For the second game in a row the eighth inning didn’t go real well for the Phillies. After the pen entered the eighth on Wednesday with a 3-2 lead and gave up four, last night the Phils led 4-1 going into the eighth and gave up five. There was a big difference between the two games, though: On Wednesday, the Phils tried to piece their pen together a day after the bullpen had tossed ten innings. Last night they got to use the guys they wanted to use and Madson and Durbin didn’t get the job done.
Madson threw seven pitches in the game, didn’t get an out and was charged with three runs. Durbin faced four hitters. They went walk, grand slam, fly out, single. The duo of Madson and Durbin, along with Romero and Lidge, who was hit hard on Wednesday, are the guys in the pen the Phils aren’t going to be able to do without down the stretch.
Four runs from the offense. The hitters do have a legitimate gripe, getting Santana, Dempster, Harden and Zambrano over a five-game stretch. They can gripe if they want, but what they need to do is hit. Not to be forgotten is that despite recent signs of life from the offense, they haven’t done much this month against even weaker pitchers. The Phils are tenth in the NL in runs scored for August.
One guy they especially need to hit is new three-hitter Pat Burrell. 1-for-his-last-21 and hitting 174/280/359 for the month.
The Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs last night, falling 6-4 to drop to 73-61 on the year. They have lost two in a row and drop to a full game behind the Mets in the NL East.
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.
Derrek Lee singled with two outs in the first, but Hamels got Aramis Ramirez to pop to second for the third out.
He threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.
Lee singled again with one out in the fourth with the game still tied at zero. Ramirez flew to right for the second out. Hamels struck Geovany Soto for the third out.
Hamels started the fifth up 1-0. Kosuke Fukudomo reached on an infield single with one out. Mark DeRosa hit a ball into the right field corner. Werth wrestled with the ivy and DeRosa wound up with a triple. Fukudome scored to tie the game at 1-1. With a man on third and one out, Hamels struck the pitcher Ryan Dempster out on three pitches. Alfonso Soriano popped to Rollins for the third out.
Up 4-1 in the sixth he set the Cubs down on three fly balls.
Soto led off the seventh with a single, but Hamels got the next three hitters behind him.
Madson started the eighth up 4-1. Lefty Mike Fontentot hit for pitcher Bob Howry and hit a 1-0 pitch out to center. 4-2. Soriano followed with a double to center and moved to third when Theriot followed with a single to right. Durbin relieved Madson and walked Lee on five pitches to load the bases. Ramirez blasted a 1-0 pitch way out to center, Victorino didn’t even watch, for a grand slam that put Chicago up to stay at 6-4. Soto flew to center for the first out before Reed Johnson singled to left. Romero relieved Johnson and walked Fukudome. It put men on first and second for DeRosa, but Johnson was caught off second and Romero threw to Feliz to apply the tag for the second out. DeRosa struck out to end the inning.
One inning, five runs for the bullpen. Five hits and two walks. Madson and Durbin were both terrible, Romero okay. None of them threw more than 11 pitches.
The Phillies’ lineup against righty Ryan Dempster went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth in right with Jenkins on the DL. Feliz at third against the righty with Dobbs on the bench.
Utley doubled with one out in the second and went to third on a ground out by Burrell. Howard walked to put men on first and third and Victorino delivered a two-out hit, a single into center. Utley scored to put the Phillies up 1-0. Werth followed with a walk before Feliz struck out to end the frame.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second.
Utley started the third with a ground ball to third that DeRosa didn’t handle for an error, but Burrell hit into a double-play behind him. Howard went down swinging.
Werth doubled with one out in the fourth. Feliz popped to second for the second out before Ruiz walked. Hamels struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.
Utley singled with one out in the fifth. Burrell struck out behind him. Howard followed with a double to right, but a strikeout by Victorino left both men stranded.
Werth doubled again to start the sixth. Feliz followed with a walk. Ruiz was next and he pulled a 1-1 pitch into left. Werth scored from second to put the Phillies up 2-1 with Feliz holding at second. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third for the first out. Rollins hit a fly ball to left deep enough to advance each of the runners a base. Feliz scored and it was 3-1 with two down and Ruiz on third. Utley singled to left and Ruiz scored. 4-1. Burrell flew to left to end the frame.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
And 1-2-3 in the eighth. Dobbs hit for Hamels with two outs and nobody on and grounded to first.
Down 6-4 in the ninth, Rollins led off with a single to left. It brought the tying run to the plate three times, but Utley and Burrell both flew to center and Howard popped to third.
Rollins was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Utley 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
Burrell 0-for-5 with a strikeout and left five men on base. He’s 1-for-his-last-21 over the last four games.
Howard 1-for-4 with a walk.
Victorino 1-for-4 with an RBI. Among the 69 NL players with 25 plate appearances as a five-hitter, Victorino’s .591 OPS (233/258/333) is 62nd-best.
Werth 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk. He’s 7-for-his-last-14 and hitting 288/413/521 in August.
Feliz 0-for-3 with a walk.
Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.75) faces righty Rich Harden (9-2, 2.00) this afternoon. Harden is 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA and an 0.86 ratio in eight starts since joining the Cubs. Overall, opponents are hitting .189 against him on the season. He faced the Phillies on June 26 of this year while with Oakland and held the Phils to two hits in eight shutout innings while striking out 11. The game was well worth it for inspiring a gem of a Manuel quote: “We need to be more focused or something.” Blanton is 1-0 with a 4.03 ERA in seven starts for the Phillies. Righties are still hitting him hard for the season (.310).
The Phils appear to have acquired Matt Stairs. The 40-year-old left-handed batter Stairs hit 250/342/394 in 320 at-bats for the Blue Jays this season. His .394 slugging percentage is his worst mark for any season in which he’s had more than 30 at-bats. He has not played the outfield a lot this season, making just nine appearances in left and six in right. Against righties, his 251/350/394 line for the season is worse than Werth’s 266/379/427.
I will be curious to see how the Phils use Stairs — if they put him in the outfield or just use him as a bat off the bench. I would guess he’s a really miserable defensive outfielder at this point. He’s still a good guy to have around, especially given how weak the Phillies’ bench has been of late. Werth has been fantastic of late, but he’s about to pass his career high in plate appearances and I think you have to be careful about the possibility of him wearing down if he’s used everyday the rest of the way. I would love to see the Phils use Dobbs in right sometimes against righties — we’ll see if the addition of Stairs to the bench might make them more willing to do that. Assuming Jenkins does come back and gets regular starts in right, the Stairs addition still strengthens the bench.