On August 7, 2008, Chris Volstad made his first career start against the Phils and threw six shutout innings, prompting Jimmy Rollins to proclaim him “nothing special.” That seemed a little ridiculous at the time, but seems a lot less so today as the Phils have had a whole lot of success against Volstad since.
They certainly did last night, pounding Volstad and the Marlins as they won 14-2. Rollins had four hits in the game, which wasn’t close to the best offensive performance of the game for the Phils. Howard and Ibanez combined to go 7-for-10 with two walks and eight RBI.
Volstad came into the game having thrown to a 1.31 ERA over his last three starts. After allowing seven runs in four innings last night, he has a career 5.88 ERA and a 1.59 ratio in 12 starts against the Phils.
The Phillies are 55-32 on the year after hammering the Florida Marlins 14-2 last night. They are 7-2 in their last nine and lead the NL East by four games over the second-place Braves. Fourteen run is a season-high for the Phils are they are 23 games over .500 for the first time this year.
The Marlins are 7-26 since the end of May.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles, a triple and a home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.40. Hamels now has a better ERA, ERA+ and ratio for the season than Halladay. Halladay has struck hitters out at a higher rate and gone deeper into games, but Hamels has thrown an average of 6.89 innings per start. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start in any of his last eight outings.
Gaby Sanchez doubled to right on a ball deflected by Brown with two outs in the first. Hamels walked Hanley Ramirez on a 3-2 pitch behind him, putting men on first and second for Logan Morrison. Morrison hit the ball hard, but Howard took it at first and flipped to Hamels to end the inning.
Mike Stanton started the bottom of the second with a single, but Hamels got the next three to leave him stranded. Martinez made a nice diving play in center on a line drive hit by Bryan Petersen for the second out.
Hamels pitched the third with a 5-0 lead. Omar Infante singled to left with one out, but Hamels got Gaby Sanchez on a fly ball to left for the second out and Ramirez looking for the third.
It was 7-0 when he started the fourth. Stanton tripled to center with one out. Catcher John Buck was next and Buck hit a 2-0 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 7-2. Petersen followed that with a single into center, but Hamels got the next two hitters to prevent further damage.
That’s just the seventh home run of the year allowed by Hamels and the second since May 23. Righties came into the game slugging .263 against him for the season.
He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.
He struck out Buck and Morrison in a 1-2-3 sixth with an 8-2 lead.
With two outs in the seventh, Emilio Bonifacio hit a slow ground ball to third. Valdez wasn’t going to get Bonifacio anyway, but threw to first and his throw was bad for an error that allowed Bonifacio to take second. Infante grounded to second to leave Bonifacio stranded.
Ramirez doubled to right with one out in the eighth. Morrison followed that and hit a foul ball that Martinez, playing second, took after a run. Ramirez tagged up and took third with two outs. Stanton struck out swinging 1-2 to leave Ramirez at third.
Mathieson started the ninth with a 14-2 lead. Greg Dobbs led off with a single and move to third when Petersen doubled behind him. Mathieson struck out Brett Hayes and Bonifacio, though, before hitting Infante to load the bases. Sanchez popped to Rollins to leave them loaded and end the game.
Five innings for Mathieson on the year now without being charged with a run. He’s allowed nine hits and three walks in five innings for a 2.40 ratio. Opponents are hitting .409 against him. He threw 22 pitches in the game.
The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Valdez. Martinez in center again with Victorino sidelined with thumb issues. Polanco on the bench with a sore back. Valdez starts at third. Ruiz hits sixth, breaking up the lefties Ibanez and Brown.
The Phils went in order in the first.
Ibanez singled to center with one out in the second and moved up to second when Ruiz was hit by a pitch behind him. Brown was next and grounded to second with Ruiz forced at second for the second out. With men on first and third, Valdez grounded to second to end the frame.
Rollins singled to center with one out in the third. Martinez struck out swinging behind him for the second out, but Utley moved Rollins to third with a single to right. Volstad walked Howard intentionally, loading the bases for Ibanez. Ibanez singled to center. Rollins and Utley both scored, making it 2-0 with two down and men on first and second. Ruiz singled to left and the bases were loaded. Brown singled to left and everyone moved up a base. 3-0 with the bases loaded. Valdez singled to center and Ibanez and Ruiz scored. 5-0 with men on first and second. Hamels struck out looking 3-2 for the third out.
Lots of hits for the Phils there, but Ibanez makes Volstad pay for walking Howard intentionally.
Rollins started the fourth with a single. Martinez and Utley went down on ground balls behind him, leaving Martinez on second with two down for Howard. Howard hit an 0-1 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 7-0. Ibanez grounded to third for the third out.
Howard has absurd numbers against Volstad for his career — 13-for-26 with five walks and eight homers for a 500/581/1.462 line. It was home run number 18 on the year for Howard. All 18 have come against right-handed pitchers.
Up 7-2, Brown walked with one out in the fifth. Valdez and Hamels went down behind him.
Rollins led off the sixth with a double and scored on a two-out single by Howard to make it 8-2. Ibanez followed Howard with a walk, but Ruiz struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.
Hamels walked with two outs in the seventh and moved to second on a single by Rollins. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, but Martinez grounded to first to leave them both stranded.
Mayberry, who just took Worley’s spot on the roster, started the eighth with a walk. He moved to second when Howard followed with a single on a ball that was originally called a catch in right field but clearly was not. Ibanez was next and hit into a double-play, leaving Mayberry to third with two down. Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.
Brown started the ninth with a single and went to third on a one-out, pinch-hit double by Francisco. Rollins was walked intentionally to load the bases for Martinez, who delivered a bases clearing triple to center that put the Phils up 11-2. Mayberry struck out for the second out before Howard brought Martinez home with a double. 12-2. Ibanez hit a 2-2 pitch out to right. 14-2. Ruiz grounded to third to end the frame.
Francisco is 4-for-8 with three doubles in July.
Rollins was 4-for-5 with a double in the game. It was his second four-hit game of the last nine.
Martinez was 1-for-6 with a three-run triple. He also made a nice diving catch in center in the second. He’s hitting .189 and on-basing .218 for the year. In 25 plate appearances against lefties for the year he has a .250 OPS (3-for-24 with three singles and no walks).
Utley 1-for-4. 340/407/468 over his last 55 plate appearances.
Howard was 4-for-5 with a walk, a double, a home run and four RBI. That’s probably his best offensive day of the season with the possible exception of his April 29 game against the Mets where he went 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI.
Ibanez 3-for-4 with a walk, a home run and four RBI in what’s probably the best offense day of the season for him so far as well. From May 31 to June 28, Ibanez drove in just three runs in 94 plate appearances.
Ruiz 1-for-5 and struck out twice. Despite the two strikeouts, his strikeout rate for the season isn’t bad compared to his career numbers. His power is way down, though. Using slugging percentage minus batting average to calculate isolated power, he was at .145 last year is at .131 for his career and just .093 this season.
Brown 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 7-for-19 with three walks and a double so far in July.
Valdez 1-for-5 with two RBI. He’s 1-for-his-last-17. Among 131 NL players with 175 plate appearances, his .277 on-base percentage is 120th. He also made his sixth error of the season — coming into the year he had made six errors in his career.
Kyle Kendrick (4-4, 3.81) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (6-2, 3.30) tonight. Sanchez has been very good this year, but was hit hard by the Rangers in his most recent start, allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He’s allowing both walks and hits at well being his career levels so far in 2011. Kendrick didn’t fare well in his last start, either, allowing six runs to the Blue Jays over seven innings on Friday. He’s thrown to a 4.80 ERA in his six starts on the season.