Archive for April, 2009

Phils score Manny runs

The Phillies hammered Manny Parra and the Brewers last night. In three career appearances against the Phils (two of which were starts), Parra has thrown 6 1/3 innings and allowed 12 runs on 16 hits and eight walks (a 17.05 ERA and a 3.79 ratio).

The Phils fared pretty well against the Milwaukee pen as well, scoring five runs in the fifth off of Jorge Julio and their old mate RJ Swindle.

All of the offense was enough to overcome a monster game from Ryan Braun. Braun went 5-for-5 with a pair of home runs and drove in all four of the Milwaukee runs.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers last night, winning 11-4 to improve to 6-6 on the season.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits were home runs, both hit by Braun. He struck out two and has a 6.35 ERA after three starts.

Moyer struck out Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart to start the first before Braun hit a 1-1 pitch out to right-center to put Milwaukee up 1-0. Moyer hit Prince Fielder with a pitch before JJ Hardy grounded to short to set the Brewers down.

The Phillies led 4-1 when Moyer started the second. Mike Cameron led off and flew to Victorino on the warning track on the first pitch of the inning. Bill Hall was next and reached on an infield single off the glove of Moyer. Jason Kendall followed and blooped a ball into center that dropped in front of Victorino, but Hall read it badly and Victorino was able to throw to second and get him there for the second out. With two outs and Kendall of first, pitcher Manny Parra and grounded to second for the third out.

Casey McGehee, who entered the game to play second when Weeks had to leave after a collision in the infield in the first, led off the third and grounded out. Hart popped to Utley in shallow center for the second out. Braun was next he reached on an infield single off the glove of Rollins in the hole, bringing up Fielder with two down and a man on first. Moyer hit him again, putting men on first and second with two down for Hardy.

Chris Duffy hit for Parra and grounded to short for the first out of the fifth. McGehee followed with a single into center, but Moyer got Hart to pop to Rollins for the second out. Sadly, though, the rules dictate that Ryan Braun be permitted to hit every couple of innings. Braun hit his second home run of the day, this one a monster shot blasted way out to left. It cut the lead to 5-3. Fielder flew to right for the third out.

Up 10-3, Moyer set the Brewers down in order in the sixth.

Up 11-3, he walked Kendall to start the seventh. Mike Rivera hit for the pitcher RJ Swindle and singled to left, moving Kendall to second. Durbin came on to pitch to the righty McGehee and struck him out swinging 3-2 in heavy rain for the first out. And then the game was delayed by rain. The delay lasted about an hour and twenty minutes. When play resumed, Condrey took the mound for the Phils with Kendall on second and one out. Hart moved Kendall to third with a ground out before Braun reached on an infield single that scored Kendall and cut the lead to 11-4. Condrey struck Fielder out looking for the third out.

Condrey came back for the eighth and gave up singles to Hardy and Cameron to start the inning. He struck Hall out swinging, though, and got Kendall to ground into a double-play to keep Milwaukee off the board.

Taschner started the ninth. Lefty Brad Nelson hit for the pitcher to start the inning and drew a walk. Taschner got the next two hitters on popups before Braun reached yet again, this time on another infield single that sent Nelson to second. Fielder popped to third to leave both runners stranded and end the game.

Three scoreless innings for the pen. They allowed four hits and a walk. Taschner threw 23 pitches, Condrey 22 and Durbin 7.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Manny Parra went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Werth back at fifth now that the Phils play a team with a lefty. Coste catches with Marson on the bench.

The Phillies started the bottom of the first down 1-0. Rollins grounded to short for the first out, but Victorino followed with a walk. Utley was next and Victorino was running as he hit a ground ball near second. Weeks and Hardy got tangled up as Hardy tried to field the ball and the Brewers didn’t get an out. Utley was safe with a single and the Phils had men on first and second with one down. Howard drew a walk to load the bases for Werth and Werth delivered a double into the left-field corner that scored Victorino and Utley and moved Howard to third with the Phils up 2-1. Ibanez singled into left and everybody moved up a base. 3-1 with men on first and third. Feliz was next and he singled past a diving Hall into left, scoring Werth to make it 4-1 with men on first and second. Coste flew to center and Moyer struck out to end the inning.

Weeks was shaken up in the collision with Hardy and was replaced defensively in the second.

Victorino singled to left with one out in the second. Utley was next and hit a ground ball back up the middle, but Hardy fielded behind the bag and the Brewers forced Victorino at second with Utley safe at first and two down. Howard struck out to leave Utley stranded.

Werth and Ibanez went down to start the third, but Feliz was next and hit a ball out to right field to put the Phillies up 5-1. First home run of the year for Feilz. Coste followed with a double to center, but Moyer struck out to leave him stranded.

Utley drew a walk with two outs in the fourth. Howard grounded to right field, er, second base, ending the inning.

The lead had been cut to 5-3 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. Jorge Julio was in to pitch for Milwaukee and got Werth on a ground ball to third for the first out before he walked Ibanez. Ibanez stole second as the count went 2-2 on Feliz and went to third when Julio bounced the next pitch in the dirt. Feliz walked, putting men on first and third with one out for Coste. Coste hit a slow ground ball to third. Hall made a nice play, bare-handing and throwing to first to get Coste as Ibanez scored to put the Phillies up 6-3. Julio walked Moyer on a 3-2 pitch, putting men on first and second for Rollins. Rollins singled into right and Feliz held at third, loading the bases. A single into center from Victorino moved everyone up another base and scored Feliz to make it 7-3. Lefty and former Phil RJ Swindle came in to pitch to Utley and walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was a little low. 8-3. Swindle got ahead of Howard 1-2 but delivered a wild pitch in the dirt. Rollins stormed home to score and Kendall’s throw to Swindle covering the plate went over the pitcher’s head, allowing Victorino to score and Utley to go to third with the Phils up 10-3. Howard struck out for the third out.

Werth started the sixth with a double off the base of the wall in left. Ibanez moved Werth to third with a ground ball to second for the first out. Feliz was next and he smashed a ball back up the middle and off the body of Swindle for a single. Werth scored to put the Phillies up 11-3. Coste struck out and Moyer hit for himself and grounded to second.

Rollins started the seventh with a single to center. Victorino flew out behind him before Utley drew a walk. Howard and Werth both struck out to leave both men stranded.

Coste doubled to left with two outs in the eighth. With righty Carlos Villanueva on the mound, Dobbs hit for Condrey and drew a walk. It put two men on for Rollins, but Rollins flew to center for the third out.

Rollins was 2-for-6 to raise his average for the season to .173. He’s 5-for-his-last-16 after starting the season 4-for-36.

Victorino 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s hitting .245.

Utley was 1-for-2 with an RBI and three walks.

Howard 0-for-4 with a walk.

Werth 2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. He’s 3-for-his-last-17.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base.

Feliz 3-for-4 with a home run, a walk and three RBI.

Coste 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. 4-for-his-last-12 with four doubles after starting the year 2-for-14.

Joe Blanton (0-1, 9.00) faces righty Braden Looper (1-0. 3.27) tonight. Blanton has made two starts on the season. He got blasted by the Braves in his first outing, but pitched better against the Nats on Thursday, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings. Opponents are hitting a brutal .370 against him for the year. Lefties have put up a 444/500/778 line in 20 plate appearances. Looper has allowed four runs in 11 innings over two starts this season. Ryan Howard is 4-for-5 against him in his career with four home runs. Utley 4-for-11 with a double and a home run.


Phils have some keep-it-in-the-yard work to do

The Phillies bullpen was fantastic in 2008, but 2008 is over and 2009 has seemingly brought more than one problem to the Phils’ relief corps. Through the first 11 games of 2009, the pen has been a little tough to watch. Curiously, however, they have been better at preventing hits and walks than they were overall in 2008 and have struck out hitters more regularly. Whatever could it be?

Remember this? If you don’t, compared to the other bullpens in the National League, the thing the Phillies excelled at in 2008 was preventing extra-base hits and especially preventing home runs.

This year, not so much.

The chart below compares the rates of runs, hits, walks, strikeouts, extra-base hits and home runs per nine innings for the ’08 pen and the ’09 pen.

pen09.jpg

In ’09, again, the rates for allowing hits and walks and striking people out are all better. The rate for allowing extra-base hits is worse by a little and the rate for allowing home runs is worse by a lot (through 11 games the Phillies pen has allowed about 2.72 times as many home runs per nine innings as they did last year).

Only one National League team, the Rockies, has had their bullpen allow more home runs than the eight that the Phillies have allowed (Houston and Washington have also each allowed eight).

While the rate the Phils pen has allowed extra-base hits is up in ’09 compared to ’08, they are still below the NL average. The average NL pen has given up 3.22 extra-base hits per nine innings compared to 2.82 per nine innings for the Phils. When it comes to home runs it’s a different story — 1.88 per nine for the Phils compared to 1.19 for the NL bullpens overall.

Finally, it’s important to remember that while the bullpen has been bad for the Phils so far this season it isn’t as big a problem as the starting pitching has been. The Phillies pen has thrown to a 5.63 ERA so far, which is 12th-best of the 16 NL teams. Their starters on the other hand, have a 7.67 ERA, which is the worst ERA for starters in either league.

Jamie Moyer (1-1, 6.55) faces lefty Manny Parra (0-2, 6.97) tonight as the Phillies play the first of three against Milwaukee. Moyer has allowed four runs in each of his starts, going five innings against the Braves in his first start and six innings against the Nats in his second. He’s allowed 16 hits in 11 innings. Opponents are hitting .340 against him. Parra has also made two starts on the season and fared better in the second. He allowed three runs to the Reds over six innings a week ago today. Opponents have hit just .231 against him this year, but he’s walked six in 10 1/3 innings. He made one start against the Phils last year and didn’t make it out of the second inning.


Round-the-clock brainstorming pays off as Ibanez finds a way for the Phillies to win without using Madson or Lidge

A lot of things have gone wrong for the Phillies early in the 2009 season. A lot of them have to do with pitching and exactly none of them have to do with the team’s biggest acquisition of the off-season. Raul Ibanez has been better than even the most optimistic of fans could have hoped for, in the field, on the bases and at the plate. Yesterday afternoon he hit his fifth home run of the 11-game-old season, this one was a walkoff shot in the bottom of the ninth to make the scuffling Phillies winners for the first time in four games.

The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres yesterday afternoon, winning 5-4 to improve to 5-6 on the season.

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

He set Jody Gerut, Edgar Gonzalez and Brian Giles down in order in the first. Victorino made a nice sliding catch in right-center field for the second out.

Adrian Gonzalez led off the top of the second with a single into center. Chase Headley flew to left for the first out. Kevin Kouzmanoff was next and singled into left, moving Gonzalez to second. Nick Hundley followed and he lined a ball to third that was caught by Feliz. Feliz threw to second where Gonzalez was doubled-off easily to end the frame.

Evereth Cabrera started the third with a bunt out in front of the plate and beat Coste’s throw to first for a single. The pitcher Josh Geer bunted Cabrera to second for the first out. Gerut was next and lined a single over Utley’s glove. Cabrera scored and San Diego led 1-0. Edgar Gonzalez was next and he lined a triple to left that scored Gerut and made it 2-0. Ibanez should have caught the line drive by Gonzalez on a slide, but didn’t. Giles grounded out to second for the second out, but Gonzalez came in to score and it was 3-0. Adrian Gonzalez grounded to first for the third out.

Park got the first two to start the fourth before Hundley and Cabrera singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second with two down for the pitcher Geer. Park walked Geer on five pitches to load the bases. Gerut got ahead 3-1, but grounded to second to leave the bases loaded.

You should try pretty hard not to walk the pitcher. Oddly it was the only walk of the day for Park.

Park looked great to start the fifth, setting the first two hitters down quickly. But. Adrian Gonzalez was next and he hammered an 0-1 pitch way out to right to make it 4-0. Giels flew to center for the third out.

Happ started the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Kouzmanoff. Hundley was next and he singled to right-center, moving Kouzmanoff to second. Cabrera was next and hit a ground ball between first and second, but Howard made a great diving play to field the ball. Howard flipped to Happ to nip the speedy Cabrera for the first out with the runners moving to second and third. Happ struck the pitcher Geer out for the second out and got Gerut looking 0-2 to set the Padres down.

Great play from Howard helped keep San Diego off the board.

Edgar Gonzalez started the seventh with a foul ball down the right-field line. Howard chased it down and retired him on another over-the-shoulder basket catch for the first out. Happ got the next two to end the frame.

Second great defensive play for Howard in two innings.

Happ returned for the eighth. Kouzmanoff singled to left with one out and Hundley followed with a walk. Rodriguez was next and he lined a ball to right that Stairs took after a run. Kouzmanoff was way off of second and was easily doubled-off for the third out.

Condrey pitched the ninth with the Phils down 4-3. David Eckstein pinch-hit for the pitcher to start the inning and singled to right. Gerut grounded into a double-play behind him and Edgar Gonzalez flew to right.

Great game for the pen, keeping the game close enough for the Phillies to win it in the ninth. They went four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk. Happ clearly cannot pitch today after throwing 50 pitches in the game. Condrey threw just eight.

The Phillies lineup against righty Josh Geer went (1) Victorino (2) Bruntlett (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Stairs (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Rollins on the bench with Bruntlett playing shortstop and Victorino moving up to the leadoff spot. Stairs plays right field with Werth on the bench. Still no start for Dobbs against the righty, in this case perhaps because Manuel wants to save a lefty to pinch-hit. Coste catches. I like the idea of a day off for Rollins, but not the idea of putting Bruntlett in against a team that’s going to throw right-handers all day long.

Victorino led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, but the Phillies went in order behind him.

Ibanez started the second and doubled off the wall in right. Stairs was next and hit a hard ground ball to first. Gonzalez fielded moving towards second and made a strong throw to third where Ibanez was tagged out for the first out of the inning. Very nice play by Gonzalez. Feliz was next and flew to shallow center. Coste grounded slowly to short for the third out.

Down 3-0, the Phillies went in order in the third.

Utley grounded out to start the fourth, but Howard was next and he bombed a ball off the wall in center that rolled towards right field long enough for Howard to wind up on third base. Ibanez was next and he grounded back to the pitcher for the second out with Howard forced to hold. Stairs struck out looking 0-2 to end the inning.

No run for the Phillies after putting a runner on third with nobody out.

Feliz led off the bottom of the fifth with the Phils down 4-0 and hit a ball hard off the top of the wall in left. He hit it so hard it went right to Headley, who was able to hold Feliz to a single. Coste was next he hit a ball hard, too, but into a double-play. He smashed the ball to short, where Cabrera back-handed it for his life, flipped to second where Gonzalez relayed to first. Pretty double-play for the Padres, but that’s just bad luck twice in a row for the Phils. Cairo hit for Park and grounded to third.

A little bit of an early exit for Park, who had thrown just 88 pitches, given how horrible the bullpen has been of late.

Victorino grounded out to start the sixth. Bruntlett was next and hit a ground ball to short, where Luis Rodriguez, just into the game, fielded it but made a bad throw to first for an error. Utley was next and he hit a towering shot out to right, cutting the San Diego lead in half at 4-2. Howard followed with a single up the middle. Ibanez was next and chopped a ground ball to first. Gonzalez fielded, stepped on the bag and threw to second to complete the double-play and set the Phillies down.

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

Rollins hit for Happ to start the eighth. He hit a 3-2 pitch out to right, cutting the San Diego lead to 4-3. Victorino struck out for the first out . Dobbs hit for Bruntlett and popped to short for the second out. Utley flew to Giles in deep right.

Edwin Moreno came on to protect the one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. Howard led off with a single into center that fell just in front of Gerut. Ibanez got ahead 2-0 and hit a ball out to right to give the Phillies a 5-4 win.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Bruntlett 0-for-3.

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

Howard 3-for-4 with a triple. He played great defense in the game and had a big hit in front of Ibanez in the ninth.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a double and a walkoff homer.

Stairs 0-for-3.

Feliz 1-for-3 with a single blasted high off the wall.

Coste 0-for-3.

Jamie Moyer (1-1, 6.55) faces righty Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.09) tonight in the final game of the four-game series. Moyer has allowed four runs in each of his starts, going five innings against the Braves in his first start and six innings against the Nats in his second. He’s allowed 16 hits in 11 innings. Opponents are hitting .340 against him. Correia has also thrown 11 innings in his two starts, but has given up just five runs. He didn’t face the Phillies in 2008, but was terrible last year. He threw to a 6.05 ERA with a 1.71 ratio in 110 innings.


First time, long time

All of the sudden the Phillies can’t beat the Nationals or the Padres. Their bullpen failed spectacularly for the third straight game last night. To say it has been ugly is an understatement. Still, as bad as it’s been, watching them lose again last night it was hard to think about anything other than how good they’ve been in some ways for so long.

Brad Lidge blew a save last night for his first time as a Phillie. He’s been a Phillie for a while now. He saved 44 games, and that’s not including a brilliant playoff run. He was a reasonable candidate to be the team’s MVP for 2008 in a year the Phillies won the World Series. He’s been better than good.

So Lidge was due to lose one. He deserves some slack. A lot of it. Losing the game isn’t the problem. The problem is that while it was the first blown save of for Lidge as a Phillie, it wasn’t the first time he’s pitched badly this season and the season is only ten games old. The problem is that if Madson and Lidge, and Durbin for that matter, are going to pitch the way they have been so far in 2009 the Phils are going to need a new formula for how to win games. Cause as good as they were in 2008, they didn’t do much of anything without getting a lot of help from those guys.

The Phillies lost to the San Diego Padres last night, falling 8-5 to drop to 4-6 on the season. The Phillies have lost three games in a row and have allowed eight runs in a game for four games in a row.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six. After three starts he has a 5.06 ERA for the season.

Myers got Jody Gerut to ground to second to start the game. David Eckstein was next and Myers walked him before getting Brian Giles to fly to right for the second out. Myers issued walks to Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley back-to-back, loading the bases with two down for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Kouzmanoff popped to Utley to leave the runners stranded.

Myers got Nick Hundley, Luis Rodriguez and pitcher Shawn Hill in a 1-2-3 second.

He started the third up 1-0. Gerut led off and swung and missed a 1-2 pitch that was in the dirt and not handled by Marson, allowing Gerut to take first. Eckstein followed with a single to left that moved Gerut to second. Giles was next and Myers got him to hit into a double-play, moving Gerut to third with two down. Myers got ahead of Gonzalez 0-2, but Gonzalez hit the next pitch out to center and the Padres led 2-1. Headley struck out for the third out.

Not handling the pitch Gerut struck out on costs the Phils a run.

Kouzmanoff led off the fourth and hit a ball well to right that Werth didn’t catch against the wall and may have had go off his glove. Myers kept the Padres off the board, though, striking out Hundley for the first out, getting Rodriguez on a ground ball that moved Kouzmanoff to third for the second out and Hill on a fly ball to right to end the frame.

Eckstein doubled down the left field line with one out in the fifth. Giles was next and he split the gap in left-center with another double, scoring Eckstein to make it 3-1 San Diego. With Gonzalez at the plate, Myers delivered a ball in the dirt that rolled away from Marson. Giles took off for third, but Marson picked it up and threw to third. Giles was safe, but arrived at third off-balance and left the bag, perhaps with the help of a nudge from Feliz, and was called out for the second out. The play was argued by the Padres, who may have had a case, but to no avail. Gonzalez went on to walk, but Myers struck out Headley to set the Padres down.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

He started the seventh with the game tied at 3-3. Edgar Gonzalez pinch-hit for the pitcher to start the frame, and Myers struck him out for the first out. Gerut was next and hit a ground ball back up the middle. Rollins fielded behind and just to the right of second base, but had no chance to get Gerut at first. Eckstein was next and chopped a ball to short. Not a double-play ball cause it wasn’t hit hard enough, but the Phillies nearly turned it anyway. Eckstein just beat Utley’s relay to first. It brought up the lefty Giles with two down and a man on first and Manuel called on Eyre to pitch to Giles. Eyre struck Giles out swinging 3-2 to end the frame.

Madson started the eighth coming off a miserable outing the night before in which he threw 20 pitches. He struck Gonzalez out for the first out, but Headley drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was a little high. Kouzmanoff was next and he blooped a single into center on a 3-2 pitch. Headley wasn’t running on the pitch, but read the ball well and went to third. Hundley followed and lined a single into right that scored Headley and put San Diego up 4-3. With men on first and second and one out, Rodriguez went down swinging for the second out. Righty Scott Hairston hit for the pitcher and Madson struck him out on three pitches to leave both runners stranded.

Lidge started the ninth with a 5-4 lead having thrown 32 pitches the night before. Gerut led off and lined a ball into right-center. Victorino slid to stop the ball and didn’t handle it cleanly. Gerut wound up on second with a double. Eckstein hit a ground ball to second for the first out, moving Gerut to third. The Phillies played the infield back and Giles hit a ground ball to first. Howard flipped to Lidge covering first for the second out, but Gerut scored to tie the game at 5-5 and Brad Lidge had blown his first save as a Phillie. Lidge walked the lefty Gonzalez on four pitches. Headley followed and he walked on a 3-2 pitch that was inside. Kouzmanoff was next and he got ahead 2-0 and then hit the ball out to left for a three-run homer. 8-5. Durbin came in to pitch to Hundley and struck him out to set the Padres down.

Again the pen can’t get it done and again both Madson and Lidge pitch badly. Overall the pen went 2 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on four hits and three walks. Madson and Lidge would both be throwing for the third straight day if they pitched today. For each of them, if they pitched today they would be appearing for the third straight day for the second time this season in the eleventh game (they both pitched April 11, 12 and 13). I would guess that will not happen, but we’ll see. Three lefties in the pen creates a problem for the Phils cause it means just four righties — it creates a bigger problem if two of the lefties, Happ and Taschner, rarely pitch. I don’t think the Phillies need both Happ and Taschner in the pen, but if they’re going to have them in the pen they should use them.

Madson threw 30 pitches today, Lidge 26. Eyre and Durbin were both under ten pitches each.

The bullpen has allowed 13 runs in 7 1/3 innings over the past three games.

The Phillies lineup against righty Shawn Hill went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Marson. Ibanez moves up to fifth with Werth sixth because the Padres don’t have a lefty in their pen. Marson gets his second start of the season behind the plate.

1-2-3 in the first.

Ibanez homered to left with one out in the second, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Werth was next and hit a ground ball to Rodriguez at short. Rodriguez’s throw to first wasn’t great. Gonzalez tried to backhand it and had it go in and out of his glove for an error. Feliz and Marson went down to leave Werth stranded.

With one out in the third and the Phils down 2-1, Rollins blooped a double to left. Victorino was next and hit a ball to first. Gonzalez fielded and flipped to Hill covering, but the flip was over Hill’s head for another error on Gonzalez. Rollins went to third and it brought up Utley with men on the corners with one out. Utley flew to right for the second out and Rollins held third. Howard drew a walk to load the bases, but Hill struck Ibanez out on a 3-2 changeup to end the inning.

Phils get nothing out of men on first and third with one out. Utley can’t bring the man in from third with one down.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth.

Myers led off the fifth and hit a ball high off the wall in right field for a double. Rollins moved him to third with a fly ball well hit to center. Victorino was next and he hit a fly to center as well. It wasn’t quite as well hit as Rollins’, but Myers tagged and scored to cut the San Diego lead to 3-2. Utley struck out for the third out.

Righty Luke Gregerson started the sixth for the Padres and Howard greeted him with a home run to left that tied the game at 3-3. Ibanez and Werth both struck out. Feliz hit a ball well to third, but Kouzmanoff made a diving play and threw to first to end the inning.

Lou Marson led off the seventh against righty Edwin Moreno and hit the first pitch from Moreno back through the middle for a single. The righty Cairo hit for Eyre against the righty and tried to bunt, of course, and popped it up for the first out. Rollins struck out swinging and Victorino popped to third.

That is wretched. Even if letting Cairo hit for the pitcher and bunt is executed successfully, I would much rather have Dobbs hitting against the righty. Especially given that San Diego has to let a righty pitch to Dobbs (or Stairs).

Duaner Sanchez started the eighth for San Diego with the Phils down a run. Utley led off and hit a 1-2 pitch just out to right, tying the game at 4-4. Howard grounded hard to second base for the first out, but Ibanez followed and laced a single to right. The Padres brought in righty Cla Meredith to try to get Werth to hit a ground ball they could turn two on. Werth did hit a ground ball, but back through the middle and into center field for a single that moved Ibanez to third. Feliz drove a ball into right that Giles took on the warning track as he ran into the corner. Giles had no chance to get Ibanez, who tagged and scored easily to put the Phillies up 5-4. Dobbs hit for Marson and grounded to third to end the inning.

Ibanez going first to third on Werth’s single helps the Phillies score a run in the inning. Great job by Feliz to drive the ball to right — it took a nice play by Giles to get an out. Not a fan of Dobbs hits for Marson with two outs and a man on first, cause I’d rather have the better defensive player catching Lidge in the ninth. It does potentially allow the Phils to let Dobbs and Stairs both hit against a righty if Dobbs gets on. I’d rather have Marson behind the plate, though, especially given that the Phillies were already winning when Dobbs hit for Marson.

Heath Bell came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth with an 8-5 lead and set the Phils down in order. Stairs hit for Durbin to start the inning, but struck out. Rollins and Victorino went down behind him.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double.

Victorino 0-for-4 with an RBI.

Utley 1-for-4 with his third home run of the year.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and his second home run.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with his fourth home run.

Werth 1-for-4.

Feliz 0-for-3 with an RBI.

Marson 1-for-3.

Chan Ho Park (0-0, 10.38) faces righty Josh Geer (NR) in game three of the series. Park has made one start of the year and was hit hard by the Rockies, allowing five runs over 3 1/3 innings. He made five relief appearances against the Padres for LA in 2008, allowing a run on five hits without walking a batter in seven innings (1.29 ERA and an 0.71 ratio). Geer will made his first appearance of 2009. In 2008 he started five games for San Diego, going 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.41 ratio. Righties hit him hard in 2008 and lefties did almost nothing. Righties hit 367/415/483 against him and lefties 146/212/250. He hasn’t faced any of the Phillies.


Phils concede big lead

The bad news for the Phils is that they’ve yet to win a game this season when they score less than seven runs. The worse news is that last night they scored seven and couldn’t win anyway as they let a 7-1 lead slip away.

Any list of the worst teams in the NL before the start of the ’09 season would have had to include the Nationals and the Padres. The Phillies have lost to them both in the past two games. In those games the bullpen has allowed eight runs in five innings.

Cole Hamels was the other big part of the story last night. His second start was a lot better than his first, but San Diego got back into the game by scoring a pair of runs off of him in both the fifth and the sixth last night, getting them close enough to take advantage of the Phillies’ pen and a weak outing by Ryan Madson.

The Phillies lost to the San Diego Padres last night, falling 8-7 to drop to 4-5 on the year.

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

Scott Hairston led off the top of the first with a double. David Eckstein followed and bunted Hairston to third for the first out. Brian Giles was next and he flew to center, but not deep enough to score Hairston. Adrian Gonzalez flew to left to set the Padres down.

Hamels started the second with a 5-0 lead. He set Chase Headley, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Nick Hundley down in order.

Luis Gonzalez led off the third and popped an 0-1 pitch out down the left field line to make it 5-1. Hamels got the next three.

Up 6-1, Hamels gave up a two-out single to Headley in the fourth, but struck Kouzmanoff out swinging 1-2 to leave Headley stranded.

Up 7-1, Hamels walked Hundley to start the fifth. Rodriguez was next and hit a ground ball to third. Hundley was forced at second for the first out of the inning. The pitcher Luis Perdomo was next and tried to bunt Rodriguez to second, but popped the bunt up to Howard for the second out. Hamels was almost out of it, but Hairston hit a 1-1 pitch out to left to make it 7-3. Eckstein and Giles followed with back-to-back singles, but Hamels struck Gonzalez out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Kouzmanoff singled with one out in the sixth. Hundley was next and Hamels quickly got ahead of him 0-2, but Hundley hit a 1-2 pitch out to left and the lead was cut to two at 7-5. Hamels got the next two.

Condrey started the seventh with the Phils up two runs. He got Hairston for the first out, but Eckstein followed with a single into center. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Giles and Giles hit a ground ball to Howard. Howard threw to Rollins at second to force Eckstein for the second out. Eyre struck out the lefty Gonzalez to set the Padres down.

Madson started the eighth still up 7-5. Headley led off with a single and Kouzmanoff followed with a ground out to Howard that moved Headley to second. Madson got Hundley on a fly ball to left for the second out. Rodriguez was next and Madson quickly got behind him 3-0 before he delivered two straight called strikes to run the count full. The 3-2 pitch was a changeup that was very close, but called a ball. It put men on first and second with two down for the pitcher’s slot. Lefty Jody Gerut hit for the pitcher Cla Meredith and singled to right. Headley beat Werth’s throw home and the lead was cut to 7-6 with men on first and third. Hairston doubled into left, clearing the bases and putting San Diego up for the first time in the game at 8-7. Eckstein grounded to third for the third out.

Tough call on the 3-2 pitch to Rodriguez and it changed the game.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils still down a run and gave up three straight singles to Giles, Gonzalez and Headley to load the bases with nobody out. Kouzmanoff was next and looped a foul ball down the first base line. Howard made a great play, chasing the ball down, making an over-the-shoulder basket catch and getting the ball back in to hold Giles at third. Lidge struck out Hundley and got Gonzalez on a ground ball to second to work out of the jam.

Great play by Howard. The strikeout of Hundley by Lidge was big in a situation where the Padres can score a run with a better out.

Three innings for the pen in which they allow three runs and can’t protect a two-run lead. Madson is the only guy who allowed runs, but Lidge struggled as well. Lidge threw 32 pitches in a non-save situation. Madson 20, Eyre 13 and Condrey six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Young went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. With no lefties in the San Diego bullpen, Ibanez moves up to hit fifth with Werth dropped to sixth. Feliz plays third against the righty with Dobbs on the bench. Coste catches with Marson back on the bench.

The Phillies scored five runs in the bottom of the first. Rollins and Victorino started the inning with back-to-back singles. Victorino stole second, putting men on second and third for Utley. Utley blasted a 1-0 pitch out to left to make it 3-0. Howard struck out for the first out, but Ibanez followed with a walk. Werth flew to right for the second out and Ibanez stole second before Feliz drew a walk. It put men on first and second with two down for Coste and Coste cleared the bases with a double to left. 5-0. Hamels flew to center for the third out.

They went 1-2-3 in the second.

With one out in the third, Ibanez hit a ball to left that Headley misplayed badly and let fall on the warning track. Ibanez was running all the way and wound up with a triple. Werth popped to second for the first out, but Feliz looped a single to left and Ibanez scored to put the Phillies up 6-1. Coste doubled to left again, moving Feliz to third, but Hamels flew to center for the third out.

Victorino singled with one out in the fourth and again stole second. Utley moved him to third with a ground ball to first for the second out Howard delivered an RBI-double to right and the Phils led 7-1. The righty Perdomo relieved Young and walked Ibanez to put men on first and second. Werth followed with a walk of his own to load the bases for Feliz, but Feliz flew to center to end the inning.

1-2-3 in the fifth and again in the sixth.

The Phils were up 7-5 when Ibanez led off the seventh with a single. Werth was next and hit into a double-play. Feliz singled into center, but Coste grounded to the pitcher to end the inning.

Down 8-7 and facing righty Duaner Sanchez, Dobbs hit for Madson to start the eighth and delivered a single to left. Rollins bunted Dobbs to second for the first out. Victorino was next and he fouled out for the second out with Dobbs holding second. Utley delivered a single into left, but Headley’s throw home beat Dobbs to the plate and Hundley blocked the plate nicely. Dobbs was out and the inning was over.

Manuel didn’t pinch-run for Dobbs at second. He didn’t have great options, but Bruntlett and Cairo, who never, ever, ever plays, probably were better choices than Dobbs to represent the tying run at second.

Rollins bunting was the other interesting thing that happened in the inning, which probably wouldn’t have happened if Rollins was hitting well.

Heath Bell struck of Howard to start the ninth. Ibanez was next and he delivered a single into center, putting him on base for the fifth time in the game. Werth flew to right for the second out and Stairs hit for Feliz against the righty Bell. Stairs got ahead 3-0 and two took pitches, the second of which should have been ball four, before striking out looking to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Victorino 2-for-5 and stole two bases.

Utley 2-for-5 with a three-run homer.

Howard 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He struck out four times.

Ibanez 3-for-3 with a triple and two walks.

Werth 0-for-4 with a walk and four men left on base.

Feliz 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Coste 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.

Brett Myers (1-1, 5.54) faces righty Shawn Hill (1-0, 3.60) tonight in game two of the set. Myers has allowed six home runs in 13 innings in his first two starts. He’s allowed just 12 hits, but nine of them have gone for extra-bases. He isn’t walking anyone, either, so he has a 1.08 ratio to go with his 5.54 ERA. He didn’t face the Padres in 2008. Hill has made one start with the Padres, allowing two runs to the Giants over five innings on April 10. Hill has had a ton of arm problems and there will be a question of how many pitches he can throw in the game. Around 70 might be a good guess. The Phils didn’t face Hill in 2008, but he started three games for the Nationals against them in 2007, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and an 0.91 ratio. ON August 14, 2007, Hill held them to a one hit, a single by Aaron Rowand, and a walk over six innings.


Jacked up

It was bound to happen sooner or later and the Phillies finally had a starting pitcher give them a quality start for the first time this season last night. Joe Blanton gave up a three-run homer to Adam Dunn in the bottom of the first inning, but was very good after that. It didn’t matter much, though, because the bullpen exploded late and the offense didn’t do much of anything. The pen started the seventh down 3-2 and the Nats scored five runs off of Chad Durbin and Jack Taschner before the end of the eighth.

On the good news front, the game featured the ’09 debut of Lou Marson. He was impressive, going 2-for-3 with a double and some nice work behind the plate.

Rollins and Victorino continue to struggle atop the Phillies batting order. They combined to go 0-for-7 last night and are 11-for-68 (.162) on the season.

The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals last night, falling 8-2 to drop to 4-4 on the season. The teams split the two games in the series, with the middle game rained out. The Phillies still haven’t won a game this season when they’ve scored less than seven runs.

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 three-run homer by Adam Dunn. He struck out five. It was the first quality start of the year for the Phils, but Myers was arguably better against the Rockies on Saturday as he allowed four runs on four hits over seven.

The Phils didn’t score in the top of the first. Blanton got Anderson Hernandez on a ground ball to second for the first out. Nick Johnson was next and he singled into left. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he singled to left too. The throw into the infield got away from Feliz for an error on the third baseman, allowing the runners to move to second and third. Didn’t matter, though, cause Adam Dunn was next and pounded a 2-2 pitch out to right to put Washington up 3-0. Blanton got Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns on fly balls to end the inning.

Blanton struck out Jesus Flores to start the second before Alberto Gonzalez singled to right. The pitcher Shairon Martis was next and he tried to bunt, but quickly got behind 0-2 and bunted the third pitch foul for the second out. Hernandez flew to left for the third out.

Johnson singled to right to start the third, but Blanton got the next three behind him.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Hernandez and Johnson singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth. It put men on first and second for Zimmerman, and Blanton got him to hit into a double-play to third to end the inning.

With the Phils down 3-2, Blanton struck Dunn out looking at a 3-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate to start the sixth. Dukes was next and flew to center for the second out before Kearns hit a 1-2 pitch into the left field corner for a double. Flores followed with a walk to put two men on for Gonzalez, who flew to right to for the third out.

Durbin entered to pitch the seventh with the Phils still down a run. Josh Willingham pinch-hit for the pitcher Michael Hinckley to start the inning and Willingham hit a 3-2 pitch just out to left to make it 4-2. Hernandez was next and walked on five pitches. Johnson got ahead 2-0, but Durbin got him on a line drive to Rollins at short on the next pitch for the first out. Durbin got ahead of Zimmerman and delivered an 0-2 pitch that was way outside and bounced in the dirt. Hernandez took off for second, but Marson picked it cleanly and threw to second where he get Hernandez, who started late, easily. Still a very nice play by Marson to pick the ball and make a strong throw to second. Durbin’s next three pitches to Zimmerman were balls, putting him on first base with a walk. The lefty Dunn was next, and Manuel called on Taschner to pitch to him. Taschner was well-rested, having made just two appearances on the year the last of which was April 7. Taschner struck out Dunn swinging 1-2 to set the Nats down.

Not a good outing for Durbin, who allowed the home run and walked two, while getting two outs that came on a line drive and a caught stealing.

I was surprised to see Taschner and not Eyre come in to face Dunn with everyone presumably available. Presumably this is because the Phils were at the top of their order and unlikely to hit for their pitcher in the top of the eighth and Manuel wanted Taschner to go another inning.

Taschner did return for the eighth. Dukes led off an hit a 3-0 pitch out to left to make it 5-2. First hit or walk allowed on the season by Taschner. Kearns was next and hit a high popup that Utley took just behind the mound for the first out. Taschner got Flores looking 2-2 for the second out. Gonzalez was swinging first pitch and hit a ball just out down the line in left. 6-2. Gonzalez had 15 career home runs in 2,040 minor league at-bats. Roger Bernadina, who had entered defensively to play left, was next and Taschner walked him. Bernadina stole second as the count went 2-1 on Hernandez before Hernandez singled into right and Bernadina scored to make it 7-2. Johnson walked to put men on first and second. Zimmerman singled into center and Hernandez scored. 8-2 with men on first and second. That was mercifully it for Taschner, and Manuel brought Happ in to pitch. Ronnie Belliard hit for the pitcher Joe Beimel and popped up to Happ to end the inning.

Five runs allowed in two innings for the pen on five hits and four walks. Durbin had a rough outing, Taschner got hammered and Happ got the only man he faced. Taschner is surely unavailable today after throwing 38 pitches. Durbin threw 20 and Happ three.

The Phillies lineup against righty Shairon Martis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Marson. Marson makes his first start of the year with Ruiz on the DL. Still no start for Dobbs with a righty on the mound.

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

Down 3-0, they went in order in the second.

Marson led off the third with a single into center. Blanton bunted Marson to second with the first out, but Rollins and Victorino both went down to leave him stranded.

Utley started the fourth with a single to center and moved to second on a ground out by Howard. Werth fouled out to the catcher, but Ibanez delivered a single into center to score Utley and cut the Washington lead to 3-1. Feliz grounded out to set the Phils down.

Marson led off the fifth and doubled into right. Blanton again got the bunt down, moving him to third for the first out. Rollins flew to right deep enough to bring Marson home and make it 3-2. Victorino flew to right for the third out.

Second time in the game that Marson got aboard and second time that Blanton bunted him along. This time they scored and everything.

Howard walked with one out in the sixth with the Phils still down a run. Werth popped to the shortstop Gonzalez in short left field for the second out. Ibanez lined a single into left, moving Howard to second. Feliz swung at the first pitch and hit a soft ground ball back to the pitcher to set the Phillies down.

Marson started the seventh and got ahead 2-0, but swung at the next pitch and popped to second. Dobbs was announced as the pinch-hitter for Blanton, and the Nats brought in lefty Mike Hinckley to pitch to him. Bruntlett hit for Dobbs and grounded to second for the second out. Rollins flew to Kearns in right-center for the third out.

Dobbs pinch-hits against a righty, the other team brings in a lefty and Bruntlett hits for Dobbs is happening more than appeals. Bruntlett is a poor best right-handed hitter on your bench against a lefty.

Lefty Joe Beimel started the eighth for the Nats with the Phils down 4-2. Victorino led off and swung at a 3-2 pitch that was out of the strike zone high and flew to left for the first out. Utley struck out and Howard flew to center.

Down 8-2, the Phils went in order in the top of the ninth.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with an RBI. He’s hitting .111.

Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his average to .219. Sorry to see him go out of the strike zone to start the eighth, but it’s a little less important if you’re going to lose by six.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk.

Werth 0-for-4.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Feliz 0-for-4.

Marson played very well, going 2-for-3 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. Made a very nice play in the seventh to throw out Hernandez.

Cole Hamels (0-1, 17.18) faces righty Chris Young (2-0, 1.38) tonight as the Phils start a four-game set with the Padres. Hamels got blasted in his only start of the year, allowing seven runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies on Friday. Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-12 against Hamels in his career with a home run. Young has made two starts for the Padres and comes off an outing on Sunday against the Giants when he allowed just four hits and didn’t walk a batter over seven innings. He allowed one run in that start, but it was unearned. Feliz is 1-for-14 against him for his career. Utley is the only Phillie to have hit a home run against Young, he’s 3-for-8 with a homer.

There will be tributes to Harry Kalas at Citizens Bank Park today and tomorrow.


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