Archive for September, 2010

Two Roys prove to be two too many for Mets

The Phils gave both of their Roys the ball this weekend in New York and both times things went well. Halladay won his 18th of the season in the opener on Friday night. Yesterday afternoon Oswalt held the Mets to four singles and a walk as he threw a complete game shutout and the Phils won 3-0 to take the series two games to one.

Shane Victorino continues to spark the team at the top of the order. Victorino has on-based .500 over 34 plate appearances in the last seven games. In six of those games he hit out of the leadoff spot in the order. The Phils have gone 5-2.

The Phillies are 83-61 after beating the New York Mets 3-0 and lead the NL East by a game over the Braves. Atlanta is the Wild Card leader, a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game four-hit shutout. All four of the hits were singles. He walked one and stuck out six. The Phils have won eight of the nine games he has started for the team and eight in a row. He’s 6-0 with a 1.56 ERA and an 0.87 ratio over his last eight starts and has gone at least seven innings six times.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. Angel Pagan singled with one out, but Ruiz threw him out trying to steal second for the second out before Carlos Beltran singled to left. Oswalt struck David Wright out swinging for the third out.

Ruiz throwing Pagan out trying to steal ahead of the single saves the Phils a run.

Oswalt set the Mets down in order in the second.

He started the third up 2-0. He got the first hitter before walking the pitcher Jon Niese. Jose Reyes was next and hit a ground ball to second with Niese forced at second for the second out. Pagan flew to left for the third out.

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

Niese singled to center to start the sixth. Reyes was next and hit a ground ball to third with Niese forced to second for the first out. Pagan was called out looking at an 0-2 pitch that was outside for the second. Beltran grounded to short for the third out.

Second time Oswalt had trouble with Niese, who was 1-for-1 with a walk in the game through six.

He threw a 1-2-3 seventh with a 3-0 lead and a 1-2-3 eighth.

Reyes singled to start the ninth, but Oswalt got Pagan to hit into a double-play behind him and struck out Beltran to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jon Niese went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez plays short with Rollins still sidelined. Ruiz hits seventh ahead of Valdez.

Victorino started the game with a single and moved to second when Polanco followed with a walk. Utley was next and singled to right with Victorino scoring to put the Phils up 1-0 and Polanco taking third. Niese struck out Howard, Werth and Ibanez all in a row to leave the runners stranded on first and third.

No more runs for the Phils after they put men on first and third with nobody out. Howard and Werth don’t put the ball in play with less than two outs and a man on third

The Phils went in order in the second.

Polanco doubled with one out in the third and moved to third on a ground out by Utley. Howard singled into left, scoring Polanco to make it 2-0. Werth struck out for the third out.

Howard comes through with the two-out hit that time after striking out in a big spot in the first.

They went in order in the fourth and again in the fifth.

Utley smashed a single into center to start the sixth. Howard hit into a double-play behind him and Werth struck out swinging for the third out.

Werth 0-for-3 with three strikeouts through six innings.

Ibanez led off the seventh and hit an 0-1 pitch out to left to put the Phils up 3-0. Ruiz followed that with a single before Valdez hit a ball to left. Carter didn’t play it well, getting turned around the wrong way, and the ball dropped behind him for a double. It put men on second and third for Oswalt with nobody out. Oswalt grounded to short with the runners holding for the first out. Victorino was walked intentionally to load the bases and Niese got Polanco to hit into a double-play to keep the Phils from getting more.

No run for the Phils with runners on second and third with nobody.

Utley was hit by a pitch to start the eighth, but Howard, Werth and Ibanez went in order behind him.

Valdez singled with one out in the ninth. Oswalt, who had thrown 104 pitches in the game, hit for himself and bunted Valdez to second. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and was walked intentionally. It put men on first and second for Polanco and Polanco grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils scored 14 runs in the three-game series.

Victorino was 1-for-3 in the game and was walked intentionally twice. He was 4-for-11 with three walks in the series and is hitting 262/327/439 for the season. He’s 12-for-27 (.444) over his last six games.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. 2-for-13 with a double and a walk in the set. 303/342/401.

Utley 2-for-3 with an RBI. 4-for-11 with a home run in the series. 276/385/445 on the year. 356/444/556 in 45 at-bats in September.

Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. 4-for-13 with a double and a home run. 281/343/520.

Werth 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. 2-for-13 with five strikeouts. 289/380/505 for the year. He’s hitting 222/239/378 with one walk in 45 September at-bats.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts. 4-for-12 with a double and a home run. 266/345/434 for the year. He has hit 326/370/581 so far in September.

4-5-6 in the order for the Phils went 2-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the game.

Ruiz 1-for-4. 4-for-8 with two walks in the series. 294/394/424 on the year.

Valdez 2-for-4 with a double in the game. 3-for-12 with a double in the series and 244/282/346 for the year. He’s on-basing .350 in 17 at-bats so far in September.

The Phils are in Florida tonight with Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.15) expected to face lefty Andrew Miller (1-6, 6.11). Blanton is 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA in his 11 starts since the All-Star break. He faced the Marlins in his last start and held them to a pair of runs over 6 1/3 innings. Miller faced Blanton in the game on September 8 and was charged with seven runs in four innings. He walks way too many hitters — in 101 innings in the minor leagues this season he walked 76. That’s not going to work.

Note: The post also appears at philliesflow.wordpress.com — I will continue to copy posts there until the technical issues with Philliesflow are resolved.


Let’s just say we’re all number one and be done with it

Quick — coming into 2010, who was the last Phillie other than Jimmy Rollins to get a hundred plate appearances in a season as the number one hitter in the lineup? I would have guessed Shane Victorino, but I would have been wrong. Marlon Byrd proves to be the answer. In 2004, Byrd got 181 plate appearances as the leadoff hitter for the Phils and put up a 215/293/307 line. Since then, Jason Michaels, Aaron Rowand and Shane Victorino had all led the Phils in non-Rollins top of the order plate appearances without ever getting 100 plate appearances in a single season.

This year has been a different story, though. Rollins and Victorino have gotten nearly equal time leading off for the Phils. Victorino has hit 279/339/488 in 310 plate appearances and Rollins has posted a 243/326/373 line in 313 plate appearances.

The table below looks at their numbers while batting #1 in the order for 2010. It shows the percentage of plate appearances in which they got a single, walked or were hit by a pitch, the percentage of plate appearances in which they doubled or tripled and the percentage of plate appearances in which they hit a home run. It also shows their career numbers while hitting #1 in the order and the numbers for all MLB #1 hitters for 2010.

 
PA

% PA 1B/BB/HBP

% PA 2B or 3B

% PA HR

Victorino, 2010

310

24.2

6.1

3.5

Rollins, 2010

313

25.9

4.8

1.9
All
#1, MLB ’10

4582

26.0

5.1

1.6
         

Victorino, Career as #1

514

23.9

5.3

2.7

Rollins, Career as #1

5358

23.7

7.1

2.5

So, in 2010, Rollins has been a lot more likely to get on base via a single, walk or hit by pitch than Victorino, but a lot less likely to deliver an extra-base hit. Again, Victorino and Rollins have almost the same number of plate appearances hitting #1 in the order. They both have 12 doubles for the year, but Victorino has hit seven triples and 11 home runs and Rollins has three triples and six home runs.

When you compare the numbers to the MLB averages for 2010, Victorino delivers even more power and reaches via a single, walk or hit by pitch even less.

While hitting first this year, Victorino is hitting .279 and on-basing .339. Rollins is hitting .243 and on-basing .326. Despite that, Rollins has still been more likely to deliver a hit (any hit, not just a single) or walk (32.3% of his PA) than Victorino (31.9% of his PA). Victorino has been way more likely to get a hit (25.5% of his PA) than Rollins (21.4%) and the hits he gets are better and go for more bases, but Rollins has walked at a much higher rate and the difference between the percentage of plate appearances in which Rollins has walked (10.9%) and Victorino has walked (6.5%) is larger than Victorino’s advantage in getting hits.

For years we have been imploring Jimmy Rollins to walk more. What seems to have gone without notice is that he has. The problem is that he has stopped getting hits at the same time, especially extra-base hits.

Here is the percentage of plate appearances in which Rollins has gotten a walk, single, double or triple and home runs in 2010 compared to the rest of his career (everything above this in the post referred only to numbers hitting #1 in the order — the numbers from now on refer to production anywhere in the order):

  % BB % 1B % 2B or 3B % HR
2010 10.4 15.0 4.8 1.9
Before 2010 7.2 15.9 6.8 2.2

So again, his walk rate is up huge in 2010 compared to the rest of his career. Coming into 2010 he walked about 7.2 times per 100 plate appearances. In 2010 he has walked about 10.4 times per 100 plate appearances, which is about 144.4% of his career number coming into the year. The rest of the numbers are way down, though, and the one that is down the most is the percentage of plate appearances where he is delivering a double or a triple.


Hamels and Howard soar, Rollins leaves sore and Madson pitches more

There are a whole lot of story lines from last night’s 10-6 win over the Marlins — Jimmy Rollins got hurt, Ryan Howard drove in six runs, Cole Hamels threw his 25th consecutive scoreless inning and the Phils let Ryan Madson pitch yet again despite taking a 10-0 lead into the eighth inning.

Hamels was spectacular, spinning seven shutout frames. He has a 1.99 ERA over his last 13 starts. The Phils didn’t need him to be quite that spectacular, though, cause they were all over Florida starter Andrew Miller. Led by Howard’s big day with the bat, the Phillies had a 9-0 lead after five innings. Howard isn’t doing it alone for the offense these days — the Phils have plated 25 runs in their last three games. Victorino has gone 8-for-16 in the leadoff spot in those games, scoring six runs. Ibanez was 7-for-12 with two doubles, a triple and a home run.

There was bad news for the Phils in the game as well as Rollins left after injuring his hamstring in the third. This says he’s day-to-day.

The Phillies are 81-60 on the year after beating the Florida Marlins 10-6 last night. They have won three in a row and remain in first place in the NL East, a half game ahead of the Braves. Atlanta leads the Giants by two games in the Wild Card hunt.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 3.06.

He threw a 1-2-3 first, getting a nice play by Werth near the wall in foul territory to retire Gaby Sanchez for the third out.

He was up 2-0 when he started the second. Wes Helms and Cameron Maybin singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and second for Ben Davis. Davis grounded out to Hamels to leave both men stranded.

Up 3-0, he got the first two hitters to start the third before Logan Morrison doubled to right. Sanchez flew to center to leave Morrison at third.

The Phils were up 4-0 when Hamels started the fourth with Valdez at short. He walked Helms with two outs, but struck Maybin out behind him to leave Helms at first.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth with a 7-0 lead.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth with a 9-0 lead.

Mike Stanton doubled to start the seventh, but Hamels got the next three hitters to leave him stranded at second.

Nate Robertson started the eighth with a 10-0 lead. Things did not go well. Emilio Bonifacio singled with one out and took second on a wild pitch before Morrison walked. Sanchez homered to left. 10-3. Uggla walked before Stanton struck out for the second out. Helms moved Uggla to second with a single and Maybin cleared the bases with a double. 10-5 with two outs and Maybin, who advanced on the throw home, at third. Herndon took over for Robertson and pinch-hitter Scott Cousins doubled. 10-6. Mike Rivera grounded to Utley to end the frame.

Herndon was back to start the ninth. He walked Morrison with one out and Madson came in to pitch to Sanchez. Really he did. Madson got Sanchez to pop to short and then struck out Uggla to end the game.

Are you kidding me? Seriously? Madson has pitched three days in a row. He made 18 appearances in August and now has made six in September, pitching in 24 of the last 37 games in which the Phillies have played. That’s about 64.9% of the games the Phillies have played. If you pitched that regularly over a 162-game season you would appear 105 times and be the second pitcher in the history of baseball to appear in more than 94 games in a season. Mike Marshall appeared in 106 games for the Dodgers in 1974. You need Madson pitching for the third day in a row with a four-run lead with expanded rosters? You really don’t. You need to find a way to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Madson has an 0.72 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 25 innings over his last 25 appearances. In Manuel’s defense, I don’t think he would have used Madson if the Phils weren’t off today. Still.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Andrew Miller went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. Rollins continues to hit down in the order with Victorino and Polanco at the top. Werth moves up to fifth after hitting seventh on Tuesday.

Victorino started the bottom of the first with a double to center. Polanco flew to right for the first out before Utley walked. Victorino and Utley pulled off the double steal before Howard singled to right. Both runners scored, putting the Phils up 2-0, and Howard took second when Stanton didn’t handle the ball cleanly in right and was charged with an error. Werth popped out for the second out before Rollins singled to left, but Morrison threw Howard out at the plate to end the inning.

Ibanez started the second and hit a ball to right that Stanton nearly caught as he battled the wall. Would have been a great play, but Ibanez had another extra-base hit and was safe at second with a double. Ruiz drew a walk and Hamels put down a nice bunt. Helms fielded the bunt and threw wide to first for an error that loaded the bases. Victorino grounded to third for the first out with Ibanez scoring to make it 3-0 as Ruiz and Hamels moved up to second and third. Polanco struck out and Utley flew to left.

One run for the Phils after loading the bases with nobody out. Big strikeout for Polanco with a man on third and one out.

Rollins doubled down the third base line with two outs in third and pulled into second a little limpier than one would hope. He stayed in the game. Ibanez walked on four pitches to put men on first and second. Ruiz dumped the first pitch of his at-bat into left for a single. Rollins was slow coming around the third but slid into home just ahead of the throw from Morrison to put the Phils up 4-0. Hamels struck out swinging 2-2 to leave the runners stranded at first and second.

Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the fourth before Howard homered to left. 7-0. Werth struck out before Valdez and Ibanez singled back-to-back. Ruiz struck out to leave the runners stranded on first and second.

Hamels started the fifth with a single and Victorino moved him to third with a double. Polanco walked to load the bases and Utley delivered a two-run single into center. 9-0. Howard, Werth and Valdez went down to leave the runners at first and second.

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

Victorino singled to start the seventh and went to second when Utley was hit by a pitch with one out. Howard singled to right and Victorino scored. 10-0 with men on first and second. Werth singled to right to load the bases, but Valdez struck out and Ibanez struck out to leave them that way.

No RBI for Valdez with one out and the bases loaded.

The lead was cut to 10-6 when the Phillies hit in the eighth. Gload led off with a double, but Mayberry, Victorino and Polanco went down behind him.

Victorino was 3-for-6 with two doubles and an RBI in the game. He scored three runs. 8-for-18 in the series with two doubles, two walks and a homer. He’s hitting 260/323/441 for the season. He was on-basing .312 for the year at the end of the day on August 29 and has hit 357/438/571 over his last 48 plate appearances.

Polanco was 1-for-5 with a walk in the game. 6-for-17 with three walks in the series. 308/346/406 for the year.

Utley 2-for-3 with two RBI last night. 4-for-14 with two walks and four RBI in the series. 274/382/439 for the year. He’s being out-slugged by Victorino for the season.

Howard 3-for-5 with a home run and six RBI. 6-for-16 with two doubles, two walks and two home runs in the series. 281/344/518 on the year. He has homered for two days in a row and has five in his last ten games. 1.159 OPS in September.

Werth was 1-for-5 with a strikeout. 2-for-13 with two singles and no walks in the series. He’s hitting 292/385/514 for the year. He hasn’t drawn a walk in his last seven games.

Rollins was 2-for-2 with a double. 5-for-11 in the series. 245/324/372 on the year. Valdez was 1-for-3 and left five men on base in the game.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. 7-for-15 with two doubles, a triple and a home run in the series. He walked twice and drove in four runs. 264/344/428 for the season (Victorino is out-slugging him, too). He came into the second game of the series 5-for-his-last-40 with ten strikeouts.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 2-for-11 with a double and three walks in the set. He’s at 289/389/422 for the year.

No game today. Mets tomorrow in New York.


Nobody said it had to be pretty

It wasn’t, but the Phils are back in first place and look like they’ve found the just-figure-out-how-to-win gear again. Glad to see it, but the actual games sure are ugly. Last night, for example, the Marlins tied the game up in the eighth when Emilio Bonifacio singled, took second with the help of a miserable decision and throwing error by Werth, was balked to third and scored on a wild pitch.

It was kind like a how-to guide on scoring runs without any actual offensive production. Bonifacio can’t explain how he did if for fear of being kicked out of the magician’s guild for revealing his tricks.

The Phils were charged with a pair of costly errors in the game. Durbin also had to pitch around another miscue in the seventh when Utley threw home when he shouldn’t have, allowing a runner to take third with less than two outs.

The part of the team charged with preventing people from scoring a run on a single isn’t the only area where the Phils have left room for improvement. The starting pitching is suddenly not so hot. The Phils have two quality starts in their last seven games, one of which came from Joe Blanton last night and he didn’t pitch very well. The bullpen didn’t either, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings to let the Fish back into the game.

What the Phils are doing it hitting. They’ve revamped their lineup for the last two games and scored 15 runs. Victorino and Polanco combined to go 5-for-10 at the top of the order and produced the winning run out for nothing in the bottom of the eighth last night. With two outs and nobody on, the score knotted at 7-7, Victorino singled, stole second and put the Phils ahead when Polanco singled to right. Over the last two games the pair has combined to go 10-for-19 with six runs scored. They aren’t the only ones hitting, either. Howard suddenly has three home runs in his last seven games while Ibanez has gone 5-for-his-last-8 with three extra-base hits and four RBI.

The Phillies are 80-60 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins last night. They have taken over the lead in the NL East and are a half game ahead of the Braves in the division. The Braves are the Wild Card leaders and are a half game ahead of the Giants.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and two triples. He struck out five.

Logan Morrison doubled to right with one out in the first. Hanley Ramirez was next and grounded out to short with Morrison holding second for the second out. Blanton struck Dan Uggla out looking 1-2 to end the frame.

Mike Stanton lined a double to center with one out in the second. He moved to third when Maybin hit a ball back to the mound for the second out. Blanton walked Brad Davis intentionally to pitch to the pitcher Chris Volstad and got Volstad to ground to third to leave both runners stranded.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the third and bunted for a single. Morrison was next and hit a ball between first and second. Howard fielded it moving to his right, but looked like he couldn’t decide whether to go to first or second. He finally flipped to Blanton covering first, but Blanton and Morrison arrived at the same time and the collision knocked the ball loose. Blanton was charged with an error. It brought Ramirez to the plate with nobody out and men on first and second and Ramirez moved the runners to second an third with a ground out. Uggla followed that with a ground ball to short and Bonifacio scored to tie the game at 1-1 as Morrison held second. Gaby Sanchez lined a single into center and Morrison scored to put Florida up 2-1. Blanton struck Stanton out for the third out.

Maybin started the fourth and blasted a triple off the wall in center field. He came in to score when Davis followed with a ground out to third, putting the Fish up 3-1. Blanton struck out Volstad before Bonifacio tripled to right. Morrison flew to center to leave the runner at third.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fifth with Florida’s lead cut to 3-2.

Up 5-3, Blanton struck out Maybin and Davis in a 1-2-3 sixth.

Bonifacio walked on a close 3-1 pitch with one out in the seventh. Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Morrison and Morrison ripped a ball into center field for a double. Utley took the throw from Victorino and threw home, but he didn’t have a chance to get Bonifacio. The throw allowed Morrison to go to third. Durbin took over for Bastardo and got Ramirez on a popup to Howard at first with Morrison holding third. Durbin walked Uggla on a 3-2 pitch, bringing Sanchez to the plate with two outs and men on first and third. Sanchez flew to right for the third out.

Utley never should have thrown home, but Durbin got out of it. Getting Ramirez for the second out was huge. Blanton had thrown 101 pitches in the game and Morrison had already doubled off of him. He had set down eight in a row before walking Bonifacio. I thought it was a quick hook at the time, but I think it makes sense given how many pitches he had thrown.

Contreras started the eighth with a 7-4 lead. Stanton lead off and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left. 7-5. Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy went down on a fly ball to center for the first out before Davis doubled to left. Cousins flew to center for the second out and Bonifacio came to the plate with two down and a man on second. He singled into right. Davis held up at third, but Werth made a terrible decision and a worse throw trying to get Davis at third. Davis came in to score on the error and Bonifacio wound up at second. Romero came in to pitch to Morrison and balked as he turned to throw to second to try to pick off Bonifacio. Romero walked Morrison, putting men on first and third. Madson came in to pitch to Ramirez and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Bonifacio to score (7-7) and Morrison to take second. Ramirez struck out looking 2-2 for the third out.

Not a great inning for the Phils. Contreras faced five hitters, allowing a home run, a double and a single. He came into the game charged with one run over his last 18 appearances.

Romero came in to face one batter. He balked before walking him. In his last four appearances he has faced five batters and walked three of them.

Madson was back to pitch the ninth with an 8-7 lead. He walked Stanton with two outs and Wes Helms hit for the pitcher Jose Veras. Madson struck him out swinging 0-2 to end the game.

Romero and Madson have both pitched two days in a row. That’s a bigger problem for Madson, who made 18 appearances in August and has now appeared in five of the eight games the team has played in September. He threw 19 pitches in this game. Contreras and Durbin each threw 16. Bastardo and Romero were both under five.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rollins (6) Ibanez (7) Werth (8) Ruiz. That’s the same lineup the Phils on Sunday night’s game against righty Anibal Sanchez but with Werth in right and Brown on the bench. Brown was originally in the lineup but was a late scratch with a tight quad. Not a fan of that lineup, 15 runs in the last two games or not. Victorino can’t really lead off and Werth shouldn’t be hitting seventh.

The Phils went in order in the first with Maybin making a memorable play for the third out. Utley hit a high fly ball to center field. Maybin looked like he didn’t read it correctly, breaking back before sprinting in and making a diving catch to retire the side.

Howard led off the second with a double and came in to score when Rollins followed with a single, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ibanez flew to left for the first out before Werth hit a ground ball to short. Ramirez threw Werth out at first with Rollins moving to second. Ruiz was walked intentionally and Blanton struck out swinging 0-2 to leave both men stranded.

The Phils were down 2-1 when they hit in the third. Polanco singled with one out, but Utley and Howard both struck out behind him.

It was 3-1 when they hit in the fourth. Ibanez homered to left with one out, cutting the lead to 3-2. Werth flew to right for the second out before Ruiz doubled down the third base line. Blanton struck out swinging to end the inning.

Victorino led off the fifth and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to even the score at 3-3. Polanco flew to right and Utley grounded to second before Howard hit one just out to left. 4-3. Rollins singled into center and stole second before Ibanez singled into center. Rollins scored and it was 5-3. Werth grounded to third for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

The lead was cut to 5-4 when they hit in the seventh. Polanco led off on a single and took second on a passed ball. He moved to third when Utley grounded to first for the first out. Howard was walked intentionally to put men on first and third and Rollins hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Polanco to tag and score, putting the Phils up 6-4. Ibanez was next and split the gap in right center with a triple. Howard scored. 7-4. Werth flew to left for the third out.

The game was tied at 7-7 when the Phils hit in the eighth. Victorino singled with two outs and stole second. Polanco lined a single into right and Victorino scored, putting the Phillies ahead 8-7. Utley walked before Howard flew to center, leaving both runners stranded.

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a stolen base and an RBI. He did a whole to make the winning run for the Phils, singling with two outs and stealing second. He’s 5-for-10 with a home run and three stolen bases out of the leadoff spot in the last two games.

Polanco 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the eighth. He’s 5-for-9 with a walk, a double, a triple and three RBI in the last two days.

Utley 0-for-4 with a walk.

Howard 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run and three RBI. He scored three of the Phillies runs. He’s 7-for-25 with four walks and three home runs over his last seven games (280/379/720).

Rollins was 2-for-3 with two RBI. 3-for-7 out of the five-hole in the last two days.

Ibanez was 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple and three RBI. 5-for-8 with three extra-base hits in the last two days.

Werth was 0-for-4, made an awful throw and left three men on base. He didn’t really get a day off on Sunday, playing in the first game of a double-header.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk.

Cole Hamels (9-10, 3.18) faces lefty Andrew Miller (1-0, 3.60 tonight). Hamels has allowed seven hits and three walks over 15 shutout innings in his last two starts. He’s allowed more than two runs in a start once in his last six outings. Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels have all been fantastic for the Phils since the All-Star break, but Hamels has the best ERA of the three (2.22) and the best ratio of the three (0.94). Miller was called up to the Marlins in late August and has made four appearances since, two of which were starts and both of which were pretty good. Miller threw to a 5.35 ERA in 21 starts in the minors this season and walked 76 in 101 innings. 76?


Half and half and half

The Phils won half of the games they played yesterday, which was good enough to cut Atlanta’s lead in the division in half to a half game. After getting hammered 7-1 in the day game of a day-night double-header, the Phils came back strong in the night game and rolled to a 7-4 win.

Oswalt didn’t pitch especially well last night, he allowed three home runs for the first time this season, but he did manage to go seven innings. With Werth getting the game off, the Phils went to an odd lineup that worked out very nicely as Victorino, Polanco and Utley combined to go 7-for-13 with five RBI out of the top three spots in the order.

Madson and Lidge combined to deliver two more shutout innings for the Phils in game. Since the start of August, the pair has now combined to make 39 appearances in which they’ve allowed three earned runs, throwing to an 0.70 ERA and the same 0.70 ratio. Opponents have hit .154 against the pair in those outings and they’ve struck out 48 in 38 1/3 innings.

The Phillies are 79-60 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 7-4 last night and are just a half game behind the Braves in the NL East. They are a game and a half ahead of the Giants for the Wild Card.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and three home runs. He struck out seven. It was the first time he had allowed three home runs in a game since 4/22/09 against the Dodgers.

Logan Morrison singled to right with one out in the first. Oswalt got Hanley Ramirez on a fly ball to center field for the second out before Dan Uggla popped to Utley at second to leave Morrison stranded.

Oswalt got the first two in the second before Mike Stanton blasted a 3-2 pitch way out to left, putting Florida up 1-0. Mike Rivera struck out looking for the third out.

Oswalt started the third up 5-1 and got the first two batters before walking Morrison on a 3-2 pitch. Ramirez was next and hit an 0-1 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 5-3. Oswalt struck Uggla out swinging for the third out.

He threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Maybin hit a 1-1 pitch out to left with two outs in the fifth, cutting the lead to 5-4. Oswalt struck Morrison out behind him for the third out.

Uggla singled with one out in the sixth and the Phils up 7-4, but Oswalt got the next two hitters behind him.

Oswalt allowed a double to pinch-hitter Scott Cousins with two outs in the seventh. Cameron Maybin popped to Utley for the third out.

Romero started the eighth and walked the lefty Morrison. Madson took over for Romero and set Ramirez, Uggla and Tracy down in order.

After a nifty run in which he didn’t allow a walk over eight appearances, Romero has walked two of the last four batters he has faced.

Madson hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last nine appearances. Over his last 23 appearances he has thrown 23 innings with an 0.78 ERA and opponents have hit 169/216/193 against him. He has struck out 32 in 23 innings.

Lidge pitched the ninth with a three-run lead. He allowed a two-out single to pinch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio, but struck Cousins out to end the game.

Over his last 17 games, Lidge has thrown to an 0.55 ERA over 16 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit 123/183/143 against him and he has struck out 18.

Lidge threw 21 pitches in the game. Romero and Madson were both under ten. None of the group has pitched more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rollins (6) Ibanez (7) Brown (8) Ruiz. Werth on the bench with the lefty Brown in right — Werth started the day 2-for-19 with 13 strikeouts against Sanchez for his career. Victorino hits leadoff with Rollins dropped to fifth in the order. Ruiz behind the plate after Schneider caught the day game.

Utley was hit by a pitch with two outs in the first. Ryan Howard struck out swinging for the third out.

In the day game of the double-header, Mike Zagurski drilled Hanley Ramirez with a pitch in the back in the ninth inning.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Rollins and Ibanez got things started with back-to-back singles that put runners on first and second with nobody out. Brown drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch that was probably a strike. Ruiz followed Brown and he walked on four pitches, forcing Rollins in to tie the game at 1-1. Oswalt flew to right for the first out with the runners holding. Victorino hit the first pitch of his at-bat into right for a single. Ibanez scored and Brown tried to score from second but was thrown out at the plate for the second out. It brought Polanco to the plate with two outs and men on first and third and the Phils up 2-1. Victorino stole second before Polanco ripped a ball down the left field line. A fan reached out and touched the ball, so Polanco had a ground-rule double with both runners scoring to put the Phils up 4-1. Utley followed that with a single into left, scoring Polanco. 5-1. Howard flew to center for the third out.

Stanton made a very nice, strong throw to get Brown at the plate for the second out, but it would have been a lot better not to get the runner thrown out trying to score from second. Before the Utley single it looked like the stolen base by Victorino got the Phils an extra-run on the Polanco ground-rule double, but Victorino would have scored anyway even without the stolen base on the single by Utley.

Up 5-3, the Phils went in order in the third. Brown hammered a ball to center, but Maybin took it on the warning track for the third out.

They went in order again in the fourth.

Their lead was cut to 5-4 when they hit in the fifth. Polanco led off and hit a ball high off the wall in left center. It rolled away from Maybin towards right field and Polanco had a triple. Utley followed with a single that scored Polanco to make it 6-4. Utley took second on a wild pitch before Howard walked. Rollins popped out before Ibanez doubled to center, scoring Utley (7-4) and sending Howard to third. Brown was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Ruiz flew to center with Howard holding third for the second out. Oswalt swung out swinging to leave the bases loaded.

Six men left on base for Oswalt through five innings. No RBI for Ruiz with one out and a man on third.

Victorino led off the sixth with a single and took second on a wild pitch by Jorge Sosa with two outs. Howard struck out swinging to leave him there.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

Victorino singled with two outs in the eighth and Polanco walked behind him. Utley grounded to first to leave both men stranded.

Victorino was 3-for-5 with an RBI in the game. He’s 3-for-his-last-10 with three walks.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. He’s hitting 259/318/310 over his last 130 plate appearances.

Utley 2-for-4 with two RBI. 387/444/581 over his last 36 plate appearances.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. He’s 11-for-65 (.169) with 24 strikeouts since returning from the DL.

Rollins was 1-for-4. 172/232/281 over his last 69 plate appearances. He’s on-basing .303 over his last 1,093 plate appearances.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with an RBI. 159/178/205 over his last 45 plate appearances.

Brown was 0-for-2 with two walks in a game for the first time in his career. He’s 1-for-his-last-10 with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-11 with two walks.

Vance Worley made his first career start in the first game of the double-header and the Phillies got pounded, losing 7-1. The 22-year-old righty Worley went 10-7 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.30 ratio in 28 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley this season. He pitched pretty well, holding the Fish to a pair of runs on six hits and a walk over five innings. The bigger problem was that the Phils couldn’t hit 28-year-old righty Adalberto Mendez. Mendez was making his Major League debut and held the Phils to a single and two walks over six shutout innings.

Worley allowed a run in the first on a walk, a wild pitch and a single. Chad Tracy homered off of him in the second to extend the lead to 2-0. Mike Stanton hit a two-run homer off of Durbin in the eighth and Mike Zagurski got knocked around in the ninth as he gave up three runs and Florida extended the lead to 7-0. A single by Werth in the bottom of the ninth, just the third hit of the day for the Phils, knocked Howard in for the team’s only run.

Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.25) faces righty Chris Volstad (9-9, 4.82) tonight. Blanton gave up three home runs in 4 1/3 innings as he was charged with six runs against the Rockies. Prior to that start he had been pitching very well. He was 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.29 ratio over his last nine starts. Volstad was ejected from his last start after Nyjer Morgan charged the mound after Volstad threw behind him. He has a 5.79 ERA and a 1.58 ratio in his 12 starts away from home this season.

You may have noticed we’ve been afflicted by many a technical problem lately. I’d say that we’re back for good now, but, well, we both know that’s not the case.


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