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.