Archive for September, 2009

I’m not saying it’s that big a deal, I’m just saying I’d feel better if they would outscore the Nationals

The Phillies played their last game before the All-Star break on July 12 this year. Here’s a look at the NL East standings at the end of the day on July 12 as well as the number of runs scored and allowed per game and the difference between the two for each team:

  W L R/G RA/G Dif
PHI 48 38 5.35 4.79 0.56
FLA 46 44 4.61 4.76 -0.14
ATL 43 45 4.24 4.31 -0.07
NYM 42 45 4.31 4.69 -0.38
WAS 26 61 4.38 5.62 -1.24

And here’s what the teams in the division have done since the break:

  W L R/G RA/G Dif
PHI 34 22 4.55 3.71 0.84
ATL 32 23 4.91 3.56 1.35
FLA 30 24 5.30 4.89 0.41
WAS 24 32 4.73 5.23 -0.50
NYM 21 36 4.00 4.77 -0.77

The Phils still have the best record in the second half of the season. But the Braves have scored more runs than the Phils and allowed fewer. By a lot. Despite the fantastic run differential for the second-half it looks like there’s not much chance Atlanta is going to figure out a way to get into the playoffs — they are six games out in the chase for the Wild Card and trail the Phils by 7 1/2 in the division.

The Phillies are doing a great job of preventing runs in the second half, allowing more than a run per game less than they allowed in the first half of the year. What they aren’t doing a great job of is scoring runs. They are fourth in the division in both runs scored and runs scored per game since the All-Star break. One of the three teams ahead of them in both of those categories is the Nationals, and they aren’t even considered a World Series contender. It’s not quite as awful as it seems like it should be — the Nats are seventh in the NL in runs scored overall for the season and tied for fifth since the All-Star break.

Tyler Walker would like to pitch in the post-season. I would like that too.

JA Happ hopes he can start Friday in Atlanta.


Could we have a volunteer, please?

There’s a whole lot of opportunity at the back of the Phillies bullpen these days. What’s missing is guys who are pitching well. There are three main candidates to be closing for the team in the post-season, Lidge, Madson and Myers, and a dark horse in Tyler Walker. All three of Lidge, Madson and Myers were awful against the Mets, even as the Phils took three out of four.

The Mets scored 16 runs in the four-game series. Ten of those runs were scored in the eighth or ninth inning. Eight of the 16 were charged to Myers, Madson or Lidge and the three combined to pitch just 5 1/3 innings in the set.

The Phillies are 82-60 on the season after taking three of four from the Mets. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by 6 1/2 games.

The Phillies won the first game of the series 4-2. The Phils scored a run in the second and another in the third. Hamels kept New York off the board till the seventh, when the Mets scored a run on two singles, a bunt and a sac fly to make it 2-1. A Ruiz sac fly in the bottom of the seventh brought in Werth to extend the lead to 3-1 and an RBI-double by Utley in the eighth made it 4-1. Madson came on for the save in the ninth, but gave up a leadoff double that lead to a run. He got a big double-play with one out and men on first and third and was able to hold the Mets to a single run.

Game two was a little tough to take. The Phils went into the eighth up 9-5 and lost the game 10-9. The Mets jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Moyer in the first. Carlos Beltran connected for a two-run homer in the inning. Feliz hit a two-run homer in the second. 4-2. Utley hit a solo shot in the third and Ibanez delivered a two-run blast. The Phils led 5-4 after three and extended the lead to 6-4 with another run in the fourth. Two more in the sixth had the Phils up 8-4. Daniel Murphy doubled off of Moyer with one out in the seventh, stole third and came in to score on a ground out. 8-5. Utley started the seventh with a double and came in to score on a single by Ibanez to make it 9-5. Myers started the eighth and got hit hard. A double followed by a David Wright homer made it 9-7. Beltran followed with a single and Park replaced Moyer, but he allowed Beltran to score on two more singles before the inning was over. 9-8. Madson got the first two in the ninth before he allowed a single to Fernando Tatis that was followed by Wright’s second two-run homer in two innings. The Phils went in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Kendrick got his first of the year in the day game of yesterday’s double-header, which the Phillies won 5-4. Kendrick pitched very well. A solo homer by Francisco and a two-run shot from Victorino helped Kendrick go into the top of the eighth with a 4-0 lead. Kendrick got the first batter before allowing a single to Angel Pagan that was followed by a two-run home run by Anderson Hernandez. Walker finished off the eighth for Kendrick. In the bottom of the inning the Phils added another run, getting a two-out double from Stairs followed by an RBI-single from Tracy. Lidge came on in the ninth to protect a 5-2 lead and allowed two runs on three singles, but struck out Pagan to end the game.

Pedro Martinez threw eight shutout innings last night as the Phils won 1-0. Utley drove in Rollins with an RBI-single in the bottom of the first and that was all of the scoring for the game. Pedro gave up four singles, two doubles and walked two while striking out seven. Madson got the save opportunity this time. He allowed a one-out single in the ninth but got the next two hitters.

Phillies pitchers overall threw 36 innings in the series with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.25 ratio.

The starting pitching was much better than the bullpen. The Phils got three good starts from Hamels, Kendrick and Martinez and a bad one from Moyer in game two. Overall the starters threw to a 2.48 ERA and a 1.07 ratio. They walked just four in 29 innings.

Hamels allowed a run on seven hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings in game one. In three of his last four starts he’s thrown into the seventh and allowed one run or less in the game.

Moyer allowed five runs in seven innings in game two. He gave up seven hits and didn’t walk a batter.

Kendrick went 7 1/3 innings in game three, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. He took a 4-0 lead into the eighth before allowing a two-run homer to Anderson Hernandez. He has a 3.55 ERA in his five appearances on the year for the Phils. After allowing three runs in two innings in his first appearance his last four have been good.

Martinez went eight shutout innings in the second game of yesterday’s double-header. He allowed six hits and two walks and struck out seven. He’s 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.09 ratio in seven starts for the Phils.

The bullpen was awful. In seven innings they pitched to a 10.29 ERA and a 2.00 ratio. They didn’t walk a batter but allowed 14 hits in seven innings. Madson allowed a run in game one. Myers, Park and Madson were all awful in game two. Lidge allowed two runs in the ninth inning of game three.

Park took over for Hamels in the seventh inning of game one with two outs, a man on second and the Phils up 2-1. He got Wright on a ground ball to short to set the Mets down.

He also pitched in the eighth inning of game two, entering in the eighth inning with two down, a man on first and the Phils up 9-7. He got a fly ball for the second out before allowing back-to-back singles to Santos and Murphy. Murphy’s single scored Beltran from second and made it 9-8. Park got the pinch-hitter Sullivan to end the inning.

Park has a 2.70 ratio in five appearances this month.

Myers started the eighth inning of game one with the Phillies up 3-1 and set the Mets down in order.

He also started the eighth inning in game two with the Phillies up 9-5. He got the first hitter before allowing a double to Tatis and a homer to Wright. Beltran followed with a single and Park relieved Myers.

Walker entered game three with one out in the eighth and the Phillies up 4-2. He got the two hitters he faced to end the frame.

Madson started the ninth inning of game one with a 4-1 lead. He gave up a leadoff double to Omir Santos and pinch-hitter Jeremy Reed followed with a single that moved Santos to third. Cory Sullivan was next and Madson got him to hit into a double-play with Santos scoring from third to make it 4-2. Angel Pagan grounded to second to end the game.

He started the ninth inning of game two with a 9-8 lead. He got the first two hitters before Tatis singled and Wright followed with a two-run homer to put the Mets up 10-9. Beltran singled before Madson got Francoeur on a popup to end the frame.

He pitched the ninth inning in game four with a 1-0 lead. Brian Schneider singled with one out, but Madson struck out Francoeur and got Pagan on a line drive to third to end the game.

Madson has walked four batters since the end of June.

Lidge started the ninth inning of game three with a 5-2 lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Jeff Francoeur and Francoeur took second on defensive indifference. Beltran grounded to deep short on a nine play by Rollins for the first out, but Josh Thole was next and he blasted a ball off the wall in right for a long single. Francoeur scored and the lead was cut to 5-3. Lidge struck Luis Castillo out for the second out of the inning before Thole took second again without a throw. Jeremy Reed was next and singled into center. Thole scored and it was 5-4, but Lidge struck Pagan out to end the game.

Game two, the game that the Phillies lost, Madson, Park and Myers all pitched for the second straight day and all three were awful. Madson has pitched three days in a row and five of the last six days.

The Phillies scored 19 runs in the four-game series.

Rollins was 5-for-17 with a triple in the series and is hitting 244/289/409 on the season. He also walked twice, giving him seven walks since the end of July.

Victorino was 6-for-15 with three doubles, three walks and a home run. 300/367/460 for the year. He’s on-basing .293 in September after on-basing .336 in August.

Utley was 5-for-13 with two doubles, three walks and a home run. 296/414/542 on the year.

Howard was 3-for-14 with a double and two walks. 272/350/556 on the year. One home run in his last 59 at-bats.

Werth didn’t play in game three of the series with Francisco in right. 1-for-11 with two strikeouts in the series. 266/369/519. He’s hitting .222 this month.

Ibanez was 5-for-17 with a double and a home run. 278/344/566. 341/357/707 in his last 42 plate appearances. He has just a .314 on-base percentage for the month, though, with just two walks.

Feliz was 5-for-16 with three doubles and a home run. 270/315/393 on the year. He’s hitting .216 in September with a .245 on-base percentage.

Ruiz started games one, two and four in the series. 2-for-7 with a double and walk. 255/354/426 for the year.

Bako started game three. He was 0-for-3 and is hitting 195/271/312 in 77 at-bats for the year.

Bruntlett pinch-ran yesterday, but didn’t get an at-bat in the series. 167/224/240.

Francisco started in right in game three. 2-for-5 with a home run in the series. 246/279/526 with the Phils in 57 at-bats.

Stairs was 1-for-3 with a double in the series. 202/359/394 for the year.

Tracy had a huge hit in game three, driving in a run with a pinch-hit single in a game the Phils won by one. 1-for-1 in the series and 1-for-3 on the year.

This suggests that Condrey does not understand why he hasn’t been activated.


The ninth wait

The three-game set with the Nationals started with Charlie Manuel insisting that Brad Lidge was his closer and ended with it clear that Lidge was not. Lidge was pulled from a save opportunity in game one, on the bench for another in game two and pitching in the eighth inning with the Phillies down by six runs in the third.

While it sure seems likely that the Phillies closer situation is going to continue to bounce around in the near future, the series did show that Manuel wasn’t going to let blind loyalty to Lidge ruin the year for the Phils. While most probably saw that one coming, it is a sigh of relief for fans who have watched Lidge struggle through an awful season coming off of a brilliant 2008.

The Phillies are 79-59 on the season after taking two of three from the Washington Nationals. They’re in first place in the NL East, but the Florida Marlins have cut the Phillies lead in the division to five games by going 7-3 over their last ten.

The Phillies hit five solo home runs in game one of the series and won 5-3. Pedro got the start and gave up two runs in the first four innings, but Ibanez got the Phils on the board at 2-1 with a homer in the fifth. Ibanez, Werth and Ruiz all homered in the seventh and the Phils led 4-2. A home run by Willie Harris off of Martinez made it 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, but Utley hit one in the eight to put the Phils up 5-3. Lidge came on in the ninth to protect the two-run lead. He got one out, but Washington loaded the bases on a single, a hit batter and a wild pitch and Manuel called on Madson to replace Lidge. Madson struck out Ryan Zimmerman for the second out and got Adam Dunn on a grounder to Rollins to end the game.

The Phils won game two 6-5. Washington went up 1-0 with a run off of Lee in the first, but the Phils put together four hits and a walk in the top of the second to take a 3-1 lead. A two-out double by Ibanez in the fifth knocked in Howard to extend the lead to 4-1, but the Nationals came back with two more against Lee in the bottom of the inning and then tied it at 4-4 with another run in the seventh. Werth and Feliz both hit solo homers in the eighth and the Phils led 6-4. Another error by Howard helped Washington score an unearned run in the eighth, but Madson came on to nail down the save in the ninth.

Last night the Phillies saw their ninth-inning rally fall just short and fell 8-7. A triple from Utley in the first put the Phillies up 2-0 early, but the Nats tied the game up with a pair of runs off of Blanton in the third and pulled ahead 3-2 with another in the fourth. Blanton didn’t make it through the fifth. The Nats scored five times, getting home runs from Dunn and Ian Desmond, and Blanton left with two outs in the fifth and the Phils down 8-2. The score stayed that way till the top of the ninth, when Stairs delivered a one-out grand slam that got the Phillies within two at 8-6. Rollins followed with a single and Victorino doubled him home. 8-7. Utley was next and he singled as well, putting men on first and third with one out. Things looked real good, but Howard hit into a double-play to end the game and leave the Phils a run short.

The Phillies threw to a 5.19 ERA and a 1.42 ratio over 26 innings in the series. Most of the problems in the series can be blamed on the starters — despite all of the drama with the closer the relievers weren’t charged with a run in the series.

The starters were. Pedro made the best start of the series, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 in game one. Lee and Blanton combined to allow 13 runs in 11 2/3 innings in the next two games. As a group the starters posted a 7.36 ERA and a 1.58 ratio over 18 1/3 innings. They allowed 24 hits but walked just five.

Martinez started game one and improved to 4-0 as a Phillie, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings on seven hits and a walk. He has a 3.64 ERA and a 1.11 ratio in six starts with the Phils.

Lee went seven innings in game two, allowing five runs on ten hits. Only four of the runs were earned and he didn’t walk a batter. The worse news is that that was the best of his last three starts. He’s allowed 29 hits in 15 innings over his last three times out.

Blanton got mauled in game three. He allowed eight runs on seven hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since May and the most runs he has allowed in any start all season. Just the second time in his last 19 starts that he has allowed more than three runs in a start.

The relievers weren’t charged with a run over 7 2/3 innings in the series and threw to a 1.04 ratio.

Park entered the eighth inning of game two with nobody out, men on second and third and the Phillies ahead 6-4. He walked Elijah Dukes to load the bases for the Nats before getting a fly ball for the first out with all the runners holding. Pinch-hitter Pete Orr was next and he delivered a sac fly that made it 6-5 with two down and men on first and second, but Park got Wil Nieves on a grounder to first to end the inning.

Durbin pitched the seventh inning of game three. He got the first out before allowing a double and a walk, but got the next two hitters.

The Phillies sure could use Durbin, who has struggled this season. He has been very good in his last three outings, though, throwing five scoreless frames with a 1.20 ratio.

Walker entered for Blanton in the fifth inning of last night’s game with two outs and the Phillies down 8-2. The first man he faced reached on an error and he got the next on a popup to end the inning. He came back and threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Walker hasn’t been charged with a run in his last 11 appearances. In those appearances he’s allowed three hits and three walks over 13 1/3 innings while striking out 12.

Myers took over for Martinez in the seventh inning of game one with two outs, the bases empty and the Phillies up 4-3. He gave up a single to Cristian Guzman before striking out Zimmerman to end the inning. He came back to pitch the eighth and Dunn reached on an error by Howard to start the inning, but Myers got the next three.

He’s now made three appearances since returning from the DL and allowed one hit and two walks over 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Madson entered the ninth inning of game one with one out, the bases loaded and the Phillies up 5-3. He struck out Zimmerman for the first out and got Dunn to ground to Rollins to turn the Nats away.

He started the ninth in a save situation in game two, entering with a 6-5 lead. Justin Maxwell led off with a single and stole second before Madson struck out Guzman for the first out of the inning. Dunn was next and smashed a line drive that Utley snared. Utley threw to Rollins at second in time to double Maxwell off and end the game.

Lidge started the ninth inning of game one with a two-run lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Wil Nieves before getting Alberto Gonzalez on a ground out for the first out. He hit Harris with a pitch, though, before walking Guzman to load the bases. Manuel gave him the hook, calling on Madson to nail down the save.

He threw the eighth inning last night, entering with the Phillies down 8-2. He allowed a one-out triple, but struck Orr out for the first out and Zimmerman out to end the inning.

The Phillies scored 18 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins made two throwing errors in last night’s game. He came into the game having made just three for the season. He was 3-for-14 in the series and is hitting 243/286/409 on the year. He’s on-basing .244 in September and has on-based under .300 in every month this season except for July.

Victorino was 5-for-14 with two doubles. 297/363/450. He’s on-basing .200 in September and is hitting .182 with no walks in his last 66 plate appearances.

Utley was 3-for-13 with a triple and a home run in the series. 293/411/536 on the year. He’s hitting 147/237/294 in September.

Howard made an error in each of the first two games. He also deserved an assist on a throwing error charged to Rollins in last night’s game. I’m thinking a day or two off might be in order. 1-for-11 in the series. 273/350/563 for the year. Just one strikeout in his last five games.

Werth was 4-for-12 with two home runs in the series. 270/373/528.

Ibanez went 5-for-13 with two doubles and two home runs. 278/346/567 for the season.

Feliz was 3-for-11 with a home run in the series. 268/315/383 on the year. 232/276/337 over his last 306 plate appearances.

Ruiz started games one and three. 2-for-5 with a home run and three walks in the set. 254/351/426 on the year. He’s hitting 385/467/577 in September after hitting 305/391/559 in August.

Bako started game two. 0-for-2 with a walk in the series. 203/280/324.

Bruntlett didn’t bat in the series.

Francisco didn’t bat in the series.

Cairo didn’t bat in the series.

Tracy got an at-bat in game two and struck out. 0-for-1 on the year.

Stairs hit a ninth-inning grand slam in last night’s game. 1-for-2 with a home run in the series. 198/360/385 for the season.

This article talks about the Phillies closer situation and mentions Lidge, Madson and Myers as possibilities. Walker should be considered and I think he will be.

The article linked above also suggests we shouldn’t expect to be seeing Eyre over the next several days.

This suggests that Condrey is almost ready to pitch again, either in a minor league or simulated game. It also suggests Dobbs may be able to return in seven or eight days and that there’s no timetable for Romero.


Plan B

The Phillies tried Ryan Madson as a starter in 2006 and things didn’t go very well. Madson made 17 starts in which he threw to a 6.28 ERA and wound up doing most of his work for the year pitching in relief. He finished the season with a 5.69 ERA.

Since then he’s had three years as a full-time reliever and in each of the three seasons he’s pitched to an ERA in the 3.05 to 3.10 range with a ratio in the 1.22 to 1.27 range. Here’s a look at how his numbers for this year for striking batters out and allowing runs, hits, walks, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances compare to his numbers for the last two seasons:

  ERA Ratio R/100 H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 SO/100
2007 3.05 1.27 8.02 20.25 9.70 4.22 2.11 18.14
2008 3.05 1.23 8.53 23.24 6.76 5.00 1.76 19.71
2009 3.10 1.22 8.66 22.02 7.22 3.25 2.17 24.19

Despite the very similar ERAs for the three year, Madson has his walk rate down significantly in the past two seasons compared to 2007. He is striking out a lot more hitters this year, but allowing home runs at his highest rate for the three seasons. While his home run rate is up, his rate for allowing extra-base hits that aren’t home runs is down a lot. In 2008 he was allowing about 1.54 times the doubles and triples per 100 plate appearances that he has in 2009.

The thing that’s a little worrisome about Madson’s year in 2009 is that if you divide what he’s done this season nearly in half, the first half was a lot better than the second. Madson didn’t allow a home run in his first 34 appearances on the year before June 18. On that day the Phils and Jays went into the top of the ninth tied at 7-7 and Rod Barajas hit a solo homer off of Madson. The Phils lost 8-7. Those first 34 appearances are just about half of his work for the year — he’s faced 138 batters before June 18 and 139 on June 18 or after. The numbers before that date are a whole lot better:

  ERA Ratio R/100 H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 SO/100
4/8/09 to
6/16/09
2.16 1.11 5.80 18.84 7.97 2.90 0.00 26.81
6/18/09 to
9/9/09
4.05 1.32 11.51 25.18 6.47 3.60 4.32 21.58

With the exception of walks, pretty much everything has been going in the wrong direction for Madson since the day he allowed his first home run of the season. His rates for allowing hits and doubles and triples are way up, and his strikeouts down, but by far the biggest factor for him is that after not allowing a home run in his first 33 1/3 innings of the season he has allowed six in his last 33 1/3.

Not to be forgotten in all of this is that Madson was outstanding in the post-season last season, throwing to a 2.13 ERA and an 0.87 ratio in 11 appearances. He’s also on pace to throw a few less innings this season, about 79 after throwing 82 2/3 in ’08. The thing about ’08, though, was that Madson was fantastic at the end of the regular season as well as in the post-season. In his last 14 appearances in the regular season in ’08 he was charged with one earned run, throwing to an 0.64 ERA with an 0.93 ratio and striking out 17 in 14 innings.

Andy Tracy and Sergio Escalona are up. Rodrigo Lopez has been released.

The article linked above says that Moyer will take Happ’s start on Saturday. It also says that Kendrick will likely start one of the double-header games on Sunday, which would go a long way towards removing #DIV/0! from the Start Log.


Homer alone

The Phillies parade of solo home runs continues. The Phils lead the NL in home runs overall and also in both solo home runs and home runs with runners on base. It sure seems like all of the home runs they hit lately have been solo shots. But have a high percentage of the home runs they’ve hit this year been solo homers compared to the rest of the league? No. The chart below shows the percentage of each NL team’s homers that have been solo home runs for 2009:

Team % of HR
that are solo
Rank
San Diego
St. Louis
Colorado
Chicago Cubs
LA Dodgers
Arizona
Cincinnati
Philadelphia
Washington
San Francisco
NY Mets
Atlanta
Florida
Pittsburgh
Milwaukee
Houston
65%
64%
62%
62%
62%
61%
60%
59%
57%
56%
56%
55%
54%
53%
53%
53%
1
2
3
3
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

The Phillies are in the middle of the pack. 116 of the 196 home runs they’ve hit have been solo homers, which is about 59.1%. What has happened is they have had a higher percentage of their home runs go for solo shots in ’09 than they did in ’08:

Year Total HR Solo Not Solo
2009 196 116 80
2008 214 114 100
       
2009 pace 233 138 95

In 2008, about 53.3% of the homers were solo homers for the Phils. That’s up to 59.1% this year. Despite the fact that the Phillies are on pace to hit about 19 more home runs overall in 2009, they are on pace to hit five fewer home runs with men on base.

Scott Eyre has pain in his left elbow. The linked article also says that Dobbs could be activated in the next ten days and the Romero got a cortisone shot on Tuesday.


Swept, away

The Phillies still can’t score and now they can’t win. It was bound to happen sooner or later. They’ve scored 31 runs in their last 13 games and scored ten times in four games against the Astros. They lost all four, dropping each of the last three by a single run.

The Phils have scored 13 runs in September, which is 30th of the 30 teams in baseball.

If you’re looking for a bright spot in the series it’s that Brett Myers returned and looks like he’s going to be able to contribute at the back of the Phillies pen. We’ll have to wait and see exactly how that plays out, but it sure looks like the Phillies will be able to use the help. Madson was one of a large group of Phillies regulars that missed at least part of the Astros series with an injury — Victorino, Utley, Happ and Madson all have been battling what we’ll have to hope are minor injuries. Lidge continues to be a huge problem, he allowed a pair of runs to blow the save in game two and has a 7.15 ERA for the season.

The Phillies are 77-58 on the year after being swept by the Astros in a four-game set in Houston. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by six games. The Phils have lost five of six.

Cliff Lee got hit hard for the second straight outing and the Phils lost game one 7-0. Coming off a start where he allowed six runs over five innings to the Braves, the Astros scored four runs off of Lee in the second and two more in the third. Moyer relieved Lee in the fourth and allowed a run on three innings on a solo homer by Carlos Lee. Again the Phillies offense did almost nothing. They had seven singles and a double by Victorino in the game. They didn’t draw a walk.

The Phillies dropped game two 5-4 as Houston scored two runs off of Lidge in the bottom of the ninth. The Astros scored got three early runs off of Blanton and took a 3-0 lead into the seventh, but the Phils pulled ahead with two runs in the seventh and another two in the eighth. Lidge got the leadoff man to start the bottom of the ninth before Houston loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Michael Bourn chopped a ball to first with the infield in and Howard forced the runner at home for the second out, but Kaz Matsui delivered a two-run single that gave Houston the win.

The Phillies lost game three 4-3. Rollins started the game with a home run that put the Phillies up 1-0. Bourn led off the third with a single off of Hamels and came around to score and tie the game at 1-1. A solo shot from Francisco in the fourth put the Phillies up 2-1, but the Astros scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to go back on top at 4-2. Werth hit a solo homer in the eighth to get the Phillies within one, but that was how it ended.

Houston completed the sweep with a 4-3 win yesterday. Moyer got the start despite throwing 38 pitches in game one after Happ was scratched with an oblique strain. Again the Phillies went up with a run in the first inning, this time when Howard knocked in Victorino with an RBI-single. Pence connected for a two-run homer off of Moyer in the bottom of the second to put Houston up 2-1. Howard and Ibanez went back-to-back in the top of the fourth and the Phillies led 3-2. Park took over for Moyer in the seventh and things did not go well. The Astros greeted him with back-to-back doubles that tied the game at 3-3. After getting a fly ball for the first out of the inning, Park walked the lefty Darin Erstad to set up the double play, but then walked the next two batters. The second walk forced in a run to put Houston ahead to stay.

The pitching was terrible for the Phillies in the series. Overall the pitchers threw 32 2/3 innings with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

The starters were worse than the relievers. Moyer allowed two runs over six innings yesterday, but that was the best start for the group. Lee lasted just three innings in game one. Overall they pitched to a 6.43 ERA and a 1.43 ratio in 21 innings, allowing 26 hits including three home runs. They walked just four and none of the four walked more than two in a start.

Lee got hammered in game one. He went three innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks. He’s allowed 12 runs in eight innings over his last two starts.

Blanton went six innings in game one, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He’s been charged with more than three runs in a start once in 17 outings since the end of May.

Hamels took the loss in game three, allowing four runs over six innings on eight hits and two walks. He has thrown at least 114 pitches in each of his last three starts.

Moyer started game four, making the start for Happ. He went six innings and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out four. He has a 3.58 ERA and a 1.24 ratio over his last 70 1/3 innings.

The bullpen threw 11 2/3 innings in the series with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.54 ratio. Lidge struggled badly in game two and Park in game four. The pen issued nine walks in 11 2/3 innings overall, which is too many.

Eyre entered in the bottom of the seventh yesterday with one out, the bases loaded and the Phillies down 4-3. He struck out Kaz Matsui and then got Berkman on a fly ball to leave the bases loaded.

Moyer took over for Lee in the fourth inning of game one, entering with the Phils down 6-0. He threw a 1-2-3 fourth, allowed a solo homer to Lee and a walk in the fifth and hit a batter in a scoreless sixth. In three appearances in long relief he had allowed two runs in 13 1/3 innings on seven hits and one walk. That’s a 1.35 ERA and an 0.60 ratio.

Nice outing in game one for Moyer helped to save the bullpen.

Taschner entered game one with two outs in the eighth, the Phils down 7-0 and a man on first. He allowed a single to Michael Bourn that put men on first and second. Kaz Matsui followed with another single, but Victorino threw Bourn out at home to end the inning.

Durbin took over for Hamels in game three, starting the seventh with the Phillies down 4-2. He threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to pitch the eighth and the first two batters reached on a single and a walk, but Durbin struck out Blum for the first out and got JR Towles to hit into a double-play to end the inning. That’s two good outings in a row for Durbin in which he’s thrown a total of four scoreless innings.

Park pitched the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 3-2. He allowed a two-out single but kept the Astros off the board.

He also started the seventh inning yesterday in game four, entering to start the seventh with the Phillies up 3-2. Tejada and Pence greeted him with back-to-back doubles, tying the game at 3-3. Park got Blum on a fly ball for the first out and then walked the lefty Erstad intentionally to set up the double-play. He didn’t get it. Instead he walked the next two batters he faced, first walking Michaels to load the bases and then Bourn to force in the run that put Houston up 4-3. Eyre came in to pitch to switch-hitter Kaz Matsui.

Walker started the seventh inning in game one with the Phillies down 7-0 and set the Astros down in order. He came back to start the eighth and got the first two batter before hitting Aaron Boone. Taschner came in to pitch to the lefty Bourn.

Madson did not pitch in the series. He has been unavailable and hopefully will be able to pitch soon.

Myers pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies up 4-3. Myers was making his first appearance since May 27 and walked the first batter he faced, Lance Berkman. Myers got Carlos Lee on a fly ball to right for the first out and Berkman was thrown out trying to steal second for the second. Miguel Tejada flew to left to end the inning. That’s a pretty bad time to get caught stealing if you’re the Astros, but it worked out great for the Phils. Myers got three outs in the inning on a caught stealing and two line drives hit well to the outfield.

He also pitched the bottom of the eighth yesterday, entering the game to start the inning with the Phillies down 4-3. He walked Pence with two outs but got Blum to fly to left to leave the runner stranded.

Lidge started the ninth inning of game two with a 4-3 lead. He struck out Hunter Pence to start the inning, then walked Geoff Blum, gave up a single to Chris Coste and walked Jason Michaels to load the bases. The Phillies brought the infield in and Bourn chopped a ball to first. Howard made a nice play to throw home and force the runner at the plate. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Matsui lined a two-run single into center and the Astros won the game 5-4.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw 23 pitches yesterday.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the four game series.

Rollins was 4-for-18 with a double and a home run in the series. He’s on-basing .258 in September after on-basing .294 in August.

Victorino was on the bench for game three with a bruised knee. He was 2-for-14 with a double in the series to drop his line on the year to 295/363/449 on the year. He’s 4-for-his-last-30 and has not drawn a walk since August 24.

Utley did not start game two after fouling a ball of his right foot in game one. 2-for-11 in the series. 295/414/533 on the year. He’s 2-for-21 with two singles in September.

Howard 5-for-15 with a triple and a homer. 277/353/573 on the season.

Werth was 3-for-14 with a double and a homer in the series. 269/373/521 for the year. He’s 8-for-his-last-37.

Ibanez was on the bench for game one against the lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Francisco played left. Ibanez was 4-for-11 with a home run in the set. 274/345/554 on the year.

Feliz was 2-for-15 with two singles and is hitting 268/314/379 for the year. He’s 3-for-24 with three singles in September.

Ruiz was 5-for-13 with a double in the series to raise his line on the year to 252/345/416 on the year.

Bako started game two behind the plate and was 1-for-2 in the series. 208/278/333.

Bruntlett didn’t have an at-bat in the series and is hitting 167/224/240 for the year.

Francisco started in left in game one and right in game three. 3-for-10 with a home run in the series. He’s hitting 231/268/481 in 52 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo started at second in game two. 3-for-7 with a double in the series. 192/222/231 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with two walks in the series. 191/357/348.

Charlie Manuel is mad the Phillies never win.

Happ hopes his oblique strain will not force him to miss another start.


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