Oh yeah, the Phillies never lose. Thanks.

The notion that the Florida Marlins are going to win the NL East this season is a little tough to swallow. Nonetheless, the Phils and Fish started the second half with a big four-game set that could have ended with the teams tied atop the NL East or the Phillies up by as many as eight games. They only managed to play three, but the results were pretty dramatic as the Phils swept the Marlins away in the three games they played.

The Phillies have started the second half on the same roll they ended the first. The starting pitching has been outstanding all month and the 12-3 July has the Phils at thirteen games over .500 for the first time on the season.

The Phillies are 51-38 on the year. They have won eight in a row and 12 of 13. They are in first place in the NL East. The Braves are in second place and trail the Phils by 6 1/2 games. The Fish are seven back and the Mets nine.

In game one the Phillies rode a brilliant start by Moyer to a 4-0 win. Moyer, Madson and Romero combined to throw a one-hit shutout and the Phillies scored four runs on three homers, two from Ibanez and one from Howard. Howard’s home run was the 200th of his career and he became the fastest player to 200 in major league history.

The Phils won game two 6-5 in twelve innings. Hamels got the start and allowed a run over five innings before being forced from the game by a long rain delay in the sixth. Thanks to a two-run homer from Utley in the first and a pair of runs in the top of the fourth the Phils took a 4-1 lead into the delay. The Marlins scored a run off of Park in the bottom of the sixth to make it 4-2. Madson, Romero and Durbin combined to allow a pair of runs in the eighth. Madson started the inning and was charged with both runs, but allowed just two singles and got two outs. Romero walked the only man he faced. Durbin was next and he allowed an RBI-single that tied the game at 4-4 and a walk before ending the inning with a strikeout. The Phils went up 6-4 with two in the twelfth, scoring runs on RBI-singles from Utley and Werth. Lidge struggled again in the bottom of the inning. He got the first out before walking the next two hitters. The Marlins bunted the runners to second and third before Ronny Paulino scored on a wild pitch from Lidge. With two outs and a man on third, Lidge got Dan Uggla to ground to second to end the game.

Game three was rained out with the Phils down 2-0 in the second.

Happ made another fantastic start in game four, which the Phillies won 5-0. Rollins went 3-for-5 and Ibanez drove in two runs. Happ went seven shutout innings and the pen threw the last two.

The Phillies got great pitching in the series. Over 30 innings they threw to a 1.50 ERA with a 1.00 ratio. They gave up just 21 hits in 30 innings and allowed just one home run (Coghlan off of Hamels in game two).

The starting pitching was very good. Blanton struggled in the game that was rained out. In the three games that counted, Hamels, Moyer and Happ combined to allow one run over 19 innings — the home run off of Hamels in the first inning of game two. 0.47 ERA with an 0.68 ratio. Ten hits and three walks over 19.

Moyer was awesome in game one. He allowed a single and a walk over seven innings and struck out four. He hasn’t walked more than one hitter in a start in any of his last three outings.

Hamels went five innings in game two, allowing a run on three singles, a walk and a home run. He hasn’t thrown 100 pitches in a start in any of his last four outings.

Happ pitched game four and allowed five hits and a walk over seven shutout innings to lower his ERA on the year to 2.68. He has a 1.46 ERA in his last five starts.

The bullpen wasn’t quite as good as the starting pitching in the series. They went 11 innings, throwing to a 3.55 ERA with a 1.55 ratio. Too many walks — they walked six in 11 frames. They allowed four runs in the set, all of which they gave up in came two and were charged to Park, Madson and Lidge.

Romero threw a 1-2-3 ninth in game one to preserve the one-hit shutout.

He entered the eighth inning of game two with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies up 4-3 to face Jeremy Hermida. He walked Hermida to put men on first and second with two down. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Wes Helms.

He also pitched yesterday. He entered in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, men on first and third and the Phils up 4-0 to face lefty Ross Gload. Gload flew to right to end the inning.

After walking 12 in 12 appearances in June, Romero has walked just one over eight appearances (just 4 1/3 innings) in July.

Eyre pitched the tenth inning of game two with the scored tied at 4-4. He allowed a two-out walk but struck out the next hitter to end the inning.

He also started the ninth inning yesterday. He allowed a one-out single before getting lefty Jeremy Hermida to fly to center for the second out. Lidge came on to pitch to righty Hanley Ramirez with two outs and a man on first.

He’s been charged with one run, which was unearned, in his last 21 appearances.

Durbin came into game two in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, men on first and second and the Phillies up 4-3 to pitch to Helms. Helms delivered an RBI-single to left, tying the game at 4-4. Durbin walked the next hitter, putting men on first and second with two down, but struck out lefty Chris Coghlan to leave two men on. Durbin presumably pitched to Coghlan instead of Eyre so he could come back and pitch the ninth. He did. He allowed the first two men to reach on a hit and a walk, but got the next three to keep Florida off the board.

We should all be a little worried about Durbin. The Phillies could really use him, especially with Madson pitching so much. Again, very surprised to see Walker designated for assignment.

Park started the sixth inning of game two with a 4-1 lead. He set the Marlins down 1-2-3. He came back to start the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to Paulino. Paulino came around to score on a single by Ross Gload to cut the Phillies lead to 4-2. Park allowed another single in the inning but got Emilio Bonifacio bunting to third with two outs and two men on to end the inning.

Condrey took Tyler Walker’s roster spot on Friday. Walker was designated for assignment in a move that surprised me. Condrey pitched the eleventh inning of game two with the score tied at 4-4. He allowed a one-out single, but got Jorge Cantu to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game one with a 4-0 lead and set the Marlins down in order.

He also started the eighth in game two with a 4-2 lead. He allowed a leadoff single to Hanley Ramirez but got the next two. It put Ramirez on second with two outs for Paulino and Paulino singled into center to score Ramirez and make it 4-3. Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Jeremy Hermida.

Yesterday Madson also started the eighth, this time with a 4-0 lead. He got the first out before allowing back-to-back singles that put men on first and third. Paulino lined to Feliz at third for the second out and Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Ross Gload.

Interesting series for Madson. He pitched all three games and is on pace to pitch in 87 games this year after making 76 appearances last year. Twice he started the eighth with the Phillies up four runs. In two different games he started the eighth but didn’t finish it and was removed so Romero could face a lefty.

Lidge started the twelfth inning of game two with a 6-4 lead. The Marlins scored a run on two walks and a wild pitch, cutting the lead to 6-5. With two outs and a man on third, Lidge got Uggla to ground to Utley to end the game. Not a pretty outing for Lidge, who got a gift when pitcher Chris Volstad bunted runners to second and third with the second out of the inning.

He came into yesterday’s game with two outs and a man on first to face Ramirez. Ramirez popped to short to end the game.

Lidge is still pretty scary if you’re a Phillies fan.

Madson and Romero pitched for the Phillies in each of the three games in the series. The rainout on Saturday means that they have not pitched three days in a row. Madson threw 20 pitches yesterday and Eyre 21. It would be nice to see some games where the Phillies pen pitches well and Madson gets the day off.

The Phillies scored 15 run in the three-game series.

Rollins was 6-for-16 with two doubles and a triple in the series. He made an ugly base-running play yesterday. After he led off the game with a triple he was thrown out when Victorino followed and chopped a ball to third base. That’s an awful play with nobody out. He’s hitting 236/290/367 on the year. 377/472/590 in July.

Victorino was 2-for-11 with two walks in the series. 306/374/456 for the year. All three of those would be career-highs for him (unless you want to count the 17 at-bats he had in 2005 when he slugged .647. You don’t).

Utley was 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and four RBI. 312/427/573 on the season. Just one walk in his last 39 at-bats.

Howard hit his 200th career home run in game one. He didn’t start yesterday with Bruntlett playing first base. 4-for-9 with a home run in the series. 262/347/535 for the year.

Ibanez socked a pair of homers in game one to start the second half off with a bang. 5-for-10 with a double, two homers and five RBI. He also walked twice. 316/375/669 on the year. If he slugs .669 all season long it would be a career high.

Werth was 3-for-13 with two walks. 262/370/502. He’s hitting just .229 in July but on-basing .409 thanks to 15 walks. He has also hit five home runs this month.

Feliz had a pretty awful game yesterday. He went 0-for-4 with a walk, two errors and left seven men on base. He was 2-for-13 with two walks in the series. 287/335/410 for the season.

Ruiz caught all three games in the series. 1-for-11 with a double and two walks. He’s hitting .138 in July after hitting .174 in June.

Bako did not play in the series.

Bruntlett started yesterday’s game at first base, which should never happen. I really like the idea of giving Howard a day off and I think it’s understandable to hope you can get Bruntlett out of his year-long funk with the bat. The team needs a better option, though. Mayberry in left against the lefty and Ibanez at first? Ibanez has made 135 career appearances at first. The most recent was in 2005. He started 45 games at first for the Royals in 2002. Bruntlett was 0-for-4 with a stolen base in the series. If you have any children in the room you may want to remove them — his line for the year is 132/207/197.

Mayberry was 0-for-2 in the series and is hitting 176/222/451 for the year. He’s 0-for-13 in July.

Dobbs was 1-for-2 in the series and is hitting 273/314/464 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 in the set. 279/436/508. 1-for-7 in July.

I don’t really understand designating Walker for assignment. He wasn’t really as good as his 1.64 ERA with the Phillies, but he was pretty good. A 1.00 ratio is kind of hard to argue with.