Archive for August, 2008

LA Story rewrite a hit with Philadelphia audiences

If Cole Hamels survives the shock everything will be just fine. After scoring a total of eight runs in his previous four starts, the Phils put nine on the board as they topped the Dodgers yesterday afternoon. Pat Burrell led the offense with five RBI.

Coming into the game Burrell had four RBI over his last 60 at-bats.

A week after being swept in a four-game set by the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Phils have scored 17 runs while taking the first two games of the four-game set in Philadelphia. The slumping core of the Phillies’ offense has left their mark on the series so far — Rollins, Utley, Burrell and Howard have combined to go 9-for-31 with three homers, four walks and a pair of doubles. They have driven in ten runs over the last two games. In yesterday’s game they scored eight of the nine runs put up by the Phils.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday afternoon, winning 9-2 to improve to 70-59 on the season. With a loss by the Mets the Phils trail New York by 1 1/2 games in the NL East.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second with a 3-0 lead and set the Dodgers down in order again.

James Loney led off the third with a double. Russell Martin was next and he hit the first pitch of his at-bat out to left, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-2. The only two extra-base hits that Hamels would allow in the game came on back-to-back pitches. He got the next three.

Manny Ramirez singled to center with one out in the fourth. Hamels struck Normar Garciaparra out swinging for the second out before Casey Blake singled to left and Manny moved to second. Hamels got Loney to ground back to the mound for the third out.

The pitcher Clayton Kershaw singled with one out in the fifth. Matt Kemp lined softly to second and Andre Ethier flew to right to end the frame.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth with the Phils up 6-2.

And a 1-2-3 seventh up 9-2.

Eyre pitched the eighth after the Phillies hit for Hamels in the bottom of the seventh. Hamels had thrown 97 pitches. Juan Pierre led off with a ground ball to second that Utley didn’t handle for an error, but Eyre got the next three. He struck out Ethier and Jeff Kent after getting Kemp to ground to third.

Eyre has a 0.00 ERA in his five appearances with the Phils. In four innings he has allowed two hits and a walk.

Seanez needed four pitches to throw a 1-2-3 ninth with a 9-2 lead.

Glad to see Manuel use the bottom of his pen this time. Also glad to see him take Hamels out after seven. Two scoreless innings for the pen in which they didn’t allow a hit or a walk and struck out two. Eyre threw 15 pitches after throwing 13 pitches the night before.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Clayton Kershaw went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Jenkins went on the DL with a right hip problem after last night’s game (and Andy Tracy was called up from Triple-A), but Werth would have been in right against the lefty anyway. Feliz back at third against the lefty. Coste catches after the big game on Friday. Again it’s the Phillies’ four best hitters 1-2-3-4 with Victorino hitting fifth. Love the top of the new lineup, but I think I would hit Werth fifth against a lefty.

Rollins was hit by a pitch to start the first and moved to second on a single by Utley. Burrell hit an 0-1 pitch out to left for his 30th home run of the season, putting the Phils up 3-0. Howard struck out and Victorino grounded out before Werth reached on an infield single, but Feliz flew to center to leave him stranded.

1-2-3 in the second.

Utley led off the third with a walk, but the Phillies went in order behind him.

Feliz singled with one out in the fourth, but Coste and Hamels both struck out.

Up 3-2 in the fifth, Rollins led off with a single and a walk by Utley put men on first and second. Burrell hit a high fly ball to center. Kemp must have lost it in the sun, because he came in too far and the ball was over his head. Burrell was given a double and Rollins scored from second to make it 4-2. Howard followed with a double to center that scored Burrell and Utley and made it 6-2. Victorino bunted Howard to third for the first out. Werth drew a walk, but Feliz struck out and Coste grounded to second for the third out.

Feliz can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs.

Hamels was hit in the leg by a 1-2 pitch to start the sixth. A ground out by Rollins moved him to second before Utley singled to right. It put men on first and third for Burrell and Burrell singled to center. Hamels scored to make it 7-2 and Utley went to second. A walk to Howard loaded the bases for Victorino. Victorino singled to right, scoring Utley and Burrell. 9-2. With men on first and third and one out, Werth and Feliz both struck out.

This time it was Werth who didn’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Taguchi hit for Hamels with one out and flew to center. The bench sure looks a little meek with Jenkins out — Taguchi, Dobbs, Bruntlett, Andy Tracy and Ruiz in this game. The lefty Tracy had solid numbers at Triple-A this season, 288/377/516 with 21 homers in 417 at-bats. He turns 35 in December and has a career 224/302/418 line in 263 at-bats in the majors. He hit 11 home runs in 192 at-bats for the Expos in 2000.

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

Rollins was 1-for-4 and scored two runs.

Utley 2-for-3 with two walks.

Burrell 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBI.

Howard 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Victorino 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Feliz 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and five men left on base.

Coste 0-for-4.

Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.87) faces righty Hiroki Kuroda (7-9, 3.97) tonight in game three of the four-game set. In three of his last four starts Kuroda has gone at least seven innings and allowed just one run. He’s pitched much better at home than away this season, going 5-2 with a 3.32 and an 0.95 ratio in 12 starts at home and 2-7 with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.54 ratio away. He faced the Phils on August 14 and got the win as he allowed a run on two hits over seven innings while striking out seven. He didn’t walk a batter in that game. Utley and Werth had the hits against him, both doubles. Blanton is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.41 ratio in six starts for the Phillies. Overall for the season righties are hitting .311 against him and lefties just .252.

(Note: this post previously suggested the current series between the Phils and Dodgers was three games. It’s not. Game four is Monday).


East Coste gangsta

The Phillies have quietly, very, very, quietly, won four of five and five of their last seven. It sure doesn’t seem that way. It seems like every game, every inning has been a hopeless battle to score runs. Last night they finally broke one open, though. Utley and Howard, both slogging through a tough August, each homered. But it was Chris Coste who stole the show. Coste had four RBI in the game and put the Phils up to stay with a three-run homer in the sixth.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning 8-1 to improve to 69-59 on the year. The win comes a week after the Phils were swept by the Dodgers in a four-game set in LA.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out three.

Nice to see Kendrick bounce back coming off of back-to-back miserable starts.

Kendrick struck Matt Kemp out for the first out of the game, but Andre Ethier was next and the lefty hit a 3-1 pitch out to left to put LA up 1-0. Jeff Kent popped to third before Kendrick walked Manny Ramirez. James Loney hit a ball hard to right, but Jenkins took it at the wall to end the frame.

Kendrick hit Casey Blake with two outs in the second. Blake went to second on a wild pitch before the pitcher Greg Maddux struck out swinging to leave him stranded.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 third.

James Loney doubled with one out in the fourth, but Kendrick got the next two to leave him stranded.

Up 2-1 in the fifth, Kendrick set the Dodgers down in order.

He got the first two in the sixth with a 3-1 lead before he walked Manny again. Loney moved Manny to second with a single. It put men on first and second with two down for Russell Martin and Manuel called on Durbin to pitch to Martin. Martin flew to right for the third out.

Durbin pitched the seventh with a 7-1 lead. He got the first two before Mark Sweeney hit for the pitcher Tanyon Sturtze and singled. Kemp flew to right for the third out.

Madson pitched the eighth with an 8-1 lead coming off a bad night on Thursday. He set LA down 1-2-3, striking Manny out swinging for the third out.

Eyre pitched the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Loney before he struck out Pablo Ozuna for the first out. Nomar Garciaparra hit into a double-play to end the game.

The pen gives the Phils 3 1/3 scoreless frames in relief of Kendrick. They allowed two hits and didn’t walk a batter. Madson pitches the eighth with an 8-1 lead and Durbin hits for himself and comes back to pitch the seventh with the Phils up 7-1. Would have been nice to give those guys a break, they both pitched Thursday, and give Seanez or Condrey a chance. The game was close when Durbin entered in the sixth, but I’m not as sure they needed him to come back for the seventh up six. Condrey had thrown 24 pitches on Thursday.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Greg Maddux went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Dobbs (7) Jenkins (8) Coste. Utley moves up to second with Burrell moving from fifth to third. Victorino up to fifth from sixth. Dobbs plays third against the righty. Jenkins returns to the starting lineup in right. Coste catches after Ruiz homered the night before. I love that lineup one through four. Victorino isn’t really an ideal five hitter, though.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first and again in the second.

In the third, Jenkins led off with an infield single but Coste hit into a double-play behind him. Kendrick struck out for the third out. Jenkins may have hurt himself running out his infield single to third — he left the game with a strained right hip in the top of the fourth with Werth entering to play right.

The Phils started the fourth down 1-0. Rollins grounded to first and Utley struck out before Burrell fouled off five pitches in a ten-pitch at-bat before drawing a walk. Howard was next and got ahead 2-0 before he hit one out the opposite way to put the Phils up 2-1. Victorino flew to left for the third out.

Dobbs led off the fifth with a single. Martin tried to pick him off first but threw the ball away, allowing Dobbs to go to second. A single from Werth moved Dobbs to third. Coste was next and blasted a single back through the middle. Dobbs scored to make it 3-1. Kendrick bunted the runners to second and third for the first out. Rollins flew to left and the runners had to hold. Utley struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch.

No more for the Phils with men on second and third and one out. Rollins can’t bring the runner in from third with one out.

Burrell led off the sixth with a single to left. Howard flew out for the first out before Victorino moved Burrell to second with a single to right. A single by Dobbs loaded the bases for Werth and Werth hit a fly ball to right deep enough for Burrell to tag and score and put the Phils up 4-1. Coste broke the game open by hammering a 1-1 pitch out to left. 7-1. Durbin hit for himself and popped to second.

Utley homered to center with one out in the seventh to make it 8-1. Burrell and Howard went down behind him.

Werth walked with two outs in the eighth. Coste hit it hard to third, but Blake threw him out from his knees to end the inning.

Rollins was 0-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Dobbs 2-for-3.

Jenkins 1-for-1. Werth 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI.

Coste 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.

Cole Hamels (10-8, 3.22) faces lefty Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 3.59) this afternoon. The 20-year-old Kershaw has made 14 starts for the Dodgers this season including one against the Phillies earlier this month. On August 12 he allowed three runs in six innings against the Phils. Utley homered against him in that game. Lefties have hit just .217 against him this season, righties .278 with a 1.63 ratio. He has allowed one run or zero runs in four of his last five starts. Hamels faced Kershaw in the August 12 game and outpitched him, allowing two runs over seven innings (LA won the game 4-3 as Durbin and Romero both allowed runs late). Over his last three starts Hamels hasn’t allowed a home run and has walked just three in 21 1/3 innings.


Madson gives thousands of grateful Phillies fans a chance to worry about something besides the offense

With Tom Gordon out for the season, Ryan Madson is getting a chance to be the eighth inning guy for the Phils. And he’s been really good this month. Until last night. Madson started the eighth with a 3-2 lead and faced five right-handed hitters. Four of them got hits and one of them gave the Phils an out with a bunt.

The Nats scored twice in the inning and won 4-3.

And now, on to the offense. It’s still bad. Utley hit the ball well last night and seems like he might be just about out of his two-month funk. Everybody else, not so much (Werth, Victorino and Dobbs are just about the only exceptions).

The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals last night, falling 4-3 to drop to 68-59 on the season. The Phillies win the series two games to one but fall 2 1/2 games behind the Mets in the NL East.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. Only one of the runs was earned. All five hits were singles. He struck out four.

His 3.54 ERA is 15th-best in the NL. The Phillies have scored four or fewer runs in eight of the last ten games that he has started.

Ryan Zimmerman singled with two outs in the first, but Lastings Milledge flew to center for the third out.

Moyer set Washington down 1-2-3 in the second and in the third.

In the fourth, Milledge walked with two outs. Ronnie Belliard flew to left for the third out.

Willie Harris walked with two outs in the fifth. Pitcher Tim Redding grounded to first to leave him stranded.

Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman started the sixth with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second for Zimmerman, but Moyer got him looking at a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Milledge was next and hit a ground ball to third. Feliz threw to second. Guzman came into the bag hard, but was forced for the second out. Utley’s relay to first went off the tip of Howard’s glove. Howard should have caught the ball, but Utley got the error and it allowed Hernandez to score and put the Nats up 1-0. Milledge went to second on the error, but Belliard grounded to short for the third out.

Austin Kearns singled with one out in the seventh and the game tied at 1-1. Harris was next and he singled into right. Werth threw to third — Kearns was safe and the throw allowed Harris to go to second. Righty Aaron Boone hit for Redding and popped to Howard for the first out. Hernandez was next and Moyer did everything he could to get into his head. Twice he asked for a new ball and the home plate ump came out to talk to him about it. Hernandez won the battle, though. He hit a 2-2 pitch up the middle. Rollins fielded it moving to his right, but whirled to throw to first and dropped the ball. Hernandez had a single and Kearns scored to put Washington up 2-1. Harris went to third. Durbin came into the game and got Guzman to ground to first to end the frame.

Madson started the eighth with the Phillies up 3-2. Zimmerman led off and ripped a ball down the third base line, off the bag and high into the air. Bruntlett, just in the game after Dobbs hit for Feliz in the seventh, wisely didn’t make a throw and Zimmerman had a single. Milledge was next and blooped a single to right that moved Zimmerman to second. Belliard bunted the runners to second and third for the first out. Jesus Flores was next and hit a ball back up the middle for a single. Utley made a diving stop behind the bag to keep Milledge from scoring, but Zimmerman scored to make it 3-3. With men on first and third and one down, Kearns lined a single over short. Milledge scored and it was 4-3 with men on first and second. Pete Orr ran for Flores at second and Romero entered the game and struck out Harris for the second out. Righty Will Nieves hit for pitcher Saul Rivera and Romero struck him out to end the frame.

Coming into the game Madson had been charged with one run in 9 1/3 innings over his last nine appearances. He had allowed three hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Condrey started the ninth with the Phils still down a run. Guzman reached on an infield single with one out. Zimmerman was next and chopped a ball to third that went in and out of Bruntlett’s glove for an error, the fourth in two games for the Phils. Milledge chopped a ball slowly back to Condrey and Condrey took the out at first as the runners moved to second and third. Belliard was next and Condrey walked the righty intentionally with the pitcher behind him to load the bases. The pitcher Joel Hanrahan hit for himself and grounded softly to second to end the frame.

I thinking walking the righty Belliard is just kooky with the lefty Langerhans looming on the bench. Ditto with leaving Hanrahan in to hit for himself. Belliard is really hot, but was 0-for-3 in the game. Worked out for the Phillies in the top of the ninth and for the Nationals in the bottom of the ninth.

The pen went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. Everyone but Madson pitched fine and Romero was particularly impressive. Condrey threw 24 pitches. Everyone else was 11 or fewer.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Tim Redding went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth again in right against the righty with Jenkins (and Dobbs) on the bench. Jenkins came into the game 12-for-21 with five doubles and a home run against Redding. Feliz returns to the lineup after a stint on the DL. Ruiz catches.

Utley walked with two outs in the first, but Howard struck out behind him.

Burrell dumped a single into right to start the second, but the Phils went in order behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third, fourth and fifth.

Down 1-0 in the sixth, Moyer hit for himself to start the inning and struck out. Rollins flew to center before Werth doubled to right. Utley was next and he laced an 0-1 pitch back through the middle for a single that scored Werth and tied the game at 1-1. Howard grounded to the shortstop Guzman, playing where you would expect the second baseman, to end the inning.

The Phils started the seventh down 2-1. With one out, Victorino chopped a ball to third. Zimmerman charged and fielded, but his throw to first was wild and went up the right field line. Victorino went to third on the error. With the righty Saul Rivera on the mound, Dobbs hit for Feliz and the Nats brought their infield in. Dobbs got behind 1-2 and then chopped a ball to second, where Henandez made a great play diving to his right to field the ball and flip to first. Victorino scored from third to tie the game at 2-2. Ruiz was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left-center to put the Phils up 3-2. Jenkins hit for Durbin and doubled to left. Rollins grounded to short for the third out.

Great job by Victorino on the bases, getting to third on a chopper to third and then scoring on the ground ball by Dobbs. Nice job by Manuel to hit Dobbs for Feliz and nice job by Dobbs not to strike out. It’s a little early to use the best hitter on the bench, Jenkins, with two outs and the bases empty (but he did get to hit against the righty Rivera and probably would have faced a lefty later in the game).

Werth led off the eighth and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Utley was next and laced a single to left-center. It put men on first and second with nobody out, but Howard struck out swinging 2-2 and Burrell hit into a double-play.

Ouch. Great at-bats by Werth and Utley to start the inning.

Victorino led off the ninth with the Phils down 4-3 and singled. Bruntlett was next and showed bunt until he took two quick strikes. Victorino stole second as the count went 2-2. Very close play and they almost had him. Bruntlett struck out looking on the next pitch for the first out of the inning. Ruiz was next and hit a slow ground ball to short for the second out as Victorino went to third. Coste hit for Condrey and fouled off two 3-2 pitches before he grounded to short to end the game.

Would have been nice to have Jenkins to hit in the ninth. Phils were out of third baseman (unless you believe Manuel would use Coste, who has never played third in the majors) so I don’t know if Manuel would have hit him for Bruntlett or not. I’d guess he may have let Bruntlett try to bunt anyway and hit Jenkins for Ruiz and then Coste for Condrey. Lefty Charlie Manning may have faced Jenkins.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and 1-for-12 in the series. He’s hitting 261/326/421 for the year and 211/296/316 in August.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a double and a big walk in the eighth. 3-for-11 with two doubles and a home run in the set. 265/355/488 for the year. He’s hitting just .235 in August. Jenkins was 1-for-1 with a double in the game and 1-for-1 with an RBI in the series. 244/301/392 for the season.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He can’t carry the team with the way everyone else is hitting, but it would be great to see him bust out of the eternity slump. 4-for-11 with a double in the series. 285/369/566 for the year.

Howard needs a day off. 0-for-4 with three strikeouts including a huge one in the eighth inning. 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series. 1-for-his-last-17. 229/317/474 for the year.

Burrell needs a day off too. Might not help, but I don’t think it could make things much worse. 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-12 in the series. 263/387/548 for the year.

Victorino had a great series. He was 2-for-4 with a stolen base last night and 6-for-10 with a double and a triple in the series. Fantastic on the bases last night. He’s hitting 290/355/448. Aaron Rowand is hitting 287/355/443 for the Giants.

Feliz was 0-for-2 in his only action of the series. He’s hitting 254/302/421 for the season. Dobbs was 0-for-1 with a big RBI in the game. 2-for-5 with a home run in the series. 304/342/474 for the year. Needs to be in the starting lineup more, at third or in right. He has played 4 2/3 innings in right this season. Bruntlett was 0-for-1 with a strikeout in the game and in the series. 214/297/291 for the year. He’s 2-for-his-last-23. One extra-base hit in his last 48 at-bats.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 and his third home run of the year should have been the story of the game. 1-for-4 in the series. 220/321/292 for the year. The home run was his third extra-base hit since June 13 (101 at-bats). Coste was 0-for-1 in the game and 3-for-5 with an RBI in the series. 277/329/455 for the year.

Kyle Kendrick (10-7, 5.01) faces the new Dodger, righty Greg Maddux (6-9, 3.99), tonight. Maddux’s last start also came against the Phillies. Pitching for the Padres on April 15 he allowed a run on a solo shot by Burrell over seven innings, but the Phils won the game 1-0. In the 12 starts he’s made away from Petco Park this season he’s gone 3-5 with a 5.75 ERA and a 1.53 ratio (2.62 ERA with an 0.98 ratio in San Diego). He has only walked nine right-handed batters on the season. Jenkins (25-for-60, 417/470/550) and Burrell (16-for-47, 340/380/596) have hit him well over their careers. Ruben Amaro 2-for-12. With the departure of Adam Eaton and the unhittableness of Myers, Kendrick suddenly has the worst ERA in the Phillies’ rotation. He’s been shelled in his last two starts, charged with 13 runs over seven innings. Lefties are hitting .326 against him for the season.


Myers’ turnaround may have Phillies wondering if the IronPigs have room for all the Phils’ hitters

The Phillies sent Brett Myers down to the minors and the guy they got back isn’t pitching anything like the Myers that threw to a 5.84 ERA in his first 23 starts of the year. Since returning from the minor leagues, Myers has made six starts in which he’s gone 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA and an 0.96 ratio.

Myers dominated the Nationals last night, throwing a complete game shutout as the Phils pulled out a 4-0 win.

The offense is still not firing on all cylinders. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell are all struggling through a miserable August. Here’s what they’ve done this month:

Player AB AVG OBP SLG OPS
Rollins 72 222 305 333 638
Utley 67 224 325 463 787
Howard 63 175 293 349 643
Burrell 56 161 304 375 679
Total 258 198 307 380 687

 

 

 

Yikes. Sure seems like you would want those guys to be hitting better than the rest of the team. The worse news is this: they are. The Phillies’ hitters other than Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell have hit 219/298/347 in August (a .647 OPS).

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 4-0 to improve to 68-58 on the season. They have won three in a row.

Myers got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout. He allowed nine hits, eight singles and a double. He struck out nine and walked one.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the first with an infield single, but Willie Harris hit into a double-play behind him. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he hit a ground ball to third, but Dobbs threw it away for his third error of the season. Lastings Milledge drew a walk that moved Zimmerman to second. Ronnie Belliard was next and he singled into left, but Burrell threw Zimmerman out at the plate to end the frame.

Jesus Flores led off the second with a fly ball lined to left that Burrell charged and had go off his glove for another Phillies’ error. Myers got Austin Kearns to fly to center for the first out before Anderson Hernandez moved Flores to second with a single. The pitcher Collin Balester bunted, but popped it up to Myers for the second out of the inning. Myers struck out Bonifacio for the third out.

Another big out for the Phils with the Nats’ pitcher trying to bunt after Bergmann bunted back to Durbin and Durbin forced a runner at third on Tuesday night.

Milledge doubled off the wall in left with two outs in the third, but Myers struck out Belliard behind him.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Bonifacio singled with one out in the fifth and the Phils up 1-0. He stole second before Harris moved him to third with a ground out to second. Myers struck Zimmerman out on three pitches to set the Nats down.

Myers started the sixth up 4-0. Belliard singled with one out, but Myers got the next two.

Hernandez led off the seventh with a single. Lefty Ryan Langerhans hit for the pitcher and popped to third for the first out. Bonifacio grounded to second for the second out and Harris flew to center for the third.

Zimmerman led off the eighth with a single. Milledge was next and got ahead 2-0 and then hit a rocket back up the middle. Rollins took it sliding towards second and flipped to Utley. Utley made a nice relay to first to complete a pretty double-play. Great play by Rollins on a ball hit hard by Milledge. Utley made a nice turn and throw. Myers struck out Belliard for the third out.

He had thrown 101 pitches through eight innings.

He came back for the ninth and got the first two before Hernandez dribbled a ball to second for an infield single. Aaron Boone hit for pitcher Marco Estrada. Myers got behind him 2-0 but came back to strike him out swinging 2-2.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Same lineup as game one for the Phils, with Werth hitting second against the righty and Dobbs at third. Feliz was on the bench having been activated from the DL prior to the game (Les Walrond sent back to Triple-A).

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

1-2-3 in the second, too, but Burrell and Victorino both hit the ball hard in the air. Kearns made a nice on Victorino’s ball at the wall in right.

Dobbs walked to start the third and Coste was hit by a pitch. Myers bunted and the ball was fielded by the pitcher, who threw to third to force Dobbs. Myers has been terrible at bunting this season, but Balester just made a nice play this time. With one out and men on first and second, Rollins hit a double-play ball to Bonifacio at second, but Hernandez sailed the relay over Belliard’s head at first for an error that allowed Coste to score and put the Phils up 1-0 without a hit. With two outs and Rollins on first, Werth grounded weakly to third for the third out.

Utley led off the fourth with a single, but Howard struck out and Burrell hit into a double-play.

Victorino led off the fifth with an infield single in front of the plate. Dobbs was next and he popped a 2-2 pitch out to right for just his sixth homer of the year. 3-0. Coste followed with a single, but Myers struck out trying to bunt for the first out. Rollins singled to right and Coste moved to third. With Werth at the plate Rollins was thrown out trying to steal second. It may have cost the Phillies a run cause Werth reached out and blooped a 1-2 pitch into right field that scored Coste and made it 4-0. Utley grounded to first for the third out.

Victorino singled with two outs in the sixth, but Dobbs flew to center behind him.

Coste led off the seventh with a single. Myers showed bunt and with the count 1-1 and Coste took off for second. The pitch was outside and Myers didn’t bunt it. Coste was thrown out easily for the second out. Rollins grounded to second for the third out.

Utley blooped a double to left with one out in the eighth. Howard fouled out to Zimmerman on a nice play with his back to the plate for the first out. Burrell hammered a ball back up the middle, but Hernandez made an excellent play to take a hit away from him.

Rollins was 1-for-4. 3-for-his-last-29. One walk in his last 46 at-bats.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double. He has one walk in his last 34 at-bats. In August he has been hit by a pitch as many times as he has walked (5).

Howard 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Burrell 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Victorino 2-for-3. When hitting sixth or seventh in the lineup this season he’s 20-for-56 (.357)

Dobbs was 1-for-2 with a walk and a two-run homer. I think the Phils should try Dobbs in right against some right-handed pitching if they aren’t going to start Jenkins.

Coste 2-for-2.

Jamie Moyer (11-7, 3.64) faces righty Tim Redding (8-8, 4.66) tonight. Redding has pitched well in three starts against the Phils this season, going 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.38 ratio. Jenkins is 3-for-6 with two walks against him, Utley 4-for-8 with a homer and Victorino 4-for-9. He’s been hit hard of late — in his six starts since the All-Star break he’s thrown to a 7.59 ERA with a 1.75 ratio. Opponents are hitting .331 against him since the break. In five of his last six starts he’s allowed at least four runs. Moyer is 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.14 ratio since the break. He’s made three starts against the Nats this year and is 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA but a 1.72 ratio. The Nats bombed him in the third game of the season, on April 3, but he was good in his other two starts.


A pint of example is Werth a gallon of advice

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
WAS 44-81 462 3.70 16 675 (16) 55 29
PHI 66-58 595 4.80 4 764 (5) 97 17

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
WAS 44-81 624 4.99 13 4.73 (11) 4.25 (13)
PHI 66-58 529 4.27 3 4.33 (10) 3.19 (2)

I’m not sure the Phillies’ problems are as complicated as they may seem. If your team is hitting .202 for a month and is last in the league in runs scored you’re going to lose a whole lot. The Phils hit better last night — it wasn’t the spectacular burst of offense that fans have been hoping for, but a win is a win and the Phils can use all they can get.

Coming off an off-day, the rested pen bailed out Joe Blanton. After Blanton gave up four runs in five innings to the meek Nationals’ offense, Durbin, Madson and Lidge shut Washington down the rest of the way. Blanton left down 4-1 in the fifth, but the Phils got within one in the bottom of the inning, pushed across another run in the seventh to tie the game and won it on a solo blast by Werth in the eighth.

Charlie Manuel rolled a seven last night as well. Manuel put the righty Werth in the starting lineup against the righty Jason Bergmann and left the lefty Jenkins on the bench to start the game. Werth hadn’t faced Bergmann coming into the game and Jenkins was 4-for-6 against him this season and 5-for-9 with a home run in his career. Jenkins got an at-bat against a righty in the game and came up with a big sac fly. Werth went 0-for-3 in his first three at-bats. When he hit against a righty in the eighth, the big lefties typically on the Phillies’ bench, Dobbs and Jenkins, were both unavailable. Even if Manuel wanted to call on a lefty he didn’t have a choice and Werth delivered the game-winner.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 5-4 to improve to 67-58.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double, a triple and a home run. He struck out three.

With one out in the first, Willie Harris hit an 0-1 pitch out to right to put the Nats up 1-0. Blanton got the next two.

Ronnie Belliard led off the second with a double. Jesus Flores flew to left before Blanton walked Austin Kearns. It put men on first and second for Kory Casto and Blanton got him on a soft liner to short. The pitcher Jason Bergmann grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 third.

Lastings Milledge and Belliard started the fourth with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second for Flores and Flores singled to left. Milledge scored to put Washington up 2-1 with Belliard moving to second. Blanton avoided further damage, though. He got Kearns to fly to center for the first out. Casto hit it hard but Howard took the line drive for the second out. Bergmann struck out to leave two more runners stranded.

Harris singled with one out in the fifth. Ryan Zimmerman was next and sliced a ball just fair down the right field line and off the base of the wall and then the corner on a weird bounce. Harris scored to make it 3-1 and Zimmerman had a triple. Milledge flew to center with Zimmerman holding for the second out, but Belliard came up with a two-out single into center. Zimmerman scored and it was 4-1. Flores struck out looking for the third out.

Durbin started the sixth with the Phils down 4-3 having hit for Blanton in the bottom of the fifth. Kearns and Casto led off with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second for Bergmann and Bergmann hit for himself and bunted. Durbin fielded the bunt and threw to third to force Kearns for the first out. Emilo Bonifacio grounded to first for the second out with the runners moving to second and third. Harris flew to right for the third out.

Bergmann hitting for himself and bunting into an out at third was a huge play in the game. The Nats’ fear of their own miserable pen might have helped the Phils out there.

Durbin returned for the seventh and got the first two before Belliard singled and was thrown out trying to steal second.

Madson threw a 1-2-3 eighth with the game tied at 4-4.

Lidge pitched the ninth with a 5-4 lead. He struck out pinch-hitter Aaron Boone, got Bonifacio to pop to short and Harris swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Four scoreless innings from the pen kept the Phils in the game after Blanton was hit hard. Durbin gave up three singles, but was helped by the Bergmann bunt and force at third. As a group the pen went four innings, allowing three singles and striking out five. In the eighth and ninth, Madson and Lidge went two perfect innings while striking out four.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jason Bergmann went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Werth continues to hit second with Victorino batting sixth. Coste catches.

Down 1-0 in the first, the Phils went in order.

Howard led off the second with a single. Burrell popped to short before a double by Victorino moved Howard to third. Dobbs looked struck out on a 1-2 breaking ball, but got the call and hit the a 2-2 pitch into left-center well enough for Howard to tag and score to tie the game at 1-1. Coste flew to center for the third out.

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

Victorino led off the fifth with a triple. Dobbs was next and hit a ball to left that Harris didn’t catch for an error. Victorino scored to cut the Washington lead to 4-2. Dobbs stole second before Coste singled on a ball deflected by Belliard, moving Dobbs to third. With men on first and third with nobody out, Manuel called on Jenkins to hit for Blanton and Jenkins delivered a sac fly to left that scored Dobbs. 4-3. Coste held first and Rollins hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Blanton had thrown 92 pitches in the game. The bullpen was rested after an off-day yesterday, which may have contributed to hitting for him with nobody out.

1-2-3 in the sixth.

Burrell reached on an infield single in the direction of Belliard to start the seventh. Victorino followed with a ground ball to second and Burrell was forced at second for the first out. A single by Dobbs moved Victorino to third and righty Steven Shell came in to pitch to Coste. Coste hit a ball to right deep enough to score Victorino and tie the game at 4-4. Taguchi hit for Durbin and tried to bunt for a hit but was thrown out to end the inning.

Rollins flew to deep right-center to start the first. With the righty Shell still on the mound, Werth got behind before Shell hung a 1-2 curveball and Werth blasted it out to left-center to put the Phils up 5-4. Huge homer for Werth against a righty after he gets the start against the righty. Howard walked after Utley grounded to first for the second out, but Burrell flew to left to leave him stranded.

Rollins was 0-for-4. He’s 2-for-his-last-25.

Werth was 1-for-4 and won the game with his 17th home run, which is a career-high for him. He has 17 home runs in 284 at-bats this season. No other NL player with at least 17 home runs this season has fewer at-bats (in the AL, Marcus Thames has hit 21 in 246 at-bats for the Tigers).

Utley was 0-for-4. He’s hitting 206/315/444 in August. On-basing .315 for the month after on-basing .336 in July.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-27 and hitting 186/310/373 in August. He has 14 strikeouts in his last 22 at-bats.

Howard had the Phillies only walk in the game.

Burrell 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s hitting .173 in August.

Victorino was 2-for-3 with a double and a triple, which were the only extra-base hits in the game for the Phillies other than Werth’s home run.

Dobbs was 1-for-2 with an RBI. 294/324/559 in August.

Coste was 1-for-2 with an RBI. After hitting 208/208/333 in July he’s hitting 194/257/226 in August.

Brett Myers (5-10, 5.02) faces righty Collin Balester (2-5, 5.06) tonight. Balester held the Phils to two runs on six hits over six innings but was outpitched by Myers on July 29. He’s allowed seven home runs in 42 2/3 innings on the season, five of which have been hit by lefties. Myers hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start in any of his last five outings. In his five starts since his trip to the minor leagues Myers is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA and an 0.92 ratio.


Data on Phillies’ fans as front-runners questioned due to really tiny sample size

The Phillies have gone 3-6 over their last nine games. They won two of three against the Pirates, were swept by the Dodgers in a four-game set and have split the first two against the Padres.

Their miserable run has cost them the lead in the NL East. They start the day at 65-58, two games behind the Mets in the division. They’ve scored 30 runs in their last nine games, three or less in five of the nine. Three or less in the last three. They’ve lost five of six and the game they won they needed seven shutout innings from their starter and scored one run.

The Phils split the first two games in the set with Pittsburgh despite getting two excellent starts. Blanton allowed one hit and two walks over seven scoreless innings in the first game. Walrond was hit hard in the top of the 12th and the Pirates scored two runs to break up the scoreless tie. Pittsburgh won the game 2-0. Myers held Pittsburgh to a single run in the second game and pitched into the eighth. Rollins went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and Victorino was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI to pace the offense as the Phils won 4-2. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh in game three, the Phils scored four unanswered runs to come out with a 6-3 win. Utley’s two-run shot in the seventh put the Phils up to stay. Scott Eyre made his Phillies’ debut as the pen went three scoreless innings in relief of Moyer.

And then the Phils dropped four in a row to the Dodgers. Kendrick got lit up in the first game, unable to get out of the fourth inning. The fourth ended with the Phils down 7-1. They outscored the Dodgers 5-1 the rest of the way but still came up on the short end of an 8-6 score. Howard took an 0-for-5 on the day but drove in two runs to give him 100 on the season.

The Phils jumped out to an early 3-1 lead behind Hamels in game two, but Durbin gave up a run in the eighth on a hit, a walk, a hit batter and a sac fly to tie the game at 3-3. Romero pitched the ninth hit Russell Martin to start the inning. Martin scored two batters later on a single by Andre Ethier to give the Dodgers a 4-3 win.

The Phils led 6-1 in the third in game three, but Blanton couldn’t make it hold up. He left charged with four runs on nine hits and three walks. With the game tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth it was Condrey who gave it up for good this time — Nomar hit a 2-1 pitch out to left to give LA a 7-6 win.

One run for the Phils in game four as they fell 3-1. The Phils had two hits in the game, doubles by Utley and Werth, as the three runs the Dodgers scored charged to Myers proved to be enough.

On Friday, Jamie Moyer was fantastic. He held the Padres to three hits and two walks over seven shutout innings. Pat Burrell gave the Phils the only run they needed with a solo shot off of San Diego starter Greg Maddux in the seventh. Lidge pitched for the first time in a week and nailed down the save as the Phils won 1-0.

Last night Kendrick got blasted again. He allowed six runs on six hits and five walks over 3 2/3 innings and the Phillies never recovered. They have five singles and a double in the game and lost 8-3. Over his last two starts Kendrick has gone seven innings, allowing 13 runs on 15 hits and eight walks. His ERA for the year is at 5.01.

Seemingly minor injuries to Dobbs, Victorino and Lidge would be the rest of the recent story had it not been for Jimmy Rollins’ comments on Philadelphia fans. Whether you agree with him or not, Phillies’ fans don’t have a whole lot of experience as front-runners. Maybe he was talking about the four days they had a share of the division-lead in 2007. Either way, Jimmy Rollins has to know he can’t beat the fans. He’s outnumbered. And if he’s going to tell fans that he has given the same effort in 2008 as he did in 2007 and 2006 I’m willing to believe him given what he’s done for the Phillies in recent years. But he needs to understand that that sure isn’t the way it has looked.

Charlie Manuel may be the guy with the biggest problem. Cause if he can’t get the most out of his players he’s just a guy who pinch-runs for Burrell in the seventh, blows out his bullpen and lets Abraham Nunez on the field. This year there’s been more than one guy on his team whose actions seem to suggest he’s a little baffled that everyone isn’t more overjoyed the Phils got swept out of the playoffs by Colorado last season. Sadly for Manuel, he seems like the ringleader of the group of Phillies that understand they haven’t won anything yet. Haven’t won anything for a long time.

At this point, I think most of us would settle for a game.

Update 8/18/08: Well, it took another fantastic pitching performance, but the Phils won last night. They beat the Padres 2-1 to take the series two games to one.

They scored three runs in the two games they won and six in the set. With the win they are 66-58 on the season.

Hamels went eight strong innings for the Phils. He allowed a run on seven hits, all of which were singles. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.

Jimmy Rollins created a run for the Phils in the first when he singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher. He came in to score on a sac fly by Werth. Burrell put the Phils up 2-0 with a home run in the sixth. San Diego scored one in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t get any more. After Hamels went eight, Lidge nailed down his 30th save of the year in the ninth.

No game today. The Phils play the Nats on Tuesday.


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