Archive for April, 2010

Mostly, though, I’m just excited we’re on pace to get seven more wins on fly balls dropped by Eugenio Velez

The Phillies have scored just 23 runs in their last six games, which is about 3.8 runs per game. Thanks to a monster start by the offense, though, they are still on pace to score more runs than they did last year. Here’s how the numbers for the 2010 pace compare to what they did last year:

  2010 Pace 2009
AVG/OBP/SLG 265/343/427 258/334/447
Runs 879 820
HR 162 224
2B 363 312
SO 1080 1155
BB 663 589
SB 62 119

Overall, the Phillies are scoring more runs. They are hitting fewer home runs, but getting more hits, striking out less and walking more. The combination of the Rollins injury and the fact that Victorino never ever gets on base has their rate of stolen bases down to about half of what it was in 2009.

Ruiz’s walk rate is way up. After walking in about 12.4% of his plate appearances in 2009 he’s walked in 21.2% of them in 2010. That has him on pace to walk 108 times this year. He’s still looking for his first home run and has just three extra-base hits, all doubles. He’s slugging just .327, nearly a hundred points lower than his .425 from ’09.

Howard has walked less and struck out less. He’s on pace to walk 39 times and strike out 139 coming off a year he drew 75 walks and struck out 186 times. He’s on pace for 31 home runs and 131 RBI — Utley and his .429 on-base percentage have contributed to his early RBI total.

Like Ruiz, Utley’s walk rate is up a lot in 2010. 12.8% in ’09 and 19.4% in 2010. He’ll walk 147 times if he keeps getting walks at this rate. He won’t. 46 home runs and just 116 RBI at this pace. He’s actually getting hits at a slightly lower rate in ’10 than he did in ’09, but has the same .282 batting average. He’s slugging .564 this year after slugging .508 in 2009.

Rollins has just 31 plate appearances on the season, but was on a tear before his injury. He has a 391/516/739 line for the season so far. Even given how much time he has missed, he’s still on pace to get more walks overall in 2010 than he did in 2009. Right now he’s on a pace for 54 this year after walking 44 times in 2009. He has as many walks for the year (7) as Howard (5) and Polanco (2) combined. Victorino (5) also has fewer walks than Rollins for the year.

Ibanez is a mess. He’s on pace to hit eight homers and drive in 69 runs with a .219 average. His walks are way up, though, putting him on pace for the same 108 walks as Ruiz. He’s also striking out less, about 18.5% of his plate appearances compared to 21.1% in 2009. His rate of doubles and triples is the same as it was last year, so he could use some singles and homers. He’s actually on pace to hit 39 doubles this year after hitting 32 in 2009 — even though the rate is about the same he’s on pace to get more plate appearances this season.

Victorino isn’t doing a lot better. His hits are way down and his strikeouts are way up. He’s walking less, too, but his walk rate isn’t off as much as his hit rate. He’s on pace to strike out 116 times this year after whiffing just 71 times in ’09. He had 181 hits and 31 doubles last year — he’s on pace for 154 hits and 15 doubles in 2010. Three home runs in the early going has him on pace for 23, which would dwarf his career high of 14. Let’s hope it doesn’t come with a .225 batting average and a .263 on-base percentage. He’s also on pace to drive in 116 runs, but that might not even happen. His career high is 62. Howard is the only player on the team who has driven in more runs than Victorino so far this season.

Werth is on pace for 85 doubles. Really he is. Earl Webb is the single-season leader for doubles — he hit 67 for the Red Sox in 1931. Beyond that, Werth is walking at about the same rate he did last year, a tiny bit higher, but hitting .315 this season after hitting .268 in 2009. He has struck out in six of his last 13 plate appearances, but overall for the year his strikeout rate is down a bit. He’s on pace to strike out 147 times in 679 PA. Last year he whiffed 156 times in 676.

Lidge will be active for tonight’s game with Bastardo sent to Triple-A. That’s a mistake. They shouldn’t be trying to hold on to Herndon all year and should offer him back to the Angels. Yes you can see the potential and yes it looks like he might be really good some day. But the Phillies are trying to win the World Series this year, so it’s not a great time to carry a guy on your roster all season if he’s not ready. Unless he is on the DL for a long time, I’m going to be surprised if that’s possible. I also think you shouldn’t be counting on Romero as the only lefty out of the pen given that he’s thrown 17 2/3 innings since the end of 2008.

Stadium Journey has a review of Citizens Bank Park up here.

Update: Well, Bastardo is back now. Madson to the DL with a broken toe. Bastardo back.


Phils get their wind back

The Phils won a wild one yesterday with a little help. Coming off of an outing in which he threw 120 pitches, superstar Tim Lincecum got what many saw as an early hook and the Phillies roared back with three runs in the ninth inning to tie the game after he left. They also got help from the wind in San Francisco not once or twice but three times and it had a huge impact on the game.

The first and biggest of the three came with the bases loaded in the ninth inning with the Phillies down to their final strike. Jayson Werth lofted a high fly ball that stayed up in the air forever and finally dropped on the line in right field for a bases clearing double that tied the game. With two outs in the top of the eleventh, Wilson Valdez hit a fly ball to left that carried and carried until it hit high off the wall for an RBI-double that put the Phillies ahead. The next batter for the Phils hit what should have been a routine fly ball to left that turned out not to be routine. San Francisco left fielder Eugenio Velez couldn’t reel it in and the two-base error helped the Phillies score a critical second run in the inning.

The Phillies made more than their share of their own luck in the game as well. The most memorable defensive effort of the game came from backup catcher Brian Schneider, who made an amazing play for the second out of the eleventh to keep the game from being tied. With one out and men on second and third and the Phils up a run and the infield in, Velez hit a ground ball to first. Howard threw home, but his throw was bad and on the first base side of home plate. Schneider took the throw and spun back towards the plate, tagging Juan Uribe out as he slid into the plate for the second out of the inning. The next batter grounded to second to end the game.

The Phillies are 12-9 on the year after beating the Giants 7-6 in eleven innings yesterday. San Francisco takes the series two games to one.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out ten. His ERA on the year is up to 5.28.

The starting pitching has been terrible of late. Last night was the sixth game in a row without a quality start. Over those six games the Phillies starters have thrown to a 6.69 ERA and a 1.77 ratio. They’ve allowed 50 hits in 35 innings.

He walked Edgar Renteria with one out in the first and Renteria stole second. Pablo Sandoval was next and he hit the ball hard, but Utley took it for the second out with Renteria moving to third. Hamels struck out Aubrey Huff for the third out.

He walked Bengie Molina with one out in the second. Matt Downs was next and Hamels struck him out for the second out before Nate Schierholtz moved Molina to second with a single. Hamels struck the pitcher Tim Lincecum out swinging 2-2 to leave the runners stranded.

Hamels got the first two hitters to start the bottom of the third before Sandoval doubled on a ball softly hit to right that went off of Werth’s glove. Hamels struck Huff out for the third out.

Mark DeRosa started the fourth with a single, but was caught trying to steal second as Molina struck out. It left the bases empty with two outs for Downs and Hamels struck him out to end the inning.

He had a 1-0 lead when he started the fifth. Schierholtz led off with a single and Lincecum bunted him to second. Andres Torres doubled to left, scoring Schierholtz to tie the game at 1-1. Renteria was next and he reached on an infield single with Torres holding second. Hamels got Sandoval on a popup in the infield and struck out Huff to leave both men stranded.

Molina singled with one out in the sixth and Downs followed with a double that moved him to third. Hamels intentionally walked the lefty Schierholtz, loading the bases with one out for Lincecum. Lincecum struck out. Hamels got ahead of Torres 1-2, but then threw three straight balls to walk him and force in a run. 2-1 with the bases still loaded. Renteria singled to right and Downs and Schierholtz both scored to make it 4-1. Sandoval flew to center for the third out.

I know it sets up the double-play and Schierholtz was 5-for-5 in the game, but I object to walking him intentionally there even if it works. Lefty-lefty on the eight hitter. I think you have to try to get him out.

Baez pitched the seventh. He gave up a two-out single to Molina before getting Downs on a fly ball to Victorino to end the inning.

Contreras got the eighth. Schierholtz led off with a single. Lincecum, who had thrown 98 pitches and had a 4-1 lead, hit for himself and bunted Schierholtz to second. Contreras struck Torres out swinging for the second out and got Renteria to ground to Utley to leave Schierholtz stranded.

Herndon came in to pitch the ninth after the Phillies tied the game at 4-4 with three runs in the top of the ninth. Sandoval led off with a single, but Herndon struck Travis Ishikawa out behind him for the first out. DeRosa hit a slow ground ball to third for the second out that moved Sandoval to second. Herndon walked the righty Molina intentionally and got the righty Downs to ground to third to send the game to extra-innings.

Madson was looking for a save when he entered the game in the bottom of the tenth, trying to protect a 5-4 lead. Schierholtz led off and doubled down the right field line. Howard was playing close to the line and probably should have made the play, but he didn’t. Eugenio Velez moved Schierholtz to third with a ground ball to second. Torres was next and he dumped a single in front of Werth, scoring the runner to tie the game at 5-5. Torres stole second and moved to third when Renteria grounded to second. Sandoval was walked intentionally and took second without a throw when the Phillies didn’t hold him on. Ishikawa grounded to second to end the inning.

Figueroa had a 7-5 lead when he started the eleventh. He got DeRosa on a fly ball to right for the first out before Molina singled to center. Eli Whiteside ran for Molina at first and righty Juan Uribe hit for the pitcher Sergio Romo. Uribe smashed a ball back up the middle and off the body of Figueroa. The ball rolled toward first and Howard picked it up and tried to flip to the pitcher covering first, but the flip was awful. Uribe was safe at third with Whiteside on first and Howard charged with an error. Schierholtz was next and he doubled again, scoring Uribe to make it 7-6 and sending Whiteside to third. The Phillies brought the infield in and Eugenio Velez chopped a ball to Howard. Howard fielded and threw home. His throw was bad, on the first base side of the plate, but Schneider made an amazing play. He caught the throw and spun back towards home, putting his glove in front of the plate. Uribe slid in and tried to avoid the glove and put his hand on the plate but Schneider got him for the second out. Torres grounded to second to end the game.

Golly. Just a fantastic play by Schneider. Getting the tag in exactly the right place, seemingly without looking, might have taken a little luck. Whether it did or not, it was pretty to watch.

Two bad throws in the inning for Howard. One a flip, actually.

Three scoreless innings in the middle of the game from Baez, Contreras and Herndon were critical in the game. Madson and Figueroa were the only guys in the pen to throw more than 15 pitches. Figueroa threw 28 and Madson 27, but the Phillies are off today.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Lincecum went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Lincecum struck out Howard, Werth and Ibanez all swinging in the second. It gave him four for the game cause Polanco went down swinging in the first.

One more strikeout (Hamels) in a 1-2-3 third.

Polanco singled softly to right with one out in the fourth. Utley hit into a double-play behind him.

Howard hit Lincecum’s first pitch of the fifth out to left to put the Phils up 1-0. Lincecum got the next three.

Lincecum threw a 1-2-3 sixth with the game tied at 1-1.

Howard doubled with two outs in the seventh and the Phils down 4-1. Werth flew to center to leave him stranded.

The Phillies went in order in the eighth. With two outs, Gload hit for Ruiz and lined to short.

Lincecum came back to start the ninth with a 4-1 lead having thrown 98 pitches in the game. Dobbs hit for Contreras to start the inning and hit the ball hard, but Ishikawa took it for the first out. Victorino followed with a walk. The Giants brought righty Brian Wilson in to pitch to Polanco and Polanco flew to center for the second out. Utley moved Victorino to third with a single and took second on defensive indifference. Howard walked and the bases were loaded with two down. Werth got behind 1-2 and then lofted a high fly ball down the right field line. It landed either on or just inside the line for a double that cleared the bases and tied the game at 4-4. Ibanez was walked intentionally and Castro popped to second for the third out.

I don’t think there’s and chance that Lincecum pitches to Howard given that Howard has homered and doubled off of him in the game. Probably not Utley either. I thought it was surprising he didn’t pitch to Polanco, though. Even after he walks Victorino, if he gets Polanco and Utley he doesn’t face Howard. Polanco wasn’t a lefty and he wasn’t the tying run.

Schneider was hit by a pitch to start the tenth. Valdez bunted him to second with the first out. Victorino singled to center and Schneider moved to third. With Polanco at the plate, San Francisco pitcher Jeremy Affeldt delivered a pitch that Molina should have handled but didn’t. Schneider scored to put the Phils up 5-4. Polanco was hit by a pitch on the foot and Utley walked to load the bases for Howard with one out. Howard struck out swinging 0-2. Sergio Romo came in and struck Werth out to leave the bases loaded.

Huge strikeout for Howard with one out.

The Giants tied it up in the bottom of the tenth. Ibanez led off the eleventh with a single. Francisco hit for Madson and bunted Ibanez to second. Schneider struck out swinging for the second out. Valdez was next and he lofted a 3-2 pitch down the left field line. The ball carried and carried and went high off the wall for a double. Ibanez scored to put the Phillies up 6-5. Victorino was next and he hit a fly ball to shallow left that should have ended the frame, but the ball went off of Velez’s glove for an error and Ibanez scored to make it 7-5. Velez was there, he just didn’t catch the ball. Polanco flew to right for the third out.

Enormous error for Velez given that the Giants scored a run in the bottom of the eleventh. Glad to see Ibanez start the rally in the eleventh.

Victorino was 1-for-5 yesterday and 4-for-14 with two doubles and a walk in the series. He’s hitting 225/263/393 on the year.

Polanco was 2-for-13 with a walk in the series. 313/344/446 for the year. He’s 3-for-his-last-25 with three singles.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 2-for-10 in the series. 3-for-his-last-22 with three singles. 282/429/564.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and a home run yesterday. 4-for-11 with two walks in the set. 286/323/505.

Werth was 1-for-5 with a huge double in the ninth. He struck out three times. 2-for-10 with two doubles and six strikeouts in the series. 315/398/589 for the year.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 yesterday with a big single in the eleventh and a walk. 1-for-6 in the series. 219/346/344 for the year. He didn’t play in game one with Francisco in left.

Castro was 0-for-4 yesterday and 0-for-7 in the series. He started games two and three at short with Valdez playing in game one. 283/292/326 for the season.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 yesterday and 0-for-6 with three walks in the series. Gload hit for him in the eighth yesterday, which is a little unusual. 269/424/327 on the season.

Francisco started in left in game one of the set and was 1-for-5 with an RBI in the series. He’s 4-for-18 with a double for the season.

Valdez started game one at short and had a big hit yesterday in the top of the eleventh. 1-for-4 in the series and 3-for-13 for the year.

Schneider made an outstanding defensive play in the bottom of the eleventh yesterday to keep the game from being tied. He was 0-for-1 in the series and is 2-for-14 on the season.

Blanton allowed five runs over five innings for Reading last night. This says the Phillies have not given him a timetable for his return.

No date yet for Lidge, either.


Phils second-best in game, division

At least the division race is close. Last night’s game wasn’t.

The funk continues as the Phils fell again last night in San Francisco. They didn’t hit, pitch, field or run the bases especially well. They’ve lost four of five and it has now cost them first place in the NL East as they have fallen a half game behind the Mets in the division. They’ve scored three or fewer runs in four of their last seven games.

The Phillies are 11-9 on the year after losing to the San Francisco Giants 6-2 last night.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing four runs on ten hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and two home runs. He struck out two. After four starts he has a 5.25 ERA and a 1.42 ratio.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second with a 1-0 lead. Aubrey Huff led off with a home run that tied the score at 1-1. He got the next two before San Francisco second baseman Matt Downs homered to left to put the Giants up 2-1. Nate Schierholtz followed that with a double to left before Moyer struck out the pitcher Todd Wellemeyer to end the inning.

Edgar Renteria singled with one out in the third, but Moyer got Pablo Sandoval to hit into a double-play behind him.

Moyer walked Mark DeRosa with one out in the fourth, but DeRosa was caught stealing for the second out. Bengie Molina followed with a single, but Moyer got Downs to fly to right for the third out.

The pitcher Wellemeyer lined a single to left with one out in the fifth and Andres Torres followed that with a double that moved him to third. Renteria singled to left and Wellemeyer scored to make it 3-1 with men on first and third with one out. Sandoval was next and he singled, too, scoring Torres and moving Renteria to second with San Fran up 4-1. Huff was next and he hit a line drive, but Castro took it at short and threw to second where Renteria was doubled-off to end the inning.

The pitcher starts a sting of four hits in a row against Moyer that only ends when Huff lines into a double-play.

Molina singled to left with one out in the sixth and Moyer hit Downs to put men on first and second. He got Schierholtz and Wellemeyer on a pair of fly balls to leave them stranded.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phils still down 4-1. He walked Torres to start the frame and Torres stole second. Renteria singled to center and Torres scored to make it 5-1, with Renteria taking second as Victorino’s throw came in to the plate. Sandoval singled as well and Renteria scored to make it 6-1. Huff was next and he hit a ball to Utley, but Utley’s throw didn’t get anyone. Utley was charged with an error and the Giants had men on first and second. DeRosa fouled out to Howard for the first out and Durbin got Molina to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

The lead was cut to 6-2 when Romero pitched the eighth. He set the Giants down in order, getting his first outs of the year in his second appearance.

Durbin threw 24 pitches and Romero 17.

The Phillies lineup against righty Todd Wellemeyer went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Castro back at short and Ibanez back in left.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Howard led off the second and hit the ball into the right field corner. He rounded first and cruised into second, but Schierholtz’s throw from right beat him and he was tagged out for the first out. It cost the Phillies at least a run, cause Werth followed with a double. Werth stole third and Ibanez delivered a fly ball to left deep enough for him to tag and score and put the Phils up 1-0. Castro flew to center for the third out.

Just an embarrassing play by Howard, who didn’t run hard all the way to second.

Ruiz walked yet again to start the third and Moyer bunted him to second. Victorino popped to third and Polanco struck out to leave him stranded.

Howard singled with one out in the fourth and moved to second when Werth followed with a walk. Ibanez flew to left and Castro struck out swinging to leave the runners stranded.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

Ruiz walked to start the eighth with the Phillies losing 6-1. Gload hit for Durbin against the righty Wellemeyer. Lefty Dan Runzler came in to pitch and Francisco hit for Gload. Ruiz went to second on a wild pitch before Francisco lined a single to right that scored Ruiz and cut the lead to 6-2. Victorino struck out and Polanco hit into a double-play.

Utley started the ninth with a ball lined to right. He ran hard for two, but Schierholtz threw him out as well for the first out. Howard and Werth struck out and the game was over.

At least Utley ran hard. Down four runs isn’t the best time to get thrown out trying for two.

Victorino was 0-for-4 in the game and is hitting .226 for the year. He’s on-basing .258.

Polanco 0-for-4. He’s 2-for-his-last-20 with two singles.

Utley was 1-for-4 in the game. He made an error and was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double.

Howard was 2-for-4.

Werth had the Phillies only extra-base hit in the game. He was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double.

Ibanez was 0-for-2 with an RBI, dropping his average on the year to .217.

Castro 0-for-3.

Ruiz 0-for-1 and walked twice. He’s on-basing .438 and on pace to walk 113 times this season.

Cole Hamels (2-2, 5.11) faces righty Tim Lincecum (4-0, 1.00) this afternoon. Lincecum hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start this season. Hamels has.

Blanton could start Monday’s game against St Louis.

Lidge says he’s ready to return.


Growing pains for Phils as Howard’s contract and Halladay’s ERA expand

Roy Halladay has had an amazing start to his career as a Phillie, but the magic ran out last night in San Francisco. His fifth outing with the Phils wasn’t the dominant performance he had given the Phillies in his first four. The Phillies also scored one run in the game and the combination of a rare weak start by Halladay and one run proved not to be a winner.

Despite allowing five runs in seven innings last night, Halladay is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA and an 0.98 ratio through five starts. He’s thrown 40 innings through 19 games. Assuming he will also have thrown 40 innings through 23 games that would put him on a pace to throw about 281 2/3 innings for the season.

Victorino, who has started slow this year, had a great game filling in for Jimmy Rollins in the leadoff spot. He started two innings with a double and another with a single. It didn’t help the Phillies score a whole lot of runs as 4-5-6 in the Phillies order combined to go 0-for-9 and left 18 men on base. Howard and Werth both had big strikeouts in the game and Francisco came up empty in two big chances with the bases loaded.

The Phillies are 11-8 on the season after losing to the Giants last night, 5-1.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and no walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out five.

Edgar Renteria and Pablo Sandoval singled back-to-back with one out in the first. It put men on first and second for Aubrey Huff and Huff hit a ground ball to first. Valdez threw to first for the second out with the runners moving up to second and third. Halladay got ahead of not-Phil Mark DeRosa 1-2, but DeRosa hit a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Renteria scored and Sandoval scored ahead of the throw from Francisco in left, putting the Giants up 2-0. DeRosa tried for second as Francisco’s throw came home, but Ruiz threw him out at second to end the inning.

John Bowker doubled with one out in the second. Eli Whiteside hit behind him and delivered a double as well, scoring Bowker to put San Francisco up 3-0. Halladay got the next two hitters to leave Whiteside stranded at second.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 third and a 1-2-3 fourth.

He started the bottom of the fifth with the lead cut to 3-1. Andres Torres reached on a bunt single with two outs and went to second on a wild pitch with Renteria at the plate. Halladay struck Renteria out swinging for the third out.

Sandoval doubled to start the sixth and came in to score when Huff followed with a single. 4-1. Halladay got the next three to leave Huff stranded.

Whiteside started the seventh with a homer to left, his second extra-base hit of the day off of Halladay put San Francisco up 5-1. Halladay got the next two before Renteria singled to right. Sandoval flew to right to end the inning.

Bastardo pitched the eighth. He walked DeRosa with one out but got the next two hitters behind him. He has a 1.69 through seven appearances.

Bastardo threw 17 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jonathan Sanchez went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Francisco (7) Valdez (8) Ruiz. Victorino leads off with Rollins on the DL. Valdez plays short with Rollins’s backup Castro sidelined with a hamstring problem. Francisco in left against the lefty with Ibanez on the bench.

Polanco singled with one out in the first and moved to second when Utley followed with a walk. Howard flew to center and Werth struck out to leave them both stranded.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the second. Halladay grounded to second behind him.

Victorino doubled to left to start the third with the Phillies down 3-0. Polanco lined to center for the first out, but Utley was hit by a pitch and Howard walked to load the bases for Werth with one out. Werth struck out and Francisco flew to right.

Awful strikeout for Werth, who had left five men on base through the first three innings. No run for the Phils with one out and the bases loaded.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

Victorino singled to start the fifth and moved to second when Polanco followed with a walk. With Utley at the plate they pulled off a double-steal. Utley grounded to first, bringing Victorino home to cut the San Francisco lead to 3-1 with one out and a man on third. Howard struck out for the second out and Francisco flew to left to end the frame.

Victorino and Polanco again get on base at the top of the order, just like they did in the first and the third. Phillies don’t get much out of it. Like in the third, a big strikeout for the Phils with a man on third and less than two outs. This time it came from Howard.

Polanco walked. I double-checked. Two for the year.

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

Victorino started the seventh with another double, but Polanco struck out behind him. Lefty Jeremy Affeldt came in to pitch to Utley and walked him. It put men on first and second for Howard and Howard grounded out to second with the runners moving to second and third. Werth walked to load the bases yet again and Francisco struck out.

Victorino again does his best to get it started. Francisco left eight men on base in the game.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Valdez and Dobbs hit for Halladay against righty Sergio Romo. Didn’t help.

Romo was back for the ninth. Victorino struck out, Polanco flew to right and Utley struck out.

Victorino had a big game at the top of the order. 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a walk.

Utley was 0-for-2 with an RBI and walked twice.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and a big strikeout.

Werth was 0-for-2 and walked twice with two strikeouts, one of which was bigger than the other.

Francisco was 0-for-4 to drop his average on the year to .176. I still think giving him a chance against lefties every so often is a really good idea. Didn’t have a good day yesterday.

Valdez was 0-for-3 and is 2-for-12 with the Phils.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s on pace to walk 102 times this season.

Jamie Moyer (2-1, 5.00) faces righty Todd Wellemeyer (0-3, 8.16) tonight while you’re sleeping. Moyer comes off his only good start of the year in which he allowed two unearned runs over six innings against the Braves. Wellemeyer has had three bad starts and has walked 11 in 14 1/3 innings on the season.

The Phillies have signed Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125 million contract extension.


Johnson & Johnson & Johnson & Johnson

The Phillies had a lot of problems against the Diamondbacks this weekend, but four home runs by Kelly Johnson in three games needs to go near the top of the list. Johnson going all one-man home run derby on ‘em was far from the only issue, though. Hamels and Kendrick put together a pair of pretty miserable efforts in which they combined to allow 11 runs in 11 innings and give up six home runs.

The left side of the infield is battered by injury and the problem seems to be getting worse instead of better. Juan Castro is the latest guy to go down. Victorino and Polanco didn’t get on base at the top of the lineup — Polanco missed some time banged up and Victorino hasn’t been getting on base all year. And then there’s the bullpen. Yesterday they put a guy into a tie game in the bottom of the eighth who ended the day having allowed 18 hits in 7 2/3 innings for the year. They didn’t win.

The Phillies are 11-7 on the season after dropping two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Cole Hamels was awful in the first game of the series, which the Phillies lost 7-4. A triple by Victorino put the Phils up 1-0 in the third. In the fourth, Werth hit a fly ball to deep right center. Chris Young was under the ball on the track. It went in his glove briefly and then dropped on the track. Werth raced around the bases with Young and right fielder Justin apparently thinking he had been called out. He hadn’t and the Phillies led 2-0. Hamels allowed five runs in the bottom of the fourth on three home runs. Kelly Johnson homered off of him in the fifth to put Arizona up 6-2. Polanco had an RBI ground out in the seventh, but Johnson homered again in the seventh, this time off of Romero, and Arizona was up 7-3. Victorino drove in Ibanez with a single in the top of the ninth, but the game ended 7-4.

Nelson Figueroa made his first start for the Phillies since 2001 in the second game. He pitched well and the Phillies won 3-2 with a lot of help from Werth. Werth put the Phils up 1-0 with a solo shot off of Ian Kennedy in the second. Johnson connected for another home for the Snakes in the fifth — a two-run shot off of Figueroa that put Arizona on top 2-1. Ibanez hit his first home run of the year in the seventh, tying the game at 2-2. Werth went deep again in the top of the ninth to put the Phils ahead 3-2. Madson closed it out in the bottom of the inning to earn his first save. Durbin and Contreras provided fantastic middle relief after Figueroa left after five. They combined to strike out six over three scoreless innings.

The Phillies lost yesterday’s game 8-6. Kendrick took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but gave up two big home runs in the inning that put Arizona on top 5-3. The Phils pulled ahead 6-5 with three runs in the top of the sixth, but the Diamondbacks tied the game with a run charged to Baez in the bottom of the seventh. Herndon pitched the eighth and didn’t have much success — he allowed a pair of runs on four hits, two of which went for extra-bases, and a walk. The Phillies started Gload, Dobbs and Valdez in the game, but they weren’t the problem so much as not getting anybody out. Gload, Dobbs and Valdez combined to go 5-for-14 in the game with a homer from Dobbs.

The pitching wasn’t good in the series. Overall the pitchers threw to a 6.12 ERA with a 1.76 ratio. Figueroa have a nice effort in game two of the series, but Hamels and Kendrick were both hit hard. Overall the starters went 16 innings, pitching to a 7.31 ERA and a 1.75 ratio. They allowed seven home runs in 16 innings.

Hamels went six innings in game one, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk. He allowed four home runs in the game and struck out seven. He has a 5.11 ERA.

Figueroa went five innings in game two, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, the two-run homer by Johnson. He struck out four. He’s been a fantastic pickup for the Phils so far, pitching to a 2.92 ERA and a 1.22 ratio over 12 1/3 innings in four appearances.

Kendrick started game three yesterday. He went five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and four walks. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles, a triple and two home runs. He struck out four and his ERA puffed to 7.71 after four starts. One of his starts has been great and the other three very much not.

The bullpen wasn’t much better than the starting pitching. They threw to a 4.00 ERA and a 1.78 ratio in nine innings. Contreras and Durbin pitched well and Madson got the save in game two, but Romero, Baez and especially Herndon got hit hard. They did keep the Snakes largely in the yard, holding them to one home run that Johnson hit off of Romero in the first game of the series.

Romero made his first appearance with the Phillies in game one. He entered in the seventh with the Phillies losing 6-3. He faced two batters. Kelly Johnson homered and Stephen Drew walked.

Bastardo entered the seventh inning of game three yesterday with one out and a man on second. He faced two hitters and got two ground outs to leave the runner stranded. He was pitching for the first time since April 15.

Durbin pitched the sixth and seventh innings of game two and was very good. He entered with the Phillies down 2-1 and struck out three in two scoreless innings. He has an 0.96 ERA and an 0.96 ratio after his first seven appearances for the year.

Contreras entered game one in the seventh with one out, a man on first and the Phillies down 7-3. He got Upton on a fly ball to center and then struck out Mark Reynols and Adam LaRoche. He also pitched in game two, entering in the eighth with the score tied at 2-2. He allowed a single and struck out the side, dropping his ERA for the year to 1.59.

Herndon pitched the bottom of the eighth in game one with the Phillies down 7-3. He gave up a leadoff single, but got Cole Gillespie to hit into a double-play. He walked the next batter and then got Gerrardo Parra to ground to Utley to end the inning. He also pitched yesterday in a key spot, entering to pitch the bottom of the eighth with the score tied at 6-6. It didn’t go well. Single, double, RBI-double made it 7-6 Arizona with a man on second and one out cause they threw a runner out at the plate. He walked Adam LaRoche to set up the double-play, but Young delivered an RBI single that made it 8-6 with men on first and second. Then he got Parra to hit into a double-play to end the inning. Herndon was probably the victim of a small strike zone in the inning. It looked like he had struck out Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds both before they delivered big hits. He didn’t get the call. He’s made eight appearances for the Phils and has a 7.64 ERA and a 2.61 ratio.

Baez started the sixth inning of game three with a 6-5 lead. He allowed a leadoff walk and then a two-out single before getting Adam LaRoche on a fly ball to center with men on first and third to keep Arizona off the board. He came back to start the seventh and gave up a leadoff double to Chris Young. He got Gerardo Parra on a ground ball before John Hester delivered an RBI-double that tied the game at 6-6. Bastardo came into the game to pitch to switch-hitter Tony Abreu. He has a 6.43 ERA for the season after eight appearances.

Madson got the save in game two, entering in the bottom of the ninth to protect a 3-2 lead. He gave up a one-out single to Gerraro Parra, but struck out the next two batters to end the game.

Victorino didn’t play yesterday with Werth in center field. He was 2-for-9 with a triple in the series and is hitting 213/250/387 for the season. He has zero walks in his last 27 at-bats.

Polanco didn’t start yesterday with Dobbs at third. He was 1-for-10 in the series and is hitting 343/360/500 for the year. He’s walked once on the season, which puts him on pace to walk nine times this year. Victorino and Polanco combine to go 3-for-19 with no walks in the series.

Utley was 1-for-12 with a walk and five strikeouts in the series. 294/429/618.

Howard was 2-for-12 with two singles. 275/301/475 for the year. He’s has walked once in the last 13 games and is on pace to walk 27 times for the season.

Werth was 4-for-11 with two home runs in the series. 333/400/619 for the year.

Ibanez was out of the lineup against righty Kris Benson in game one with Francisco in left. 3-for-8 with a double and his first home run of the season in the series. 224/356/362 on the year. He’s on pace to walk 117 times this year.

Castro left game two of the series for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning with a tight hamstring. He was 1-for-5 with a double in the series and is hitting 333/341/385 for the season.

Ruiz was 3-for-6 with a double and a walk in the series, raising his line on the year to 304/439/370.

Valdez started Sunday’s game at short and took over for Castro in game two when Castro left with the hamstring problem. 2-for-6 with two singles. 2-for-9 with the Phils.

Schneider started Friday’s game and went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout. He’s 2-for-13 on the year.

Francisco started game one in left against a righty. 2-for-5 in the set. 3-for-13 with a double on the season.

Dobbs started at third base Sunday and hit a home run. 1-for-6 with a homer in the series. 222/300/500 for the year in 18 at-bats.

Gload got a start in right field in game three with Victorino on the bench and Werth pushed to center. 2-for-5 with two singles and 3-for-7 in the series. 5-for-15 with five singles on the year.

Halladay (4-0, 0.82) faces lefty Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 1.86) tonight in San Francisco. Halladay has been silly good so far. Sanchez has allowed four hits and six walks over 15 innings in his last two starts, striking out 21. So he’s been pitching pretty well, too, if you’re in the mood to stay up late.


Rolling old school

The fantastic run of starting pitching continued for the Phils last night. This time it was Jamie Moyer making his first good start of the season. Moyer held the Braves to two unearned runs on four hits and two walks over six strong innings to earn his second win of the season and the 260th of his career. The Phillies have five quality starts in their last six games.

What they also got last night was some runs. Eight, to be exact. They came into last night’s game having scored six runs over their past four games. The battered left side of the infield proved not to be the problem, but a big part of the solution. With Rollins and Polanco both out of the lineup, their replacements, Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs, combined to go 5-for-8 and scored four of the team’s eight runs.

The Phillies are 10-5 on the season after beating the Braves 8-3 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Both of the runs were unearned, thanks for some defensive floundering by Utley in the fifth. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four and dropped his ERA for the season to 5.00.

Matt Diaz lined to right for the first out of the first with the Phillies up 2-0. Martin Prado was next and he hit it hard, too, but Dobbs snared his line drive for the second out. Chipper Jones followed with a single to left, but Moyer got Brian McCann on a soft ground ball to first to end the inning.

He struck out Troy Glaus and Yunel Escobar to start the second before he hit Jason Heyward with a pitch. Melky Cabrera lined to short to end the inning.

That’s a lot of line outs in two innings.

He was up 5-0 when he started the third. The pitcher Derek Lowe and Diaz both grounded out to start the inning, but Prado doubled to left. Chipper grounded to third to leave him stranded.

He set the Braves down in order in the fourth.

Cabrera walked with one out in the fifth. Righty Omar Infante hit for Lowe and walked, putting men on first and second with one down. Diaz was next and hit a ball to short. Castro fielded and threw to second, but Utley didn’t handle his throw. Cabrera scored to make it 5-1. Utley was charged with an error and it was still first and second with one out. Prado was next and he hit a ball to Castro as well. This time Utley caught the throw at second for the second out, but then threw the ball away from another error. Infante scored and it was 5-2 with two outs and a man on first. Jones hit yet another line drive, but Dobbs caught it at third for the third out.

Miserable inning defensively for Utley. Two walks issued by Moyer made it possible.

The Phillies were up 6-2 when Moyer started the sixth. McCann led off with a single. Moyer struck out Glaus for the first out before Escobar doubled to center, sending McCann to third. Moyer struck out Heyward for the second out and got Cabrera on a pop up to short to end the inning.

Huge strikeout by Moyer to get Heyward with one out and men on second and third.

Durbin started the seventh with an 8-2 lead. McLouth led off and doubled to right. Durbin struck Diaz out for the first out, but Prado singled to right. It put men on first and third with one out for Chipper and Chipper walked on four pitches to load the bases. McCann got ahead 3-0 and then hit a fly ball deep to left that Ibanez took in front of the warning track for the second out. McLouth tagged and scored. 8-3 with men on first and second. Durbin struck Glaus out swinging at a 3-2 slider.

Nice job to come back by Durbin and hold them to one run. Things looked a little worrisome when he walked Chipper on four pitches and then got way behind McCann.

Baez threw a 1-2-3 eighth with an 8-3 lead.

Herndon entered in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Hinske led off with a single, but Diaz grounded into a double-play behind him to clear the bases. Prado reached on an infield single and moved to third when Chipper followed that with a double. Herndon got McCann to fly to left to end the game.

Herndon keeps Atlanta off the board, but has allowed eight hits over 1 1/3 innings in his last two appearances.

Durbin threw 33 pitches in the game and seems unlikely for tonight. Herndon 12 and Baez nine.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Dobbs plays third with Polanco on the bench after getting hit on the elbow with a pitch on Wednesday. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL. Second is a little high for Dobbs. Seven is a little high for Castro. Three lefties in a row 2-3-4 for the Phils.

Dobbs and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first. It put men on first and third for Howard and Howard singled to center. 1-0 with men on first and third. Werth flew to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez lined to second for the third out.

Ruiz singled with one out in the second and Moyer bunted him to second. Victorino grounded to second to leave him stranded.

Dobbs banged a double off the wall in right to start the third. Utley walked. Howard flew to left for the first out before Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez hit a double-play ball, but the Braves didn’t get a double-play. They didn’t even get a single play. Prado fielded, but his throw wasn’t handled by Escobar. Dobbs and Utley both scored with Werth moving to third with the Phils up 4-0. Castro singled to right. Werth scored and Ibanez went to second. 5-0. Ruiz struck out and Moyer grounded back to the pitcher to leave both men stranded.

Not turning the double-play to end the inning costs the Braves three runs.

The Phils went in order in the fourth and the fifth.

Castro started the sixth with a single off of righty Kris Medlan. Ruiz moved him to second with a single. Moyer would have bunted, but Medlan couldn’t find the strike zone and Moyer walked to load the bases with nobody out. Victorino flew to left for the first out. Castro tagged and scored to put the Phils up 6-2. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty came in to pitch to Dobbs and Wilson Valdez hit for Dobbs. Valdez hit a ground ball to short and Ruiz was forced at second for the second out. Utley walked and the bases were loaded for Howard. Howard struck out.

So the Phillies get one run after loading the bases with nobody out. The righty Valdez hits for Dobbs against the lefty. I think you have to let Francisco hit there because there are two men on base even though Valdez is going to come into the game and play third. Assuming Francisco isn’t hurt I think Manuel thinks the sixth is too early to use the best hitter on your bench. I don’t agree.

The single by Castro got the sixth started after he delivered a big two-out hit in the third.

Ibanez walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second when Castro followed with another single. Ruiz flew to right for the second out, sending Ibanez to third. With righty Peter Moylan on the mound, Gload hit for Moyer and singled to center. Ibanez scored to make it 7-2 and Castro went to third. Victorino was next and he singled to right. 8-2 with men on first and second. Valdez struck out swinging to leave them stranded.

Utley, Howard and Werth went in order in the eighth.

Ibanez singled to start the ninth, but Castro struck out behind him for the first out. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out with Ibanez moving to second. With righty Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Braves, Francisco hit for Baez and flew to center.

Francisco winds up getting an at-bat in the game, but against a righty with one man on base instead of two.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with two RBI in the game. He was 2-for-14 with two singles and no walks in the three-game set. He’s hitting 212/254/379 for the season. He’s 3-for-his-last-21 and doesn’t have an extra-base hit in the last six games.

Polanco started games one and two and did not play yesterday after being hit on the elbow with a pitch in game two. 2-for-7 with a double in the series. 383/400/567 for the season. He’s walked once for the year, putting him on pace to walk 11 times. That’s not going to matter if he hits .383, but he’s not. On the other hand, he’s not going to walk 11 times either.

Utley was 1-for-3 with two walks and two errors last night. 4-for-12 with two doubles and two walks in the series. 339/479/739 on the year.

Howard was 1-for-5 with an RBI and five men left on base. 3-for-13 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 294/324/529. He hasn’t homered in ten games and isn’t walking either. He’s on pace to walk 32 times this season.

Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-11 with three doubles and a walk. 327/413/558.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 3-for-9 with a double and four walks in the series. 200/344/280 for the year.

Castro was 3-for-5 with an RBI yesterday and 5-for-13 in the set. He’s hitting 353/361/382 in 34 at-bats for the year.

Ruiz was 2-for-5 and left five men on base yesterday. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 275/420/325.

Dobbs started at third last night. He was 2-for-3 with a double in the game and 2-for-4 in the series. His double last night was the only extra-base hit for the Phils in the game. He’s 3-for-12 with two walks for the season.

Valdez was 0-for-2 last night and 0-for-3 in the series.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.86) faces righty Kris Benson (0-1, 3.00) tonight in Arizona as the Phils play the first of three against the 6-9 Snakes. Hamels was brilliant against the Marlins in his last start after a rocky start to the season. Benson has made one start for Arizona, allowing two runs over six innings against the Padres last Saturday.

JA Happ was put on the DL. JC Romero took his spot on the roster. Nelson Figueroa will start on Saturday against Ian Kennedy.

The article linked above says Polanco thinks he should be back in the lineup tonight.


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