Archive for 2010

Things are tough almost all over

The Phillies were second in the NL in runs scored in 2010. That’s great news, but the bad news is that their offensive production fell off compared to the rest of the league at an alarming number of positions. Here is the NL rank by OPS for the Phils at the eight positions over the past three years:

Position 2010 2009 2008
C 2 5 10
1B 6 5 4
2B 5 1 1
3B 14 12 15
SS 11 10 6
LF 5 4 5
CF 4 2 4
RF 1 1 12

Or, to put it another way, relative to the rest of the league and using OPS as the measure, the Phils got worse at six of the eight offensive positions in 2010 compared to 2009:

Position 2009 to 2010
C Better
1B Worse
2B Worse
3B Worse
SS Worse
LF Worse
CF Worse
RF Same

One of the positions where they didn’t get worse was right field, where they seem sure to see a drop off in 2011. Given that Jayson Werth is coming off the best year of his career and probably won’t be on the team anymore, it seems like a good bet they will be worse in right in ’11 than they were in 2010.

Right field, catcher and third base have been the positions where the Phillies had the most opportunities to improve since 2008. And improve they did, at least at catcher, where Ruiz has led the charge from tenth-best by OPS in the NL in ’08 to second-best in 2010, and in right.

No such luck at third base, where the Phils have been in the bottom five in the NL for six straight seasons and probably will be again next year. The last time the Phils were better than twelfth in the league in OPS at third base was 2004, when David Bell hit 291/363/458 with 18 home runs.

If they’ve been bad and stayed bad for a while at third, the bigger area of worry may be the places where they’ve been good recently and weren’t in 2010. From 2008 to 2010 they’ve dropped from first to fifth at second base and from sixth to eleventh at short. Ryan Howard hit 58 home runs while batting .313 in his MVP season in 2006. The Phils led the NL in OPS at first base in that year. Since then their rank has fallen every year — third in 2007, fourth in 2008, fifth in 2009 and sixth in 2010.

The Giants win the World Series. The Giants win the World Series. The Giants win the World Series. And they’re going crazy. Heey-ohh.


Shane, on you

Earlier this week I suggested that a big part of the problem with the Phillies offense this year has to do with a drop in their production against right-handed pitching. Utley, Howard and Rollins have all seen significant drops in their effectiveness against righties in each of the last two seasons. Howard remains one of the best hitters in the league against righties, but he had a long way too fall after being literally the best not too long ago. Utley and Rollins saw their production fall in 2010 to the point where they simply weren’t good against righties anymore, and that’s a huge problem for the Phils.

Shane Victorino belongs on the list of Phillies whose numbers against righties fell in 2010 as well, but with one distinction. Howard, Utley and Rollins have been free-falling against righties for two years straight while Victorino actually got better against righties from 2008 to 2009 before struggling against them in 2010.

Here’s what Victorino has done against righties in the last two years and his OPS rank in the league among players with 300 plate appearances against righties:

Year AVG OBP SLG OPS NL rank
2009 283 347 440 787 46
2010 235 306 386 692 81

There were only 102 players in the NL that got 300 plate appearances against righties, so 81 isn’t really where you want to be. Among the 43 NL players who got at least 425 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season, Victorino’s OPS against righties was 38th (one of the five NL players he topped was our friend Cody Ross — sorry to go there, but Ross hit 263/315/371 against righties this year before going nuts on the Phils in the NLCS).

Anyhow, Victorino was really terrible against righties this year.

On the plus side, he really hammered left-handed pitching, hitting 321/381/539 against them. By OPS, that’s a better line than Werth’s 287/402/479. As I mentioned earlier, though, if you’re going to play every day and have a great side and a miserable side, you want to do it the other way around. Victorino had 456 of his 648 plate appearances for the year come against righties. That’s about 70.4%, so it mattered a whole lot more to the Phils what he did against right-handed pitching than what he did against left. He didn’t do well.

Victorino had 11 plate appearances on the season when he hit right-handed against a right-handed pitcher. He went 3-for-10 with two doubles and on September 24 he hit a first inning home run off of righty RA Dickey batting right-handed. After the game, Victorino said that he’s naturally right-handed and trusts himself more from the right hand side when a pitcher’s ball is moving a lot like it does for Dickey (insert the Beavis and Butthead sound effect of your choice here).

Sadly, other than some success in a tiny number of chances this year, there’s not a lot of evidence that Victorino can improve him numbers against right-handed pitching by batting right-handed. In 80 career plate appearances against righties in which he’s hit right-handed, he has put up a 186/266/286 line.

Don’t know if anybody noticed this or not, but the Phillies aren’t in the World Series this year and the heartless bastards are going to go ahead and hold it without them. The Giants won game one, 11-7, hammering former Phil Cliff Lee. Lee allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in the game. Freddy Sanchez was 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI and Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer off of Texas reliever Darren O’Day in the bottom of the fifth. The game wasn’t as close as it sounds — the Giants took a seven-run lead into the ninth inning and the Rangers scored three runs to get within four.


What’s the matter here?

I’m not sure what the Phillies need to do to fix their offense. What I do know is that the first step towards fixing it needs to be to understand what went wrong in 2010.

I don’t think the problem is that the lineup is so heavily left-handed it can be shut down by left-handed pitchers. I actually think the opposite is true — the Phils are fine against left-handed pitchers but aren’t good enough against righties anymore.

What a team does offensively against right-handed pitching is much more important than what it does against left-handed pitching, just because they get so many more chances against righties. In 2010, for example, the Phillies got 6,291 plate appearances for the year and 4,415 of them, 70.2%, came against right-handed pitchers.

The Phillies are good against left-handed pitching. They have been for a while. But what they do against right-handed pitching is a lot more important. They took a nose dive against righties in 2010.

The table below shows, by OPS, what the Phillies hit against lefties in each of the past four years and how that compares to the other teams in the league:

Year OPS vs Left NL Rank
2007 .834 2
2008 .801 4
2009 .787 2
2010 .767 4

The OPS overall against lefties has gone down each of the three years. Most importantly, though, despite being so left-handed, the Phils are still among the best-hitting teams in the league against lefties. Their rank of fourth-best in the league is the same as it was in 2008 when they won the World Series.

Sadly, though, against right-handed pitchers they have dropped to the middle of the pack:

Year OPS vs Right NL Rank
2007 .802 1
2008 .757 5
2009 .779 2
2010 .736 7

Again, what the Phillies do against righties is a whole lot more important that what they do against lefties. What they did against righties in 2010 wasn’t good. After being the best offensive team in the NL against right-handed pitching in 2007, the Phils dropped to seventh in 2010. By OPS, the Arizona Diamondbacks were better against righties this year and they went 65-97.

If myth #1 is that the Phillies can’t produce against left-handed pitching, myth #2 is that Utley and Howard can’t hit lefties. Utley especially. In 2010, Utley hit 294/422/581 against lefties for a 1.003 OPS. The Phils had three players who hit really well against lefties batting from the right side — Werth, Victorino and Ruiz. Utley was better than all three of them.

Howard didn’t have massive numbers against lefties, but he got better against them in 2010. In 2008 he hit 224/294/451 (.746 OPS) against left-handed pitching. In 2009 it was a meager 207/298/356 (.653). That got better this year, as he put up a 264/333/492 (.826) line against southpaws.

What is true is that key Phillies were much less effective against right-handed pitching in 2010 then they have been in recent years.

Especially Chase Utley. Here are his numbers against right-handed pitchers over the past three seasons and his rank among NL players with at least 300 plate appearances for that season against righties:

Year AVG OBP SLG OPS NL Rank
2008 301 387 545 932 16
2009 279 387 489 877 25
2010 266 371 381 752 76

So, by OPS, among the 300 or more plate appearances group in the NL, Utley was the 16th-best hitter against righties in the league in 2008 and the 76th-best hitter against righties in 2010. In 2008 he slugged .545 against righties. In 2010 he slugged .381 against them.

Again, the problem isn’t that Utley can’t hit lefties. In fact, in 2010 there were only two players in the NL with more than 150 plate appearances against lefties that were better than him. The problem is his numbers against righties are dropping fast and his numbers against righties are a whole lot more important.

It’s bad for Howard as well, if not quite as dramatic:

Year AVG OBP SLG OPS NL Rank
2008 268 366 601 966 7
2009 320 395 693 1.088 1
2010 283 364 513 876 17

Again, using OPS as the measure, Howard was the best hitter in the league against righties in 2009. In 2010 he was the seventeenth best.

Rollins has taken the plunge as well:

Year AVG OBP SLG OPS NL Rank
2008 272 352 438 790 62
2009 257 306 422 728 107
2010 218 297 360 657 122

Rollins was never the offensive force against righties that Utley or Howard was, but he is down in each of the three slash categories in each of last two seasons. One way you can tell he wasn’t good against righties was that he hit 218/297/360 against them for the year.

The next question has to be why those guys, Utley and Howard, especially, can’t hit righties anymore. I don’t know the answer to that one, but whatever it is should have a big impact on what the Phillies do for 2011. Because Utley and Howard are going to be around for sure, whether their issues against righties are or not.


Phils still not sure what’s wrong with the offense, but fire Milt Thompson again just in case

The 2010 season is over for the Phils and it has ended as we all worried it might, with the baffling offense failing in chance after chance to put runs on the board. Oswalt pitched well enough, but the Phils opened the door for San Francisco with miserable defense in the third inning and never were able to come up with the meager offensive production they needed to extend the season one more day.

The Phils again jumped on San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez early. Polanco walked with one out and came around to score on a double by Utley. A single by Howard moved Utley to third before Werth hit a fly ball to left deep enough for Utley to tag and score, putting the Phils up 2-0. The defense failed the Phils in the top of the third as the Giants got even. The pitcher Sanchez led off with a single under the glove of Utley. Andres Torres was next and blasted a ball that went off the glove of Victorino on the warning track in center for a long single. Freddy Sanchez bunted the runners to second and third before Huff singled into center with Sanchez scoring to make it 2-1 and Torres thrown out at the plate. Posey followed and chopped a ball to third that could have ended the frame, but Polanco bare-handed and made a bad throw to first that Howard couldn’t handle. Huff scored from second and the game was tied at 2-2. It stayed that way until the top of the eighth when Juan Uribe hit a ball out to right off of Madson, who was trying to nail down his second inning of the game.

The Phillies had chances in the game time after time. The Giants pulled their starting pitcher with nobody out in the third and men on first and second, but the Phils came up empty when Howard struck out, Werth flew to center and Victorino grounded to first. The Phils loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Victorino grounded back to the mound. Ibanez started the sixth with a double and was bunted to third with the first out, but pinch-hitter Ben Francisco struck out for the second out and Rollins flew to center for the third. Down a run in the eighth, the Phils put men on first and second with one out. Ruiz hit a ball well, but lined into a double-play to end the inning. In the ninth they had men on first and second with two down when Howard struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the game and the season.

The Phillies have lost the NLCS to the Giants, falling 3-2 last night in game six. San Francisco wins the series four games to two and will play the Texas Rangers in the World Series.

The Phillies outscored the Giants in the series, 20-19.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on nine hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Andre Torres (CF/S) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (4) Buster Posey (C/R) (5) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (6) Cody Ross (RF/R) (7) Juan Uribe (3B/R) (8) Edgar Renteria (SS/R). Uribe plays short with Fontenot and Sandoval on the bench. Renteria plays short and hits eighth.

The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and righties Eli Whiteside and Aaron Rowand.

Torres was the first batter of the game and singled into left on an 0-1 pitch. Oswalt struck Sanchez out swinging 0-2, Huff out swinging 1-2 and got Posey to fly to right on a 2-2 pitch to leave Torres at first.

Oswalt threw 15 pitches in the first.

Burrell led off the second with the Phils on top 2-0. He hit a ground ball between third and short that Rollins tried to handle but didn’t field cleanly. Ross was swinging first pitch and grounded to third with the Phils turning the double-play to clear the bases. Uribe followed and hit the first pitch he saw into right field near the line for a single. Renteria flew to right on a 1-2 pitch to leave Uribe at first.

Oswalt was up to 28 pitches.

The pitcher Jonathan Sanchez led off the third and hit a 1-2 pitch up the middle that went under Utley’s glove as he slid to his right for a single. Torres was next and hammered a 1-2 pitch to center. Victorino tried to make an over-the-shoulder-catch on the warning track, but the ball went off the heel of his glove. Sanchez had to watch so Torres had a single and the Giants had men on first and second with nobody out. Freddy Sanchez was next and bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Huff followed him and singled into center on the first pitch he saw. Sanchez scored to make it 2-1. Victorino charged and threw home. His throw hit the mound, but went right to Ruiz in time to beat Torres. Ruiz held the ball as the two collided for the second out with Huff taking second on the play at the plate. Posey was next and chopped a ball slowly to third. Polanco charged and bare-handed, but his throw to first wasn’t caught by Howard. Polanco was given an error, Huff scored from second and the game was tied at 2-2 with Posey on first for Burrell. Burrell flew to left to leave Posey stranded.

Awful defense from the Phils in the inning. Utley needs to make the play on the ball hit by Sanchez to start the inning. Howard needs to catch the throw from Polanco. It would have been an amazing play if Victorino had caught the ball hit by Torres. Oswalt was at 41 pitches for the game.

Ross led off the fourth and hit a 2-2 pitch foul near the stands down the first base line. Werth and Howard both went after it, with Werth making the catching sliding into the fence to the right of first base for the out. Uribe popped out to Polanco for the second out. Renteria flew to Werth in shallow right to set the Giants down.

Oswalt was at 54 pitches.

Lefty Mike Fontenot hit for pitcher Jeremy Affeldt to start the fifth and singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Torres was next. He swung at the first pitch and fouled it off. He bunted the next pitch foul, then struck out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Freddy Sanchez singled into center on the first pitch of his at-bat, moving Fontenot to second. Posey struck out swinging 2-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Oswalt was up to 77 pitches for the game.

Burrell struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out in the sixth. Ross was next and hit a 1-2 pitch into the left field corner for a double. Oswalt hit Uribe in the side with a 1-0 pitch, putting men on first and second with one down. Oswalt got ahead of Renteria 0-2 before Renteria hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle. Utley fielded it right next to second, stepped on the bag and threw to first to complete the double-play and set the Giants down.

Oswalt had thrown 99 pitches in the game.

Madson started the seventh after the Phils hit for Oswalt in the bottom of the sixth. Lefty Travis Ishikawa led off, hitting for the pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Madson struck him out looking at a 2-2 pitch that was probably outside. Torres struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out, but Sanchez lined a 1-1 pitch into the left field corner for a double. Madson walked the lefty Huff intentionally to pitch to the righty Posey. Posey hit a 1-1 pitch hard, but right to Utley. Utley flipped to Rollins at second to leave both runners stranded.

Madson threw 22 pitches in the seventh inning.

He was back for the eighth. Burrell grounded to short for the first out. Ross was next and flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Uribe swung at the first pitch he saw from Madson and hit it just out to right field, putting the Giants up 3-2. Madson struck Renteria out swinging 1-2 to set the Giants down.

Long seventh inning for Madson, then he comes back for the eighth and the Giants get him.

Lidge started the ninth and struck Nate Schierholtz, double-switched into the game in the eighth, out on three pitches. Torres was next and bunted for a single. Sanchez singled to left on the first pitch he saw, sending Torres to second. Huff struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Posey was next, but closer Brian Wilson was in the hole after being double-switched in for Burrell in the eighth. Posey was walked intentionally to load the bases. Wilson chopped a 2-1 pitch to Howard to leave the bases loaded.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jonathan Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Victorino (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. Victorino and Rollins swap places in the lineup, with Rollins returning to the leadoff spot against the lefty. Utley and Howard hit back-to-back three and four despite the fact that neither of them seems to be able to hit lefty Javier Lopez coming out of the pen.

The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Domonic Brown and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first and grounded hard to first on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Polanco was next and walked on four pitches. Sanchez’s first pitch to Utley was in the dirt and way outside. Posey couldn’t handle the wild pitch and Polanco took second. Utley hammered a 2-1 pitch to right that bounced once and off the wall for a double. Polanco scored and the Phils led 1-0. Howard was next and he dropped a single in front of Burrell in left, moving Utley to third. Werth was next and he blasted a 2-0 pitch to left, but Burrell took it at the warning track for the second out. Utley scored easily to put the Phils up 2-0. Victorino followed that with a single into center, moving Howard to second. Ibanez popped to Sanchez in shallow right on a 1-1 pitch to end the inning.

Sanchez threw 24 pitches in the inning. Utley didn’t score from second on the single by Howard cause it looked for a second like Burrell might catch the ball and he had to wait.

Ruiz started the second. He got ahead 2-0 but grounded to short 2-2 for the first out. Oswalt was next and grounded to second 1-1 for the second out. Rollins got behind 0-2 and struck out swinging 3-2 to set the Phils down.

Sanchez was up to 42.

The game was tied at 2-2 when Polanco started the bottom of the third and walked on five pitches. Utley was next and Sanchez hit him in the middle of the back with a 2-0 pitch. The ball went hit in the air and bounced at Utley’s feet as he headed towards first. Utley caught the ball and flipped it out to the mound. Polanco took second. When Utley was at first, words were exchanged between Sanchez and Utley. The benches cleared, but there were no punches and no ejections. Sanchez was taken out of the game and lefty Jeremy Affeldt came in to pitch to Howard. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Werth flew to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out with the runners holding. Victorino grounded softly to first to leave them both stranded.

Nothing for the Phils after they put men on first and second with no outs. Early exit for Sanchez. Affeldt put out the fire for the Giants, throwing 15 pitches in the frame.

Affeldt returned to set the Phils down in order in the fourth. Ibanez grounded to short on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Ruiz struck out swinging 2-2 for the second. Oswalt flew softly to right to end the inning.

Six in a row for Affeldt, who would be hit for to start the fifth.

Lefty Madison Bumgarner started the fifth for the Giants and Rollins singled to right on the first pitch he saw. Polanco flew to center for the first out and Utley flew to center for the second. Howard was next and he ripped a 2-0 pitch into the gap in left-center for a double. Torres got to the ball right away and got a nice bounce off the wall. Rollins would have been out by a lot if he had tried to score and the Giants got a good relay to the plate from Renteria. He was held at third. The lefty Bumgarner walked Werth intentionally to load the bases for Victorino. Victorino took ball one and then grounded back to the mound for the third out.

Polanco and Utley can’t move Rollins along after the leadoff single. Rollins had no chance to score from first on the Howard double.

Bumgarner was back for the sixth. Ibanez led off and hit a 2-1 pitch the other way into the left field corner for a double. Ruiz bunted him to third with the first out. Francisco hit for Oswalt. Bumgarner stayed in to pitch to him. Francisco got ahead 2-0, but struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch that might have been a little bit outside. Rollins flew to Torres on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

Again the Phils don’t score with a huge opportunity. Ruiz bunts with a man already in scoring position against a lefty. Huge strikeout for Francisco in the biggest at-bat of his life with the man on third. The Giants may have left Bumgarner in to pitch to the righty Francisco because he was due to lead off the top of the seventh.

Lefty Javier Lopez pitched the seventh for the Giants. Polanco led off and flew to right 2-1 for the first out. Utley grounded to the mound 0-2 for the second. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

There’s Lopez going through Utley and Howard without a righty in-between them.

The Phillies were losing 3-2 when they hit in the bottom of the eighth. Righty Tim Lincecum was on the mound for the Giants with Burrell out, Ross in left and Nate Schierholtz in right. He struck Werth out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Victorino was next and he singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Ibanez followed that with another single to right, sending Victorino to second. Righty Brian Wilson came in to pitch to Ruiz. Ruiz lined a 1-1 pitch right to Huff. Huff caught the ball and threw to second where Victorino was doubled-off easily to end the inning.

Wilson was back for the ninth. Gload hit for Lidge and grounded to second for the first out. Rollins drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Polanco chopped a ball to third base. Uribe fielded and threw to second to force Rollins for the second out, but Polanco beat the relay to first. Utley walked on a 3-1 pitch and Valdez ran for Polanco at second. It brought Howard to the plate with two men on. Howard struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch that he must have thought was a little low, but looked like a strike to me.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 6-for-23 with a double and two walks in the series. His return to the top of the order turned out not to be the spark the Phils needed to get the offense going.

Polanco 0-for-3 with two walks. 5-for-20 with two doubles and three walks in the set.

Utley 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. 4-for-22 with a double and four walks.

Howard 2-for-5 with a double and three strikeouts, including the one to end the season. 7-for-22 with four doubles, three walks and 12 strikeouts.

Werth 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. 4-for-18 with a double and two home runs. He walked four times and struck out seven.

Victorino 2-for-4 and left five men on base. 5-for-24 with a double and two walks.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a double. 4-for-19 with a double and a walk.

Ruiz 0-for-3. 3-for-18 with a home run in the series. One walk and seven strikeouts.


I didn’t hear no bell

Neither, apparently, did the Phillies. Led by Roy Halladay and the bullpen, the Phils gutted out a 4-2 win last night to stay alive in the NLCS. The Phillies still aren’t firing on all cylinders, but they’re getting closer. The cylinders that keep them giving everything they’ve got are the most important ones and they seem to be firing just fine.

If the Giants came into last night’s game not knowing they have work to do if they’re going to win the series, they know now.

We’ve seen Halladay nearly perfect this year, but he was far from it last night. I’m not sure we’re ever going to know exactly what was going on with him, but we’ll know part of it. From the opening batter when he didn’t get two close pitches to start the game, Halladay looked off. He looked like he was physically ill and we know he was injured. He made it through six innings, though, and he took the Phillies with him.

Halladay walked Andres Torres to start the bottom of the first. Torres moved to third on a single by Freddy Sanchez and came home on a grounder by Buster Posey to put the Giants up 1-0. The Phils jumped ahead in the third. Ibanez led off with a single and moved to second when Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Halladay bunted them to second and third on a ball that should have been called foul before Victorino smashed a ball to first. It went off of Aubrey Huff’s glove for a two-base error that allowed both runners to score and put the Phils up 2-1. Polanco followed that with an RBI-single that scored Victorino and made it 3-1. The Giants got another run in the bottom of the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Pat Burrell and Cody Ross, but Halladay held them to two runs over six innings and Contreras, Romero, Madson and Lidge backed him up with three shutdown frames.

Madson in particular looked like the rest of the world didn’t belong on the same field as he was. And he had thrown 32 pitches the day before.

The Phils trail the Giants three games to two in the NLCS after a 4-2 win last night.

Roy Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out five.

That guy is unbelievable. They ought to charge people money just to watch him pitch.

He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Andre Torres (CF/S) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (4) Buster Posey (C/R) (5) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (6) Cody Ross (RF/R) (7) Pablo Sandoval (3B/S) (8) Uribe (SS/R). Torres back in the starting lineup and leading off with Rowand on the bench. Uribe plays short with Renteria back on the bench. Sandoval at third with Fontenot out of the starting lineup.

The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz and righties Eli Whiteside, Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand.

Torres led off the bottom of the first and walked on a 3-2 pitch after Halladay didn’t get a call on two close pitches to start the at-bat. Sanchez showed bunt and took strike one. Torres was running on the next pitch and Sanchez singled into center. It brought Huff to the plate with nobody out and men on first and third. Huff smoked a ball, but Howard made a diving play at first for the first out. Posey hit a 1-1 pitch slowly to second. Utley charged and looked like he was going to field, tag Sanchez and throw to first for the double-play, but didn’t handle the ball cleanly. He picked it up in time to get one out at second as Torres scored to make it 1-0. Burrell struck out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

The play that Howard made on the ball smashed by Huff might be about as big a defensive play you can make in the first inning. Starting Torres helps the Giants get a run. The Utley miscue wasn’t a sure double-play, but it would have been nice to have.

Halladay threw 18 pitches in the inning.

He struck Ross out swinging at a high fastball 1-2 for the first out in the second. Sandoval was next and had a long at-bat, grounding to short 3-2 on the tenth pitch. Uribe hit a 3-2 pitch hard, lining to short on the ninth pitch of his at-bat.

Long inning for Halladay. He had thrown 43 pitches through two innings.

He started the third with a 3-1 lead and got Lincecum on a ground ball to short for the first out. Torres was next and hit a ball to first that went off the glove of Howard and to Utley. Utley threw to Halladay covering first, but the throw was wild and backup up nicely by Ruiz. Torres was given a single. Sanchez lined to right for the second out and Huff swung at the first pitch and grounded to Utley to end the inning.

Short inning for Halladay that time. He was at 55 pitches after three.

Posey grounded to short to start the fourth. Burrell was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into left for a double. Ross followed him and inside-outed an inside pitch down the right field line an into the right field corner for another double. Burrell scored to cut the lead to 3-2. Sandoval flew to right for the second out and Ross tagged and tried to go to third. Werth made a fantastic throw and Polanco tagged Ross out on a close play to end the inning.

Great throw by Werth. Halladay was up to 66.

Uribe swung at Halladay’s first pitch of the fifth and flew to center. Lincecum struck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Torres was next and smashed a ball to first that went off the glove of Howard for an error. Sanchez followed and singled to left on a 2-2 pitch with Torres moving to third. Huff dribbled a 1-2 pitch out in front of the plate. Ruiz got to it quickly and threw him out to set the Giants down.

Halladay was up to 82 pitches. The Howard error made him throw ten more than he should have, but Torres really crushed the ball.

Posey walked on a close 3-2 pitch that might have been low to start the sixth. Burrell was next and popped to Rollins 0-2. Ross struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Sandoval moved Posey to second with a single to right, but Halladay struck Uribe out swinging 3-2 to end the inning and leave both men stranded.

Halladay threw 26 pitches in the inning and was at 108 for the game.

Contreras started the seventh. Lefty Mike Fontenot hit for Lincecum and Contreras struck him out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Torres was next and chopped a 2-2 pitch back through the middle and into center for a single. Sanchez lined a 1-0 pitch to third for the second out and Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Huff. Huff got ahead 2-0 and hit a soft liner near second. Utley made a jumping ice cream cone catch for the third out.

Super catch by Utley at a big time. I’m still not exactly sure how he brought the ball down after he caught it, cause about half of it was hanging out of the end of his glove.

Contreras has allowed one hit, the single by Torres, over three innings in three appearances in the series.

Madson pitched the eighth having thrown 32 pitches in game four and was just silly good. He struck Posey out swinging 2-2, Burrell out swinging 0-2 and Ross out swinging 1-2.

Madson has allowed two hits and two walks over 4 2/3 scoreless innings in the series, striking out seven.

Lidge started the ninth with a 4-2 lead. He got Sandoval on a fly ball to right for the first out. Uribe was next and grounded to short for the second. The lefty Ishikawa hit for the pitcher Affeldt and Lidge struck him out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Everyone in the pen gets an off day today and should be available on Saturday. Madson threw 13 pitches in the game, Contreras 11, Lidge ten and Romero three. Oswalt didn’t even pitch this game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Lincecum went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. Utley drops to third with Polanco moved up to second. Ibanez back in the lineup after Francisco played left against the lefty in game four.

The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Domonic Brown and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.

Victorino started the game grounded to first on a 2-1 pitch. Polanco got ahead 3-1 and flew to center for the second out. Utley grounded to second 1-1 to set the Phillies down.

Lincecum threw 12 pitches in the first inning.

The Phillies were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Werth was next and struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outside corner for the second. Rollins grounded to Huff at first on an 0-1 pitch for the third.

Lincecum had thrown 22 pitches.

Ibanez led off the third and flared a 1-0 pitch into right center for a single. Ruiz got behind in the count, but Lincecum hit him on the arm with an 0-2 changeup. It put men on first and second for Halladay and Halladay bunted the first pitch from Lincecum near the plate. Posey picked the ball up next to the plate and threw to third. Sandoval wasn’t at the bag and Ibanez slid in safely, but Halladay hadn’t run to first because he thought the ball was foul (it was). Sandoval threw to first to force Halladay for the first out. Victorino was next and hit a ball hard to first. Huff got in front of it, but it went off his glove, then off his leg and bounced into shallow right center. Both runners scored on the error and Victorino took second with the Phils up 2-1. Lincecum’s first pitch to Polanco was way up and in and Polanco stared back out at him before singling into left on a 1-1 pitch, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 3-1. Polanco was running on the 3-2 pitch to Utley and Utley singled into center, sending Polanco to third. Howard struck out swinging as Utley stole second. Werth came to the plate with men on second and third and flew to left on an 0-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

No RBI for Howard with one out and a man on third. The Halladay bunt was clearly foul. Would have been nice to have run anyway. Victorino taking second on the error by Huff when the ball got away helped him score on the single by Polanco, but he would have scored on the single by Utley if he hadn’t.

Lincecum was up to 53 pitches.

Rollins struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out of the fourth. Ibanez broke his bat lining a 2-1 pitch to third for the second. Ruiz grounded to second 0-2 to set the Phils down.

Lincecum at 67 pitches after four innings.

It was 3-2 when Halladay led off the fifth. Halladay struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Victorino flew to right for the second. Polanco hit a 1-1 pitch hard, but Uribe made the play moving to his left and threw him out for the third out.

A nine-pitch inning had Lincecum at 76 for the game.

Utley grounded to first for the first out in the sixth. Howard was next and struck out swinging 2-2. Werth flew to center 0-2 for the third out.

Lincecum had set down 11 in a row and thrown 89 pitches for the game. Howard was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Rollins led off the seventh and hit a 1-0 pitch hard to second. Sanchez didn’t handle it and Rollins was given a single. He stole second as Ruiz took strike two and the count went 1-2. He stole third as the count went full on Ruiz. Lincecum’s 3-2 pitch to Ruiz was inside and the Phils had men on first and third. Gload hit for Halladay and smashed the first pitch he saw, but Huff caught the line drive and Ruiz was doubled off of first to end the frame.

Whacha gonna do? Gload hammered the ball. His second good at-bat in two days with nothing to show for it. This series is hard for me to watch as a fan — I can’t imagine what it must be like to wait eight hours to get your chance and hit into that. The Phils got lucky that Gload got to hit against Lincecum and the Giants got lucky that he hit it right at someone.

Righty Sergio Romo started the eighth for the Giants. Victorino led off and hit a 1-2 pitch to first. Romo fell down on the mound trying to cover first, so Huff took it to the bag himself. Romo was shaken up, but stayed in the game and walked Polanco on a 3-1 pitch that was inside. Lefty Javier Lopez came into the game and struck Utley out looking 2-2 for the second out. Howard flew to left of a 2-1 pitch for the third.

Manuel hits Utley third in the lineup with Polanco second and it allows the Giants to use Lopez against Utley and Howard without a right in-between. First non-strikeout of the game for Howard.

Righty Ramon Ramirez started the ninth for the Giants. Werth led off and hit a 2-1 pitch out down the right field line for a home run, putting the Phils up 4-2. Rollins flew to center for the first out and San Francisco left Ramirez in to face the lefty Ibanez. Ibanez singled to center, but Ruiz flew to center behind him for the second out. The righty Francisco hit for Madson and chopped the first pitch from Ramirez to third. Sandoval charged and fielded, but his throw to first pulled Huff off the bag for an error. It put men on first and second with two down and lefty Jeremy Affeldt came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino struck out swinging 3-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Francisco against the righty is a strange choice. Manuel had the lefty Brown and could hit Sweeney for Brown if the Giants brought Affeldt in to pitch to Brown. He also let Ibanez play left in the ninth. I don’t understand the thinking on using Francisco against the righty.

Victorino was 0-for-5 in the game with an RBI. He hit the ball to Huff that Huff didn’t handle, which would have gotten the Phillies a run even if it had been fielded cleanly. He’s 3-for-20 in the series with a double and two walks.

Polanco was 1-for-3 with his second huge hit in two games and an RBI. 5-for-17 with two doubles and a walk in the series.

Utley continues to struggle both offensively and defensively in the series. He was 1-for-4 with a stolen base last night and is 3-for-19 with three walks in the series. He didn’t field a potential double-play ball cleanly early and threw a ball to first away that was backed up nicely by Ruiz. He did make a huge play to end the seventh.

Howard was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, the worst of which came in the third with a man on third and one out. 5-for-17 with three doubles, three walks and nine strikeouts.

Werth 1-for-4 with a home run. He also made a fantastic throw in the fourth inning to get Ross trying to go to third. 4-for-16 with a double, three walks and two home runs. The win means you get to see Jayson Werth play in a Phillies uniform at least one more time.

Rollins was 1-for-4 and stole two bases. 5-for-19 with a double and a walk in the set.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-15 with a walk in the series. He also lined to third in the fourth inning last night on a well-hit ball. We’ll see who plays left on Saturday against the lefty. I’m guessing Ibanez.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk. 3-for-15 with a home run and a walk in the series.

Oswalt and lefty Jonathan Sanchez tomorrow in game six. It will be a rematch of game two, which the Phillies won 6-1.


Ut oh

Game four of the NLCS is over and the Phils have lost in crushing fashion, pushing them to the brink of elimination. Both the Giants and the Phillies have scored 14 runs in the series — San Francisco’s 14 have been a lot better than Philadelphia’s 14 and earned them a three games to one lead.

Game four was a wild one.

The Giants got on the board first. Freddy Sanchez singled with one out, took second on a wild pitch by Blanton and third on a wild pitch by Blanton before Buster Posey brought him home with a single into center, putting the Giants up 1-0. Posey did it again in the third when his two-out double plated Aubrey Huff and extended the lead to 2-0. Two nice defensive plays to end the bottom of the fourth, one by Utley and one by Rollins, seemed to spark the Phils in the fifth. Francisco and Ruiz singled back-to-back and were bunted to second and third by Blanton with the first out. Victorino followed that with a single into center that scored Francisco and cut the lead to 2-1, but Ruiz was gunned down at the plate for the second out. Utley followed that with a single and Polanco delivered a two-run double to put the Phils up 3-2. An intentional walk to Howard and a hit by pitch by Werth loaded the bases for the Phils, and Polanco scored from third on a wild pitch before Rollins struck out to end the frame with the Phils ahead 4-2. Blanton walked Andres Torres to start the fifth, though, and Torres would come around to score to cut the lead to 4-3. Durbin had a miserable sixth. He walked the leadoff man Burrell and Cody Ross followed that with a double. Pablo Sandoval cleared the bases with a double to put San Francisco on top at 5-4. Howard and Werth doubled back-to-back to start the eighth, with Werth’s double driving in Howard to tie the game at 5-5 with nobody out and Werth at second. The Phils left him there, though, and Oswalt entered a tie game in the ninth. Huff and Posey singled back-to-back with one out, putting men on first and third for Juan Uribe. Uribe flew to left deep enough for Huff to tag and score, giving the Giants a 6-5 win.

The whole thing had the feel of a game the Phillies had to have if they were going to win the series. They didn’t get it and it leaves them with a lot of work to do now against some fantastic pitching to keep their season alive.

The Phillies trail the San Francisco Giants three games to one in the NLCS after losing 6-5 last night.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and pitched badly at a critical time against a bad offensive team. He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Only one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

The choice of the starting pitcher for the Phillies has been criticized. I think Manuel chose his starting pitcher correctly. The Phillies needed Blanton to pitch better and it was reasonable to expect that he would.

He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Edgar Renteria (SS/R) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (4) Buster Posey (C/R) (5) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (6) Cody Ross (RF/R) (7) Pablo Sandoval (3B/S) (8) Rowand (CF/R). The switch-hitting Sandoval makes his first start of the series with Fontenot and Uribe on the bench. Rowand stays in center with Torres on the bench.

The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz, switch-hitter Andre Torres and righties Eli Whiteside and Juan Uribe.

Renteria led off the bottom of the first and grounded to third on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Sanchez followed and lined a 1-0 pitch into left for a single. Blanton got ahead of Huff 0-2 and his next offering bounced in front of the plate and off of Ruiz’s arm for a wild pitch that allowed Sanchez to take second. Huff struck out swinging at the next pitch for the second out. Blanton got ahead of Posey as well, but again bounced an 0-2 pitch in front of the plate that Ruiz didn’t handle. That wild pitch moved Sanchez to third before Posey hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle for a single. Sanchez scored and the Giants led 1-0. Burrell was next and grounded to short on an 0-1 pitch to end the inning.

Two wild pitches in the inning for Blanton. Ruiz did a nice job to block another ball that bounced way in front of the plate in Posey’s at-bat. Blanton threw 16 pitches in the inning.

Ross led off the second and Blanton hit him near the right wrist with a 2-2 pitch. Sandoval was next and chopped an 0-2 pitch down the first line. Howard fielded it in front of the bag and the ball was called fair. Howard stepped on first for the first out and Ross took second. Rowand struck out looking at an 0-2 pitch on the outside corner. The pitcher Bumgarner struck out swinging 0-2.

Blanton didn’t throw a ball in the inning after the pitch that hit Ross. He had thrown 30 in the game.

Renteria grounded to short to start the third. Sanchez was next and he grounded to short as well, but Huff ripped a single into right. Posey was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch over the head of Francisco in left. Huff scored without a throw and the lead was 2-0. Burrell grounded to short on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Francisco didn’t play the ball well in left, but he might not have caught it even if he had. Blanton was up to 43 pitches.

Ross led off and lined to third for the first out. Sandoval was next and hit a 1-0 pitch between first and second. Utley made a very nice diving play moving to his left and threw Sandoval out for the second out. Rowand hit a 1-1 pitch in the hole between third and short, but Rollins made the play moving right and made a strong throw to end the inning.

Two nice plays for the Phils in the inning. Kung Fu Panda is really fat and slow. Blanton at 50 pitches.

Blanton had a 4-2 lead when he started the fifth. Torres, who had been double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, led off and walked. Renteria hit a 1-2 pitch to third. It was a double-play ball, but Polanco didn’t handle it cleanly. The ball went off his chest. Polanco recovered nicely, throwing to first to get Renteria for the first out as Torres took second. Sanchez flew to center for the second out and Blanton stayed in to pitch to the lefty Huff. Huff singled into center on an 0-1 pitch, scoring Torres just ahead of the throw from Victorino. Contreras took over for Blanton and struck Posey out swinging 3-2 to end the inning.

Two things in the inning. First, not getting the double-play on the ball hit by Renteria cost the Phils a run they didn’t have to spare. Second is Blanton staying in to face Huff. Don’t think you can blame Manuel there, cause it was just the fifth inning, but the hit was critical after Huff had hurt Blanton to help the Giants get a run in the third.

Another nice job by Contreras in his third appearance of the series.

Durbin started the sixth and walked Burrell on a 3-2 pitch. Ross was next and he hit a 1-2 pitch into left field near the foul line for a double that moved Burrell to third. Sandoval was next and ripped the first pitch he saw from Durbin just foul down the right field line. It was fair, but the Phils got the call. Didn’t help, though, cause Sandoval lined a 1-2 pitch from Durbin into center that rolled all the way to wall. Both runners scored and the Giants led 5-4. The lefty Ishikawa hit for the pitcher Santiago Casilla and Durbin struck him out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Torres was next and popped to Rollins in shallow left for the second. Renteria drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, putting two men on for Sanchez, but Durbin got Sanchez on a popup to Rollins to leave both men stranded.

Miserable inning for Durbin and for Manuel. Manuel left him in to pitch to the switch-hitter Sandoval, who clearly needs a lefty, and then to the lefty Ishikawa. I’m not sure exactly who he’s saving the lefties for, but apparently he was saving Romero to watch. Manuel is going to get a lot of criticism about the game that he doesn’t deserve, but he left Durbin in way too long in the sixth. Sandoval on-based .284 against lefties for the year. Durbin was also getting blasted.

Walking the leadoff hitter isn’t really the way to go — second time in two innings the Phillies did so and the second time he scored.

Bastardo started the seventh and got Huff to fly to right for the first out. For reasons unknown, Manuel left him in to pitch to Posey and Posey doubled to the right field corner. Madson came in to pitch to Burrell and walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was a strike but was called a ball, putting men on first and second with one out for Ross. Ross hit a double-play ball to Rollins that Rollins booted for an error and the bases were loaded. Sandoval hit into a double-play to second to end the inning.

Again, I don’t understand why Manuel let Bastardo pitch to Posey.

Fantastic job by Madson, who threw two double-play balls and should have gotten the call on the 3-2 pitch to Burrell.

He was back to start the bottom of the eighth with the score tied at 5-5. Schierholtz, who had been double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, led off and struck out swinging. Torres was next and singled to right on a 2-2 pitch. Torres took off for second on the first pitch to Renteria, but Ruiz made a fantastic throw to gun him down for the second out. Renteria struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Great throw by Ruiz. Madson is a beast, but he threw 32 pitches last night and that probably means he won’t be available tonight.

Oswalt started the ninth with Kendrick, Romero and Lidge all available. Sanchez led off and lined to Werth for the first out. The lefty Huff swung at the first pitch and singled into right past a diving Howard. Posey was next and he singled as well, with Werth making a nice sliding play to hold him to a single. Huff went all the way to third on the hit, though, putting men on the corners with one down. Uribe, who had been double-switched into the game in the top of the ninth, was the hitter and he hit a 2-2 pitch to left deep enough that Francisco didn’t have a chance. Huff tagged and scored to give the Giants a 6-5 win.

The lefty Huff gets the hit off of Oswalt and then comes around to score the winning run.

Durbin threw 38 miserable pitches in the game and almost surely can’t pitch tonight. Madson threw 32, which is really bad news for the Phillies. Oswalt 18, Contreras six and Bastardo ten.

Lidge zero. Kendrick zero. Romero zero.

That wasn’t very well done by Manuel. Lost Durbin for today, lost Madson for today. Let Durbin pitch way too long. Letting Durbin pitch to Sandoval may have been the biggest mistake of the game and was completely avoidable. His decision to let Oswalt start the ninth didn’t work and left him with three guys in his pen he didn’t use. Oswalt got hurt by a lefty with a lefty available in the pen and it helped the Giants score the winning run.

Looking back at the game now, I wish that he had given Kendrick a chance to throw multiple innings after it became clear that Blanton was going to make an early exit.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Madison Bumgarner went (1) Victorino (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Francisco (8) Ruiz. Francisco gets his first start of the series in left, with the struggling Ibanez on the bench against the lefty.

The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, Raul Ibanez and Domonic Brown and righties Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.

Victorino was the first batter of the game and looked bad trying to check his swing 0-1. He was called out on a 3-2 pitch that he thought was inside because it was. Utley was next and hit a 1-0 pitch hard, but to second base where Sanchez fielded and threw to first for the second out. Bumgarner hit Polanco on the right leg with a 2-1 pitch, bringing Howard to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Howard struck out swinging 2-2 to leave Polanco stranded.

Victorino should have had a walk. Utley hit the ball hard, but Howard looked bad striking out.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Werth was swinging first pitch and flew to center. Rollins was next and singled to left on a 1-1 pitch. Francisco hit a couple of balls hard foul before he struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Ruiz got behind 0-2 and Rollins tried to steal second, but Bumgarner threw to first and Huff went to second where Rollins was tagged out to end the frame.

At least Rollins was running. The move by Bumgarner was probably a balk. Bumgarner had thrown 29 pitches.

Ruiz led off the third took a 3-2 pitch that was called strike three. Again the ball was inside. Blanton struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Victorino swung at the first pitch and grounded to third.

Second time in two innings the Phils were denied a walk to start the inning on a bad call. Bumgarner was at 44 pitches.

It was 2-0 when the Phillies hit in the fourth. Utley flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Polanco followed him with a single into left and Howard drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was low. Werth was next and he hit a 1-2 pitch hard, but lined to right for the second out. Rollins struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outside part of the plate to leave both runners stranded.

Bumgarner at 68. Werth hit the ball hard, but right at someone. Big strikeout for Rollins leaves two men aboard.

Francisco led off the fifth and banged a single into center. Ruiz was next and he singled to right, moving Francisco to second. Blanton put down a nice bunt with the first out, moving the runners to second and third. Victorino was next and he hit the first pitch he saw back through the middle and into center field for a single. Francisco scored and Ruiz tried to score, but Rowand’s throw to the plate was strong and accurate. Posey made a nice play to short-hop it and tag Ruiz out as he slid home for the second out. It left Victorino at first with two down and the Phils down 2-1. Utley was next and he bashed a single to right, moving Polanco to second. Righty Santiago Casilla took over for Bumgarner to pitch to Polanco, with Torres double-switching into the game in place of Rowand. Polanco got ahead 2-1 and then split the gap in left-center on a 2-2 pitch. Both runners scored and the Phils led 3-2 with Polanco on second with a huge double. Casilla stayed in and walked the lefty Howard intentionally. Werth was next and he was hit on the jersey by a 1-0 pitch by Casilla, loading the bases for Rollins. Rollins got behind in the count, but Casilla’s 1-2 pitch bounced in front of the plate and Posey couldn’t handle it. Everyone moved up a base on the wild pitch and the Phillies led 4-2. Rollins struck out swinging 3-2 to leave the runners at second and third.

Francisco gets the rally started. Awful play to get Ruiz thrown out at the plate. It really would have been a lot better to have Ruiz on third with one out. Also awful that Victorino did not go to second on the play at the plate. The play cost the Phils one run they couldn’t spare, but it almost cost them two. Victorino would have scored from second on the Utley single if he had been there, but Polanco’s double changed everything. Nice job by Blanton to get the bunt down.

The lead had been cut to 4-3 when the Phils hit against Casilla in the sixth. Francisco led off and flew to the warning track in left on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Ruiz struck out swinging 1-2 for the second. Brown hit for Contreras and hit a dribbler to second for the third.

The Phillies were down 5-4 when they hit in the seventh. Lefty Javier Lopez was on the mound for the Giants and walked Victorino on four pitches to start the inning. Utley popped to Renteria in shallow left on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Polanco was next and he grounded into a double-play to second base to end the frame.

Lopez was back to start the eighth. Howard led off and doubled to the gap in left-center on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Righty Sergio Romo came in to pitch to Werth with Nate Schierholtz double-switched into the game. Ross went to left with Schierholtz in right and Burrell out of the game. Werth ripped a 1-1 pitch from Romo just fair down the left field line and into the corner for a double that scored Howard and tied the game at 5-5. Rollins popped to third for the first out. With the lefty Affeldt warming in the pen, Manuel left Francisco in to face the righty and Francisco looked bad striking out on three pitches. Ruiz struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch that was way outside.

The Phils can’t add another run after putting Werth on second with nobody out. In a season full of failure with runners in scoring position, not bringing Werth home there might prove to be the most costly. I don’t care if Rollins bunts or not, but if he doesn’t he really needs to move the runner to third base with the first out. Francisco against a right-handed pitcher isn’t a good choice for the second out. If you go Ibanez for Francisco they bring in Affeldt and you wind up with Sweeney against Affeldt. That’s better than Francisco looking awful striking out on three pitches and the Phils wound up not using Ibanez or Sweeney in the game.

Not getting to the pitcher’s spot allowed Madson to come back to start the bottom of the eighth.

Righty Brian Wilson started the ninth for the Giants with Uribe at short and Renteria double-switched out of the game. Gload hit for Madson and hit a ground ball that Uribe fielded on the grass in shallow left. Uribe made a long, strong throw to nip Gload for the first out. Victorino struck out swinging at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Utley lined to left on a 1-1 pitch to set the Phils down.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 3-for-15 with a double and two walks in the series.

Utley was 1-for-5 with a single. 2-for-15 with three walks in the set.

Polanco 2-for-3 with a huge double and two RBI. He couldn’t field the double-play ball cleanly in the fifth and it cost the Phils a run. He’s 4-for-14 with two doubles in the series.

Howard 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. 5-for-13 with three doubles and hitting 385/500/615 in the series.

Werth 1-for-3 with a huge RBI-double in the eighth. 3-for-12 with a double, a home run and three walks.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a single and left five men on base. He struck out in the fifth with the bases loaded to end the inning. His at-bat in the eighth with Werth on second was among the biggest of the season. Didn’t go well. He’s 4-for-15 with a double and a walk in the series.

Casilla threw 30 pitches in the game for the Giants, which probably means he can’t go tonight.

Francisco was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in his first action of the series. He also had a huge at-bat in the eighth and came up empty.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. 3-for-13 with a home run, no walks and six strikeouts in the series.

Roy Halladay and righty Tim Lincecum face off tonight in a rematch of game one, which the Giants won 4-3.


  • Calender

    July 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Apr    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Online Marketing
    Add blog to our blog directory.



    Web Directory

    Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Philliesflow.com. All rights reserved.
    iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress