Archive for August, 2010

No place like home for the wizardry of Oswalt

Roy Oswalt made his home debut with the Phillies last night and looked more than comfortable, tossing seven shutout innings as the Phils topped the Dodgers 2-0.

Oswalt was pinch-hit for in the seventh after throwing 109 pitches in the game, but the Phillies got great work from Madson and Lidge in the eighth and ninth to close things out. That duo has been fantastic in August. Between them they have appeared in 12 games, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out 16 over 11 2/3 scoreless innings.

The Phillies are 63-50 on the year after beating the Dodgers 2-0 last night.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out five.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

James Loney started the second with a double down the first base line. Oswalt walked Casey Blake behind Loney, but got Gibbons to bounce into a double-play that left Loney at third with two down. Jamey Carroll grounded to third to leave Loney stranded.

Scott Podsednik reached on an infield single with two outs in the third and moved to second when Ryan Theriot followed with a single to right. Andre Ethier flew to center to leave both men stranded.

Oswalt got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 fourth.

He started the fifth up 1-0. Carroll led off and doubled to right. Oswalt got AJ Ellis on a fly ball to center for the first out and struck the pitcher Chad Billingsley out for the second. Podsednik reached on another infield single, sending Carroll to third. Theriot hit a ground ball to short and Podsednik was forced at second to end the frame.

Oswalt struck out Loney and Blake in a 1-2-3 sixth.

The Phils led 2-0 when he started the seventh. Carroll walked with one out and Ellis lined to right behind him for the second out. Righty Matt Kemp hit for Billingsley and struck out swinging 2-2 to leave Carroll stranded.

Madson pitched the eighth. He gave up a leadoff double to Podsednik, but struck out Theriot and Ethier behind him and then got Loney on a fly ball to left.

Madson has thrown 7 1/3 scoreless innings over his last seven appearances, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out 12. He has dropped his ERA on the year from 5.12 to 3.86.

Lidge struck out Gibbons and Carroll in a 1-2-3 ninth. He hasn’t been charged with a run in his six appearances in August, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out six over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chad Billingsley went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Gload (4) Ibanez (5) Werth (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Gload at first and Brown in right against the righty. Valdez at second with Utley on the DL.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Werth singled to left with one out in the second. Brown struck out behind him for the second out and Ruiz fouled out to Theriot behind first base to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the third.

Polanco started the fourth with a single to right. Gload was next and lined a ball into left, but Gibbons made a very nice diving play to take away the hit and record the first out. Ibanez and Werth both walked behind Gload, loading the bases for Brown. Brown hit a ground ball to second, but it wasn’t hit hard enough to get the double-play. The Dodgers forced Werth at second for the second out as Polanco scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz flew to center to leave the runners stranded at first and third.

Valdez started the fifth with a triple to left center, just out of the reach of a diving Podsednik. Oswalt grounded to short with the runner holding and Rollins grounded to second with the runner holding. Polanco flew to left for the third out.

No run for the Phils after the leadoff triple by Valdez. Remember when Valdez was outslugging Ibanez? It wasn’t that long ago, but he’s not anymore. He’s getting pretty close to Rollins, though. Valdez at .361, Rollins .377.

Gload doubled to right to start the sixth, but came into second limping. He left the game with a strained right groin and Sweeney ran for him at second. Ibanez was next and he doubled to the gap in left-center, scoring Sweeney to put the Phils up 2-0. Werth moved Ibanez to third with a ground out to first for the first out. Brown was next and walked for the first time in his career, putting men on first and third with one out for Ruiz. Ruiz flew to left with the runners holding and Valdez grounded to third.

Again the Phillies don’t score with a man on third and less than two outs. The Ruiz fly out to left was the big at-bat this time.

With righty Kenley Jansen on the mound for the Dodgers, Dobbs hit for Oswalt and struck out for the first out of the seventh. Rollins singled to left before Polanco flew to left for the second out. Rollins stole second, but was left there when Sweeney struck out to end the inning.

Ibanez started the eighth with a single, but Werth, Brown and Ruiz went down in order behind him.

Rollins was 1-for-4. 302/400/349 over his last 50 plate appearances. He’s slugging .311 with seven doubles, a triple and a home run over his last 182 plate appearances.

Polanco 1-for-4. He’s hitting .359 in August.

Gload 1-for-3 with a double and was also robbed of a hit by a nice diving catch by Gibbons. It seems like we might not be seeing him for a while, while is a shame cause he was on a tear. 394/487/727 over his last 50 plate appearances.

Ibanez was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI. He has an 18-game hitting streak in which he’s hit 409/506/667.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk. 391/500/621 over his last 108 plate appearances.

Brown 0-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and two strikeouts. Career walk number one helps raise his on-base percentage to .238.

Ruiz was 0-for-4 and left six men on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-11.

Valdez 1-for-3 with a triple. He’s 15-for-his-last-44 and hitting 341/370/386 over those 46 plate appearances.

Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.65) faces lefty Clayton Kershaw tonight (10-7, 3.19). Blanton has a 3.82 ERA and a 1.27 ratio over his last five starts. In those outings he allowed two home runs in the 33 innings. In his 13 previous starts he allowed 15 home runs in 80 innings. Opponents are hitting just .222 against Kershaw. He’s allowed just 117 hits in 143 2/3 innings while striking out 153. He walks a lot of batters, though, 62 for the season so far. He had made three strong starts in a row before allowing six runs to the Nationals in six innings his last time out.


Committee working on Kendrick’s Hall of Fame induction speech disbands abruptly and without notice

Ditto for the committees working on the speeches for Bastardo, Herndon, Baez and Romero.

Kyle Kendrick was on a nifty little run coming into last night’s game. He had strung together three very nice starts in a row, throwing to a 1.86 ERA in those games as the Phils won all three. It ended with a thud last night, though, as he didn’t make it out of the fourth and was charged with six runs over 3 1/3 innings against the Dodgers.

The worse news is that the bullpen wasn’t any better. They allowed nine runs on ten hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. Thanks to the combo of bad starting pitching and bad relief pitching, the Phils managed to lose a game in which they scored nine runs. That’s tough to do. Since the start of the 2005 season the Phils are 132-4 in games where they’ve scored more than eight runs and 37-3 when scoring nine.

The game was also notable for the construction of the Phillies roster. The Phils gave John Mayberry’s roster to spot to Bastardo, which means they have 12 hitters and 13 pitchers active. They started last night’s game with four hitters (Schneider, Sweeney, Dobbs and Francisco) on the bench. Things didn’t work out well as Polanco and Ruiz both left early, Schneider had to stay in for a big at-bat late against a lefty and Hamels pinch-hit with two men on base for the final out of the game.

The Phillies are 62-50 on the year after losing to the Dodgers 15-9 last night. They are in second place in the NL East and 2 1/2 games behind the Braves.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks. Only five of the runs were earned and seven of the eight hits were singles. The other was a double. He struck out one and saw his ERA puff to 4.60.

Scott Podsednik started the game with a single and was running on the pitch when Ryan Theriot grounded out to short. It put a man on second with one out for Andre Ethier and Ethier singled into center, scoring Podsednik to put LA up 1-0. James Loney flew to center and Casey Blake popped to Ruiz to end the frame.

Jay Gibbons started the second with a single and moved to second when Jamey Carroll walked behind him. Brad Ausmus hit into a double-play and Kendrick struck the pitcher Vicente Padilla out to leave Gibbons stranded at third.

Theriot singled with one out in the third. Ethier followed that with an RBI-double that make it 2-0. Loney walked to put men on first and second. Blake hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw to second to force Loney for the second out. With two down and men on first and third, Gibbons lined a single to right and Ethier scored. 3-0. Carroll grounded to short for the third out.

Kendrick continues to struggle against lefties. Ethier 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI through the first three innings. Werth made a really nice play on a line drive by Podsednik for the first out or the inning would have been worse.

Ausmus singled to center to start the fourth. Padilla was next and put down a bunt that was fielded by Kendrick. Kendrick threw to second, but Rollins didn’t handle the throw and was charged with an error. With nobody out and men on first and second, Podsednik singled to right to load the bases. Theriot hit a fly ball to right for the first out. It was deep enough for Ausmus to tag and score (4-0) and Padilla to take third. Bastardo came in to pitch to Ethier and Ethier singled to right. Padilla scored (5-0) and LA had men on first and second. Loney singled. Podsednik scored to make it 6-0 with Ethier taking second. Blake singled. Ethier scored (7-0) and Podsednik took third. Bastardo struck out the lefty Gibbons for the second out and got Carroll on a line drive to third to finally end the frame.

Not exactly a triumphant return for Bastardo in his first action since the middle of June. He faced five hitters and allowed single, single, single before getting a big strike out and a line out.

The lead was cut to 7-1 when Herndon threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Perhaps still in shock at seeing a 1-2-3 frame, Manuel brought Herndon back to pitch the sixth with the LA lead cut to 7-4. Theriot singled and stole second before Ethier walked. Loney doubled to right, Theriot scored (8-4) and Ethier went to third. Blake hit a fly ball to right. Ethier tagged and scored (9-4) and Loney took third. Gibbons hit a 1-1 pitch out to right for a two-run homer. 11-4. Carroll grounded out for the second out before Ausmus hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for his second error of the game. Reed Johnson hit for the pitcher and popped to second for the third out.

Herndon has now allowed 52 hits in 37 1/3 innings on the year. Opponents are hitting .342 against him for the season.

Baez started the seventh with the Phillies losing 11-5. With one out, Theriot reached on an infield single on a ball that was deflected by Polanco. Ethier moved him to second with a single and the game was delayed for a brief ceremony celebrating his 1,000th hit of the game. Loney was next and hit a ground ball back to the mound. Baez fielded and threw to second for the second out. He walked Blake to load the bases. Righty Matt Kemp hit for the pitcher and singled to right. Theriot and Loney scored to make it 13-5. Baez got Carroll on a ground ball to third to set the Dodgers down.

Baez has a 7.88 ERA and a 2.19 ratio over his last 18 appearances.

Contreras pitched the eighth with the Phils down 13-7. He gave up a leadoff walk to Ausmus and then got the next three hitters.

Romero started the ninth. He hit Ethier with his first pitch, which at least spared us all another ceremony. Struck out Loney for the first out before Blake hit a two-run homer to left. 15-7. Then pitcher George Sherrill hit for himself and walked. Durbin entered the game and struck out Carroll and Ausmus to leave Sherrill at first.

That’s pretty awful. Romero has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances. In those games he has been charged with five runs on three hits (including two home runs), three walks and a hit batter. His ERA for the season has gone from 2.59 to 4.38. He has walked 23 batters in 24 2/3 innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Vicente Padilla went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Gload (4) Ibanez (5) Werth (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Gload at first against the righty and Brown in right. Valdez plays second with Utley on the DL, making his 63rd start of the year.

Down 1-0, Gload singled with two outs in the first. Ibanez grounded to second for the third out.

Werth started the second with a single, but Brown hit into a double-play behind him. Ruiz flew to center for the third out.

Down 3-0, the Phils went in order in the third.

Polanco singled to start the fourth with the Phillies down 7-0. Gload flew to left for the first out before Ibanez walked. Werth walked as well and the bases were loaded for Brown. Brown flew to right for the second out. Polanco tagged and scored to cut the lead to 7-1. Ruiz struck out looking to leave the runners stranded on first and second.

Valdez singled to start the fifth. Schneider, who had taken over defensively for Ruiz in the top of the inning, flew to left for the first out before Rollins moved Valdez to third with a single. Polanco grounded to third with Valdez scoring to make it 7-2 and Rollins moving to second. Gload hit a 1-0 pitch out to right. 7-4. Ibanez grounded to first for the third out.

They were losing 11-4 when they hit in the sixth. Brown hit his first career homer with one out, connecting on an 0-1 pitch from Ronald Belisario to cut the lead to 11-5. Francisco hit for Herndon and grounded to first for the second out. Valdez grounded to short for the third.

They were down 13-5 when they hit in the seventh. With two outs and righty Carlos Monasterios on the mound, Dobbs hit for Polanco and singled to left. Gload followed that with his second homer of the game and the lead was cut to 13-7. Ibanez grounded to second for the third out.

This says that Polanco left the game because of left triceps tendinitis.

With two outs in the eighth and Monasterios still pitching, Sweeney hit for Contreras and reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by the pitcher. Valdez moved him to second with a single and lefty George Sherrill came in to pitch to Schneider. Schneider flew to center for the third out.

With Ruiz out of the game, the Phillies couldn’t hit for Schneider. They had used all of their hitters on the bench already anyway.

The Phils were down 15-7 when they hit in the ninth. Rollins led off with a single and Dobbs flew out behind him. Gload hit a ground ball to second and Rollins was forced at second for the second out. Ibanez singled and Werth walked and the bases were loaded for Brown. Brown doubled to left, scoring Gload and Ibanez to make it 15-9. Out of hitters, Hamels hit for Contreras and flew to left to end the game with runners stranded at second and third.

Ibanez gets a single off the lefty Sherrill in the inning for his only hit of the game.

Rollins was 2-for-5 and made two errors. 333/429/400 over his last seven games.

Polanco 1-for-3 with an RBI. He’s 13-for-35 (.371) in August.

Gload was 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI. 406/500/719 over 39 plate appearances since the end of the day on July 18.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk. 360/446/550 over his last 111 plate appearances.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a single and two walks in the game. He’s hitting 393/500/631 over his last 104 plate appearances. After going 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts in the first two games against the Marlins he has gone 9-for-his-last-18 with two doubles, a homer and five walks.

Brown 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Still looking for his first walk after 38 plate appearances and on-basing .237.

Ruiz was 0-for-2. He’s 0-for-his-last-7 with four strikeouts.

Valdez 2-for-4.

Roy Oswalt (6-13, 3.50) faces righty Chad Billingsley (9-6, 3.82) tonight. Oswalt has a 4.38 ERA and a 1.46 ratio in his two starts with the Phils this season. Billingsley has allowed three runs in 27 2/3 innings over his last four starts, throwing to an 0.98 ERA and an 0.94 ratio.


17 again and again

Only July 21 the Phillies lost to the Cardinals 5-1 in St Louis. It was their fourth loss in a row and sixth in seven games. They had fallen to 48-46 on the season and were in third place in the division, a half game behind the second-place Mets.

And then they started winning and haven’t stopped. They’ve gone 14-3 since and things are looking a whole lot brighter.

During the 17-game stretch they have been better both at scoring and preventing runs than they were over their first 94 games.

  Runs
scored per game
Runs
allowed per game
First 94
games
4.63 4.36
Last 17 games 5.24 3.18

The Phils have been better both at scoring and preventing runs over the streak, but have shown more dramatic improvement in preventing runs than scoring them. Over the last seventeen games they scored about 113% of the runs per game they scored over their first 94 games. Over the first 94 games they allowed about 137% of the runs per game they’ve allowed over the past 17.

The starting pitching has been hugely improved over the past 17 games. They have been pitching deeper into games with better results.

  IP/G ERA Ratio H/9 BB/9 SO/9
First 94 6.38 4.08 1.24 9.1 2.1 6.4
Last 17 6.69 2.85 1.09 7.8 2.1 8.9

The Phils have gotten longer starts from the rotation in their recent run. They are walking batters at about the same rate, but striking out more and allowing a lot fewer hits. Most importantly they are being charged with a lot less runs. The starting pitching was charged with about 3.16 runs per game over the first 94 games. Over the last 17 games they have allowed about 2.18 runs per game.

The Phils have 11 quality starts in the 17 games and in each of the eleven their starting pitcher allowed fewer than three runs. In the six games where they didn’t get a quality start they went 4-2. In their first 94 games they didn’t have a quality start in 43 of them and went 15-28 in those games (that’s a .349 winning percentage).

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And there especially ain’t no cure for the summertime blues if you’re right-handed and trying to get Raul Ibanez out

Anybody noticed that Raul Ibanez is playing rather well recently? If you haven’t, don’t worry. If you wait long enough one of his three-run homers will probably hit you in the head.

He probably will have hit it off a righty, though.

On June 30, Ibanez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout against the Reds to drop his line on the year to 240/328/394. Yesterday his three-run homer off of RA Dickey in the third inning was the big blow of the game for the Phils and he ended the day hitting 274/359/439. Since the end of July he has gotten 133 plate appearances in which he has hit 348/429/539.

And he still isn’t hitting left-handed pitching.

Here’s what he has done against lefties in July and August, keeping in mind that those are the months he has torn things up offensively:

  AB AVG OBP SLG
July 29 241 267 414
August 13 231 267 231
Combined 42 238 267 357

That’s about the same as his results against lefties through the end of June.


Raul Ibanez vs lefties
  AB AVG OBP SLG
Before July 67 224 288 373
July and
August
42 238 267 357
         
Season total 109 229 280 367

He’s actually been a little worse against lefties on his tear. He has hit for a slightly higher average, but is walking less and seeing his hits go for fewer bases.

Thankfully, though, he is just hammering righties. Here are his numbers against right-handed pitching for July and August and how they compare to the start of the season:


Raul Ibanez vs righties
  AB AVG OBP SLG
July 63 381 480 587
August 10 600 692 1.000
July and
August
73 411 511 644
         
Before July
and August
187 246 341 401
         
Total for
Season
260 292 389 469

Compared to his career numbers, Ibanez is walking more against righties and showing a little bit less power this year. It’s pretty close, though. He had an .850 OPS for his career against righties and .858 for the season. Against left-handed pitching, though, his numbers continue to be way off. Ibanez has a career 267/323/429 mark against lefties for his career compared to 229/280/367 for the year.

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Fish and foul

The Phillies got an enormous break last night and Carlos Ruiz helped them turn it into another win. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, a runner on second and the scored tied at 4-4, Gaby Sanchez ripped a game-winning hit down the left field line that never happened. The ball was called foul and the game continued. Carlos Ruiz popped one out to left to start the tenth and the Phils came out on top 5-4 for their fourth straight win.

As far as breaks go, they don’t get a lot bigger than the one where the other team wins the game and the umps decide it didn’t count.

The Phillies are 60-48 on the year after beating the Florida Marlins 5-4 in ten innings last night. With the win the Phils complete the three-game sweep of the Fish. They have won four in a row and remain two games behind the Braves in the NL East.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and allowed two runs on three hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double, and he struck out five.

He set the Marlins down in order in the first.

Cody Ross singled to center with one out in the second and Mike Stanton walked behind him. Wes Helms was next and hit a ground ball to second. Valdez fielded and threw to third to force the lead runner for the second out. Oswalt walked Ronny Paulino to load the bases with two outs, but struck the pitcher Chris Volstad out swinging to leave them loaded.

Logan Morrison doubled to left with one out in the third and moved to third when Gaby Sanchez flew to right for the second out. Uggla walked to put men on first and third, but Oswalt struck out Ross to end the inning.

Oswalt threw a 1-2-3 fourth and a 1-2-3 fifth.

He started the sixth up 2-0 and again set Florida down in order.

Stanton led off the seventh with a single and Helms walked behind him. Paulino was next and he bunted. Oswalt fielded the bunt and threw to third to force Stanton for the first out. Lefty Chad Tracy hit for the pitcher Jose Veras and the Phils brought Romero in to pitch to him. Righty Donnie Murphy hit for Tracy and lined a ground-rule double to left. It cut the lead to 2-1 with one out and men on second and third. Brett Hayes ran for Paulino at third and Romero walked Hanley Ramirez intentionally to load the bases. Morrison was next and Romero walked him unintentionally on four pitches, tying the game at 2-2 with the bases still loaded and one out. Contreras came in to pitch to the righty Sanchez and Sanchez flared a single to right. Murphy and Ramirez scored to make it 4-2 with men on first and third. Sanchez stole second, but Contreras struck out Uggla and Ross to leave the runners stranded.

Huge strikeouts for Contreras after the Marlins put men on second and third with one out. Oswalt pulled in the seventh having thrown 109 pitches.

Romero has now walked 22 batters in 24 1/3 innings on the year. Righties are on-basing .471 against him despite having just seven hits in 34 at-bats (.206).

Baez pitched the eighth. He allowed a two-out double to Hayes. The pitcher Clay Hensley was due to hit next and Hector Luna pinch-hit for him. Baez got Luna on a ground ball to third to end the inning.

Madson started the ninth with the game tied at 4-4. He hit Ramirez to start the inning and Ramirez stole second as Madson struck out Morrison for the first out. Sanchez was next and ripped a ball down the third base line for what should have been a game-winning hit. It was called foul, however, and Madson went on to strike Sanchez out for the second out. Uggla was walked intentionally so Madson could pitch to Ross and Madson struck him out swinging 0-2 to leave Ramirez stranded.

Sanchez’s ball looked fair and should have ended the game.

Lidge pitched the tenth with a 5-4 lead. Stanton led off with a single and stole second as Helms struck out swinging. Lidge struck Hayes out swinging for the second out and switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio hit for the pitcher Will Ohman. Lidge got him on a fly ball to right to end the game.

Madson, Contreras and Lidge were all throwing for the second straight day. Madson threw 19 pitches last night after throwing 27 in game two. Contreras threw 13 last night and Lidge 15. Baez 14 and Romero 12.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Gload (4) Ibanez (5) Werth (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Gload at first against the righty and Brown in right. Valdez plays second with Polanco at third and Dobbs on the bench. I really feel strongly that 73 starts in 108 games is too many for Valdez.

Rollins and Polanco started the games with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second for Gload and Gload flew to left for the first out before a balk moved the runners to second and third. Ibanez walked to load the bases with one out. Werth flew to center for the second and Brown struck out swinging to leave the runners stranded.

No run for the Phils on two singles, a walk and a balk. No RBI for Werth with men on second and third and one out.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Polanco singled with one out in the third. Gload lined to second behind him for the second. Ibanez was next and singled on a ball deflected by Ramirez at short, moving Polanco to third. Werth grounded to short to end the frame.

Ruiz doubled with one out in the fourth and was thrown out trying for third. Valdez grounded to Ramirez to leave him stranded at third.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Ibanez singled with one out in the sixth and Werth flew out behind him. Brown was next and moved Ibanez to second with a single into center. Ruiz blasted a double over the head of Ross in center, scoring both runners to put the Phils on top 2-0. Valdez was walked intentionally and Oswalt unintentionally, loading the bases for Rollins. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

I really don’t think I would walk Valdez intentionally that much.

Polanco started the seventh with a single. Gload was next and hit a ball to first with Polanco forced at second for the first out and Gload safe at first. Ibanez struck out for the second out before Werth moved Gload to second with a single to left. Brown struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils were down 4-2 when they hit in the eighth. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out. Dobbs hit for Valdez with the righty Hensley on the mound for Florida and struck out for the second. Sweeney hit for Contreras and drew a walk, but Rollins flew to right to leave him at first.

Righty Leo Nunez was on to protect a 4-2 Florida lead in the ninth. Polanco led off and hit a ball to short, but Ramirez’s throw to first was bad for an error. Gload was next and moved Polanco to second with a single. Ibanez followed that with a double to left, scoring Polanco to cut the lead to 4-3 with men on second and third and nobody out. Werth was next and dribbled a single under the glove of Ramirez. Gload scored to tie the score at 4-4 and Ibanez went to third. With men on first and third and nobody out, Brown hit a ball to first. Sanchez fielded and threw home and Ibanez was caught up between third and home and tagged out for the first out. With one out and men on first and second, Werth was picked off of second and caught going for third. Ruiz got behind in the count 0-2 and Brown was caught stealing on a pitch out to end the frame.

That was one of the uglier two-run rallies to tie the game in the ninth you’ll see. Three outs on the bases for the Phils. Brown getting caught for the third out meant that Ruiz got to lead off the tenth with a homer, though.

Ruiz led off the tenth and hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, putting the Phillies up 5-4. Dobbs struck out for the first out before Francisco hit for Madson. Francisco homered just foul. The call was review and the outcome was a foul ball, which was correct. Francisco flew to center for the second out and Rollins struck out swinging for the third.

Rollins was 1-for-6 in the game. 4-for-14 in the series with a double and three walks in the series. He’s hitting 214/299/305 over his last 174 plate appearances.

Polanco was 3-for-5 in the game 6-for-14 with a walk in the series. He’s 10-for-his-last-23.

Gload 1-for-5 in the game and 2-for-9 with three walks in the series.

Ibanez 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI in the game. He was 6-for-11 with a double and three walks in the series. 447/542/723 over his last 59 plate appearances. He was hitting 243/326/397 for the year after going 0-for-4 against the Reds on July 11. In his 18 games since he has hit 415/506/615 to get his line on the year up to 275/361/437.

Werth was 2-for-5 with an RBI and left six men on base. 3-for-15 with three singles and seven strikeouts in the series.

Brown was 1-for-5 in the game and 2-for-9 in the series with four strikeouts. After 27 at-bats with the Phils he has no walks and a 259/241/296 line.

Ruiz was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI. 8-for-15 with three doubles and two home runs in the series. 18-for-his-last-41 (.439) with nine extra-base hits.

Valdez was 0-for-2 with a walk (intentional, let’s not be silly here). 2-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.86) faces lefty Jon Niese (7-5, 3.78) tonight. Blanton has a 4.15 ERA and a 1.35 ratio over his last four starts after throwing to a 6.41 ERA and a 1.47 ratio in his first 13 appearances. He allowed 15 home runs in 80 innings over his first 13 starts and just two over 26 innings over his last four. Niese has allowed 120 hits in 112 1/3 innings, but doesn’t walk many righties. He’s walked just 27 of the 365 right-handed batters he’s faced this season.

It was Cody Ransom and not John Mayberry who lost his roster spot to Mike Sweeney.


Away improvement

The Phils posted a miserable 9-23 record on the road between the middle of May and the end of July, raising questions about how they would ever find a way into the post-season with such miserable results away from home. The bad news is they probably won’t make the post-season without showing dramatic improvement on the road. The good news is that shouldn’t be too hard to do. It looks like they’ve started already, opening August by going 3-0 away from Citizens Bank Park.

Kyle Kendrick delivered yet another solid start last night and the Phils have now won all three games he’s pitched since returning from Triple-A. In those starts he’s 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. In his 20 appearances before being sent to the minors, Kendrick struck out about 4.24 batters per nine innings. In his three starts since he has struck out 6.05 per nine.

Domonic Brown flashed some more of his glove and his bat as well. Brown drove in three runs and made a fantastic throw in the bottom of the third inning to nail Gaby Sanchez at the plate.

The Phillies are 59-48 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 7-2 last night. They have won three in a row and remain two games behind the Braves in the NL East.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

The start of the game was delayed for 58 minutes by rain. When it started, the Phils scored two in the top of the first and Kendrick started the bottom of the first with a 2-0 lead. Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez singled back-to-back with one out, putting men on first and third for Dan Uggla. Uggla hit a ball to right that Brown handled for the second out and Morrison held third. Cody Ross grounded to third for the third out.

Mike Stanton led off the second and blasted a 1-2 pitch way out to left center, cutting the lead to 2-1. Kendrick came way up and in with his first pitch to the next batter, Wes Helms, and set the next three hitters down in order.

Sanchez doubled softly to left with two outs in the third. Uggla was next and singled to right, but Brown made a very strong throw to the plate and Sanchez was tagged out to end the inning.

Great throw by Brown, who also made a strong throw in the first on a ball that Uggla hit to keep Morrison at third.

Kendrick struck out two in a 1-2-3 fourth.

He had a 4-1 lead when he started the fifth. He got the first two before Ramirez and Morrison singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Sanchez and Sanchez singled into right. Brown should have thrown to third, but threw home instead. His throw was bad a got away from Ruiz, allowing the runners to go to second and third with the lead cut to 4-2. Uggla was next and Rollins made a fantastic diving play to snare his line drive and end the inning.

Rollins saved the Phils two runs.

Up 5-2, Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Contreras pitched the seventh. He allowed a two-out single to Ramirez, but got Morrison to ground to second to leave the runner stranded.

Madson pitched the eighth. Sanchez led off with a double and Uggla walked behind him. Ross hit a fly ball to center for the first out, deep enough for the runners to move to second and third. Madson struck Stanton and Helms both out swinging to end the inning.

Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a 7-2 lead to drop his ERA on the year to 5.09.

Madson threw 27 pitches in the game, Contreras 15 and Lidge 14.

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Ibanez (4) Werth (5) Gload (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Gload at first against the righty. Valdez at second with Polanco at third and Dobbs on the bench. Brown plays right against the righty.

Polanco singled with one out in the first and took second on a wild pitch before Ibanez walked. It put men on first and second for Werth and Werth struck out for the second out. Gload singled into center and Polanco scored, putting the Phils up 1-0. With two down and men on first and second, Brown singled into center. Ibanez scored and the Phils were up 2-0. Ruiz struck out to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins reached on an infield single with two outs in the second, but Polanco popped to short behind him.

The lead was cut to 2-1 when the Phils hit in the third. Gload walked with two outs and took second on another wild pitch, but Brown hit a ball that the pitcher handled for the third out.

They went in order in the fourth.

Rollins and Polanco singled back-to-back to start the fifth. It put men on first and second for Ibanez and Ibanez singled into right. Rollins came in to score (3-1) with the runners winding up at second and third after the throw came home. Werth struck out for the first out and the righty Sanchez walked the lefty Gload intentionally to load the bases. Lefty Taylor Tankersley came in to pitch to Brown and Brown hit a fly ball to right deep enough for Polanco to tag and score, putting the Phils up 4-1. Ruiz grounded to third for the third out.

Another strikeout for Werth, this time with nobody out and men on second and third.

The lead was cut to 4-2 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Kendrick doubled with one out and Rollins walked behind him. Polanco was next and he walked, loading the bases. Ibanez hit a fly ball to right. Kendrick tagged and scored (5-2) and Rollins went to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Werth flew to center to end the frame.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

With righty Clay Hensley on the mound for Florida, Dobbs hit for Contreras with one out in the eighth and grounded to third. Rollins walked behind him, but Polanco flew to center for the third out.

Ibanez and Werth singled back-to-back to start the ninth. Gload was next and flew to left. Ibanez tagged and took third, putting men on first and third with one down. Brown was next and hit a ball to Uggla at second. Uggla flipped to second to try to start the double-play, but the flip was awful and Ramirez didn’t have a chance. Ibanez scored to make it 6-2 with men on first and third. Ruiz followed that with a single to left that brought Werth in and it was 7-2. With men on first and second with one out, Valdez hit a ground ball to third and Ruiz was forced at second for the second out. With righty Leo Nunez on the mound for the Fish, Francisco hit for Madson and walked to load the bases. Rollins flew to left to leave the runners stranded.

Rollins was 2-for-4 and walked twice. Over his last four games he’s 5-for-17 with five walks. Prior to those four games he had on-based .273 in his 132 previous plate appearances.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a walk.

Ibanez 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. He’s hitting 393/486/590 over his last 74 plate appearances. Over his last 12 games he’s 18-for-43 (.419) with three home runs and ten walks. If you’re wondering how the Phillies are getting offense with so many players injured, I’d start there.

Top three in the order go 6-for-11 with four walks.

Werth was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts and six men left on base. He’s 1-for-his-last-10 with seven strikeouts. If you’re wondering how the Phillies offense can get better, I’d start there.

Gload was 1-for-3 with two walks and an RBI. He’s 8-for-his-last-17 with a double, a home run and five walks, raising his line on the year from 239/270/408 to 284/344/466. I’m hoping he and Sweeney become a left/right platoon instead of Sweeney becoming the regular first baseman with Howard out.

Brown was 1-for-4 with three RBI and showed off a fantastic arm in the third inning. Made a bad decision and a bad throw in the fifth, though.

Ruiz was 1-for-5 with an RBI. He’s 15-for-his-last-36 with four doubles and two home runs.

Valdez was 0-for-5 with a strikeout to drop his on-base percentage for the year to .270.

Roy Oswalt (6-13, 3.53) faces righty Chris Volstad (5-8, 4.71) tonight as the Phils go for the sweep. Oswalt allowed five runs in six innings in his first start as a Phillie. Volstad has a 5.87 ERA over his last six starts. He’s walked too many batters this season, about 3.6 per nine innings.

The Phillies acquired right-handed first baseman Mike Sweeney from Seattle. My guess is he will take Mayberry’s roster spot and platoon at first with Gload until Howard returns.


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