Archive for May, 2010

Bats and the Pelfrey

The Phillies sent one of the best offensive teams in baseball to New York for a three-game set and scored exactly as many runs as they would have if they had sent the Peanuts Gang. And those guys are fictional. There’s simply no good news for the offense these days as last night Mike Pelfrey became the latest pitcher to baffle the bats. The Phils have been shut out three games in a row and in four of their last five. They’ve scored 15 runs in their last nine games.

I would say that it’s about as bad as it can get, but that’s what I was thinking yesterday.

On the good news front, Cole Hamels made another nice start. He started the bottom of the seventh down 1-0 before the Mets pushed a pair of runs across with the help of a fielding error by Polanco. Allowing three runs in seven innings isn’t going to be enough, though, if the Phillies never score again.

The Phillies 26-20 after losing 3-0 to the Mets last night. The Mets sweep the three-game set.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out three. He’s 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA over his last five starts.

Jose Reyes reached on an infield single to third to start the bottom of the first. He moved to second when Luis Castillo grounded to first for the first out. Jason Bay was next and he doubled to center, scoring Reyes to put New York up 1-0. Hamels struck out Ike Davis and got David Wright to ground back to the mound to end the inning.

Angel Pagan singled to start the second. Jeff Francoeur popped to Utley for the first out before Ruiz threw Pagan out trying to steal second. Henry Blanco grounded to short for the third out.

The Phillies finally throw someone out on the bases. The Mets stole seven bases in the first two games of the series without being thrown out.

The pitcher Mike Pelfrey singled to center to start the third. Reyes was next and he singled again on a ball deflected by Utley. Castillo bunted the runners to second and third and Bay walked to load the bases. Hamels got Davis to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Pagan singled with one out in the fourth. Francoeur popped out for the first out before Pagan stole second. Hamels struck out Blanco to leave him stranded.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Davis singled with one out in the sixth, but Hamels struck Davis out behind him and got Pagan to ground to short to end the inning.

Francoeur led off the seventh with a single. Blanco tried to bunt him to second, but Ruiz fielded the ball and threw to second to force Francoeur. Righty Fernado Tatis was next and hit a ball to third that Polanco didn’t handle for an error. It put men on first and second with one down for Reyes and Reyes cleared the bases with a double to put New York up 3-0. Durbin took over for Hamels and walked Castillo, putting men on first and second with one out. He struck out Bay for the second out and Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Davis. Davis walked and Baez came in to pitch to the righty Wright and got him on ground ball to third for the third out.

Both Durbin and Bastardo walk the first guy they face. The error by Polanco helps the Mets score a run.

Baez threw a 1-2-3 eighth. He dropped his ERA on the year to 4.35 with the outing. He’s been charged with one earned run over 11 2/3 innings in his last 12 appearances.

Bastardo and Durbin were both pitching for the second day in a row. Baez threw 13 pitches, Durbin eight and Bastardo six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mike Pelfrey went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Manuel stays with the same group of slumpers. Valdez plays short and Ruiz catches after sitting out Wednesday’s game with a sore shoulder. Given that they’ve already tried the Manuel speech and it didn’t work, I think they have to try changing the lineup around now.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Ibanez walked with two outs in the second and the Phils down 1-0, but Ruiz grounded to third behind him.

Valdez singled to start the third and Hamels bunted him to second. Victorino lined a single to right and Valdez moved to third. Polanco hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

Close.

Howard walked with one out in the fourth, but Werth hit into a double-play behind him.

Ruiz walked with one out in the fifth, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him.

At least they were spreading it around a little.

Victorino singled and stole second with one out in the sixth. Polanco drew a walk to put men on first and second for Utley. Utley flew to center for the second out with Victorino tagging and going to third. Howard grounded to Castillo to leave both men stranded.

Ibanez singled with one out in the seventh and was caught stealing. Ruiz flew to center for the third out.

The Phils were down 3-0 when they hit in the eighth. Valdez grounded out for the first out. With lefty Pedro Feliciano on the mound for New York, Francisco hit for Gload, who had entered as part of a double-switch in the seventh, and struck out. Victorino singled and Polanco struck out.

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

Victorino was 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the game. 4-for-11 with two walks in the series. I think a lineup shakeup is called for, but Victorino in the leadoff spot hasn’t been the problem.

Polanco 0-for-3 last night and 5-for-12 in the series with a walk.

Utley 0-for-4 yesterday and 1-for-13 with four strikeouts in the series.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk yesterday. 2-for-12 with two singles and a walk in the series.

Werth was 0-for-4 and struck out three times in the game. 1-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts in the series.

3-4-5 in the order go 4-for-36 (.111) in the series.

Ibanez 1-for-2 with a walk yesterday and 3-for-7 with a walk in the series. Francisco played left in game two and went 2-for-6 with a double in the series.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk yesterday and 1-for-6 with a walk in the series. He’s 1-for-his-last-19. Schneider caught game two and was 0-for-3 in the series. He’s 3-for-21 on the season with three singles.

Valdez played games two and three and was 1-for-5 with a walk. Castro played game one and was 0-for-2 and walked twice.

Gload did not get an at-bat in the series. I think he needs to play tonight against the righty and guess he will.

Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 5.66) faces righty Chris Volstad (3-5, 4.31) tonight in Florida. Lefties are hitting 344/414/594 against Kendrick for the year. Volstad has a 3.27 ERA and a 1.21 ratio over his last five starts. He’s made six career starts against the Phils, going 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.13 ratio. He’s been better against lefties than righties so far this year. Lefties are hitting 225/281/371 against him and righties 258/333/408.


Phils torn on whether it would be easier to get their offense to score or their pitchers to allow minus one runs per game

I think the minus one contingent has come up with some exciting ideas that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

The Phillies simply aren’t scoring runs these days. That trend continued last night as they were shut out by the Mets. Over the last four games, Ross Gload has driven in 67% of the runs that the Phillies have scored. That would be impressive under most circumstances, but Gload has two at-bats over those four games and in one of them he flew to right to end the inning.

The Phils have been shut out in three of their last four games.

It would have taken something rather spectacular to get a win when your team doesn’t score, but Joe Blanton didn’t even come up with something good last night. Blanton has struggled through his first five starts and has the 5.63 ERA to prove it. He’s given up six home runs in 32 innings. He’s not giving up a lot of hits or walks to righties, but when they do get a hit against him they do some damage. Nine of the 16 hits he’s allowed to righties this year have gone for extra-bases — they are slugging .485 against him for the year despite hitting just .235 and on-basing .260. Lefties are hitting 286/354/464 against him.

The Phils are 26-19 on the year after falling to the Mets 5-0 last night. They have lost four in a row. Their lead in the division over the second-place Braves is 2 1/2 games.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and four walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Ike Davis doubled to center to start the bottom of the second. David Wright struck out behind him for the first out, but Angel Pagan followed that with a single that sent Davis to third. Pagan stole second with Rod Barajas at the plate and Barajas hit a fly ball to left deep enough for Davis to tag and score, putting New York up 1-0. Blanton walked Jeff Francoeur intentionally to pitch to the pitcher Hisanori Takahashi. Takahashi flew to left to end the inning.

I hate walking the eight hitter intentionally, especially in the first inning.

Jose Reyes homered to right center to start the third. 2-0. Luis Castillo walked before Jason Bay popped to Howard for the first out. Castillo stole second before Davis walked to put men on first and second for David Wright. Wright flew to left for the second out and Pagan grounded to second to turn the Mets away.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He walked Castillo with one out in the fifth. Bay struck out before Castillo stole second. Davis flew to right to leave him stranded.

Three stolen bases in five innings for the Mets.

Wright doubled to start the sixth and Pagan followed with a bunt single that put men on first and third. Pagan stole second before Barajas doubled into the left field corner, putting the Mets up 4-0. Francoeur flew to left for the first out. Lefty Alex Cora hit for the pitcher Takahashi and hit a ball to second. Utley fielded but threw the ball away for an error that put men on first and third with one down. Durbin came in to pitch to Reyes and Reyes singled to right, scoring Barajas to make it 5-0. A Castillo ground out moved the runners to second and third, but Durbin got Bay to ground to third to end the inning.

Durbin gave up the single to Reyes with the run charged to Blanton, but he has been rather outstanding this season. He ends the day with a 2.53 ERA and an 0.98 ratio through his first 18 appearances. Opponents are hitting 178/282/260 against him. When opponents are slugging .260 against you, you’re pitching well. He’s still walking a lot of folks, but he’s gotten it more under control than it was in 2009. In 2009 he walked 6.1 batters per nine innings. So far this year he’s walked 3.4 per nine.

Bastardo threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Figueroa set the Mets down in order in the eighth.

Bastardo threw 14 pitches in the game. Durbin and Figueroa both threw eight. Figueroa threw for the second day in a row and was pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this season.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Hisanori Takahashi went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Francisco (7) Valdez (8) Schneider. Francisco plays left against the lefty with Ibanez on the bench. Valdez at short with Castro on the bench and Rollins on the DL. Schneider catches with Ruiz 1-for-his-last-billion (17) and battling a sore shoulder.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

Francisco doubled high off the wall in left center with two outs in the second. Valdez struck out behind him.

Francisco smoked the ball, missing a home run by a couple of feet.

Down 1-0 in the third, the Phils went in order.

Polanco started the fourth with a single with the Phillies down 2-0. Utley struck out for the first out and Howard hit a dribbler out in front of the plate for the second with Polanco moving to second. Werth flew to right to set the Phils down.

Valdez singled with one out in the fifth. Schneider popped to short and Blanton grounded back to the pitcher.

Victorino started the sixth with a single and moved to second when Polanco followed with a ground out. Utley singled to right and Victorino went to third. Howard struck out and Werth flew to right.

No RBI for Howard with one out and a man on third.

Francisco singled to start the seventh. Valdez flew to right for the first out. A wild pitch moved Francisco to second with Schneider at the plate. Schneider grounded to first for the second out with Francisco taking third. Ibanez hit for Blanton with the righty Jenrry Mejia on the mound for the Mets and grounded back to the pitcher to end the frame.

Polanco singled with one out in the eighth, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

Werth struck out to start the ninth. Francisco grounded to third for the second out. Dobbs hit for Figueroa and lined to Reyes to end the game.

Victorino was 1-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-16 with a double and two walks over the last four games.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a strikeout in the game. He’s 5-for-his-last-9 with a double and 5-for-16 with a double and two walks in the four-game run of suck.

Utley was 1-for-4 yesterday and is 3-for-16 with a triple and a walk over the last four games.

Howard was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base yesterday. He’s 2-for-his-last-15 with two singles, a walk and six strikeouts.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and three men left on base. 3-for-his-last-14 with a double and a walk.

Francisco almost got the Phils on the board with a home run yesterday. 2-for-4 with a long double in the game. Ibanez went 0-for-1 yesterday and is 3-for-10 with a double and two walks over the last four games.

Valdez was 1-for-3 yesterday.

Schneider 0-for-3. Ruiz didn’t play yesterday but is 1-for-8 over the last four games.

Lots of problems there overall. I think the biggest over the past four games are that Utley, Howard and Werth have combined to go 8-for-45 (.178) with two extra-base hits. Victorino has hit very well out of the leadoff spot this month, but hasn’t over the four-game losing streak.

Cole Hamels (5-2, 3.96) faces righty Mike Pelfrey (6-1, 2.86) tonight as the Phils try to salvage a game in the set. Hamels has been great over his last four starts, throwing to a 2.36 ERA and a 1.31 ratio. Pelfrey has been great pretty much all year with the exception of a start against the Phillies on May 1.

This says that Happ is nowhere near ready and there’s no timetable for his return. That’s not good.


Mets refuse to let the Phillies score and are kind of a Dickey about it

New York’s RA Dickey is the latest hurler to stump the Phils. Dickey tossed six shutout innings last night as the Mets pounded the Phils 8-0. In their last three games the Phillies have been shut out twice and nearly no-hit once. In the other game they were shut out through eight innings before scoring three in the bottom of the ninth to turn a blowout into a five-run loss.

Moyer didn’t pitch well in last night’s game, failing to go six innings for the first time this year. The bullpen allowed four runs in three innings. The Phils had plenty of chances to score, but let them all slip away. Most notably, they loaded the bases with nobody out in the second and came away empty. In the seventh, Utley and Howard struck out back-to-back with a man on third and less than two outs.

The Phils have lost five of seven and scored 15 runs over those seven games. In four of the seven they scored one run or zero runs. They’re 26-18 on the season with the loss. They are three games ahead of the second-place Marlins in the division, but just four ahead of the Nats and Mets, who have the same record at the bottom of the division.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He didn’t strike out a batter.

Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a single and Luis Castillo bunted him to second. Reyes stole third and came in to score on a ground out by Jason Bay, putting the Mets up 1-0. Ike Davis flew to center for the third out.

Moyer got David Wright to start the second, but Angel Pagan and Rod Barajas singled back-to-back behind him. It put men on first and third for Jeff Francoeur and Francoeur singled to left, scoring Pagan to put the Mets up 2-0. The pitcher RA Dickey was next and bunted the runners to second and third with two outs. Reyes grounded to third for the third out.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 third.

Wright led off the fourth and hit a ball into shallow center that Victorino didn’t see. It dropped and Wright had a double. Pagan walked to put men on first and second for Barajas. Barajas flew to center deep enough for Wright to go to third. Francoeur was next and he delivered a sac fly too, this one to left. Wright scored and it was 3-0. Dickey flew to right for the third out.

Reyes started the fifth with a pretty bunt single and stole second. Castillo moved him to third with a ground out before Bay singled to left to bring him in and put the Mets up 4-0. Bay stole second and Davis walked. It put men on first and second with one out, but Moyer got Wright on a fly ball to left and Pagan on a fly to center.

Herndon started the sixth after the Phils hit for Moyer in the top of the inning. He allowed a one-out double to Francoeur. Lefty Chris Carter hit for the pitcher Dickey and singled into center, scoring Francoeur to making it 5-0. Herndon got Reyes and Castillo to end the inning.

Herndon came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh. Opponents are hitting .373 against him for the year.

Figueroa started the eighth with the Phils down 5-0. Barajas singled with one out before Francoeur lined to left for the second out. The pitcher Raul Valdes was next and he doubled just out of the reach of Werth. Barajas scored and it was 6-0. Reyes was next and tripled just out of the reach of Werth. 7-0. Castillo singled to left. 8-0. Bay grounded to third to finally end the inning.

Werth was playing really shallow with Valdes at the plate. A little too shallow apparently. That would have been a nice out to have. Figueroa’s ERA for the year is up to 5.09 for the year. He’s allowed runs in two of his last three appearances, giving up five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Herndon threw 30 pitches in the game, Figueroa 29.

The Phillies lineup against righty RA Dickey went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Castro. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL, hitting eighth with Ruiz seventh.

The Phils went in order in the first.

They hit in the top of the second down 1-0. Howard led off and smashed a ball off the arm of Dickey for a single. Dickey stayed in the game and Werth singled as well, sending Howard to second. Ibanez singled to left and the bases were loaded for Ruiz. Ruiz hit a ball back to the mound. Dickey fielded and threw home to start the double-play with Barajas going to first for the second out. Castro walked to load the bases again, but Moyer struck out swinging to turn the Phillies away.

No run in the inning on three hits and a walk. That’s tough to do.

Victorino started the third with a walk with the Phillies down 2-0. Polanco hit a ground ball to second and Victorino was forced for the first out. Utley struck out before Howard sent Polanco to second with a single. Werth walked to load the bases yet again, but Ibanez lined to short to leave them all stranded.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

They were losing 3-0 when they hit in the fifth. Polanco singled with one out. Utley followed and grounded to second with Polanco forced for the second out. Howard flew to center to set the Phillies down.

It was 4-0 in the sixth. Ibanez and Ruiz singled back-to-back with one out. It put men on first and second for Castro and he lined to Davis at first for the second out. With the righty Dickey still pitching for the Mets, Dobbs hit for Moyer and struck out swinging 1-2.

Lefty Raul Valdes started the seventh with a 5-0 lead. Victorino led off with a walk and moved to third when Polanco followed with a double. Utley struck out and Howard struck out. Werth got to hit against the lefty and hit a ground ball in the hole between third and short. Wright made a nice play to field the ball diving to his left and threw Werth out at first to end the frame.

That’s awful. No run for the Phils when Utley and Howard both strike out with a man on third and less than two outs.

Castro walked with two outs in the eighth. With the lefty Valdes still on the mound for the Mets, Francisco hit for Herndon and popped to Reyes to leave Castro stranded.

Polanco singled off of Valdes with one out in the ninth, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with two walks in the game. It’s tempting to blame the offensive woes on the .310 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot, but Victorino is hitting 280/356/548 so far in May.

Polanco was 3-for-5 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit for the Phils in the game.

Utley 0-for-5.

Howard 2-for-5.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk.

Ibanez 2-for-4. He’s hitting 214/283/357 against lefties this season.

Ruiz 1-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-17.

Castro was 0-for-2 with two walks, giving him four for the season.

Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.06) faces lefty Hisanori Takahashi (3-1, 2.53) tonight in game two of the series. Blanton has been very good early in the game this year and very bad late. So far the results are bad overall. Takahashi has made 15 relief appearances and one start on the season. The start came on Saturday against the Yankees and he threw six shutout innings. He does walk a lot of righties, though. They are hitting 241/347/373 against him for the season.

Some words about Brad Lidge and how good he feels here. The article suggests he could be activated next week.


Phils extend their Halladay from good baseball

It looks like ugly has gone and flipped on us again.

With the exception of a really nice start from Cole Hamels, not much went well for the Phillies this weekend against the Boston Red Sox. Kendrick and Halladay both had ugly outings, with Halladay’s start particularly worrisome given his recent pitch counts. The Phils were shut out and nearly no-hit in game two of the series. They were nearly shut out again in yesterday’s game before they put three runs on the board in the bottom of the ninth.

They also lost Jimmy Rollins again. Rollins pulled up lame after singling in the sixth inning of game one and left with a right calf strain. His most recent trip to the DL ensures we’ll be seeing more of Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez manning short in the next few weeks.

The Phillies are 26-17 after dropping two of three to the Red Sox this weekend. They have lost four of six and scored 15 runs in their last six games. They still have a 3 1/2 game lead in the NL East, but we should all keep an eye on the Braves who are now in second place and have won seven of their last ten.

The Phils won game one 5-1 behind a great start by Hamels, but lost Rollins. Rollins pulled up with an injury to his right calf after singling in the sixth inning and is back on the DL. Hamels was fantastic in the game, holding the Red Sox to a run on three hits and a walk over seven innings. Howard and Werth homered early for the Phils and Herndon, Baez and Contreras combined to keep Boston off the board after Hamels left the game.

Almost getting no-hit by Daisuke Matsuzaka was the story of game two. Castro’s looping single just out of the reach of Marco Scutaro was the only hit of the game for the Phils. Kendrick got the start for the Phils and didn’t pitch well, allowing five runs and exiting before the end of the fifth.

Halladay didn’t pitch well in game three and the Phils lost 8-3. They were nearly shut out again, too, but avoided that with three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Dobbs made a big error at third with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, turning an inning-ending double-play into an inning extender and helping the Red Sox plate a pair of runs. Halladay just wasn’t good, though, allowing seven runs over 5 2/3 innings coming off a 132-pitch outing. Gload delivered another pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth, driving in two of the three runs in the game for the Phils.

Hamels got the start in game one and went seven innings, allowing a run on three hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight. In four starts in May he’s 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA.

Kendrick started game two. He went 4 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs on eight hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He has a 5.66 ERA for the year. Lefties are hitting 344/414/594 against him.

Halladay started game three and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits and two walks. Only six of the runs were earned. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double, a triple and a home run. He struck out just one. The Phillies are 0-3 in the last three games Halladay has started and continue to play miserable defense behind him.

Manuel and Halladay both seem sure that 132-pitches in his previous start and 121 the start before that weren’t a factor. I’m not.

Bastardo entered game two in the fifth inning with two outs, a man on second and the Phils down 5-0. He struck out Jeremy Hermida to end the frame. He came back and got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 sixth to set down the bottom of the Boston order.

Romero entered in the ninth inning of game one with one out, men on first and second and the Phillies up 5-1. He got JD Drew on a ground out to first that moved the runners to second and third for the first out. He then hit Adrian Beltre with a pitch. It brought the tying run to the plate. With the lefty Romero on the mound, the lefty David Oritz hit for the righty Bill Hall. Romero got Ortiz on a fly ball to center to end the game.

Romero also pitched the eighth inning of game three. He allowed a single to Adrian Beltre to start the inning before getting Jeremy Hermida on a ground out for the first out. Marco Scutaro drew a walk to put men on first and second, but the pitcher Tim Wakefield couldn’t bunt and struck out for the second out and Romero got Jacoby Ellsbury looking to leave both men stranded.

Righties are now hitting .181 and slugging .181 against Romero for the year but on-basing .400.

Herndon pitched the eighth inning of game one with a 5-1 lead and set the Red Sox down in order. He also pitched the ninth inning of game two with the Phils down 5-0. He walked Mike Lowell with one out but got the two hitters behind him. He has a 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 ratio in five appearances in May. Opponents are still hitting .390 against him for the season.

Durbin pitched in game three. He entered in the sixth with two outs and a man on first and the Phillies down 7-0. He got Dustin Pedroia to pop to first for the third out. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Durbin has made nine appearances this month and nine of them has been good. Overall he’s thrown to a 2.61 ERA in May while allowing four hits and four walks over 10 1/3 innings.

Figueroa threw a 1-2-3 seventh in game two with the Phillies down 5-0. He came back for the eighth and allowed a two-out single to Hermida before getting Jason Varitek on a hard hit ground ball to first for the third out.

Baez started the ninth inning of game one with a 5-1 lead. He got the leadoff man before allowing a single to Victor Martinez and a walk to Kevin Youkilis. Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Drew.

He also pitched yesterday in game three, entering to pitch the ninth with the Phillies down 7-0. Pedroia walked to start the inning and moved to third when Victor Martinez followed with a double. Youkilis flew to right for the first out. Darnell McDonald hit for JD Drew and reached with the help of a Hoover error on a rundown to load the bases. Beltre delivered a sac fly to make it 8-0 before Baez got Hermida on a ground ball to end the inning.

The run was unearned thanks to the error. Baez has a 1.23 ERA over his last eight appearances, but opponents are hitting .345 against him in those games.

Contreras did not pitch in the series.

Nobody in the bullpen has pitched more than one day in a row and the Phillies don’t play today. Baez threw 20 pitches yesterday and Romero and Durbin each threw 18.

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

Victorino was 2-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. He’s hitting 257/308/475 for the year.

Polanco didn’t start yesterday and went 0-for-7 with two walks in the series. 298/333/444 for the year.

Utley was 3-for-10 with a triple and two walks in the set. 307/429/587 for the year and 343/427/629 so far in May.

Howard was 2-for-9 with a home run and two walks in the series. 299/351/486 on the year. He’s on pace to hit 30 home runs.

Werth was 4-for-11 with two doubles and a home run. 327/401/647 for the season. He’s walked once in his last 29 at-bats. Still on pace to hit 83 doubles, which would be a lot compared to other people who have played baseball in the past.

Ibanez was 2-for-9 with two doubles and two walks. 245/349/403 for the year. 220/289/366 against lefties for the year.

Rollins was 1-for-3 with a walk in game one before hitting the DL again. He is at 341/462/634 in 41 at-bats for the season. Castro took over for Rollins at short and was 2-for-8 with a double in the set. He’s hitting 260/272/312 for the year.

Ruiz started the first two games of the series and was 0-for-8 in the series with three strikeouts. 297/429/406 on the year. He’s 0-for-his-last-13.

Hoover started yesterday’s game. He was 0-for-3 in the series and is 5-for-18 for the year. He made a throwing error in a rundown in yesterday’s game.

Dobbs started at third yesterday and made a key error. He was 0-for-6 with a strikeout in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-21 and hitting 154/233/308. He’s hitting 228/283/368 since the end of 2008.

Gload was 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI in the series. He’s 7-for-29 on the year.

Francisco was 0-for-1 in the series and is just 1-for-8 in May.

No game today.

Jamie Moyer (5-3, 4.30) faces righty RA Dickey (0-0, 3.00) tomorrow in New York as the Phils start a three-game set with the Mets. Moyer has been great in two of his last three starts and has gone at least six innings in every start this year. Dickey has made one start on the year and held the Nats to two runs over six innings.

Wilson Valdez is back on the roster, taking the spot left when Rollins went on the DL.

Brian Schneider should be back for tomorrow’s game.


Phils happy to swap a two-game streak of losing ugly for a one-game streak of winning ugly

If we can just get ugly on our side once and for all I think everything should be fine.

It took more than one player to get the Phils into their mini-skid. It wasn’t particularly pretty, but yesterday it took more than one to pull them out of it.

Jimmy Rollins, moved down in the order with Victorino hitting leadoff, delivered the big blow of the game, a three-run homer off of Ryan Dempster in the sixth. Blanton again pitched well early but struggled late. The Cubs tied the game in the top of the eighth before Ibanez untied it in the bottom of the inning with a big RBI-single off a lefty. Jose Contreras was the final Phil who got a chance to shine. He entered the ninth with a one-run lead and nailed down his second save. Not without some drama, though. The Cubs put men on first and third with nobody out, but Contreras powered through, striking out the next two hitters before getting a popup to end the game.

The Phillies are 25-15 on the year after beating the Cubs 5-4 yesterday afternoon.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out three.

He set the first nine Cubs down in order, striking out Geovany Soto and pitcher Ryan Dempster to end the third.

He struck out Kosuke Fukudome to start the fourth, pitching with 1-0 lead. Ryan Theriot was next and he hit the ball hard, but Polanco fielded and threw to first for the second out. Derrek Lee hit a ball to third, too. Polanco had a lot of time, but his throw to first was high. Howard went up to get it, but lost the ball trying to tag Lee. The drop allowed Lee to take second and Polanco was charged with an error. Blanton got Marlon Byrd on a ground ball to third to end the frame and leave Lee stranded.

Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth. He hit a foul ball down the first base line. Howard looked like he had it lined up, then looked down to check his feet and lost it in the sun. The ball dropped and Soriano was still alive. He hit a double to left for the first hit of the game for Chicago. Mike Fontenot was next and he moved Soriano to third with a ground out. Starlin Castro was next and he lined a single to right, scoring Soriano to tie the score at 1-1. Koylie Hill hit into a double-play behind Castro to set Chicago down.

That would have been a nice out to have on the foul ball.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

He started the seventh with a 4-1 lead and gave up leadoff homer to Lee. 4-2. He got Byrd to ground out for the second out before Soriano walked on four pitches. Fontenot and Castro singled back-to-back and the bases were loaded. Lefty Tyler Colvin hit for Koylie Hill. Blanton stayed in to pitch to him and Colvin hit a fly ball to center deep enough to score Soriano and move Fontenot to third with the score 4-3. Righty Xavier Nady hit for the pitcher Dempster and Blanton got him on a pop to short for the third out.

That’s a lot Blanton. Manuel kept him in to pitch to the lefty in the seventh with the bases loaded after the home run to Lee, after the four-pitch walk to Soriano and after the back-to-back singles. Castro didn’t hit the ball well, just a well-placed infield single. Still, that’s too long and the Phillies were lucky to get out of the inning with the lead.

Just to prove my point, Bastardo started the eighth inning and gave up a homer to the lefty Fukudome, tying the game at 4-4. Baez came in and got the next three hitters to finish the frame.

Contreras was on in the ninth to protect a 5-4 lead. Soriano led off and, with the count 3-2, Contreras hit him in the eleventh pitch of his at-bat. Fontenot was next and he worked the count full as well before he sent Soriano to third with a single. Contreras struck Castro out for the first out. Righty Aramis Ramirez hit for the pitcher John Grabow and Contreras struck him out swinging 3-2 as Fontenot stole second. Soto popped to Howard to end the game.

Quite a finish for Contreras, setting down three in a row and keeping the Cubs off the board after Chicago puts men on first and third with nobody out.

Contreras threw 31 pitches in the game. Baez 11 and Bastardo four.

Baez has allowed one run on eight hits and two walks over nine innings in his last nine appearances. It’s dropped his ERA on the year from 9.00 to 5.00.

The Phillies lineup against righty Ryan Dempster went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rollins (6) Ibanez (7) Gload (8) Hoover. Werth on the bench against the tough righty with Gload in right. Hoover catches the day game after a night game. Rollins hits fifth in the lineup this time, with Victorino and Polanco still at the top of the order.

With two outs in the first, Utley homered to right on an 0-1 pitch to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard walked behind him but Rollins struck out to end the inning.

Ibanez started the second with a single. Gload flew to left and Hoover hit into a double-play.

Polanco reached on an infield single with two outs in the third, but Utley flew to center behind him.

Howard, Rollins and Ibanez went down on three fly balls in the fourth.

The Phils went in order in the fifth with the score tied at 1-1.

Polanco doubled to left with one out in the sixth and Utley walked behind him. Howard hit a fly ball to center deep enough for the runners to both move up a base. It put men on second and third with two outs for Rollins. Rollins got ahead 3-0 and blasted a pitch out to right for a three-run homer that put the Phillies on top 4-1. Ibanez struck out swinging to end the inning.

Score one for hitting Rollins down in the order. If you want to read more articles than you can imagine about Rollins getting a 3-0 green light, they’re out there waiting for you.

With lefty James Russell on the mound for the Cubs and the lead cut to 4-3, Francisco hit for Gload to start the seventh and singled to left. Hoover flew to right for the first out and Werth hit for Blanton. Righty Jeff Stevens came in to pitch to him and got Werth and Victorino on fly balls to leave Francisco stranded.

The game was tied at 4-4 when the Phils hit in the eighth. Polanco grounded to short for the first out. Lefty John Grabow came in to deal with Utley and Howard. He walked Utley and got Howard on a fly ball to left. Rollins drew a walk and it put men on first and second with two down for Ibanez. Ibanez singled to right and Utley slid in just ahead of the throw to put the Phils up 5-4. The Cubs might have had Utley at the plate with a great throw from Fukudome, but his throw came in on the first base side of the plate. With men on first and third, Castro hit for Baez and grounded to short.

Big hit for Ibanez against the lefty. He ended the day hitting 220/289/366 against lefties for the season. In 2009, he hit 285/359/639 against left-handed pitching.

Victorino was 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-12 and his on-base percentage is down to .308 for the year.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a double. He’s 3-for-his-last-8 and slugging .506 in May.

Utley was 1-for-2 with his tenth home run and two walks. He’s 2-for-5 with three walks and a home run since missing the games with the flu.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and is hitting 342/400/479 in May but with just three home runs. He’s on pace to hit 28 home runs and walk 45 times.

Rollins 1-for-3 with a walk and a three-run homer. He’s hitting 342/458/658 in 38 at-bats for the year and is 4-for-15 with a double and a home run since coming off the DL.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a big single and an RBI.

Gload 0-for-2. Francisco was 1-for-1 with a single, his first hit in May.

Hoover 0-for-3.

Cole Hamels (4-2, 4.29) faces righty John Lackey (4-2, 4.86) tonight in Philadelphia as the Phils play the first of three with Boston. Lackey has allowed 11 earned runs in 13 innings over his last two starts. He has walked 21 batters in 50 innings for the season. Hamels has been very good in two of his last three starts. Righties are still pounding him on the year, though. They are hitting 327/376/536 against him overall.


Ancient art

Jamie Moyer has been a treat to watch over this last couple of starts, tossing two gems in three outings. After allowing 11 hits over 22 1/3 innings in those games, Moyer’s got some nifty numbers for the year as well. His ERA for the season is down to 4.30 and he’s sporting a sparkling 1.05 ratio. Compared to the last couple of years, his walk rate is down and his hit rate is down. Opponents are hitting .231 against him for the season. Righties are slugging .375 against him after slugging .496 against him in 2009.

It didn’t help the Phils much last night. For the second game in a row, the Phillies couldn’t get their offense going and wasted a great performance from a starting pitcher. The Phillies have scored two runs in their last two games and have one extra-base hit.

Charlie Manuel didn’t have a particularly good game, either, and that’s two in a row. With a bullpen full of rested righties, Manuel let Chad Durbin pitch too long and then let Romero pitch to a righty with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth in a 2-1 game. Xavier Nady delivered a two-run single into center off of Romero that turned a 2-1 game into a 4-1 game. The lineup is also funky. Manuel had Ibanez hitting seventh last night with a lefty on the mound for the Cubs, with Rollins sixth. On a team that has four regulars on-basing over .400, the lineup featured a leadoff man with a .315 on-base percentage for the season and a two-hitter who ended the day on-basing .335.

The Phillies are 24-15 after losing to the Chicago Cubs 4-1 last night.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out seven.

He walked Derrek Lee with two outs in the first, but got Marlon Byrd to ground out behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 second.

He struck out Geovany Soto and pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to start the third before Ryan Theriot singled to left. Theriot stole second with Starlin Castro at the plate and came in to score when Castro singled to left on a ball deflected by Polanco. His run put the Cubs up 1-0. Lee grounded to third to leave Castro stranded.

Moyer struck out Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano in a 1-2-3 fourth.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth.

He got the first two in the seventh before Soriano lined a double to left. Jeff Baker was next and he singled into left on another ball deflected by Polanco. Soriano scored to put Chicago up 2-0. Soto grounded to short for the third out.

Durbin pitched the eighth and allowed an infield single to Castro with two outs, but picked him off of first to end the frame.

He was back to start the ninth with the lead cut to 2-1. He walked Lee to start the inning and hit Byrd on the leg with a pitch. It put men on first and second with nobody out and he struck out Ramirez for the first out. Soriano walked, though, and it loaded the bases for lefty Tyler Colvin. Romero came in to pitch to him and struck him out for the second out. Righty Xavier Nady hit for the pitcher Carlos Zambrano and Romero stayed in to pitch to him. Nady singled into center, scoring two runs to make it 4-1 with men on first and second. Romero struck out Koylie Hill to leave both runners stranded.

Nice to see Romero get the strikeout of the lefty with one out and the bases loaded. It sure would have been a swell time to bring a righty in to pitch to the right-handed Nady, though. Baez, Contreras, Figueroa and Herndon were presumably all available in the pen. Given all those righties in the pen, it sure seems like Manuel let Durbin pitch for a while.

Durbin threw 28 pitches in the game, Moyer 12.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Tom Gorzelanny went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. Utley returns to the lineup and the three-hole after battling the flu. With the lefty on the mound, Manuel drops Ibanez to seventh in the order and hits Rollins sixth. I think Rollins will be back hitting leadoff soon against both righties and lefties.

The Phillies went in order in the first.

Howard single to start the second. Werth struck out behind him for the first out before Rollins moved him to second with a single. Ibanez flew to center for the second out with Howard tagging and going to third. Ruiz was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Moyer, but Moyer struck out swinging to end the inning.

They went in order in the third, with Theriot making a nice play on an Utley ground ball to rob him of a hit for the third out.

The didn’t have a base runner in the fourth or fifth.

Victorino walked to start the sixth and stole second after Polanco flew to right for the first out. Utley drew a walk, too, and it put men on first and second for Howard. Howard struck out and Werth flew to right.

Ibanez singled with the one out in the seventh and the Phillies down 2-0. Ruiz was next and he smashed a line drive off the body of Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny made a remarkable play to get the ball and flip to first to get Ruiz as Ibanez went to second, but the pitcher had to leave the game. Lefty John Grabow came in to pitch and Francisco hit for Moyer. Francisco struck out swinging to leave Ibanez stranded at second.

Polanco doubled to left with one out in the eighth. Utley followed and blooped a ball over the first baseman’s head and into right for a single that sent Polanco to third. With one out and men on first and third, Grabow was still on the mound to pitch to Howard. Howard hit a ball slowly down the third base line and Grabow made a great play to get to the ball and throw a laser to first to nip Howard for the second out. Polanco scored to cut the lead to 2-1 with Utley going to first. Righty Carlos Zambrano came in and got Werth to ground to short to end the inning.

Righty Carlos Marmol was on the mound to start the ninth with a 4-1 lead. Ibanez walked with one out and Ruiz was hit by a pitch behind him. Gload hit for Romero, coming to the plate as they tying run, but struck out for the second out. Marmol struck Victorino out swinging to end the game.

Victorino was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-12 with three singles and a walk.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a double, which is the only extra-base hit for the Phillies in the last two games. He’s 2-for-his-last-12 with a walk.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a single.

Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI. He was almost safe on his dribbler off of Grabow in the seventh.

Werth was 0-for-4 and struck out twice.

Rollins 1-for-4.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-15 with three singles.

Ruiz was 0-for-2. He’s got just one walk in his last five games, which has his pace for the year down to 91.

Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.49) faces righty Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.49) this afternoon. Blanton has pitched very well early in the game in his three starts and gotten into trouble late in the game. On May 3 he allowed four runs, all of which came in the seventh. On May 8, he allowed three runs, all of which came in the sixth. On May 13 he allowed five — one in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh. Dempster has walked 19 in 56 2/3 innings, but he’s struck out 55 and opponents are hitting .210 against him.


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