Archive for September, 2010

Flying ace

There are enough things going right for the Phils these days that you get the feeling they might be okay even if Cole Hamels wasn’t absolutely unhittable. It looks like we’re not going to have to find out. Hamels made his fifth outstanding start in a row last night, holding the Braves to a run over eight innings as he led the Phils to a 3-1 win.

Hamels has been charged with one run on less in seven of his last nine starts.

He got a lot of help from his middle infielders last night as they turned three double-plays, two of which were spectacular. Utley got a late throw from Polanco in the first, but turned the double-play thanks to a strong throw he delivered just as he landed. In the sixth it was Valdez’s turn to make a fantastic throw as the Phils again doubled-up Prado to end a threat for the Braves.

Atlanta, on the other hand, struggled defensively and their problems in the bottom of the fifth changed the game. The Phils came to bat in with the score tied at 1-1 and managed to score a pair of runs on a single hit, Chase Utley’s single with one out and nobody on base, thanks to a pair of defensive miscues from the Braves. Shane Victorino led off with a knuckling fly ball to right that went off of Jason Heyward’s glove for a three base error. Later in the inning Utley stole second and took third when Martin Prado didn’t handle the throw from the catcher, allowing him to score on a ground out by Ibanez three batters later.

The Phillies are 90-61 after beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1 last night. They have won eight in a row and lead the NL East by four games. Atlanta is four games ahead of the Padres for the Wild Card.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out six. He threw 117 pitches last night after throwing 127 in his previous start. Over his last five starts he has allowed two earned runs in 36 2/3 innings (0.49 ERA).

Heyward singled with one out in the first, but Hamels got Prado to hit into a double-play behind him. Prado hit a ball to third and Polanco was a little slow getting the ball to second. Utley caught it and made a strong throw just after landing to beat Prado at first. Exceptional play by Utley to make such a solid throw with so little time.

Derrek Lee started the second with a single. Brian McCann was behind him and doubled to right, scoring Lee to put Atlanta up 1-0. Matt Diaz moved McCann to third with a single, but Hamels struck Alex Gonzalez out for the second out and got Melky Cabrera to hit into a double-play to prevent further damage.

It was 1-1 when Hamels set Atlanta down in order in the third.

He came back with a 1-2-3 fourth.

Gonzalez doubled down the third base line and into the left field corner with one out in the fifth. Hamels struck Cabrera out for the second out and the pitcher Brandnon Beachy for the third.

He was up 3-1 when the started the sixth. Heyward walked with one out. Prado was next and crushed a ball out of the yard but just foul and then smashed a ball in-between first and second. Utley moved to his left to field it and then turned and threw to second. Valdez uncorked a fantastic throw to first to complete the double-play.

I wasn’t sure that was a double-play when it was hit and it turned out not to be close. The throw from Valdez was exceptionally strong.

Lee started the seventh with a single. McCann flew to left, Diaz flew to right and Gonzalez grounded to third.

He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and the Phillies hit for him in the bottom of the inning.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils still up by two runs. He struck out Heyward, got Prado on a fly ball to right then struck out Lee to end the game.

Over his last 21 appearances, Lidge has thrown 19 2/3 innings and been charged with two earned runs (0.92 ERA). Opponents are hitting .119 against him in those games and he hasn’t allowed a home run.

Lidge was pitching with a day of rest and threw 11 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brandon Beachy went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez still at short with Rollins sidelined. Beachy was making his major league debut after the Brave’s scheduled starter, Jair Jurrjens, was unable to go with a knee problem.

The Phils went in order in the first.

They were down 1-0 when Howard started the bottom of the second with a double to right. Werth flew to right for the first out before Ibanez moved Howard to third with a ground out to the pitcher. Ruiz lined a double into left and Howard scored, tying the game at 1-1. Valdez was walked intentionally and Hamels flew to left to leave both runners stranded.

I wouldn’t walk Valdez intentionally that much.

Victorino started the third with a single and stole second before Polanco flew to left. Utley struck out swinging for the second out before Beachy walked Howard intentionally. Werth flew to right for the third out.

Valdez walked with two outs in the fourth. Hamels flew to center for the third out.

Victorino lined a ball to right to start the fifth. Heyward should have made the play, but the ball went off the tip of his glove and fell for an error. Victorino was running hard and wound up at third with nobody out. Polanco followed and grounded to short for the first out with Victorino scoring to put the Phils ahead 2-1. Utley followed that with a single and with Howard coming to the plate the Braves called on lefty Eric O’Flaherty to pitch to him. Utley took off as O’Flaherty delivered ball two to Howard and the count went 2-1. With the huge shift on for Howard, Prado was covering second and he didn’t handle the throw. Utley went to third with the error charged to McCann, but Prado really should have caught the ball. Howard walked, putting men on first and third with one down for Werth. O’Flaherty stayed in to pitch to him and Werth ripped a 3-2 pitch foul down the third base line before walking to load the bases for Ibanez. Ibanez hit a ground ball to short and Gonzalez made a nice play to get an out at first with Utley scoring to put the Phils up 3-1 with two down and men on second and third. Righty Peter Moylan came in and struck Ruiz out on three pitches to leave both men stranded.

Miserable defense and walks in the inning help the Phils score two runs on just one hit (Utley’s single).

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

Polanco walked to start the seventh. Utley popped to third for the first out and Howard struck out swinging for the second. Werth moved Polanco to second with a single into right, but Ibanez flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Hamels with two outs and the righty Kyle Farnsworth on the mound for Atlanta. Farnsworth struck him out swinging to end the inning.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Utley 1-for-4

Howard 1-for-2 with two walks. One of the walks was intentional. He has 13 walks in his last 32 plate appearances. In the 154 plate appearances before those 32 he walked 12 times.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk.

Ibanez 0-for-4 with an RBI and five men left on base.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with an RBI double.

Valdez 0-for-2 and walked twice. Five walks in 50 September plate appearances for Valdez — that’s more than Werth, who has four in 77 plate appearances.

Roy Halladay (19-10, 2.49) faces lefty Mike Minor (3-1, 5.84) tonight. Halladay has been less dominant over his past five starts, throwing to a 4.41 ERA and allowing nine home runs in 34 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old Minor was the seventh pick of the 2007 draft and has made seven starts for the Braves this year. Lefties are hitting .194 against him, righties .322 with all five of the home runs he has allowed. He had a 3.91 ERA after his first four starts but has allowed 14 runs in 14 innings over his last three times out.

You can also read this post at philliesflow.wordpress.com


Sweet September

It’s been quite a month for the Phillies. After winning seven in a row they are 15-3 in September and have outscored their opponents by an average of two runs a game — in their 18 games this month they have scored 109 runs (6.06 per game) and allowed 73 (4.06 per game).

Yesterday the Phils put four runs on the board in a flash in the bottom of the ninth. Down 6-3 to start the inning, Polanco singled and Utley doubled before Howard brought them both home with a two-run single. Werth smashed a long home run to center to give the Phils the walkoff win.

If they had gotten to Ibanez you would have to have liked his chances as well. Ibanez was 7-for-11 with a walk in the series and hitting 375/437/609 so far this month. The middle of the order was a wrecking crew against the Nats this weekend. All four of Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez hit over .330 in the series. The four combined to go 20-for-44 (.455) with five home runs.

The Phillies are 89-61 on the season after beating the Washington Nationals 7-6 yesterday afternoon. With the win the Phils complete the three-game sweep in which they outscored Washington 21-9. Atlanta swept the Mets this weekend and the Phils are three games ahead of the Braves in the NL East. Atlanta leads the Padres by 2 1/2 games for the Wild Card.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out eight and has allowed 15 runs in 22 2/3 innings over his last four starts.

He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first and another in a 1-2-3 second.

Willie Harris led off the third and homered to right, putting the Nats up 1-0. Ivan Rodriguez followed that with a single and the pitcher Yunesky Maya struck out trying to bunt him to second for the first out. Blanton struck Danny Espinoza out swinging for the second out and got Ian Desmond to ground to Utley for the third.

Adam Dunn singled with one out in the fourth. Blanton struck Roger Bernadina out swinging for the second out as Dunn was thrown out trying to steal second to end the frame.

The Phils were up 2-1 when Blanton started the fifth. Michael Morse led off with a single to right. Blanton struck Harris out behind him for the first out before Rodriguez moved Morse to second with a single to right. Maya bunted the ball hard to first. Howard fielded and threw to third to get Morse for the second out and Blanton struck Espinosa out swinging to leave the runners at first and second.

Great no-throw-the-ball-into-the-stands by Howard. Second time in the game that Maya couldn’t bunt the runners over.

Blanton started the sixth with a 3-1 lead. Ian Desmond led off with a single and Ryan Zimmerman flew to left behind him for the first out. Desmond stole second before Dunn drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch. Bernadina popped to short for the second out and it brought Morse to the plate with two down and men on first and second. Blanton got ahead 1-2, but then threw two straight balls and Morse hit a 3-2 pitch out to right for a three-run homer that put Washington on top 4-3. Harris grounded to first for the third out.

Baez pitched the seventh and got the first two hitters before Espinosa homered to left, extending the lead to 5-3. Desmond flew to Werth, who had taken over for Victorino after Victorino was ejected, for the third out.

For Baez it was the first time he has been charged with a run in his last five appearances.

Romero started the eighth. He got the first two hitters before Bernadina doubled to left. Romero walked the righty Morse intentionally to put men on first and second for Harris. Harris lined a single to left, scoring Bernadina (6-3) and Morse took second. Contreras came in to pitch to the righty Rodriguez and got him on a fly ball to right for the third out.

For Romero it was the first time he was charged with a run in his last ten games.

Worley pitched the ninth. He allowed a two-out single to Desmond, but struck Zimmerman out to leave Desmond stranded.

The Phillies lineup against righty Yunesky Maya went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Schneider catches the day game with Valdez at short and Victorino hitting leadoff.

Utley singled with two outs and Howard was walked intentionally behind him. Werth grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Ibanez started the second with a walk and was balked to second. Schneider reached on an infield single and Ibanez took third. Valdez popped to short for the first out. Blanton tried to bunt and struck out for the second. Victorino flew to right to leave both runners stranded.

Nothing for the Phils with men on first and third and nobody out. Valdez comes up empty with nobody out and a man on third.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the third.

Werth and Ibanez singled back-to-back to start the fourth. It put men on first and third for Schneider and he cleared the bases with a double to center, putting the Phils up 2-1. Valdez fouled out to first, Blanton flew to center and Victorino popped to short to leave Schneider at second.

Again 8-9-1 in the order don’t have any luck moving the runner along.

Polanco started the fifth and was hit by a pitch. Utley flew to right for the first out and Polanco stole second as Howard struck out for the second. Werth lined a two-out single into left and Polanco scored to put the Phils up 3-1. Ibanez moved Werth to second with a single and the Phils pulled off a double steal that put runners on second and third for Schneider with two down. Schneider struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Down 4-3, the Phils went in order in the sixth. Dobbs hit for Blanton and popped to second for the second out. Victorino struck out for the third out, slammed his helmet and was ejected from the game. Francisco went in to play right with Werth moving to center.

Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back to start the seventh with the Phils down 5-3. It put men on first and second, but Howard and Werth both struck out and Ibanez lined to second.

The Phils were down 6-3 when Schneider started the eighth with a single. Valdez popped to first for the first out, Francisco popped to second for the second. Gload hit for Contreras and struck out to leave Schneider at first.

Polanco singled to start the ninth and went to third on a double by Utley. Howard singled into center and the lead was cut to 6-5. Werth hit a 3-2 pitch out to center to give the Phils a 7-6 win.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game. 3-for-11 with three walks and an RBI in the series. 266/332/440 for the year. 389/459/537 over his last 61 plate appearances.

Polanco 2-for-4 yesterday and 3-for-14 in the series. 226/291/290 over his last 21 games. 298/337/392 for the year.

Utley 3-for-5 with a double. 4-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. 277/390/454 for the year.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBI. 3-for-9 with a home run and four walks in the series. He has walked 11 times in his last 28 plate appearances and is hitting 280/353/517 for the year.

Werth 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. 6-for-13 with three home runs and six RBI in the series. He has homered three days in a row. 292/381/521 for the year.

Ibanez 2-for-3 with a walk. 7-for-11 with a home run and a walk in the series. 467/529/800 over his last 51 plate appearances. 274/354/444 on the season.

Schneider 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI yesterday in his only action in the series. 7-for-his-last-14 with three walks, a double, a home run and five RBI. 241/338/397 on the year.

Valdez 0-for-4 and left four men left on base. 4-for-12 with two doubles in the set. 256/293/360 on the year.

Cole Hamels (11-10, 3.01) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (7-6, 4.64) tonight. Hamels has allowed one run over 28 2/3 innings in his last four starts. He threw a season-high 127 pitches in his last outing. Jurrjens hasn’t fared well in either of his last two starts, allowing 11 earned runs over 8 2/3 innings. Lefties are hitting 294/371/503 against him and righties 250/301/423. He has a 3.51 ERA in his ten starts at home and a 5.81 ERA in his ten starts on the road.

Note: You can also read this post at philliesflow.wordpress.com


Who are you and what have you done with our ace?

Roy Halladay has been fantastic for the Phils for most of the season, but a little less dominant over his last couple of outings. Over his last five starts he’s thrown to a 4.41 ERA with a 1.27 ratio, allowing nine home runs over 34 2/3 innings while opponents have hit .297 against him.

In his 26 starts before that this season he pitched a 2.16 ERA and a 1.03 ratio while opponents on-based .269 against him.

So he’s slowed down. Maybe it’s nothing, but if you’re looking for stuff to worry about you would probably come up with 1) this is the fifth straight season in which he’s been in the top five in his league in innings pitched and 2) he doesn’t have a history of pitching in the playoffs.

So should we be worried about what Halladay has left for the rest of the regular season and (hopefully) the playoffs? If you need to, but I think there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that Halladay can handle the load. Even given the huge number of innings Halladay has thrown in his career, his regular season numbers in September and October are even better than they are in the earlier months of the season.

Here’s what opponents have hit against him in September and October and compared to the rest of the year for his career:

  PA AVG OBP SLG
September/October 1431 235 275 343
Before September/October 7938 258 300 382

So he’s been better in all three of those categories. He also has been more likely to strike batters out after the start of September and less likely to give up home runs. Over his career he has struck out about 19.2% of the batters he’s faced in September and about 18.0% of the batters he’s faced before September. 1.6% of the September or later batters have homered compared to 2.2% of the pre-September batters.

And his career ERA after the start of September is almost a run lower than his career ERA before the start of September:

  IP ERA Ratio

September/October
356 2.50 1.08
Before
September
1925 1/3 3.49 1.20

So he has actually been a lot better after the start of September in his career than he has before the start of September. Past performance is no guarantee of future results, but in this case they sure seem to suggest he may be able to overcome the 4.79 ERA he has thrown to in three September starts this season and finish strong.

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So long, and thanks for all the Fish pitching

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


Fevered pitchers

The Phils didn’t get a whole lot of offense last night, but they don’t need much to win these days. Cole Hamels gave the team its third fantastic start in a row as the Phils won for the sixth time in seven games.

Hamels struck out 13 while holding the Fish to a run over 6 2/3 innings and throwing 127 pitches. Since the start of August, the Phillies have gone 26-7 in the games started by their top four starters (Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton). In those 33 games the four have combined to throw to a 2.42 ERA and 1.05 ratio while striking out 217 in 226 2/3 innings.

The back of the pen is faring rather well itself. Madson and Lidge combined to throw two more scoreless innings last night. Since the start of August they have combined to appear in 45 games, allowing three earned runs in 44 1/3 innings (0.61 ERA).

The little offense the Phils did get in the game came with a big assist from Shane Victorino, who continues to impress at the top of the order. Last night he went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk and scored both of the runs the Phils plated in the game. He led off the game with a single in the first and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double. He started the fifth with a double of his own and came in to score on a Jayson Werth ground out four batters later.

The Phillies are 85-61 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 last night. They have extended their lead in the NL East to two games over the Braves. Atlanta is a game and a half ahead of the Giants for the Wild Card.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. All five of the hits were singles and he struck out 13. Thirteen strikeouts is his high for the season. He also struck out 13 Florida batters on June 11, 2008.

He started the bottom of the first up 1-0. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a single. Logan Morrison was next and hit a ground ball to first with Howard throwing to Valdez to force Bonifacio at second for the first out. Hanley Ramirez singled into right and Bonifacio moved to third. Dan Uggla was next and he hit a ball in-between first and second that rolled slowly until Utley got to it on the grass in shallow right field. Morrison scored to tie the game at 1-1 and Ramirez took second. Gaby Sanchez flew to right for the second out and Mike Stanton struck out looking to end the inning.

Hamels allowed three singles in the inning. The ones hit by Uggla and Bonifacio were softly hit. Over the next 5 2/3 innings he would allow two singles and two walks while striking out 12.

The pitcher Adalberto Mendez singled with two outs in the second. Hamels got Bonifacio on a ground ball to second for the third out.

Uggla walked with two outs in the third and Hamels hit Morrison behind him. He struck Stanton out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

He struck out Wes Helms, Brad Davis and the pitcher Mendez in the fourth.

The Phils led 2-1 when he pitched the fifth. Morrison singled with one out, but Hamels got Ramirez on a pop to second and Uggla on a fly ball to center to leave him there.

He struck out Sanchez and Stanton to start the sixth before hitting Helms with a pitch. Davis struck out swinging to leave Helms at first.

He struck out pinch-hitter Hector Luna and Bonifacio to start the seventh before Morrison drew a walk. With the Phils still up 2-1 and Hamels having thrown 127 pitches, the Phils brought Durbin in to pitch to the right Ramirez. Durbin got Ramirez to line to short for the third out.

That’s four appearances in a row for Durbin in which he hasn’t been charged with a run, but he’s thrown just 1 2/3 innings in those appearances and faced just seven batters.

Madson started the eighth and Uggla led off with a single. Madson set Sanchez down on a pop up to second and struck Stanton out. It left Uggla on first with two down for lefty Chad Tracy, who pinch-hit for the righty Helms. Tracy drew a walk, but Madson got Davis on a ground ball to Utley to leave both men stranded.

Since July 9, Madson has appeared in 37 games for the Phils. In those games he’s thrown 36 1/3 innings with a 1.24 ERA and an 0.80 ratio and struck out 44. He has faced 141 batters and they have hit 171/230/225 against him.

Lidge was on in the ninth to protect a one-run lead. Lefty Scott Cousins hit for the pitcher and grounded back to the mound for the first out. Bonifacio fouled out to Ruiz and Morrison flew to center to end the game.

Lidge was pitching for the first time since September 6. He has allowed one earned run in 17 1/3 innings over his last 18 games (0.52 ERA) while striking out 18. Through July 31 he had faced 97 batters and allowed five home runs. Since July 31 he has not allowed a home run to the 64 batters that he has faced.

The Phillies lineup against righty Adalberto Mendez went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. No changes there with Rollins sidelined, Valdez at short and Victorino hitting leadoff.

Victorino started the game with a single and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double to the gap in left-center. 1-0. Utley flew to center before Howard hit a ball that Uggla fielded in short right field. Uggla made a great play, nipping Howard to take away a hit as Polanco went to third. Werth drew a walk to put men on first and third, but Ibanez grounded to short to leave both men stranded.

Hamels singled to center with two outs in the second and the score tied at 1-1. Victorino flew to center to leave him there.

Utley and Howard walked back-to-back with one out in the third. Werth flew to right for the second out with Utley tagging and moving up to third. Ibanez flew to right to leave two more runners stranded.

Ruiz was hit by a pitch to start the fourth, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him. Hamels grounded to second for the third out.

Victorino started the fifth with a double to right. Polanco walked behind him before Utley flew to right for the first out. Victorino and Polanco pulled off a double steal, but Howard walked anyway and the bases were loaded. Werth was next and chopped a ball to third. Helms fielded and went to first for the second out with everyone else moving up a base and Victorino scoring to put the Phils up 2-1. Righty Burke Badenhop walked Ibanez intentionally to load the bases and then struck Ruiz out to end the frame.

Valdez started the sixth with a single and Hamels bunted him to second with the first out. Victorino walked before Polanco flew to right for the second out. Utley grounded back to the pitcher to leave both men stranded.

Howard, Werth and Ibanez went in order in the seventh.

Valdez walked with one out in the eighth. Gload hit for Durbin and hit into a double-play.

Valdez 14, Moyer three in the walk competition. Moyer is going to have to get hot to Valdez is on-basing .360 over his last 25 plate appearances.

Utley walked with two outs in the ninth. He stole second and Howard was walked intentionally, allowing righty Clay Hensley to face the righty Werth. Hensley struck Werth out swinging for the third out.

Victorino was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double in the game. He scored both of the Phillie runs. 432/488/595 over his last eight games.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s 5-for-his-last-27.

Utley was 0-for-3, walked twice and left five men on base.

Howard 0-for-2 with three walks. He had a hit and an RBI stolen from him in the first. He’s 3-for-14 since homering three days in a row.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 2-for-his-last-16 with a walk.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk and four men left on base.

Ruiz 0-for-3.

Valdez was 1-for-3 with a walk. Rollins left the game on September 8 and Valdez took over at short. Since then he has gone 7-for-23 with two doubles and a walk (304/360/391).

Roy Halladay (18-10, 2.44) faces righty Jorge Sosa (2-2, 5.82) tonight. Halladay has gone at least seven innings in ten straight starts and the Phils are 8-2 in those games. He has waked 28 batters in 228 2/3 innings on the season. Sosa will be making his first start since 2007. Lefties have hit 286/372/571 against him for the season.

Note: You may have noticed that our little corner of the Interweb does not work at all. Until it works better, you can also read this post at philliesflow.wordpress.com


Miller time

The Phils have had found some success against Florida lefty Andrew Miller of late. Miller has started against them twice in their last five games, going nine innings and allowing 14 runs.

Werth, Utley and Ruiz all homered off of him last night as the Phils pounded the Fish 11-4. Joe Blanton pitched very well for the Phils, holding the Marlins to a run over six innings. He has allowed two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts, throwing to a 2.75 ERA in those games as the Phils have gone 5-1.

The Phillies are 84-61 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 11-4 last night. They lead the NL East by a game over the Braves. Atlanta is a game and a half ahead of the Giants.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight and lowered his ERA on the season to 5.00.

Hanley Ramirez singled to left with two outs in the bottom of the first. He took second on a wild pitch before Dan Uggla drew a walk. Blanton struck Gaby Sanchez out looking to leave both runners stranded.

He had a 1-0 lead when he started the second. Brad Davis singled with two outs, but Blanton got the pitcher Andrew Miller to line to first for the third out.

He started the third up 2-0. Logan Morrison walked with one out, but Blanton struck Ramirez and Uggla out behind him to leave him stranded.

He was up 4-0 when he started the fourth. He struck out Stanton and Chad Tracy while setting the Marlins down in order.

It was 7-0 when he threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

10-0 when he started the sixth. Morrison led off and hit a 2-1 pitch out to right center. 10-1. Ramirez followed that with a double to left. Uggla followed that and hit a ball to Valdez at short. Ramirez was caught between second and third and tagged out for the first out. Sanchez moved Uggla to second with a single before Stanton flew to right with Uggla tagging and taking third. Blanton struck Tracy out to leave both runners stranded.

Contreras started the seventh with the Phillies leading 11-1 and set the Marlins down in order.

For Contreras it was the first time in three outings that he was not charged with runs.

Herndon started the eighth and hit Morrison with a pitch. He struck Ramirez out for the first out before Uggla homered to left center, cutting the lead to 11-3. Sanchez flew to Victorino for the second out before Stanton and Tracy doubled back-to-back. Tracy’s double scored Stanton and it was 11-4. Davis grounded to third for the third out.

Opponents are hitting .327 against Herndon for the season.

Baez pitched the ninth, seeing his first action since August 24. Emilio Bonifacio walked with one out and was forced at second for the second out when Morrison followed with a ground ball to first. Ramirez grounded to third for the third out.

Herndon threw 31 pitches in the game, Baez 15 and Contreras 14.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Andrew Miller went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Victorino continues to leadoff with Valdez at short in the eight hole.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Werth homered to right with one out in the second, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz and Valdez singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and second for Blanton, but Blanton lined softly back to the mound for the third out.

Victorino singled to left with one out in the third, but Polanco hit into a double-play behind him. Utley homered to right to make it 2-0 before Howard grounded out for the third out.

Ibanez walked with one out in the fourth and Ruiz followed him with a homer to left-center. 4-0. Valdez followed that with a double, but Blanton and Victorino struck out to leave him stranded.

Utley walked with one out in the fifth and was moved to second when Howard followed that with a walk. Werth singled into left and Morrison didn’t field the ball cleanly. Utley scored to make it 5-0 before Morrison threw wildly to third for an error that allowed Howard to score. 6-0 with Werth on second and one out. Ibanez struck out for the second out before Ruiz singled into left. Werth scored to make it 7-0. Valdez grounded to short to finally set the Phillies down.

Blanton and Victorino singled back-to-back to start the sixth. It put men on first and third for Polanco and Polanco singled into center. Blanton scored and it was 8-0 with men on first and second. Utley flew to left for the first out before Howard singled to left, scoring Victorino with Polanco taking third as the throw came home. 9-0. Werth popped to second for the second out before Ibanez drew a walk that loaded the bases. Ruiz followed that with a walk that forced in Polanco. 10-0. Valdez grounded to third for the third out.

No RBI for Werth with less than two outs and a runner on third. Three runs in the inning for the Phils without an extra-base hit. Four singles and a walk.

Dobbs hit for Blanton to start the seventh with the lead at 10-1 and homered to right. 11-1. Utley drew a two-out walk before Howard struck out for the third out.

Francisco, hitting for Ibanez, singled to center with one out in the eighth. Ruiz popped to second for the second out and Valdez flew to left for the third.

Gload, Victorino and Bocock went in order in the ninth.

Victorino was 2-for-6 with two singles. 14-for-his-last-33 (.424). 283/345/480 in 330 plate appearances in the leadoff spot for the season.

Polanco 1-for-5 with an RBI. 222/283/287 over his last 121 plate appearances. He hasn’t homered since July 22 and is slugging .341 in 229 plate appearances since then.

Utley 1-for-3 with a home run and two walks. 365/469/596 over his last 14 games.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-12 with three singles over his last three games after homering for three games in a row.

Werth 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. 231/310/449 over his last 87 plate appearances.

Ibanez 0-for-2 and walked twice. First game without a hit for him in his last seven. He’s 11-for-his-last-26 with four walks and six extra-base hits (423/500/846). Hitting just 233/281/377 against lefties for the season.

Ruiz 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI to raise his line on the year to 300/399/437. 371/488/514 in 13 games so far in September.

Valdez was 2-for-5 with a double. 6-for-his-last-20 with two doubles.

Cole Hamels (10-10, 3.06) faces righty Adalberto Mendez (1-0, 0.00) tonight. Hamels hasn’t been charged with a run over his last 25 innings. Over his last three starts he’s thrown 22 scoreless innings, allowing 11 hits and four walks. Opponents have hit .147 against him in those starts. Mendez baffled the Phils in his only career start, holding them to a Brian Schneider single and two walks over six shutout innings. The 28-year-old isn’t Superman, though, as evidenced by his 3.98 ERA and 1.40 ratio in the minors this season when he walked 41 in 86 innings.

Note: This post is also available at philliesflow.wordpress.com. I will copy posts there until the issues with the site are resolved.


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