Archive for June, 2010

The replacements

Injuries to Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz have meant that some unexpected players have had a major impact on the Phillies this year. We might as well start expecting them, though, cause the recent trips to the DL by Chase Utley and Placido Polanco ensure we’ll be seeing a lot of those guys in the days to come.

Day one of the Utley/Polanco free era went pretty well. The Phils scored nine runs and won in ten innings. Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez combined to go 5-for-8, hitting two home runs, executing a safety squeeze and driving in seven runs. Seven? Yup.

The game was also notable for another two-out blowup by Brad Lidge. The Phils took a 9-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Lidge set down the first two Reds without a peep before a walk and a single brought Joey Votto to the plate and Votto blasted a three-run homer to tie the game.

Lidge’s ERA puffed to 5.25 on the year with the outing. He has allowed seven runs on the season, six of which have scored with two outs. Opponents are hitting .154 against him with nobody out, .143 against him with one out and 381/458/762 with two outs.

I don’t know what it is with Lidge, but he has had big problems late in innings. My first guesses would be he’s getting tired or something is happening with his slider that makes it much less effective the more he throws it in a game. As I wrote last week, he hasn’t had the same kind of problems over his career with the two-out drop off he is having this season. Either way, it’s an issue whatever the cause and his results for the season aren’t looking so good anymore after last night’s outing.

The Phillies are 41-34 on the season after beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 in ten innings last night. They are in third place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves and one game behind the Mets.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phils and went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a triple. He struck out two and dropped his ERA on the year to 6.19. It’s his third straight start in which he’s allowed three runs or fewer and just the second time this season he didn’t allow a home run in his outing.

Brandon Phillips led off the bottom of the first with a triple and came in to score when Orlando Cabrera followed with a ground out. 1-0. Joey Votto flew out to center for the second out before Johnny Gomes doubled and Jay Bruce followed that with a walk. Blanton hit Miguel Cairo with a pitch to load the bases, but got Chris Heisey on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Blanton started the second up 3-1. Pitcher Mike Leake singled with one out, but Blanton got Phillips and Cabrera behind him to turn Cincinnati away.

Votto singled to start the third, but the Reds went in order behind him.

The Phils were up 6-1 when Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth and a 1-2-3 fifth.

Blanton got the first two in the sixth before Cairo singled and Heisey walked behind him. Ramon Hernandez was next and he delivered a bases clearing double to center, cutting the lead to 6-3. Blanton got the pitcher Leake on a fly ball to center to end the inning.

Phillips started the seventh with a single and Cabrera hit into a double-play behind him. Votto grounded to short for the third out.

Blanton got the first two outs in the eighth before Cairo singled into left. Contreras took over for him and got pinch-hitter Laynce Nix on a fly ball to left for the third out.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils still up 6-3. He got Hernandez on a soft ground ball to short for the first out and struck out pinch-hitter Drew Stubbs for the second. Phillips was next and Lidge walked him on five pitches. Cabrera was next and moved Phillips to third with a single to left. It brought Votto to the plate and Votto hit a 1-1 pitch out to right center, tying the game at 6-6. Lidge got Gomes on a ball hit out in front of the plate and fielded by Schneider to send the game to extra-innings.

Romero pitched the bottom of the tenth with a 9-6 lead and set the Reds down in order for his third save of the year.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mike Leake went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Dobbs at third and Valdez at second. Rollins drops to third in the lineup with Utley on the DL. Dobbs hits second against the righty. Schneider catches with Ruiz sidelined.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Howard and Werth started the second with back-to-back walks with the Phillies down 3-1. Ibanez was next and flew to center. Howard tagged and went to third. Werth took second with the help of a dropped throw in from the outfield by Cabrera. Schneider was next and he hit the first pitch he saw from Leake out to right, putting the Phillies up 3-1. Valdez and Blanton went down behind him to set the Phillies down.

Rollins singled with two outs in the third, but Howard grounded out behind him.

Werth singled to start the fourth and moved to second on a one-out single by Schneider. Valdez was next and he also hit the first pitch from Leake out of the park, this one to left, putting the Phillies up 6-1. Blanton struck out swinging for the second out before Victorino singled. Dobbs popped to short for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

The lead was cut to 6-3 when the Phils hit in the sixth. Schneider singled with one out, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him.

Blanton hit for himself to start the seventh and struck out. Victorino followed with a walk. With lefty Daniel Herrera on the mound for Cincinnati, Castro hit for Dobbs and walked as well. Rollins flew to center for the first out with Victorino moving to third, but Howard struck out to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Valdez started the ninth with a single off of righty Jordan Smith. Gload hit for Contreras and grounded to first with Valdez moving to second. Victorino walked to put men on first and second for Castro, but Castro struck out for the second out and Rollins struck out for the third.

The game was tied at 6-6 when the Phillies hit in the tenth. Lefty Arthur Rhodes, who had an 0.28 ERA in 35 appearances for the year, was on the mound for the Reds. Howard led off with a double and Werth walked. Charlie Manuel was ejected during Ibanez’s at-bat for arguing balls and strikes. Ibanez quickly got behind 0-2 before doubling to center, scoring Howard to put the Phils up 7-6 with men on second and third. Francisco hit for Schneider with the lefty still on the mound and singled into left on a ball deflected by the Cincinnati third baseman Cairo. Werth scored (8-6) and Ibanez went to third. Righty Nick Masset took over for Rhodes and Valdez executed the squeeze with Ibanez scoring to make it 9-6. With men on first and second and still nobody out, Sardinha hit for Lidge. He tried to bunt the runners along, but popped it up for the first out. Victorino flew to right and Castro grounded to second to end the frame.

Victorino was 1-for-4 and walked twice.

Dobbs 0-for-3 to drop his average on the year to .145.

Rollins was 1-for-5. He’s hitting 207/303/310 in 29 at-bats since coming off the DL.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Werth 1-for-3 and walked twice.

Ibanez 1-for-5 with a double.

Schneider 3-for-4 with a three-run homer.

Valdez 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.

Roy Halladay (9-6, 2.29) faces righty Aaron Harang (6-7, 5.07) this afternoon. Halladay threw seven shutout innings against the Blue Jays his last time out, coming off of a pair of starts in which he allowed a combined ten runs in 14 innings. Harang has allowed more than three runs in a start just once in his last six outings.


Glum for the thumb

No need to argue about whether Chase Utley is injured or not any more. Utley injured his right thumb sliding into second base in the fourth inning of last night’s game. In the ninth he was removed for a pinch-hitter after having trouble gripping the bat.

The article linked above says that Utley will have an MRI today.

Not much else went well in the game for the Phils, either. Kendrick was fantastic early, but the Reds got to him in the fourth and he wound up charged with six runs over 6 1/3 innings. Ibanez hit a two-run homer in the ninth with the Phils way behind to make the game look closer than it really was.

The Phillies are 40-34 on the year after losing to the Reds 7-3 last night in Cincinnati. They’re in third place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves. They have won five of their last seven.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits. Only five of the runs were earned. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.

He didn’t allow a hit or a walk through the first three innings.

The fourth started with the game still scoreless. Brandon Phillips grounded to second for the first out before Orlando Cabrera lined a double to left. Cabrera tried to steal third but was thrown out by a wide margin for the second out. It cost the Reds a run, too, because Joey Votto was next and doubled to right. It brought up Scott Rolen with two down and a man on second and Rolen homered off of the foul pole in left to put the Reds up 2-0. Johnny Gomes lined to right to end the inning.

Kendrick came back with a 1-2-3 fifth.

The pitcher Johnny Cueto led off the sixth and hit a ground ball to second that Utley didn’t handle for an error. Phillips and Cabrera followed that with back-to-back singles that loaded the bases for Votto. Votto singled to right, moving everyone up a base and making it 3-0. Rolen hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Phillips to tag and score. 4-0. Gomes fouled out to Schneider for the third out.

Kendrick started the seventh with the lead cut to 4-1. Drew Stubbs led off with a single and came around to score when Ramon Hernandez followed with a double. 5-1. Cueto bunted Hernandez to third with the first out and Herndon took over for Kendrick to pitch to Phillips at the top of the Cincinnati order. Herndon got Phillips to pop to Utley with Hernandez holding for the second out, but Cabrera followed and lined a single to left to put the Reds up 6-1. Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Votto and Votto moved Cabrera to third with a single. Rolen was next and Romero walked him, loading the bases with two down. Gomes grounded to third to end the inning.

Righties Rolen and Gomes get chances against Romero and the Phils get away with it. Don’t let Romero’s 2.45 ERA fool you — he’s walked 13 batters in 14 2/3 innings. That’s too many. In the don’t-let-their-ERA-fool-you category, opponents are also hitting .352 against Herndon for the season.

Zagurski started the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to lefty Jay Bruce. Stubbs walked behind Bruce and Hernandez bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Righty Chris Heisey hit for the pitcher Cueto and flew to center with Bruce scoring from third to make it 7-1. Stubbs went to third on a wild pitch before Zagurski struck out Phillips to leave both runners stranded.

Third appearance on the year for Zagurski and the first hit he’s allowed. He’s walked three in 3 1/3 innings.

Zagurski threw 26 pitches in the game. Herndon and Romero were each under ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Johnny Cueto went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Polanco on the bench with a sore elbow. Victorino moves up to second in the lineup and Valdez plays third. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the DL.

Victorino singled with one out in the first and moved to second on a ground out by Utley. Howard lined to left to leave him stranded.

Werth started the second with a single. Ibanez was next and hit a ball to second. Werth was forced at second for the first out. Schneider followed and hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Valdez started the third with a walk and Kendrick bunted him to second. Rollins flew to left and Victorino popped to second to leave him stranded.

Second walk on the season for Valdez, who came into the game with 130 plate appearances.

Utley started the fourth with a single into center and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He injured his right thumb sliding into second, but stayed in the game. Howard followed with a non-RBI double and Werth walked. Ibanez hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

No run for the Phils on a double, a single and a walk.

Down 2-0, the Phillies went in order in the fifth.

And the sixth.

The Phils were down 4-0 when Howard led off the seventh with a triple. Werth grounded to third before Ibanez reached on an infield single on a ball hit slowly to third. Howard scored to cut the lead to 4-1. Schneider flew to center and Valdez grounded to short.

Down 6-1, the Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Romero to start the inning and popped to short.

It was 7-1 when they hit in the ninth. Castro hit for Utley and grounded to short for the first out. Howard went down on a ball fielded by the catcher for the second out before Werth singled to right. Werth took second without a throw before Ibanez homered to right to make it 7-3. With lefty Bill Bray on the mound for the Reds, righty Dane Sardinha hit for Schneider and struck out to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4. He’s 5-for-24 since coming off the DL.

Victorino 1-for-4. He’s 4-for-his-last-9 but hitting just .227 in June.

Utley was 1-for-3.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. 362/392/830 with five home runs over his last 51 plate appearances.

Werth 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s 2-for-his-last-12.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer.

Schneider was 0-for-3.

Valdez 0-for-2 with a walk.

Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.53) faces righty Mike Leake (5-1, 2.92) tonight in game two of the series. Blanton still has a 6.53 ERA for the year, but has pitched pretty well in each of his last two starts. He’s allowed 13 home runs in 60 2/3 innings and at least one in eight starts in a row. His only start on the year in which he didn’t allow a home run came May 8 against the Braves. Leake doesn’t turn 23 until November and struggled in back-to-back starts, allowing ten runs on 20 hits and seven walks over 10 1/3 innings, before a better outing against the A’s his last time out. On Monday he held Oakland to a run over six innings.

Update: Utley and Polanco to the DL. Dobbs and Brian Bocock called up. Bocock has hit .179 with a .239 on-base percentage in 212 at-bats for the IronPigs this year.


Jamie’s flyin’

The Phils take two of three from the Blue Jays thanks to a win yesterday, which came with a big assist from Jamie Moyer. Moyer’s ratio for the season is at 1.05 and the Phillies are 9-6 in the games he’s started. That’s a better mark than they have in the games started by Halladay (9-7) or Hamels (8-7) or any other pitcher who has started more than one game (they’re 1-0 when Figueroa starts, but that might not be a formula for long-term success).

On June 11 in Boston, Moyer allowed nine runs in an inning against the Red Sox. It’s the only start in his last six in which he’s allowed more than two runs. In his other 14 starts he has thrown to a 3.49 ERA with an 0.95 ratio. In eight of 15 starts he’s allowed two runs or fewer. Overall for the season his ERA sits at 4.30, coming off of a year where he threw to a 5.34 ERA in his 25 starts and a whole lot of people thought he was done.

So what’s he doing differently this year? He allowed a ton of home runs last year, but it’s not just about home runs. Moyer has allowed 15 home runs in 96 1/3 innings, which means he would allow about 31 over 200 innings. Only five NL pitchers have allowed more home runs than Moyer on the year and 24 have pitched more innings. He’s allowing about 1.40 home runs per nine innings, which is worse is worse than his career rate of 1.14 per nine innings if improved over his ’09 rate of 1.50 per nine innings (1.63 per nine as a starter).

Overall, the hits that he’s allowing haven’t done less damage in 2010 than they did in 2008 and 2009 or over his career. He’s actually allowing more bases per hit this year than he has over his career and in 2008 and 2009 combined:

Year Hits
Total
Bases
TB per hit
2010 84 147 1.75
2008 + 2009 376 600 1.60
Career 4137 6571 1.59

So the hits that he’s allowing are just as bad if not worse and he’s still allowing a lot of home runs.

What he is doing is allowing a whole lot fewer hits and walks.

Opponents are hitting just .230 against Moyer on the season. Righties are hitting .241 and lefties are hitting .177. Moyer had a couple of years where he held righties under .241, but the .230 mark overall and .177 for lefties are his best in, well, forever. When it comes to Jamie Moyer, forever is a long time. Here’s what righties and lefties have hit against him over his career:

Year Overall Right Left
2010 230 241 177
2009 279 290 243
2008 262 270 240
2007 285 279 309
2006 277 285 251
2005 283 277 297
2004 272 264 290
2003 246 232 276
2002 230 206 282
2001 239 234 255
2000 281 278 290
1999 267 278 234
1998 256 255 258
1997 256 234 322
1996 276 265 309
1995 265 251 306
1994 271 268 286
1993 265 256 304
1992 Did Not Pitch
1991 319 266 520
1990 290 308 222
1989 283 294 214
1988 272 281 228
1987 271 278 222
1986 311 313 300
       
Career 267 265 272

In 2003, opponents also hit .230 overall against. Moyer. But it’s a better .230 this year (.23013) than it was in ’03 (.23023).

Lefties are 11-for-62 against Moyer this year. The .177 average he has held them to is nearly a hundred points better than their .272 over his career.

Moyer’s batting average for balls in play is at a career-low .230 overall and a microscopic .119 for left-handed hitters. So maybe he’s been a little bit (or a lot) fortunate. It’s also true, though, that Moyer’s walks are down significantly from his career levels. The percentage of batters he faces who walks is down for the third season in a row and this year it’s down a lot:

Year PA BB % of PA BB
2010 390 17 4.4
2009 699 43 6.2
2008 841 62 7.4
2007 867 66 7.6
       
Career 17,031 1,134 6.7

Moyer has walked 17 batters in 96 1/3 innings this season, which is about 1.59 per nine innings. That’s the best mark he’s had for any year of his career. He’s only had one other season where he walked fewer than 1.89 men per nine inning. For the Mariners in 1998 he issued 42 walks in 234 1/3 innings (1.61 walks per nine).

Madson threw an inning for Single-A Clearwater yesterday and allowed a run.

Sounds like we shouldn’t be expecting to see Polanco tonight and maybe not for a couple of days.


Cleveland rocked

The Phillies were all over the Indians yesterday, capitalizing on defense miscues by Cleveland and hammering the ball around the yard as they won by nine runs to complete a three-game sweep.

The Phils are on a roll, winners of six of their last eight. Jayson Werth came into the series 12-for-his-last-71 (.169) and went 6-for-8 with a double, a home run and a walk in the three-game set. Utley’s turnaround may have started a series earlier when he went 6-for-14 against the Twins, but after a 4-for-8 against the Indians he’s 10-for-22 over the last six games. He came into the series with Minnesota hitting .177 over his last 114 plate appearances.

Finally, it’s a little tough to envision the Phillies winning consistently with Joe Blanton starting every fifth game and throwing to a seven ERA. Blanton looked better yesterday and has now put two solid starts together in a row, dropping his ERA on the year from 7.28 to 6.53.

The Phillies are 38-32 on the year after a 12-3 win over the Cleveland Indians yesterday afternoon. The Phils sweep the three-game set and are in third place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves.

Blanton got the start for the Phils and went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.

He threw a 1-2-3 first and a 1-2-3 second.

He started the third up 5-0. Jason Donald reached on a one-out single and the pitcher Fausto Carmona bunted him to second. Trevor Crowe flew to left for the third out.

Russell Branyan bunted for a single with two outs in the fourth. Blanton got Andy Marte on a fly ball to center for the third out.

Shelley Duncan led off the fifth and lined a single to right. Blanton got Luis Valbuena to hit a ground ball to second and Duncan was forced at second for the first out of the inning. The former Phil Donald was next and he fouled off six pitches before hitting a 2-2 offering from Blanton out to left for his second career home run, cutting the lead to 5-2. Blanton got Carmona and Crowe behind Donald to set Cleveland down.

He struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana in a 1-2-3 sixth with the Phils up 7-2.

The Phillies led 12-2 when he threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Donald started the eighth with a double and lefty Travis Hafner hit for the pitcher Jensen Lewis. Blanton struck him out for the first out before Crowe delivered an RBI-double to center, scoring Donald to make it 12-3. Blanton struck Anderson Hernandez out swinging for the second out and Nelson Figueroa came on to pitch to the switch-hitter Santana. Santana grounded to second to set Cleveland down.

Figueroa returned to set Cleveland down in order in the ninth.

Seventeen pitches in the game for Figueroa.

The Phillies lineup against righty Fausto Carmona went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Rollins on the bench after his game-winner on Wednesday in the hot day game after a night game. Valdez plays short and Victorino moves up from seventh to hit leadoff. Sardinha makes his first start ever for the Phils to give Schneider a break in the day game with Ruiz on the DL.

Utley singled with two outs in the first and stole second, but Howard flew to center behind him.

Werth, Ibanez and Valdez all singled to start the second. It loaded the bases for Sardinha and he hit a ground ball to third. Marte fielded and threw home, but the ball popped out of Santana’s glove for an error and Werth and Ibanez both scored to put the Phillies up 2-0. With nobody out and men on first and second, Carmona hit Blanton with a pitch and the bases were loaded. Victorino hit a ground ball that Carmona fielded. Victorino was called out at first for running outside of the base line with everyone else moving up a base. Valdez scored and the Phils led 3-0 with men on second and third. Manuel was ejected for the second time in the series, arguing that Victorino was in the base line. Polanco followed with a single into center. Sardinha scored (4-0) with Blanton going to third. Utley was next and he flew to Crowe in center. Not sure what happened with Crowe, but he didn’t seem to be prepared for the possibility that Blanton might tag and score. He did and the Phils led 5-0. Howard grounded out on a ball fielded by the catcher to end the inning.

Two bad plays defensively from Cleveland in the inning. First they get no outs on what probably should have been a double-play when Santana dropped the ball. Then Crowe looks like he has a mental lapse that means he doesn’t have a chance to throw Blanton out tagging from third.

Werth singled to start the third, but Ibanez hit into a double-play behind him. Valdez grounded to short to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

It was 5-2 when they hit in the fifth. Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back to start the inning, putting men on first and third for Howard. Howard hit a ground ball to first. Branyan fielded and came home with the ball, but Polanco was safe. The Phils led 6-2 with men on first and second with nobody out. Werth was next and he lined a single into left. Utley scored (7-2) and Howard went to second. Ibanez hit into a double-play, his second of the game, and Valdez grounded out to keep the Phils from getting any more.

Sardinha started the sixth with a home run to left. 8-2. Victorino singled with one out and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double. 9-2. Utley reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by the pitcher, moving Polanco to third. With out and men on first and third, a walk to Howard loaded the bases. Werth hit a fly ball to right. Polanco scored (10-2) and Utley went to third. Ibanez walked and the bases were loaded. Valdez delivered a two-run single to make it 12-2 before Sardinha flew to center to end the inning.

Polanco singled with two outs in the seventh. With the Phils still up by ten runs, Castro hit for Utley and struck out for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the eighth with the lead cut to 12-3.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with an RBI in the game. He was 2-for-10 with two walks in the series. He’s hitting .208 in June and 246/319/445 for the year.

Polanco was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI yesterday. 6-for-13 with a double in the series. 320/351/438 for the year.

Utley was 4-for-8 with two walks in the series. 274/385/476 for the series. He’s hitting 394/450/576 over his last 40 plate appearances. He hit 165/280/247 in the 100 plate appearances before that. So things are getting better.

Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 4-for-10 with four singles and a walk in the series. 294/349/502 for the year. He’s on pace to hit 32 home runs for the season.

Werth was 3-for-4 with two RBI yesterday and 6-for-8 with a double, a walk and a home run in the series. 294/375/566 on the season.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 with a walk and hit into two double-plays. He was 3-for-11 with a double and a walk in the series. 246/338/399 for the season. It would be his worst season since 2000 if he finished the year with that line.

Valdez was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. 258/270/383 for the year. Rollins was 1-for-9 with a walkoff two-run shot in game two of the series and is hitting 300/410/600 for the season.

Sardinha was 1-for-4 with a home run in his first action as a Phillie. Schneider was 1-for-5 with a home run and two walks in the series. 245/362/347 for the season.

Halladay (8-6, 2.43) faces righty Jesse Litsch (0-1, 6.75) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with the Blue Jays. The Phils are 8-7 in the games that Halladay has started this season. They have a better record in the games started by Hamels (8-6), Moyer (8-6) or Kendrick (8-6). Halladay has allowed more than three earned runs in an outing once in his last five starts. Litsch is coming back from Tommy John surgery and has made just two starts this season. In the first he allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings and the second he shut the Giants out on three hits over seven scoreless innings.


Big swing from J-Roll keeps Phils rolling

It took a day, but the Phillies got the spark they were looking for from Jimmy Rollins. If J-Roll’s first eight at-bats after returning from the DL didn’t wow a whole lot of folks his ninth sure did. With the Phils down a run in the ninth, Rollins hammered a 1-1 offering from Kerry Wood out to right for a two-run homer that took Phils from down 6-5 to 7-6 winners.

Rollins wasn’t the only Phillie who hit last night. Jayson Werth, in a miserable slump, went 3-for-3 with a double, a walk and a home run. Brian Schneider hit his first long ball of the year to tie the game in the seventh and delivered a key walk to start the ninth-inning rally.

The Phils have won five of their last seven games and are 37-32 on the year after a 7-6 win over Cleveland last night. The Phils are in third place in the NL East and trail the Braves by three games.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks. Only four of the runs were earned. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and two home runs. He struck out one.

Trevor Crowe led off the game with a double to right. Shin-Soo Choo was next and he hit an 0-2 pitch out to right, putting Cleveland up 2-0. Carlos Santana followed with a walk, but Kendrick got the next three.

The lefty Choo gets Kendrick, who was blasted by lefties early in the season but had been getting a lot better recently.

Kendrick set Cleveland down in order in the second with the lead cut to 2-1.

It was 2-2 when he started the third. Crowe led off with another double and moved to third on a fly ball to center from Choo. Santana hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Crowe to tag and score (3-2) before Kendrick got Austin Kearns to line to Utley to end the frame.

Russell Branyan started the fourth with an infield single. Jhonny Peralta flew to left for the first out before a Luis Valbuena ground out moved Branyan to second. Kendrick walked righty Jason Donald intentionally to get to the pitcher Jake Westbrook with two out and men on first and second. Kendrick struck him out looking to end the inning.

Really not a fan of walking the eight hitter to get to the pitcher. Especially righty on righty. Jason Donald came into the game on-basing .210 against right-handed pitching. Get him out and let the pitcher lead off the fifth.

The Phils were up 4-3 when Kendrick started the fifth. Crowe led off and hit a ball to Utley that Utley didn’t handle for an error. Choo followed that with his second home run of the game, putting Cleveland back on top at 5-4. Santana was next and he doubled. That was all for Kendrick. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Kearns and got him on a ground ball to third with Santana holding second. Herndon struck Branyan out swinging for the second out. Peralta followed that with a single to left, but Ibanez made a nice throw home and Schneider applied the tag to get Santana and set Cleveland down.

Valbuena started the sixth with a double to right and Donald bunted him to third. Lefty Travis Hafner hit for the pitcher Westbrook and Mike Zagurski came in to pitch to him. Zagurski got Hafner on a ground ball to third with Valbuena holding for the second out and struck out Crowe to end the inning.

Great start to the year for Zagurski.

He walked Choo to start the seventh, but Schneider threw Choo out stealing for the first out. Choo was safe, but whatever. Zagurski got Santana on a fly ball to center before Baez came in to pitch to the righty Kearns and got him on a ground ball to second to end the frame.

Durbin pitched the eighth with the score tied at 5-5. Branyan led off with a single, but Durbin got the next three behind him.

Durbin was back to start the ninth. Anderson Hernandez bunted for a single to start the inning and Durbin hurt his right hamstring going after the ball. He’s since hit the DL with Figeuroa called back up. Romero came in to pitch to the switch-hitter Crowe and Crowe singled softly to right, sending Hernandez to third. Choo was next and hit a ball back to Romero. Romero went to third and Polanco threw home where Schneider tagged out Hernandez for the first out. Crowe wound up at third and Choo at second. Santana was next and hit a ball hard to Rollins. Rollins fielded, but threw home wildly for an error as Crowe scored to put Cleveland up 6-5. Romero walked the righty Kearns intentionally to load the bases for Branyan, but Branyan lined into a double-play with Utley catching and throwing to first to double-off Kearns and end the frame.

Herndon and Zagurski each threw 16 pitches in the game. Durbin 15, Romero 14 and Baez five. Romero was pitching for the second straight day.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jake Westbrook went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Schneider. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the DL. Victorino continues to hit seventh.

Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first and the Phils down 2-0. It put men on first and third for Howard, but Howard hit into a double-play with Polanco scoring before it was over to cut the lead to 2-1.

Werth started the second with a home run to right that tied the game at 2-2. Victorino singled with one out, but was caught stealing before Schneider flew to center to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the third with the Indians up 3-2.

Howard singled with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Werth followed with a double. Ibanez was next and he doubled into right, scoring both runners and putting the Phils on top at 4-3. Ibanez went to third on a wild pitch before Victorino lined to short for the second out. Schneider was walked intentionally to put men on first and third for Kendrick. Kendrick grounded to third to leave both men stranded.

The Phils went in order in the fifth with Cleveland up 5-4.

Howard and Werth singled back-to-back to start the sixth. It put men on first and second for Ibanez and Ibanez hit into a double-play. Victorino followed with a walk that put men on first and third for Schneider. The Cleveland pitcher Tony Sipp threw to first and Victorino was caught between first and second. A flurry of throws followed and Howard moved for home. The first baseman Branyan threw home and Howard was tagged out to end the inning.

The Phils were still down 5-4 when they hit in the seventh. Schneider led off with a home run, his first of the year, tying the game at 5-5. The Phils went in order after that. With righty Frank Hermann on the mound for Cleveland, Gload hit for Baez and flew to center for the first out.

Utley walked to start the eighth with the score still tied. Howard was next and hit a ground ball that Branyan fielded at first. He threw to second to force Utley for the first out. Werth followed with a walk that put men on first and second. Ibanez hit a ground ball to first and Werth was forced at second for the second out. With men on first and third, Victorino flew to left to end the inning.

The Phils were down 6-5 when the hit in the ninth against righty Kerry Wood. Schneider led off with a walk and Valdez ran for him at first. Francisco hit for Romero and hit a ground ball to short for the first out that moved Valdez to second. It brought Rollins to the plate and J-Roll lined a 1-1 pitch out to right to give the Phils a 7-6 win.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a big two-run homer.

Polanco 1-for-4.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 2-for-4 with two singles.

Werth was 3-for-3 with a double, a home run and a walk. He’s still on base to hit 59 doubles for the year.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk.

Schneider was 1-for-2 with his first home run of the year and two walks. He played a big role offensively in the game for the Phils, tying the game with the homer in the seventh and starting the ninth with a walk.

Blanton (2-5, 6.96) faces righty Fausto Carmona (6-5, 3.31) this afternoon. Carmona has allowed more than three earned runs in just two of 14 starts this season. Blanton has been terrible, but held the Twins to three runs over six innings his last time out.


Phils due for some maintenance work as the spark plugs are getting old

The Phillies got Jimmy Rollins back in the lineup last night, but it was a guy who has been here all along that did the heavy lifting as the Phils topped the Cleveland Indians 2-1. Jamie Moyer was fantastic, holding Cleveland to a run on two hits over eight innings.

The lack of offense from the Phils continues to baffle. Last night they failed to deliver an extra-base hit yet again. After scoring two runs in the bottom of the first they were shut out the rest of the game on two singles and two walks.

The game was also notable in how it ended. Lefty JC Romero pitched to three hitters in the top of the ninth with a one-run lead. Two of them reached before Lidge came in to record back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. After the game, Manuel responded to a question about the closer situation by saying, “Lidge is our closer. In my mind, he’s our closer and that’s what counts.” Maybe so, but what’s happening in Manuel’s mind, while interesting, is a whole lot less important to the Phillies than what happens on the field and last night it was someone other than Lidge facing three batters in the ninth inning of a one-run game.

All that said, I think bringing on Romero to pitch to switch-left-switch to start the inning is a pretty good idea. It’s just not the way it’s always been done with this team.

Not to be forgotten is that Manuel also had been ejected from the game, so he shouldn’t have been involved with the decision on who pitched the ninth inning anyway.

The Phillies are 36-32 on the year after a 2-1 win over the Indians last night. They have won four of their last six but scored just three runs in their last two games. They’re in third place in the NL East, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 4.43. Four of his last five starts has been really good with nine runs allowed in an inning in Boston on June 11. Nine runs in an inning will do a number on your numbers (4.22 ERA over his last five starts in this case), but Moyer is pitching very well.

He got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second inning up 2-0. He got two more ground outs to start the second before lefty Russell Branyan came to the plate and hammered the first pitch he saw way out to right. 2-1. Anderson Hernandez grounded to Utley for the third out.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 third and struck out two while setting Cleveland down in order again in the fourth.

He got two ground outs and a fly ball to right in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Moyer got the first two in the sixth before Trevor Crowe reached on an infield single. The lefty Shin-Soo Choo was next and walked on five pitches. Crowe stole third before Moyer got Carlos Santana on a fly ball to left to leave both runners stranded.

He came back with a 1-2-3 seventh and then set the Indians down in order again in the eighth. Former Phil Jason Donald hit the ball well in the eighth, but Victorino tracked it down on the warning track for the second out of the inning.

Romero started the ninth with a one-run lead and got the switch-hitter Crowe on a ground ball to second for the first out. The lefty Choo was next and hit a ball back up the middle that Rollins fielded behind second, but Choo was safe with an infield single. Switch-hitting Carlos Santana was next and Romero walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was nowhere near the plate. It brought righty Austin Kearns to the plate with one out and men on first and second. Lidge came in to pitch to him and struck him out swinging at a 2-2 slider for the second out. Righty Jhonny Peralta followed Kearns, also coming to the plate as the go-ahead run. Lidge struck him out swinging at a 2-2 slider as well to end the game.

Romero threw 13 pitches in the game and Lidge ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mitch Talbot went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Schneider. Rollins returns to the lineup and the leadoff spot. Victorino is dropped all the way to seventh. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the DL.

Polanco singled with one out in the first and moved to second when Utley followed with a walk. Howard was next and hit a 1-0 pitch into left for a single that scored Polanco (1-0) and moved Utley to third. Werth hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez followed and hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Crowe to catch it and end the inning.

Victorino walked to start the second with the lead cut to 2-1. Schneider hit into a double-play behind him and Moyer struck out.

The Phils went in order in the third.

Werth walked with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Ibanez followed with a single to right. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to second. Donald fielded and threw to Hernandez at second for the second out of the inning with Victorino safe at first, but Ibanez was ruled out on interference and the run was taken off the board with the inning over.

Manuel got ejected arguing the call, which cost the Phils a run, but the ump got it right. Ibanez was way off of second.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Howard singled with two outs in the sixth, but Werth flew to right behind him to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the seventh and again in the eighth.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and is hitting 311/429/578 in 45 at-bats for the season.

Polanco was 1-for-4. He’s 7-for-his-last-22.

Utley 0-for-2 with a walk. 6-for-his-last-16 with a double, a triple and a home run. He walked 20 times in April and has walked 19 times in May and June combined.

Howard was 2-for-3 with an RBI. He’s hitting 329/368/686 in June.

Werth was 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI. He’s hitting .218 in June after going 0-for-17 with ten strikeouts to end May. He’s 12-for-his-last-72 (.167). On the plus side, maybe the Phillies will be able to afford him next year after all.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s 4-for-his-last-20. His slugging percentage dropped to .371 after the June 6 against the Padres. He had gotten it back up over .400 since then, but it’s back going the wrong direction and sitting on .400 at the start of the day today.

Victorino was 0-for-2 with a walk in the seven-hole. He’s 1-for-his-last-14.

Schneider was 0-for-3. He was hitting 303/395/364 after going 3-for-4 against the Red Sox on June 12. He’s gone 1-for-14 since, dropping his line on the year to 234/333/277.

Another game for the Phils without an extra-base hit.

Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 4.48) faces righty Jake Westbrook (4-4, 4.76) tonight. Kendrick has been really good in three of his last four starts with one bad outing against the Marlins. Westbrook allowed five runs in seven innings against the Mets last Thursday. He missed the 2009 season off of Tommy John surgery and his rates of allowing hits, walks and home runs are all up above his career marks since his return.


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