It’s not clear how the season is going to end for the Phillies, but one thing I think we can say at this point is that the Phils are better than the other teams in the NL East. The Phils have one more big stop to make in Florida, but they have plowed through the other teams in the division in their recent stretch, going 10-3 against the Nats, Mets and Braves over their last 13 games.
The Phillies are 27-9 on the season against the Mets and Nationals. 60-52 against the other teams in baseball.
The Phillies are 87-61 on the season after taking two of three from the Braves in Atlanta. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by eight games. After winning the first game of the series they were twenty-six games over .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.
The Phillies won the first game of the series 9-4. Martin Prado put the Braves up 1-0 in the bottom of the third with a home run off of Happ. Happ left after three innings for precautionary reasons after a mystery injury that may or may not have been related to his oblique. Howard put the Phils up 2-1 with a two-run homer in the fourth and Kendrick took over for Happ and delivered four scoreless frames. The Phils extended the lead to 3-1 on another home run by Howard, this one a solo shot in the sixth. Werth drove in two runs with a single in the eighth and it was 5-1, but Brian McCann got Atlanta back in the game with a two-run homer off of Walker in the bottom of the eighth. A three-run homer by Rollins and a solo shot from Francisco pushed the Phillies lead to 9-3 and Atlanta scored a run charged to Durbin in the bottom of the ninth.
The Braves won game two 6-4. Again the Phillies saw their starter leave early as Pedro left after three innings with a stiff neck. Martinez did well to get out of the second allowing just one run after the Braves saw their first two hitters reach on a double and a single. Atlanta extended the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the second on four hits and a hit batter. Durbin took over for Martinez after the early exit, allowing three runs over 2 2/3. The Phillies, meanwhile, couldn’t find the answer to Javier Vazquez. Vazquez tossed seven shutout innings and the Braves took a 6-0 lead into the top of the ninth. The Phils scored four times in the top of the ninth, with Howard delivering the big blow, a two-run homer off of Rafael Soriano. With two outs and men on first and second, Francisco flew to right to end the game and snap a six-game winning streak for the Phils.
The Phils played sloppy yesterday. They gave away outs on the bases, got ejected arguing about it, overthrew the cutoff man, executed one of the worst rundowns you’ve ever seen and dropped the ball — and that was all in the first inning. They pitched well enough to win anyway, taking the game 4-2. The Braves went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first with a run off of Cliff Lee. Francisco doubled in Rollins in the third to tie the game at 1-1 and Ibanez and Feliz drove in runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-1. A triple by Utley in the top of the fifth brought in Rollins and it was 4-1 before a long rain delay that forced Lee from the game. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of Lee before Lidge allowed yet another run in the ninth.
The Phils threw 26 innings in the series with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.27 ratio.
All three of the starts were cut short. Happ and Martinez had their starts cut short by injury and Lee exited after four yesterday due to rain. The three combined to throw just ten innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.80 ratio. Happ and Lee both pitched pretty well, but Martinez allowed three runs on seven hits over three innings. They allowed just one home run, which Prado hit off of Happ.
Happ left game one of the series after three innings in which he allowed a run on five hits including the solo homer to Prado.
Pedro went three innings in game two before leaving with neck stiffness. In his three innings he allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk. The loss in game two was the first time the Phillies had lost a game that he had started.
Lee only got to throw four innings in his start as well before he was forced from the game by rain. He went four innings, allowing a run on three singles and a pair of doubles. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. He’s allowed one run in 13 innings over his last two starts. 7-2 with the Phils with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.07 ratio. He’s walked just nine over 68 innings.
The pen had to throw a ton of innings in the set with three early exits from the starters. As a group the pen threw 16 innings in the three games, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with an 0.94 ratio. They allowed just 11 hits in 16 innings. Kendrick was fantastic in game one, throwing four shutout innings in relief of Happ, but Walker and Durbin both got hit hard later in that game. Durbin was hit hard again in game two, with Escalona and Condrey pitching well after that. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to pitch four scoreless innings yesterday before Lidge gave up a run in the ninth.
Escalona entered game two in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies down 6-0 to pitch to lefty Brian McCann. He got McCann on a line drive to third to end the game. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.
He also started the seventh inning yesterday with the Phils up 4-1. He hit Nate McClouth with two outs and Condrey came on to face the righty Prado.
Escalona sure seems like he should be getting consideration for the post-season roster given the problems for Eyre and Romero, but Manuel makes it sound like there’s not much of a chance. He has a 2.16 ERA and an 0.84 ratio in 8 1/3 innings on the year.
Kendrick took over for Happ in the fourth inning of game one, entering with a 2-1 lead. He threw four scoreless innings, allowing three singles and not walking a batter. He has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in 16 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season.
Walker started the eighth inning of game one with a 5-1 lead. He allowed a one-out single that was followed by a two-out home run by Brian McCann. Walker was pulled for Madson after getting just two outs.
Walker also pitched in yesterday’s game, entering in the bottom of the fifth after the rain delay with the Phillies up 4-1. He threw a 1-2-3 fifth. He came back to start the sixth and allowed a leadoff single to Chipper. He got the next two hitters before walking Omar Infante, then struck out David Ross to leave both runners stranded.
Walker has been fantastic for the Phils. He deserves to throw important innings in the post-season and I think he will.
Madson entered game one with two outs and nobody on, the Phillies up 5-3. He got Omar Infante on a ground ball to short to end the inning.
Madson also pitched the eighth inning yesterday, entering with a 4-1 lead, and struck out the side.
Durbin started the ninth inning of game one with a 9-3 lead. He gave up a leadoff double to Garret Anderson and Anderson came around to score on a one-out single by Adam LaRoche. Durbin got the two hitters after LaRoche to end the game.
Durbin also pitched in game two. He entered in relief of Pedro to start the fourth with the Phillies down 3-0. Nate McLouth led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Bako. A sac fly by Prado brought him in to make it 4-0. Durbin came back for the fifth and got the first two before allowing a walk that was followed by a two-run homer by LaRoche. 6-0. He started the sixth as well. McLouth led off with a single and Durbin got the next two before Escalona came on to pitch to the lefty McCann.
Not a good series for Durbin, who the Phils could sure use. He has walked 42 in 62 2/3 innings on the season after walking 35 in 87 2/3 innings in 2008. His walk rate for the year is the worst for his career.
Condrey pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-0. In his first action since July 22 he set the Braves down in order.
Condrey also pitched yesterday, entering in the seventh with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies up 4-1 to pitch to Prado. Prado grounded to third to end the inning.
These are critical innings for right-handed pitchers for the Phils looking to make the playoff roster. The Phils have a whole lot of righties — Myers and Durbin aren’t pitching well and Park is hurt.
Lidge pitched the ninth inning yesterday, coming into the game with a 4-1 lead. He got the first two batters he faced. He walked Brooks Conrad with two outs and Conrad took second on defensive indifference. McCann was next and delivered a single to right, scoring Conrad to make it 4-2. Lidge struck out McLouth to end the game.
Lidge has allowed runs in three straight appearances. In his last three times out he has given up four runs on five hits and a walk over three innings. He’s really making it tough for the Phils to think about using him in close games in the playoffs.
The pen can surely use the off day today after throwing 16 innings in the series. Condrey and Escalona have both thrown two days in a row.
The Phillies scored 17 runs in the three-game series.
Rollins was 3-for-13 with a double, two walks and a home run in the series. 247/292/415 for the year.
Francisco started game one in center with Victorino out with stomach problems. 5-for-13 with two doubles and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 270/304/554 with the Phillies.
Utley was 3-for-13 with a triple and a walk in the set. 294/411/533 for the season. He’s hitting .229 in September.
Howard was 4-for-11 with a double and three home runs. 271/354/564 on the year. After hitting three home runs in the series he still has just four for September after hitting eleven in August.
Ibanez was 2-for-11 with a double in the series and is hitting 277/347/559 for the year. In a bizarro coincidence he is also hitting .277 and on-basing .347 in September (but slugging .538).
Werth went 3-for-8 with three walks in the series. 274/377/523 on the year.
Feliz was 3-for-12 in the set and is at 264/310/382 on the year. He’s on-basing .234 in September after on-basing .257 in August.
Ruiz left game one after the top of the sixth with problems with his left wrist. He was 0-for-1 with a walk in the series and is hitting 255/355/426 on the year. 317/411/538 since the start of August.
Bako started games two and three and went 1-for-7 in the series. He’s hitting 190/277/298 on the year.
Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner in games one and two but did not have an at-bat in the series. He has not gotten an at-bat this month or in any of his last six appearances. 167/224/240 on the season. Need to let him hit if he’s going to be on the post-season roster (he is).
Mayberry was 1-for-2 with a double to improve his line on the year to 200/241/473 over 55 at-bats. Those are the at-bats I’d rather see Bruntlett getting.
Dobbs was 1-for-1 in the series and is hitting 261/309/413 for the season.
Stairs was 1-for-1 with a double and a walk in the series. 208/367/406 on the year.
This suggests that:
- Carlos Ruiz could be available tomorrow.
- Eyre felt good throwing yesterday and will throw again tomorrow.
- Park could pitch again during the regular season.
- Pedro’s neck isn’t feeling good.
Brett Myers will see a doctor about soreness in his right shoulder. Happ’s status seems to be unclear.