The Phils have faced Florida in seven of their last ten games and been all over the Fish, winning six of the seven games as they scored an average of seven runs per game. The Braves, meanwhile, have stumbled, going 5-9 over their last 14. The combination of the Phillie surge and Atlanta’s struggles have the Phils three games ahead in the division for the first time since the end of May.
The bad news is the Phils are done with Florida for the season.
Last night the Phils pounded Marlin pitching in a 10-5 win as they completed a three-game sweep in Florida. Halladay got the start and again wasn’t fantastic, but he wasn’t terrible, either. He held Florida to three runs over six innings while striking out nine and earning his 19th win of the season. The Phils cranked out 14 hits in the game. Ibanez, Ruiz and Valdez combined to go 8-for-14 in the 6-7-8 spots in the order and Victorino added two more hits of his own as he continues to produce offensively out of the leadoff spot.
Brad Lidge stumbled in the ninth inning for the first time in a long time. With an off day today, Lidge came into the game to protect a 10-4 lead and allowed a hit and three walks before Contreras had to take over with one out and the bases loaded. For Lidge it was just the second time he had been charged with an earned run over his last 19 appearances.
The Phillies are 86-61 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 10-5 last night. They have won four in a row and are in first place in the NL East, three games ahead of the Braves. Atlanta is a half game ahead of the Giants for the Wild Card.
Halladay got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on ten hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. He has a 4.41 ERA over his last five starts and a 4.79 ERA over his last three.
He started the bottom of the first with a 3-0 lead. Emilio Bonifacio led off with an infield single. Halladay struck Logan Morrison out for the first out before Hanley Ramirez moved Bonifacio to second with a ground out to second. Dan Uggla was next and singled into center, scoring Bonifacio to cut the lead to 3-1. Gaby Sanchez flew to right for the third out.
Halladay threw a 1-2-3 second.
The Phillies led 6-1 when he started the third. Morrison and Ramirez singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and second for Uggla. Uggla lined to third, leaving the runners stranded.
It was 8-1 when he started the fourth. Sanchez led off with a single before Chad Tracy flew to center for the first out. Scott Cousins moved Sanchez to second with a single before Brad Davis singled into right to load the bases. Righty Hector Luna hit for pitcher Brett Sinkbeil, who I promise is a real person, and hit a fly ball to right for the second out. Sanchez tagged and scored to make it 8-2 with Cousins taking third. Bonifacio struck out swinging to end the inning.
Up 9-2, Halladay threw a 1-2-3 fifth.
Sanchez homered to left to start the sixth. 9-3. Tracy followed that with a single, but Halladay struck out Cousins and Davis behind him. Righty Wes Helms hit for the pitcher Jay Buente (also a real person) and singled into center, sending Tracy to third. Halladay struck Bonifacio out looking 2-2 for the third out.
Durbin started the seventh. Morrison led off with a triple and came in to score when Ramirez followed with a ground out to short. 9-4. Uggla flew to center and Sanchez flew to right to end the inning.
Durbin was pitching in back-to-back games. He pitched a complete inning for the first time in his last five appearances. Since July 29 he’s made 22 appearances and thrown to a 5.82 ERA over 21 2/3 innings.
Madson pitched the eighth. He hit Tracy with a pitch before Cousins struck out swinging for the first out. Davis was next and grounded to short with Tracy forced at second for the second out. Righty Cameron Maybin hit for the pitcher Brian Sanches and Madson struck him out swinging 2-2 for the third out.
Again Madson pitches with a five-run lead. It’s too many appearances for Madson, who has now thrown in 28 of 43 games for the Phils since the start of August. He’s allowed two earned runs in 28 innings in those games (0.64 ERA). He almost surely wouldn’t have been in the game if the Phillies didn’t have an off-day today, but he shouldn’t have pitched anyway.
Lidge started the ninth up 10-4, pitching for the second straight day. Bonifacio singled to right and Morrison followed that with a walk. He struck out Ramirez before Uggla walked on five pitches, loading the bases. Sanchez walked on five pitches as well, forcing Bonifacio in to cut the lead to 10-5. That was it for Lidge. Contreras came into the game with the tying run on deck. He struck Tracy out for the first out and got Cousins on a ground ball to second to end the game.
Lidge and Durbin have both pitched two days in a row, but that shouldn’t be an issue with no game today. Lidge threw 23 pitches in the game, Durbin 20, Madson 15 and Contreras six.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jorge Sosa went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez still at short with Rollins sidelined and Victorino leading off.
Utley and Howard walked back-to-back with two outs in the top of the first. Werth singled into right with Utley scoring to make it 1-0 and Howard going to third. Werth stole second before Ibanez cleared the bases with a two-run double. 3-0. Ruiz flew to center for the third out.
Walk, walk, single, stolen base, two-run double for the Phils after two outs and nobody on.
It was 3-1 when Valdez started the second with a single. Halladay bunted him to second and he took third on a ground out by Victorino. Polanco flew to center for the third out.
Utley homered to start the third. 4-1. Howard walked before Werth popped to first for the first out. Ibanez moved Howard to second with a single and Ruiz reached on an error by Tracy at third to load the bases. Valdez singled to left with everyone moving up a base and Howard crossing the plate. 5-1. Halladay struck out for the second out, but Victorino followed that with a single to right. Everyone moved up a base again and Ibanez scored. 6-1. Polanco grounded to second to set the Phillies down.
Werth walked with two outs in the fourth. Ibanez was next and singled to center. Werth went to third with Ibanez taking second when the throw came into third. Ruiz was walked intentionally to load the bases. Valdez singled again, moving everyone up a base and scoring Werth to make it 7-1. With Halladay at the plate, a wild pitch by Sinkbeil allowed everyone to take another base. Ibanez scored and it was 8-1. Halladay grounded to second for the third out.
Again the Phillies do it with two outs and nobody on. Valdez was 2-for-2 with two RBI-singles in the last two innings.
Up 8-2, Victorino started the fifth with a triple and scored when Polanco followed with a single to left. 9-2. Utley, Howard and Werth went in order behind Polanco.
Ruiz singled with one out in the sixth. Valdez was next and hit a ground ball to third with Ruiz forced at second for the second out. Halladay flew to left for the third out.
The Phils went in order in the seventh with their lead cut to 9-3.
It was 9-4 when Howard started the eighth with a walk. Werth struck out behind him and Ibanez hit into a double-play.
Ruiz doubled to start the ninth. Valdez flew to center for the first out before Gload hit for Morrison and doubled to left. Ruiz scored and it was 10-4. Victorino grounded to short and Polanco flew to right to leave Gload stranded.
Victorino was 2-for-6 with a triple and an RBI in the game. He was 6-for-16 with a double, a triple and a walk in the series and is hitting 265/330/443 for the season.
Polanco 1-for-6 with an RBI last night and left five men on base. 3-for-15 with a double and a walk in the series. 5-for-his-last-28 and hitting 300/339/397 for the year.
Utley was 1-for-4 with a home run and a walk. 2-for-10 with two home runs and five walks in the series. 274/388/454 on the year.
Howard 0-for-2 with three walks. 1-for-8 with a single and seven walks in the series. 279/348/514.
Werth 1-for-4 with a walk. 3-for-12 with a home run and two walks in the series. 3-for-his-last-20 and hitting 288/379/505 for the year.
Ibanez was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. 3-for-10 with a double and three walks in the set. 266/347/433 for the season. He’s hitting 412/487/765 with seven extra-base hits in 39 plate appearances over his last nine games.
Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double. 5-for-11 with two walks, a double and a home run in the series. 299/401/437 for the year. 375/500/500 over 60 plate appearances in his last 18 games.
Valdez was 3-for-5 with two RBI. 6-for-13 with a double and a walk in the series. 10-for-28 (357/400/429) filling in for Rollins. He’s at 253/292/355 for the year.
The Phils are off today and start a three-game set with the Nationals tomorrow.
You can also read this post at philliesflow.wordpress.com