The task facing the Phillies last night was a bit daunting — try to beat the Mets with Kyle Kendrick facing Johan Santana coming off a game where the Phils had called on their pen to thrown ten innings. They almost pulled it off. They led 3-2 with two outs and nobody on in the eighth, but after Eyre had already pitched two innings in the game and Romero had thrown three days straight, Manuel left Seanez in to face the lefty Delgado. Delgado ripped a ball out the opposite way and the floodgates opened after that as the Mets scored four runs in the frame and held on for the win.
It was a tough loss for a Phillies’ fan and it’s hard not to play what-if. Couldn’t Romero have come in just to face one batter (Delgado)? But the core of the pen for the Phils, Madson, Durbin, Romero and Lidge, are going to be key down the stretch. You need those guys rested and you can’t have it both ways — they can’t both rested and pitching every day. Durbin and Madson are both in the top ten in all of baseball in innings pitched as a reliever. It’s hard to know how tired and hurting any of that group are and nobody who knows is going to tell you. Lidge did make an appearance last night and his results were a bit worrisome. He faced four hitters and allowed a double, a single and a walk and needed a nice play from Utley to get the one out he recorded.
The Phillies got two big swings against Santana, a home run from Howard and one from Werth. But, overall, the offense missed some opportunities as the Phils put their leadoff man on base four innings in a row in the middle of the game and failed to score in any of them.
The Phillies fell to the New York Mets last night, losing 6-3 to drop to 73-60 on the year. They fall into second place in the NL East, a half game behind New York. The Phils have won eight of their last ten.
Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out one.
Kendrick pitched okay last night, but the Phils need more from him. He hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last four starts.
Jose Reyes led off the first with a single to right. Luis Castillo flew to left for the first out before David Wright grounded out to third with Reyes moving to second. Carlos Delgado singled into right and Reyes scored, putting the Mets up 1-0. Carlos Beltran grounded to short to end the frame.
Ryan Church dumped a single into left-center to start the second with the Phils up 2-1. Kendrick got behind Daniel Murphy 3-0, but came back to strike him out in the ninth pitch of the at-bat for the first out. Brian Schneider grounded to second for the second out with Church moving to third. The pitcher Johan Santana went down on a ground ball to Utley to leave Church at third.
Kendrick had thrown 42 pitches through two innings.
Reyes led off the third with a single. Castillo looped a ball into shallow left-center that Victorino caught after a long run. Reyes was way around second and was doubled off easily. Wright popped to Howard for the third out. Seventeen more pitches for Kendrick, though. He got behind Reyes 2-0, Castillo 2-0 and Wright 3-0.
With one out in the fourth, Beltran singled to center and Church followed with a walk. It put men on first and second for Murphy and Murphy flew to center for the second out. Schneider grounded to first for the third out.
Castillo singled to right with two outs in the fifth. Wright popped to second for the third out.
Delgado led off the sixth and lined a 2-2 pitch out to right, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-2. Beltran followed with a single and Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Church. Eyre struck out Church and got Murphy to hit into a double-play behind him.
Eyre returned for the seventh and struck out Schneider and Nick Evans, hitting for Santana, as he set the Mets down in order.
Seanez started the eighth. He got Castillo and Wright. Romero had thrown three days in a row, so Seanez stayed in to pitch to Delgado and Delgado smoked a 1-0 pitch out to left. 3-3. Beltran hit a soft ground ball to third that Feliz charged and tried to barehand, but he dropped the ball and Beltran was safe with an infield single. With the lefty Church at the plate, Lidge came into the game. Beltran stole second without a throw and Lidge put Church on intentionally. Murphy pounded a double into right and Beltran scored from second, putting the Mets up 4-3 with two outs and men on second and third. Schneider was next and he blooped a ball over Feliz’s head and just fair. Both runners scored and it was 6-3. Damion Easley hit for pitcher Brian Stokes and hit a ball back up the middle. Utley made a diving play to knock it down and flip to Rollins for the third out.
Four runs after the Phils had two outs and the bases empty. Murphy and Delgado smoked the ball. Beltran and Schneider didn’t. Still, Lidge wasn’t exactly lights out. Murphy smoked a double, Schneider singled and Easley would have had a hit without the nice play by Utley.
23-year-old righty Andrew Carpenter made his major league debut in the ninth. Carpenter was called up before the game with Andy Tracy designated for assignment. Reyes led off with a single to left and Castillo bunted him to second. Wright struck out on a ball in the dirt that Coste blocked. Coste threw to first to get Wright for the second out as Reyes moved to third. Beltran flew to left for the third out.
Tough night for the pen. They went four innings, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks. Seanez was given a tough job, trying to go through Castillo, Wright and especially Delgado. Eyre was fantastic again. Carpenter threw 19 pitches, Eyre 18, Seanez and Lidge 12 each.
The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Johan Santana went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. I think you need to hit Werth fifth against a lefty with those guys in the lineup and Rollins-Utley-Burrell-Howard hitting one through four. Werth is a better hitter than Victorino against lefties and would break up three righties in a row six-seven-eight. Coste catches.
The Phillies’ bench, last night consisting of Taguchi, Bruntlett, Ruiz and Dobbs, probably isn’t inspiring a lot of fear in much of anyone these days. The Phillies could show ‘em the tape of Bruntlett from Tuesday night, but I don’t think that’s going to work as a long-term solution.
Rollins reached on an infield single to start the first with the Phils down 1-0. Utley flew to right and Burrell struck out before Rollins stole second. Howard got behind 1-2 before he hit the eighth pitch of his at-bat out to left, putting the Phils up 2-1. Victorino struck out for the third out.
Werth led off the second and got behind 0-2, but Santana threw a 1-2 fastball over the middle of the plate and Werth hammered it out to left. 3-1 Phils. Feliz grounded to short, Coste grounded to first and Kendrick struck out to end the inning.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.
Howard led off the fourth with a walk, but Victorino hit into a double-play behind him and Werth flew to left.
Feliz singled to start the fifth. Coste flew to left. Kendrick hit for himself and tried to bunt and struck out for the second out. A walk to Rollins put men on first and second, but Utley grounded to second to leave both men stranded.
After hitting for himself in the bottom of the fifth, Kendrick faced two batters in the top of the sixth. Delgado homered and Beltran singled. The Phils had a short bench for the game after replacing Tracy with Carpenter on the roster.
Burrell doubled to left to start the sixth and Howard walked behind him. Victorino struck out, Werth popped to first and Feliz struck out.
Coste started the seventh with a single. With righty Brian Stokes on the mound for the Mets, Dobbs hit for Eyre and hit into a double-play. Rollins walked and stole second, leaving first base open for Stokes to walk the lefty Utley intentionally to pitch to Burrell. Burrell grounded to third to end the inning.
For the Phillies it was the fourth straight inning they had gotten their leadoff man on base but failed to score.
Down 6-3, they went 1-2-3 in the eighth.
And 1-2-3 in the ninth.
Rollins was 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases in the game. 6-for-9 with a double and a home run in the series. He stole five bases in the two-game set. 269/337/436 for the year. 9-for-his-last-12 with four extra-base hits.
Utley 0-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-7 with three walks in the set. 287/376/552.
Burrell 1-for-4 with a double. 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series. 261/381/539. 184/294/379 for August.
Howard was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer and two walks. 2-for-8 with two home runs and three walks in the series. 228/320/483 for the year.
Victorino 0-for-4 and struck out twice last night. 1-for-11 with a triple in the series. 286/350/443. He’s hitting 231/259/346 in 26 at-bats as a five-hitter.
Werth was 1-for-4 with his 18th home run. 4-for-9 with two walks in the series. 271/367/490.
Feliz was 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-6 in the series. 258/303/425.
Coste 1-for-4. 5-for-8 with a double in the series. 9-for-his-last-23. 283/333/463. Ruiz was 1-for-5 in the series but did not play last night. He’s hitting 221/319/291 for the year.
Bruntlett didn’t play last night but helped the Phils win the first game of the series. He was 2-for-2 with a double in the set and is hitting 222/306/303 for the season.
Cole Hamels (11-8, 3.20) faces righty Ryan Dempster (15-5, 2.85) tonight in Chicago. Dempster has allowed two runs or fewer in seven straight starts. In seven starts since the All-Star break he’s 5-1 with a 1.76 ERA and a 1.13 ratio. He’s allowed just three home runs to right-handed hitters this year. Hamels has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts. He has walked just four batters in 34 1/3 innings over his last five starts.