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.
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.