Archive for April, 2009

Tons of offense trumps tons of problems for the Phils against Washington

The Phils worked through a short, weary pen and injuries to Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge and Carlos Ruiz in their series against the Nationals, riding their high-powered offense to wins in the first two games of the set. Chad Durbin gave them 3 2/3 innings of critical relief in game two, saving a pen in desperate need of some saving.

The Phillies are 11-9 on the season after taking two of three from Washington. After winning the middle game of the series the Phils were three games above .500 and had won five games in a row. Both marks were bests for the season.

After 20 games, the Phillies have scored 119 runs and allowed 112 runs. That puts them on pace to score 964 and allow 907. They will almost surely both score and allow fewer runs than that over the year. Last year after 20 games they were 10-10 and had scored 94 runs and allowed 88. So compared to this time last year, they’ve scored 25 more runs and allowed 24 more.

In the first game of the series, the Phillies managed to work around a miserable start from Blanton and two two-run homers allowed by Eyre in the eighth inning to get their fourth straight win. After Howard had delivered a fifth-inning grand slam to tie the game at 6-6, the Phillies started the bottom of the eighth down 11-7. The Phils cut the lead to 11-9 and, with two outs, Ibanez delivered the Phillies’ second grand slam of the game, putting them on top to stay at 13-11.

Utley and Feliz gave the Phillies a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the third in the second game of the series. Utley hit a two-run homer and Feliz followed with a three-run shot four batters later. Hamels was cruising and took a shutout into the fifth inning. With one out in the fifth he sprained his left ankle fielding a John Lannan bunt and left the game. Durbin came on and delivered 3 2/3 innings of quality relief and the Phils rolled to a 7-1 win.

The Phillies didn’t find an answer to Scott Olsen in game three, getting just one run on a solo homer by Victorino before Olsen left in the sixth. Myers pitched well early, but allowed a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie and put Nationals up 3-1. Washington extended the lead to 4-1 with an eighth-inning run off of Taschner, which is how it ended.

The Phillies got awful pitching overall in the series. Over 27 innings they threw to a 5.33 ERA and a 1.70 ratio.

The starters were a little worse than the relievers. The starters as a group went 15 innings and pitched to a 5.52 ERA and a 1.91 ratio. As they have been all year they were hurt by the home run, allowing three over the 15 innings. On the plus side, all three were surrendered by Blanton. Myers, who has been giving up a ton, didn’t allow a homer in his start for the first time this season. The starters have been great at preventing walks this season, but not in this series. They walked eight over 15 innings.

Blanton got blasted in game one, allowing six runs over 4 1/3 innings. He gave up three home runs, two to Ryan Zimmerman and one to Elijah Dukes.

Hamels was great in game two, but also left early with a sprained ankle. In 4 1/3 scoreless innings he gave up four hits and two walks.

Myers went six innings in game three. He walked three in the third, including a walk issued to Anderson Hernandez to force in a run. He started the sixth with the game tied at 1-1, but may have tired coming off a start where he made 119 pitches. The Nats scored two runs on four hits off of him in top of the sixth and he left down 3-1.

As a group, relievers threw to a 5.11 ERA with a 1.46 ratio in 12 innings in the series. Eyre’s miserable numbers in his game one outing hurt them as a group — outside of that appearance they pitched to a 2.19 ERA with a 1.05 ratio (also in 12 innings as Eyre didn’t record an out in game one).

Happ came on to bail out Eyre in the eighth inning of game one and threw a scoreless inning with the Phils down four runs. He also pitched the top of the ninth in game three down 4-1. He allowed a two-out single to Willie Harris, but kept the Nats off the board.

Taschner took over for Blanton in the first game of the set. He went 1 1/3 innings in the game and was charged with a run. He walked two, but allowed just one hit, which was a double that should have been caught by Victorino. After he walked the bases loaded, Condrey walked in Dukes with the run charged to Taschner. He also pitched in game three. He started the top of the seventh down 3-1 and set the Nationals down in order. He came back to pitch the eighth and Washington and allowed a run on two hits and two walks. Manuel left him in to pitch to righty Austin Kearns with two outs and men on second and third. That’s a poor idea, but Taschner walked him and the next hitter flew to right so it didn’t hurt the Phillies.

Eyre started the eighth inning of game one with the score tied at 7-7. He hadn’t allowed a hit or a walk on the season, but he had a terrible outing. He gave up a pair of two-run homers, one to Nick Johnson and one to Adam Dunn. He didn’t get an out in the game and raised his ERA on the season from 0.00 to 10.80.

Durbin was fantastic in relief of Hamels in game two. He threw 42 pitches and gave the Phils 3 2/3 much-needed innings while holding the Nats to a single run. That was just a huge outing by Durbin to save the bullpen with Lidge unavailable.

Over his last seven appearances, Durbin has allowed two runs on three hits and a walk over eight innings (2.25 ERA with an 0.50 ratio) while striking out seven.

Condrey entered in the sixth with the bases loaded in game one and walked Dukes to force in a run charged to Taschner. He followed that up with a 1-2-3 seventh.

In game two he pitched a scoreless ninth with a 7-1 lead.

Madson got the call to save game one with Lidge sidelined with a knee problem. Pitching with a two-run lead, he gave up a bunt single to start the inning but got the next three

Lidge didn’t appear in the series with a knee problem. He last pitched on Saturday.

The Phillies scored 21 runs in the series, 20 of which came in games one and two.

Rollins came into the series slumping, 1-for-his-last-12. He got caught stealing in the fifth inning of game three with the score tied at 1-1. 6-for-14 in the series with a double. He’s hitting 207/241/293 for the year.

Victorino wasn’t charged with an error, but in game one Anderson Hernandez drove a ball to center that went in and out of his glove after a run. Hernandez was given a double, but Victorino should have made the play. Hernandez came in to score later in the inning when Condrey walked Dukes with the bases loaded to put Washington up 7-6. He went 5-for-13 in the series with a double and a home run. He has hit in ten straight games and is 15-for-his-last-43. He’s hitting 286/337/476 for the year.

Utley was 5-for-10 with two walks and two home runs in the series. 342/461/644 for the year.

Howard was 3-for-11 with a game one grand slam and two walks. He’s hitting 288/367/525 for the season.

Werth was 1-for-11 with two walks in the set. He’s 4-for-his-last-24 with a double and eight strikeouts. 260/372/438 for the year.

Ibanez hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning in game one, putting the Phillies ahead to stay. He was 6-for-10 with a double and two home runs in the series. He’s at 359/433/718 for the year.

Feliz hit a big three-run homer in game two after Dobbs got the start in game one. 4-for-8 with a double and a home run in the series. 323/395/477. He’s on pace to walk 73 times this season. That would be more than his career high of 38. Also on pace to drive in 113 runs. Great start for him, he’s been a big part of the offense and they’ve needed his contribution to work around the awful pitching.

Coste was 1-for-7 with a walk in the series. 175/267/275 for the year. 1-for-his-last-14 with a single and five strikeouts.

Marson got the start in game one. 0-for-3 with a walk in the series. 235/350/294 in 17 at-bats for the year.

Bruntlett was 0-for-1 in the series. 176/200/353 for the year.

Dobbs got his first start of the year in game one of the series and was double-switched into game three. He went 0-for-3 in the series with a strikeout and is hitting 111/111/200 for the year — 2-for-18 with two singles.

Stairs hit for Taschner in game three as the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the Phils down 4-1. He grounded to second. 0-for-2 in the series. 308/400/769 in 13 at-bats for the season.

Cairo did not play in the series (as tradition dictates). 0-for-7 without a walk on the season. How bout giving his roster spot to a right-handed reliever? Or a left-handed reliever? Or a right-handed hitter with some pop? Or any baseball player that Manuel will put on the field?

Lidge and Hamels will both throw on Friday, which will help determine what happens with them in the immediate future (ie, whether Hamels will miss a start or Lidge will go to the DL). The linked article also says that Ruiz will return to a Triple-A rehab, but it’s not clear for how long.


Desperate search for that guy selling O’s for a nickel finally pays off

Here’s hoping last night’s O’s didn’t cost the Phillies a lot more than a nickel.

An ankle injured kept Cole Hamels from making it out of the fifth inning last night as the Phillies won their fifth-straight game. What he did do before he left, though, was keep the Nationals off the board. For the Phillies it was the first time this season that their starting pitcher did not allow a run in a game.

Phillies’ starters have held opponents under three runs in just three of 19 games this season. Two of those were games pitched by Hamels in which he left with an injury before the end of the fifth inning. By comparison, in 2008 Phillies starters allowed less than three runs in 76 of the team’s 162 starts (about 47%). You win a lot when you’re starting pitching holds the other team to less than three runs — the Phillies went 55-21 in those games.

As well as things have been going for the Phils, the starting pitching has been a mess. It started out bad and hasn’t gotten a lot better.

Brett Myers allowed four runs over six innings on opening day. At the end of the game the Phillies starting pitchers as a group for the year had a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 ratio. The bad news is that things have gone up from there — a 6.00 ERA and a 1.50 ratio are both the best marks for the starting pitchers as a group at the end of a game for the season.

The chart below shows the ERA and ratio for Phillies starting pitchers as a group for the year at the end of each game of the season so far. The blue line is ERA and the red line is ratio.

era_rat.jpg

Again, the team’s ERA and ratio for the starting pitchers for the season has yet to dip under the 6.00 ERA and 1.50 ratio from the first game of the season.

After 19 games, Phillies starters have a 6.46 ERA, which is the worst of any team in either league. Their ratio is 1.67. They have walked just 34, which is the lowest number of walks issued by an NL team. The 28 home runs and 136 hits they have allowed are both the worst marks of any NL team.

Hamels says he doesn’t expect to miss a start. While I’m sure the Phillies respect his medical opinion, I’m guessing they’ll involve a healthcare professional at some point.

This article points out that the Phils could use a long outing by Myers tonight. With Lidge sidelined and Durbin having thrown 42 pitches last night, it may mean that Madson and Condrey are the only right-handed relievers available to the Phillies tonight. Myers also threw 119 pitches in his last start, which is the most by any Phillies’ pitcher this season.

The situation would be a lot worse if Durbin hadn’t been so fantastic last night.


And if they could get the starters getting some people out, maybe the Phillies would only need one grand slam a game

If you say it out loud — Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Park — it sure doesn’t sound like the Phillies should have the worst starting rotation in baseball. And yet so far in 2009, almost inarguably, they have. Opponents have hit .326 against Phillies’ starters, the worst mark in all of baseball. The rotation has a 6.75 ERA and the starters have allowed 28 home runs. Again, the Phillies are the worst of all teams in either league in both categories.

As they demonstrated last night, the Phils are more than capable of winning with their offense, no matter what the starting pitching (or relief pitching for that matter) does. But for how long? The Phils have scored 111 runs in 18 games. That puts them on pace to score 999 for the season. That’s not going to happen. They have a nifty four-game win-streak going, but they’ve needed to score 39 runs to get it. They’ve won just two games this season when they’ve scored less than seven runs.

All five of the starters in the rotation have allowed runs, hits and home runs at a higher rate so far in 2009 than they have over their careers. As a group they are walking fewer hitters and striking out more.

For each of the five, here’s how their rates for runs, hits, walks, strikeouts and home runs for 2009 compare to what they’ve done over their career:

hamels.jpg

Hamels has been walking fewer hitters in 2009, allowing just two walks in 13 innings, but everything else is up. Opponents are hitting .397 against him, they’ve hit .237 against him for his career. His strikeouts are down and his home runs are way up.

myers.jpg

Myers had struck people at a higher rate and allowed more walks while giving up hits at about the same rate. In terms of the rate at which he’s being charged with runs, his ’09 numbers are the closest of the group to his career numbers (Moyer is pretty close behind him).

blanton.jpg

Everything’s up for Blanton, even his strikeout rate. Over his career, his rate of preventing home runs has been the best of the group — he’s allowed just 0.9 home runs per nine innings. Hamels and Myers have both allowed the long ball at a higher rate this season, but if you compare everyone’s own career numbers to what they’ve done so far this year Blanton’s home rate has increased the most.

moyer.jpg

More hits, fewer walks, more strikeouts and more home runs.

All five of the pitchers in the starting rotation have allowed home runs at a higher rate in 2009 than they have over their careers. Moyer’s rate of allowing home runs is the closest to his career mark and he’s allowed home runs at 1.75 times his career average. Over his career he’s allowed 469 in 3769 2/3 innings (1.12 per nine). This year he’s allowed five in 23 innings, or 1.96 per nine.

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More hits, more home runs, less walks and less strikeouts. Glad to see his walk rate down, but I am a little surprised that the strikeout numbers are so low given the rate he was striking people out in spring training.

For each of the five categories, here’s how many of the pitchers in the rotation that are doing worse this year compared to the numbers they have put up over their careers (they are arranged from biggest difference to smallest difference, so the pitchers that have been worst compared to their own career numbers are at the top of the list):


Runs (5)

Hits (5)

Walks (2)

Strikeouts (2)

HR (5)

Hamels

Hamels

Myers

Park

Blanton

Blanton

Blanton

Blanton

Hamels

Hamels

Park

Park

Myers

Moyer

Moyer

Park

Myers

Myers

Moyer

Ruiz was scratched from the IronPigs lineup last night when he had discomfort in his right oblique. That would seem to suggest his return is not imminent.

Madson closed last night’s game because Lidge is day-to-day with a knee problem. This suggests Lidge will be unavailable for a couple more days.


Never be closing

The Florida Marlins quickly jumped on top of the NL East to start 2009, but there’s a couple of things they might want to iron out before anybody writes them into the World Series. Twice in the first two games of the three-game set the Marlins took a lead into the ninth inning. Twice they couldn’t get anyone to sign on the line which is dotted. With the Phillies down to their last out on Friday night, Victorino blasted a grand slam out to right to put the Phils on top. A day later the Phils again came from behind late, scoring one in the top of the ninth to tie the game and getting two more in the top of the tenth.

They won game three in a laugher, scoring four in the seventh and five in the eighth to bust it open.

The Phillies swept a three-game series with the Marlins in Florida over the weekend. They are 9-8 and have won three in a row.

Friday the Phillies beat the Marlins 7-3.

Coming off a long game for the bullpen that saw Hamels leave in the fourth inning, Myers had a rough first inning in which the Marlins jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-run homer by Dan Uggla. Myers needed 40 pitches to get out of the first inning.

Despite the long first inning, Myers managed to keep the Phillies in the game. He kept Florida off the board for the next five innings. He got some a whole lot of help from his defense in the fifth. Ibanez made a long run to track down a ball Ross Gload drove to the gap in left-center with nobody out and a man on first. Marson caught Hanley Ramirez stealing for the second out. With two outs and the bases loaded, Cameron Maybin smashed a ball to the right of Rollins. Rollins made a fantastic sliding play to field the ball and a quick throw to second to force the runner and end the inning.

Down 3-0 to start the ninth, the Phillies scored seven runs. After they cut the lead to 3-2 with two outs and the bases loaded, Victorino hit a grand slam off Matt Lindstrom and Utley followed with a solo homer of his own.

Saturday, in game two, the Phillies got one in the ninth and two in the tenth to win 6-4.

Park took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth, but gave up a three-run homer to Jorge Cantu. Uggla followed that with a solo shot.

Down 4-3 in the top of the ninth, the Phillies put men on first and third with nobody out. Dobbs struck out, but Bruntlett was at least able to make contract, dribbling to third for the second out to tie the game. In the top of the tenth, Victorino, Utley, Werth and Howard all singled in a row with one out. Utley drove in Victorino (who had stolen second) and Werth’s single scored Utley.

Lidge needed 34 pitches to do it, but held on for a shaky save in the bottom of the tenth. He struck Cody Ross out with the bases loaded to end the game.

Yesterday the Phillies won in a rout, topping Florida 13-2.

Moyer went six strong innings and held Florida to one run to earn his 249th career win. The Phillies took a 4-1 lead into the top of the seventh, but put up four in the seventh and five in the eighth.

The Phillies got good pitching in the series. Overall, Phillies pitchers allowed nine runs in 28 innings, throwing to a 2.89 ERA and a 1.36 ratio.

The starters allowed three home runs (two by Park and one by Myers) in 19 innings, but pitched to a 3.79 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

Myers had a miserable first inning in game one and ended up with an ugly line, having allowed eight hits and six walks over six innings while throwing 119 pitches. He did a fantastic job to keep the Fish off the board after the first. He needed a lot of help in the fifth, getting two great defensive plays and a caught stealing.

Despite just going six innings, Myers threw 119 pitches in the game (which is a high for a starter for the season). Again he was hurt by the home run. Myers has thrown 25 2/3 innings on the year and allowed eight home runs.

Like Myers, Park gave up one big inning in his start, a four-run fourth. Park allowed just five hits and a walk in his seven innings — three hits and a walk came in the fourth. He also hit Cameron Maybin ahead of the pitcher with two outs and nobody on in the inning, presumably knowing that he would bat third in the top of the fifth. Chris Volstad threw a pitch behind him and both benches were warned.

Moyer became the first Phillies starting pitcher not to allow a home run. The one run he did allow scored with the help of a poor decision from Coste, who should have taken an out at first on a bunt but instead threw to second to try and force a runner. He didn’t and the runner, Ross, would come around to score the only run that Moyer allowed in the game.

For Moyer it was his first outing of the season in which he did not allow four runs.

The Phillies used six relievers in the series (not Taschner). As a group, Phillies relief pitchers combined to strike out 13 in nine innings while throwing to a 1.00 ERA with a 1.11 ratio. The bullpen did not give up a home run.

Madson and Lidge combined to throw three scoreless innings in which they struck out eight.

In game one, Condrey and Madson combined to throw three scoreless innings to keep the Phils in the game. They allowed a hit and two walks.

In game two, the pen again was not charged with a run in three innings. They allowed three hits and walked two. Lidge had a long bottom of the tenth. With a two-run lead he got the first two before allowing a double and two walks to load the bases. He struck out Cody Ross to end the game.

With two outs in the eighth in game two and the Phils down 4-3, Manuel brought in Eyre to pitch to lefty Jeremy Hermida. The Fish hit righty Wes Helms for Hermida, but Eyre struck him out with two men on to end the inning.

Eyre still has not allowed a hit or a walk in seven appearances this season.

Up 8-1 in the bottom of the seventh in game three, Manuel called on Durbin to pitch for the second straight day rather than use Taschner. Happ finished off the last two frames with the Phils up big. He struck out three but allowed the only run the pen would yield in the series.

In his last two appearances Happ has allowed four runs over 3 2/3 innings on four hits and three walks.

Everyone should be available tonight. Durbin has appeared in two straight games, but threw just 14 pitches yesterday.

The Phillies scored 26 runs in three games.

Rollins got the day off yesterday with Bruntlett starting at short. He went 1-for-9 with a walk and an RBI in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-16 and hitting 162/205/235 for the season. He made a fantastic defensive play in the fifth inning of game one to help Myers keep Florida off the board.

Victorino had a monster series. 5-for-15 with a double, a triple, a grand slam and eight RBI. He’s hitting 268/333/437 for the year. He played a huge part in each of the ninth-inning rallies. He had a two-out grand slam in the first game to put the Phillies ahead. In the second game he started the rally with a single and a stolen base.

Utley 3-for-12 with a home run and four RBI in the series. 317/434/571. He was charged with an error on a bad-hop grounder with one out in the fifth in game two, but Park got the next two hitters so it didn’t cost the Phillies.

Howard was 5-for-15 with a double and a home run in the series, coming off an 0-for-10 against the Brewers. He’s hitting 290/364/522 for the season.

Werth was 3-for-10 with a double, six walks and five strikeouts. 290/397/500.

Ibanez 3-for-13 with two walks. 324/390/632. He made several notable defensive plays in the series. He made a fantastic diving play for the third out of the first inning yesterday. In game one of the series he tracked down a ball in the gap in right-center to help Myers keep Florida off the board in the fifth.

Feliz started all three games at third and went 3-for-11. He came into yesterday’s game 0-for-his-last-13 and went 3-for-5 with two RBI.

Coste started yesterday’s game with Marson starting the first two. Coste was 0-for-5 in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-15 and hitting 182/270/303 for the year. He made an awful decision in the fifth inning yesterday, throwing to second to try and force Ross after the bunt by the pitcher. It helped Florida score the only run they would get against Moyer.

Marson was 1-for-5 in the series and is hitting 286/375/357 for the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-2 with a walk in the series. He had a terrible at-bat in game two, striking out with nobody out in the ninth and men on first and third and the Phillies down a run. He’s 1-for-15 on the season.

Bruntlett picked Dobbs up in game two, dribbling into an out to tie the game in the ninth. He had a big strikeout in game one. With one out in the ninth, the bases loaded and the Phillies down 3-1, Bruntlett struck out. Rollins followed with a walk and then Victorino put the Phillies ahead to stay with a grand slam. Bruntlett was 1-for-6 with a double in the series. 1-for-his-last-10 and hitting 188/211/375.

Stairs was 1-for-1 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 364/462/909 for the season.

Cairo 0-for-2 in the series and 0-for-7 as a Phillie.

The Phillies are home to play the first of three against the Nationals tonight.


Phillies doing their best to ensure one will not be the loneliest number for long

Apparently the Phils are unsatisfied with baseball and think expansion into the one-breeding business is the way to go. Soon we’ll have ‘em running around everywhere. It’ll be like our own little Weeble village, but with ones instead of weebles. It’s what we’ll have in town instead of a successful baseball team. Things will be fine until PETO hears tell of what’s going on, and with that in mind I offer the following public service announcement: Never, ever, ever buy a one from a breeder. It’s the moral equivalent of driving around in your Hummer and not recycling and removing your mattress tag all at the same time.

The Phillies scored one run for the second straight game yesterday. A day after making Braden Looper look like someone who looked kinda like Braden Looper but had even more fantastic baseball-related abilities, Dave Bush nearly no-hit ‘em. They managed two hits in the game, a single by Victorino and a pinch-hit home run by Stairs.

That’s not even the bad news. The bad news that Prince Fielder blasted a line drive off of Hamels’ shoulder in the fourth inning. Hamels is not expected to miss a start, but the early exit made for a long day for the pen. The other bad news is that the Phillies couldn’t get Ryan Braun out if they attended a seminar. Braun was 8-for-10 with three home runs, four walks and six RBI for Milwaukee in the set. The set is now mercifully over.

The Phillies lost to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday afternoon, falling 6-1 to drop to 6-8 on the season. The Phils lose the series two games to one. Two games below .500 ties them for their low mark on the year.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies exited early after taking a line drive to the body in the fourth. He went 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out six.

Hamels struck out Rickie Weeks to start the first. Corey Hart was next and he singled into center. Ryan Braun went down swinging as Coste threw Hart out trying to steal second to set Milwaukee down.

He struck out the side in the second, getting Prince Fielder, Mike Cameron and JJ Hardy.

He threw a 1-2-3 third, getting Bill Hall and Mike Rivera on ground outs and striking out the pitcher Dave Bush to set Milwaukee down.

Hart reached on an infield single with one out in the fourth. Braun was next and he hit a 1-2 pitch out to left, putting Milwaukee up 2-0. You would think that would surely be the worst news of the inning, but Fielder was next and he hammered the first pitch he saw right back at Hamels and off his body, up near his left shoulder, hard. Fielder was safe at first with a single and Hamels was out of the game. With Cameron at the plate, Happ came in to pitch and struck Cameron out for the second out. Happ walked Hardy on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Hall. Hall flew to right to leave both men stranded.

Happ struck Rivera out to start the fifth. Bush and Weeks followed with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and second with one down. Hart lined hard to first. Howard caught the ball for the second out. Bush was way off second and looked like he would be easily doubled-off, but Howard dropped the ball and Bush was able to get back. It meant the Phils got to pitch to Braun with two men aboard. If that doesn’t sound like a good idea to you, apparently the Phillies agree. Braun was walked, unintentionally, on four pitches to load the bases. Fielder lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field corner where it bounced once and found the wall. It cleared the bases and Milwaukee led 5-0. Cameron followed with a walk, but Hardy grounded back to Happ to leave both men stranded.

Howard dropping the ball by Hart after he caught it was huge in the inning. If they had doubled Bush off the inning would have been over. As it was, the Brewers scored three more times.

Taschner set the bottom of the Milwaukee order down 1-2-3 in the sixth.

Taschner returned for the seventh. Weeks led off with an infield single. Hart flew to center before the Phillies walked Braun yet again. Fielder popped to short for the second out and it brought up Cameron with two outs and two men on. Cameron flew to Ibanez to end the frame.

Durbin started the eighth. He was pitching for the third straight day, although he had thrown just seven pitches in his outing on Tuesday. He got Hardy on a ground ball to first for the first out, but Hall was next and hit the first pitch he saw out down the left-field line to put Milwaukee up 6-0. Durbin got Rivera and Bush to set the Brewers down.

Lidge started the ninth down 6-1, coming off his first blown save as a Phillie. He got the first two before Braun singled to left. Lidge hit Fielder with a fastball up and in, putting two men on for Cameron. Cameron grounded softly to first for the third out.

Long day for the pen after an unfortunate early exit for Hamels. They went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks. Happ threw 43 pitches and is likely unavailable tonight. Durbin just ten, but he was pitching for the third straight day. I’d try hard not to use him four days in a row. Taschner threw 29 pitches, Lidge 14.

Overall, Phillies pitchers threw 27 innings in the three-game series with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.41 ratio. The starters, Moyer, Blanton and Hamels, combined to toss 15 innings with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.37 ratio. The bullpen threw 12 innings to a 3.09 ERA and 1.46 ratio. The Phillies allowed five home runs in the set, four of which were yielded by the starters in their 15 innings (Moyer 2, Blanton 1, Hamels 1). The starters also walked just two batters over three games while the bullpen walked seven in 12 innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Dave Bush went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Still no start at third for Dobbs against a righty, even with good career numbers against Dave Bush. Coste catches Hamels.

Rollins was hit by a pitch to start the first. Victorino struck out and Howard hit into a double-play.

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

Coste walked with one out in the third. Hamels bunted him to second with the second out, but Rollins flew to left to leave him stranded.

Down 2-0, Victorino drew a walk to start the fourth. Utley was next and hit a ground ball to second. Victorino was forced at second for the second out. Howard flew to center and Werth grounded to short to leave Utley stranded.

Ibanez led off the fifth with a walk. Feliz flew to center for the first out and Coste struck out for the second. Cairo hit for Happ and popped to second to end the inning.

Third time in five innings the Phillies had their leadoff man on base and didn’t get him past second base. In one of the other two innings, the third, they had a man on first with one down.

The Phillies went in order in the sixth.

Bush started the seventh with a no-hitter, having thrown 78 pitches. Howard flew to left-center for the first out before Bush hit Werth with a 2-2 pitch. Ibanez flew to left for the second out. Feliz grounded to third to end the inning.

Bush started the eighth having thrown 97 pitches. Dobbs led off, hitting for Coste, and hit a grounder to third. Hall made a fantastic play to get him, fielding and making an off-balance throw with his momentum carrying him into foul territory. Great play by Hall. Durbin’s slot was next and Stairs hit for him. Stairs got ahead 3-1 and hit a ball off the right-field foul pole for a home run. First hit of the day for the Phillies and it cut the Milwaukee lead to 6-1. Rollins flew to center for the second out before Victorino singled to right. Lefty Mitch Stetter came in to pitch to Utley and got Utley on a ground ball to second to end the inning.

Stetter set the Phillies down in order in the ninth.

Rollins was 0-for-3 in the game. 3-for-13 in the series. He’s hitting 169/206/254 for the season.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk in the game. 4-for-11 with two walks in the set. 250/323/357.

Utley 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-10 with three walks in the series. 333/443/588.

Howard 0-for-4 in the game and 0-for-10 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 278/361/500 for the year.

The top four hitters in the lineup got 44 at-bats in the series and didn’t have an extra-base hit.

Werth did, though. He was 0-for-3 yesterday and 4-for-12 in the series with two doubles and a home run. He’s hitting 288/351/519. He has struck out in just five of 57 plate appearances in 2009, that’s about 8.8%. In 2008 he struck out in 119 of 482 plate appearances, about 24.7%.

Ibanez 0-for-3 in the game. 2-for-11 with two walks in the series. 345/410/727. If he maintains his .727 slugging percentage for the whole season, it would be a career high (that’s a joke).

Feliz was 0-for-3 in the game and may now be eligible at shortstop in your rotisserie league. 3-for-11 with a walk and a home run in the series. 304/382/435.

Coste 0-for-1 with a walk in the game. 2-for-7 with two doubles in the series and 214/290/357 for the year. Marson was 0-for-3 in the series and is 3-for-9 on the year.

Brett Myers (1-1, 5.03) faces righty Josh Johnson (2-0, 2.91) tonight in Florida. Opponents have hit just .237 against Myers and he hasn’t walked a ton of batters, six in 19 2/3 innings. It’s been all about the home runs, he’s given up seven in his three starts. That’s too many. He made one regular season start against the Brewers last year and was fantastic in the big four-game set with the Phillies’ season on the brink. On September 14, in the second game of a double-header, Myers threw a complete game two-hitter. He needed just 95 pitches. He also faced Milwaukee in game two of the NLDS and again pitched well, allowing two runs over seven innings. Johnson made two fantastic starts to begin the season before allowing six runs to the Nats over six innings in his most recent outing. He has an 0.97 ratio after three starts, opponents are hitting .225 against him and he’s walked just three in 21 2/3 innings. Howard is 7-for-16 with two home runs against him in his career.


Super Looper

The Phillies aren’t going to score 11 runs every game, but it’s still a little surprising when they score one. Ryan Howard entered last night’s contest with four home runs in five at-bats against Braden Looper, but the Phillies couldn’t plate a single run against the righty in six innings. Blanton and the pen pitched well, but the Phils went into the bottom of the ninth down by three and their last-gasp rally fell a little short.

The Phillies lost to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, falling 3-1 to drop to 6-7 on the season.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five. He has a 7.31 ERA after three starts.

The Phillies have three quality starts on the season, two of which have been made by Blanton (Myers had the other). The Phillies have lost all three games — they’re 0-3 when they have a quality start and 6-4 when they don’t.

Blanton got Rickie Weeks on a ground ball to third for the first out of the game, but Corey Hart was next and he singled to left. With Ryan Braun at the plate, Marson threw to Howard at first and Hart was caught for the second out. Braun struck out swinging for the third out.

Prince Fielder led off the fourth and hit a high popup in-between home plate and first base that fell between Howard and Marson for a single. Mike Cameron flew to left before a single by JJ Hardy moved Fielder to second. Craig Counsell grounded into a double-play to end the frame.

Blanton set down Jason Kendall, pitcher Braden Looper and Weeks in a 1-2-3 third.

Hart popped out for the first out of the fourth. Braun was next and he ripped a double into the left field corner, but it went off the wall and right to Ibanez whose throw to second was on the mark. Braun was tagged out for the second out. Blanton struck Fielder out looking for the third out.

Blanton got Cameron on a ground ball to third to start the fifth, but Hart was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch just out to left to put the Brewers up 1-0. Counsell flew to right for the second. Kendall followed with a single to left, but Blanton got Looper to fly to center for the third out.

With one out in the sixth, Hart reached on an infield single and moved to second when Braun followed with a walk. Fielder flew to center for the second out, moving Hart to third with two down. Cameron doubled down the left field line, clearing the bases to make it 3-0 Milwaukee. Blanton struck Hardy out looking for the third out.

Durbin started the seventh for the Phillies. He had thrown seven pitches the night before. He quickly set down Counsell and Kendall. Lefty Brad Nelson hit for Looper, who had shut the Phillies down for six innings but needed 107 pitches to do so, and Durbin struck Nelson out swinging 1-2 for the third out.

Condrey started the eighth. He was also pitching for the second straight day, having thrown 22 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in game one of the series. He struck out Weeks and Hart to start the inning. He got behind Braun 3-0 and then walked him on a 3-2 pitch. With the lefty Fielder due to hit, Manuel called on Eyre to pitch to him. Eyre got Fielder on a popup that Feliz took in shallow left to set Milwaukee down.

Eyre has made six appearances on the season and has yet to allow a hit or a walk in three innings pitched.

Madson entered in the ninth, well-rested but coming off a pair of weak outings in which he allowed four runs over two innings combined. He struck Cameron out on three pitches before walking Hardy on four. Counsell popped to Feliz for the second out and Kendall grounded to short for the third.

Overall the pen went three scoreless innings. They didn’t allow a hit and walked two while striking out four. Condrey threw 17 pitches, Durbin 13, Madson 11 and Eyre four. If Condrey were to pitch today it would be his third straight day.

The Phillies lineup against righty Braden Looper went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Marson. Marson catches Blanton with Feliz playing third and Dobbs on the bench.

Victorino and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first, but Howard hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

Looper shut them down in order in the second.

Rollins singled into center with two outs in the third. Victorino flew to center to end the inning.

Utley lined to center for the first out in the fourth. Howard drew a walk and was forced at second when Werth followed with a ground ball to third. Werth stole second as Looper delivered ball two to Ibanez to make the count 2-2, but Ibanez grounded to second to end the inning.

Down 1-0, Feliz and Marson went down to start the fifth. Blanton delivered a two-out single to left, but Rollins popped to short to end the inning.

The Phillies were down 3-0 when they hit in the sixth. Victorino chopped a ball to second for the first out and Utley flew to center for the second. Howard drew a walk and Werth followed with a single into left off the glove of the third baseman Counsell. Ibanez lined to right to leave the runners stranded.

Counsell probably should have made the play on the ball hit by Werth.

Righty Mark DiFelice struck out Feliz and Marson to start the seventh. Dobbs hit for Durbin and flew to center.

Seems like it might be early to use Dobbs, especially down three runs with two down and nobody on. At the time I thought it was the right move, though, cause they still had Stairs on the bench and there was nobody they were going to pinch-hit for for a long time. It didn’t work out for the Phillies, who wound up sending Coste to the plate as the winning run to face a righty with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Righty Carlos Villanueva entered the game to face the top of the Phillies order in the bottom of the eighth. Rollins got ahead in the count and the 3-1 pitch was low, but Villanueva got the call. Rollins popped the next pitch to short. Victorino was next and put down a pretty bunt, but Counsell made a nice play to get him for the second out. Utley hit a ball back up the middle, but Hardy handled it for the third out.

Righty Todd Coffey came in to close in the ninth. He struck out Howard for the first out before Werth lined a ball out to right-center for his second home run of the year. It cut the Brewer lead to 3-1. Ibanez was next and he singled to left. It brought Feliz to the plate as the tying run. Feliz dribbled a ball to third. Bill Hall fielded and threw to second to get Ibanez, but Feliz beat the relay to first on a very close play. Matt Stairs hit for Marson and delivered a single into right that moved Feliz to third. The pitcher’s spot was next and Coste hit for Madson. Bruntlett ran for Stairs at first. Coste struck out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

So it did wind up costing the Phils to use Dobbs in the seventh with two outs and nobody on, cause it meant the Phillies wound up with the righty Coste instead of the lefty Dobbs hitting against Looper with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Still think it was the right way to go, though.

Rollins 1-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4.

Howard 0-for-2 with two walks.

Werth 2-for-4 with a home run, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies.

Ibanez 1-for-4.

Feliz 0-for-4.

Marson 0-for-3.

Cole Hamels (0-1, 11.17) faces righty Dave Bush (0-0, 5.40) this afternoon. Hamels has made two starts on the year. The second wasn’t as bad as the first, but he let a big lead slip away and wound up allowing five runs over six innings. Opponents have hit .422 against him for the season and he’s yielded four home runs in 9 2/3 innings. He didn’t face the Brewers in the regular season in 2008, but dominated them in game one of the NLDS. In that game he allowed two singles and a walk over eight shutout innings while striking out nine. The Phils won the game 3-1. Bush has made three appearances on the year, two of which have been starts. In each of the starts he allowed three runs — one start went six innings and one went 6 1/3. He made two starts against the Phils in ’08 and threw to a 5.25 ERA with a 1.42 ratio. Dobbs is 6-for-13 with two home runs against him for his career, so if he’s ever going to start against a righty this may be the day. It’s a little tough with Feliz hitting .326, though, so we’ll see. Howard 5-for-14 with two home runs.

This suggests that Lidge has found a flaw in his delivery and that Ruiz could return early next week.

Please note that after the series with the Brewers I’m going to stop doing game recaps. I will continue to post and plan to resume recaps at near the end of the season, assuming the Phillies are in a race for a playoff spot. I may do some game recaps along the way as well.


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