Archive for August, 2008

Phils find comfort knowing that if they do face a pitcher who’s something special it can’t get any worse

If Cole Hamels decides to sue for non-support he may want to start his case with this: In each of his last two starts he’s broken up the opposition’s no-hitter with a single with two outs in the fifth. Don’t know when the last time that happened was, but I’m betting there were fewer people going out to eat in flip-flops and sweatpants.

Hamels pitched well yesterday. Coming off back-to-back bad worrisome starts, he pitched into the seventh and was changed with two earned runs.

It’s tough to win when you don’t score, though, and the Marlins’ Chris Volstad saw to that. He gave the Fish six shutout innings. The Florida pen backed him up with three scoreless innings in which they allowed a hit and two walks.

After the game Jimmy Rollins, who apparently has forsaken offense this season and instead is focused on seeing how bizarre he can get the quotes in the newspaper that appear next to his name to be, suggested that Volstad was “nothing special.” What really has been nothing special lately, though, is the Phillies’ offense. The Phils scored seven runs in the three-game series, two of which came on a home run that was foul.

The Phillies lost to the Florida Marlins yesterday, falling 3-0 to drop to 62-52 on the year. The Marlins win the series two games to one.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out seven.

Hanley Ramirez led off the first with a double to left. Hamels got the next two hitters before Ramirez stole third, but Josh Willingham popped to Howard for the third out.

Cody Ross doubled with two outs in the second, hitting the ball past Bruntlett, who probably should have made the play. Matt Treanor was next and he singled into right. Jenkins threw home, but wasn’t close to getting Ross whose run put the Fish up 1-0. Treanor took second when the throw came home and was safe on a pretty close play as Ruiz nearly got him after taking Jenkins’ throw. Hamels struck out pitcher Chris Volstad to end the frame.

Ramirez led off the third with a walk, but Hamels got Jeremy Hermida to hit into a double-play behind him and struck out Jorge Cantu for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fourth. He struck out Treanor and Volstad in a 1-2-3 fifth.

With one out in the sixth, Hermida singled and stole second. Cantu popped to third for the second out. Willingham was next and hit a ball into the left-field corner for a double. Hermida scored easily and it was 2-0. Dan Uggla flew to center for the third out.

Wes Helms and Ross started the seventh with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second for Treanor and Treanor hit a ground ball to third. Bruntlett should have had a double-play but bobbled the ball and then tagged out Helms for the first out of the inning. Lefty Mike Jacobs hit for the pitcher Volstad and hit a ball to Howard. Howard threw to second, but his throw was bad for his 14th error of the season. A nice play by Rollins kept it out of the outfield. It loaded the bases for Ramirez and Madson came in to pitch to him. Ramirez hit a ground ball to short and Rollins had to take the out at first as Ross scored to make it 3-0. With men on second and third, Madson walked the lefty Hermida intentionally to load the bases and got Cantu to line to Utley for the third out.

Condrey threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils down 3-0. He got the first two, getting the second out with the help of a diving catch by Jenkins. Lefty Luis Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Matt Lindstrom and singled and moved to second when Ramirez followed with a walk. Hermida singled into right, but Jenkins threw Gonzalez out at home to turn the Fish away.

The pen threw 2 2/3 innings without being charged with a run. Madson helped save Hamels’ line in the seventh, although Hamels is not to be blamed completely for the mess due to bad plays by Howard and Bruntlett in the frame. Madson pitched in all three games of the series and threw 11 pitches yesterday. Lidge 28 and Condrey 11.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Bruntlett again at third against a righty. Jenkins in right with Ruiz catching. Too much Bruntlett at third against righties with Dobbs on the bench.

Utley walked with two outs in the first, but Howard grounded out to Uggla in shallow right for the third out.

Burrell walked to start the second and moved to second on a soft ground ball to second by Jenkins. Bruntlett popped to short and Ruiz grounded to short to end the inning.

Rollins walked with one out in the third and moved to second when Victorino followed with a ground out to first. Utley grounded to first for the third out.

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

Hamels singled with two outs in the fifth. Rollins followed with a walk that moved him to second. Victorino flew to right for the third out.

Second straight start for Hamels that he’s gotten the team’s first hit of the game and it came with two outs in the fifth.

Utley singled to start the sixth. Howard was next and he drove a ball into right-center that Ross made a diving catch on for the first out. Burrell popped to second for the second out before Jenkins moved Utley to second with a softly hit single to left. Bruntlett grounded to first for the third out.

Ruiz led off the seventh with the Phils down 3-0 and drew a walk. With righty Joe Nelson on the mound, Dobbs hit for Madson and the righty stayed in and struck out Dobbs for the first out. Rollins hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Victorino led off the eighth with a double off of lefty Arthur Rhodes, but Rhodes got Utley on a fly ball and Howard on a ground ball before righty Matt Lindstrom walked Burrell to put men on first and second. It brought Jenkins up as the tying run against the righty, but Jenkins got behind 0-2 and then grounded to first.

Coste hit for Lidge to start the ninth and grounded to short. Werth hit for Ruiz and hit a fly ball to shallow right. Uggla and Hermida collided and failed to catch it and Werth wound up at second. Dobbs and Rollins both grounded to second to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with two walks. 4-for-11 with a double in the series. 266/337/431 for the year.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double in the game, the only extra-base hit for the Phillies. 3-for-13 with a double and a home run in the set. 284/349/447.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-10 with a double and two walks in the series. 292/374/571.

Howard was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Ross took a hit away from him in the sixth. 3-for-13 with a double and a home run in the series. 241/327/503 for the season.

Burrell 0-for-2 with two walks in the game. 1-for-9 with a double and three walks in the series. He’s 3-for-19 in July (.158).

Jenkins was 1-for-4 in the game and 1-for-8 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 242/301/396. He could have an on-base percentage that starts with a three and a slugging percentage that starts with a four before too long if he’s not careful. Werth was 0-for-1 in the game and 0-for-2 in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-15 and hitting 264/349/476 for the year.

Bruntlett was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the game and 2-for-8 with a double and a walk in the series. 227/313/313. Dobbs was 0-for-2 yesterday and 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the set. 297/335/441. He’s 2-for-his-last-15.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk in the game and 1-for-5 with two walks in the series. 214/310/275 for the season. Coste was 0-for-1 yesterday and 1-for-5 with a double in the series. 276/326/472.

Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.94) faces lefty Paul Maholm (7-7, 3.95) tonight. Two of Maholm’s last four starts have been good — he allowed one run and went at least seven in each of them. In the other two he went six innings he time and allowed five runs. Lefties are hitting .178 against him with two home runs for the year. On April 27 he held the Phillies to a run on two hits while throwing a complete game. The good news is that he was probably nothing special. Blanton is 1-0 with a 4.80 ERA in three starts for the Phils. He was fantastic in St Louis his last time out. On Saturday he held the Cards to a run on four hits over seven innings. Righties are still hitting .315 against him for the season.

The Phillies traded Single-A right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter to the Cubs for left-handed reliever Scott Eyre. Eyre had a 7.19 ERA in 19 appearances for the Cubs this season, but threw just 11 1/3 innings. He was great in 2005, throwing to a 2.63 ERA with a 1.08 ratio in 68 1/3 innings for the Giants and solid in ’06 and ’07 for the Cubs.

The next update to Philliesflow will be on August 17.


Concessionaires may expand their routes to include the basepaths with Kendrick on the mound

There’s got to be money in that. Some of those guys must get hungry out there.

I’ve seen Kyle Kendrick work out of jams time after time over the past two years and it still isn’t enough for me to know whether he’s really good or really lucky. He’s definitely one or the other. Either way, the record will forever show that he threw six shutout innings last night to help the Phils get a much-needed win over the Florida Marlins.

Kendrick left one man stranded in the first, two in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth and one in the sixth. He didn’t get a double-play in the game and walked five batters.

Chad Durbin continues to be a workhorse for the Phillies out of the pen. After tossing two shutout frames with a five-run lead, Durbin has now thrown 63 innings in relief for the Phillies this season. One NL pitcher has thrown more — Washington’s Joel Hanrahan has thrown 63 1/3. Maybe that bill never comes due — but I think it will.

Of the 20 NL pitchers who have thrown the most innings in relief this season, none of them has an ERA that’s within one run of Durbin’s while pitching as a reliever.

The Phillies beat the Florida Marlins last night, winning 5-0 to improve to 62-51. The teams have split the first two games of the three-game set.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six shutout innings, allowing four hits and walking five. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four.

Kendrick walked Jeremy Hermida with one out in the first. Hermida was running as Cantu grounded to short and Rollins had to take the out at first. Josh Willingham flew to center for the third out.

Kendrick started the second up 1-0 and got the first two before Cody Ross singled to left. John Baker followed with a walk, but pitcher Anibal Sanchez lined to Howard at first to leave both runners stranded.

Hermida singled with one out in the third with the Phils up 3-0. Cantu followed with a walk, but Kendrick struck out Willingham and got Dan Uggla grounded to second for the third out.

The Phils were up 4-0 when Kendrick started the fourth, apparently frustrated by only leaving two men stranded on base for the last two innings. He got the first two before he walked Baker and then Sanchez. Hanley Ramirez hit a ground ball to deep third and Bruntlett threw to second, but not in time to get Sanchez. Hermida lined to Rollins to end the frame with the bases loaded.

Kendrick finally threw a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. He got two nice defensive plays in the inning, one from Bruntlett and one from Rollins.

He got the first two in the sixth before Baker doubled to left. Lefty Luis Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Sanchez and looped a popup that Bruntlett caught cutting in front of Rollins for the third out.

Durbin struck out Ramirez and Hermida in a 1-2-3 seventh with the Phillies up 5-0.

He returned for the eighth. Jacobs singled with two outs, but Ross grounded to short behind him for the third out.

Durbin has been charged with one run in 10 2/3 innings over 11 appearances since June 11. He’s allowed six hits and three walks.

Madson threw a 1-2-3 ninth after throwing two pitches Tuesday night.

Three scoreless innings for the pen in which they allow one single. Durbin threw 23 pitches, Madson six.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Coste (8) Bruntlett. Jenkins in right against the righty. Bruntlett at third with Dobbs on the bench. Coste catches and hits seventh with Bruntlett dropped to eighth.

Victorino walked with one out in the first. Utley was next and doubled to right-center. Victorino scored from first to put the Phillies up 1-0. Howard lined to short and Burrell flew to left to leave Utley stranded.

Jenkins led off the second with a ground ball back to the mound and off the glove of Sanchez for an error. Coste was hit by a pitch before Bruntlett ripped a ball down the third base line that took a crazy bounce off the stands and into left-center field. Jenkins scored to make it 2-0 with Coste going to third. Bruntlett had a double. Kendrick hit a ground ball to short that scored Coste (3-0) and moved Bruntlett to third as Kendrick was thrown out at first for the first out of the inning. Rollins walked, putting men on first and third, but Victorino fouled out to the catcher and Utley flew to center for the third out.

Victorino doesn’t get it done with one out and a man on third.

Howard led off the third and got behind 0-2 before he hit a 1-2 pitch out to left-center. 4-0. Burrell, Jenkins and Coste went in order behind him.

Rollins singled with two outs in the fourth, but Victorino popped to short behind him.

Howard doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Burrell grounded to third and Howard had to hold second. Sanchez walked the lefty Jenkins intentionally. It put men on first and third for Coste. Coste hit a ground ball to third and Cantu tagged out Howard to end the inning.

Bruntlett led off the sixth with a single. Mike Cervenak hit for Kendrick. Bruntlett took off for second and Baker’s throw went off of Uggla’s glove and into right field. Bruntlett took third. The Marlins brought the infield in and Cervenak chopped a ball over Cantu’s head at third. It game him his first major league hit 11 days before his 32nd birthday. Bruntlett scored and it was 5-0. Rollins followed with a double into right that moved Cervenak to third. Victorino struck out, again unable to bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. Utley fouled out to Cantu who made a nice play in-between third base and home plate near the stands. Howard flew to left for the third out.

Phils can’t get more with men on second and third and nobody out.

Burrell and Jenkins went down to start the seventh, with Jacobs making a nice play on a ball hit hard by Jenkins for the first out. Coste doubled to left and Bruntlett was walked intentionally ahead of the pitcher. Durbin hit for himself and lined to first for the third out.

Utley walked with two outs in the eighth. Howard struck out behind him.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. He’s 4-for-his-last-8 with two walks.

Victorino had a terrible game. 0-for-4 with a walk and five men left on base.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Howard 2-for-5 with his 32nd home run. On August 7, 2007 he hit two home runs against the Marlins, which gave him 32 for the year.

Burrell was 0-for-4 and left two men on base. He’s 2-for-his-last-14.

Jenkins was 0-for-3 with a walk. He hit the ball pretty well, though. He once was retired on a nice play by Jacobs. In the second he could have been given a hit on the comebacker to the mound.

Coste was 1-for-3 with a double. He’s 2-for-his-last-16.

Bruntlett played good defense and went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Cole Hamels (9-7, 3.37) faces righty Chris Volstad (2-2, 3.25) this afternoon. Volstad has appeared in five games for the Marlins this season, four of which have been starts. The Marlins took the 21-year-old in the first round of the 2005 draft and no Phillie has ever faced him in the majors. In 27 2/3 innings this season he’s allowed just one home run. Lefties are hitting .293 against him, righties just .227. Over his last three starts he’s walked seven in 17 innings. Hamels comes off back-to-back bad starts in which he’s allowed 14 runs in 9 2/3 innings.


Rest of the Phillies’ pen located, asked politely to go back into hiding

If you’ve been wondering where the rest of the guys in the Phillies’ bullpen have been, wonder no more. They emerged briefly last night and it kinda reminded me of that Whack-A-Mole game at the mall where the gopher pops up and you try to hit it on the head with the fluffy hammer before it pops back in its hole.

The outcome wasn’t good for the Phils as the pen turned a tight game into a blowout. Nonetheless, I think you have to be glad to see Manuel using all of his bullpen even when the game is on the line. There’s no way he’s going to go through fifty more games and the playoffs just using Durbin, Romero and Lidge. And, well, Les Walrond pitching against righties in the seventh in a two-run game is about as close to using the whole pen as the Phillies are going to get.

Last night’s loss can’t all be blamed on the bullpen. The Phils managed just two runs in the game, all of which came on a single swing by Victorino.

The Phillies fell to the Florida Marlins last night. They lost 8-2 and are 61-51 on the season.

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

Hanley Ramirez led off the first with a single to center. Jeremy Hermida popped out behind him before Jorge Cantu moved Ramirez to second with another single. Josh Willingham popped to short and Mike Jacobs flew to right for the third out.

Dan Uggla led off the second with a double and John Baker was hit by a pitch behind him. Alfredo Amezaga popped to Utley for the first out before pitcher Josh Johnson bunted the runners to second and third for the second. Ramirez was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Moyer walked Hermida on a 3-2 pitch to force in Uggla and put Florida up 1-0. Cantu flew to left for the third out.

The intentional walk to Ramirez costs the Phils a run.

With one out in the third, Jacobs walked and moved to second when Uggla followed with a single. Baker singled into center and the bases were loaded. Moyer struck out Amezaga and Johnson to leave the runners stranded.

Ramirez led off the fourth with a single and moved to second when Hermida was hit by a pitch. Cantu struck out before Ramirez stole third. With men on first and third and one out, Willingham grounded to third and Bruntlett threw to second to force Hermida, but the Phils couldn’t get the double-play. Ramirez scored and it was 2-0. With Willingham on first and two down, Jacobs hit a ball through Howard’s legs and into right field for an error. Willingham tried to score from third but Rollins took Jenkins’ relay and threw him out at the plate to end the inning.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Condrey started the sixth after the Phils hit for Moyer in the bottom of the fifth. Johnson led off and doubled to left-center. Ramirez bunted back to Condrey and Condrey threw Johnson out at third for the first out. Hermida hit a sinking line drive to right that Jenkins made a nice diving play on for the second out before Ruiz threw Ramirez out stealing second to end the frame.

I wouldn’t ask Hanley Ramirez to bunt very much.

Condrey came back for the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Cantu. He got Willingham on a fly ball to left and 31-year-old lefty Les Walrond came in to pitch to the lefty Jacobs. Walrond was called up when Seanez was put on the DL on Tuesday. He was making his Phillies’ debut having thrown 25 1/3 innings in the majors previously, with the Royals in 2003 and the Cubs in 2006. Walrond struck out Jacobs, but stayed on to pitch to Uggla and walked him before uncorking a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. He walked the lefty Baker to load the bases with two outs. Amezaga was next and he looped an 0-1 pitch over Dobbs’ head and into left field for a single. Cantu and Uggla both scored and it was 4-0. Wes Helms hit for the pitcher Johnson and Madson came in to pitch to him. Helms lined to right for the third out.

JA Happ started the eighth, making his first career relief appearance. Ramirez led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch before Hermida singled into center. Ramirez scored to put the Fish up 5-2. Happ got the next three to leave Hermida stranded at first.

Happ returned for the ninth. Baker walked with one out and moved to second on another single by Amezaga. Cody Ross singled to right and the bases were loaded. Ramirez hit a fly ball to left deep enough to score Baker and make it 6-2 with the runners advancing to second and third. Hermida was next and he singled into center. Amezaga scored and Ross slid in just ahead of Victorino’s throw to make it 8-2. Hermida went to second on the play at the plate. Cantu struck out for the third out.

The Phils used four relievers in the game and all of them but Madson didn’t pitch well. As a group they allowed six runs on seven hits and four walks. Happ threw 44 pitches, so you won’t be seeing him for a while. Condrey 24, Walrond 19 and Madson two.

The Marlins scored eight runs on 13 hits in the game — 11 singles and two doubles.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Josh Johnson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Bruntlett plays third against the righty with Moyer on the mound. Jenkins in right and Ruiz catching. Bruntlett is a bad starting third baseman, no matter who is pitching.

Victorino singled with one out in the first but Utley and Howard both flew out behind him.

Burrell and Jenkins started the second with back-to-back walks. Bruntlett flew to center and Ruiz struck out. Moyer sliced a ball into left and Willingham made a nice catch diving into foul territory to end the inning.

Rollins walked to start the third. Victorino flew to center and Utley hit into a double-play. Rollins was running on the ground ball that Utley hit up the middle, putting the covering Ramirez in perfect position to field the ball and start the double-play.

Howard started the fourth with a single. Burrell and Jenkins struck out before Bruntlett flew to right.

Third straight inning the Phils got their leadoff man aboard.

With one out in the fifth, Cervenak hit for Moyer and flew to left. Moyer had thrown 96 pitches and was down 2-0. Rollins followed and dribbled a single down the third base line, but Victorino flew to left for the third out.

Utley led off the sixth with a single but Howard hit into a double-play behind him. Burrell hit a ball off the top of the fence in left for a double. The righty Johnson walked Jenkins. Dobbs hit for Bruntlett and grounded to first.

The Phils started the seventh down 4-0. Ruiz led off with a single. Taguchi hit for Madson and lined into a double-play to second with Ruiz doubled-off first. Rollins singled into left before Victorino hit a 2-2 pitch out on a controversial fair-foul home run to left that got the Phils within two at 4-2 (it was foul). Utley was hit by a pitch before Howard struck out swinging to end the inning.

Burrell struck out to start the eighth and former Phil Arthur Rhodes came in to pitch to Jenkins. Werth hit for Jenkins and struck out. Dobbs struck out to end the inning with the Phils out of guys who could play third.

Ruiz led off the ninth with a walk with the Phils down 8-2. Coste hit for Happ and flew out for the first out. Rollins and Victorino went down behind him to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a two-run homer. It was the second home run in two days for Victorino. Using OPS as the measure, the Phillies have gotten the fourth-most offense in the NL from their center fielders this season.

Utley was 1-for-3.

Howard 1-for-4 with another error. He is miserable fielder.

Burrell 1-for-3 with double, a walk and two strikeouts.

Jenkins 0-for-1 with two walks. He’s hitting 308/419/615 since the All-Star break.

Bruntlett 0-for-2.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s hitting a much more respectable 294/351/324 since the All-Star break. Still only has one extra-base hit in his last 77 at-bats.

Kyle Kendrick (9-5, 4.59) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 3.18) tonight. Sanchez has made just one start this season after missing most of the year coming off of shoulder surgery. On Thursday he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Rockies. He threw 95 pitches in that game and five of the six hits he allowed came from left-handed batters. Kendrick has allowed three runs in 12 2/3 innings over his last two starts. Lefties are hitting .321 against him.


Victorino makes his case for the three-run homer

Shane Victorino has had some huge swings for the Phillies lately, but you might have to wait a while to see him come up with one bigger than last night’s. With the game tied at 2-2 in the eighth, Victorino delivered a three-run homer to right. The bullpen bent a little but didn’t break and the Phils held on for their seventh win in eight games.

A little hard to see through all the Victorino was the second straight excellent start from Brett Myers. Myers held the Cards to a pair of runs over six innings. In the three-game set the Phils rolled out the new top of their rotation. Blanton and Myers came up huge. Hamels, not so much.

Getting Hamels, Blanton and Myers all going would be a big boost for the Phillies. As good as the bullpen has been, it needs rest and Manuel continues to call on the same guys over and over. It’s hard not to remember back to 2007 when Romero, Geary, Myers and Gordon seemingly pitched every day down the stretch. For the ’07 Phils it turned out to be good enough to get them into the playoffs, but once they were there they didn’t win a game while their relief pitchers allowed seven earned runs in 9 1/3 innings. Arguably, the core of the Phillies’ pen isn’t what made the playoff numbers so bad for relievers last season — Kyle Lohse gave up a big home run in relief and Mesa got shelled. But Myers, Gordon and Romero didn’t pitch very well against the Rockies.

The Phillies beat the St Louis Cardinals last night, winning 5-4 to improve to 61-50 on the season. The Phils win the series two games to one.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on four hits. He allowed two extra-base hits, both to Ryan Ludwick, a double and a home run. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 first.

Ryan Ludwick led off the second with a double. Troy Glaus was next and singled into right. Ludwick scored to put the Cards up 1-0. Myers got the next three to leave Glaus stranded.

He need six pitches to set the Cards down in order in the third.

With one out in the fourth, Ludwick hit the first pitch of his at-bat out to left. It was his fourth home run of the series and put St Louis up 2-0. Myers got the next two to end the inning.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 fifth. He had thrown 55 pitches through five innings.

Skip Schumaker led off the sixth with a ground ball up the middle and off the glove of a sliding Rollins for a single. Mather hit into a double-play behind him and Pujols flew to center.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phils down 2-1, pitching for the fifth time in six days (in three of the five appearances he threw five pitches). He walked Ludwick on four pitches to start the inning. If I never see Ryan Ludwick again I really don’t have a problem with that. He struck out Glaus for the first out before Molina moved Ludwick to second with a single. Durbin got Miles to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Durbin came back to start the eighth with the Phils up 5-2. Righty Brendan Ryan hit for the pitcher Russ Springer and singled. With lefty Adam Kennedy due to hit, Romero came in to pitch and switch-hitter Cesar Izturis hit for Kennedy. A balk by Romero moved Ryan to second before Izturis grounded to short with Ryan going to third. Righty Nick Stavinoha hit for the lefty Schumaker and hit a ball to first that Howard didn’t handle for an error. Ryan scored and it was 5-3. Romero hit Joe Mather to put men on first and second and Madson came in to pitch to Pujols. Pujols walked, loading the bases with one out. But the Phils finally got Ludwick out and it came at a big time — Madson got him to hit into a double-play to turn the Cards away.

Lidge started the ninth and Glaus led off with a home run that cut the Phillies’ lead to 5-4. He got Molina for the first out before Miles singled to left. Lefty Rick Ankiel hit for the pitcher Ryan Franklin and singled into right on a ball deflected by Howard. It put men on first and third with one down for Izturis. Izturis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Lidge got a huge out, though, striking Stavinoha out swinging 1-2 with the tying run on third for the second out. He struck Mather out on three pitches to end the game.

Manuel continues to use Romero, Durbin and Lidge a ton. If you aren’t starting to see the problems associated with all that work you will soon. Nice to have a day off today, but Lidge and Durbin both didn’t pitch well last night. They both got huge outs, though, Durbin getting the double-play to end the seventh and Lidge getting back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded to end the game.

Overall the pen went three innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Todd Wellemeyer went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Werth in center against the righty. Jenkins and Dobbs both in the lineup against the righty. Coste catches.

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

Jenkins doubled to right with two outs in the second, but Dobbs flew to left for the third out.

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

Howard singled with two outs in the fourth. Burrell grounded to short behind him.

Dobbs doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Coste moved him to third with a fly ball well-hit to center for the second out. Myers, who came into the game 4-for-101 (.040) with four singles over the last three seasons, hit a dribbler to third and was thrown out to end the frame.

Myers hit .159 (32-for-201) with seven extra-base hits from 2002 to 2005, hitting at least .130 every season.

Rollins and Werth went down to start the sixth before Utley lined a 1-0 pitch just out to right, cutting the St Louis’ lead in half at 2-1. Howard struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch for the third out.

Burrell walked to start the seventh. Lefty Ron Villone came on to pitch to Jenkins with the Phils down 2-1. With Werth already in the game, Victorino hit for Jenkins and flew to center for the first out. Dobbs drew a walk against the lefty, moving Burrell to second. Righty Kyle McClellan came in to pitch and struck out Coste for the second out. Taguchi hit for Myers and grounded to short to leave both men stranded.

Werth singled to right with one out in the eighth. Lefty Jaime Garcia came in to pitch and got Utley on a ground ball to first and Werth was forced at second for the first out. Howard singled to right and Utley moved to second. Righty Russ Springer came in to pitch to Burrell and Burrell singled into left field. Utley scored to tie the game at 2-2 with Howard going to second. Victorino was next and he got ahead 3-1 before he slung one out down the right field line for a three-run homer that put the Phils up 5-2. Dobbs grounded to first for the third out.

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

Rollins was 0-for-5 with a strikeout in the game and 0-for-11 in the series. 263/330/431 for the year.

Werth was 1-for-4 in the game and 1-for-8 in the series. He’s hitting 266/351/480 for the year. Victorino was 1-for-2 with a three-run homer in the game. 2-for-11 with a double and a home run in the series. 286/351/444 for the year.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a homer. 3-for-11 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 292/372/575.

Howard was 2-for-4. 3-for-8 with a home run and four walks in the series. 242/330/502. He was hitting 219/312/472 a month ago.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 2-for-10 with a home run in the set. 277/400/576 for the year.

Jenkins was 1-for-2. 2-for-5 with two doubles in the series. 245/299/405.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-7 with a double and a home run. 305/344/454. Needs to play third with a righty on the mound more than he has been. Bruntlett was 0-for-1 in the game and 0-for-4 with two walks in the series. 226/312/310.

Coste was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. 1-for-8 with four strikeouts in the series. 278/325/474 for the year. Ruiz was 0-for-3 in the series and is hitting 214/307/277 for the year. One extra-base hit since June 13.

No game today.


Howard’s at-bats against Braden seem to be running on a Looper

Ryan Howard has hit four home runs in five career at-bats against Braden Looper. The most recent of them came with two outs in the fourth inning last night in St Louis. Howard’s solo shot was one of two runs the Phillies scored in the game — they won in large part because Joe Blanton gave them the kind of start they were hoping for when they traded for him last month.

Blanton went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks. Romero, Durbin and Lidge shut the Cards down in the eighth and the ninth.

The Phillies beat the St Louis Cardinals last night, winning 2-1 to improve to 60-50 on the season. The teams have split the first two games of the three-game series. The Phils are in first place in the NL East — with a late-inning collapse in Houston last night the Mets are in third place, two games behind the Phils. The Phillies lead the Marlins by a game and a half.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out five.

He walked Albert Pujols with two outs in the first, but struck Ryan Ludwick out behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 second.

He started the third up 1-0. Aaron Miles drew a walk with one out before Schumaker moved Miles to second with a single. Blanton struck Joe Mather out looking and then struck out Pujols looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Up 2-0 in the fourth, he set the Cards down 1-2-3.

Adam Kennedy led off the fifth with a single and pitcher Braden Looper bunted him to second for the first out. Miles was next and lined a ball to Utley at second. Utley threw to second to double Kennedy off and end the inning.

He had another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.

Ludwick led off the seventh and pounded a 1-1 pitch out to left, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Third home run in two games for Ludwick. Blanton got Troy Glaus to ground to short before Yadier Molina singled into center. Kennedy flew to right and righty Nick Stavinoha hit for the pitcher Looper and popped to Rollins.

Romero started the eighth with a one run lead and gave up a leadoff single to Miles. Switch-hitter Cesar Izturis hit for lefty Skip Schumaker and Romero struck him out for the first out. Righty Joe Mather was next and Manuel called on Durbin to come on and pitch to him. Durbin got behind Mather 2-0 but got him to hit a 2-2 pitch into a double-play to end the inning.

Lidge started the ninth. Pujols led off and hit a rocket to short that Rollins took and threw to first for the first out. Lidge struck out Ludwick on a 2-2 slider in the dirt for the second out, with Ruiz throwing to first to retire the batter. Glaus was next and Lidge walked him on a high 3-2 fastball. Brendan Ryan ran for Glaus as the tying run. Lefty Rick Ankiel, who had been left out of the lineup with an abdominal strain, hit for Yadier Molina and Lidge’s first pitch to him was wild and moved Ryan to second. After that Lidge threw three straight strikes, getting Ankiel swinging to end the game.

Two scoreless innings for the pen in which they allow a single and a walk. Lidge threw 16 pitches, Romero ten and Durbin six. None of the three had pitched on Friday.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Braden Looper went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Werth in right despite the righty with Dobbs playing third. I think you may have to conclude that Manuel does not want to put both Jenkins and Dobbs in the lineup against a righty cause he wants to have a lefty on the bench to call on to pinch-hit. I think I’d put them both in the lineup. Coste catches.

The Phils went 1-2-3 on three popups in the first.

Howard led off the second with a walk, but Burrell struck out and Werth hit into a double-play. Howard came into the game 3-for-4 in his career against Looper with three home runs.

Dobbs led off the third and hit the first pitch he saw out to right. It put the Phils up 1-0. The Phils went in order behind him.

With two outs in the fourth, Howard hit a 3-2 pitch out to right-center. 2-0. Burrell flew to center for the third out.

Coste singled with two outs in the fifth, but Blanton struck out behind him.

1-2-3 in the sixth.

Howard led off the seventh with a walk. Burrell hit into a double-play and Werth grounded to short.

With two outs in the eighth, Bruntlett hit for Blanton and walked. The catcher Molina picked him off first with Rollins at the plate to end the inning. Second time in two days Bruntlett has been picked off. Yesterday it was the pitcher.

Utley doubled with two outs in the ninth. Howard was walked intentionally to put men on first and second for Burrell, but Burrell flew to center for the third out.

Rollins 0-for-4.

Victorino 0-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double.

Howard 1-for-1 with his 31st home run and three walks.

Burrell 0-for-4 and left four men on base.

Werth 0-for-3.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with his fourth home run.

Coste 1-for-3.

Brett Myers (4-9, 5.46) faces righty Todd Wellemeyer (8-4, 4.13) tonight. The Phillies pounded Wellemeyer on June 13 — Wellemeyer was charged with eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in that game. Wellemeyer has been pretty good in his last two starts, allowing just two runs in each game but going just 11 innings combined. He has a 4.96 ERA with a 1.52 ratio in 11 starts at home this year and a 3.28 ERA with a 1.09 ratio in ten starts away. Myers was great on Tuesday against the Nats, holding Washington to an unearned run in seven innings. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last two starts, which is critical for him since he’s allowed 24 in 113 2/3 innings this year. Righties are also hitting .316 against him compared to .226 for lefties. Righties hit for a higher average against Myers in 2007, 2004 and 2003 as well, but not as dramatically as they have this season.


Lohse’s advisers apparently still think getting people out is the way to go

Kyle Lohse could have been a Phillie this season, but what he is is an underpaid starter for the Cards. Lohse shut down the Phils for five innings last night and the Cards beat the Phils with the help of a three-run bomb by Joe Mather and a pair of home runs from Ryan Ludwick.

Not having Lohse is unfortunate for the Phils, but they apparently have bigger and more immediate problems. Cole Hamels doesn’t have a broken arm, but he does have two bad starts in a row now. And a lot of people have a bad feeling that all the innings the 24-year-old has thrown this season might have caught up to him. Hamels is second in the NL in innings pitched and third in pitches thrown.

The Phillies fell to the St Louis Cardinals last night, losing 6-3 to drop to 59-50 on the season.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk. Only four of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out five.

Over his last two starts Hamels has allowed 14 runs in 9 2/3 innings.

Joe Mather singled to left with one out in the first. Albert Pujols flew to center before Ryan Ludwick moved Mather to second with a single. Troy Glaus flew to left for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 second.

Skip Schumaker started the third with a single and Cesar Izturis followed with a four-pitch walk. Walking Cesar Izturis on four pitches doesn’t usually bode well and it didn’t in this case. Mather was next and blasted a 2-1 pitch out to left to put St Louis up 3-0. Pujols was next and he hit a rocket to third, but Bruntlett made a nice diving play and threw him out at first for the first out. Ludwick was next and hit a slow ground ball to third. Bruntlett charged and fielded but threw in the dirt and Howard didn’t handle it. The ball got by Howard for an error on Bruntlett that let Ludwick go to second. Glaus singled on a ball back up the middle that Rollins knocked down. Ludwick moved to third. Yadier Molina hit a fly ball to left for the second out, deep enough to score Ludwick and put the Cards up 4-0. Aaron Miles grounded to second for the third out.

Hamels struck out the pitcher Kyle Lohse and Schumaker in a 1-2-3 fourth.

He got the first two in the fifth before Ludwick hit the first pitch of hit at-bat out to left to put St Louis up 5-0. Hamels struck out Glaus to end the inning.

With the Phils down 5-3, Hamels gave up a single to Miles with one out, but got pinch-hitter Brendan Ryan and Schumaker to leave him stranded.

Madson threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

He returned for the eighth and Ludwick led off with another home run that put St Louis up 6-3. Molina followed with a single, but Miles hit into a double-play behind him. Pitcher Jason Isringhausen hit for himself and grounded to Utley.

Madson threw 28 pitches, allowing a run in two innings. Over his last five appearances he has allowed runs four times, surrendering seven runs in 5 2/3 innings.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Kyle Lohse went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Bruntlett again plays third against a righty, which is a pretty bad idea. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the first with a walk and stole second as Victorino struck out for the first out. Utley popped to second before Howard walked, but Burrell went down swinging to end the frame.

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

Rollins walked again with one out in the third. Victorino and Utley both went down on fly balls to leave him stranded.

1-2-3 in the fourth.

With two outs in the fifth, Hamels singled to left on an inside-out swing for the Phillies’ first hit. Rollins smashed a line drive back up the middle that Lohse snared to set the Phils down.

Victorino started the sixth with a double to left-center. Utley was next and he sliced a ball into left field off the chalk and into the stands on a bounce. Victorino scored to cut the St Louis’ lead to 5-1. Howard struck out looking and Burrell got behind 0-2 before he hit a 2-2 pitch out to left to make it 5-3. Jenkins followed with a double to right, but Bruntlett struck out and Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Taguchi hit for Hamels and popped to short for the first out.

Utley was hit by a pitch to start the eighth. Howard smashed a ball but right at Pujols, who caught it and stepped on first to double-off Utley. Burrell walked to put a man on first for Jenkins with lefty Jaime Garcia on the mound for St Louis. Werth hit for Jenkins and the Cards brought in righty Jason Isringhausen, who struck Werth out to end the inning with Burrell stranded and the Phils down 6-3.

Bruntlett led off the ninth with a walk. Coste hit for Ruiz and struck out for the first out. Dobbs hit for Madson and flew to center for the second out before Rollins walked on a pitch that got passed Molina and allowed Bruntlett to go to third. It brought Victorino up as the tying run. He grounded to second to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-2 and walked three times. He had as many walks last night as he did in his previous 57 at-bats combined.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with a double and left four men on base.

Utley 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Jenkins 1-for-3 with a double. He hit 256/333/458 in July, which isn’t great but it’s just about all the Phillies need him to do.

Bruntlett was 0-for-3 with a walk, struck out three times and made an error (and one really good play) at third. He’s 1-for-his-last-12. Dobbs should be playing third against righties with Feliz out.

Ruiz was 0-for-3.

Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.13) faces righty Braden Looper (10-8, 4.38) tonight. Opponents have hit .291 against Looper this season, lefties .290 and righties .292. Jenkins is 8-for-19 against him in his career (.421). Howard has faced him four times and gone 3-for-4 with three home runs. Blanton has a 7.88 ERA in his two starts with the Phillies and has allowed seven runs in eight innings. Overall on the season he’s been hit hard by righties. Right-handed batters are hitting .328 with a 1.76 ratio against him.


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