Archive for September, 2008

Nothing like a cold pitcher of Brewer

The post-season rosters haven’t been set yet, but here’s a look at what some of the guys that could be pitching out of the Milwaukee pen over the next few days have done this season and in September:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Eric Gagne R 46.1 5.44 1.47 38 11.2 3.09 0.94 10
Salomon Torres R 80.0 3.49 1.45 51 12.2 8.53 2.05 7
Guillermo Mota R 57.0 4.11 1.40 50 10.1 2.61 1.06 8
C Villanueva R 108.1 4.07 1.31 93 15.1 2.35 1.17 16
Seth McClung R 105.1 4.02 1.41 87 16.1 1.10 1.04 17
Brian Shouse L 51.1 2.81 1.17 33 5.0 7.20 1.40 1
Mitch Stetter L 25.1 3.20 1.30 31 2.2 6.75 1.88 2

McClung actually made one start in September — along with Gagne, Villanueva and Mota, he has nice numbers this month.

Torres was hit hard twice in his last six appearances, both times by the Cubs, and has the numbers to prove it. On Saturday he gave up three runs on three hits without getting an out. On September 18 he was charged with four runs in an inning in Chicago.

The issue of who is going to get out Howard and Utley (and presumably Stairs and Jenkins off the bench) could be a big one this series. Both Shouse and Stetter at first glance appear to have pretty solid numbers for the season and miserable numbers for September. Not to be forgotten is how fragile those numbers for the month are given how few innings each of them has pitched. Settler has been charged with runs in just one of his seven appearances this month. Shouse was charged with a run or more in two of his seven appearances.

Opponents are hitting just .165 against Stetter, but he has walked 19 in 25 1/3 innings.

And here’s the Phillies:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Brad Lidge R 69.1 1.95 1.23 92 12.2 0.71 1.34 17
Ryan Madson R 82.2 3.05 1.23 67 14.0 0.64 0.93 17
Chad Durbin R 87.2 2.87 1.32 63 11.2 6.94 1.89 5
Clay Condrey R 69.0 3.26 1.51 34 8.2 1.04 1.15 4
Rudy Seanez R 43.1 3.53 1.45 30 7.0 2.57 0.86 5
JC Romero L 59.0 2.75 1.34 52 6.0 7.50 2.00 5
Scott Eyre L 25.2 4.21 1.17 32 6.1 4.26 1.11 8

Manuel will surely rely on Madson, Durbin, Romero and Lidge with the game on the line. The Phillies wouldn’t have won 92 games and probably wouldn’t be in the playoffs without the contributions they got from Durbin and Lidge this season. But Durbin has been terrible of late. It sure feels like Lidge has been shaky recently, too, but that may just be because we’ve never seen much of anything go wrong with him in a Phillies uniform. His numbers sure weren’t shaky in September.

Unbelievable month for Madson, which didn’t get the recognition it deserves. Seventeen strikeouts in 14 innings while yielding just a single earned run.

Seanez and Condrey probably won’t be on the mound if the outcome is in question and Manuel has any other choice. Both have pitched well, though.

As a Phillies fan, the guy I’m most scared of out of the pen these days is Durbin. Romero is 1A — another guy that had just an amazing year and helped get the Phillies where they are. Fifty-two strikeouts in 59 innings. He may be worn down a bit, though. Over his last ten appearances he’s gotten more than one out without being charged a run just twice.

Lidge, Madson and Durbin both pitched last on Saturday. Romero last pitched on Friday. Those guys are the core of the pen and that’s a lot of rest for some pitchers who needed a lot of rest. Hopefully it was enough.

It appears now that JA Happ will be on the roster to pitch out of the pen, perhaps costing Seanez his spot. Happ threw to a 3.69 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for the Phils this season. He appeared in eight games, making four starts. He struck out 26 with a 1.33 ratio. He was very good down the stretch, throwing 18 2/3 innings in September with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.07 ratio.

Burrell hurt his back in batting practice today. His status for tomorrow is unknown. That’s a big deal if he misses game one, but not quite as big a deal as it would be if Yovani Gallardo wasn’t right-handed.


Nothing like a cold Brewer

Here’s a look at 20 offensive players who could impact the upcoming series between the Phils and Brewers, what they’ve done for the year and what they’ve done since (and including) September 20:

     

Hot
Chase Utley
292/380/353
10-for-27 (.370, 3 2B, 2 HR, 2
BB) 1.137 OPS
Rickie Weeks
234/342/398
5-for-18, (.278, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4
BB) 1.131 OPS
Ryan Howard

251/339/543
8-for-26 (.308; 1 2B, 1 3B, 2
HR, 2 BB) 1.054 OPS
Shane Victorino
293/352/447
11-for-28 (.393, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1
HR) 1.036 OPS
Prince Fielder
276/372/507
10-for-32 (.313, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3
BB) .965 OPS
Tweener    
Pat Burrell
250/367/507
5-for-20 (.250, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5
BB) .957 OPS
Ryan Braun
285/335/553
8-for-32 (.250, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2
HR, 3 BB) .896 OPS
Pedro Feliz
249/302/402
4-for-15 (.267, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2
BB) .886 OPS
Greg Dobbs
301/333/491
4-for-12 (.333, 2 2B, 0 BB) .833
OPS
Craig Counsell
226/355/302
3-for-13 (.231, 1 2B, 6 BB, 2
HBP) .832 OPS
Ray Durham
289/380/432
3-for-12 (.250, 2 2B, 2 BB) .774
OPS
     
     

Not
   
Jimmy Rollins
277/349/437
6-for-27 (.222, 4 2B, 5 BB) .714
OPS
JJ Hardy
283/343/478
7-for-27 (.259, 2 2B, 1 3B) .707
OPS
Mike Cameron
243/331/477
8-for-32 (.250, 2 2B, 3 BB) .646
OPS
Jason Kendall
246/327/324
7-for-28 (.250, 2 2B, 1 BB) .597
OPS
Bill Hall
225/293/396
3-for-13 (.231, 1 2B, 1 BB) .594
OPS
Chris Coste
263/325/423
0-for-6 (.000, 1 BB)  .541
OPS
Jayson Werth
273/363/498
5-for-31 (.161, 1 HR, 10 K) .419
OPS
Carlos Ruiz
219/320/300
1-for-19 (.053, 5 BB) .293 OPS
Corey Hart
268/300/459
4-for-28 (.143, 0 XBH, 0 BB)
.272 OPS

All those guys should be healthy for the Brewers, Durham has a minor issue with his hamstring and Hardy a minor issue with his thumb.

Corey Hart isn’t just cold over the last few days. He hit 173/192/245 in September. Hall a little better, 182/250/250 this month. Cameron has also struggled, 176/257/253 in September. Kendall (202/295/298) and Hardy (255/300/451) haven’t been as bad.

The Phils sent Fabio Castro to the Jays to complete the deal for Stairs. I still think Castro has a chance to be really good. Nice to have Stairs, too, though — it’s unfortunate that Jenkins struggled so badly this season (and was injured) and the Phils had to bring in Stairs.


Bench slayers

The Phillies played their final game of the regular season yesterday, fielding a team of bench players that rolled over the Nats to get the Phils an 8-3 win.

Lou Marson made his major league debut and hit a two-run homer. So Taguchi, on the bench all season long, led the offense with three hits and three runs driven in. Taguchi got just 91 at-bats this season, many of them miserable, but looks likely to be part of the active roster when the Phils play the Brewers on Wednesday.

Kyle Kendrick wont’t be. Kendrick got the start and again didn’t pitch well. He threw to a 7.59 ERA after the All-Star break and leaves the Phils with a big question at the back of the rotation whenever they get around to thinking about next year.

Probably won’t be today.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals yesterday, winning 8-3. They end the regular season 92-70, which is the most wins since they’ve had since they won 97 in 1993. They have won three in a row. Twenty-two games above .500 is their best mark for the season.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing three runs on four hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out one and ends the season with a 5.49 ERA.

Kendrick set down the first six batters he faced before Luke Montz started the third with a home run to left that tied the game at 1-1.

The Nats pulled ahead 3-1 with two runs in the top of the fourth. Anderson Hernandez and Kory Casto led off the inning with back-to-back doubles. Alberto Gonzalez drove in Hernandez with a one out single to center.

Walrond struck out four as he threw a scoreless fifth and a scoreless sixth after the Phils hit for Kendrick in the bottom of the fourth.

Happ pitched the seventh and allowed a two-out single to Pete Orr, but struck out Lastings Milledge, pinch-hitting for the pitcher Shairon Martis, to leave Orr stranded with the Phils up 5-3.

Happ returned to start the eighth. He walked Anderson with one out before he struck out Casto for the second. Pinch-hitter Ryan Langerhans moved Anderson to second and Seanez came in to pitch to the righty Gonzalez. Seanez got Gonzalez to fly to right for the third out.

Condrey allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless ninth.

Condrey and Seanez both seem likely to have a chance to make the Phils post-season roster. The use of Happ was interesting — I think we may see Hamels, Myers, Moyer as the rotation against the Brewers with Blanton as the fourth option. If Happ makes it on to a post-season roster, which seems unlikely, I’d guess it will be to pitch out of the pen. Kendrick has been told he will not be part of the post-season roster.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Odalis Perez went (1) Taguchi (2) Bruntlett (3) Iguchi (4) Jenkins (5) Coste (6) Cervenak (7) Golson (8) Marson. Taguchi in left, Bruntlett at short, Coste at first, Cervenak at third, Golson in center and Marson catching. Marson making his major league debut. Cervenak and Golson getting their first career starts.

With Bruntlett on third (singled) and Iguchi on second (doubled) with one out in the first, Bruntlett came in to score on a wild pitch with Jenkins at the plate to put the Phils up 1-0. Jenkins couldn’t bring Iguchi in to third with one out, though, he flew to left for the second out. Coste walked before Cervenak struck out to leave both men stranded.

Marson struck out in his first major league at-bat for the second out of the second.

The Phils started the fourth down 3-1 and scored three times to take a 4-3 lead. Marson singled with two outs. Werth hit for Kendrick and moved Marson to third with a single. Werth stole second before Taguchi brought both runners in with a single (3-3) and took second on a fielding error by Casto. Bruntlett followed with a double that scored Taguchi and put the Phils up 4-3.

With two outs in the sixth, Howard hit for Walrond singled. Taguchi followed with a triple that scored Howard and put the Phils up 5-3.

With Golson on first and one out in the eighth, Marson hit a 1-2 pitch from Marco Estrada out to left to put the Phillies up 7-3. Stairs followed, hitting for Seanez, and he homered to right. 8-3.

Taguchi 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBI in the game. He had six RBI for the season coming into the game.

Bruntlett 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Iguchi 2-for-5 with a double.

Jenkins 1-for-4.

Coste 0-for-3 with a walk.

Cervenak 0-for-4.

Golson 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Marson 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Rollins was 2-for-6 with two doubles and three walks in the series. He has stolen 21 bases since the end of July and been caught twice. After hitting 313/411/458 in September, he’s hitting 277/349/437 at the end of the regular season.

Werth was 4-for-10 with a home run in the series, including a single today. He came into the series 1-for-his-last-21. 273/363/498 for the year.

Utley 4-for-8 with a double in the series. 292/380/535.

Howard was 4-for-9 with a double and a home run. 251/339/543. He goes into the post-season 7-for-his-last-15.

Burrell 1-for-4 with two walks in the set. 250/367/507 for the year.

Victorino 4-for-8 with a double in the series. 293/352/447 to end the season after hitting 344/378/516 in September. Hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves for how well he played down the stretch.

Feliz was 1-for-4 with a double in the series. 249/302/409 for the season. He ends the season with a .705 OPS — over the last four seasons, the range of his OPS at the end of the year has been .705 to .717.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 with a double in the series and ends the year at 301/333/491.

Ruiz 0-for-6. 219/320/300 on the year. 0-for-his-last-15.

The Phils play the Brewers on Wednesday.

This article suggests this is who we should expect on the Phillies post-season roster:

Hitters: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Dobbs, Coste, Ruiz, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Bruntlett, Stairs, Jenkins, Taguchi.

Those guys can hit, but missing from the group is a right-handed bat off the bench — no matter who the Phils pick for their post-season roster, I don’t think they can solve that problem.

Pitchers: Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Blanton, Lidge, Romero, Durbin, Madson, Condrey, Eyre, Seanez

Assuming the Phillies go with 11 pitches, I think Golson or Taguchi as the 14th hitter is the only real choice for the Phillies. I would go with Golson, but I don’t think the Phillies will, especially after Taguchi’s big day yesterday.


It takes a village, but the villagers are going back to the playoffs

The Phillies won an amazing game with a long list of heroes this afternoon, topping the Nationals by a run to clinch the NL East.

Jimmy Rollins has to head-up the list — and he went 1-for-4 and didn’t score or drive in a run. He made two sparking defensive plays that changed the game. With one out in the eighth, the Phils up by a pair of runs and the Nats threatening with men on second and third, Rollins made a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch while crashing into Shane Victorino to turn a two-run single into the second out of the inning. With the Phils up a run with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, Rollins started a game-ending double-play with a diving stab of Ryan Zimmerman’s ground ball up the middle.

Jamie Moyer again came up huge for the Phils in a huge game. He held Washington to a run over six innings. If you think about the biggest games that Moyer has started for the Phillies, I think you have to go with the last day of the regular season in 2007 (when he pitched the Phils into the playoffs) game three of the NLDS last year and the game today. In those three games combined, Moyer has allowed two earned runs in 17 1/3 innings (1.04 ERA).

With two outs and nobody on in the eighth, Victorino and Feliz combined to create an insurance run that would prove to be critical. About 15 minutes after lying on the field in pain after colliding with Rollins and looking like a leg injury might leave him unable to continue, Victorino beat out an infield single and raced around to score from first when Feliz followed and doubled into the gap in left-center.

Brad Lidge struggled to protect a two-run lead in the ninth. But he came out on top yet again as he saved his 41st game in 41 chances in a Phillies uniform.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals yesterday, winning 4-3 to improve to 91-70 on the season. They have won the NL East and will face either the Dodgers or the Brewers at home on Wednesday.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out one and will end the regular season with 16 wins and a 3.71 ERA.

He set the Nats down in order in the first.

He walked Aaron Boone with two outs in the second, but got Wil Nieves to fly to right for the third out.

Moyer get the first two again in the third before Anderson Hernandez showed bunt early in the count and then hit one past Feliz for a single. Cristian Guzman moved Hernandez to second with another single, but Moyer got Ryan Zimmerman to fly to center to leave both men stranded.

Two ground balls and a fly out in a 1-2-3 fourth.

Moyer started the fifth up 2-0. Roger Bernandina singled with one out and the pitcher John Lannan bunted him to second. Hernandez was next and drove a ball to right field, where it went off the tip of Werth’s glove for a double. Bernandina scored and it was 2-1. Guzman grounded to short for the third out.

Would have been a good play by Werth, but it would have been a nice one to have.

Zimmerman started the sixth and chopped a ball up the middle. Utley fielded it behind second, but couldn’t throw Zimmerman out. Lastings Milledge was next and bunted past Moyer for another single. It put men on first and second with nobody out, but Moyer got Elijah Dukes to fly to center for the first out and Boone to fly to center for the second. He struck out Nieves to set the Nats down with both runners stranded.

Durbin pitched the seventh. He walked Kory Casto, hitting for the pitcher, with one out but got Hernandez to hit into a double-play behind him. Nice play by Utley, who fielded Hernandez’s grounder, tagged Casto and threw to first to beat the speedy Hernandez.

Madson started the eighth with the Phillies up 3-1. Guzman led off with a single and went to third when Zimmerman followed with a double. The play of the game was next. Milledge blooped an 0-1 pitch into shallow center. Rollins and Victorino stormed towards it and Rollins made a sliding, over-the-shoulder catch as he crashed into Victorino’s shins. Guzman tagged and scored, making it 3-2 with Zimmerman holding second. Dukes was next and his bat exploded as he grounded to third. Feliz managed to field it anyway, with pieces of bat flying at him, and threw to first for the second out. Madson struck out Boone to end the frame.

Amazing play by Rollins.

Lidge started the ninth up 4-2. Switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio hit for Nieves and quickly got ahead. Lidge delivered two straight strikes to even the count, the second of which was clearly inside. Bonifacio struck out swinging on the next pitch for the first out. Lefty Ryan Langerhans hit for the pitcher Garrett Mock. Lidge got ahead of him 1-2 before he delivered three straight balls to walk him, forcing Bonifacio to second. With one out and men on first and second, Hernandez blooped a ball over Utley’s head and into right-center for a single. Bonifacio scored from second, making the score 4-3, but Langerhans tripped going around second and had to hold there even when Werth picked up the ball and threw home. Guzman was next and he lined a 2-2 pitch into center, just out of the reach of a diving Rollins. Langerhans stated towards third, then went back towards second and finally saw it go through and went to third. The bases were loaded with one out for Zimmerman. Zimmerman hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle, to the left of second base. Rollins dove for the ball to field it, flipped to Utley and Utley made a strong relay to double-up Zimmerman and end the game.

Very nice play by Rollins, but not as spectacular as his play in the eighth.

Two issues with Langerhans on the bases. He slipped on the single by Hernandez going around second, perhaps preventing him from going to third, and waited a long time to watch Guzman’s single go through, likely preventing him from scoring from second. His run, and the fact that he didn’t score, was critical. It seems entirely possible that Langerhans is a lot faster than I think he is. Given that I think he’s as fast as I do, though, I have to wonder how it would have changed the game if the Nationals had pinch-run Willie Harris or Pete Orr for him.

Not a pretty day for the pen, but they got it done. They allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over three innings. All three of Lidge, Madson and Durbin should be well-rested by Wednesday.

The Phillies lineup against lefty John Lannan went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth stays in the two-hole with the lefty on the mound. Feliz at third with Dobbs on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Werth and Utley struck out in a 1-2-3 first.

Burrell walked with one out in the second and moved to second when Victorino followed with a single to left. Feliz was next and hit a bloop into shallow center. Guzman made a very nice over the shoulder catch for the second out and easily doubled Burrell off to end the inning.

Rollins lined a double into the right-field corner with two outs in the third. Werth struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch to leave him stranded.

Utley and Howard started the fourth with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and third for Burrell and Burrell hit a fly ball to right that Dukes caught just in foul territory up against the stands. Utley tagged and scored to put the Phils up 1-0. I think you have to catch the ball there and not take a chance and try to let it drop foul. Victorino against singled to left and Howard went to second. A walk to Feliz loaded the bases. Ruiz was next and hit a ball to right-center that Dukes took right in front of the warning track for the second out. Howard scored to make it 2-0 and Victorino took third. Lannan walked Moyer on four pitches to load the bases once again. Rollins got ahead 2-0 before Lannan threw him a strike to make the count 2-1. Rollins hit the next pitch hard to third, but Zimmerman took it and threw to second to force Moyer and end the inning.

Werth led off the fifth and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right, putting the Phillies up 3-1. Burrell singled with two outs, but Victorino flew to left to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth. Stairs hit for Moyer with two outs and popped to short.

They went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

They started the eighth up 3-2. Victorino reached on an infield single with two outs. Feliz was next and hit for himself against righty Garrett Mock, no doubt because Manuel wanted to keep his glove in the one-run game, and Feliz split the gap in left-center with a double. Victorino, a half-inning after his collision with Rollins had left his writhing in pain on the ground, roared around to score from first and put the Phils up 4-2. Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.

Huge hit for Feliz.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double.

Werth 1-for-4 with his 24th home run.

Utley 1-for-4.

Howard 1-for-4.

Burrell 1-for-1 with a walk and an RBI.

Feliz 1-for-3 with a huge double and an RBI.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with an RBI.

JA Happ (1-0, 3.90) faces lefty Odalis Perez (7-11, 4.27) tomorrow afternoon. Perez has a 5.02 ERA since the All-Star break. Righties are hitting .303 against him for the season, lefties .214. In 13 starts away from home this year he’s 4-5 with a 6.38 ERA. Happ’s last two starts have been enormous and the Phils won both games as Happ allowed two runs over 12 1/3 innings. Lefties are hitting just .179 against him in his 30 innings this season.


Balester can’t deter Phils

Coming off back-to-back losses, Phillies fans were hoping to see the team come out strong last night. They got their wish. The Phils jumped all over Collin Balester as Utley and Howard combined to drive in seven runs in the first two innings. Joe Blanton pitched well and the pen was even better as the Phils rolled to an 8-4 win.

With the Marlins beating the Mets last night, the Phils lead the division by two games with two games left to play.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 8-4 to improve to 90-70 on the season. They will clinch the division today if they beat the Nats or the Mets lose.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. He got some terrible defense behind him, hurt most by plays by Ruiz and Howard, and only one of the runs was earned. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second with a 3-0 lead. Elijah Dukes led off and Blanton walked him. Willie Harris flew to center for the first out. With Kory Castro at the plate, Dukes went to second on a passed ball. Ruiz just didn’t catch the ball, which wasn’t even in the dirt. It cost the Phils a run, cause Castro grounded to second for the second out with Dukes going to third and Luke Montz singled into left to bring Dukes in and cut the lead to 3-1. Orr grounded to Utley to end the frame.

The Phils probably would have had a double-play on the ball that Casto hit if Dukes had been on first instead of second.

Blanton started the third up 7-1. Emilio Bonifacio doubled with one out, but Blanton got the next two to leave him stranded.

He got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Orr hit a ground ball to Howard that Howard booted for his 19th error of the season. Robert Bernandina hit for the pitcher Jason Bergmann and doubled to left, moving Orr to third. Bonifacio was next and he hit a fly ball to center for the second out. It was deep enough to score Orr and cut the lead to 7-2. Cristian Guzman was next and he singled into right, scoring Bernandina to make it 7-3. Lastings Milledge flew to center for the third out.

More bad defense costs the Phillies runs.

With two outs in the sixth, Casto hit a 1-0 pitch to deep right. A fan reached over the fence and tried to catch the ball but dropped it. Casto was given a home run and the play was reviewed. The play stood. 7-4. Looked like the right call to me. Blanton struck out Montz for the third out.

Eyre started the seventh after the Phils hit for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth. Righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the lefty Pete Orr and Eyre struck him out for the first out. Switch-hitter Anderson Hernandez hit for the pitcher hit for the pitcher Garrett Mock and Eyre struck him out too. Bonifacio was next and he hit a ball slowly to short. Rollins charged, bare-handed and made a strong throw to first to nip Bonifacio.

Nice inning for Eyre and a great play by Rollins.

Madson started the eighth up 8-4. Cristian Guzman led off with a single to right. Madson struck out Milledge and got Dukes on a pop to third before Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Harris. Righty Aaron Boone hit for Harris and grounded to Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to end the frame.

Lidge started the ninth up 8-4. Casto swung at a 1-2 pitch and the home plate umpire called him out, but Casto argued that he had fouled the pitch off. The home plate ump checked with the third base ump who said Casto had fouled the ball off. Manuel came out to argue and was ejected. I don’t think that Casto actually fouled the ball off. Lidge struck him out swinging on the next pitch for the first out. Montz was next and Lidge struck him out swinging 1-2. Gonzalez was next and grounded to short to end the game.

I was surprised that nobody on the Phillies’ bench came out to get Manuel before he finally walked away. He was about as mad as Phillies fans have seen him.

The bullpen goes three scoreless innings for the Phils, allowing one base-runner on Guzman’s single off of Madson. They struck out five. Nobody threw more than 13 pitches. After the off-day on Thursday, everyone likely seems available for this afternoon’s game as the Phillies try to clinch the division.

The Phillies lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. The slumping Werth stays in the lineup and moves up to second in the order with Utley dropped to third. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Feliz on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Werth lined a single into center with one out in the first and went to third when Utley followed and singled into right. Howard was next and blasted an 0-1 pitch out to right-center to put the Phils up 3-0. Burrell and Victorino both popped out to end the inning.

Dobbs started the second with an opposite field double with the Phils up 3-1. Ruiz flew to right and Blanton struck out, but Rollins drew a walk to put men on first and second. Werth reached on an infield single to third that loaded the bases. It brought Utley up and he hit a 3-1 pitch off the top of the wall in left. It cleared the bases and put the Phils up 6-1. Howard followed with a double of his own. 7-1. Burrell grounded to third for the third out.

Rollins, Werth, Utley and Howard all get aboard with two outs and it gets the Phils four runs.

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

With one out in the fourth, Rollins blooped a 1-0 pitch in between second and center. It dropped in and good hustle by Rollins got him to second. Werth flew to left and Utley flew to center to leave Rollins stranded.

The Phils started the fifth up 7-3. Victorino doubled with two outs and stole third, but Dobbs grounded to second to leave him stranded.

They were leading 7-4 when they started the sixth. Ruiz flew to center for the first out. With the righty Garrett Mock on the mound, Jenkins hit for Blanton and popped to short. Rollins drew a walk, but Werth struck out for the third out.

If you hadn’t already, I think you have to conclude that Manuel has more confidence in Stairs than Jenkins as a left-handed hitter off the bench. In that case he chose to save Stairs for later in the game.

Utley started the seventh with a single. Howard struck out before Utley stole second. Burrell drew a walk and Bruntlett ran for him at first. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to short. Bruntlett was forced at second for the second out. With two outs and men on first and third, Feliz hit for Dobbs with lefty Mike Hinckley on the mound. Jesus Colome came in to pitch for Feliz. Victorino stole second before a passed ball brought in Utley and moved Victorino to third with the Phils up 8-4. Feliz flew to center for the third out.

Wouldn’t have run for Burrell there.

Ruiz led off the eighth with a walk. Stairs hit for Romero and Ruiz was caught stealing as the count went 2-2 on Stairs. The Phils ran all over the Washington catcher Montz, who was making his fifth career start, but that’s a terrible time to run with Stairs hitting towering foul balls off of the righty Jesus Colome. Ruiz was safe and didn’t get the call, but it’s terrible anyway. Stairs struck out for the second out. Rollins drew a walk, his third of the game, and stole second. Werth struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch.

Rollins was 1-for-2 with a double, three walks and his 47th stolen base.

Werth was 2-for-5. Nice to see him have a good game.

Utley 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with a double.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk and a bad miscue on the passed ball. Shouldn’t have been allowed to be caught stealing in the eighth.

Jamie Moyer (15-7, 3.78) faces lefty John Lannan (9-14, 3.86) this afternoon. Lannan has faced the Phillies twice this season, allowing ten runs in 11 2/3 innings. The Phillies’ lefties have hit him pretty well over their careers. Howard is 3-for-8 with a double and a home run. Utley 4-for-8 with a walk in the plate appearances where Lannan didn’t break his hand. Moyer has been just fantastic for the Phils in big starts over the past two years. Here comes one now. The Phillies have won six games in a row that Moyer has started. He’s 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA in four starts against the Nats this season.

If you care about the music that players use for their at-bats, you might find this thing kinda cool.


Phils may be wondering if there’s time to send Myers back to the minors before his next start

The bad news is there might be.

It was looking pretty simple a couple of days ago. The Phils led the division by 2 1/2 games and were set to send their top two starters to the mound against the 69-88 Atlanta Braves. Two games later, it’s the 71-88 Atlanta Braves and the Phillies could start their next game with their lead in the playoff hunt cut to a single game.

Wild, ugly night at the yard last night. It featured a bomb scare, a bench-clearing incident and the Phils getting absolutely pounded. Through all of it, though, it was hard not to notice Brett Myers. Myers was hammered for his second straight outing. Over his last two starts, he has allowed 16 runs on 19 hits over 8 1/3 innings.

The game was mostly over after Myers, Durbin, Eyre and a throwing error by Howard all helped the Braves score six runs in the fifth inning, putting Atlanta up 9-3.

The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, falling 10-4 to drop to 89-70 on the season. They have lost two in a row. They lead the Mets in the NL East by 1 1/2 games. The Mets are tied with the Brewers for the Wild Card. The Brewers and Mets both play today while the Phillies are idle — the Phils will lead each of them by either one game or two games by the end of the day.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on ten hits and two walks. Only four of the runs were earned. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out three.

Josh Anderson led off the first and doubled to right on a 1-0 pitch. Kelly Johnson reached on an infield single to second that moved Anderson to third. Martin Prado was next and hit a 3-2 pitch back up the middle for a single. Anderson scored to put Atlanta up 1-0 and Johnson went to third. Myers struck out Brian McCann for the first out as Prado stole second. Casey Kotchman was next and he singled to right. Johnson scored and it was 2-0. With men on first and third and two outs, Myers got Omar Infante to hit into a double-play back to the mound to end the frame.

Brandon Jones singled to right with one out in the second. Myers struck out the pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes for the second out before Anderson moved Jones to second with a single. Myers struck out Johnson to leave the runners stranded.

Myers started the third down 2-1. Prado led off with a single. McCann was next and ripped a 1-2 pitch down the first base line for a double. The ball bounced off the stands and into the middle of right field. Werth ran after it and made a great throw to nail Prado for the first out of the inning. McCann took third on the play at the plate. Kotchman was next and he grounded to first for the second out. McCann scored to make it 3-1. Infante followed with a double before Jeff Francoeur grounded to third for the third out.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He started the fifth with the game tied at 3-3. Prado walked with one out and McCann followed with another double, this time Werth dove for it and missed it, that scored Prado and made it 4-3. Myers walked the lefty Kotchman intentionally to put men on first and second. Infante was next and hit a ground ball to Howard. Howard threw to second and hit Kotchman with the throw. The ball went into center field, McCann scored to make it 5-3 and the Braves had runners on first and second with one out. Howard was charged with his 18th error. Durbin struck out Francoeur for the second out before Brandon Jones blooped a single to left that scored Kotchman (6-3) and moved Infante to second. Switch-hitter Chipper Jones hit for the pitcher Buddy Carlyle and Eyre came in to pitch to him. Chipper hit a 2-1 pitch out to left. 9-3. Eyre struck out Anderson for the third out.

A day after Hamels’ throw at third hurts the Phils, Howard’s throw to second helped blow up the fifth last night.

Eyre came back for the sixth. McCann doubled yet again with two outs, but Kotchman grounded to first to leave him stranded.

Seanez got three fly balls in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Romero started the eighth with the Phillies down 9-3. Anderson walked with one out and stole second. Romero struck out Johnson for the second out before Prado singled to left. Anderson scored to make it 10-3 and Prado took second on the throw to the plate. McCann grounded back to the pitcher for the third out.

Even with the day off today, I don’t think I would have put Romero in the game with the Phils down six runs in the eighth.

Condrey pitched the ninth. He allowed a two-out single to Francoeur before Greg Norton hit for the pitcher Julian Tavarez and grounded out to first.

Not a good game for the pen. They went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. Durbin actually pitched fine. He faced three batters. One reached thanks to the Howard error, the next he struck out and the third hit a soft single to left. Eyre gave up the big home run to Chipper. Romero allowed a run on a hit and a walk. Eyre threw 26 pitches in the game, Romero 17 and Durbin 16. I’d guess they will all be available on Friday.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jo-Jo Reyes went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Feliz at third against the lefty. Coste behind the plate.

Down 2-0, the Phils went in order in the first.

Burrell doubled with one out in the second. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to second that Johnson didn’t handle for an error. Burrell went to third. Feliz singled into center and Burrell scored, cutting the Atlanta lead to 2-1 with Victorino going to second. Coste hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Utley hit an 0-1 pitch out to right with two outs in the third. It cut the Atlanta lead to 3-2. Werth flew to center for the third out.

Howard hit a 2-0 pitch out to center to start the fourth, tying the game at 3-3. Burrell was next and he doubled to right on the first pitch of his at-bat. Victorino flew to right for the first out with Burrell tagging and moving to third. Righty Buddy Carlyle came in to pitch to Feliz and stuck him out swinging for the second out. Coste grounded to short for the third out.

Feliz can’t bring the runner in from third with one out. Phils don’t score after Burrell doubled with nobody out.

Rollins walked with one out in the fifth and the Phils down 9-3. Utley flew to right for the second out before Rollins stole second. Werth grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Burrell walked with one out in the sixth. Victorino followed with a ground ball to short and Burrell was forced at second. Victorino stole second before Feliz flew to right for the third out.

With righty Jorge Julio on the mound, Jenkins hit for Seanez to start the seventh and doubled. Ruiz was next and struck out. Rollins moved Jenkins to second with a walk. Utley was next and he ripped a ball down the first base line, but Kotchman made a nice diving play to take extra-bases away from him for the second out. The runners moved to second and third. They were left stranded there when Werth struck out.

Down 10-3 in the eighth, Burrell drew a walk with one out. Victorino was next and doubled to right, moving Burrell to third. Dobbs hit for Feliz with the righty Tavarez on the mound and struck out swinging for the second out. Stairs hit for Romero. With nobody holding third, Victorino danced way off the bag and Tavarez ran off the mound to chase him back. Victorino made it back to the base easily. Tavarez returned to the mound and he and Victorino began talking and then moved towards each other. Benches cleared, no punches thrown. Stairs struck out to end the inning.

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

Rollins was 0-for-3 with two walks in the game. 1-for-11 with two walks in the series. 276/346/435 for the year.

Utley was 1-for-5 with his 33rd home run, which is a career-high. 4-for-11 with two doubles, two walks and a home run in the series. 289/378/534.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-12 in the series. 2-for-his-last-26. Doesn’t have a walk in his last 30 at-bats. Will be interesting if we see Stairs or Jenkins in right the next time the Phils get a righty. I think we should. Lefty John Lannan goes for the Nats on Friday, though, so Werth will likely be back out there. 270/362/493 for the year.

Howard was 1-for-4 with his 47th homer. 3-for-10 with a triple, a home run and two walks in the set. 248/337/537. He’s a really bad defensive player.

Burrell was 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks. 4-for-9 with three doubles, a home run and three walks in the series. Burrell and Werth both came in slumping badly. Burrell looks like he broke out. Werth didn’t. Burrell is hitting 250/367/509 for the season.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a double. 4-for-12 with a double and a triple in the series. 290/350/445 for the season.

Feliz 1-for-3 with an RBI. 2-for-10 with two RBI in the series. 249/301/401 for the year. Dobbs 0-for-1 in the game and 1-for-2 in the series. 300/333/489 for the season.

Coste 0-for-2. 1-for-3 in the series. 266/326/428 for the year. Ruiz was 0-for-3 in the game and 0-for-9 with a walk in the series. 223/324/306 for the season.

No game today.


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