hit for Jurrjens to lead off the inning and blasted a double to the base of the wall in right-center. Blanco was next and bunted to third but beat out Dobbs’ throw for a single. With men on first and third the Phils brought the infield in, but Lidge walked Escobar to load the bases. Teixeira was next and he singled into left. Escobar scored and it was 2-0 with the bases still loaded. McCann hit a 1-2 pitch out to right for a grand slam. 6-0. Condrey entered the game and got Kotsay on a pop to Rollins in shallow left field before Kotsay doubled past Burrell in left. Johnson hit one off the wall in center for a double. Francoeur scored and it was 7-0. Infante singled into left and Johnson went to third. Norton grounded to first for the second out and Johnson scored to make it 8-0 with Infante at second. Condrey walked Blanco before Escobar grounded to second for the third out.

The pen went three innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and two walks. Lidge and Condrey were both terrible. Romero threw 23 pitches appearing for the second straight day. Lidge 18, Condrey 16.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Feliz was scratched from the lineup with tightness in the lower back, so Dobbs starts against the righty. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.

Victorino walked with one out in the first. With Utley at the plate he took off for second and McCann’s throw hit him and bounced away, allowing Victorino to go to third. Utley struck out and Howard flew to center.

No joy for Utley with a man on third and one out. Victorino stole second and wound up on third as the count went 1-1.

Dobbs singled with two outs in the second. Ruiz struck out behind him.

1-2-3 third and a 1-2-3 fourth.

With the Phils down 1-0, Jenkins led off the fifth with a single. Dobbs was next and hit into a double-play. Ruiz grounded to third.

Kendrick was due to lead off the sixth having thrown 94 pitches and down 1-0. Taguchi hit for him and struck out. Rollins grounded to third before Victorino singled and stole second. Utley struck out again.

Golly.

They went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Dobbs lined to third on a nice play by Infante for the first out in the eighth. Ruiz hit it hard, too, but Teixeira caught his ball for the second out. Werth hit for Durbin with the righty Jurrjens still on the mound and smashed a 3-1 pitch back through the middle and off the pitcher’s body. Jurrjens jumped on it quickly and threw to first to get Werth to end the inning. Nice play.

Down 8-0 in the ninth, Utley singled with two outs and Howard followed with a home run to left. 8-2. Burrell flew to right to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases.

Utley 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Howard 1-for-4 with his 30th home run.

Burrell 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Jenkins 1-for-3.

Dobbs 1-for-3.

Ruiz 0-for-3.

Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.11) faces lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (3-9, 4.95) this afternoon. Reyes allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings his last time out, Sunday against the Nationals. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last four starts, but opponents are hitting .287 against him for the year. He has a 7.14 ERA in nine starts in Atlanta and a 2.72 ERA in six starts away from Atlanta. Hamels has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. The Phils have scored 12 runs in those games combined.


Mets light the Phils up again and, well, you can’t change lights and stuff

The Phillies ended the day yesterday out of first place in the NL East for the first time since May 31. It’s about time. The way they’ve been playing, hitting particularly, lately, they don’t look like they belong anywhere near first place.

Speaking of stuff you worked hard to earn and then let slip away, Jimmy Rollins worked just about his whole life to become one of the elite players in baseball and somebody that his home town fans at least, almost without exception, have tremendous respect for. And all of the sudden he’s neither. Rollins hasn’t shown up for most of this year and yesterday he got literal with it, arriving late to the park and then criticizing his manager publicly for putting him on the bench. That’s atrocious.

Regardless of the effort he gives it’s not reasonable to expect Rollins to be the best player in baseball, or anything near that, year-after-year. Everyone has the right expect that he’s going to show up and play hard.

Yesterday’s game was pretty miserable. Jamie Moyer was fantastic, holding the Mets to a run on two hits over seven innings. Oliver Perez stymied the Phils all day long, though, striking out 12 and keeping the ball in the strike zone well enough to walk just one. The 2-3-4-5 hitters in the Phillies order combined to go 2-for-14 with ten strikeouts. Werth did connect for a seventh-inning home run that tied the game at 1-1, but Romero gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run double by Delgado.

The bullpen has joined the hitters for the time being as what’s wrong with the Phils. The Phillies have lost four of their last five games. Over those five games the bullpen has thrown to a 6.40 ERA. Each of the four losses has featured a different anti-hero from the pen — Seanez, Condrey, Madson and now Romero.

Long season, though, and it’s not over yet. As bad as yesterday was across the board it’s over now. Today brings a new chance and it will keep doing just that until it doesn’t anymore. There’s a whole bunch of guys on the Phils who could use it.

The Phillies lost to the New York Mets yesterday afternoon, falling 3-1. With the loss the Phils drop to 54-48 on the year. The Mets take the series two games to one.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on two hits and three walks. All three of the hits were singles and he struck out six. His ERA for the season is 3.76.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

In the second, Fernando Tatis singled with two outs. Damion Easley flew to center for the third out.

Jose Reyes walked with two outs in the third and stole second. Nick Evans followed with another walk before David Wright singled into left. Burrell threw home but his throw was terrible and way up the first base line. Reyes scored to put the Mets up 1-0. Evans took third and Burrell was charged with his first error on the season. The call was later changed to take the error away — either way it was a pretty bad throw. Carlos Delgado grounded to second for the third out.

Moyer set the Mets down 1-2-3 in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

Tatis walked with one out in the seventh before Easley popped to second for the second out. Ramon Castro lined a 2-1 pitch into right that a sliding Werth took for the third out.

Romero started the eighth with the game tied at 1-1. Moyer had only thrown 91 pitches but was due to lead off the top of the eighth with the game tied. You have to hit for him. Righty Robinson Cancel hit for Aaron Heilman and singled to left. Reyes bunted Cancel to second before Chavez lined back to Romero for the second out. Romero walked the righty Wright intentionally to put men on first and second for the lefty Delgado. Delgado hit a 2-2 pitch into the left field corner for a double that scored both runners and put the Mets up 3-1. As the throw came to the plate, Delgado tried to advance to third and was thrown out to end the inning.

With Romero the only lefty in the Phillies pen you have to leave him in to pitch to Delgado, even if it means putting Wright on intentionally.

Romero threw 18 pitches.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Oliver Perez went (1) Bruntlett (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Rollins was a late scratch, so Bruntlett played short and hit leadoff. Again Utley second, Burrell third and Howard fourth. Werth in right against the lefty and hitting fifth. Coste catches with Victorino again dropped in the order but ahead of Feliz. I like Utley, Burrell, Howard 2-3-4 a lot (even though they aren’t doing anything). Bruntlett had a great game but shouldn’t hit leadoff — I think it’s got to be Werth and if not Werth Victorino.

Burrell singled to left with two outs in the first but Howard struck out behind him.

Victorino reached on an infield single with one out in the second. Feliz popped to short and Coste struck out swinging.

Bruntlett singled to left with one out in the third. Utley struck out and Burrell flew to center.

Perez struck out Howard and Werth in a 1-2-3 fourth.

And Coste and Moyer in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Bruntlett led off the sixth with a double to left and Utley moved him to third with a ground out. Burrell flew to left and Bruntlett had to hold. Howard struck out to leave Bruntlett stranded.

Burrell fails to bring the runner in from third with less than two outs.

Werth led off the seventh and got ahead 2-0 before he hit one out to center, tying the game at 1-1. It was the first run that the Phillies had scored against Oliver Perez in 24 1/3 innings this season. Victorino, Feliz and Coste went in order behind him.

With the game still tied at 1-1 in the eighth, Moyer was due to lead off. Taguchi hit for him and grounded to short. Glad they hit for Moyer despite the results. Bruntlett was next and blasted a ball off the wall in left for another double. Utley struck out and the lefty Perez walked Burrell intentionally. Howard was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Righty Aaron Heilman came in to pitch to Werth and Werth stayed in with Dobbs and Jenkins on the bench. Werth got behind 0-2 before he flew to center for the third out.

Jenkins 4-for-12 with a home run against Heilman in his career. Dobbs 1-for-4. Werth 3-for-8 and had driven in the Phillies’ only run in the game with a home run. Coming into the game righties hitting 197/295/254 against Heilman on the season, lefties 312/413/610. Think you gotta have a lefty there.

Billy Wagner came on in the ninth to protect a 3-1 lead. He got the first two before Coste singled to left. Ruiz ran for Coste at first and Rollins hit for Romero and grounded to third to end the game.

Bruntlett was 3-for-4 with two doubles in the game and 3-for-5 in the series. He’s hitting 243/321/338 for the season. Rollins was 0-for-1 in the game and 2-for-10 with two doubles in the series. 269/332/430.

Fantastic job by Bruntlett.

Utley was 0-for-4, struck out three times and left three men on base. 0-for-12 with a walk in the set. 287/370/566 for the year. 243/309/378 in July.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-10 with a double and three walks in the series. 281/408/588 for the year.

Howard was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. 2-for-12 in the series. No walks in his last 22 at-bats. 234/322/501 for the year.

Werth was 1-for-4 with his 13th home run. 3-for-8 with a walk in the series. 272/355/478. Jenkins was 1-for-3 with a home run in the series. He’s hitting 240/292/401 for the year. 242/306/545 in July — it’s not time for the Phils to give up on Jenkins.

Victorino 1-for-4. 4-for-12 with two home runs in the series. 278/345/417 for the year.

Feliz was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in the series. 256/304/424 for the year. 1-for-21 with nine strikeouts since the All-Star break. Kinda hoping he starts catching a ride to the yard with J-Roll.

Coste was 1-for-4 and struck out twice. 1-for-5 in the series. 274/326/469 for the year. He’s hitting 135/135/189 in July. He doesn’t have a walk in his last 49 at-bats. Ruiz was 3-for-7 with three singles and a walk in the series. He’s hitting 212/311/274 for the year.

Kyle Kendrick (8-4, 4.87) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (9-5, 3.22) tonight. Coming off a string of three starts where he did not allow an earned run, Jurrjens has allowed ten earned runs in his last 19 1/3 innings (4.66). Over his last six starts he’s thrown 41 innings and allowed just three home runs, all of which were hit by the Phillies on July 3 in Atlanta. Utley, Howard and Feliz all homered off of him in that game. Kendrick got hammered by the Fish on Saturday, allowing seven runs on ten hits, including a career-high three home runs, in 4 1/3 innings. Lefties are hitting .326 against him for the year and have hit nine of the 15 home runs he has allowed. He’s made three starts against the Braves this year and is 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.62 ratio. In 17 1/3 innings against the Braves he’s walked 11.


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