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.
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.