At least we don’t have to look at the standings and wonder how the Phillies manage to stay in first place any longer. The offense that has been picking up a miserable rotation has gone into a mini-slump and the Phils have lost three of their last five. They’ve scored 18 runs in their last five games, which isn’t going to be enough given how bad their starting pitching is.
The Phillies have a .265 on-base percentage for their first hitter in the lineup for the season. As you would probably guess, that’s the worst mark for #1 hitters for any team in either league. Their #2 hitters have a .333 on-base percentage, which is better but still just 11th-best in the National League.
The struggles of Rollins atop the order have certainly been a big problem for the Phillies. But he’s not the only guy who isn’t hitting. Rollins, Utley, Ibanez and Werth combined to go 6-for-45 (.133) with one RBI in the three-game set against the Marlins. Rollins is 2-for-his-last-22. Werth 2-for-his-last-21 and Utley 2-for-his-last-12. Those guys will surely come around. Let’s hope it’s not too long, though, cause the Raul-Ibanez-puts-up-an-1.100-OPS formula for success isn’t really the one you want to rely on for much more than a quarter of your season.
The Phillies are 25-20 on the year after losing two of three to the Marlins. They are second in the NL East, trailing the Mets by a half game.
Florida took game one 5-3. Howard hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to give Moyer a 2-0 lead. Former Phil Wes Helms hit a three-run homer off of Moyer in the top of the fourth to put the Fish up 3-2 and the Marlins extended the lead to 4-2 with another run in the top of the sixth. Howard hit another homer in the bottom of the sixth to get the Phils within one, which was as close as they would get. Park followed Moyer and allowed a run over three innings.
The Phillies rode a magnificent start by Blanton to a 5-3 win in game two of the set. Blanton gave the Phils their best start of the season, striking out 11 over seven shutout innings. The Phils jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first and had extended it to 5-0 by the time Madson relieved Blanton in the top of the eighth. Durbin had a shaky outing in the top of the ninth and was charged with three runs, only one of which was earned due to a throwing error by Howard, but Lidge came on to get the last two outs.
It will be good news for the Phillies if it turns out the game is all they lost in game three. Myers exited in the sixth inning with an injury to his right hip. The Phillies lost the game 6-2. Myers allowed one base-runner through the first three innings before a Dan Uggla home run put Florida up 1-0. The Fish put up another run in the top of the fourth to make it 2-0. They extended the lead to 5-1 with two doubles and a two-run homer from Cody Ross off of Myers in the sixth. Taschner allowed the sixth run in the top of the ninth. Solo home runs by Stairs and Ruiz accounted for the Phillies offense in the game.
In 27 innings in the series the Phillies threw to a 4.37 ERA and a 1.37 ratio.
The starting pitchers combined to throw to a 4.34 ERA and a 1.29 ratio. A fantastic start by Blanton in game two masks the numbers for the group. Moyer and Myers both struggled. Moyer and Myers combined to allow three home runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Moyer went six innings in game one, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. He continues to struggle. He still hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh inning this season and has had five tries to get win number 250 for his career. His ERA for May is 9.62.
Blanton was fantastic in game two. He allowed five hits, four singles and a double, and two walks over seven shutout innings. He’s had five starts in May, two of which have been good and three of which have been bad. He has been better at preventing home runs — he’s allowed just one in 17 innings over his last three starts.
Myers was very good early in his start but ended the day with an ugly line. He allowed five runs on seven hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. Over his last three starts he has given up seven home runs in 20 2/3 innings (that rate would have him giving up 68 over 200 innings).
As a group, the relief pitchers threw eight innings in the series. They pitched to a 3.24 ERA and a 1.56 ratio, walking five in the eight innings. Durbin had a bad outing in game two, but two of the three runs he allowed were unearned due to a throwing error by Howard. The relievers did not allow a home run.
Eyre entered game two in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded and the Phils up 5-0. He relieved Durbin to pitch to lefty Ross Gload. Gload hit a ground ball to first. Howard fielded, but his throw to second was wild for an error. Two runs scored and Eyre was relieved by Lidge.
Taschner started the ninth inning of game three with the Phillies down 5-2 and allowed a run on two hits and a walk. He has a 3.92 ERA for the year, but a 1.69 ratio.
Park took over for Moyer in game one of the set with the Phillies down 4-3 in the top of the seventh. He finished out the game, allowing a run on four hits and a walk over three innings while striking out five.
Durbin started the ninth inning in game two with a 5-0 lead. He got the first man he faced before the Fish loaded the bases on two walks and a single. Walking two with a five-run lead is to be avoided, if possible. When the lefty Gload hit for the pitcher, Manuel called on Eyre to face Gload.
Condrey took over for Myers in game three with the Phillies down 5-1 in the sixth with a man on first and two down. He would finish out the sixth then pitch the seventh and eighth. He did not allow a run and gave up just one hit, a leadoff single to Uggla to start the eighth. Uggla was quickly erased on a double-play.
Condrey hasn’t been charged with a run in eight innings over his last six appearances.
Madson pitched the eighth inning of game two with a 5-0 lead. He set the Marlins down in order.
Not a fan of using Madson up five runs. Taschner had made one appearance, and pitched one inning, since May 17 and hadn’t pitched in five days. Up five runs is a nifty time to mix him in, no matter what inning it is. The Phillies do have an off-day today, so Manuel knew that even if Madson pitched an inning in game two and an inning last night he would still likely be available to pitch Friday. Still would have used someone else.
Lidge came into game two with the Phils up 5-2 and men on second and third with one out. He gave up a walk that loaded the bases, but got Jeremy Hermida on a ground out that made it 5-3 and then struck Helms out to end the game.
Condrey threw 22 pitches last night and Taschner 18, but with the off-day today you would expect everyone in the pen to be available for tomorrow’s game. Neither of the guys who pitched last night had pitched in game two.
The Phillies scored ten runs in the three-game series.
Rollins was 1-for-13 with a double in the set. He is hitting 223/271/332 for the season.
Utley was 2-for-11 with a walk in the series. 289/425/550 for the year. He’s hitting .237 in May.
Ibanez went 1-for-9 with four strikeouts and an RBI in the series. He’s hitting 339/402/707 for the season. If he slugged .707 for the whole year it would be a career high, but I’m getting the feeling that I’m actually going to have to look up what his career high in slugging is before too long (that’s a little humor — it’s .537).
Howard hit a pair of home runs that accounted for all of the Phillies’ offense in game one. In game two he made his first error of the season, a throw to second that got away. His defense this year has been very good.
He went 4-for-8 with a double and two home runs in the series. He drove in four of the ten runs the Phillies scored. 263/338/542 for the season. He’s hitting .242 and on-basing .315.
There’s a big question in my mind about whether Howard’s 2008 on-base percentage was an exception to the rule or the way his career is heading. After on-basing .425 and .392 in 2006 and 2007 he on-based a much worse .339 in 2008. In 2008 he on-based .339 and slugged .543. So far in ’09 he’s on-basing .338 and slugging .542.
Werth hit sixth in the lineup in games two and three of the series. The Phils put lefties Utley, Howard and Ibanez all in a row for all three games. He was 2-for-12 with a double in the series. 2-for-his-last-21 with no walks. 255/346/472 for the year.
Victorino was caught stealing in the bottom of the ninth in game one with Matt Stairs at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. He came back with a fantastic game in game two of the set, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
He hit sixth in the first game and second in the next two. The Marlins threw righties in games one and three, so Manuel wasn’t moving him around based on what hand the Fish starter threw with. He went 5-for-11 with two doubles and two walks in the series. He’s hitting 280/327/440 for the year.
Feliz was 5-for-11 with three doubles and two RBI in the series. He’s hitting 307/373/433 for the season.
Ruiz was 2-for-12 with a double and a home run in the set. 280/386/453.
Coste did not appear in the series. He does not have an at-bat since he played on Saturday against the Yankees. 230/319/393 for the year.
Bruntlett pinch-ran for Stairs in last night’s game, but did not have an at-bat in the series. He’s hitting 118/179/235 for the season.
Mayberry did not play in the series and is 2-for-8 for the year.
Dobbs was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the series and is hitting a miserable 135/238/216 for the season.
Stairs was 1-for-2 with a walk and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 300/488/633 for the year in 30 at-bats. He leads the team, including Ibanez, who has been approximately the best hitter in the NL this year, in OPS. I’d let him play more until he’s not, especially with Werth struggling.
With the exception of Stairs, the bench is awful. Awful or not, though, Bruntlett, Coste and Mayberry is too many players to not use at all during a series when you score ten runs.