Archive for April, 2010

The doctor (and pretty much everyone else in the rotation) is on

Roy Halladay’s amazing start to the season continued last night as he delivered a complete game shutout against the Braves in Atlanta. Halladay got more than a little help from his defense in the game. Shane Victorino went over the wall to take a home run away, Chase Utley made a fantastic play to start a critical double-play late in the game and Ryan Howard made several nice plays at first.

Halladay isn’t the only guy pitching well in the rotation for the Phils these days. Hamels, Kendrick and Halladay have now given the Phillies three fantastic starts in a row. Over those three games the Phils starters have allowed two earned runs in 25 innings (0.72 ERA and an 0.76 ratio). The Phillies have four quality starts in their last five games.

All that good starting pitching and defense is going to come in handy for the Phils as they continue a stretch where they score very few runs. They have scored six times in their last four games. Polanco left last night’s game early after being hit on the elbow by a pitch. Assuming he’s not in the lineup tonight, that puts more of a burden on a team struggling offensively that played the last few innings of last night’s game with Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez on the left side of their infield.

The Phils are 9-5 on the season after beating the Braves 2-0 last night.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout. He allowed five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out seven. After four starts, he’s 4-0 with an 0.82 ERA.

He set Nate McLouth, Martin Prado and Chipper Jones down in order in first.

He started the bottom of the second with a 1-0 lead and got Brian McCann, Troy Glaus and Jason Heyward in order with the help of a great catch by Victorino. Glaus drove the ball deep to center field. Victorino made a long run to the track and jumped at the wall, reaching above the wall to take away what would have been a home run.

Nice catch.

Yunel Escobar, Melky Cabrera and Tim Hudson went in order in the third.

Chipper split the gap in left center with two outs in the fourth for a double. McCann was next and struck out swinging to leave him stranded.

Halladay had another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, getting Glaus on a fly ball to center and Heyward and Escobar on ground outs.

The Phillies were up 2-0 when Halladay started the sixth. Cabrera led off with a single and switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Hudson. He fouled out to Ruiz for the first out. Halladay got McLouth on a fly ball to center and Prado on a grounder to third to end the inning with Cabrera stranded.

Wilson Valdez was at third base to start the bottom of the seventh. Jones and McCann singled back-to-back to get things started, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Halladay struck out Glaus for the first out before Heyward walked to load the bases. Escobar smashed a ball back up the middle, but Utley gloved it diving to his right. He flipped to second for the first out and Castro’s relay to first completed the double-play and ended the inning.

Huge play by Utley.

Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Jonny Venters with one out in the eighth and flared a ball into left that dropped near the line for a double. A ground out by McLouth moved him to third, but Prado grounded to short to leave him stranded.

Halladay had thrown 101 pitches through eight innings.

He was back for the ninth and threw another 1-2-3 inning with the help of three nice defensive plays. Chipper led off and ripped a ball in between first and second, but Howard made a great diving play to his first to field the ball and tossed to first to get him. McCann grounded hard to Howard for the second out. Glaus was next and he hit a ball slowly to third. Valdez charged and made a nice play, throwing him out at first to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Rollins on the DL and Castro at short.

Polanco was drilled on the left elbow with one out in the first and went to second on a wild pitch after Utley struck out swinging. Howard struck out to leave him stranded.

Werth and Ibanez started the second with back-to-back doubles. 1-0. Castro moved Ibanez to third with a single to left. Ruiz flew to right with the runners holding. Halladay struck out for the second out. Victorino flew to center to leave both men stranded.

Nice to see Werth and Ibanez do some damage, but the Phils can’t get any more after putting men on first and third with nobody out.

Utley doubled into the right field corner after Polanco grounded to the pitcher to start the third. Howard was walked intentionally. Werth struck out swinging for the second out. Ibanez chopped a ball back up the middle, but Escobar fielded near second base and threw him out to leave two more stranded.

I thought it was pretty early to walk Howard intentionally, especially after Werth and Ibanez doubled back-to-back the inning before. It worked, though.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth and again in the fifth.

Howard started the sixth with a single and came around to score when Werth followed with a double. 2-0. Werth took third on the throw, but the Phillies wouldn’t be able to bring him home. The lefty Ibanez was walked intentionally. Castro followed with a ball hit to short. Escobar came home with it and the Braves got Werth. First and second with one out for Ruiz. Ruiz hit a ground ball to second and Castro was forced at second for the second out. Halladay grounded to short for the third out.

Werth in the middle of the scoring again for the Phils. The Phillies can’t add another run with a man on third and nobody out as the Braves get Werth at the plate on Castro’s ground ball.

Lefty Jonny Venters set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Wilson Valdez hit for Polanco and grounded to short for the second out.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Ruiz doubled to left with one out in the ninth off of Takashi Saito. Halladay moved him to third with a ground out, but Victorino struck out looking to leave him stranded.

Victorino was 0-for-5 and struck out twice. He’s hitting .210 for the year after going 1-for-his-last-14.

Polanco 0-for-2 and left in the seventh after being hit by a pitch early. This says he’s likely to be out of the lineup in tonight’s game but may not miss too many games.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a double and struck out twice. He made a huge defensive play in the seventh to start the double-play.

Howard was fantastic with the glove in the game as well. He was 1-for-3 with a walk in the game.

Werth was in the middle of all the scoring. 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI.

Ibanez was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. He’s still hitting just .196, but is 2-for-his-last-5 with three walks.

Castro was 1-for-4.

Ruiz 1-for-4 and left four men on base.

Moyer (1-1, 7.50) faces righty Derek Lowe (3-0, 4.67) tonight. Moyer has made two starts and didn’t pitch very well in either of them. In each start he allowed five runs in a single inning. Atlanta has scored at least seven runs in each of the three games that Lowe has started this season.


Flash mob of home runs ravages Phils

I hear they use so-called “text” messages and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to organize.

Did you hear the one about the Phillies game last night? Here goes.

Kyle Kendrick pitched great. Not good or better than he has so far this year or better than you would expect. Great. Sixteen ground outs in eight shutout innings. The Phillies were up 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a man on first. Then three of the next four Atlanta hitters homered and the Phillies lost. Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer off of Madson. 3-2. Jason Heyward followed with a solo shot that tied the game at 3-3. Madson got the final out of the ninth on a ground ball and Nate McLouth led off the tenth with a walkoff homer off of Contreras.

It was a hoot.

All the homering when you’re about to win the game is hard to ignore, but you don’t want to forget that the Phillies have stopped scoring runs all of the sudden. They have scored four runs in their last three games, which makes things tough even when you’re not allowing homers to three out of four hitters with the game on the line.

The Phillies are 8-5 on the year after a 4-3 loss to the Braves in ten innings in Atlanta last night. They have lost three in a row for the first time this season. They’re 1-3 against teams that aren’t the Nationals or Astros.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out two.

Just outstanding work from Kendrick, who looked like a totally different pitcher than he had in his first two starts. I think it’s probably the second best start of his career, behind this effort against the A’s on June 25, 2008.

He struck out Matt Diaz to start the bottom of the first. Martin Prado was next and he singled, but Kendrick got Chipper Jones to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Brian McCann grounded to first for the first out of the second. Troy Glaus was next and smashed a 3-2 pitch on the ground, but Castro handled it nicely and threw to first for the second out. Kendrick struck Jason Heyward out looking 3-2 for the third out.

Kendrick got Yunel Escobar, Nate McLouth and the pitcher Tommy Hanson on three ground balls in the third.

He started the fourth with a 1-0 lead and got Diaz for the first out. Prado was next and singled into center. Chipper followed and lined a double to right, sending Prado to third. Kendrick walked the lefty McCann intentionally, loading the bases and setting up the double-play. He got it, too. Glaus grounded to third and the Phillies turned it to end the inning.

Big double-play ball for Kendrick.

Up 2-0, Kendrick set down Heyward, Escobar and McLouth in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Peter Moylan to start the sixth and popped to Utley. Kendrick got Diaz and Prado both on balls lined to Victorino.

It was 3-0 when Kendrick started the bottom of the seventh. Chipper lined to Victorino in left center for the first out. McCann blasted a single to left, but Glaus followed and flew to right for the second out. Heyward grounded to Castro to end the inning.

Kendrick was back to start the eighth and got Escobar on a ground ball to third. McLouth was next and he walked on five pitches. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Kris Medlan. Hinske ripped a ball down the first base line that was called foul but was very close. McLouth was on the move as Hinske hit what would have been a double-play ball to Utley. Utley got the second out at first with McLouth safe at second. Ruiz just didn’t catch Kendrick’s 1-2 pitch to Diaz. The ball went through his legs for a rare passed ball that allowed McLouth to go to third. Diaz hit a slow ground ball to third. Polanco made a nice play, moving to his left, fielding and throwing Diaz out to end the inning.

Madson came in to pitch the ninth after the Phillies hit for Kendrick in the top of the inning. Prado grounded to short for the first out before Madson walked Chipper. McCann lined to left for the second out. Glaus was next and he blasted a 1-1 pitch out to left center. 3-2. Madson got ahead of Heyward 0-1 and Heyward homered to center to tie the game at 3-3. Escobar grounded to short for the third out.

Contreras started the tenth. He got ahead of McLouth 0-2 before McLouth hit a 2-2 pitch out to right to end the game.

First run charged to Contreras on the season in his fifth appearance. He still hasn’t thrown more than 14 pitches in a game.

Madson threw 18 pitches in the game. Contreras five.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Nothing new there with Rollins on the DL and Castro at short.

Victorino flew to right on the tenth pitch of his at-bat to start the game. Polanco struck out looking and Utley flew to center.

Werth doubled softly to right with one out in the second and Ibanez followed with a walk. Castro struck out looking, though, and Ruiz grounded to second.

Kendrick, Victorino and Polanco went in order in the third.

Utley led off the fourth. He tried to check his swing 3-2 and made contact. The ball rolled down the third base line for a double. Howard was next and pulled the ball on the ground between first and second. Glaus deflected the ball but didn’t handle it. Utley scored and the Phillies led 1-0. Werth followed and hit a ball hard to third and Atlanta turned the double-play. Ibanez delivered a solid single up the middle. Castro was next and he delivered a solid base hit, too, lining a 2-2 pitch into left and sending Ibanez to second. Ruiz swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

Gift run for the Phils on a check swing double and a ball that Glaus should have fielded gives them the early lead. The Phillies did have two solid hits in the inning, so you shouldn’t feel too bad.

Kendrick and Victorino went down to start the fifth, but Polanco hit a ball down near the left field line and hustled it into a double. With the big lefties due to hit for the Phils, the Braves pulled Hanson and brought in lefty Eric O’Flaherty to pitch to them. Utley lined a single into center, scoring Polanco to make it 2-0. Howard lined to first for the third out.

Big hit for Polanco gets Hanson out of the game, but Hanson had thrown 102 pitches already and wasn’t going to be around to pitch to the lefties whether it was in the fourth or the fifth. Polanco will have to be content with just starting the two-out rally.

Werth struck out on a wild pitch by new Atlanta pitcher righty Moylan to start the sixth and was safe at first. He was thrown out trying to steal second, though, before Ibanez drew a walk. Castro flew to center and Ruiz struck out swinging to leave Ibanez stranded.

Righty Kris Medlan started the seventh for Atlanta. Kendrick hit for himself with a shutout through six innings and grounded to short. He was pitching great and had thrown just 75 pitches in the game. Victorino was next and he hit a ground ball to short. The ball wasn’t hit very hard and Escobar bare-handed it and threw to first but Victorino beat it out for a single. Polanco was next and he ripped a single into right, moving Victorino to third. Medlan stayed in to pitch to Utley. Utley hit a ground ball back up the middle. Escobar made a diving stop to keep the ball in the infield, flipping to second to force Polanco as Victorino scored to make it 3-0. Howard flew to Heyward on the track in right to leave Utley stranded.

Glad to see Utley and Howard get to hit against the righty there. Howard almost hit the ball out of the yard, which would have broken the game open. Utley should have had a single but Escobar made a great play. The other lefties in the pen for the Braves were Billy Wagner and the 25-year-old Jonny Venters, who has made one career appearance.

Medlan came back and set the Phillies down in order in the eighth.

Righty Jesse Chavez set them down in order in the ninth. Dobbs hit for Kendrick with one out and flew to right.

Kendrick had thrown 108 pitches in the game.

Billy Wagner set down Polanco, Utley and Howard in order in the top of the tenth. Utley hit the ball well, but Heyward took it in deep right.

Victorino was 1-for-5 to drop his average to .228.

Polanco 2-for-5 with a double.

Utley 2-for-5 with a double.

Howard 1-for-5 with an RBI and two strikeouts. He has two walks through 13 games, putting him on pace to walk 25 times this season.

Werth 1-for-4 with a double and struck out twice.

Ibanez was 1-for-2 with two walks to raise his average for the season to .186. He’s 2-for-his-last-19.

Castro 1-for-4.

Ruiz was 0-for-4, struck out twice and left five men on base.

Halladay (3-0, 1.13) faces righty Tim Hudson (1-0, 2.84) tonight in game two of the set. Halladay has been fantastic in three starts for the Phils. He’ll be pitching on normal rest tonight, taking Happ’s turn in the rotation as Happ sits it out with a sore elbow. Hudson has made two starts on the year. He was very good against the Giants in his first start of the year. He walked five Padres in 5 2/3 innings in his start last Thursday.

JC Romero says he’s ready to join the team.

This suggests May 1 is a good target date for Blanton’s return.

Lidge’s velocity is not good enough yet and Amaro is hoping that adrenaline will help him get there at the higher levels of the minors. I keep checking to see if I read that wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it says. Lidge has a 9.64 ERA in five minor league appearances, but has thrown three scoreless innings his last three times out, striking out four while allowing one walk and no hits.


Return of the king has people wondering just how long he plans to stay

The offense lost its mojo this weekend and the Phillies lost the series, but there is a lot of hope this morning about what the team might have gotten back. Cole Hamels looked like the Hamels of old yesterday as he mowed down the Florida Marlins. He started the ninth inning having allowed one run on a solo homer, raising hope that the Phillies really can have two true aces atop their rotation.

The Phillies didn’t win the game because they didn’t score. They’re off that now, apparently, having plated one run in the last two games. That’s sure to come around, though. A bigger question will be whether or not Hamels is back to stay.

The Phillies are 8-4 on the year after dropping two of three to the Florida Marlins. They have lost two in a row for the first time this season and lost a series for the first time this season.

The Phillies won game one 8-6. It shouldn’t have been nearly that close, but got scary in the end. Halladay was fantastic again, allowing two runs over eight strong innings. Herndon started the ninth with an 8-2 lead but was charged with four runs on five hits. Madson came into the game with one out, men on first and third and the Phils up 8-5. John Baker came to the plate as the tying run and grounded out with the runner forced at second as the other scored to make it 8-6 with two outs and a man on first. Hanley Ramirez singled and the tying runs were on base, but Madson got Jorge Cantu to ground to short to end the game.

The pen had been charged with ten runs over their last four innings. Castro had another big game with the bat, going 2-for-3 and knocking in three runs. Polanco and Utley both homered for the Phils.

Moyer allowed five runs in the first inning in the middle game of the series and the Phillies couldn’t overcome it as they lost 5-1. Jayson Werth hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to account for all the Phillies runs. Ricky Nolasco threw a complete game for the Fish, holding the Phils to four singles, Werth’s home run and three walks.

Yesterday Hamels pitched eight strong innings but the Phillies lost 2-0. Hamels allowed a home run to Dan Uggla in the second and left in the ninth after allowing a leadoff single to Jorge Cantu. Madson came in and allowed an RBI-double to Uggla with the run charged to Hamels. The Phils blew a lot of opportunities in the game. In the second they put men on first and second with one out and got nothing. In the fourth they had men on second and third and nobody out and couldn’t score. Castro struck out, Ruiz lined to left and Hamels grounded out. In the seventh they were turned away after putting men on first and second with one down.

The Phillies pitched pretty well overall in the series, throwing to a 4.33 ERA and a 1.15 ratio. They got good starts from Halladay and Hamels and a bad start from Moyer. Overall the starters threw to a 3.68 ERA and a 1.00 ratio in the series. They walked just one batter in 21 innings.

Halladay went eight innings in game one, allowing two runs on eight hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. After three starts he’s 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Moyer went six innings in game two, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk. Ronny Paulino hit a three-run homer off of him in the first, which was the only extra-base hit he allowed. He struck out seven. 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA after two starts.

Hamels pitched great in game three, allowing two runs on seven hits over eight innings. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and Uggla’s home run. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight. His quality start yesterday was the first for the season thrown by a pitcher other than Halladay.

The bullpen didn’t have very good numbers in the series overall, but that was mostly due to a miserable day for Herndon in game one. They threw to a 7.20 ERA and a 1.80 ratio in five innings. They allowed four runs and all of those were charged to Herndon in the opener. Excluding Herndon’s day on Friday, the pen allowed two hits and two walks over 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

Bastardo did not pitch in the series.

Figueroa took over for Moyer in the seventh inning of game two with the Phils down 5-0. He threw two scoreless innings, allowing no hits and a walk. In three appearances in long relief he’s throw to a 2.45 ERA for the Phils. In 7 1/3 innings he’s allowed just three hits but walked five.

Durbin pitched the ninth inning of game two with the Phillies down 5-0. He walked Cody Ross with two outs, but got Brian Barden to fly to center behind him. He’s allowed three hits and two walks over 6 1/3 scoreless innings on the year.

Contreras did not pitch in the series.

Herndon started the ninth inning of game one with an 8-2 lead. Things didn’t go well. He got one out and was charged with four runs on five hits. Madson wound up pitching with the tying runs on base to get the save.

Baez did not pitch in the series.

Madson had to pitch in game one of the series after Herndon couldn’t protect a six-run lead in the ninth. He got the save, facing three batters and getting two out while allowing a single. He also pitched in yesterday’s game, entering in the ninth with a man on first and the Phillies down 1-0. Uggla was the first man he faced and Uggla delivered an RBI-doubled into the right field corner. Cantu scored from first with the run charged to Hamels. Madson got the next three.

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

Victorino was 2-for-11 in the set with two walks. 231/286/442.

Polanco was 2-for-13 in the series. He’s hitting 396/404/585 on the season. Top two in the Phillies order go 4-for-24 (.167) with two walks.

Utley 3-for-9 with a home run and four walks. 341/491/795. He’s on pace to walk 175 times.

Howard was 2-for-13 with an RBI in the series. 309/333/600. He’s walked twice on the season and zero times in his last seven games.

Werth was 4-for-10 with two walks, two doubles and a home run. 341/440/561. This article talks about Werth not scoring from third on a line drive to left by Ruiz that was a big factor in the Phillies not scoring a critical run in yesterday’s game.

Ibanez got a day off yesterday with a lefty on the mound for the Fish. 0-for-7 with two walks in the series. 171/294/244 on the season. He’s 1-for-his-last-17.

Castro struck out yesterday in a big at-bat with men on second and third and nobody out. 3-for-9 with three RBI in the set. 333/348/381 in 21 at-bats for the season.

Ruiz started games one and three of the series and went 2-for-5 with two walks. 296/486/333 in 27 at-bats. He’s walked in 27% of his plate appearances this year. That’s a lot.

Francisco started in left field for Ibanez in yesterday’s game with lefty Nate Robertson on the mound for Florida. He was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in the series. He’s 1-for-7 for the season.

Schneider caught Jamie Moyer’s start in the series and was 1-for-3. He’s 1-for-9 on the season. Schneider also caught Moyer’s other start this season, which came on April 10.

No game today. The Phils are in Atlanta tomorrow night for the best of three with the Braves.

JA Happ has a sore forearm and might not make his next start. That there is a problem.


And if you want to, you can lean on me — but maybe not all day, every day if you can help it

It was bound to happen sooner or later, probably sooner, and now it has. After a fantastic start, the bullpen finally came up empty yesterday and with an exclamation point. The starting pitching has been a problem for the Phils. Roy Halladay has been magnificent early, but pretty much everyone else in the rotation has either been not good enough or not long enough or both. Yesterday their starter couldn’t go six innings yet again and the Phils took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning. The pen surrendered six runs in the last three innings.

The problem is that impressive as the 7-1 start was for the Phillies, their formula for winning was flawed. It was mediocre starting pitching, strong work from the bullpen and scoring about eight runs a game. The issue with that is their starting pitching is better than mediocre, their bullpen is weak and as good as their offense is they aren’t going to score eight runs a game. They also aren’t going to play the Nationals and Astros every game.

So while that may have worked to start the season, and may work for short sprints, they’re going to need to come up with something else. I feel pretty good about their chances.

The Phillies are 7-2 on the season after losing to the Washington Nationals 7-5 yesterday.

Happ got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and six walks. The run was unearned. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He walked six and didn’t strike out anyone. He keeps his 0.00 ERA for the season, but with a 1.65 ratio in just 10 1/3 innings pitched over two starts. The Phillies need him to pitch deeper into games, starting really soon.

He walked Nyjer Morgan on five pitches to start the game. Ian Desmond was next and he hit a ball slowly to Utley. Utley made a great play, flipping to Castro to start the double-play that cleared the bases. Just for a minute, though, cause Cristian Guzman followed and he walked, too. Adam Dunn hammered the ball, but Howard picked it nicely and beat Dunn to the bag to end the frame.

Happ was up 1-0 when he started the second. Josh Willingham led off and flew to right for the first out. Rodriguez was next and he doubled to left. Justin Maxwell followed and walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second with one out. Alberto Gonzalez grounded to Howard for the second out, moving the runners up a base. It brought up the pitcher Scott Olsen with two outs and men on second and third. Happ got him on a popup to third to leave the runners stranded.

Happ walked Morgan again to start the third. He picked him off, too, with the throw going to Howard, but Howard threw the ball away for an error. Desmond bunted Morgan to third with the first out. Guzman brought Morgan home from third with a ground out to short, tying the game at 1-1. Dunn singled to left before Happ got Willingham to pop to second for the third out.

This gig probably involves a lot more backing up throws to second base than Ibanez had anticipated. Howard is really awful at throwing the ball to second. Anywhere else, too, probably, but you don’t get to see that quite as often. Four walks in three innings for Happ, two to lead off an inning.

Happ walked Maxwell with one out in the fourth, but got Gonzalez and the pitcher behind him to leave him stranded at first.

Morgan led off the fifth with a single to center, but Desmond popped to second for the first out and Guzman hit into a double-play.

At least he didn’t walk that time.

Dunn led off the sixth and Polanco made a fantastic catch near the stands with his back to home plate for the first out. Willingham was next and Happ walked him. Happ had thrown 97 pitches in the game and Manuel called on Contreras to pitch to the righty Rodriguez with one out and a man on first. Willingham stole second as the count went 0-2 on Rodriguez. Contreras struck out Rodriguez and Maxwell behind him to leave Willingham stranded.

Golly. Contreras has had an amazing start to the season. One hit in 3 2/3 innings while striking out six.

That was pretty much the end of the good day for the pen, though.

Bastardo started the seventh with a 4-1 lead. Gonzalez led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out by Harris. Morgan flew to left for the second out, but Desmond followed with a single that scored Gonzalez. 4-2. Guzman flew to left for the third out.

Bastardo was pitching having thrown 19 pitches the day before. On April 7 he threw one pitch and came back the next day to throw eight, which was the first time in his career he had thrown on back-to-back days.

On the other hand, Baez has thrown back-to-back days and it didn’t help him any. Dunn started the seventh with a homer. 4-3. Baez struck out Willingham, but then walked Rodriguez. Righty Ryan Zimmerman hit for the pitcher Tyler Clippard and homered to right. 5-4 Nats. Baez struck out Gonzalez for the second out and walked Harris. Harris stole second before Morgan grounded to second.

Madson pitched the ninth. Desmond led off with a single and stole second. Guzman struck out for the first out and Dunn moved Desmond to third with a ground out for the second. Willingham walked and Willy Tavares ran for him and stole second. Rodriguez hit a two-run single that put Washington up 7-4 before Madson struck out Capps to end the frame.

Baez threw 31 pitches and Madson 26. Bastardo 17 after 19 the day before and Contreras nine. Plus a long day in long relief for Figueroa in Wednesday’s game in which he threw 54 pitches.

Thank goodness for Roy Halladay. But while you can count on him to be very, very good, we shouldn’t be counting on him to be perfect every time.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Olsen went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Werth returns to the lineup after missing a game with his hip.

Victorino pounded a ball to left to start the bottom of the first, but Willingham took it on the track for the first out. Polanco grounded to third for the second, but Utley was next and delivered yet another home run to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard grounded to Guzman at second to end the inning.

The Phillies went in order in the second on ground outs by Werth and Ibanez and a strikeout by Castro.

The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phillies hit in the third. Ruiz led off and ripped a double to left. Happ was next and bunted the ball to first. Dunn fielded and threw to third where Ruiz was tagged out for the first out. Victorino flew to left and Polanco grounded to short.

Phils can’t execute the sacrifice and it means they don’t score after the leadoff double.

Werth walked with two outs in the fourth, but Ibanez struck out behind him.

Castro started the bottom of the fifth with a single. Ruiz struck out behind him. Happ bunted successfully this time, moving Castro to second with two down, but Victorino flew to right to end the inning.

Polanco singled to start the sixth. Utley struck out for the first out. Howard flew out to Morgan in left center field for the second out. Werth walked, putting men on first and second for Ibanez. Ibanez walked too and the bases were loaded for Castro. Castro delivered a single into right, scoring Polanco and Werth to put the Phillies up 3-1. Castro took second when the ball dribbled away from Rodriguez, giving the Phillies men on second and third. Righty Tyler Clippard took over for Olsen and walked Ruiz intentionally. Dobbs hit for Contreras and walked, forcing in Ibanez. 4-1. Victorino grounded to second to end the inning.

I was surprised to see Olsen stay in to pitch to the righty Castro. Surprised to see Castro stay in to hit after he did, too.

Howard doubled with two outs in the seventh and the Phils up 4-2. Werth struck out swinging to leave him at second.

The Phillies were down 5-4 when they hit in the eighth. Lefty Sean Burnett got Ibanez to ground out for the first out. Righty Matt Capps came in to pitch to the righty Castro and Castro popped up a ball that landed right behind Guzman and in front of Willie Harris for a single. Ruiz grounded to third for the second out, with Castro moving to second. Wilson Valdez ran for Castro at second as the tying run. Gload hit for Baez and flew to right to leave Valdez stranded.

Victorino led off the ninth with a homer off of Capps that cut the Washington lead to 7-5. Polanco followed with a single. Utley struck out, Howard flew softly to left and Werth flew softly to center to end the game.

If you’re going to have three chances to tie the game you can’t do much better than Utley and Howard against a righty with Werth behind them.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with a home run in the game and left five men on base. 5-for-14 with a triple and a home run in the series. 244/279/512 for the season after nine games.

Polanco was 2-for-5 yesterday and 6-for-13 with a double in the series. 475/477/650.

Utley 1-for-5 with his fifth home run of the year yesterday. 4-for-12 with four home runs and seven RBI in the series. 343/477/829 on the year. He’s on pace to hit 90 home runs and drive in 198 runs.

Howard was 1-for-5 yesterday. 5-for-14 with two doubles in the series. 357/386/738. His strikeouts are way down so far this year and so are his walks. After nine games he’s on pace to walk 36 times and strike out 90. Not likely. If he’s going to hit 357/386/738 it will be just peachy if he never walks. He’s not, though.

Werth was 0-for-3 yesterday. 1-for-6 with three walks in the set. 323/421/452 on the year.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 yesterday and 1-for-10 with two walks in the series. 206/310/294 for the year. He had a 3-for-4 day on April 9 against the Astros. Eliminating that game he’s 4-for-30 (.133) with a double on the year.

Castro was 3-for-4 with huge hit and two RBI yesterday. He’s 4-for-12 with a double on the season.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a double yesterday and 2-for-8 with a double and four more walks in the series. 273/467/318 on the season with one extra-base hit, yesterday’s double. He’s on pace to walk 144 times this year. Only one player on the team has more walks than his eight — Utley has walked nine times but has gotten 14 more plate appearances than Ruiz.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in the series. 1-for-6 with two walks so far.

Francisco was 0-for-3 in the series and is 0-for-4 on the year.

Roy Halladay (2-0, 0.56) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 6.00) tonight as the Phils play the first of three against the Fish at home. Halladay has been fantastic to start the year. Sanchez gave up four runs in six innings against the Dodgers in his only start of the season.

The Start Log is updated. Phils still looking for a quality start from someone other than Halladay. Also, each of the five pitchers who have started a game for the Phillies have gotten an average of at least 6.5 runs scored per game from the Phillie offense in their starts. The Phillies are on pace to score 1,242 runs this season. That might not even happen.

Next update to Philliesflow will be next week.


How many runs do the Nats need to score to beat the Phillies? The world may never know

Whatever the answer is there’s a good chance that Kendrick will be on the mound when it happens (in the interest of full disclosure, the Nats actually did beat the Phils as recently as April 8 — and yes, Kendrick started that game).

The Phillies keep scoring and scoring and scoring. The Nationals do, too, just not enough. Washington led last night’s game 3-0, 6-4 and 7-6, but each time the Phillies came storming back. Victorino and Utley combined to go 6-for-9 with three home runs and nine RBI in the game.

As amazing as the offense has been, it’s almost as hard to ignore how fantastic the bullpen has been. After Kendrick couldn’t make it out of the second inning last night, the pen, led by Nelson Figueroa and Durbin, held Washington to a run over 7 1/3 innings.

The Phillies are 7-1 on the season after beating the Nationals 14-7.

Kendrick got the start and went 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. After two bad starts in two times out, Kendrick has a 17.47 ERA.

Nyjer Morgan was the first batter of the game and Kendrick hit him with an 0-1 pitch. Willie Harris was next and Kendrick got him to hit into a double-play, Utley to Castro to Howard. Cristian Guzman followed with a single, though, and then Kendrick threw eight balls with his next nine pitches. Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham both walked, loading the bases for Adam Kennedy. Kennedy lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a bases clearing double and the Nats led 3-0. Ivan Rodriguez grounded to third to end the frame.

Four men reach in a row after two outs and nobody on.

Kendrick started the second with a 4-3 lead. Alberto Gonzalez got ahead 2-0 and doubled to left. The pitcher Craig Stammen tried to bunt him to third but couldn’t, bunting strike three foul for the first out. Morgan was next and he moved Gonzalez to third with a single to left. Morgan stole second before Kendrick walked Harris. When he did the bases were loaded again, this time with one out. Guzman singled into center, scoring Gonzalez and Morgan. 5-4 with the Nationals on top and men on first and second. Kendrick got Dunn on a pop up for the second out. Willingham was next and he got ahead 3-0 before hitting a ball down the left field line that a fan touched for a ground rule double. 6-4 with men on second and third and two outs. Figueroa came in to pitch to Kennedy and got him on a ground ball to first to leave both runners stranded.

Figueroa was back for the third with the Phils up 7-6. Rodriguez led off the inning with a single and stole second before Gonzalez singled to right, sending Rodriguez to third. The pitcher Jesse English bunted Gonzalez to second for the first out. Morgan was next and he grounded to first. Both runners moved up a base, with Rodriguez scoring to tie the game at 7-7. Figueroa struck out Harris to leave Gonzalez stranded at third.

Figueroa set the Nats down in order in the fourth.

He walked Kennedy to start the fifth. Rodriguez flew to center for the first out and Kennedy stole second with Gonzalez batting. Gonzalez grounded to third for the second out with Kennedy holding second. Pitcher Jason Marquis hit for the pitcher Jesse English and lined to short to leave Kennedy stranded.

Figueroa went 3 1/3 innings in the game, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. After two appearances in long relief he has a 3.38 ERA and a 1.31. Despite the fact that they wound up winning by seven runs, the game was tight early and the Phils needed Figueroa’s contribution last night.

Durbin started the sixth with a 9-7 lead. Morgan led off the inning with a single, but Durbin picked him off for the first out. Harris struck out for the second and Guzman flew to center.

Durbin was back to start the seventh with a 10-7 lead. Dunn led off with a double off the wall in right. New right fielder Francisco played it well and nearly threw Dunn out at second, but Castro couldn’t hold on to the ball as Dunn slid in to second. He may have been safe anyway. Willingham grounded to third for the first out with Dunn holding second. Kennedy dribbled back to the mound for the second out as Dunn held second. Rodriguez chopped a ball to third that Polanco fielded behind the bag near the line. He made a strong throw to get Rodriguez and end the inning.

Fantastic long throw by Polanco to end the frame.

Bastardo pitched the eighth with a 14-7 lead. He walked Gonzalez to start the inning. Roger Bernadina flew to right for the first out, but Morgan followed him and walked as well. It put men on first and second with one down. Righty Ian Desmond hit for lefty Willie Harris and Bastardo struck him out for the second out. Guzman flew to right to leave the runners stranded.

Bastardo hasn’t been charged with a run on the season, allowing a hit and three walks over 2 2/3 innings.

Herndon set the Nats down 1-2-3 in the ninth. He has a 0.00 ERA for the season, too, having allowing five hits over 4 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out three.

Long day for the pen. Figueroa threw 54 pitches and Durbin 24. Bastardo threw 19 and Herndon seven.

The Phillies lineup against righty Craig Stammen went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Dobbs (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL. Victorino moves up to the leadoff spot. Dobbs in right against the righty Stammen and not Francisco. Glad but surprised to see that move from Manuel — I was expecting Francisco in right. Castro doesn’t lead off. Four lefties in a row 3-4-5-6 for the Phils.

The Phillies were down 3-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Victorino led off and hit a ball off the body of the pitcher Stammen for a single. Polanco moved him to second with a single. Utley walked, loading the bases for Howard. Howard singled into center, scoring Victorino and Polanco. 3-2. Dobbs was next and he doubled down the right field line on a ball that went just under Dunn’s glove at first. Utley scored to tie the game at 3-3 and Howard went to third. It brought up Ibanez with nobody out and men on second and third. Ibanez delivered a fly ball to left. Howard scored to make it 4-3, but Dobbs held second. Castro lined to right for the second out, Dobbs tagged and went to third. Ruiz grounded to third to end the inning.

Great inning for the Phils, but they did only manage to get one more run after putting men on second and third with nobody out. Dunn should have made the play on the double by Dobbs.

They were down again when they came to bat in the second, this time 6-4. Figueroa led off and lined a single into center. Victorino flew to right for the first out, but Polanco was next and he doubled to left. It brought Utley up with men on second and third and he homered to right, putting the Phils up 7-6. Lefty Jesse English came in to pitch to Howard and Howard singled to center. Dobbs struck out swinging for the second out before Ibanez moved Howard to second with a single. Castro grounded to third to leave both men stranded.

Rare at-bat for Dobbs against a lefty — he had just 17 plate appearances against lefties in ’08 and ’09 combined.

They started the bottom of the third tied 7-7. Ruiz led off and grounded hard to third for the first out. Figueroa followed and delivered another hit, this one a double into the left field corner. Victorino lined a single into center and Figueroa went to third. Polanco struck out and Utley fouled out to end the inning with both runners stranded.

Polanco can’t get it done that time with one out and men on first and third. Figueroa probably should have scored from second on the Victorino single, but must have thought there was a chance it was going to hang up long enough for Morgan to catch it.

English was back for the fourth and got three lefties, Howard, Dobbs and Ibanez, in order.

No righty breaking up the lefties for the Phils and English mowed ‘em down in the fourth after getting Utley with two outs and two on in the third.

Castro hit a dribbler down the third base line off of righty Jason Bergmann to start the bottom of the fifth. Gonzalez made a nice play to bare hand and throw him out at first. Ruiz followed with a walk and Gload hit for Figueroa. Gload popped to third on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and hit a 3-1 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 9-7. Polanco popped to second for the third out.

Utley started the sixth with a homer off of lefty Sean Burnett. 10-7. Howard struck out looking for the first out. Francisco hit for Dobbs with the lefty on the mound and the Nats called on righty Brian Bruney to pitch to him. Francisco grounded to third for the second out. Ibanez struck out to end the inning.

Castro and Ruiz walked back-to-back to start the seventh. With the righty Bruney still pitching for Washington, Werth hit for Durbin and Bruney walked him, too. It loaded the bases for Victorino and righty Tyler Clippard came in to pitch to him. Victorino split the gap in right center with a triple that cleared the bases. The Phillies led 13-7. Polanco was next and flew to center deep enough for Victorino to score. 14-7. Utley flew to center for the second out and Howard hit a ball well to center that Morgan took for the third out.

Francisco, Ibanez and Castro went in order in the eighth.

Victorino fared well in the lead off spot, going 4-for-5 with a triple, a home run and five RBI.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s hitting .486.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk, two home runs and four RBI.

Howard was 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with a double. Glad to see him getting a start in the outfield with a righty on the mound.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Castro 0-for-4 with a walk.

Ruiz 0-for-2 with two walks. He’s on-basing .462 and on pace to walk 142 times this season.

Wilson Valdez has been added to the roster with Rollins on the DL. Rollins says he hopes to be back in two weeks.

JA Happ (1-0, 0.00) makes his second start of the season this afternoon against lefty Scott Olsen (NR). Happ threw five scoreless innings against the Astros on Friday, but needed 103 pitches to do it. Olsen will be making his first start of the season coming off of shoulder surgery this past summer.


Home is where the early depart is

The Phillies played their home opener yesterday and the outcome of the game or the fact that Cole Hamels didn’t pitch very well is probably less on people’s minds this morning than the fact that two of the guys expected to start the game for the Phils didn’t finish it. Jimmy Rollins was scratched from the lineup just before the game started with a calf strain and Jayson Werth left in the middle with a problem with his hip.

They won, by the way. The Phillies are 6-1 on the season after beating the Nationals 7-4 yesterday. They have won four in a row.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six. His ERA after two starts is 5.06.

He got Nyjer Morgan to fly to left to start the game. Willy Tavares was next and grounded to short. Cristian Guzman was next and he doubled into left on the first pitch of his at-bat, but Hamels struck Dunn out swinging to leave him stranded.

Josh Willingham led off the second and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left to put the Nats up 1-0. Hamels set Ian Desmond, Ivan Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy down behind him.

Hamels set Washington down in order in the third.

Guzman led off the fourth and singled to left. Dunn was next and Hamels hit him with a pitch, putting men on first and second with nobody out. He struck out Willingham for the first out, though, and Desmond behind him for the second. Rodriguez was next and he hit the first pitch he saw into center for a single. Guzman scored to make it 2-0 with Dunn moving up to second. Kennedy walked to load with bases with two down for the pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis doubled softly to left, bringing in Dunn and Rodriguez and the Washington lead was 4-0. Morgan grounded out on a ball that Ruiz took out in front of the plate to end the frame.

The Phillies cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Hamels set down Tavares, Guzman and Dunn on two ground outs and a fly out in the top of the fifth.

The Phillies were up 7-4 when Hamels started the sixth. He got the first two to start the sixth before Rodriguez doubled to center. Kennedy was next and he hit a ball to short that Castro didn’t handle. Castro was charged with an error and Washington had men on first and third with two down. Righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Jesse English and Manuel called on Durbin to pitch to him. Durbin got Gonzalez on a soft grounder to first to end the frame.

Hamels had thrown 109 pitches in the game.

Contreras pitched the seventh for the Phils and set the Nats down in order, getting two strikeouts and a ground out. He’s allowed one hit in three scoreless innings while striking out four so far for the season.

Baez pitched the eighth and walked Dunn to start the inning, but got the next three batters on three ground balls to turn Washington away. Baez has allowed one walk over three scoreless innings in his last three appearances. He’s on pace to appear in 116 games. That would be too many — Pedro Feliciano led all pitchers in appearances in 2009 with 88.

Madson came on in the ninth looking for his second save. He struck Kennedy out for the first out. Willie Harris hit for the pitcher and Madson got him to foul out to Castro for the second out. Morgan grounded to second to end the game.

Baez threw 16 pitches, Contreras 14 and Madson ten. Everyone should be available on Wednesday thanks to the off day today and Halladay’s complete game on Sunday.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Marquis went (1) Castro (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. Rollins was a very late scratch with an injury to his right calf. There are no circumstances under which Juan Castro should be your leadoff man, including the circumstance under which your leadoff man gets hurt right before the game starts (possible exception is if the injury happens after the lineup has been submitted and it’s too late to change it, as a commenter points out).

The Phillies went in order in the first and again in the second.

Down 1-0 in the third, Ruiz drew a one out walk. Hamels tried twice to bunt and couldn’t and then hit into a double-play to end the inning.

The Phils were down 4-0 when they hit in the fourth. Polanco singled with one out and Utley followed with a walk. Howard got behind 1-2 quickly, but Marquis didn’t get a couple of close calls and Howard singled into left on a 3-2 pitch. Polanco scored to make it 3-1 and Utley went to third. Washington manager Jim Riggleman was ejected after the at-bat for arguing balls and strikes. Werth was next and hit a ground ball to third. Howard was forced at second for the second out, but Utley scored to make it 4-2. Ibanez flew to left to end the inning.

Victorino struck out to start the fifth, but Ruiz followed with a single to left. Hamels got the bunt down this time and it paid off when Rodriguez tried to get Ruiz at second and the ball went into center field. Rodriguez was charged with an error and the Phils had men on first and second with one out. Castro was next and he delivered a double into center, scoring Ruiz and sending Hamels to third with the lead cut to 4-3. Polanco singled into center and both runners scored, putting the Phils ahead 5-4. Utley was next and he pulled a 1-2 pitch down the line and off the screen for a two-run homer. 7-4. That was it for Marquis and lefty Jesse English came in to pitch to Howard with one out and the bases empty. Howard grounded out for the second out, but Werth dumped a single into center in front of a diving Morgan. English struck Ibanez out to for the third out.

Huge hits for Castro, Polanco and Utley in the inning. Nice to see Hamels get the bunt down, which helped set it all up. Ruiz went into second base hard on the Hamels bunt, making handling the throw from Rodriguez a tough task.

The Phils went in order in the sixth. Gload hit for Durbin with two outs and nobody on and grounded to first.

Castro, Polanco and Utley went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Howard started the eighth with a double off of lefty Sean Burnett. Righty Miguel Batista came in to pitch to Francisco, who had entered to play right when Werth left with a problem with his hip in the seventh, and struck him out. The righty Batista walked the lefty Ibanez intentionally to put men on first and second and then set down Victorino and Ruiz behind him.

Castro was 1-for-4 with a big double and an RBI and made an error.

Polanco 2-for-4 with two RBI, raising his average for the season to .484. He and Howard have combined to drive in 21 of the 50 runs the Phillies have scored on the season — Polanco has 10 RBI and Howard has 11.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Werth 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his early average to .161.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a walk.

No game today.

This suggests that Werth could be back in a few days and it may be longer for Rollins.

Update: This suggests Rollins is likely to go on the DL and Brian Bocock or Wilson Valdez could be added to the roster.

The Start Log is also updated. It shows that the Phillies have two quality starts on the season, both of which were made by Halladay. Happ had one good start where he threw five scoreless innings, but Moyer, Kendrick and Hamels haven’t been good.

The Phillies pitchers other than Halladay have combined to throw to a 5.61 ERA and a 1.56 ratio so far. Only the Nats and Pirates have fewer quality starts so far in the NL.

On the plus side, the Phils lead the league in runs scored and runs allowed. They’ve also scored more runs than any American League team.


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