Archive for April, 2009

Joe to throw

Joe Blanton (0-0. 15.75) faces righty Shairon Martis (0-0, 9.00) tonight in the middle game of the three-game set between the Phillies and the Nationals. Blanton was awful a week ago against the Braves, allowing seven runs in four innings. He made just 13 starts for the Phils last year, but three of them were against the Nats. None of the three were that inspiring. He threw to a 5.40 ERA and a 1.60 ratio in those outings, which came on August 19, September 3 and September 26. The September 26 start was the best of the three. Blanton allowed four runs over six innings, but three of them were unearned.

Martis turned 22 at the end of March and has made one start on the year in which he allowed three runs to the Braves over three innings. Lefties have hit 327/410/615 in 61 plate appearances against him in his career. He pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief against the Phils on September 28 of last year, which was the last game of the regular season. He allowed a run on two hits while striking out three.

Update 4/15: Joe to throw, just not tonight. Tonight’s game is rained out.


A death in the family

The Phillies won a game yesterday on a sad day for their baseball family. Sad for so many of us who grew up screaming “Outta here!” when we hit a wiffle ball over the next door neighbor’s hedge. Sad for the adults who remember sitting on their grandparent’s porch listening to Harry Kalas call a Phillies game on the radio. Sad for all of us who have used his voice to mark time in our lives.

There are a whole lot of people who are going to miss Harry Kalas. I don’t seem to have much control over what I hear, and even less control over which of the things I hear that are almost immediately lost forever and which stay with me. It’s Kalas’ lasting gift to all of us that we’re sure to have that majestic voice bounce around our brains forevermore, letting us know that Michael Jack Schmidt has just hit his five hundredth career home run and that Brad Lidge just struck out Eric Hinske to win the World Series.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals yesterday, winning 9-8 to improve to 4-3 on the season. The Phillies have won three in a row for the first time on the season and are one game above .500 for the first time on the season.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out five.

After seven games, the Phillies still don’t have a quality start this season.

Lastings Milledge flew to center for the first out in the bottom of the first. Cristian Guzman was next and hit a ball back to Moyer that went out off his glove and rolled away from Moyer for a single. Ryan Zimmerman flew to right for the second out with Guzman holding first. Guzman stole second with Adam Dunn at the plate before Dunn drew a walk. It put two men on for Elijah Dukes and Dukes doubled to left. Guzman scored to put the Nats up 1-0, but Dunn held third. Nick Johnson drew a walk to load the bases, but Moyer got Jesus Flores on a ground ball to third to end the inning.

With the Phils up 2-1, Anderson Hernandez led off the second with a single to left. The pitcher Daniel Cabrera bunted Hernandez to second for the first out. Moyer got Milledge on a fly ball to left for the second out, but Guzman lined a single into center to tie the game at 2-2. Zimmerman flew to center for the third out.

The Phils gave Moyer another lead to start the bottom of the third, this time at 3-2. Dunn led off with a double to right, but Moyer struck out first for the second out and got Johnson on a ground ball to Utley that moved Dunn to third for the second. Flores flew to left to leave him stranded at third.

The Phils led 4-2 when Moyer started the bottom of the fourth. Moyer struck out Hernandez and Cabrera to start the inning, but Milledge singled to left and stole second with Guzman at the plate. Guzman delivered a single into left and Milledge scored to cut the lead to 4-3. Zimmerman flew to center for the third out.

Dunn popped to third for the first out of the fifth, but Dukes was next and reached down to golf a 2-2 pitch out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Moyer got the next two.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Condrey started the seventh with an 8-4 lead. He was pitching for the second straight day after throwing 17 pitches against the Rockies on Sunday. Guzman led off with an infield single, the first hit or walk Condrey had allowed on the year. Zimmerman flew to left for the first out, but Dunn was next and hit a ball out to center to cut the lead to 8-6. Condrey got the righty Dukes to ground out for the second out and Manuel called on Eyre to pitch to the lefty Johnson. Johnson grounded to Feliz to end the inning.

Madson started the eighth up 9-6. He was pitching for the third straight day. He struck Flores out for the first out of the inning. Hernandez was next and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded, but his throw to first was wild and Hernandez was safe at second on Rollins’ first error of the season. Righty Austin Kearns hit for the pitcher Wil Ledezma and hit a bullet to left that Ibanez made a diving catch on for the second out of the inning. Fantastic play by Ibanez and it saved the Phillies a run in what would wind up a one-run game. Madson struck out Milledge to end the inning.

Great outing for Madson pitching for the third straight day. He still has not allowed a hit or a walk this season.

Lidge entered in the ninth with a three-run lead. He was also pitching for the third straight day and had thrown 25 pitches on Sunday in Colorado. Guzman led off an hit a ball into right that probably would have been a double, but Guzman looked like he hurt his left ankle on the play and had to hold first. Alberto Gonzalez, not the Attorney General, but another one, ran for him at first base. He didn’t have to do much running, though, cause Zimmerman was next and hit a 1-0 pitch out to center to bring the Nats within one at 9-8. Lidge still didn’t have an out, but he struck out Dunn and Dukes back-to-back and then got Johnson to ground softly to first to end the game.

Lidge can sure use the off day today. In his five appearances so far this season he’s allowed as many home runs, two, as he did in his 72 appearances in 2008.

Not a great day for the pen, but they hung on and that’s the most important thing. They went three innings and allowed four runs on four his, two of which were home runs. No game today so everyone will likely be available for tomorrow’s game.

I really think three lefties in the pen is going to be a problem. The Phillies will have had three off-days by the time they play their eighth game. That helps a lot early, but it’s not something they should be counting on. While all four of the righties have been pitching a lot, especially Madson and Lidge, Happ and Taschner haven’t seen much action at all. Happ threw 35 pitches on Friday so you wouldn’t expect him to have pitched on Saturday. He didn’t pitch on Sunday or Monday, either. Taschner has made two appearances without allowing a hit or a walk, but hasn’t pitched since going two innings against the Braves a week ago today. They need to use those guys.

The Phillies lineup against righty Daniel Cabrera went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Coste continues to start at catcher with Ruiz out, even in the day game after a night game. Feliz at third against the righty with Dobbs on the bench.

Rollins, Victorino and Utley all grounded out in the top of the first.

The Phils started the second down 1-0. Howard got ahead 3-1 but struck out swinging. Werth was next and he got ahead 3-0 before reaching on an infield single to short on a 3-1 pitch. Ibanez hit a double-play ball to second, but the Nationals didn’t get a double-play. Hernandez bobbled the ball and couldn’t get an out anywhere. He was charged with an error and it put men on first and second with one out for Feliz and Feliz drew a walk to load the bases. Coste followed with a walk of his own, scoring Werth to tie the game at 1-1. Moyer was next and hit a fly ball. It wasn’t hit very well to left-center, but Ibanez waited for Dunn to make the play and took off for home where he slid in just ahead of the tag from Flores to put the Phils up 2-1. Rollins struck out to end the frame.

Ibanez had a great game, contributing at the plate, on the bases and defensively in the outfield.

The game was tied 2-2 when Victorino led off the third. Victorino lined a 2-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 3-2. Utley was next and hit another ball to second that Hernandez didn’t handle for his second error of the game. Howard moved Utley to third with a single to right and it brought Werth up with men on first and third with nobody out. Werth flew to right for the first out, not deep enough to score Utley. Ibanez was next and he hit into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Phillies can’t get another run after putting men on first and third with nobody out.

Feliz singled to left to start the fourth and took second on the third Washington error of the day as Dunn mishandled the ball. Coste hit a ball hard, but right at Zimmerman at third for the first out. Moyer hit a ground ball to short for the second out and Feliz moved to third. Rollins followed with a double to right, scoring Feliz and putting the Phils up 4-2. Victorino hit a ground ball to second, a good place to hit one, but Hernandez made the play to end the frame.

Werth singled with two outs in the fifth, but Ibanez flew to center for the third out.

The game was tied at 4-4 when Julian Tavarez walked Feliz to start the sixth. Coste struck out, though, and Moyer tried to bunt and failed and struck out as well for the second out. Lefty Mike Hinckley came in to pitch to Rollins and got him looking 3-2 to end the frame.

Moyer pretty much had to hit for himself in the sixth because the bullpen, or at least the guys Manuel wanted to use, were badly worn down. It would have been less of an issue if the Phils were more willing to put Happ and Taschner into games, though.

Righty Saul Rivera started the seventh and needed just three pitches to hit Victorino and Utley. The Nats didn’t have their pitcher come to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, so it’s not clear to me why you bring in a lefty to pitch to Rollins and then a righty with Utley, Howard and Ibanez coming to the plate, but that’s what Washington did. It didn’t work. Howard came to the dish against Rivera with nobody out and two men on and blasted an 0-1 pitch out to center field for his first homer of the year. The Phillies led 7-4. Werth struck out swinging for the first out, but Ibanez got to hit against the righty Rivera too and he took Rivera out of the yard to center as well. 8-4. Feliz flew to right and Coste grounded to third.

Letting Rivera pitch to Utley, Howard and Ibanez is absurd. The Nationals would use two other left-handed pitchers in the game after Rivera exited (Ledezma and Beimel). Rivera faced seven men in the inning. He got out the three righties (Werth, Feliz and Coste). The switch-hitter was hit by a pitch. He faced three lefties and got none of them out — Utley was hit by a pitch and Howard and Ibanez both homered.

Second time in two days the Phillies change the game because of a decision to let a relief pitcher pitch to a hitter that’s just perplexing (on Sunday righty Houston Street had Stairs take him out of the year in the top of the ninth to put the Phils ahead to stay when walking Stairs to set up the double-play looked like the obvious thing to do).

Lefty Wil Ledezma started the eighth for Washington. Bruntlett hit for Eyre and doubled to left. Rollins moved Bruntlett to third with a ground ball to second and Victorino hit a ball to left deep enough to bring him in and put the Phils up 9-6. Utley grounded to first for the third out.

Pretty execution for the Phils to produce the run after the leadoff double. The run was the difference in the game.

Again, Bruntlett is the Phillies’ first choice off the bench against a left-handed pitcher. That’s not a good sign. In his defense he’s 2-for-6 with two doubles on the year, but I’m still hoping there’s a plan B.

Ibanez doubled with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Ibanez grounded to short to leave him stranded.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.

Utley 0-for-4.

Howard 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.

Werth 2-for-5.

Ibanez 2-for-5 with a double and a home run and a great catch in left.

Feliz 1-for-3 with two walks.

Coste 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 1-for-his-last-13.

No game today.


Harry Kalas died today

Harry Kalas died this afternoon after collapsing in the broadcast booth. The beloved Hall of Fame announcer was 73-years-old.

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And now if they can just find a pinch-starter they should be all set

The Phils took the last two games in Colorado to win the series against the Rockies. They took the series thanks to some big blasts late and some fantastic work from the bullpen. In two of the three starts in the series the Phillies’ starter did not make it out of the fourth inning. Yesterday the pen went 5 2/3 scoreless innings, paving the way for Utley to tie the game in the top of the eighth with a two-run homer and Stairs to put them ahead with a two-run pinch-hit blast in the top of the ninth.

After six games, Phillies starting pitchers have a 9.62 ERA and a 1.97 ratio. They have allowed 11 home runs, which is the most for any team in either league.

It’s been a long weekend for the pen coming off a series that featured two early exits by a starter, one by Park yesterday and one by Hamels on Friday. That problem is compounded by the fact they have just four righties in the pen. Two of them, Madson and Lidge, are likely to pitch in games that the Phillies win. They both did on Saturday and Sunday. Durbin also threw 33 pitches yesterday, which leaves Condrey, who also pitched yesterday but not Saturday, as the best option out of the pen as a righty for today’s game. That’s the kind of situation that’s likely to continue to occur as long as the Phils keep three lefties in their pen and Madson and Lidge continue to be right-handed.

The Phillies beat the Colorado Rockies yesterday afternoon, winning 7-5 to improve to 3-3 on the season. The Phils win the series two games to one.

Chan Ho Park got the start for the Phils and went 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

The Rockies jumped on him for four runs in the bottom of the first. Ryan Spilborghs singled to left with one out and Brad Hawpe followed and laced a double to the gap in right-center to score Spilborghs and put the Rockies up 1-0. Hawpe went to third on a passed ball with Garrett Atkins at the plate before Atkins singled into center, scoring Hawpe to make it 2-0. Ian Stewart moved Atkins to second with a single and Troy Tulowitski followed with a walk that loaded the bases with one down. Park struck out Chris Ianetta for the second out and got ahead of Clint Barmes 0-2 but couldn’t put him away. Barmes singled into left on a 3-2 pitch, scoring Atkins and Stewart to make it 4-0. The pitcher Aaron Cook grounded to Park to end the inning.

Park can’t put Barmes away after putting him a deep hole. After a fantastic 25-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio in spring training, Park walked three in the game and struck out just two.

The Phils got a run in the top of the second, but Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the second with a home run that put Colorado up 5-1. Park walked Hawpe with one out, but got the next two hitters behind him.

He hit Ianetta with a pitch with one out in the third, but got Barmes and Cook to leave Ianetta stranded.

Spilborghs singled to center with one out in the fourth and Hawpe followed with a walk. Park, who had thrown 96 pitches already, got the hook and Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Atkins. Durbin got Atkins on a fly ball to center and struck out Stewart to end the inning.

Great to see Durbin pitch out of the jam after looking bad in his two previous outings.

Durbin came back and threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He started the sixth with the Phils down 5-3 and got lefty Seth Smith, pinch-hitting for the pitcher Cook, to ground to second. Fowler followed with a single, though, and Spilborghs walked behind him. It put men on first and second with one down and Manuel brought Eyre in to pitch to the lefty Hawpe. Hawpe flew to left for the second out with the runners holding. The lefty Eyre stayed in to pitch to the righty Atkins and got him to foul out to Howard to end the inning.

Gutsy move to let Eyre pitch to Atkins as the go-ahead run and Manuel got away with it. The bad news is that given the circumstances I think it was the right move. The Phils were down two runs and the pitcher’s spot was due to come up third in the top of the seventh. Three lefties (Eyre, Happ and Taschner) in the pen means just four righties, so that one’s going to come up again. I don’t think it’s always going to work out that well.

Condrey pitched a perfect seventh with the Phils still down 5-3. He hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk in four appearances this season.

Madson threw a 1-2-3 eighth with the score tied at 5-5. He had thrown 14 pitches on Saturday. He hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk in three appearances this season.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils up 7-5. He got the first two and righty Jeff Baker hit for the pitcher Houston Street. Lidge got ahead of him 1-2, but Baker singled into center. Stewart came to the plate as the tying run and Lidge may have struck him out 2-2, but the third base ump ruled Stewart had checked his swing. Stewart drew a walk to put men on first and second, but Lidge got Tulowitski to ground to second to end the game.

Fantastic job by the pen after Park exited early. They went 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four. They have some problems for today’s game. Durbin threw 33 pitches yesterday. Condrey 17 and Eyre five. Madson and Lidge both pitched on Saturday before Madson threw 19 today and Lidge 25. They do have a day off tomorrow, so they should be okay if they can get through today. I don’t think they can let Durbin pitch today after 33 and if Madson or Lidge go it will be for the third straight day.

Eyre pitching to Atkins with ducks aboard was interesting in a not good way. Three lefties in the pen is a lot and it means there’s going to be lefties pitching to righties when they shouldn’t be.

The Phillies lineup against right Aaron Cook went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Nothing new there. Coste plays with Ruiz on the DL. Dobbs still can’t get a start against a righty.

The Phillies went in order in the first.

Down 4-0, Howard started the second with a double. Werth flew to right for the first out. Ibanez was next and he smashed a 1-2 pitch back up the middle. It hit Cook hard and was redirected into left field for a single. Howard scored to cut the lead to 4-1. Ibanez ended up on second. Feliz grounded to short and Coste flew to center to leave Ibanez stranded.

1-2-3 in the third.

Utley started the fourth with a single and stole second as Howard struck out for the first out. Werth singled into center and Utley scored to cut the Colorado lead to 5-2. Ibanez hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Phils may not have scored a run in the inning without the stolen base by Utley.

Durbin hit for himself and singled into center with two outs in the fifth, but Rollins grounded out behind him.

Utley walked with one out in the sixth and moved to third when Howard followed with a single. Werth was next and he grounded a ball between third and short and into left for a single. Utley scored and Colorado led 5-3 with men on first and second with one out. Ibanez again hit into a double-play, setting the Phillies down.

Feliz led off the seventh with a double with the Phils still down two runs. Coste struck out swinging for the first out. With the righty Jason Grilli on the mound, Dobbs hit for Eyre. Lefty Alan Embree came in to pitch to Dobbs and Bruntlett hit for Dobbs. Bruntlett swung at the first pitch and flew out to left for the second out. Rollins flew to right to set the Phillies down.

No run for the Phils despite the leadoff double. Coste being unable to move the runner with the first out was a big factor in the inning. Again, Bruntlett is the Phillies best pinch-hitting option against a left-handed pitcher and that is just very poor despite the fact that Bruntlett has better numbers against lefties than you might think.

Victorino led off the eighth with a single and Utley followed and lined a 1-0 pitch out to right for his first home run of the year. It tied the game at 5-5. Howard followed with a single. Werth was next and grounded to third with Howard forced at second. Werth was thrown out stealing as Ibanez struck out to end the frame.

Great job by Victorino to get on base in front of the big hitters with the Phils down two runs late. Greater job by Utley.

Werth nearly never gets caught stealing.

Feliz started the ninth with another double and Coste bunted him to third. With righty Houston Street on the mound for Colorado, Stairs hit for Madson. For whatever reason, Colorado let Street pitch to Stairs and Stairs blasted a 1-1 pitch out to right-center to put the Phils up 7-5. Rollins and Victorino went down behind Stairs.

Terrible decision to let Street pitch to Stairs. If Street stays in you have to walk him to set up the double-play.

Rollins was 0-for-5 in the game. 2-for-14 with a walk in the series. 107/167/107 for the year after six games.

Victorino 1-for-5 with a big single in the game. 4-for-12 with a double in the set. 240/345/360.

Utley had a fantastic game. 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, a home run and two RBI in the game. 6-for-10 with three walks in the series. 476/577/667.

Howard 3-for-4 with a double. 5-for-12 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 333/385/458.

Werth 2-for-4 with two RBI. 7-for-12 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBI in the series. 348/423/652 for the year.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with an RBI. 3-for-13 with a double and a homer. 250/308/583.

Feliz 2-for-4. 5-for-10 with two doubles. 368/435/526.

Coste 0-for-3 in the game and 1-for-10 in the series. 182/250/182.

Saturday the Phils beat the Rockies 8-4 to improve to 2-3 on the season.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. All four of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and three home runs. He struck out six.

He struck out Seth Smith and Helton in a 1-2-3 first.

Hawpe doubled with one out in the in second. Tulowitski was next and hit an 0-1 pitch out to center to put Colorado up 2-0. Myers got the next two.

Up 3-2, Myers got two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third.

He struck out Helton to start the fourth, but Atkins was next and lined a 3-1 pitch out to left to tie the game at 3-3. Tulowitski drew a two out walk, but Torrealba flew to center for the third out.

He started the fifth with a 5-3 lead. Barmes led off with a home run to left that made it 5-4. Myers set the next three Rockies down.

He didn’t allow a base-runner in the sixth or seventh. Coste made a memorable play for the second out in the sixth. Atkins hit a high foul ball to the right of home plate. Coste got under it but had the ball pop out of his glove but caught it with his bare hand to record the out.

Madson pitched the eighth with a 7-4 lead and set Colorado down in order. He got pinch-hitter Ian Stewart to ground to second and struck out Spilborghs and Smith.

Lidge pitched the ninth up 8-4. He retired the first two men he faced on fly balls and struck out Hawpe to end the game.

Two perfect innings for the pen in which they struck out three. Madson threw 14 pitches and Lidge ten.

Four hits allowed by Myers, but all for extra-bases and three that were home runs. Through two starts he’s allowed 12 hits, nine of which have gone for extra-bases and six of which have been home runs. He’s issued just two walks, one of which was intentional.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jorge De La Rosa went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Coste. De La Rosa was the first lefty the Phillies had faced on the year. Manuel didn’t do anything special with his lineup. Coste catches with Ruiz sidelined with his rib issue.

Victorino singled with one out in the first, but Utley grounded out behind him and Howard struck out.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Down 2-0, Rollins reached on an infield single with two outs in the third and Victorino followed with a single to left that moved Rollins to second. De La Rosa walked Utley to load the bases for Howard and Howard laced a bases clearing double to center that put the Phils up 3-2. Werth followed with a walk to put men on first and second for Ibanez, but Ibanez grounded to first to end the frame.

Five straight Phillies reach base as the Phils mount a two-out rally.

1-2-3 in the fourth.

The game was tied at 3-3 when the Phils hit in the fifth. Utley and Howard singled back-to-back with two outs. It put men on first and third for Werth and Colorado brought in righty Justin Speier to pitch to Werth. Werth got ahead 2-0 and then hit a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner for a triple that put the Phils up 5-3. Ibanez grounded to second to leave Werth stranded.

Again the Phils mount a rally with two outs and nobody on base.

The Phillies’ lead cut to 5-4, Feliz started the sixth with a single. Coste struck out behind him and Myers hit for himself and bunted Feliz to second. Righty Jason Hammel walked both Rollins and Victorino, loading the bases for Utley. Utley grounded hard back to the pitcher to turn the Phils away.

Ibanez homered off of Hammel with two outs in the seventh, putting the Phils up 6-4. Feliz followed with a single, but Coste flew to center to end the frame.

Victorino doubled to center with two outs in the eighth and scored when Utley blooped a single to right. It put the Phils up 7-4. Utley stole second and righty Jason Grilli walked Howard intentionally. It put two men on for Werth, but Grilli struck Werth out swinging.

Another run for the Phils after the first two hitters go down in the inning.

Ibanez led off the ninth with a double and scored when Feliz followed with a single into center. It put the Phils up 8-4. Coste moved Feliz to second with another single and Stairs hit for Madson with nobody out and two men on. Stairs struck out for the first out. Rollins flew to left and Victorino flew to center.

No more runs for the Phils after putting men on first and second with nobody out.

Rollins 1-for-5 with a walk.

Victorino 3-for-5 with a double and a walk.

Utley 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Werth 1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.

Ibanez 2-for-5 with a double and his second home run of the year.

Feliz 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Coste 1-for-5.

Tough task for the Phils today as Jamie Moyer (0-1, 7.20) faces righty Daniel Cabrera (0-1, 7.50). Tough because the Phils played in Colorado yesterday and have to travel cross-country to play a game with a weary pen. Park went just 3 1/3 yesterday after Hamels went 3 2/3 on Friday night. Durbin is likely unavailable today after 33 pitches yesterday. If Madson or Lidge pitch it would be for the third straight day. Moyer didn’t pitch well in his first start of the season, allowing four runs in five innings to the Braves. Daniel Cabrera throws real hard but gives up a ton of walks. Lefties have hit .278 against him over his career. Ibanez and Stairs have seen him a lot from their time in the AL. Ibanez 9-for-26 with five doubles and two home runs against him (346/387/769). Stairs a more pedestrian 5-for-23 with a double (217/345/261).

The Phillies put Carlos Ruiz on the DL and called up Lou Marson. I think we’re going to get to see Marson do more than just sit on the bench, too.

Update: The Start Log is updated with the weekend’s action. Park’s starts will appear in yellow. By game score, Friday night’s start by Hamels was the worst of his career with the exception of his outing against the Cubs on August 24, 2006. Friday night’s game score was an 11, the 8/24/06 game score was a ten.


Ace of clubbed

The Phillies starting pitchers haven’t set the bar real high so far this year, but Cole Hamels’ 2009 debut was enough to get you nostalgic for Myers’ opening day effort. Or pretty much anyone else’s effort on any other day for that matter. Myers, Moyer and Blanton combined to allow 15 earned runs in 15 innings to start the season, but Hamels showed ‘em all today with a miserable start in which he allowed seven runs and didn’t make it out of the fourth inning.

Curiously, Myers started the year with a weak start in which he allowed four runs over six innings and the starts have gotten progressively worse since then. Moyer was a little worse than Myers and Blanton a little worse than Moyer. It makes you wonder a little what might happen tomorrow.

There wasn’t a whole lot of good news in the game for the Phils, but there was some. Werth had a monster 4-for-4 day with a pair of doubles and a solo homer. Happ and Condrey were both solid out of the pen.

The Phillies lost to the Colorado Rockies this afternoon, falling 10-3. They are 1-3 on the season.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and a walk. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, four doubles, a triple and a home run. He struck out one.

He started the bottom of the first with the game scoreless. Dexter Fowler led off and singled past Rollins and into left field. Righty Ryan Spilborghs was next and Fowler stole second as Spilborghs took ball one. Spilborghs hit a ground ball that went through Fowler’s legs to Rollins at short. Rollins threw to third and Feliz tagged Fowler out on a close play, bringing up Todd Helton with Spilborghs at first and one down. Spilborghs tried to steal second but left too early. Hamels went to first and Howard made a good throw to second where Rollins tagged him out for the second out. Helton grounded to short for the third out.

Two base-running mistakes in the inning lead to two outs for the Rockies.

First time this season the Phillies’ starting pitcher had not allowed two runs in the first inning.

Garrett Atkins led off the second with the Phils up 1-0 and flew to Werth in right. Braw Hawpe lined to center for the second out. Troy Tulowitski was next and drew a walk on a high 3-1 fastball. It brought Chris Ianetta to the plate and Ianetta went down swinging at a 2-2 changeup to end the inning.

Clint Barmes doubled to left to start the third and scored when the pitcher Jason Marquis fouled off two bunt attempts and then swung away and singled to left. The game was tied at 1-1. Fowler was next and he got a bunt down. He would have been safe at first, but was called out on interference for being out of the baseline for the first out of the inning. Spilborghs was next and doubled to right, sending Marquis to third. Helton followed and grounded back to Hamels, with Hamels taking the second out at first as Marquis scored to make it 2-1 with Spilborghs going to second. Atkins hit a 1-1 pitch out to left for a two-run homer and the Rockies led 4-1. Hawpe jumped on the first pitch he saw and doubled to right-center. Tulowitski was aggressive early in the count as well. He got ahead 1-0 and then tripled to left, scoring Hawpe and making it 5-1. Ianetta fouled out to Ruiz to end the inning.

The Phils cut the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fourth. Barmes led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and Marquis bunted him to second. A ground out to short by Fowler pushed him to third with two down for Spilborghs. Spilborghs doubled again, scoring Barmes and making it 6-2. Helton singled to right and Spilborghs scored. 7-2. Atkins followed Helton with another single, and that was finally it for Hamels. Happ came on to pitch to Hawpe and Hawpe grounded to first for the third out.

Happ threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He came back for the sixth with the Phils still down 7-2. He gave up a leadoff double to Marquis. Fowler bunted Marquis to third for the first out, but Happ got out of it by striking out Spilborghs and getting Helton on a fly ball to left.

Nice job by Happ to keep Colorado off the board after the leadoff double.

Condrey threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Durbin started the eighth and struck out Ianetta to start the inning before he hit Barmes with a pitch. Lefty Seth Smith hit for the pitcher Alan Embree and drew a walk. Fowler followed with a single into center and scored Barmes, putting the Rockies up 8-2. Spilborghs singled to right and Smith scored. 9-2 with men on first and third with one out. Helton flew to center and Fowler tagged and scored from third. 10-2. Atkins flew to right to end the inning.

Another awful outing by Durbin. He went one inning and allowed three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter.

Condrey and Happ both pitched very well. Overall the pen went 4 1/3 innings and was charged with three runs on three hits and a walk. Happ threw 35 pitches and Durbin 24, so both are unlikely to pitch tomorrow. Condrey threw just 11.

Even with all the early days off it’s still a lot of innings to ask the pen to pitch. Hamels went 3 2/3 today after Blanton went four on Wednesday.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Marquis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz at third yet again. The Phils have played four games and have faced a right-handed starting pitcher in all four. Dobbs has been on the bench to start all of them. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the game with a single into center. Victorino was next and chopped a ball to second. Barmes took it and flipped to first for the first out, but Rollins went to second. Utley followed with a walk and it put men on first and second for Howard. Howard grounded into a double play, second to short to first, to turn the Phillies away.

Werth started the second with a double that split the gap and rolled to the wall in right-center. Ibanez was next and chopped a ball over the head of the pitcher Marquis that was mishandled by Tulowitski for an error. Ibanez was safe at first with Werth moving to third with nobody out. Feliz sent a ball into center field deep enough to score Werth and put the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz flew to left for the second out. Hamels struck out on three pitches to set the Phillies down.

Victorino walked with one out in the third and went to second on a wild pitch, but was left stranded when Utley struck out and Howard flew to left.

The Phils started the fourth down 5-1. Werth led off with a double, moved to third on a ground out by Ibanez and scored on a ground out to short from Feliz. 5-2. Ruiz grounded to third to end the frame.

1-2-3 in the fifth.

Utley led off the sixth with a single, but Howard followed and hit into a double-play. Werth singled into center before Ibanez flew to left.

1-2-3 in the seventh.

Victorino walked with one out in the eighth and the Phils down 7-2. Utley moved him to second with a single, but Howard grounded into his third double-play of the day to set the Phillies down.

Werth led off the ninth with a home run to left, cutting the lead to 10-3, but the Phils went in order behind him.

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Victorino 0-for-2 with two walks.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 0-for-4 and grounded into three double-plays. He left six men on base. It was all worth it, though, cause when Hamels picked Spilborghs off of first in the bottom of the first Howard didn’t throw the ball into left field. I’m kidding about it all being worth it, but just a little.

Werth was the only Phillie with an extra-base hit. He was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a home run.

Ibanez 0-for-4.

Feliz 0-for-1 with two RBI.

Ruiz 0-for-2. He strained his right oblique catching Ianetta’s foul ball in the third inning and is day-to-day. Coste came on in the seventh and went 0-for-2.

Brett Myers (0-1, 6.00) will face lefty Jorge De La Rosa in game two of the series. Myers didn’t have a great outing in the Phils’ opener, allowing four runs over six innings. He gave up home runs to righty Jeff Francoeur and lefties Jordan Schafer and Brian McCann in the game. He pitched well after allowing four runs in the first two innings, though, shutting Atlanta down for the next four frames. De La Rosa is the first lefty that will start against the Phils this season. He started against the Phils on May 26 of last year and was hit hard, allowing seven runs over 3 1/3 innings. The Phillies were seeing the ball well at the end of May last year. They scored 20 runs in that game, a day after they had scored 15 against the Astros. Raul Ibanez is the only Phillie with more than five at-bats against De La Rosa. Ibanez is 2-for-6 against him with a double.


Cole in the cold

Cole Hamels makes his first start of 2009 this afternoon. He faces righty Jason Marquis in Colorado as the 2-1 Rockies play their home opener.

Hamels comes off a worrisome spring training in which he struggled with elbow issues. Hamels pitched 7 2/3 official spring innings, throwing to a 9.39 ERA with a 1.17 ratio. He struck out 10 and walked just one. He was hit pretty hard on Saturday against the Rays in the final tune-up for the ’09 season, allowing six runs over five innings. This report had his fastball topping out at 86 miles per hour.

Hamels didn’t face the Rockies in 2008 and has never faced them in a regular season game. He did pitch against them in game one of the NLDS in 2007. He pitched well in that game, but allowed three runs in the second inning. Three was too many that day as Jeff Francis was fantastic for the Rockies.

The Phillies will likely be careful about Hamels’ pitch count early in the season this year. In 2008 he threw at least 110 pitches in a start four times before the end of May.

Marquis appeared in 29 games for the Cubs last year, making 28 starts and one relief appearance. He’s been pretty good against lefties over his career, they’ve hit just .263 against him compared to .271 for righties. He walks too many lefties, though, in 2008 he walked 45 in 76 2/3 innings (5.28 walks per nine innings) and just 25 righties in 90 1/3 innings (2.49 per nine).

Marquis made one start against the Phils in ’08. On April 13 he went five innings for the Cubs and allowed two runs. He walked five that day. The Cubs won that game 6-5 in ten innings with the help of a big late error from Utley, who struggled defensively early in 2008.

Rollins is 3-for-31 (.097) against Marquis in his career. Feliz 2-for-14 (.142). Utley 7-for-16 with a double. Coste 4-for-8 with an RBI while Ruiz has never faced him.

The Phillies signed 32-year-old right-handed reliever Tyler Walker to a minor league contract. Walker made 65 appearances for the Giants in 2008, throwing to a 4.56 ERA and a 1.28 ratio in 53 1/3 innings. He was in the mix to be the Mariners’ closer this year, a job that was won by Brandon Morrow. Seattle released him at the end of March.

Walker is ill-suited to be anyone’s closer. Lefties have hit 290/361/477 against him over his career. What he can do is get righties out. Righties hit just 186/274/287 in 147 plate appearances against Walker in 2008, while lefties blasted him to the tune of 319/372/597.

Here’s how the numbers that right-handed hitters put up against Walker compare to what righties did against other right-handed relievers for the Phils in 2008:

walkervright.jpg

Even with the great year that Durbin had in 2008, Walker was still a little better against righties. Lefties hit Durbin hard last year, too, posting a 311/401/394 line. The averages and the on-base percentages that left-handed hitters put up were similar for Walker and Durbin in ’08, but lefties slugged .394 against Durbin and .597 against Walker.


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