The Phils came up with a 1-0 win last night, beating Atlanta to complete the three-game sweep and tighten their grip on the division.
The Braves didn’t come up with many big hits in the series and the Phillies did. The Braves didn’t catch or throw the ball very well and the Phillies did. The biggest difference between the teams, though, is that Atlanta started Tommy Hanson and two guys that may be really good someday while the Phillies started three guys that are great already. Atlanta’s starters in the series have combined for 24 career wins. The starting pitchers the Phillies sent to the mound have 378 career wins, 11 All-Star appearances, a Cy Young and have been the MVP of the NLCS and World Series.
Last night it was Oswalt who shined. He held the Braves to a double and a walk over seven shutout innings. The game was locked in a scoreless tie until Ibanez delivered a two-out RBI-double in the bottom of the eighth. Once again, Madson and Lidge held at the back of the bullpen. Since the start of August, that duo has combined to strike out 61 in 52 2/3 innings while throwing to an 0.68 ERA and an 0.82 ratio.
The Phils have three huge hits in the last two games and Ibanez has two of them. In each of the last two games he has delivered a double against a lefty that put the Phils ahead to stay. He has driven in all the runs the team has scored that didn’t come on Werth’s third inning homer off of Mike Minor.
The Phillies are 92-61 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 1-0 last night. The Phils sweep the three-game series and extend their lead in the division to six games. They have won ten in a row. The Braves are a half game ahead of the Giants for the Wild Card.
Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and allowed one hit, a double by Martin Prado in the fourth, over seven shutout innings. He walked one and struck out eight.
He got two ground outs and a line out in a 1-2-3 first.
He struck out Brian McCann and Derrek Lee as he set Atlanta down in order in the second.
He struck out Alex Gonzalez and Rick Ankiel in a 1-2-3 third.
He got the first two in the fourth before Prado doubled to the gap in right center. Oswalt got McCann on a ground ball to first to leave Prado at second.
He got three fly balls in a 1-2-3 fifth.
He struck out Ankiel and the pitcher Tommy Hanson as the Braves went in order in the sixth.
He walked Brian McCann on five pitches with two outs in the seventh. Lee struck out swinging 3-2 to leave McCann at first.
Madson threw a 1-2-3 eighth with the game still scoreless. He was pitching for the second straight day and threw 11 pitches in the game. He has made 31 appearances for the Phillies since the start of August and allowed two earned runs.
I don’t think there is any question that Madson has been overused. The Phils have clearly benefited from the way he has been used in the short term. The thing that’s left to see is if it’s going to cost them if they make the post-season.
Lidge started the ninth with a 1-0 lead. Lefty Freddie Freeman hit for the pitcher Jonny Venters and flew to right for the first out. Lidge got Omar Infante to fly to center for the second before he walked Jason Heyward on five pitches. Heyward stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position for Prado, but Prado flew to Werth in right to end the game.
Lidge was also throwing for the second straight day. He threw 19 pitches in the game. That’s 23 appearances for him since the start of August with an 0.83 ERA.
The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Nothing new there with Valdez playing short for the sidelined Rollins, Ruiz seventh and Victorino in the leadoff spot.
The Phils went in order in the first.
Werth walked with one out in the second. Ibanez flew to center for the second out. With Ruiz at the plate, Werth stole second and took third when McCann threw the ball into center field for an error. Ruiz flew softly to right field for the third out.
Second time in the series that McCann made an awful throw. This time it didn’t cost Atlanta like it did when Prado didn’t handle the throw on Utley’s steal in game one.
The Phils went in order in the third.
Hanson hit Utley with a pitch with one out in the fourth. Howard flew to left and Werth struck out to leave him stranded.
Ibanez grounded to second to start the fifth. Ruiz was next and hit a ball into the gap in left center. McLouth made a floundering slide of an effort and didn’t come up with the ball. Ruiz had a double. Valdez followed that with a walk and Oswalt bunted the runners to second and third with the second out. Victorino quickly got behind 0-2 and struck out looking 2-2 to leave both men stranded.
Big at-bat for Victorino after going 0-for-5 and leaving seven men on base the day before.
Utley singled to right with one out in the sixth and stole second as Howard struck out for the second out. Werth walked, putting two men on for Ibanez, but Ibanez grounded to second to end the inning.
Ruiz started the seventh with a single and Valdez bunted him to second. With the righty Peter Moylan on the mound for the Braves, Dobbs hit for Oswalt. Righty Craig Kimbrel took over for Moylan and struck Dobbs out looking 2-2 for the second out. With Victorino at the plate, Kimbrel delivered a pitch in the dirt that went through McCann’s legs. Ruiz took off for third, but the ball bounced off the backstop and right back to McCann. McCann threw to third and Ruiz would have been out, but Prado dropped the ball. Victorino went on to walk, putting men on first and third with two down for Polanco. Polanco got ahead 2-0 and lofted a high foul ball down the first base line. Infante made a long run and a sliding effort, catching the ball against the fence of the stands for the third out.
The Braves played miserable defense in the series, but that was a huge play by Infante at a huge time. The Braves need to do what they can to take McCann-throws-to-Prado out of their playbook.
Venters started the eighth and hit Utley with a pitch, but Howard hit into a double-play behind Utley. Werth drew a walk and it brought Ibanez to the plate. Ibanez lofted a 2-0 pitch down the left field line that landed (maybe) on the chalk in the corner. McLouth fielded it cleanly and quickly, but his throw was a lollipop over the head of his cutoff man Gonzalez. Prado had to take the throw and relayed home, but it was too late. Werth slid in ahead of the tag and the Phils were up 1-0. Ruiz was hit by a pitch before Valdez grounded to third to end the inning.
There’s that miserable defense from the Braves again. Ibanez again does it and again against a lefty. This double off of Venters last night after he ripped a double into the right field corner off of Mike Dunn to put the Phils ahead to stay in game two. Ibanez had also doubled off of the lefty Minor earlier in game two. He’s hitting 360/407/640 against lefties in September in 25 at-bats.
Second time in the game that Utley was hit by a pitch.
Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk last night. 1-for-12 with a walk in the series. 262/328/432. He was due to slow down, it’s just a question of how much and for how long.
Polanco 0-for-4 in the game. 2-for-11 with two walks in the series. 293/337/388 for the year. No extra-base hits in his last seven games. He’s hitting 219/286/272 over his last 127 plate appearances.
The Phillies sweep the series despite having their one and two hitters combine to go 3-for-23 (.130) with three singles and three walks.
Utley was 1-for-2 and was twice hit by a pitch. 4-for-11 in the series with four singles. 279/392/452 on the year. 346/460/543 over his last 22 games and 100 plate appearances. 311/425/500 at home for the season and 245/354/399 on the road. He has better numbers at home than on the road for his career, but not that much better.
Howard was 0-for-4, struck out twice and hit into a double-play after Utley was hit by a pitch in the eighth. He didn’t draw a walk in the game for the first time since September 12. September 12 was a long time ago. He was 2-for-10 with a double and three walks in the series. 278/353/512 on the year. 228/343/456 over 134 plate appearances since returning from the DL. .228?
Werth 0-for-1 with three walks. 3-for-8 with a home run and five walks in the series. 293/386/524 for the year. 12-for-his-last-33 with five home runs and seven walks.
Ibanez 1-for-4 with a double. 3-for-12 with three doubles in the series. 274/352/445 for the season.
Ruiz 2-for-3 with a double. 3-for-10 with a walk and two doubles in the set. 299/400/444 for the year. Among the 22 NL players who have at least 200 plate appearances as a catcher, Ruiz has the best on-base percentage and third-best OPS.
Valdez was 0-for-2 with a walk. 2-for-8 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 302/362/362 over his last 128 plate appearances.
The Phils are off today and play the Mets tomorrow night.
Philliesflow will continue to experience lotsa technical problems. Sometime soon it will go down completely then come back. You can also read the posts at philliesflow.wordpress.com.