Archive for April, 2011

Zeros to heroes

The Phillies came into the sixth inning of yesterday’s game with the Brewers down 3-0 and having failed to score in 17 straight innings. Things got better from there, though. Polanco delivered an enormous swing of the bat, a three-run homer off of Chris Narveson, and Victorino added a solo shot in the eighth. The bullpen held and the Phils salvaged a game in the three-game set with a 4-3 win.

The offense is still a big cause of concern. The Phils have managed to go 5-4 in their last nine games, but haven’t scored more than four runs in any of them. They’ve managed to plate just 27 runs over their last nine games — that’s not going to be enough, no matter who you’ve got pitching.

The Phillies are 11-6 on the year after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 yesterday.

Lee started the game for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out one.

His quality start gave the Phils eight in their last ten games.

He got Rickie Weeks on a fly ball to center to start the game. Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun followed with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and third for Prince Fielder. Fielder hit a ball back up the middle that Valdez gloved to keep in the infield, but that was it. Fielder had an infield single, Gomez scored from third to put Milwaukee up 1-0 and Braun moved to second. Casey McGehee lined to first for the second out and Yuniesky Betancourt popped to Howard in foul territory for the third.

Lee set the Brewers down in order in the second, getting Erick Almonte on a ground ball to second, Jonathan Lucroy on a popup to Howard in foul territory and pitcher Chris Narveson on a ground ball to second.

Lee got the first two to start the third inning before Braun hit a ball to Valdez that Valdez didn’t handle for an error. Fielder followed that with a double to center that scored Braun and extended the Brewer lead to 2-0. McGehee was next and singled into right, but Francisco charged and his throw home was cut by Howard. McGehee was caught in between first and second and tagged out for the third out.

Second time in two games that McGehee gives up an out on the bases as the get-caught-between-first-and-second-so-Fielder-can-score thing apparently works better when someone other than Fielder is running. Howard made a heads up play for the first out. Weeks hit a soft ground ball that looked like it was going to roll foul. Weeks didn’t run, but Howard waited just in front of the bag, picked it up just fair and tagged the base for the first out.

Lee again got the first two to start the fourth, but Lucroy was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left. 3-0. Narveson lined a single to left before Weeks struck out looking 0-2 to end the frame.

Fielder singled to center with one out in the fifth, but Lee got McGehee to fly to center to leave him at first.

He got the first two outs in the sixth before walking Lucroy on four pitches. Narveson grounded softly to third for the third out.

Francisco made a nice play in right, battling the sun to retire Almonte for the second out.

Kendrick pitched the seventh with the score tied at 3-3 and set the Brewers down in order on three fly balls.

Madson started the eighth with the game still tied and walked the leadoff batter fielder on a 3-2 pitch. Madson got McGehee to pop to Howard for the first out, but Betancourt followed that with a single to left that moved Fielder to second. Almonte struck out swinging 1-2 and Lucroy looking 1-2.

Contreras started the ninth with a 4-3 lead. He struck Kotsay out on three pitches to start the inning, but Weeks lined a single into left and it brought Gomez to the plate as the go-ahead run. Gomez looped a 3-1 pitch that looked like it was going to drop in shallow right field, but Valdez made a running over-the-shoulder catch for the second out. Braun was next and struck out swinging 3-2 to end the game.

The Valdez play saves the day. Contreras keeps putting up zeros.

Three scoreless innings for the pen and the Phils win by a run. Madson threw 21 pitches in the game, Contreras 15 and Kendrick nine.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Chris Narveson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Francisco back in right after Mayberry started there in game two. Ibanez gets the day off against the lefty with Mayberry in left. Ruiz starts the day game after a night game cause the night game was a blowout that featured a lot of Brian Schneider catching for the Phils. Four righties in a row for the Phils five through eight in the order.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the bottom of the first.

Howard, Francisco and Mayberry all grounded out in the second.

The Phils were down 2-0 when they went in order in the third.

Down 3-0, Victorino walked to start the fourth. Polanco was next and hit a ball to third. McGehee made a fantastic play to start a double-play that cleared the bases. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

Howard and Francisco went down to start the fifth before Mayberry doubled into the left field corner. Ruiz lined to a jumping Weeks to leave Mayberry at second.

Valdez walked on five pitches to start the sixth. Martinez was the only non-lefty available on the bench to pinch-hit for Lee, and the switch-hitter did. Lee had thrown 94 pitches in the game. Martinez flew to left for the first out. It brought Victorino up and he hit a dribbler that somehow made it into right for a single, sending Valdez to third. Polanco hit a 1-2 pitch just out to left for a three-run homer that tied the game at 3-3. Rollins flew to center for the second out.

Huge swing for Polanco. Victorino’s hit was ridiculous, but it got the Phils a run. I think you should hit for Lee there. Martinez shouldn’t be the best option you have on your bench to hit against a lefty.

Righty Brandon Kintzler started the seventh for Milwaukee. He struck out Ruiz and Valdez to start the inning. Ibanez hit for Kendrick and struck out looking 0-2.

Kintzler was back to start the eighth and Victorino led off with a home run to right center that put the Phils up 4-3. Polanco and Rollins both grounded out behind him and lefty Mitch Stetter came in to pitch to Howard. Howard lofted a ball that fell just barely fair in left for a double. Righty Kameron Loe came in to pitch to Francisco and got him on a grounder to third to end the inning.

First extra-base hit for Howard since April 12 against the Nats. He didn’t exactly smoke the ball.

Victorino was 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run in the game. 4-for-13 with a double and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 324/370/515 for the year, which is a lot for a team that has a three-hitter with one RBI through the first 17 games.

Polanco went 1-for-4 with an enormous three-run homer yesterday. 3-for-12 with the homer and two walks in the series. 352/403/493 for the year (which is also a lot for a team that has a three-hitter with one RBI through 17 games).

Rollins was 0-for-4 yesterday and 1-for-12 with a walk in the series. 261/320/319 for the year. 200/234/289 over his last 47 plate appearances. 248/305/401 in 1,194 plate appearances since the end of 2008.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. 3-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. 158/261/289 over his last 46 plate appearances. 286/351/508 for the year.

Francisco was 1-for-4 in the game. 1-for-11 in the series. 242/309/371 for the year. I still think he’ll be fine over enough at-bats. He’s not fine now, though, 5-for-his-last-34 with five singles. 184/259/265 since going 6-for-13 against Houston the first series of the year.

Mayberry was 1-for-3 with a double in the game and 1-for-6 with a walk in the series. 333/412/400 for the season (5-for-15 with a double and two walks). Ibanez went 0-for-1 yesterday and was 1-for-9 with a walk in the set to drop his line for the year to 219/286/297. 171/209/195 over his last 43 plate appearances. He has struck out more often that Howard this season — 18 strikeouts in 70 plate appearances for Ibanez and 15 in 70 plate appearances for Howard.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. 0-for-8 with a walk in the series. 1-for-his-last-15 and hitting 269/339/442 for the season.

Valdez was 0-for-2 with a walk yesterday, an error and a huge defensive play in the ninth. 1-for-9 with a walk in the series. 286/340/347 for the year. He’s 5-for-his-last-25.

Oswalt (2-0, 2.50) faces righty Mat Latos (0-2, 5.84) late tonight in San Diego. Latos has made two starts on the year and was hit hard by the Astros his last time out, allowing five runs in 6 1/3 innings. He’s given up three home runs in 12 1/3 innings on the season. Oswalt has been solid in each of his three starts on the year. He left his most recent start with a back problem in the seventh inning.


Doctor who?

The good news is that if you had Brewers 9, Phillies 0 in your office pool for Halladay’s start against Milwaukee in last night’s game, you’re the big winner. The bad news is pretty much everything else.

Horrific game last night as the Phils were blanked and Halladay was charged with six runs over 6 2/3 innings. His start was bad, but it wasn’t quite as bad as that — Herndon took over for Halladay with two outs and two on and promptly gave up a three-run homer. Three of those runs were charged to Halladay. Not a good night for the pen, either, as Herndon and Zagurski were both atrocious.

And then there were the offense. The Phils looked good early, but after two very nice defensive plays by Milwaukee outfielders in the second and third took extra-bases away from Phillie hitters, the Phils didn’t manage a hit after the third inning.

The Phillies have scored 23 runs over their last eight games and eight of those runs have been unearned.

The Phils are 10-6 on the year after losing to Milwaukee 9-0 last night. They have lost two in a row for the first time this season. The loss ensures they will also lose a series for the first time this year.

Halladay got the start for the Phils and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on ten hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a solo home run. The home run was the first he has allowed on the season. He struck out three.

Rickie Weeks led off the game with a ball deflected by Rollins and into center for a single. Carlos Gomez followed and grounded to short, with Weeks forced at second for the first out. Ryan Braun was next and he singled to left, moving Gomez to second. With Prince Fielder at the plate, Ruiz threw Gomez out trying to steal third for the second out. Fielder grounded to second to end the frame.

Casey McGehee grounded to Halladay to start the second. Mark Kotsay grounded to third before Yuniesky Betancourt delivered a double to right. George Kottaras was next and he singled to right. Mayberry threw home and his throw was way high, caught by a jumping Ruiz as Betancourt scored easily and Kottaras took second with the Brewers up 1-0. Pitcher Randy Wolf lined to second for the third out.

Halladay got Weeks and Gomez for the first two outs of the third, but Braun popped a 3-1 pitch out to right, putting the Brewers up 2-0. Fielder followed that with a single, but McGehee grounded out behind him.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He got two ground outs and struck out Gomez as he set Milwaukee down in order in the fifth.

Braun led off the sixth with a walk and moved to second when Fielder followed with a single. McGehee lined to Howard at first for the first out, but Kotsay followed with a single to right. Braun scored (3-0) and Fielder moved to second. Betancourt flew to center for the second out and Kottaras grounded to Halladay for the third.

Halladay struck Erick Almonte, hitting for the pitcher Wolf, for the first out of the seventh. Weeks was next and hit a ball out in front of the plate that Ruiz fielded and threw away for an error that put Weeks on second. Gomez grounded to third for the second out before Braun walked. It brought Fielder to the plate with men on first and second and he hit a ball that was deflected by Howard but went for a single. Weeks scored to make it 4-0 and Braun took third. McGehee was next and Herndon came in to pitch to him. McGehee hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a three-run homer. 7-0. Herndon walked Kotsay and Betancourt moved him to second with a single. Zagurski, just called up when Romero hit the DL, came in to pitch to the lefty Kottaras and walked him, loading the bases for the righty Almonte. Almonte singled into center, scoring Kotsay and Betancourt to make it 9-0 with men on first and second. Zagurski struck out Weeks to finally set the Brewers down.

Just a miserable inning for Herndon and Zagurski. They combined to get one of the six hitters they faced out.

Baez pitched the eighth. He walked Fielder with two outs, but got McGehee on a fly ball to center for the third.

Baez was back for the ninth and set Milwaukee down in order with Francisco in right and Mayberry at first.

With the possible exception that Rollins almost had an extra-base hit that could have tripled his RBI total for the year, the outing by Baez is just about the only good news of the game. Nice to see him able to go two innings after being charged with runs in each of his two previous outings. Especially nice given that Madson or Contreras would have been pitching for the third straight day if the Phillies needed to use them and that Kendrick had thrown 27 pitches the day before.

Baez threw just 19 pitches in the game. Zagurski 14, Herndon nine. Herndon did a nice job of making a memory with a limited number of pitches.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Randy Wolf went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Mayberry gets the start in right with Francisco on the bench. Howard and Ibanez hit back-to-back without a righty in-between against the lefty. I think Mayberry should hit fifth there. Less sure it would make nine runs of difference, though.

Victorino and Rollins went down to start the first before Rollins bunted for a single. Howard drew a walk, but Ibanez flew to left to leave both men stranded.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second. Ruiz smoked his ball to right center, but Gomez tracked it down on the warning track after a long run.

Down 2-0, Victorino doubled to left with one out in the third and Polanco walked behind him. Rollins was next and he hammered a ball towards the left fielder corner, but Braun made a very nice play on a full run, reaching out to snare the ball on the warning track. Victorino and Polanco pulled off a double steal before Howard grounded out to Weeks, who was playing in not so shallow right field.

Two very good defensive plays by the Milwaukee outfielders take away two extra-base hits from the Phillies in two innings. Hope you enjoyed the early drama, cause that was it for the offense.

Mayberry walked with one out in the fourth and Ruiz was hit by a pitch behind him. Valdez hit a ball out in front of the plate. Wolf was on it quickly and threw to second, where Ruiz was forced for the second out. It brought Halladay to the plate with two down and men on the corners. Halladay struck out swinging at a 1-2 curve ball to leave both men stranded.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Down 3-0 they went in order in the sixth.

Down 9-0, Schneider, Valdez and Orr went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Victorino, Polanco and Martinez went in order in the eighth.

Ibanez walked with one out in the ninth. Mayberry grounded to third and Schneider lined to first.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s on pace to walk 61 times, which would top his career high of 42.

Rollins 1-for-3 with a double that was taken away by Braun.

Howard 0-for-2 with a walk.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk to drop his line on the year to 222/290/302.

Mayberry was 0-for-3 with a walk in his first start of the season. He’s 4-for-12 with two walks on the season.

Ruiz 0-for-1. Schneider 0-for-2. He’s 1-for-8 with a home run on the season.

Valdez was 0-for-3. He ends the day hitting .298, which puts his batting average below .300 for the first time since he went 0-for-2 against the Mets on April 6. Orr was 0-for-1 in the game and is 5-for-12 with five singles and a walk on the year.

Cliff Lee (2-1, 4.19) faces lefty Chris Narveson (1-0, 1.45) this afternoon. Narveson threw 13 shutout innings in his first two starts. In his most recent start he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Nats. Lee has had two good starts and one bad. His last time out he was fantastic, throwing 99 pitches and striking out 12 in a complete game shutout against Washington.


Phils play long enough for someone to remember that Kyle Kendrick is on the team

Kyle Kendrick pitched for the first time since April 8 last night, getting the call to start the twelfth inning of a 3-3 game. Didn’t go well. Kendrick had an ugly inning, gave up three runs and the Phils lost 6-3.

The Phils have won twice as many games as they have lost so far this year, but anxiety continues to mount over their meager production of the offense. After scoring seven runs a game in their first eight games of the season, the Phils have now scored 23 runs over their last seven (3.29 per game). The trend that they need a lot of help from the defense continued last night as well as two of the three runs they did score were unearned. Eight of the 23 runs they’ve scored in the last seven games have been unearned.

The Phils also aren’t looking especially sharp defensively. Last night they made a pair of errors and a missed cutoff man by Ibanez helped the Brewers plate an early run the Phils couldn’t afford to give up.

The Phillies are 10-5 on the year after losing to the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 last night.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four and lowered his ERA to 7.25 with his first good start of the year.

He got Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez to start the game, both on ground balls to short, before Ryan Braun lined a single to left. Blanton struck Prince Fielder out swinging 0-2 to leave Braun stranded.

He started the second up 1-0. Casey McGehee led off and hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Yunieksy Betancourt was next and grounded back to the mound. Blanton went to second for the first out and Rollins’s relay to first was in time to finish the double-play. Blanton struck Mark Kotsay out swinging to end the frame.

Jonathan Lucroy started the third with a single into center and the pitcher Shawn Marcum bunted him to second. Weeks was next and went down on a ground ball Blanton fielded and threw to first for the second out. Lucroy held second. Gomez was next and he singled into left. Lucroy was going to score either way, but Ibanez missed the cutoff man and Gomez wound up at second with the game tied at 1-1. Braun was next and after Blanton went way up and in on him, he shattered his bat singling to right. Gomez scored to make it 2-1. Fielder flew to left to leave Braun at first.

Ibanez missing the cutoff man helps the Brewers score a second run in the inning, cause Gomez is fast but he wouldn’t have scored from first on Braun’s single.

McGehee led off the fourth and doubled to right. Betancourt grounded to short, Kotsay flew to left and Lucroy grounded to third to leave him there.

Marcum started the fifth with a single to left. He moved to second when Weeks followed with a ground ball to third. Gomez grounded to third with Marcum holding second before Braun drew a walk, putting men on first and second with two down. Blanton struck Fielder out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Third inning in a row the leadoff man in the inning had gotten a hit off of Blanton. Blanton had thrown 76 pitches through five innings.

He only needed seven pitches to set Milwaukee down in order in the sixth, getting McGehee to pop to Rollins near third, Betancourt on a ground ball to third and Kotsay on a fly ball to left.

Lucroy started the seventh with a single to right. The pitcher Marcum, who had thrown 102 pitches in the game, hit for himself and bunted Lucroy to second with the first out. Weeks popped to first for the second out and Blanton struck Gomez out swinging 0-2 to leave Lucroy at second.

Marcum didn’t pitch the bottom of the seventh after hitting for himself and bunting in the top of the seventh.

Madson started the eighth with the game tied at 2-2. Braun led off with a double to left and moved to third when Fielder followed with a single to left. Madson got McGehee to ground to short with the runners holding for the first out. Betancourt was next and he hit a ball down the third base line. Polanco made a nice diving stop and a long throw to first that Howard picked nicely record the second out, but Braun scored to put the Brewers up 3-2. Madson walked the lefty Kotsay intentionally to put men on first and second and pitch to the righty Lucroy. Madson struck Lucroy out swinging 2-2 to end the frame.

Could have brought one of the lefties to face Kotsay instead of walking him intentionally. Worked out okay. At least after giving up the go-ahead run.

Romero started the ninth with the Phils still down a run. He got the first two men he faced, righty Erick Almonte hitting for the pitcher Kameron Loe and Weeks, bringing Gomez to the plate. Romero strained his right calf as Gomez hit a ball back up the middle. Rollins fielded behind second, but couldn’t get Gomez at first. Romero had to be helped off the field and seems likely to be headed for the DL. Herndon took over on the mound. Gomez stole second before Braun grounded to short to end the frame.

Contreras threw a 1-2-3 tenth with the game tied at 3-3. He had thrown 22 pitches in Sunday night’s game.

Nice to see Contreras have an easy outing pitching for the second day in a row.

Bastardo pitched the eleventh. Lucroy walked with one out and righty Wil Nieves hit for the pitcher Mitch Stetter. Nieves hit a ball to first. Howard stepped on the base, chased Lucroy towards second and flipped to Rollins to complete the double-play.

Kendrick started the twelfth, pitching for the first time since April 8. He walked the leadoff man Weeks on four pitches. Gomez was next and he bunted. Kendrick got to the ball, but his throw to first was awful and into right field, putting men on first and third with nobody out for Braun. Braun pounded a ball to center that Victorino took on the warning track. Weeks scored easily, putting the Brewers up 4-3. Kendrick hit Fielder with a 1-2 pitch before he uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third. After the wild pitch, Kendrick walked the righty McGehee intentionally to load the bases and put the double-play back in order. Betancourt was next and he hit a ball to left for the second out with each of the runners tagging and moving up a base. 5-3 with two outs and runners on second and third. Lucroy was next and he singled into right. Fielder scored (6-3), but McGehee tried to score from second and Francisco’s throw to Ruiz beat him by a lot to end the frame.

Nice of McGehee to give the Phillies an out. Francisco’s throw was good enough, but he was out by a lot.

Phils lose that battle of the bullpens as their relievers allow four runs in five innings. I’m going to be pretty surprised if Romero doesn’t hit the DL. Kendrick threw 27 pitches in the game. Madson 19, Bastardo 13. Everyone else was under ten. Madson and Contreras have both thrown two days in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Shawn Marcum went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez.

Polanco singled with one out in the first. Rollins was next and hit a ball to second that Weeks flubbed, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard hit a ground ball right where the shortstop would have been if he weren’t playing on the other side of second. It was a single. Polanco scored to put the Phils up 1-0 and Rollins took second. Francisco struck out swinging and Ibanez grounded to first to leave the runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the second.

They were down 2-1 when they hit in the third. Polanco singled to center with one out, but Rollins and Howard both flew out behind him.

Polanco sure gets a lot of hits.

Ibanez singled with one out in the fourth, but Ruiz flew to left behind him. Valdez moved Ibanez to second with a single to center, but Blanton dribbled to the pitcher Marcum to leave both men stranded.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Marcum struck out Howard, Francisco and Ibanez in the sixth.

Righty Sean Green started the seventh for the Brewers. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out. Valdez was next and chopped a ball to third. McGehee charged and didn’t field for an error. Gload hit for Blanton and the Brewers let the righty Green pitch to him. Gload singled the opposite way, down the third base line, and Valdez went to third. Righty Sergio Mitre came in to pitch to Victorino and Martinez ran for Gload at first. Victorino chopped a ball in between first and second. Fielder fielded with his momentum going away from first. He had no chance to get Victorino at first and threw home, but his throw was high on the third base side of the plate and Valdez slid in safely to tie the game at 2-2. It brought Polanco to the plate with one out and men on first and second. He smashed a line drive off Mitre’s body. The ball went high into the air and Betancourt made a fantastic diving play to catch it before it hit the ground. Martinez was easily doubled off of second to end the inning.

Should have been another huge hit for Polanco. Again the Phillies score with the help of a misplay by their opponent. Milwaukee leaves the righty Green in to pitch to Gload and it doesn’t work.

Righty Kameron Loe started the eighth for the Brewers with the Phils down 3-2. Howard singled with one out and Francisco followed and hit a ball into left center that Gomez tracked down after a long run for the second out. Loe stayed in to pitch to Ibanez with the lefty Stetter warming in the pen, but Ibanez grounded to second to end the inning.

Milwaukee leaves the righty Loe in to pitch to Ibanez and it works.

John Axford came in to pitch the ninth with the Phils still down a run. Ruiz walked and Valdez bunted him to second. Orr singled to left, Ruiz scored and Orr was able to take second thanks to an awful throw from Braun. It brought Victorino to the plate with one out, a man on second and the game tied at 3-3. Victorino struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch that was way high. Polanco walked on four pitches that weren’t very close. Rollins got ahead 3-1 but popped to short.

Bad strikeout for Victorino. Not a good sign when a righty pitches around Placido Polanco to pitch to your three-hitter.

Howard, Francisco and Ibanez went in order in the tenth.

Ruiz and Valdez went down to start the eleventh. With righty Brandon Kintzler on the mound for the Brewers, Mayberry hit for Bastardo and grounded to short.

Down 6-3, Victorino started the twelfth with a single that was deflected by Betancourt and went into left field. Polanco flew to right for the first out before Rollins walked. Victorino took third without a throw, putting men on first and third with one down and bringing Howard to the plate at the tying run. Howard lined to third for the second out. Francisco swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and flew to right to end the game.

The Phillies have scored 23 runs over their last seven games. In six of their last nine games they have scored three runs.

The Phillies didn’t have an extra-base hit in the game.

Victorino was 1-for-6 with an RBI and a strikeout. He has hit 241/313/414 over the last seven games.

Polanco 2-for-5 with a walk. He’s just about the only Phillie hitting these days. 12-for-30 (.400) with two walks and a home run over the seven-game funk for the offense.

Rollins was 0-for-5 with a walk. 207/258/276 over the last seven. He’s on pace to drive in 11 runs for the season. 10.8, actually, but we’ll round up.

Howard 2-for-6 with an RBI. 154/233/269 over the last seven and 162/250/270 over the last ten.

Francisco 0-for-6 with two strikeouts and five men left on base. 125/222/125 over the last seven games. 182/265/273 since the end of the first series of the season with the Astros.

Ibanez 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. He’s been bad all year so far, putting up a 233/292/317 line overall. On the plus side, his line over the last seven games is kinda cool — 207/207/207. That’s 6-for-29 with six singles, no walks and nine strikeouts.

3-4-5-6 in the order for the Phillies combined to go 3-for-22 with three singles and five strikeouts in the game.

Ruiz was 0-for-4 with a walk. His line over the last seven games isn’t awful — 280/321/440.

Valdez was 1-for-4. 294/368/294 in 20 plate appearances over the last seven games.

Bench was 2-for-3 in the game. Gload and Orr both delivered big hits and Mayberry grounded to short.

Halladay (2-0, 1.23) faces lefty Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.32) tonight in game two of the three-game set. Righties are hitting .352 against Wolf so far this year, lefties .200. He allowed 12 runs over ten innings in his first two starts on the year, but was much better against the Pirates his last time out, throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings. The Phils have won all three games that Halladay has started this season. Opponents are hitting .210 against him, he’s walked three batters in 22 innings and hasn’t allowed a home run. He threw 123 pitches his last time out and has thrown an average of 112.3 in his three starts.


Hit ‘em where they are

Everybody knew coming into the season that the Phils were going to win with dominating starting pitching. And they have. They’ve gotten some outstanding performances from their rotation so far. There’s been a tweak to the formula, though, and it’s an alarming one. The way the Phils are winning over their last handful of games requires them not only to excel at preventing runs, but for the other team not to catch the ball. The Phils have gone 4-2 over their last six games but scored just 20 runs. Scoring 3.33 runs per game isn’t the formula for long-term success, but it’s even worse than that. Thanks to seven errors by their opponents, six of the 20 runs the Phils have plated have been unearned.

Yesterday the trend continued. With the game locked at 2-2, Ryan Howard led off the bottom of the eighth with a fly ball lofted to left that eluded Florida’s Logan Morrison for the second Fish error of the game. Howard came around to score on a sac fly and the Phils got out with a 3-2 win.

With the win the Phils and Marlins split the series at a game apiece. Saturday’s game was postponed due to weather and will be played as part of a double-header on June 15.

The Phils lost the opener of the series 4-3. Oswalt pitched very well and the Phils got three early runs, but the Fish plated a run it the top of the sixth to cut the Phillie lead to 3-2. Oswalt came out to start the seventh, but had to leave the game with a back problem that started when pitching in the fifth and may have been made worse running to first after bunting in the sixth. Romero and Baez combined to be terrible in the seventh after he left, getting one out and allowing two runs on three hits and a walk as Florida pulled ahead 4-3. The Marlins bullpen, on the other hand, was fantastic. They allowed a hit and a walk over four scoreless innings and the Marlins held on to win by a run. Ibanez had a big game with the bat, going 2-for-4 and driving in two of the three runs for the Phils. They game was also notable because Ross Gload started in right against righty Javier Vazquez without major incident, making a nice play on a foul ball up against the wall.

Hamels was very good for the second straight start yesterday. The Phils gave him a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a home run by Polanco, some nifty base-running by Rollins and a couple of hits from Francisco and Ibanez. Florida tied things up at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth on a double, two singles and a sac fly. Howard started the eighth with a fly ball lofted to left that a sliding Morrison couldn’t handle. He moved to second on a single by Francisco, to third on a ground out by Ibanez and came home on a sac fly by Ruiz to give the Phils a 3-2 lead. Contreras held on for a shaky save in the ninth.

The Phillies have scored three runs in three of the last four games they have won. Their numbers overall still look great for the year for runs scored — they’re averaging about 5.43 runs scored per game. They scored 56 runs in their first eight games of the season (7.0 runs per game) and 3.33 per game over their last six.

The Phillies are 10-4 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 3-2 yesterday.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out seven and dropped his ERA for the year to 4.32.

He struck Chris Coghlan out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the game. Omar Infante was next and grounded to first on the first pitch of his at-bat. That brought Hanley Ramirez to the plate and Hamels walked him on a 3-1 pitch that was outside, bringing Mike Stanton to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Stanton struck out swinging 1-2 to leave Ramirez stranded.

Hamels started the second up 2-0 and struck Gaby Sanchez out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Logan Morrison followed and lined a single into right, but Hamels struck John Buck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Wes Helms hit a dribbler out in front of the plate and Ruiz threw him out at first for the third out.

Pitcher Anibal Sanchez started the third for Florida and struck out looking 1-2. Coghlan struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Infante bunted a ball that Howard took for the third out.

Ramirez started the fourth with a double to left. Stanton flew to left for the first out and Sanchez grounded to short with Ramirez holding second for the second. Morrison drew a walk, putting runners on first and second for Buck. Ramirez took third on a wild pitch and Morrison stole second before Hamels got Buck on a ground ball to third to leave them both stranded.

Helms led off the fifth and hit a ball to left off the glove of Ibanez for an error. The pitcher Sanchez bunted, but Ruiz hopped on it and threw Helms out at second for the first out and Coghlan grounded into a double-play behind him.

Huge defensive play for Ruiz. Throwing the runner out at second keeps the double-play in order.

Infante doubled to left to start the sixth and moved to third on a ground out by Ramirez. Stanton followed with a single into left that scored Infante and cut the Phillie lead to 2-1. Stanton moved to third on a single by Sanchez, putting men on the corners with one out for Morrison. Morrison delivered a fly ball to right deep enough for Stanton to tag and score, tying the game at 2-2. Buck grounded to short for the third out.

Hamels struck out Helms to start the seventh and switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio hit for the pitcher Sanchez. Bonifacio bunted for a single, stole second and moved to third on an infield single by Coghlan. It put men on first and third for Infante, but Hamels got him to hit into a double-play to turn Florida away, with Polanco going to Valdez to Howard.

Madson pitched the eighth. He got Ramirez on a fly ball to left and struck out Stanton looking before Sanchez lined a ball into left that fell in front of Ibanez. Madson struck Morrison out swinging 1-2.

Contreras started the ninth with a 3-2 lead and walked Buck on a 3-1 pitch that was outside. Scott Cousins ran for Buck at first and Helms bunted him to second with the first out. Lefty Greg Dobbs hit for the pitcher Ryan Webb and grounded to short for the second out with Cousins moving to third. Contreras walked Coghlan on five pitches, bringing Infante to the plate with men on first and third. Infante hammered an 0-1 pitch down the third base line but just foul before grounding a 3-2 pitch that was probably ball foul to third to end the game.

Madson looked very good. Contreras didn’t. Contreras threw 22 pitches in the game, Madson 16. The pen is well-rested after Saturday’s rain (as well as the complete games from Halladay and Lee last week).

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. The Phils return to their normal lineup after starting Gload and Orr against the righty Vazquez in game one.

Victorino led off the bottom of the first chopped a ground ball to short that Ramirez handled for the first out. Polanco was next and hit a 1-0 pitch to right center that got a ton of help from the wind and went out to put the Phils up 1-0. Rollins followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch. He went on a delayed steal as Howard took strike two to run the count to 2-2. With the extreme shift on for Howard, the third baseman Helms was covering second and had the throw from Buck go off the end of his glove, allowing Rollins to take third. Howard walked, putting men on first and third for Francisco with one down and Francisco popped to Ramirez in shallow left with both runners holding. Ibanez picked him up, though, singling up the middle on the first pitch of his at-bat. Rollins scored to make it 2-0 with Howard moving to second. Ruiz struck out swinging 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

Another big hit in the series for Ibanez. Francisco can’t bring the runner home with one out and a man on third. Rollins would have been safe on the throw that went off of Helms’s glove even if it had been handled cleanly.

Valdez started the second and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Hamels tried to bunt, go behind 0-2, then swung away 2-2 and hit into a double-play to clear the bases for Victorino. Victorino grounded back to the mound for the third out.

Don’t mind Hamels swinging away once it got to 2-2, but it would have been better if he’d gotten the bunt down instead of getting behind 0-2.

Howard and Francisco singled back-to-back with two outs in the third. Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2 to leave the runners stranded at first and second.

Valdez and Hamels both struck out as the Phils went in order in the fourth.

Victorino started the fifth with a single, but was picked off of first for the first out before Polanco singled to right. Rollins and Howard both struck out to leave Polanco at first.

Francisco walked to start the sixth with the game tied at 2-2. Ibanez was next and grounded to second with Francisco forced at second for the first out. Ruiz and Valdez both struck out to leave Ibanez at first.

Third straight inning for the Phils where they had two strikeouts in a row to end the inning with at least one man on base. In five of six innings to this point, the last out of the inning for the Phils came when they struck out.

Hamels was due to lead off the seventh, having thrown 101 pitches in the game. With righty Ryan Webb on the mound for the Marlins, Gload hit for Hamels and grounded to short for the first out. Victorino grounded short for the second out before Polanco singled up the middle. Rollins grounded to second to end the inning.

Howard started the eighth and lofted a fly ball to left towards the foul line. Morrison made a long run, then a sliding effort, and had the ball go off of his glove for an error. Francisco was next and chopped a ball on the left side of the infield that got through between short and third for a single that moved Howard up to second. Ibanez hit a ball on the ground to third, but not very hard. Helms fielded and threw to second to forced Francisco for the first out, but Ibanez was safe at first and Howard moved to third. Ruiz hit a ball into center deep enough for Howard to tag and score without a play at the plate, putting the Phils up 3-2. Valdez grounded to second for the third out.

Lot of good fortune for the Phils there, but they’ll take it. Morrison should have made the play on the ball hit by Howard. Francisco’s hit had eyes, chopped through the left side of the infield. Ibanez’s ball was just not hit quite hard enough to be a double-play, although it was nice hustle by Ibanez to run through first and make sure that didn’t happen.

Victorino was 1-for-4 in the game and 1-for-7 with two walks in the two-game set. 327/373/491 on the year. He’s 3-for-his-last-19.

Polanco is a monster. 3-for-4 with a home run yesterday, which was the only extra-base hit for the Phillies in the game. 4-for-9 in the series. 9-for-his-last-21 and hitting 373/413/492 on the year.

Rollins 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored yesterday. 1-for-7 with a walk and a double in the series. 298/355/368 so far. He’s 3-for-his-last-15.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. 1-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts in the series. 288/344/538. 3-for-his-last-27. Six strikeouts in his last 16 at-bats.

Francisco was 2-for-3 with a walk yesterday and 2-for-4 with a walk in the series. Gload started the first game of the series in right. Francisco is hitting 275/351/431 for the year.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with an RBI and five men left on base. 3-for-8 with three RBI in the series, raising his line on the year to 236/300/327. He doesn’t have a walk or an extra-base hit in 24 at-bats over his last six games.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 with a game-winning sac fly and two strikeouts. 1-for-7 with a double and three strikeouts in the series. 318/367/523.

Valdez was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Orr started at first in the first game of the set. Valdez is at 325/372/400 for the year.

Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45) faces righty Shawn Marcum (2-1, 2.55) tonight when the Phils play the Brewers. Marcum has made three starts on the year. He didn’t fare well his first time out, allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Reds, but has allowed just two runs in 13 innings over his last two starts. Blanton has made two starts on the year and both of them have been awful. Opponents are hitting .378 against him so far. The Phils could have skipped him with the rainout on Saturday, but chose not to, which I think is the right decision.


Series leaves some wondering if Phils could save enough money foregoing relievers to buy some earned runs

Roy Halladay was fantastic in game two of the series with the Nationals, but Cliff Lee was even better last night as they Phils took game three. Lee gave the Phils their second complete game in two days, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out 12. He needed only 99 pitches.

The brilliant work of Halladay and Lee ensured that the Phils wouldn’t need a lot of offense to win the series. They didn’t get it, either. They scored seven runs in the last two games with the help of four errors by a Washington team that was wretched defensively. Only three of the runs they scored in the last two games were earned. Howard, Francisco and Ibanez combined to go an ugly 3-for-33 in the three-game set. On the plus side, Valdez, Ruiz and Polanco all have had a terrific start to the season and continued to hit. Victorino has started the year strong, too, but cooled a bit in Washington as he went 2-for-12 in the series.

The Phils are 9-3 after being the Washington Nationals 4-0 last night. They take the series two games to one and have won every series they’ve played so far this year.

Lee started for the Phils and threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out 12.

He set down the first six Nats he faced. In the first he struck Ian Desmond out for the first out, got Rick Ankiel to ground to second and struck Jayson Werth out swinging.

In the second, Adam LaRoche flew to center, Wilson Ramos struck out looking and Michael Morse grounded to second.

Danny Espinosa started the third with a double off the wall in right. Jerry Hairston moved Espinosa to third with a fly ball to center for the first out and the Phillies brought the infield in as Washington sent pitcher Jordan Zimmerman to the plate. Zimmerman chopped a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded and threw home, where Ruiz tagged Espinosa out for the second out. Lee struck Desmond out looking to leave Zimmerman at first.

Unusual for the Phils to bring the infield in so early in a game. Worked out well.

Lee threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Ramos led off the fifth with a single lined into left. Ruiz threw him out trying to steal second as Morse struck out swinging. It cleared the bases for Espinosa and Lee got him to pop to short to set Washington down.

The Phillies had a 2-0 lead when Lee started the sixth. He got Hairston on a fly ball to center and struck out Zimmerman and Desmond.

In the seventh he used 11 pitches to strike out Washington’s 2-3-4 hitters. Ankiel swinging, Werth swinging, LaRoche swinging. Lee threw two balls in the inning.

Lee had a 4-0 lead when he walked Ramos to start Washington’s eighth. He struck out Morse and Espinosa behind him and then got Hairston to pop to third.

Jesus Flores hit for pitcher Brian Broderick to start the ninth and blooped a single over the head of Valdez and into right. Desmond flew to right for the first out. Ankiel was next and hit it hard, but Victorino took it in front of the track. Werth quickly got behind 0-2 and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins went to second to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jordan Zimmerman went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Nothing new there. Howard stays in the lineup after getting hit on the wrist by Lannan in game two, playing with a guard on his wrist.

Zimmerman was perfect through five innings. Valdez hit a ball well in the third, but Werth handled it in right. Rollins smoked a ball in the fourth, but LaRoche snagged the line drive to retire him. Francisco lined to right for the second out of the fifth.

Ruiz led off the sixth inning of a scoreless game. Zimmerman had struck out four and not allowed a base-runner. Ruiz blasted an 0-1 breaking ball to left. It looked at first like the ball went off the top of the wall, but, after some brief confusion, it was decided it cleared it for a home run that put the Phils up 1-0. Valdez and Lee went down behind him before Victorino lined a double to left. Polanco was next and hit a ground ball to third. Hairston back-handed moving towards the line and then made a ridiculous throw that wasn’t real near first base for an error. Victorino scored (2-0) and Polanco took second. Rollins flew to left for the third out.

Terrible, terrible defense by the Nationals infield in the series.

The Phillies went in order in the seventh.

Ruiz and Valdez started the eighth with back-to-back singles before Lee hit a ball to Espinosa that Espinosa didn’t handle for another error on a Washington infielder. Righty Drew Storen came in to pitch to Victorino with the bases loaded and struck him out for the first out. Polanco followed that with a ground ball to second. Lee was forced at second, but everyone else moved up a base and Ruiz scored to put the Phils up 3-0. It brought Rollins to the plate with men on first and third and he lined a single to right, scoring Valdez (4-0) and sending Polanco to second. Lefty Doug Slaten came in and struck Howard out to leave them stranded.

Rollins comes through with two outs. Victorino strikes out with the bases loaded and nobody out.

The Phillies went in order in the ninth. Ibanez hit a ball well down the first base line, but LaRoche made a very nice play to take extra-bases away from him for the second out.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double in the game and a big strikeout in the eighth. 2-for-12 with two doubles and a walk in the series. He’s hitting 354/380/542 on the year.

Polanco 1-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-12 in the series with a walk and three RBI. 360/407/440. He’s on pace to hit .360 with 54 doubles and 148 RBI.

Rollins 1-for-4 with an RBI. 4-for-13 with four singles and an RBI in the series. He just has one RBI for the year, which puts him on pace to drive in 15 for the season. 320/370/380. Thirteen of his 16 hits have been singles, the other three are doubles.

Howard 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-10 with a walk and a home run in the series. He’s on pace to drive in 175 runs. 304/358/587 so far.

Francisco 0-for-4. 1-for-11 with a walk in the series. He’s 2-for-his-last-19 and hitting 255/327/426 on the year. 176/263/294 since the end of the three-game series with Houston to start the season (he was 6-for-13 with a double, a walk and a home run in that series).

Ibanez 0-for-4, but robbed of a double down the first base line in the ninth. 1-for-12 with a single and five strikeouts in the series. 213/288/319 on the season. He’s 4-for-his-last-27.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with his second home run on the year. 4-for-11 with a walk and a home run in the series. 351/415/568 for the year.

Valdez 1-for-3 to drop his average to .351. 4-for-10 with a walk in the set. 351/385/432 so far.

Among the regulars, Ruiz, Polanco, Valdez, Victorino and Rollins are all on-basing .370 or better. Howard .358, Francisco .327 and Ibanez .288.

Howard, Ruiz and Victorino are all slugging way above .500. Ibanez, Rollins and Ibanez and both slugging under .400. The .380 slugging percentage for Rollins is a bit more surprising than the .319 for Ibanez, given that Rollins is hitting .320.

Valdez, Ruiz, Victorino and Polanco are all hitting at least .351.

Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.25) faces righty Javier Vazquez (1-1, 8.64) tonight as the Phils face the Fish in Philadelphia. Vazquez got hammered by the Mets in his first start and allowed four runs to the Astros over six innings in his second. Oswalt has gone six solid innings in each of his first two starts.

Interesting post here that goes into the decision by Manuel to use Mayberry instead of Gload against the righty Livan Hernandez in game one. Points out that there was no lefty ready to pitch to Gload, so Gload probably would have gotten to hit against the righty Hernandez. Long quote from Manuel that basically just says he liked Mayberry’s chances better. If it’s true there was no chance the Nats could have had Slaten or another lefty ready to pitch to Gload, that’s just a bad decision. If a lefty could have come in, I still like Gload’s chances against a lefty better (or you could have hit Mayberry for Gload if you wanted to burn them both).


Conscientious decision not to schedule a double-header saves Halladay from throwing 340 pitches

Let’s play one. Please.

Roy Halladay gave the Phils his third good start in three tries for the season last night, throwing a complete game as the Phils topped the Nats 3-2 to even the series at a game apiece.

The game was memorable for just how long Halladay pitched. He started the bottom of the ninth up 3-0 and we’ll probably never know how long Manuel would have let him go. We do know the answer was a long, long time. We know he didn’t pull him when the first two Nationals batters of the ninth got hits, bringing the tying run to the plate. Not when the Nats scored. Not on the third hit of the inning or the fourth. Not when Washington put the tying run on second or brought the winning run to the plate with just one out. Not when Halladay’s pitch count topped 120.

So it went on and on and got a little nutty. Ended well, though, cause whether you think Manuel made the right decision or not, Halladay added his own exclamation point, striking out the last two batters he faced on six pitches to finish things off.

The Phils are 8-3 on the year after beating the Washington Nationals 3-2 last night.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. Four of the hits he allowed came in the bottom of the ninth inning. He struck out nine and has a 1.23 ERA after three starts. He threw 123 pitches in the game. In 2010, Halladay threw 120 or more pitches in a start twice, throwing 121 on May 12 and 132 in his next start, which came on May 18. On the May 12 game he went just 6 1/3 innings. He’s averaged 112 pitches per start through his first three of 2011.

He got Ian Desmond on a ground ball to third for the first out of the first. Rick Ankiel was next and he flew to center. Jayson Werth struck out looking to end the inning.

Adam LaRoche was the first batter in the bottom of the second and he singled into right. Laynce Nix followed with a ground ball to first. Howard went to Halladay covering and Nix took second with one down. Danny Espinosa bunted Nix to third with the second out and Halladay struck out Jerry Hairston to leave Nix stranded.

Halladay struck Ivan Rodriguez out for the first out in the third. Pitcher John Lannan grounded to short for the second, but Halladay walked Desmond and Desmond stole second before Ankiel walked as well. Werth grounded to first to leave both men stranded.

Halladay had a 1-0 lead when LaRoche started the fourth with another single. Nix fouled out to Ruiz and Espinosa hit into a double-play to turn Washington away.

Up 3-0, Halladay threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He needed nine pitches to throw a 1-2-3 sixth.

LaRoche popped to first to start the seventh. Halladay got ahead of Nix 0-2, but hit him in the foot with a pitch. Espinosa popped a ball up in foul territory between third base and home plate and Halladay made a nice running play to get the second out. Hairston struck out swinging.

Washington went in order again in the eighth. Alex Cora hit for the pitcher Doug Slaten and grounded to short for the second out.

Halladay had thrown 101 pitches through eight innings and started the ninth with the Phils still up by three runs. Ankiel led off and doubled into the gap in right-center. Werth was next and singled to left, moving Ankiel to third. Halladay struck LaRoche out swinging 3-2 for the first out, but Nix lined a single into right that scored Ankiel and moved Werth to third. 3-1. Espinosa was next and he hit a ball in the hole between third and short. Rollins made a diving play to field the ball, but didn’t have a play anywhere. Espinosa had an infield single, Werth scored and it was 3-2 with one out and men on first and second. Manuel left Halladay in to pitch to the lefty Stairs and Halladay struck him out on three pitches. Halladay struck Rodriguez out looking at an 0-2 pitch that was pretty, but outside, to end the game.

Glad it worked out, but that was crazy. For the record, I was hoping they would take him out after Ankiel and Werth both reached on hits to get things started.

The Phillies lineup against lefty John Lannan went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez.

Victorino started the game with a double to left. Polanco was next and reached on an infield single with Victorino holding second. Rollins hit a ball to third and the Nats turned the double-play. Howard struck out to leave Victorino stranded at third.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Valdez led off the third and reached on an infield single. Halladay bunted him to second and Victorino followed that with a walk. It put men on first and second with one out for Polanco, but Polanco hit into a double-play to turn the Phils away.

Rollins started the fourth and hit a ball to short that Desmond didn’t handle for an error. Howard was next and grounded out to third, but Desmond ran into Rollins as Rollins took second and Rollins was given third on defensive interference. With one out and Rollins on third, Francisco hit a 3-0 pitch hard to short. Rollins was running on contact and scored as the play went to first for the second out, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ibanez flew to center for the third out.

Washington has been terrible defensively in the series.

Ruiz started the fifth with a single and Valdez walked behind him. Halladay bunted and the pitcher Lannan threw to third to force Ruiz for the first out. Victorino flew to right for the second out, deep enough for Valdez to take third. With men on first and third and two down, Polanco singled into center, scoring Valdez to make it 2-0 with men on first and second. Rollins was next and he singled with a soft liner into right, loading the bases. Howard was hit by a pitch, forcing Halladay home. 3-0. Francisco flew to center for the third out.

Lannan’s pitch hit Howard on the right wrist. He stayed in the game and X-rays after the game were negative. It’s not clear if he can play today or not. Lannan broke Chase Utley’s right hand in his major league debut, which came on July 26, 2007. He was ejected from that game when he hit the next batter (Howard) after breaking Utley’s hand.

Ruiz walked with one out in the sixth, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him.

Valdez hits into a lot of double-plays. He’s on pace to hit into 44 this year, which might not even happen.

Polanco walked with two outs in the seventh. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

The Phillies went in order in the eighth.

They went in order in the ninth, too. With two outs and nobody on, Halladay hit for himself and popped to first. He had thrown 101 pitches in the game.

Victorino went 1-for-3 in the game with a double and a walk. The double was the only extra-base hit for the Phils.

Polanco 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Rollins 1-for-4. Top three in the order go 4-for-10 with a pair of walks.

Howard 0-for-3 with an RBI and a strikeout. He has struck out just three times in his last 31 plate appearances and doesn’t have more than one strikeout in a game in any of the last seven.

Francisco 0-for-4 with an RBI. He’s 2-for-his-last-15. 200/294/333 since the end of the opening series of the year against the Astros.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and struck out three times. So much for his early season splits against lefties and his monster numbers against Lannan.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk.

Valdez 1-for-3 with another walk. Two on the year.

Ex-Phil Jayson Werth was 1-for-4 in the game and struck out twice. 3-for-7 with a double, a home run and a walk in the series so far.

Cliff Lee (1-1, 7.84) faces righty Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 3.18) tonight in game three of the series. Lee has made two starts on the year, pitching pretty well against the Astros in the second game of the year but getting hit hard by the Braves in his last start. Zimmerman has allowed two earned runs in each of his two outings. He went six innings against the Braves in his first start of the year and 5 1/3 against the Mets in his most recent.

Rich Dubee sounds less convinced than Blanton that Blanton’s troubles are all about pitching out of the stretch.


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