Archive for August, 2009

Chicago an even windier city after the Phils blow through town

The Phillies aren’t going to have to show a whole lot of life to win the NL East this year. They are going to have to show some, though, and they came into Chicago a listless 3-8 over their last 11 games.

As the Marlins pulled to within 3 1/2 games in the division, the Phillies roared to life and swept the Cubs in a three-game set. They found a way to win with three hits in game one. By games two and three the offense was finally back and the Phillies scored 18 runs in the last two games. Utley and Howard came into the series hitting a combined .190 in August (11-for-58). The duo went 8-for-14 and drove in six runs in the last two games against the Cubs.

The Phillies are 64-48 on the season after sweeping the Cubs in a three-game set in Chicago. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by 4 1/2 games. The Braves are in third place, five games behind the Phils.

The Phillies got three hits in game one, but managed a 4-3 win thanks to Happ and big home runs from Rollins and Francisco. The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs off of Happ. The Phillies got just two hits in seven innings off of Rich Harden, but one of them came in the sixth inning when Rollins homered two batters after Ruiz had drawn a walk. Rollins’ shot tied the game at 2-2. The Phillies loaded the bases off of Carlos Marmol in the top of the eighth before Howard drew a two-out walk that put the Phils up 3-2. Lidge came on in the bottom of the ninth to protect the one-run lead and couldn’t get the job done. Lidge walked the leadoff man and the Cubs bunted him to second before Milton Bradley delivered an RBI-single that tied the game at 3-3. The Phils didn’t get a hit in the tenth or eleventh. Francisco led off the twelfth with a solo shot off of Kevin Gregg that put the Phillies ahead. Durbin, just off the DL, nailed down the save in the bottom of the inning.

Pedro Martinez’s debut was the story in game two, but it was the offense that stole the show. After looking sleepy for a couple of weeks, the Phils scored twelve runs in the game and rolled to a 12-5 win. The Phils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and extended it to 4-1 when Victorino homered in the third. They blew it open with eight runs in a fourth inning that featured a pair of three-run homers, one from Rollins and one from Ibanez. The eight-run fourth put the Phils up 12-1. The Cubs nipped away at the lead with two more runs off of Pedro in the fifth and got a little closer with two off of Durbin in the ninth.

Cliff Lee gave the Phillies his third strong start in three outings yesterday and the Phillies won 6-1. A three-run homer from Howard and a solo shot from Feliz broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. The Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Jeff Baker led off with a double and scored on a single by Ryan Theriot. The Phils extended their lead to 5-1 with a run in the sixth and to 6-1 with another in the seventh. Lee went eight innings and threw 122 pitches in the game. Madson kept the Cubs off the board in the ninth.

The Phillies pitched very well in the series. Overall they threw 30 innings with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.23 ratio. They allowed just 25 hits but walked too many (12). The Cubs didn’t hit a home run in the set.

Lee’s start was fantastic. Happ allowed two runs over six innings but on eleven hits plus walks. Martinez allowed three runs over five innings. As a group the starters went 19 innings with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.47 ratio. They walked eight in 19 innings — Happ walked four in six innings in his start.

Happ went six innings in game one, allowing two runs on six singles, a double and four walks. He has a 2.81 ERA and a 1.17 ratio in 15 starts for the Phillies this year.

Pedro Martinez made his debut with the Phillies in game two and allowed three runs over five innings on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles.

Lee was fantastic again in game three. He allowed a run on six hits and three walks over eight innings while striking out eight. I think it’s a poor idea to let him start the eighth inning after he had thrown 112 pitches through seven. Walker or Eyre seem like better choices given they did not pitch in game two. Or Madson in the eighth and Lidge in the ninth. Given that he did pitch the eighth it was impressive that he shut the Cubs down 1-2-3 on ten pitches. For Lee it was the third time on the season that he had thrown more than 120 pitches in a game. Too many. He has thrown more than 110 pitches in seven of his last eight starts and in one of the two he didn’t he threw 108. I’d be pretty careful with that. He’s 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and an 0.92 ratio in three starts with the Phillies.

The bullpen pitched well in the series. They allowed three runs, two of which were unearned. Lidge gave up a huge run in game one as the Cubs tied the game, but it was nice work from Park, Madson, Walker, Eyre and Durbin that helped the Phillies win the game with just three hits. Park was great in game two and Madson pitched a scoreless inning in game three. Overall the pen threw 11 innings in the series with an 0.82 ERA and an 0.82 ratio. They allowed just five hits in 11 innings and struck out 12.

Eyre entered game one in the bottom of the tenth with two outs and a man on first to pitch to Aaron Miles. Miles grounded to short for the third out. Eyre came back for the eleventh and set the Cubs down 1-2-3.

He didn’t pitch in game three with Lee throwing 122 pitches.

Moyer did not pitch in game two on Wednesday coming off of a start Sunday. You have to wonder if having Moyer in the pen and unable to pitch hurt the Phils in the series in terms of who pitched and how much. Instead Park pitched for the second day and threw three innings and Durbin also pitched for the second straight day. Lee threw a lot of pitches yesterday.

Park started the seventh inning of game one with the score tied at 2-2. He struck out the first two men he faced before walking Derrek Lee. Park got Jake Fox to ground to third for the third out.

He came back a day later and was awesome pitching with a big lead. He started the sixth with the Phillies up 12-3 and pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth without allowing a base-runner.

Park made his last start on May 17. Since then he has made 28 appearances. In 41 innings he’s thrown to a 2.63 ERA with a 1.15 ratio and 47 strikeouts. His contribution to the team is hidden by his miserable results as a starter, a 7.29 ERA with a 1.74 ratio in seven starts, which have his numbers for the year overall looking ugly.

Durbin started the twelfth inning in game one. Francisco had just given the Phils a 4-3 lead with a homer in the top of the frame. Durbin walked Fox with one out, but struck out Geovany Soto and then got Alfonso Soriano on a fly ball to right to end the game and earn his second save of the season.

Durbin also pitched in game two, entering to pitch the ninth with a 12-3 lead. He allowed two runs in the frame on two singles and an error by Bruntlett. Both of the runs were unearned thanks to the error.

Walker pitched the tenth in game one. He allowed a two-out single to not-Phillie Jeff Baker and Eyre came in to pitch to the switch-hitter Miles.

Madson pitched the bottom of the eighth in game one with a 3-2 lead. He gave up a two-out single to Baker, but struck out Sam Fuld to end the frame.

He also pitched the ninth inning in yesterday’s game with a 6-1 lead. He walked Baker with two outs by got Mike Fontenot looking to end the game. I was a little surprised to see Madson in the game with a five-run lead instead of Walker, Eyre or Lidge.

Lidge started the bottom of the ninth in game one with a 3-2 lead. He walked Kosuke Fukudome on five pitches to start the inning. Fukudome was bunted to second before Milton Bradley tied the game with a single to right. Lidge got the next two.

The Phils sure are being patient with Lidge.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw three innings in game two, but needed just 26 pitches to do so.

The Phillies scored 22 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 3-for-13 with two walks, a double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 244/294/415 on the year. After hitting .313 in July he’s hitting .313 (15-for-48) in August.

Victorino was 4-for-14 with a double, a triple and a home run. He’s at 311/376/475 for the year. He has drawn one walk in August while hitting 250/289/500 in 36 at-bats.

Utley was 5-for-10 with a double and three walks in the series. 299/420/531 on the year.

Howard was 4-for-11 with three walks, a triple and a home run. 266/348/529.

Ibanez did not start yesterday with Francisco in left. He was 1-for-10 with a home run in the series. 296/360/606 for the year. He’s hitting 250/289/389 in August. After hitting .359 in April and .312 in May he hasn’t hit .260 or better in any month since.

Werth was on the bench for game one with Francisco starting in right field. I think Manuel has done a good job of getting Francisco in the lineup and rest for the outfielders since Francisco joined the team. Werth was 2-for-10 with a double in the series and is at 260/366/485 for the year. He has two walks in August after walking 24 times in July. After June 28 Werth has hit just .237, but with a .370 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage. Hitting .237 becomes a bigger problem if you stop walking all of the time.

Feliz was 5-for-14 with a home run. 289/333/410 on the year. He hasn’t walked in August. His .743 OPS for the season puts him in danger of not posting and OPS for the year between .705 and .710 for the first time in four seasons.

Ruiz started games one and two of the series against righties. The lefty Bako started game three against another righty. Ruiz was 1-for-7 with three walks and an RBI in the series. 227/330/367 on the year. He drew a critical walk in game one ahead of Rollins’ homer.

Bako started game three and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. 175/230/263 in 57 at-bats for the Phillies this year, which is rather awful.

Francisco started game one in right and game three in left even with the Cubs using three right-handed starters in the series. He was 1-for-9 with a home run in the top of the twelfth in game one. He’s hitting 222/267/519 in 27 at-bats with the Phillies.

Bruntlett got one at-bat in the series and made the only error charged to the Phillies. 0-for-1 in the series. I won’t be reporting his line any more until there is dramatic improvement out of respect for the fact that he scored the run that won the World Series last year. Suffice it to say that his line lacks many of the elements you’ve come to associate with baseball goodness (including, but not limited to, an on-base percentage that’s over .200).

Dobbs and Stairs combined to get no starts in the series with the Cubs throwing three righties while the righty Francisco started twice. Dobbs was 0-for-1 to drop his line on the season to 254/304/410.

Stairs was 0-for-2 in the series and is hitting 215/361/392. He’s 1-for-his-last-25.

Note: The next update to Philliesflow will be around August 24.


The pretty dozen

Twelve runs for the Phillies last night, which was nice to see given the recent offensive struggles. Twelve turned out to be more than they needed. Usually is. The Phillies are 25-0 this season when they scored more than seven runs in a game.

Here’s the Phils’ record for this year and last year based on the number of runs they score in the game:

 
2009

2008
Runs W L PCT W L PCT
>0 63 44 .589 92 62 .597
>1 63 33 .656 90 56 .616
>2 62 22 .738 87 39 .690
>3 58 13 .817 80 23 .777
>4 50 8 .862 68 13 .840
>5 39 3 .929 51 10 .836
>6 33 2 .943 37 5 .881
>7 25 0 1.000 28 3 .903
>8 21 0 1.000 12 1 .923
>9 16 0 1.000 10 0 1.000

I’ve mentioned this before, but the Phillies need to score four runs in a game before they have much chance to win. At least they have over the last two seasons:

Runs W L PCT
0 0 12 .000
1 2 17 .105
2 4 28 .125
3 11 25 .306
4 20 15 .571

And, of course, the Phillies do really well when they score a ton of runs like they did last night. Since the start of the 2005 season they are 107-1 in games when the score more than eight runs. Guess who was pitching for the Mets in the one game the Phils have lost in the last five years when the scored more than eight runs?

This article breaks down the bonuses in Moyer’s contract based on the amount he pitches.


The wails of August

It was kind of an ugly win for the Phillies last night, but now is not the time to quibble. The Phils scored four runs in the game on three hits, getting by because Happ allowed two runs over six innings, the guys in the pen who aren’t Lidge pitched well and Rollins and Francisco combined to give them two big swings.

The Phillies have still lost eight of their last twelve games and, like I pointed out yesterday, the offensive slump has a lot more to do with that than the pitching. In the last 12 games the Phillies have scored 36 runs, which is three runs per game. In the games before the 12-game stretch started, before July 29, they had scored 5.22 runs per game.

A big part of their problem in August has been that there walk rate is way down compared to the rest of the season. Here’s the rates that the Phils have gotten hits, walked, struck out, hit doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances before the start of August and since:

Per 100 Plate appearances

  H BB SO 2B+3B HR
August 20.3 5.5 19.4 4.5 3.03
Before August 22.7 9.9 18.0 5.4 3.53
           
% 89.6 55.2 107.5 84.3 85.9

So, for example, the Phillies have gotten 20.3 hits per 100 plate appearances in August and had gotten 22.7 hits per 100 plate appearances before the start of August. 20.3 is 89.6% of 22.7.

So everything is worse in August as you would expect. The Phillies get hits, walks, doubles and triples and home runs less regularly while striking out more. Of all of those areas, though, the one where there’s been the biggest change is that the Phillies are drawing far fewer walks in August than they have in other months.

This was even more dramatic before last night’s game. The Phillies have only played nine games in August. Last night they got three hits, a single and two home runs, and walked five times. That’s more walks than they got in the first five games of the month combined — in the first five games of August they drew a total of four walks.

Going into last night’s game, their rate of getting hits and doubles and triples in August was almost identical to their rate for the rest of the year and their rate for drawing walks was even worse. Their rate of getting hits was about 99.1% of what it had been for the rest of the year, for getting doubles and triples was 97.6% while their rate of drawing was just 46.1%.

Finally, it looks like their walk rate is picking up again. As I mentioned, the Phils drew four walks in their first five games in August and didn’t get more than one walk in any of those games. They have 14 walks in their last four games and at least two in each game. Before the start of August they had walked 398 times in 101 games, which is about 3.94 times per game. Fourteen times in four games is 3.5 per game, so they are getting closer to their walk rate before the start of the month.

Moyer is unhappy to be going to the pen.

This says that JC Romero has tendinitis and will not throw for “a week or so.”

Kyle Kendrick has been sent back to Lehigh Valley.


Slow motion eleven

The Phillies have lost eight of their last eleven games. Who’s to blame? If you’ve been watching it’s not hard to guess it’s the offense:

  Runs per
game
Runs
allowed per game
First 98
games
5.48 4.63
Last 11 games 2.91 4.64

If the Phillies scored 2.91 runs per game over 162 games they would score about 471 in a season. The Padres have the worst offense in the NL this season. They are on pace to scored about 605 runs.

A starting pitcher has to pitch pretty well for your team to win when you hit like that. In the three games in the slump the Phils have won they got two complete games (one from Happ and one from Lee). Lee allowed a run over seven innings in the other game they won.

The rate at which the Phillies have allowed runs overall in the streak is almost identical to their rate of allowing runs for the year. That’s a little curious given that the starters have pitched deeper into games with a better ERA, a better ratio and the relievers are allowing significantly fewer runs per game:

  SP ERA SP Ratio SP IP/G SP R/G RP R/G
First 98 4.63 1.36 5.87 3.06 1.57
Last 11 3.91 1.35 6.27 3.27 1.36

That chart shows that the ERA for the starting pitchers is better in the 11 games than it was in the first 98, but the starting pitchers have allowed more runs per game. That’s because the defense has been atrocious in the slump. In the last 11 games the starting pitchers have been charged with six unearned runs. In the first 98 games of the year they were charged with four.

The relief pitching has actually been pretty good in the slump. The bullpen has allowed 15 runs in the 11 games, but nine of the runs were allowed by Lopez and Lidge in Sunday’s game. The relief pitchers have allowed fewer runs per game during the streak than in the first 98 games — they are also pitching fewer innings, though, since the starters are pitching more. The improvement in the runs per game allowed by the relievers is a little more dramatic than the difference in the number of innings pitched by the starters. The starters have thrown about 107% more innings per game, but the relievers are allowing about 87% of the runs per game they allowed in the first 98 games of the year.

The Phillies activated Chad Durbin and sent Rodrigo Lopez down.


Phils doing their best to relate to fan base by going on vacation in August too

The Phillies didn’t pitch, hit, field or avoid being ejected for arguing balls and strikes while in the outfield well this weekend and the Fish swept them in a three-game set. The Phils are 2-6 in August and have won three of their last 11 games.

They are 61-48 on the season after losing three in a row to the Florida Marlins in Philadelphia. The Phils are in first place in the NL East and the second-place Marlins by four games. The Braves are in third and trail the Phils by 4 1/2 games.

The Marlins won game one 3-2. The Fish got a home run from form Nick Johnson and a pair of doubles in the first off of Blanton to put them up 2-0. Cody Ross hit a solo shot in the second to make it 3-0, which was how it stayed until the Phillies hit in the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh Francisco got the Phils on the board and within a run with a two-run homer. The Phils had a chance in the eighth when they put two men on with one out, but Howard struck out and Ibanez grounded to second. They went in order in the ninth.

Hamels had another uninspiring start in the second game and the Phillies lost 6-4. The Phillies got a pair of runs in the bottom of the second to go up 2-1, but the Marlins loaded the bases in the top of the third on a single and two walks and then tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI ground out from Hanley Ramirez. Two errors from the Fish in the bottom of the third helped put the Phils up 3-2, which was how the score stayed until Cody Ross hit a two-run homer off of Hamels in the sixth to put Florida up 4-3. Florida extended the lead to 6-3 with two runs charged to Park in the eighth. A leadoff triple from Victorino in the bottom of the ninth helped the Phils score another run, but it wasn’t enough — Werth and Ibanez both came to the plate as the tying run and both flew out.

The Marlins completed the sweep yesterday with a 12-3 win. Moyer got the start and didn’t pitch that terribly, allowing three runs over five innings. Lopez and Lidge did, though. Lopez was charged with six runs in the seventh and only managed to get two outs. Lidge allowed three runs in the ninth. Shane Victorino was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes, which is notable mostly because he was in center field at the time. Werth replaced him in center and made a big error, one of three on the day for the Phils. It didn’t cost them nine runs, though.

The Phillies got terrible pitching in the series. Overall the pitchers threw to a 6.67 ERA and a 1.85 ratio. In 27 innings they allowed five home runs, 39 hits and 11 walks.

The starting pitching was bad, but not quite as bad as the bullpen. Blanton has the best start of the trio that included himself, Hamels and Moyer. As a group the three threw to a 4.76 ERA with a 1.76 ratio. In 17 innings they allowed four home runs, two off of Blanton and two off of Hamels, 24 hits and six walks. Moyer allowed 11 hits in the five innings he pitched.

Blanton gave up three early runs in game one but pitched pretty well. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. Blanton allowed two home runs in the game. He allowed more than one home run in a game in five of his first 13 starts on the season but hadn’t for seven straight outings. He still hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start in his last eight times out.

Hamels went 5 1/3 innings in game two, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks. He’s allowed 11 runs in 10 1/3 innings in his last two starts. He walked six in those two outings combined — he hasn’t walked more than six hitters in any month this season.

Moyer allowed 11 hits and a walk over five innings in game three, but was charged with just three runs. Only two of the runs were earned. Two bad starts in a row for Moyer, he’s allowed nine runs on 17 hits and five walks over ten innings in his last two starts.

The relievers were okay in the first two games. Park gave up two runs in two innings in the second game. They got blasted yesterday, though, as Lidge and Lopez were charged with nine runs in three frames. As a group the pen threw to a 9.90 ERA with a 2.00 ratio over ten innings in the three games. They gave up just one home run, which Wes Helms hit off of Lidge yesterday, but gave up 15 hits and five walks over ten innings.

Eyre came into game one in the ninth inning with one out, the bases empty and the Phils down 3-2. He gave up a double to the first man he faced but got the next two hitters.

He also pitched the eighth inning yesterday. He pitched the eighth with the Phillies down 9-3 and allowed a two-out single but kept Florida off the board.

Eyre has been charged with two runs in over 20 1/3 innings in his 26 appearances since the end of April.

Park relieved Blanton in game one in the top of the seventh with two outs, men on first and second and the Phils down 3-2. He gave up a single to right by Hanley Ramirez, but Ben Francisco threw Chris Coghlan out at the plate to end the inning.

He also pitched in game two, entering in the seventh inning with the Phillies down 4-3. He hit a batter with one out, which was followed by a single. He got Jorge Cantu to hit into a double-play to end the inning. He came back for the eighth inning and got the first two hitters before Florida put together four singles in a row, plating two runs to make it 6-3. Again he got an out on the bases, ending the frame when Werth threw Jeremy Hermida out at third.

After allowing two runs in two innings in game two, Park has been charged with four runs in 17 2/3 innings since the end of June.

Lopez started the seventh yesterday with the Phils down 3-1. He had a miserable outing that allowed the Marlins to blow the game open. He faced eight hitters and was charged with six runs on three walks, two doubles and a single.

Kendrick started the ninth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-3. He gave up a leadoff walk, but got the next hitter to hit into a double-play and Cantu to fly to left for the third out.

He also pitched in yesterday’s game, entering with two outs in the seventh, a man on second and the Phils down 8-1. He allowed an RBI-single to Cantu before getting Wes Helms on a popup to end the frame.

Walker entered game two in the top of the sixth with a man on first, one out and the Phillies down 4-3. He got the only two men he faced to end the frame and leave the runner stranded.

He took over for Moyer in the sixth inning yesterday with nobody out, men on first and second and the Phillies down 3-1. He set down the three hitters he faced to leave the runners stranded.

He has a 2.50 ERA and a 1.06 ratio in 16 games on the year. He hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk over three innings in four August appearances.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game one with the Phils down 3-2. He set the Marlins down in order. He came back to get the first out of the ninth before Eyre came in to pitch to lefty John Baker.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning yesterday, starting the frame with the Phils down 9-3. He allowed three runs on a leadoff double, a one-out RBI-single and a two-run homer by Helms with two outs. He got Ross to pop to short for the third out.

His ERA for the year is up to 7.24.

The Phillies scored nine runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 3-for-13 in the series. He’s hitting 244/292/405 for the year.

Victorino was 2-for-8 with a triple and a walk in the series. 312/377/467 for the year. 5-for-his-last-25. He was ejected in game three and didn’t start game one. Werth played center in game one with Francisco in right.

Utley was 1-for-10 with three walks and five strikeouts. 294/415/529. 5-for-his-last-30 with a double. 148/273/185 in August.

Howard was 5-for-11 with a walk and three doubles. 263/344/522. He’s walked once in August.

Ibanez was 3-for-12 with three singles and a walk. 302/367/612. He’s driven in one run in his last 39 at-bats.

Werth didn’t start yesterday’s game with Dobbs in right. 0-for-9 with a walk and four strikeouts. 262/370/490. 185/241/296 in August.

Feliz was on the bench in game one with Dobbs at third. 2-for-8 with a double and a home run in the series. 286/332/405 on the year. Hasn’t drawn a walk in August.

Ruiz started the first two games of the series and went 1-for-6 with a single and a walk. 230/327/374 on the year.

Bako started yesterday’s game and went 0-for-2 in the series. 189/246/283 on the season.

Bruntlett was 0-for-1 in the set to drop his line on the year to 131/200/202. There are 412 players in the NL and AL combined who have gotten at least 75 plate appearances this season — Bruntlett’s .402 OPS is 412th. He’s 412th in average, 411th in on-base percentage and 410th in slugging.

Francisco started game one in right and hit a two-run homer and threw a runner out at the plate. 1-for-6 with a home run in the series. 278/333/556 in 18 at-bats with the Phillies.

Dobbs started both of the game in which the Fish threw a righty. He started at third in game one and in right in game three. I think that’s a pretty good idea. Dobbs was 2-for-7 in the series and is hitting 256/306/414 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-2 in the series and is at 221/368/403 on the season. Since April 24 he’s hit 209/369/328 in 67 at-bats.

Romero will have an MRI today. Sounds like we shouldn’t expect him for a while.


Roy void enjoyed

The Phillies didn’t get Roy Halladay, but the contributions they are getting from the guy they didn’t trade for him and the guy they traded for instead sure make it look like they made the right decision. Superb starts from JA Happ and Cliff Lee led the way in Philadelphia as the Phils took two of three from the Rockies. In the last two games of the set Lee and Happ combined to throw 16 innings in which they allowed one run and struck out 19.

Joining Lee and Happ in leading the Phillies is the suddenly surging Jimmy Rollins. Rollins has sprung to life after a miserable start to the season. He is hitting 336/392/619 in 148 plate appearances since July 2 and led the offense against Colorado.

The Phils are 61-45 on the year after taking two of three from the Colorado Rockies in Philadelphia. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by seven games and the third-place Braves by 7 1/2. They have the second-best winning percentage in the NL behind the Dodgers. LA is 67-42 with a .615 winning percentage, which is better than the Phillies’ .575. In the American League the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels have played to a better winning percentage than the Phillies.

The Phillies lost the first game of the series 8-3. Garrett Atkins put the Rocks up 2-0 with a two-run homer off of Moyer in the second. Colorado added another pair of runs in the fourth before a two-run shot from Rollins in the bottom of the fifth got the Phils on the board at 4-2. Things blew up in the sixth, though, as Moyer and Lopez, a new addition to the pen with the arrival of Cliff Lee, were touched up for four runs that extended the Rockies lead to 8-2.

JA Happ was brilliant in game two and the Phillies rode his complete-game shutout to a 7-0 win. Feliz, Rollins and Werth all homered before the end of the fifth inning and the blasts drove in six of the Phillies runs. Happ was in control the whole game, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out a career-high ten.

It was Cliff Lee being brilliant yesterday for the Phils. Lee struck out nine while holding the Rockies to a single run over seven innings and the Phillies won 3-1. Dexter Fowler led off the game with a double in and came around to score to give Colorado an early 1-0, but Colorado wouldn’t get any more. Rollins went 3-for-4 with a double and a triple and scored two runs to lead the Phillies offense. Bako hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot off of Aaron Cook in the bottom of the fifth.

The Phillies got outstanding pitching in the series. They allowed nine runs over three games, six of which were charged to Moyer in game one. Overall they threw to a 3.00 ERA with a 1.11 ratio. They allowed just one home run, which Atkins hit off of Moyer. They allowed just 23 hits in 27 innings while striking out 27.

They got two fantastic starts in the set from Happ and Lee. Moyer struggled in his outing. As a group the starters went 21 innings with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.10 ratio.

Moyer was hit hard in game one. He went five innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks. He has had a miserable season and it’s hurting the Phillies. He didn’t get much help from Lopez in this game — Moyer walked the only two men he faced in the sixth before leaving the game and both of them would come around to score. He’s coming off of his best month of the year, a July in which he went 4-1 with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.27 ratio. His first start of August was an ugly one, though, and he’s now thrown to a 5.55 ERA for the season with a 1.47 ratio. He’s also not going deep into games. Despite the fact that he’s coming off of his best month of the year he still hasn’t gotten an out in the sixth inning in four of his last seven starts.

Happ was awesome in game two. He threw a complete game shutout, allowing two singles, two doubles and a pair of walks. He struck out ten, but also threw a career-high 127 pitches in the game. He has a 2.80 ERA and a 1.14 ratio in 14 starts with the Phillies this year.

Lee was almost as good in game two. He allowed one run over seven innings on five singles, a double and a walk. He struck out nine. Each of his first two starts have been fantastic. He’s 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and an 0.81 ratio in two outings with the Phillies. He got seven wins in 22 starts with the Indians this season, but it hasn’t been the Phillies offense powering him to victories. The Phillies have scored eight runs in his two starts.

The bullpen threw just six innings in the three-game set. Lopez had a weak outing in relief of Moyer in game two and was charged with the only two runs that they allowed. As a group they threw to a 3.00 ERA with a 1.17 ratio in the three games. They didn’t walk a batter in the series. Besides Lopez, the only three relievers to pitch were Walker, Madson and Lidge and all three fared well.

Eyre did not pitch in the series.

Lopez entered game one in the sixth inning, making his first relief appearance of the year. He came in with nobody out and men on first and second, the Phillies down 4-2. He got a ground out for the first out of the inning before Atkins cleared the bases with a two-run double that made it 6-2. Chris Ianetta followed with an RBI-single. 7-2. The pitcher Jason Hammel followed with a single of his own before Dexter Fowler delivered an RBI-double that made it 8-2. Lopez got a fly ball to end the inning. He came back to pitch the seventh and allowed a one-out single but got the next two.

Lopez has been effective pitching in relief over his career. In 27 relief appearances he has a 3.14 ERA and a 1.24 ratio over 63 innings (4.88 ERA with a 1.42 ratio in 166 career starts). Not a ton of appearances, but I don’t think the idea of pitching him out of the pen is ridiculous. Having all three of him, Kendrick and Park in the pen at the same time is getting a little close to ridiculous, though.

Kendrick did not pitch in the series.

Park did not pitch in the series.

Walker pitched the eighth inning of game one with the Phillies down 8-3. He set Colorado down in order.

Madson pitched the eighth inning of game three yesterday with the Phillies up 3-1. He gave up a leadoff single but struck the next batter out and then got a double-play.

Again, it’s great to see Madson pitching less regularly recently. The Phillies are obviously going to need him before it’s over, but they don’t need him pitching every day now. He’s made two appearances this week after making one last week.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with the Phillies losing 8-3. He got two ground outs and a popup in a perfect frame.

He also pitched yesterday in game three, entering in the ninth to protect a 3-1 lead. He gave up a two-out single to Brad Hawpe, which brought pinch-hitter Ian Stewart to the plate as they tying run. Lidge struck Stewart out on three pitches to end the game and earn his 21st save on the year.

Encouraging developments from Lidge. He has been charged with one or more runs in just one of his last five appearances. In the outing that he did give up runs he was pitching for the third straight day. 3.60 ERA with an 0.80 ratio over five innings in his last five appearances.

Seven guys in the bullpen for the Phils. Three of them, Kendrick, Park and Lopez, can start and two of them are pitchers who have primarily been starters over their career.

Nobody in the pen has appeared more than one day in a row and neither Madson or Lidge threw more than 20 pitches yesterday.

The Phillies scored 13 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 6-for-14 with a double, a triple and two home runs in the series to raise his line on the year to 245/294/410. After going 1-for-5 with a home run in game two he was slugging .400 — it was the first time on the year that his slugging had been at .400 or better. He had 24 total bases in all of April and 28 in all of June. So far in August he has 21.

Victorino was 3-for-12 with a double in the series. He’s hitting 313/378/467 on the season.

Utley was 2-for-9 with a double in the series. 299/418/541 on the year. He’s 4-for-his-last-20 with a double.

Howard was 1-for-12 in the set. 2-for-20 with two singles in August. 258/341/516 on the year.

Ibanez was 4-for-10 with two doubles and a walk in the series. 304/369/626 for the year. Since May 30 he has hit just 257/321/534, but most of that is due to struggles June. He went on the DL in the middle of June, but before he did he had hit 254/299/571 for the month. He came back and appeared in his first game back on July 11. From July 11 to now he has hit 276/360/526.

Werth was 2-for-11 with a home run. Not a great series for Werth, but the home run was a big one. The three-run blast in game two opened up a big lead for the Phils. 268/376/501 on the year. He’s off walks apparently. He has walked once in his last 37 plate appearances. In his 132 plate appearances prior he had walked 32 times.

Feliz was 2-for-10 with a home run. 287/333/397 for the season. He’s 5-for-his-last-30.

Ruiz started the first two games of the series and went 3-for-7 with two doubles. 231/328/380 on the year.

Bako started yesterday and went 2-for-3 with a home run. His line is at 196/255/294 for the year. Bako hit six home runs in 299 at-bats for the Reds last year. Six is his career-high.

Francisco walked in both of his plate appearances in the series. He’s 4-for-12 with two walks since joining the Phillies.

Bruntlett didn’t play in the series. 133/202/205 for the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the series to drop his line on the year to 254/297/421. I think the Phillies should be looking for chances to play Dobbs more regularly — it looks to me like the way to do that would be at third against some right-handed pitchers. Ibanez didn’t get an at-bat for the Phils between June 18 and July 10. During that time period Dobbs got 51 plate appearances in which he hit 396/412/667 with three home runs. He hit 172/246/310 in 65 plate appearances before June 18 and has hit 150/182/150 in 22 plate appearances since July 11.

Stairs was 0-for-1 in the series to drop his line on the year to 227/376/413. He’s appeared in 13 games defensively for the Phils and been on the roster all season. That’s a big investment in Stairs, presumably for a small number of critical at-bats down the stretch and in the playoffs.

This suggests that Happ will not lose his spot in the rotation to Pedro Martinez. It also considers the possibility that the Phillies could go with a six-man rotation. I would be surprised if that happened and even more surprised if it happened with Kendrick, Lopez and Park still on the roster. Maybe the Phils could go with nine starters in a 12-man pitching staff. Perhaps Hamels or Moyer will develop a blister.

Encouraging news about Durbin, Myers and Romero in this article. Durbin appears to be the player of the group whose return will come first with Romero not too far behind.


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