Archive for July, 2010

Seventh wonder

The Phils come into the All-Star break with the seventh-best winning percentage in the National League. Since 2007, the Phillies have never ended the season with the league’s best winning percentage — the Dodgers topped them last year, the Cubs in ’08 and Arizona and Colorado both did in 2007.

Compared to the 2009 season, the Phillies have actually gotten a little bit better at preventing runs overall in 2010. The problem is that the offense has gotten worse at a rate that exceeds those improvements.

In 2009, the Phils sported the league’s most dominant offense. They scored 5.06 runs per game. The Rockies had the second-best mark for runs per game at 4.96 and nobody else was very close. Eleven of the teams in the NL scored less than 4.6 runs per game.

The thing that’s easily forgotten is that compared to the rest of the league, the Phillies still have a good offense in 2010. It’s just not as good as it was last year. Only four NL teams, the Reds, Rockies, and Dodgers, have scored more than the 4.71 runs per game that the Phillies have scored this season.

Offense in the league is also down this year, but just a little. In 2009 the average NL team scored about 4.43 runs per game and in 2010 they have scored about 4.39 runs per game so far.

Still, the dropoff for the Phillies is bigger than the dropoff overall for the league:

Year RS/G NL AVG
RS/G
PHI/NL AVG
2009 5.06 4.43 1.142
2010 4.71 4.39 1.073

So the ’09 Phillies scored about 114.2% of the runs per game as the average NL team while the ’10 Phillies are scoring about 107.3% of the runs per game as the average NL team.

If the Phils wanted to stay about as good as they were before overall, it would be helpful if they could make up the difference with improvements in preventing runs. And they have gotten better in 2010, but not enough to make up for the offensive dropoff.

The Phils were sixth in the NL in runs allowed per game in 2009 and are sixth again in 2010. You have to look a little further inside the numbers than that to see the improvement.

Year RA/G NL AVG
RA/G
PHI/NL AVG
2009 4.38 4.49 .9755
2010 4.16 4.44 .9369

So the Phils allowed about 97.6% of the runs per game as the average NL team did in 2009 and about 93.7% of the runs per game as the average NL team in 2010.

That’s better. It’s just not enough better to cancel out the drop off from the hitters.

Still, it’s good news that the Phillies are better at preventing runs than they were last year. I think it’s also reasonable to conclude that even if the Phillies continued to be the fourth-best team in the league at scoring runs and the sixth-best team at preventing them they would wind up with better than the seventh-best record overall after enough games were played.

The best news for the Phils, though, is that the offense can be so much better it has been in the first half of the year. If you’re looking for places to improve, I’d start with the 312 plate appearances that the Phils gave to Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro in the first half in which the duo combined to on-base .258. If they can give most of those opportunities in the second half to Utley, Rollins and Polanco and avoid injuries to key hitters, the offense is a lock to get better.

The second place I’d look would be with Raul Ibanez, who seems likely to improve on his 243/326/397 line for the year after the break.


Breaking away

The first half wasn’t real pretty for the Phils, but it sure had a nice ending. The Phils swept the Cincinnati Reds in four dramatic games, getting a pair of 1-0 wins behind outstanding pitching, a walkoff homer in the opener and another in game two after scoring six runs in the ninth to send the game to extra-innings.

When the series were over, the Phils were headed into the break at 47-40 with hopes raised they were headed for another second-half surge.

By winning percentage, the Phillies have been better in the second half the last few years:

 
First Half

Second Half
Year W L PCT W L PCT
2007 44 44 .500 45 29 .608
2008 54 44 .542 40 26 .606
2009 48 38 .558 45 31 .592
2010 47 40 .540      
             
Total 191 166 .535 130 86 .602

In each of the last three seasons the Phils have played to a better winning percentage after the All-Star break than they did before. This was most dramatic in 2007 when the Phils went 45-29 after the break and played to a .500 record before it, but they were also much better after the break in 2008 and a little better in 2009.

The offense shouldn’t be given too much of the credit for the second-half success in recent years. In two of the last three years they’ve scored fewer runs per game in the second half than they did in the first half:

Year RS/G Before
Break
RS/G After After/Before
2007 5.18 5.89 1.14
2008 5.01 4.82 0.96
2009 5.35 4.74 0.89

And if you averaged out those three numbers, you get .9947. If the Phillies scored 99.47% of the runs per game in the second half that they did in the first, they would score 352 runs in their 75 remaining games. That would put them at 762 at the end of the regular season.

What they have done at least a little bit better in each of the last three seasons is prevent runs. This was most dramatic in 2009 when they allowed nearly a run less per game after the break than they had before it:

Year RA/G Before
Break
RA/G After Before/After
2007 5.26 4.84 1.09
2008 4.20 4.20 1.00
2009 4.79 3.91 1.23

In 2008, they actually allowed 4.198 runs per game before the break and 4.197 runs per game after it. If you average it out over the past three years, the Phils have allowed about 110.46% of the runs per game in the first half of the season that they allowed in the second. If the Phils cut their rate of allowing runs in the second half they would allow about 3.77 runs per game or 283 over 75 games. That would put them at 645 over 162 games.

The Phils had a .540 winning percentage in the first half of the season. If they continue to play to that winning percentage for the rest of the season they’ll end the year they’ll finish up at 87-75. If they were to end the year having scored 762 runs and allowed 645, they would have a Pythagorean winning percentage of .576, which would have them winning 93 games.

Unless the Braves fall off in a way they’re not going to, 87 wins isn’t going to be enough for the Phillies to win the division. So let’s hope there’s some second half magic left.

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New life of Brian

Brian Schneider returned to the starting lineup with a bang last night. After going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his first four at-bats, one of which came with a man on third and nobody out, Schneider popped an 0-1 pitch from Jordan Smith out to right in the bottom of the twelfth to give the Phils a walkoff win.

Other than the late drama provided by Schneider, though, it wasn’t a great game for the Phils. Kendrick pitched very well and Contreras and Figueroa threw three shutdown innings at the end of the game. But the offensive continued to scuffle as Rollins, Howard, Ibanez and Werth combined to go 2-for-17.

The Phillies are 44-40 on the year after being the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 in twelve innings last night.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and allowed a run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. All three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out four and dropped his ERA on the year to 4.49.

Joey Votto homered to right center with two outs in the first, putting the Reds up 1-0.

The Phillies tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Kendrick set the Reds down in order in the second, third and fourth.

The Phils were up 2-1 when Cincinnati hit in the top of the fifth. Jay Bruce led off with a double to right. Laynce Nix was next and flew to center, with Bruce tagging and moving up to third. It brought Drew Stubbs to the plate and the Reds tried to pull off the squeeze, but Stubbs popped the bunt up. Kendrick caught it and Bruce was easily doubled-off of third to end the frame.

Corky Miller doubled to start the sixth and the pitcher Johnny Cueto bunted him to third. Brandon Phillips was next and he hit a ball to third that Dobbs handled. Dobbs looked the runner back and threw to first for the second out. Orlando Cabrera popped to Valdez to keep the Reds off the board.

Second time in two innings that Kendrick works out of a man no third with one out.

Kendrick got the first two in the seventh. With the Phils still up by just a run, Manuel brought in Romero to pitch to the lefty Bruce. Romero struck him out for the third out.

Kendrick had thrown 73 pitches in the game and allowed three hits and no walks.

Madson, activated for the game taking Zagurski’s spot in the pen, started the eighth. Stubbs and Miller singled back-to-back with one out. Righty Chris Heisey hit for the pitcher Cueto and struck out swinging for the second out. It brought Phillips to the plate. Madson got ahead of him and threw a 1-2 pitch in the dirt. Phillips swung and missed, but the ball bounced way away from Schneider. Schneider stood up and looked around wildly but couldn’t find the ball. Madson pointed and then ran after the ball, which bounced off the wall and back behind home plate. Schneider saw it then, too, and both of them took off after it while Stubbs raced around the bases. Schneider finally got to the ball, but there was nobody covering home and Stubbs scored to tie the game at 2-2. Orlando Cabrera grounded out to leave the runners stranded.

Lidge started the ninth with a 3-2 lead. Votto led off with a single and Scott Rolen walked behind him. It put men on first and second for Bruce, but Lidge got Bruce to ground into a double-play with Votto winding up at third with two down. Righty Miguel Cairo hit for the pitcher Arthur Rhodes and doubled to left, scoring Votto to tie the game again at 3-3. Stubbs flew to center for the third out.

Contreras, pitching for the third day in a row, threw a 1-2-3 tenth.

Figueroa, who had thrown 22 pitches the day before, struck out Cabrera and Votto in a 1-2-3 eleventh.

He was back for the twelfth and again set the Reds down in order. Jordan Smith smoked a ball to right in the frame, but Werth made a nice play to catch it up against the wall for the second out.

No runs charged to Contreras as he throws for the third straight day. He threw 19 pitches on July 4, didn’t pitch on the fifth and then threw three days in a row. Figueroa has made four appearances since rejoining the team on June 24 and has allowed a hit and a walk over 7 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out seven.

Baez needs to pitch if he’s on the team.

Figueroa threw 26 pitches, Madson 20, Lidge 15, Contreras 12, Romero five.

You would have to guess the Contreras and Figueroa are unlikely to pitch tonight.

The Phillies lineup against righty Johnny Cueto went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Schneider. Schneider returns to the lineup after missing time with his thumb. Dobbs at third against the righty. Valdez plays second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Victorino homered with one out to tie the game at 1-1. Ibanez and Howard went down behind him.

1-2-3 in the second.

Schneider and Kendrick both struck out to start the third before Rollins walked. Victorino followed that and hit a ball hard to first. Votto didn’t handle it and it rolled away from him. He got it and flipped to Cueto covering, but the ball and Victorino arrived at the same time and got away from Cueto. Votto fetched it and Victorino took a big turn around first and went back to the base. Votto threw to Cueto at first to try to get Victorino coming back to the bag, but Cueto didn’t handle the throw. Rollins stormed in from third and slid in safely, just ahead of the throw from Votto after he retrieved the ball yet again. Cueto then picked Victorino off of first to end the inning.

Wild play. Great hustle by Rollins to score from third when Cueto didn’t handle the throw from Votto for the second time.

Ibanez started the fourth with a single. He moved to second on a ground out by Howard and to third on another by Werth. Dobbs popped to Rolen at third to leave him stranded.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fifth.

Victorino walked with one out in the sixth, but Ibanez hit into a double-play behind him.

Werth singled with one out in the seventh. Dobbs was next and hit a soft liner towards second. Phillips let it drop intentionally and started a double-play to end the inning.

The game was tied at 2-2 when Valdez tripled to start the bottom of the eighth. Schneider struck out for the first out. With righty Nick Masset on the mound, Gload hit for Madson. Arthur Rhodes took over for Masset and Francisco hit for Gload. Francisco drew a walk and Rollins delivered a fly ball to left deep enough for Valdez to score and put the Phillies up 3-2. Francisco stole second before Victorino flew to center for the third out.

Stranding that runner at third after the leadoff triple would have been too much. Big sac fly for Rollins. Also a nice job by Francisco not to make an out and to get into scoring position with the stolen base.

The game was tied at 3-3 when the Phillies went in order in the ninth.

Castro started the tenth with a walk. Valdez tried to bunt him to second, but fouled off two pitches. Something went wrong after that, cause Valdez took a two strike pitch and Castro was thrown out stealing. Valdez blooped a single to right before Schneider flew to center for the second out. With righty Logan Ondrusek on the mound, righty Cody Ransom hit for Contreras and walked. Rollins grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Victorino reached on an infield single to start the eleventh. Ibanez grounded to second with Victorino forced at second for the first out. Howard followed that with a ground ball to short — he was thrown out at first with Ibanez moving to second. Werth was walked intentionally with Castro hitting behind him. Castro grounded to short to end the inning.

I would walk Werth a whole lot when Castro is hitting behind him.

Valdez grounded to third for the first out in the twelfth before Schneider hit an 0-1 pitch out to right to win the game for the Phils.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk, but did well to score from first base on a grounder to first in the third inning.

Victorino was 3-for-4 with a walk and a home run. Two homers in two days for Victorino.

Ibanez 1-for-5.

Howard 0-for-5.

Werth 1-for-4 with a walk.

Ibanez, Howard and Werth combine to go 2-for-14 with a single and a walk in the game.

Dobbs 0-for-3.

Valdez 2-for-5 with a triple. He now is outslugging Ibanez for the season. He’s at .402 and Ibanez is .394. The list of players outslugging Ibanez also includes Schneider, Sardinha and Gload (and Nelson Figueroa, but he’s outslugging everyone else on the team as well with his 2-for-4 with a double on the season).

Schneider was 1-for-5 and won the game with his third homer.

Blanton (5-3, 6.27) faces righty Mike Leake (6-1, 3.38) tonight. Blanton had made three pretty good starts in a row before allowing five runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Pirates in his last start. He has allowed 14 home runs in 74 1/3 innings this season. Leake faced the Phils on June 29 and was charged with six runs in six innings. Valdez and Schneider both homered off of him in that game. Over his last five starts he’s allowed five or more runs three times and thrown to a 6.35 ERA with a 1.91 ratio.


Fifteen minutes could save us all a lot of heartache

This is getting out of hand.

The Phils drop two of three to the division-leading Braves, falling six games back in the NL East. Jamie Moyer is going to have some six-run innings and the inexperienced pitchers in the pen can be counted on to occasionally allow three runs over a four-batter span in the top of the eleventh. But the Phillies need to hit and they aren’t. Valdez and Sardinha combined to go 1-for-20 in the series. That’s a whole lot less of a problem, though, than the 6-for-38 with a walk that Rollins, Victorino and Werth combined to put up.

The key hitters for the Phillies just aren’t getting it done and they haven’t been for a long time.

The why questions are the hard ones and I don’t know the answer. I do think it’s time we all confront the elephant in the room and put the blame where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of Jayson Werth’s Geico beard.

That thing is atrocious. I’m worried it may be blocking out the guys in the bullpen trying to steal signs from the catcher. Please, please shave. I don’t feel confident it will make things better, but I’m not sure how it could make them worse.

The chart below shows the number of times in the past 25 years the Phillies have won the World Series in the Pre and Post Beard eras:

  Pre-Beard
Era
Post-Beard
Era
# of times the Phillies have
won the World Series in the past 25 years
1 0

There it is in black and white.

Seventy-nine games left to play.

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

The Phillies are 43-40 on the season after losing to the Atlanta Braves 7-5 last night. The Braves take the series two games to one. The Phils are in third place in the NL East. They trail the Braves by six games and the Mets by three.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and a walk. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and three home runs. He struck out three.

Martin Prado led off the game and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left to put the Braves up 1-0. Moyer got the next three behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 second.

The game was tied at 1-1 when he set Atlanta down in order in the third.

Omar Infante started the fourth with what looked like a routine ground ball to short, but Rollins was slow and Infante ran hard and was safe with an infield single. Moyer got the next three to leave him stranded. Victorino made a shoestring catch on a liner hit by Brian McCann for the third out.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

The Phils were ahead 3-1 when he started the sixth. Moyer struck out the pitcher Kris Medlen for the first out, but Prado was next and homered again, this time on a 3-2 pitch. It cut the lead to 3-2. Infante followed that with a single and moved to third when Chipper Jones doubled softly to right. Troy Glaus walked to load the bases and McCann cleared them with a three-run double to the gap in left center. 5-3 Atlanta. Matt Diaz was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out to center for his first home run of the season. 7-3. Baez took over for Moyer and allowed a two-out double to Melky Cabrera before striking out Medlen to finally end the frame.

Figueroa pitched the seventh. Prado reached on an infield single to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball after Infante flew to right for the first out. Chipper flew to center with Prado tagging and moving to third. Glaus flew to right to leave him stranded.

Figueroa was back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Figueroa was recalled from Triple-A on June 24. Since then he has made three appearances for the Phils in which he has allowed one hit and one walk in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

Contreras pitched the ninth with the Phillies down 7-5. Cabrera led off with a double, but Contreras got a strike out and a popup before getting Infante on a ground ball to short to leave Cabrera stranded.

Figueroa threw 22 pitches in the game. Contreras, pitching for the second day in a row, threw 15. Baez threw 12.

It just the second appearance since June 27 for Baez. In those appearances he has thrown 19 pitches over one inning.

The Phillies lineup against righty Kris Medlen went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Sardinha keeps on catching. Valdez at second. Dobbs plays third against the righty.

Rollins led off the first with a single with the Phils down 1-0. A one-out walk to Ibanez moved him to second, but Howard struck out for the second out behind him. Werth was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Dobbs, but Dobbs grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Valdez led off the second with a double. Sardinha struck out and Moyer struck out, but Rollins picked them up and doubled into the right field corner to tie the game at 1-1. Victorino grounded to second for the third out.

Rollins 2-for-2 through two innings.

Howard singled with one out in the third, but Werth and Dobbs went down behind him.

1-2-3 in the fourth.

Ibanez walked with two outs in the fifth. Howard was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left to put the Phillies up 3-1. Werth grounded to second for the third out.

The were losing 7-3 when they hit in the bottom of the sixth. Dobbs led off with a single and Valdez hit into a double-play behind him. Sardinha struck out swinging for the third out.

That’s 14 GIDP on the year for Valdez. 14??!

Victorino chased Medlen from the game with a two-out homer in the seventh that cut the lead to 7-4. Lefty Jonny Venters got Ibanez to pop to second for the third out.

Dobbs singled to left with one out in the eighth. With righty Takashi Saito on the mound for Atlanta, Gload hit for Figueroa and singled to center, sending Dobbs to third. Francisco hit for Sardinha with Saito still on the mound. He quickly got behind 0-2, but hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle for an RBI-single that scored Dobbs and made it 7-5. Castro, who had entered with Baez in the seventh, popped up on the infield to leave the runners stranded on first and second.

Great at-bat for Francisco against the righty.

Billy Wagner set Rollins, Victorino and Ibanez down in order in the ninth.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI in the game. 2-for-13 with a walk in the series. 255/358/471 on the season. He’s 12-for-61 (.198) since returning from the DL.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with his 13th home run last night. He was 2-for-14 in the series and hasn’t walked in his last 34 at-bats. 251/319/448 on the year. You can’t hit second if you on-base .319.

Rollins and Victorino combine to go 4-for-27 (.148) with a walk in the series.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 and walked twice. He was 3-for-11 with a home run and three walks in the series. 242/329/397.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI as he continues to pound the ball to the opposite field. 5-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the set. He’s at 298/351/514 for the year.

Werth was 0-for-3 in the game and was 2-for-11 in the series. He’s 3-for-23 with a walk in July and hitting 279/365/518 for the year.

Dobbs was 2-for-4 in the game. 4-for-8 with a home run, a walk and two RBI in the series. He’s 8-for-his-last-23 and has his line on the year up to 196/260/304.

Valdez was 1-for-3 with a double in the game and 1-for-11 in the series. 252/270/390 on the year. Please take a moment to compare the slugging percentages for the season for Valdez and Ibanez.

Sardinha should get an award for catching so many games in a row in brutal weather. Not so much for hitting, though. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game and 0-for-9 with six strikeouts in the series. He has 40 plate appearances with the Phillies this year and a career high of 49. He’s hit 205/225/375 for the Phils this season.

Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 4.70) faces righty Johnny Cueto (8-2, 3.56) as the Phils start a four-game set with the Reds. Kendrick has a 5.59 ERA and a 1.45 ratio over his past three starts. He’s fared pretty well against righties this season, but left-handed batters are hitting 318/376/555 against him. Cueto has not allowed more than one run in any of his last four starts, throwing to an 0.70 ERA over 25 2/3 innings. He’s been way better against lefties (225/292/376) than he has against righties (288/360/419) on the year.


Who’s still on third?

The Phils got two extra-innings to try to beat the Atlanta Braves last night. The problem isn’t just that the Braves were better than the Phils in those innings, it’s that they have been playing better than the Phillies for a long time now. Since the start of August, 2009, the Braves are 83-60 in the regular season and the Phillies are 77-66. During those games the Braves have scored 133 more runs than they have allowed and the Phillies have scored 78 more runs than they have allowed.

The offense managed three hits last night as they tried to back a solid start from Hamels. Ibanez homered early, Howard tripled in the seventh and Victorino singled with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh with the Phils down by three runs. With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh, the Phils couldn’t bring Howard in from third with nobody out. Atlanta pulled ahead 4-3 with a single and a double off of Herndon to start the eleventh and extended the lead when Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer off of Zagurski three batters later.

The Phillies are 43-39 on the season after losing to the Braves 6-3 in eleven innings last night. They have lost four of six to start July. In six of their last nine games they have scored three runs or less.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out eight.

Martin Prado led off the top of the first with a single. Omar Infante was next and he bunted for a single, putting men on first and second for Chipper Jones. Chipper walked to load the bases. Hamels got Troy Glaus to hit into a double-play with Prado scoring to put Atlanta up 1-0. Yunel Escobar flew to right for the third out.

Hamels started the second up 2-1. Matt Diaz led off with a single. Hamels struck David Ross out behind him and got Gregor Blanco to hit into a double-play to set the Braves down.

Prado walked with one out in the third. Hamels got Infante and Chipper behind him.

Diaz doubled with two outs in the fourth. Ross followed him and singled into left center. Diaz scored to tie the game at 2-2. Blanco flew to left for the third out.

Infante singled with two outs in the fifth. Hamels struck Chipper out behind him for the third out.

Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Diaz followed him with a ground ball to short and Escobar was forced at second. Ross flew to right for the third out.

He struck out Blanco and the pitcher Jair Jurrjens to start the seventh. Prado was next and Hamels got ahead of him, but Prado lined a 1-2 offering out to left to put Atlanta up 3-2. Hamels struck Infante out to end the frame.

Contreras started the eighth with the game tied at 3-3. Chipper and Glaus singled back-to-back to start the inning, putting men on first and third with nobody out. Brandon Hicks ran for Glaus at first. Escobar chopped a ball to third. Castro fielded and threw home and the Phils were able to get Chipper for a critical first out. With men on first and second, Diaz popped out to Valdez for the second out. Lefty Brian McCann hit for Ross and Romero came in to pitch to him. Romero got McCann on a ground ball to Valdez to end the frame.

Big play on the ball hit by Escobar helps the Phils escape men on first and third and nobody out. Contreras wasn’t charged with a run in the game but got lucky. Over his last six appearances he has been charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings.

Lidge set the Braves down in order in the ninth, striking out Blanco and Hinske.

Herndon needed six pitches to throw a 1-2-3 tenth.

He was back to start the eleventh and gave up a leadoff single to Escobar. Diaz was next and fouled off a bunt attempt before ripping a double into right center that scored Escobar and put Atlanta up 4-3. Zagurski took over for Herndon and struck out the lefties McCann and Blanco for the first two outs of the inning before Hinske hit a 2-2 pitch out to right to make it 6-3. Zagurski struck Prado out for the third out.

Herndon has a 4.08 ERA for the season, which makes it easy to overlook his 1.60 ratio. Opponents are hitting .345 against him for the year. The Phils have a bunch of problems in the pen with injuries they can’t control. Trying to keep Herndon on the roster isn’t one of them.

Zagurski threw 19 pitches in the game. Everyone else was 12 or fewer. Nobody was pitching for the second day in a row thanks to the complete game by Halladay in the first game of the set.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Sardinha catches his fifth straight game in brutal weather. Ibanez continues to hit third with Utley on the DL. Dobbs at third against the righty. Valdez plays second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Rollins led off with walk and stole second as Victorino struck out. Ibanez was next and hit a 1-2 pitch out down the line in right, putting the Phillies on top at 2-1. Howard and Werth went down behind him to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the second and third.

The game was tied at 2-2 when they went in order in the fourth.

Dobbs started the fifth with a walk, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him and Sardinha struck out.

They went in order in the sixth.

Ibanez started the seventh with a walk. Howard was next and hit a ball high off the wall in left that Diaz nearly caught but didn’t get. Diaz couldn’t find the ball right away and it allowed Howard to wind up on third with a triple. Peter Moylan took over for Jurrjens and struck out Werth for the first out. Lefty Jonny Venters came in to pitch to Dobbs and Francisco hit for Dobbs. Francisco flew to Blanco for the second out with Howard holding. Valdez grounded to third to end the inning with the game still tied.

Phils can’t get another run with a man on third and nobody out. Werth saw five pitches in the at-bat, taking three called strikes without swinging the bat.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Romero and flew to left for the second out.

They went 1-2-3 in the ninth, too.

Castro walked with one out in the tenth and moved to second when Valdez followed and hit a ground ball fielded by the pitcher. Sardinha flew out to left to leave Castro stranded.

They were down 6-3 when they hit in the eleventh. Victorino singled off of Billy Wagner with two outs and took second without a throw, but Ibanez struck out to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 0-for-his-last-12.

Victorino 1-for-5 and struck out twice.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 1-for-4 with a triple.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a huge strikeout in the seventh.

Dobbs 0-for-1 with another walk. He’s hitting 313/353/563 in 16 July at-bats after a miserable first three months.

Valdez 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-15 and has a .269 on-base percentage for the year in a career-high 165 plate appearances. Utley getting hurt is almost completely out of the Phillies control — who they give 165 plate appearances isn’t.

Sardinha 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Jamie Moyer (9-7, 4.13) faces righty Kris Medlen (5-1, 3.01) tonight. Moyer has allowed more than two runs in one of his last seven starts. Medlen is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA and an 0.95 ratio over his last four starts.

Happ was activated and sent to Triple-A. Madson could be back as soon as today.


Halfway display

The Phils hit the halfway mark of what has been a mostly disappointing season last night. Coming off an ugly series in which they lost three of four to the Pirates, the Phils relied on a two-run shot from Greg Dobbs and another fantastic start from Roy Halladay to get a 3-1 win over the first place Braves.

The Phillies are 43-38 on the year and in third place in the NL East, four games behind the Braves and two behind the Mets.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing one run on five hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out seven and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.33.

He got the first two in the first before Chipper Jones homered to left center, putting Atlanta on top 1-0. Brian McCann followed that with a single before Eric Hinske popped to short for the third out.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.

McCann doubled with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Hinske hit a ball that Victorino caught deep in center. Halladay struck out Melky Cabrera looking to leave McCann stranded at third.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Chipper doubled to right with two outs in the sixth, but Halladay struck McCann out looking 2-2 to end the frame.

Halladay had a 2-1 lead when he started the seventh. Hinske led off and walked on a 3-2 pitch, but Halladay got Cabrera to hit into a double-play behind him. Yunel Escobar flew to center for the third out.

Gregor Blanco started the eighth with a bunt single. Switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Derek Lowe and Sardinha made a very nice throw to nail Blanco trying to steal before Conrad struck out for the second out. Martin Prado struck out behind him for the third out.

Halladay set Atlanta down in order in the ninth. He threw 93 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Ransom on the bench. Ibanez hits third with Rollins back leading off and Utley on the DL. Valdez plays second base. Sardinha catches with Ruiz on the DL. The five guys the Phillies need to hit right now go 1-2-3-4-5 in the order.

Ibanez singled with two outs in the first and the Phils down 1-0. Howard grounded to short for the third out.

Werth and Dobbs singled back-to-back to start the second. It put men on first and second with nobody for Valdez and Valdez hit a slow ground ball to third. Chipper fielded and threw Valdez out at first as the runners moved to second and third. Sardinha struck out swinging for the second out and Halladay struck out to leave both men stranded.

No RBI for Sardinha with one out and a man on third

The Phils went in order in the third.

Howard started the fourth with a single, but Werth lined to center behind him for the first out. Dobbs was next and hit a ground ball to second. Howard was forced at second for the second out with Dobbs safe at first. Valdez hit a ball to third. Chipper fielded and threw to second, but Prado didn’t handle the throw for an error. Sardinha walked to load the bases for Halladay, but Halladay struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Five runners stranded by Halladay in the first four innings.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

They started the sixth still down a run. Werth singled with one out. Dobbs was next and he popped the first pitch he saw out to right center to put the Phils up 2-1. Valdez and Sardinha both struck out behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Ibanez and Howard singled back-to-back to start the eighth. Werth was next and hit a ball back to the pitcher. Howard was forced at second for the first out with the runners safe at first and third. With Castro at the plate the Phils tried to execute the squeeze, but Castro missed the bunt completely. Ibanez was tagged out after a brief rundown and Werth went to second with two outs. Werth was running when Castro chopped a ball to third, but Chipper had moved to cover the bag and ball dribbled through to left for an RBI-single. 3-1. Valdez flew to right for the third out.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 0-for-his-last-8 and 4-for-19 in July. 10-for-49 (.204) since coming off the DL.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game. He was 5-for-15 with a triple in the series with the Pirates, making him 5-for-his-last-19.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. He’s 5-for-his-last-16. No walks in his last 29 at-bats.

Howard 2-for-4. After hitting 320/373/650 in June he’s started July by going 6-for-19 with six singles.

Werth 2-for-4 yesterday. He’s 3-for-16 with a double and seven strikeouts to start the month.

Dobbs 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. He’s 6-for-his-last-18.

Valdez 0-for-4 and 1-for-his-last-11.

Sardinha caught the full game for the fourth day in a row yesterday. He was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s 4-for-14 with a walk, a double and a home run in those four games (286/333/571).

Cole Hamels (6-7, 4.07) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (1-3, 5.59) tonight. Hamels has allowed more than three earned runs in a start once in his last 11 outings. Jurrjens struggled to start the season and hit the DL with a hamstring issue. Since his return he’s made one start, which came on June 30 against the Nats. In that game he allowed a run on six hits and two walks over five innings. He had a terrible start against the Padres on April 12 in which he allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings — excluding that outing he has a 3.51 ERA and a 1.21 ratio for the season.

This suggests that Schneider could play today and that Madson could be back this week. It also says that Happ thinks he’s ready to return but may not be back till after the break.


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