Archive for May, 2010

Holy pitch count, Batman!

Roy Halladay’s 132nd pitch of last night’s game, it turns out, was beautiful and got the job done. It was a fantastic 3-2 curve ball that Delwyn Young flailed at wildly to end the ninth inning. That’s a lot of pitches to throw in a game, but at least the Phillies won the World Series. No? The NLCS? Nope. Division? Nope. Uh, the game? Nope.

Coming off a start where he had thrown 121 pitches, Halladay threw 132 last night. The Phillies lost both of those games. Over his last four starts, Halladay has thrown at least 118 pitches in every start and an average of 122.5 pitches per game.

To recap, the situation for the Phils is not exactly urgent. After losing last night the Phillies are ten games above .500 in the middle of May and leading the division by four games.

With the possible exception of Halladay, the pitchers aren’t exactly overworked, either. Over the last eight days they’ve played six games and had two days when they didn’t play at all. It’s not like the bullpen is getting hammered. There are three guys out there who have thrown less than three innings so far this month: Figueroa, Herndon and Romero.

I mean, what the hell?

The Phillies are 24-14 on the year after losing to the Pirates 2-1 last night. The teams split the two-game set.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went nine innings, allowing two runs on nine hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out six.

The Phillies were terrible defensively behind him last night. They made three errors and dropped a foul ball. It didn’t help his pitch count.

He struck out Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen in a 1-2-3 first.

With two outs in the second, Ryan Doumit and Andy LaRoche doubled back-to-back to put Pittsburgh up 1-0. Halladay got Ronny Cedeno to pop to first for the third out.

He threw a 1-2-3 third.

Garrett Jones singled with one out in the fourth, but Halladay got Ryan Church to hit into a double-play behind him.

With one out in the fifth, LaRoche smashed a ball to third that Polanco didn’t handle for an error. Cedeno was next and he hit a double-play ball, but Castro didn’t handle that one either and the Pirates had two men on thanks to the Phillies’s second error in two batters. The pitcher Zach Duke bunted, but Halladay made a very nice play to get the lead runner at third. Halladay got to the bunt quickly and made a strong throw to third as LaRoche slid in hard. It put men on first and second with two outs for Delwyn Young and Halladay got Young to ground to second to leave them both stranded.

Polanco’s error came on a ball that LaRoche really smashed. It looked like Castro had an easier play but got an odd hop.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Halladay started the sixth. Milledge led off with an infield single and moved to second when McCutchen followed with a single. Jones was next and he lined a single to right. Werth came up throwing as Milledge tried to score from second. The play at the plate was very close, but Ruiz didn’t hold the ball as he put the tag on Milledge. The run scored to make it 2-1 with Jones going to third on the error by Ruiz, the third of the game for the Phils. Halladay got Church on a fly ball to center with Jones holding third for the second out. Doumit flew to right to leave him stranded.

Three errors in two innings for the Phils. That’s too many.

Cedeno doubled into the right field corner with one out in the seventh. Lefty Akinori Iwamura hit for the pitcher Duke and grounded back to the mound for the second out with Cedeno holding second. Young grounded to second for the third out.

Duke had allowed one run through six innings and thrown 94 pitches.

McCutchen dumped a single in front of Victorino with one out in the eighth. Jones was next and he singled into right, sending McCutchen to third. Halladay stayed in to pitch to another lefty Church and Halladay got Church to hit into a double-play to end the frame.

I was sure Manuel had made a mistake letting Halladay stay in to pitch to the lefty Church. Was wrong. More bad defense from the Phils in the inning. Halladay got Milledge on a ground ball to second for the first out of the inning, but only after Howard had a wind-blown foul ball go off his glove for a non-out.

Halladay was back for the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Doumit. Doumit was running as LaRoche grounded to second. Polanco made a nice play there, diving to field the ball and throw to first for the first out with Doumit safe at second. Halladay struck Cedeno out swinging for the second out. Lefty Jeff Clement hit for the pitcher Joel Hanrahan and drew a walk on five pitches. Halladay had thrown 126 pitches in the game. Manuel came to the mound and left Halladay in the game to pitch to switch-hitter Delwyn Young. Halladay got behind 2-0 and struck him out swinging at a 3-2 curve ball to leave both runners stranded.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Zach Duke went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Francisco (7) Ruiz (8) Castro. Utley out again with the flu. Castro plays second. Victorino stays in the leadoff spot with Rollins hitting third. My guess is that Rollins goes back to the leadoff spot when Utley returns to the lineup with Victorino back hitting seventh. Francisco gets the start in left against the lefty with Ibanez on the bench.

They went in order in the first.

Down 1-0, Howard singled to start the second. Werth struck out and Francisco hit into a double-play.

The Phils went in order in the third and again in the fourth.

Howard singled again to start the fifth. Werth was next and he singled, too, sending Howard to second. Francisco struck out for the first out before Ruiz walked to load the bases for Castro. Castro singled into center. Howard scored to tie the game at 1-1, but McCutchen threw Werth out trying to score for the second out. Halladay struck out with men on second and third to end the inning.

Victorino led off the sixth with a single with the Phils trailing 2-1. Polanco struck out for the first out. Rollins was next and he hit a double-play ball to third. The Pirates got one, but Young dropped the ball transferring to make the throw to first. It put Rollins on first with two outs for Howard and Howard singled to right. A walk to Werth loaded the bases for Francisco. Francisco grounded hard to LaRoche to end the inning.

Third hit for Howard in three at-bats in the game against the lefty Duke. Francisco had left six men on base through six innings.

With one out in the seventh, Dobbs hit for Castro with the righty Evan Meek now pitching for Pittsburgh. Dobbs drew a walk. Halladay hit for himself with the Phils still down 2-1 and struck out trying to bunt. Victorino grounded to second for the third out.

Halladay hits for himself in the seventh having thrown 99 pitches. Gload and Ibanez on the bench for the Phils and stay there.

Righty Joel Hanrahan got Polanco to ground to third to start the eighth. Rollins ripped a 2-2 pitch down the right field line but foul and then popped to Cedeno in shallow left. Hanrahan stayed in to pitch to Howard and struck him out on an awful pitch down and in to end the inning.

Letting the righty Hanrahan pitch to Howard in a 2-1 game in the bottom of the eighth is mad kooky. That’ll never work.

Righty Octavio Dotel started the ninth for Pittsburgh and struck Werth out on three straight fastballs. Two of them were high and Werth swung and missed. Ibanez hit for Francisco and grounded to first on an 0-1 pitch. Ruiz flew to left to end the game.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Polanco 0-for-4.

Rollins 0-for-4.

Howard 3-for-4 with three singles. Nice to see him getting hits against the lefty. Three hits against Duke has him hitting .262 against lefties for the year. He’s hitting 438/486/625 overall over his last 35 plate appearances.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. He had a bad at-bat against Dotel trying to tie the game up in the ninth. No problem with him trying to hit a home run, but he picked some pitches that made it pretty tough to do.

Francisco was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and six men left on base.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk.

Castro 1-for-2 with an RBI.

The Phillies didn’t have an extra-base hit in the game.

Jamie Moyer (5-2, 4.57) faces lefty Tom Gorzelanny (1-4, 3.60) tonight. Moyer has made one fantastic start in his last four. In the other three he has allowed 14 runs in 18 1/3 innings. Gorzelanny has been good but comes off of his worst start of the season in which he allowed five runs to the Pirates in five innings. He has struck out 26 over 18 innings in his last three starts.

Brian Schneider should be back on Monday.


Cheaper by the dozen

The Phillies got their catcher and their shortstop back last night and it looked like they had never been gone. The Phils pounded Charlie Morton and the Pirates, scoring a dozen runs as the Phils won for the twelfth time in fifteen May games.

Rollins had two hits and a walk in his return and Werth and Howard combined to drive in ten runs. Kyle Kendrick pitched very well. He still has ugly numbers for the season, but has now been very good in two of his last three starts.

The Phillies are 24-13 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-2 last night.

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

Delwyn Young hit Kendrick’s fourth pitch of the game out to right to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. Kendrick got the next two before Garrett Jones singled to right. Ryan Church popped to short for the third out.

It was 1-1 when Kendrick started the second. He walked Ryan Doumit to start the inning, but then got the next three to leave him stranded.

He set the top of the Pittsburgh order down 1-2-3 in the third.

He struck out Jones and Church to start the fourth before Doumit singled. Kendrick got Jeff Clement to ground to Howard to end the frame.

He had a 6-1 lead when he started the fifth. Ronny Cedeno led off with a double to left and lefty Akinori Iwamura hit for the pitcher Charlie Morton. Iwamura hit a soft ground ball back to the mound. Cedeno went to third as Kendrick took the first out at first. Young followed with a ground ball to second and Cedeno scored to make it 6-2. Andy LaRoche grounded to short for the third out.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

He allowed a leadoff single to Doumit to start the seventh with a 7-2 lead, but got Jeff Clement to hit into a double-play behind Doumit. Cedeno grounded to second for the third out.

Young reached on a fielding error by Kendrick with one out in the eighth. Kendrick got LaRoche to fly to center for the second out before Young stole second. Andrew McCutchen flew to center to leave him stranded.

Bastardo, who took Lidge’s roster spot, pitched the ninth inning with a ten-run lead and set the Pirates down in order.

Twelve pitches in the game for Bastardo. He has now allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings in eight appearances for the year.

The Phillies lineup against righty Charlie Morton went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Utley was out with the flu, so Polanco played second and Dobbs third. Rollins was back in the lineup for the first time since injuring himself before the start of the game on April 12. Ruiz back behind the plate after missing the series in Milwaukee. Victorino stays in the leadoff spot with Rollins back in the lineup.

The Phillies were down 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Victorino singled, stole second and moved to third on a ground out by Polanco. Rollins hit a ball to first for the second out and Victorino scored to tie the game at 1-1. Howard flew to left for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Ruiz started the third with an infield single. Kendrick tried to bunt him to second, but popped the bunt up to the pitcher for the first out. Victorino was hit by a pitch and Polanco followed with a single that loaded the bases. Rollins popped to the shortstop Cedeno in shallow left and everybody held. Howard was next and he chopped a single into left. Ruiz and Victorino scored (3-1) and Polanco went to third. Werth lined a 3-2 pitch out to right for a three-run homer that made it 6-1 before Ibanez flew to right to end the inning.

No RBI for Rollins with one out and the bases loaded.

Dobbs started the fourth with a single and stole second after Ruiz struck out for the first out. Kendrick tried to bunt and again couldn’t do it, striking out for the second out. Victorino lined to first for the third out.

Second time in the game that Kendrick couldn’t bunt.

It was 6-2 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. Rollins singled with one out, but Howard struck out behind him and Werth flew to left.

Ibanez started the sixth with a single and moved to second when Dobbs followed with a ground out. Ruiz grounded to short for the second out with Ibanez holding second. Kendrick hit for himself and hit a ball to center. McCutchen charged and lined it up, but the ball went off his glove for an error. Ibanez scored to put the Phillies up 7-2. Victorino again lined to first to end the inning.

Nice hustle by Ibanez, running all the way on the ball that should have been caught.

Rollins doubled to right with one out in the seventh. Lefty and former Phil Jack Taschner came in to pitch to Howard and Howard singled, sending Rollins to third. Werth got to hit against the lefty, too, and he blasted a ball almost out to center that went off the wall for a double. Rollins scored to make it 8-2 with men on second and third and one out. Ibanez and Dobbs both grounded to first to leave both men stranded.

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

Ruiz lined to left to start the eighth. With the lefty Taschner still on the mound for Pittsburgh, Francisco hit for Kendrick and grounded to short for the second out. The Phillies then loaded the bases on a single by Victorino and walks to Polanco and Rollins. Howard hit a 2-1 pitch from Taschner out to center for a grand slam, putting the Phils ahead 12-2. Werth flew to left for the third out.

They sure let Taschner pitch a long time. He went 1 2/3 innings in the game and allowed four hits and two walks.

Victorino was 2-for-4 in the game and scored three runs. He’s 10-for-his-last-19 and hitting 343/397/701 in May. He leads the team with 32 RBI. How? I have no idea. I think it’s a fine question, though. He’s second on the team in total bases behind Werth.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a walk. He’s 7-for-his-last-15.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double in his return to the lineup. He’s 11-for-27 (.407) on the year.

Howard was 3-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBI. He’s 11-for-his-last-28.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI. He’s on pace to drive in 136 runs with 35 homers and 88 doubles. That would be an unusually high number of doubles for a player to hit in a season.

Ibanez was 1-for-4. He’s 4-for-his-last-23.

Dobbs 1-for-4 to raise his average on the year to .182.

Ruiz was 1-for-4.

Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.59) faces lefty Zach Duke (2-4, 5.56) tonight in game two. Halladay comes off of a 121-pitch outing in Colorado. Duke has allowed 27 runs in 26 1/3 innings over his last five starts. Opponents are hitting .358 against him in those outings and .319 for the year.


Nothing but sweep on tap for the Brewers in Milwaukee

What’s it going to take to fluster the Phils this year? The world may never know. Apparently it’s not losing their closers, shortstop, catchers or third or fourth starters. Down to their third and fourth closers, their fourth shortstop and third catcher, they looked pretty comfortable sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee this weekend.

The guys filling in did more than just fill in. Wilson Valdez sparkled defensively at short. He and backup backup catcher Paul Hoover combined to hit .400 in the series (10-for-25). The middle of the order didn’t do a ton, but Victorino and Polanco paced the offense by going 14-for-29 (.483) at the top.

The battered bullpen did its part, too. Brad Lidge hit the DL in the series, but Jose Contreras and JC Romero looked just fine working the ninth with both Lidge and Ryan Madson on the shelf. Contreras and Romero nailed down a pair of saves in the series — between them they allowed a hit and a walk over 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Overall, the bullpen allowed one run in seven innings in the series.

The Phils are 23-13 after a three-game sweep of the Brewers in Milwaukee. They have won 11 of their last 14 and lead the NL in wins in winning percentage.

The Phillies won the first game 9-5. Moyer got the start and didn’t pitch very well, but the Phillies got home runs from Werth, Utley and Howard and Victorino went 3-for-5 with three RBI. The game was tied at 3-3 before the Phils scored three in the fourth on a homer by Ibanez and a two-run triple from Victorino. Victorino and Polanco drove in runs in the sixth as the Phillies extended the lead to 8-3. Herndon, Baez and Contreras combined to throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings after Moyer left in the seventh.

They won game two 10-6. Blanton pitched well early and the Phils took a 4-2 lead into the top of the seventh. Paul Hoover had a two-run double in the seventh and the Phillies scored five times. Blanton took the mound in the bottom of the seventh with a 9-2 lead, but allowed a three-run homer to Corey Hart and the Brewers were back in the game at 9-5. The Phillies extended the lead to 10-5 in the top of the eighth. Herndon tried to nail it down in the bottom of the ninth but faced four batters and allowed two doubles and a single. Contreras came in and the Brewers brought the tying run to the plate, but Contreras struck Rickie Weeks and Hart to end the game.

Yesterday the Phillies won 4-2. Hamels pitched well and took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth. Casey McGehee and Corey Hart hit back-to-back homers off of him with two outs in the sixth to get the Brewers within one. Durbin, Baez and Romero threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings after Hamels left. Romero set Milwaukee down in order in the ninth to get the save.

Moyer got the start in game one. He went 6 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks. Only four of the runs were earned. He allowed three solo home runs in the game and struck out three.

Blanton started game two and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk. He also allowed three home runs in the game. Four of the six hits he gave up went for extra-bases, a double and three homers. He struck out five.

Hamels started game three and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both solo home runs. He struck out three. He’s 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA over his last three starts.

Romero got the chance to save the game yesterday. He entered to pitch the bottom of the ninth with the Phils up 4-2 and set Milwaukee down in order.

Herndon entered game one to pitch to Rickie Weeks in the bottom of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded. The Phillies were winning 8-3. Weeks hit a ground ball to short. Valdez took it and went to Utley for the second out of the inning, but Utley threw the ball away for an error and two runs scored on the play. Herndon struck out Corey Hart to end the inning.

He also pitched in game two, entering in the bottom of the ninth with a 10-5 lead. He got the leadoff hitter, but the next three batters went double, single, double, which put runners on second and third with one out and the lead cut to 10-6. Manuel gave Herndon the hook and called on Jose Contreras to close out the game.

Baez pitched the eighth inning of game one. He entered with an 8-5 lead and allowed two singles but kept the Brewers off the board.

He also pitched the eighth inning yesterday with a 4-2 lead. He allowed singles to the first two men he faced, putting men on first and second with nobody out. He got McGehee to hit into a double-play and Hart to ground to short. Valdez made two very nice plays in the inning, a strong throw to complete the McGehee double-play and another nice throw to get Hart.

Durbin pitched the eighth inning of game two with a 10-5 lead. He allowed a two-out single to Ryan Braun, but got Prince Fielder to ground to Utley behind him.

He also pitched yesterday, taking over for Hamels with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 3-2 in the seventh. He allowed an infield single to Rickie Weeks before getting Alcides Escobar on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Figueroa did not pitch in the series. He has thrown 1 1/3 innings this month.

Contreras pitched the ninth inning of game one. He allowed a one-out single to Joe Inglett but got the next two.

He also pitched in the second game of the set. He entered with one out and men on second and third and the Phils up 10-6. He walked George Kottaras to load the bases. It brought Weeks to the plate as the tying run, but Contreras struck him out for the second out and then struck Craig Counsell out to end the game. First career save for Contreras.

Lidge did not pitch in the series and went on the DL on Saturday. Bastardo is back up to take his place on the roster.

Durbin has pitched two days in a row, throwing 23 pitches in game two and 15 in game three.

The Phillies scored 23 runs in the three-game set.

Victorino was 8-for-15 with a walk, a double, a triple and a home run in the series. He’s at 269/311/519 for the season. He’s having a monster month — 333/382/714 in May. He’s on pace to hit 36 home runs for the season.

Polanco was 6-for-14 with a double and a walk in the series. He walked in the second game in Colorado and the first game of this set, giving him walks in back-to-back games for the first time on the year. 318/344/473 for the year.

Utley was 3-for-14 with two doubles and a homer. He hasn’t walked in his last 31 plate appearances. 304/421/578 for the season. He made two errors in the first game of the series and is on pace to make 27 for the season.

Howard 4-for-14 with a home run and two walks in the set. 289/337/467 on the year.

Werth 3-for-13 with a double and a walk. 333/414/643. He has 19 doubles through 36 games, which puts him on pace to hit 85.5 doubles over 162 games.

Ibanez was 3-for-12 with a double, three walks and a home run. He’s at 237/345/407 for the year.

Valdez played short in all three games, going 5-for-15 with two doubles and a triple with several nice defensive plays. Still doesn’t have a walk on the season, though. 231/231/365.

Hoover caught all three games and went 5-for-10 with two doubles and three walks. He’s 5-for-12 on the season.

Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez combined to go 13-for-53 (.245) in the series. Victorino, Polanco, Valdez and Hoover were 24-for-54 (.444).

Ruiz didn’t play in the series. Castro didn’t play in the series and got his last at-bat on May 5. Francisco didn’t play and has one at-bat since May 4.

Dobbs 0-for-1 in the set. Gload 0-for-2.

Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.89) faces righty Charlie Morton (1-6, 9.19) tonight. Kendrick needs to get out lefties. Morton needs to get out anyone — opponents are hitting .336 against him.

Jimmy Rollins may be back in the lineup tonight.


Officials postpone game two of double-header in a last ditch effort to keep Miguel Olivo out of the Hall of Fame

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Roy Halladay is going to be great for the Phillies this year. Not every time out, though. Yesterday was one of the days he wasn’t. Pitching on a cold day in Colorado, Halladay allowed a ton of hits in the game and his pitch count got elevated early. He didn’t go seven innings for the first time in eight starts as a Phillie and the Phils lost the game in extra-innings. Miguel Olivo hit Chad Durbin’s first pitch of the tenth out to left to win the game for the Rockies. It was Olivo’s fifth hit of the day.

The Phillies are 20-13 after losing to the Rockies 4-3 in ten innings yesterday.

Halladay started for the Phils and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on ten hits and two walks. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out four and threw 121 pitches in the game.

Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith started the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles. Melvin Mora bunted back to the pitcher for the first out with the runners moving up to second and third. Brad Hawpe was next and he hit a fly ball to left field. Ibanez made a nice sliding catch for the second out, then popped up and tried to throw Gonzalez out tagging from third. Nice play by Ibanez, but Gonzalez was safe and the Rockies led 1-0. Todd Helton walked to put men on first and second for Colorado, but Halladay got Ian Stewart on a fly ball to center to end the inning.

Miguel Olivo led off the second and lined a single to left. Halladay struck Clint Barmes out swinging for the first out and Olivo was gunned down trying to steal with the pitcher Aaron Cook at the plate for the second out. Cook struck out looking to set Colorado down.

Like they did in the first, Gonzalez and Smith singled back-to-back to start the third. Again it put men on first and second for Mora. Mora didn’t bunt this time, though, flying to center for the first out as Gonzalez moved to third. Halladay struck Hawpe out looking at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Helton flew to left for the third out.

Big strikeout of the lefty Hawpe with one out and men on first and third.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Colorado came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Stewart led off with a single. Olivo was next and drove a ball to left-center for a double. Stewart would have scored easily, but the ball bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. With Barmes at the plate, Halladay delivered a pitch that Hoover didn’t handle cleanly. The ball was in the dirt near the plate and Stewart tried to score from third, but Hoover tagged him out easily for the first out. Olivo went to third with one out. Halladay put Barmes in an 1-2 hole, but lost him and the walk put men on first and third for Cook. Cook bunted back to the mound. Halladay fielded, looked Olivo back to third and threw Cook out as Barmes went to second. Gonzalez grounded to first for the third out.

Two gifts in the frame for the Phils. First the ball bounces over the wall on Olivo’s double, which keeps Stewart from scoring easily. Then Stewart gives them an out trying to score on the ball in the dirt. So no run for Colorado with a single, a double and a walk in the inning.

Four innings, four times the Rockies had gotten their leadoff man on base.

Halladay had a 3-1 lead when he started the fifth. With one out, Eric Young Jr, who took over for Mora at second when Mora had to leave the game in the fourth, hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley should have made the play, but the ball went under his glove for his fourth error of the season. Hawpe moved Young to second with a ground out. With Helton at the plate, Halladay delivered a pitch in the dirt that bounced over Hoover and allowed Young to go to third. Helton lined to Werth to end the inning.

Halladay had thrown 92 pitches through five innings.

Olivo singled to left with one out in the sixth. Barmes flew to center for the second out. Righty Ryan Spilborghs hit for the pitcher Cook and grounded to short for the third out.

Gonzalez started the seventh with a single and Smith lined out to left behind him. Young hit a ball to first. Howard fielded and threw to second, but his throw was in the dirt and Valdez couldn’t handle it. Howard was charged with an error and the Rockies had men on first and second with one out. Hawpe blasted a ball over the head of Werth and Werth fumbled it trying to pick it up. Both runners scored, tying the game at 3-3, with Hawpe safe at third with a triple. The play was originally called a double and an error on Werth, but the scoring was changed to get it wrong. With one out and a man on third, Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Helton. Helton lined to Howard for the second out. His fellow lefty Stewart lined to Utley to end the inning.

Two misplays in the inning for the Phils. The ball that Young hit might not have been a double-play given his speed, but it least should have been one. Howard is really, really awful at throwing the ball. Werth should have been charged with an error but wasn’t.

On the plus side, Romero faced two lefties, including one with a man on third and one out, and got them both out. Line drives or not, it looks good in the box score.

Baez started the eighth. Olivo led off with a single and Barmes bunted him to second. Switch-hitter Dexter Fowler hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle and drew a walk. It put men on first and second with one down, but Baez got Gonzalez on a popup to short and Smith on a fly ball to left.

Nice job by Baez to get two lefties with two men on and one out. The Phils were out of left-handed relievers after Romero left the game.

Durbin pitched the ninth and allowed a two-out walk to Helton. He struck Stewart out behind him to end the inning. Valdez made a nice play to get the first out of the inning on a ground ball hit by Young. Colorado manager Jim Tracy was ejected for arguing that Young was safe on the play.

Durbin came back to start the tenth. Olivo hit his first pitch of the inning out to left to give Colorado a 4-3 win.

Durbin threw 23 pitches in the game, Baez 15 and Romero 11. That’s not going to matter with an off-day today, but might have if they actually played two games yesterday.

The Phillies lineup against righty Aaron Cook went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez continues to play short with Rollins on the DL and Castro on the bench. Ruiz stays in the seven-hole despite being one of the hottest hitters in the league.

Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first. It put men on first and second for Howard and Howard hit a double-play ball to Mora at second. Colorado didn’t get two, though, as Mora dropped the ball and had to settle for throwing to first to get Howard as the runners moved to second and third with two down. Werth struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.

The Phils started the second losing 1-0. Cook set Ibanez, Ruiz and Valdez down on three ground balls.

Polanco walked with two outs in the third, but Utley grounded to second behind him.

A walk. To Polanco. Number four on the year. It put him two ahead of Moyer for the season. I’m pretty sure (okay, positive) that Polanco is going to walk more than Moyer for the season, but Moyer’s career walk rate is better. Coming into the games yesterday, Moyer had walked in 33 of his 466 career plate appearances (7.1%) and Polanco had walked in 317 of his 6,156 of his (5.1%). So it’s not even very close. Moyer won’t be able to hang in overall walks for long given that Polanco looks sure to get at least 550 more plate appearances this season.

Howard lined a single to right to start the fourth. Werth was next and he lined a ball into center. Gonzalez took an odd angle trying to track it down and the ball rolled past him. Werth had a double and Howard scored to tie the game at 1-1 with Werth on second and nobody out. Ibanez followed with a walk. Ruiz smashed a ball, but right at Stewart who tagged third and threw to second to complete the double-play. With two outs and a man on first, Valdez doubled to right. Ruiz would have scored, but pulled into third limping. He left the game with Hoover coming in to run for him. Halladay got a chance with two outs and men on second and third, but grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Polanco doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Utley followed and slapped a ball over Stewart’s head at third for a single. Polanco scored to put the Phils up 2-1. Howard lined a single into center and Utley moved to second. Cook hit Werth on the shoulder and the bases were loaded. Ibanez hit a fly ball to left for the second out, deep enough for Utley to tag and score. 3-1 with two down and men on first and second for Hoover. Hoover struck out looking to leave both runners stranded.

Valdez, Halladay and Victorino went in order in the sixth.

Utley singled with one out in the seventh, but Howard and Werth were retired behind him.

Valdez singled to right with two outs in the eighth and the game now tied at 3-3. With righty Matt Belisle on the mound, Dobbs hit for Romero and struck out to drop his average on the year to .179.

The Phils went in order in the ninth.

Howard singled to start the tenth. Werth was next and hit a ground ball to third. Howard was forced at second for the first out. Ibanez hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Victorino was 0-for-5.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a walk and a double.

Utley 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Howard 3-for-5.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a double and four men left on base.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Ruiz 0-for-2 and left the game early. Hoover was 0-for-2 and struck out twice.

Valdez 2-for-4 with a double.

Ruiz is day-to-day with a sprained knee. Things would have gotten pretty interesting if Hoover had gotten hurt yesterday. Even if he hadn’t he probably would have been pretty tired by the end of game two had it happened.

Lidge has been sent back to Philadelphia to have his right elbow examined.

It turns out to be easier to argue that you’re not stealing signs before they photograph your bullpen coach with binoculars.

No game today. The Phils play the Brewers on Friday.


Unexpected terror

There are so many guys playing well for the Phils these days it’s a little tough to single one out. Not impossible, though, at least not for last night’s game. Carlos Ruiz went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI, breaking a 5-5 tie with an RBI-single in the top of the ninth. Ross Gload followed with a pinch-hit three-run homer that blew the game open.

Ruiz has been terrorizing opposing pitchers all year long. He’s hitting 354/481/488 for the season. His .969 OPS is 21st-best among the 183 NL players with 100 or more plate appearances this season.

The Phillies are 20-12 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 9-5 last night. They are 8-2 in May and have won six of their last seven.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a triple. He struck out one. Kendrick has made two excellent starts this year, but his numbers overall are not good at all. After seven starts he has a 5.89 ERA. Lefties are hitting 357/432/643 against him — that makes it impossible to be successful if your role requires you to face lefties. His does, and it’s going to more or more regularly until he starts getting them out.

He started the first with a 1-0 lead. Seth Smith led off with a single and Dexter Fowler bunted him to second. He struck out Brad Hawpe for the second out before Jason Giambi singled to right. Smith scored to tie the game at 1-1. Melvin Mora grounded to short for the third out.

The lefties Smith and Giambi got Kendrick in the first.

Clint Barmes singled to center with two outs in the second, but Kendrick got the pitcher Greg Smith to ground back to the mound for the third out.

Smith doubled to start the third and moved to third on a ground out by Fowler. Hawpe walked to put men on first and third before Giambi delivered a sac fly to center. Smith scored to make it 2-1 with Hawpe holding first. Mora popped to Utley for the third out.

Again the lefties Smith and Giambi create a run, this time with a walk to the left Hawpe thrown in.

Stewart, another lefty, doubled to start the fourth. Kendrick got the next three hitters behind him.

In Kendrick’s defense, the Rockies did start four lefties — Smith, Giambi, Hawpe and Stewart in the game. I’d be starting lefties against him, too.

The Phillies were up 3-2 when Kendrick started the fifth. Smith led off with another hit, this one a triple, and Fowler walked behind him. A balk from Kendrick brought in Smith to tie the game at 3-3 with nobody out and a man on second. Hawpe singled to center and Fowler scored. 4-3. Giambi hit into a double-play, clearing the bases with two outs. The righty Mora delivered a single to center before Kendrick got Stewart to ground to second to end the inning.

Kendrick had better luck with the lefties in that inning. Smith still got things started with the triple, but he got Giambi to hit into a double-play and Stewart on a ground out. He walked the switch-hitter Fowler, which helped Colorado score a run, and allowed a single to the righty Mora, which didn’t.

The Phillies gave him another lead to start the sixth, this time at 5-4. This time Kendrick set the Rockies down in order.

The Phils did not hit for Kendrick in the top of the seventh, but they took him out of the game anyway. He had thrown 99 pitches. Romero came in to pitch to the top of the order. He got Smith to ground out before walking Fowler. Hawpe was next and he moved Fowler to third with a single. Giambi broke his bat blooping a single past Utley. Fowler scored to tie the game at 5-5 with one out and men on first and second. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Mora and got him to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Huge double-play for Herndon. Romero again does not get the job done as the only lefty in the pen. Romero has two good outings in five appearances for the season. He’s walked four in 2 2/3 innings, which is too many. I agree that you can’t leave Kendrick in to face Smith to start the seventh in a close game despite the 1-2-3 sixth given that Smith is 3-for-3 with a double and a triple against him so far.

Baez pitched the eighth. He got the first two before hitting Barmes with a pitch. Ryan Spilborghs hit for the pitcher Randy Flores and singled to right, moving Barmes to third with two down. Smith grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Baez has allowed one run in five innings over his last five appearances.

Contreras started the ninth with a 9-5 lead after the Phils scored four in the top of the inning. He allowed a two-out double to Giambi, but got Mora to fly to right to end the game. He was pitching for the third day in a row.

Contreras has been fantastic this year. He’s allowed six hits and one walk in 11 2/3 innings. 0.77 ERA with an 0.60 ratio. Fifteen strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.

Baez threw 18 pitches in the game, Baez 15, Contreras 14 and Herndon three.

The Phillies shouldn’t let Contreras pitch tonight and, with Halladay pitching, hopefully they won’t have to. He pitched last night because Lidge had a stiff elbow.

Contreras’s career high in appearances is 32. He has 13 so far this season.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Greg Smith went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Ruiz hitting seventh ahead of Valdez. As well he should.

Victorino started the game with a triple and came in to score on a sac fly by Polanco, putting the Phils up 1-0. Utley singled to left before Howard struck out for the second out. A walk to Werth moved Utley to second, but Ibanez struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.

Ruiz singled to start the second with the score tied at 1-1. Valdez struck out on three pitches before Kendrick bunted Ruiz to second. Victorino walked before Polanco flew to center to strand both runners.

Werth walked with two outs in the third. Ibanez flew to center for the third out.

The Phils were down 2-1 when Ruiz started the fourth with a single. Valdez hit into a double-play behind him and Kendrick struck out swinging.

Victorino walked to start the fifth and moved to second when Polanco followed with a single. Utley hit a fly ball to center for the first out with Victorino tagging and moving up a base. It put men on first and third with one out for Howard and Howard hit a ground ball to short. Polanco was forced at second with Howard safe at first and Victorino scoring to tie the game at 2-2. Werth was next and he doubled yet again, this time to left. Howard scored from first with the help of a mishandle by Smith, putting the Phillies on top 3-2. Ibanez lined to second for the third out.

The Phillies were losing 4-3 when they hit in the sixth. Ruiz led off with a home run, tying the game at 4-4. Valdez and Kendrick went down behind him before Victorino tripled again. Righty Matt Daley came in to pitch to Polanco and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Victorino to score and put the Phillies up 5-4. Polanco grounded to third to set the Phils down.

Utley and Howard started the seventh with back-to-back singles off of lefty not-a-Phillie Joe Beimel. Beimel struck out Werth for the first out and Ibanez flew to center with Utley moving to third. It put men on first and third with two outs for Ruiz and Matt Belisle came in to pitch to him. Ruiz popped to third to leave both men stranded.

Big at-bat for Werth, getting to hit against a lefty with two men on because Ibanez is behind him. If I thought the Phillies couldn’t hit for Valdez I sure would have been tempted to put Ruiz on. The Phillies answered that question in the ninth, though, when they hit for Valdez. It worked out pretty well for Colorado the way they did it.

The game was tied at 5-5 in the eighth. Victorino walked with two outs and moved to second when Polanco followed with a ball hit to right that Hawpe didn’t handle for an error. Lefty Randy Flores came in to pitch to Utley and got him on a fly ball to left to end the frame.

It was still tied when the Phils hit in the ninth. Howard led off and was hit by a pitch. Werth popped to first for the first out before Howard moved to second on a wild pitch. Righty Manny Corpas walked the lefty Ibanez intentionally, putting men on first and second with one down. Ruiz got ahead 3-1 and then hit a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Howard scored to put the Phillies up 6-5 with Ibanez going to second. Gload hit for Valdez and hit a 3-1 pitch from the righty Corpas out to right center for a three-run homer that put the Phillies up to stay at 9-5. Francisco hit for Baez and struck out. Victorino grounded to third.

So I guess the Phillies can hit for Valdez. Great move by Manuel.

Victorino was 2-for-3 with two triples and three walks. He scored three runs. He’s 4-for-his-last-11 with four walks and is in danger of on-basing .300 if he’s not careful. He’s at .295 after a huge night last night.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with an RBI. He’s hitting 385/370/654 over his last 27 plate appearances. He has one more walk for the season than Jamie Moyer.

Utley 2-for-5.

Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Werth had an unfortunate strikeout against Beimel in the seventh and was 1-for-3 in the game with a double and two walks. He has 17 doubles in 32 games for the year, which means he would hit 86 doubles over 162 games if he continues to hit them at this rate. That would be noteworthy.

Ibanez was 0-for-4 with a walk and left six men on base. He’s hitting 290/378/500 over his last 74 plate appearances. So try and calm down.

Ruiz was 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBI.

Valdez was 0-for-4. He’s 5-for-33 without a walk on the season and has a career 216/263/285 line. For his career he’s hitting .156 against lefties with a .214 on-base percentage. I’m willing to accentuate the positive, but I’m just not sure where else to look for it.

Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.43) faces righty Aaron Cook (1-3, 6.03) tonight. Only one of Cook’s six starts on the year has been good. Lefties are hitting 286/382/429 against him. Halladay has been superb (or pick whatever adjective you like better that means really, really good).

Update: This article says, “Castro played in the field in the ninth inning of Monday’s 9-5 win. Afterward, he said he had not been ready to play, but manager Charlie Manuel put him into the game.” Huh? No, seriously, huh?


May day after day after day

What the Phillies have done so far in May has been impressive, but what Jamie Moyer did in the first game of the three-game set against the Braves was historic. Moyer chopped Atlanta up, holding them to a pair of singles over nine innings as the Phillies rolled to a 7-0 win. With the effort he became the oldest player in major league history to throw a shutout.

The Phils got a win this afternoon with the help of a fantastic effort from their pen to take the series.

The Phillies are 19-12 after taking two of three from the Atlanta Braves. They are 7-2 in May and have won five of their last six.

On Friday the Phillies won game one of the set 7-0 as Jamie Moyer became the oldest player in major league history to throw a shutout. Werth put the Phils up 3-0 with a three-run homer in the third. Ibanez and Valdez each drove in a pair of runs in a four-run fifth.

The Phils lost game two 4-1. Blanton got the start and pitched well early in the game. He worked around errors by Dobbs and Howard in the top of the first and took a 1-0 lead into the sixth. Atlanta plated three runs on three singles and a double in the sixth, taking a 3-1 lead. Baez gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the ninth. Victorino drove in the only run of the game for the Phils with a single in the second. The Phils had a ton of opportunities in the game, but Howard, Werth and Valdez combined to go 1-for-11 with 12 men left on base.

Outstanding work from the pen helped the Phils take game three today, 5-3. Hamels left after five innings with a 4-3 lead and Durbin, Contreras and Lidge combined to go four scoreless innings. Lidge worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save of the year. Polanco and Victorino each homered in the game — they are on pace to combine to hit 63 home runs this year with 219 RBI.

Moyer threw a two-hit shutout in game one. He allowed two singles, both to Troy Glaus, over nine innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. He lowered his ERA for the season from 5.70 to 4.38 with the outing.

Blanton went six innings in game two, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He allowed just one hit and two walks through the first five innings. He struck out three. He’s 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA. In his first start he also pitched very well early. He started the seventh with the game tied at 1-1 and St Louis scored five runs in the seventh.

Hamels got the start today. He went five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and four walks. Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out five. He was up 4-0 when he started the fifth, but allowed three runs on four singles and two walks in the frame. Melky Cabrera hit a ball hard to Utley with the bases loaded and nobody out that Utley didn’t handle. Cabrera was given a single on the play — it would have taken a nice play by Utley, but it would have been a nice one to have.

Romero started the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies losing 3-1. He walked Nate McLouth to start the inning and McLouth went to second on a ground out before Romero walked Chipper Jones. It put men on first and second with one out for Brian McCann and Romero struck him out swinging. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Glaus.

Figueroa did not pitch in the series.

Durbin came in to game two with the Phillies down 3-1 with two outs and men on first and second. He struck Glaus out swinging to end the frame. He also pitched today, entering in the sixth with a 4-3 lead. He pitched great. After a 1-2-3 sixth, he was back for the seventh and set Atlanta down in order again, striking out Glaus and McCann for the last two outs.

Durbin has a 1.72 ERA and an 0.83 ratio for the year. Over his last four appearances he has allowed one walk and no hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Contreras pitched the eighth inning of game two and walked Eric Hinske to start the inning, but got the next three hitters behind him. He also pitched in game three today. He threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a 5-3 lead.

Herndon did not pitch in the series. He last pitched on April 30.

Baez pitched the ninth inning of game two, starting the inning with the Phillies losing 3-1. McLouth led off with a single and Martin Prado bunted him to second for the first out. A ground out by Chipper sent McLouth to third and Baez walked McCann. It put men on first and third with two outs for Glaus and Glaus singled to center to score McLouth and put Atlanta up 4-1. Baez got Matt Diaz to ground to short for the third out.

Lidge got his first save of the year today. He threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a 5-3 lead, but not in a way that would make you feel very comfortable. The first two batters he faced hammered the ball, but their fly balls were taken at the warning track. He then threw two nice sliders to Prado before Prado tapped back to the mound to end the game.

Contreras and Durbin have both thrown two days in a row. Durbin threw 27 pitches today.

The Phillies scored 13 runs in the three-game set.

Victorino was 2-for-13 with a walk and a home run in the series. 241/271/459 for the year. He has seven home runs on the season and a career high of 14.

Polanco was 7-for-13 with a double and a home run. 302/328/468 for the year. He started game two of the series at second with Utley on the bench and Dobbs at third.

Utley was 3-for-7 with a double and two walks in the series. He’s hitting 297/435/586 for the year.

Howard made an error on a tough play in game two, trying to field the ball with a broken bat flying at him and then making a bad flip to Blanton. He was 3-for-11 with a walk in the series. 279/321/465.

Werth delivered a three-run homer in the third inning of game one that gave Moyer an early lead. 3-for-10 with a walk, a double, two home runs and five RBI in the series. 349/417/688 for the year and 406/457/938 so far in May. Nobody besides me seems to care that he’s on pace to shatter the single-season record for doubles and it kinda hurts my feelings.

Ibanez was 4-for-11 with a double. 253/350/414.

Valdez was 1-for-11 in the series and his hitting 172/172/241 for the year.

Ruiz caught games one and three and went 3-for-7 with three walks in the series. He’s at 325/465/429 for the season. He’s on pace to walk 110 times.

Dobbs started at third in game two and made an error. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in the series and is hitting 192/276/423 for the year.

Schneider started behind the plate in game two and was replaced after the third by Ruiz after straining his left Achilles. He has been put on the DL with Paul Hoover called up to take his place on the roster. Schneider was 1-for-1 in the series and is 3-for-18 on the season.


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