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.
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.