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.