Archive for August, 2011

Doc apparently a specialist in whatever the opposite of back pain is

Front pain? Back painlessness?

Roy Halladay finally got a chance to start last night, making his first appearance for the Phils since August 21. It went well. Halladay threw seven shutout innings and hit a three-run double of his own as the Phils won 9-0.

Howard homered twice for the Phillies in the game. Ibanez returned to the lineup and went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer. Pence added a home run of his own and is slugging .550 in 115 plate appearances with the Phils.

In the first two games of the set, the starting pitchers for the Phils have combined to allow a run on four hits and two walks over 13 innings while striking out 16.

The Phillies are 85-46 on the year after beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-0 last night. Thirty-nine games above .500 ties their best mark for the year. I believe that the last time the Phils were 40 games above .500 was October 2, 1977 (the last day of the 1977 season). The Phillies are in first place in the NL East, 7 1/2 games ahead of the Braves.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a double, a single and two walks over seven shutout innings. He struck out nine.

Brandon Phillips singled to right to start the bottom of the first. Halladay got Edgar Renteria on a fly ball to center for the first out before walking Joey Votto on five pitches. It put men on first and second for Jay Bruce and Halladay struck him out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Miguel Cairo grounded back to the mound to leave both runners stranded.

Halladay struck out Fred Lewis and Ryan Hanigan in a 1-2-3 second after getting Drew Stubbs to fly to center for the first out.

He struck pitcher Bronson Arroyo out looking to start the third. Phillips and Renteria both grounded out behind Arroyo.

Halladay had a 2-0 lead when he threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He set the Reds down in order again in the fifth.

Up 6-0, he got Alonso and Phillips on ground balls before striking Renteria out looking in the sixth.

He started the seventh with an 8-0 lead. Votto led off and doubled to right. Bruce was next and Halladay hit him with a 1-2 pitch, putting men on first and second. Cairo struck out swinging before Stubbs walked on a 3-2 pitch that sure looked like a strike to me to load the bases. Righty Todd Frazier hit for the pitcher Logan Ondrusek and Halladay struck him out looking for the second out. Hanigan grounded to third to leave the bases loaded.

Lidge started the eighth and walked Alonso on a 3-2 pitch. Phillips grounded to short with Alonso forced at second for the first out. Renteria lined to Wilson at short for the second, but Votto followed that with a single to right that moved Phillips to third. Lidge struck Bruce out swinging 2-2 to leave runners at the corners.

Again with the walks for Lidge. He has now walked nine in ten innings for the Phils this year.

Schwimer started the ninth with a 9-0 lead. Dave Sappelt led off with a single to left. Righty Paul Janish hit for the pitcher Sam LeCure. Schwimer got Janish on a fly ball to right for the first out. Sappelt took second without a throw before Frazier struck out swinging. Hanigan flew to left to end the game with Sappelt on second.

Third career appearance for Schwimer and the first in which he hasn’t been charged with a run.

Lidge threw 15 pitches in the game and Schwimer 14. Neither was pitching more than one day in a row.

The Phillie lineup against righty Bronson Arroyo went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Ibanez returns to the lineup in left. Valdez plays short with Rollins on the DL.

Utley singled with two outs in the first, but Howard flew to left behind him.

The Phils went in order in the second and again in the third.

Utley walked with two outs in the fourth. Howard was next and he hit an 0-1 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 2-0. Pence grounded to short before Ibanez singled to left. Ruiz walked behind Ibanez, putting men on first and second for Valdez. Valdez grounded to third to set the Phillies down.

Lefties came into the game hitting 324/376/590 against Arroyo for the season. The lefties on the Phils fared pretty well against him in the third, with Utley getting on board for Howard’s homer and Ibanez singling later in the frame.

Victorino doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Polanco was next and flew to center with Victorino tagging and moving up to third with two down. Utley popped to Cairo in foul territory for the third out.

Howard struck out looking to start the sixth. Pence was next and he hit a 1-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils on top 3-0. Ibanez and Ruiz followed that with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and second with one out. Valdez reached on an error by Cairo and the bases were loaded. Halladay lined the first pitch of his at-bat into right and the ball rolled into the corner, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 6-0. Victorino fouled out to Votto and Polanco grounded to third to leave Halladay stranded at second.

Halladay now has nine career RBI, three of which came on that swing.

Pence singled to left with two outs in the seventh. Ibanez got ahead 3-0 and hit a 3-1 pitch out to right, extending the lead to 8-0. Ruiz flew to right for the third out.

Victorino walked with two outs in the eighth, but Polanco flew to center behind him.

Utley grounded to first to start the ninth. Howard was next, facing righty Sam LeCure, and hit a 3-2 pitch out to right for his second homer of the game, putting the Phils up 9-0. Pence and Ibanez both grounded out behind him.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk in the game. He’s just 3-for-his-last-18, but hitting 326/392/620 in August.

Polanco 0-for-5 and left three men on base. 1-for-his-last-13. 227/283/264 in 298 plate appearances since the end of April.

Utley 1-for-4 with a walk. 244/303/354 over his last 89 plate appearances.

Howard 2-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI. 3-for-his-last-16 with three home runs and seven strikeouts.

Pence 2-for-5 with a home run. 330/400/550 in 115 plate appearances with the Phillies.

Ibanez 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in his return to the lineup.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 2-for-his-last-10.

Valdez 0-for-4 with a strikeout and four men left on base. 280/327/500 in 55 plate appearances in August.

Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.71) faces lefty Dontrelle Willis (0-3, 4.10) tonight. Willis had made nine starts for the Reds this year and has given up more than three runs in just one of them. He’s been very tough on lefties (184/238/289), but righties have hit 298/377/404 against him for the year. He threw 123 pitches in his most recent start (August 26 against the Nats). Lee has allowed two runs in 31 innings over his last starts, striking out 32 while opponents have hit .163 against him.

This says the Phillies have traded for John Bowker, sending Schwimer back to Triple-A. The left-handed hitting Bowker turned 28 in July and has a career 237/289/390 line. He went 4-for-17 with the Pirates this season. He has hardly ever faced lefties, hitting just .132 against them in 57 career plate appearances. He has a 248/303/415 line against right-handed pitching.


Inflammation vacation

Cole Hamels returned from the DL looking fantastic last night. He held the Reds to a run on two hits over six innings while striking out seven as the Phils won 3-2. One of the two hits, a triple that led to the only run he allowed, came when the outfielder who was about to catch the ball on the warning track in right slipped and fell.

Victorino broke a 1-1 tie with two-run homer in the eighth.

The pen struggled in the bottom of the eighth last night as Stutes, with the help of some bad defense, allowed a run on three hits that got the Reds within one. For Stutes it was the eighth time in his last 16 appearances that he had been charged with at least one run. Over those 16 games he has thrown to a 5.66 ERA. You have to wonder if we’re going to start to see less of Stutes late in games, especially given how well Herndon has been pitching. Over his last 13 appearances, Herndon has allowed one run on 12 hits and a walk over 16 2/3 innings (0.54 ERA and an 0.78 ratio) while striking out 15.

Stutes’s outing could have been worse, too. With one lefty in the pen for the Phils, Bastardo pitched a scoreless seventh. That left the Phils without left-handed relief options and the eighth inning ended with Stutes getting a monster left-handed hitter, Joey Votto, to ground to second with runners on first and third and the Phils up by a run. The Phillies are going to need to put another lefty in their pen or start using the one they have, Bastardo, differently.

The Phillies are 84-46 on the year after beating the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. One of the hits was a triple that would have been caught if the outfielder about to catch it hadn’t slipped and fell. He struck out seven.

He struck Brandon Phillips out looking for the first out in the bottom of the first. Dave Sappelt was next and he struck out swinging for the second. Joey Votto flew to left to end the inning.

Jay Bruce lined to Utley to start the bottom of the second. Yonder Alonso grounded to first for the second out. Drew Stubbs got ahead 3-0, but Hamels came back and struck him out looking 3-2.

Hamels struck Edgar Renteria out swinging for the first out in the third. Ryan Hanigan was next and flew to right. Pitcher Homer Bailey grounded to second for the third out.

Phillips led off the fourth and hit a ball well to right center. Pence was in position to catch the ball on the edge of the track, but fell down. The ball dropped and Phillips had a triple. Hamels struck Sappelt out swinging for the first out, but Votto followed that with a ground out to second that scored Phillips and put the Reds up 1-0. Bruce grounded to third to set Cincy down.

With the score tied at 1-1, Hamels set the Reds down in order in the fifth.

Hanigan singled to right to start the sixth and Bailey bunted him to second with the first out. Phillips was next and flew to center, deep enough for Hanigan to tag and move up to third with two down. Hamels struck Sappelt out swinging to leave Hanigan at third.

Bastardo started the seventh and walked the lefty Votto on five pitches, but struck out Bruce, Alonso and Stubbs all in a row behind him.

Bastardo has allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings over his last eight appearances, giving up one hit and striking out 12. He has allowed 19 hits in 50 2/3 innings for the year.

Stutes started the eighth with a 3-1 lead. Renteria went down on a foul ball Howard took with a basket catch near the Cincinnati dugout for the first out before Hanigan singled to center. Lefty Fred Lewis hit for the pitcher Bailey and Stutes struck him out looking. Phillips was next and he singled to left on a ball deflected by Polanco, moving Hanigan up to third. Sappelt was next and chopped a ball to third that Polanco fielded. He threw to first in the dirt and Howard couldn’t scope it. Hanigan scored (3-2) and Phillips moved up to third as the ball got away from Howard. Sappelt was given a single on the play and Polanco was charged with an error, leaving runners on the corners with two down. Stutes got Votto on a ground ball to second to end the inning.

One lefty in the pen for the Phils and Bastardo had already pitched. They got lucky. Stutes pitching to Joey Votto in the bottom of the eighth with men on first and third and a one-run lead isn’t what you’re looking for. Stutes also stayed in the game to face the lefty Lewis as the tying run, but it’s not really the same thing. It’s not like the pen was exactly worn down with use, either, as the Phils hadn’t played in either of the two previous days.

Madson started the ninth. Bruce led off and chopped a ball past a diving Howard and into right for a single. Madson struck Alonso out swinging 0-2 for the first out. Stubbs was next and hit a one-hopper to first that would have been a double-play, except that Stubbs was running too and beat Utley’s relay to first. Stubbs stole second as the count went 2-0 on Renteria, but Madson got Renteria to ground to first to end the game.

Stutes threw 27 pitches in the game. Bastardo 18 and Madson 17. Everyone is well-rested after two days with no games over the weekend.

The Phillies lineup against righty Homer Bailey went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Ibanez continues to sit with a sore groin despite a pinch-hitting appearance on Friday. Mayberry starts in left against the righty. Valdez at short with Rollins on the DL.

Polanco and Utley struck out as the Phils went in order in the top of the first.

Howard, Pence and Mayberry went in order in the second.

Bailey set the Phillies down in order in the third, too.

Utley reached on an infield single with two outs in the fourth. Howard flew to center to leave him stranded.

The Phils trailed 1-0 when they hit in the fifth. Mayberry was next and hit a ground ball to first with Pence forced at second for the first out. Ruiz moved Mayberry to third with a single. Valdez was next and lined a ball to left that Sappelt played oddly, then dived at and missed. Valdez had a double, Mayberry scored to tied the game at 1-1 and Ruiz moved up to third. Hamels struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Victorino struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch to leave both runners stranded.

Phils can’t get any more after putting men on second and third with one out.

The Phils went in order in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Valdez started the seventh with a single to left. With the righty Bailey still on the mound for the Reds, Martinez hit for the pitcher Bastardo. He tried to bunt Valdez to second, but popped the bunt up to Votto in foul territory for the first out. Victorino was next and he hit the first pitch of his at-bat, a hanging curve ball, out to right for a two-run homer that put the Phils up 3-1. Polanco struck out behind him and Utley popped to short.

With the lead cut to 3-2, the Phils went in order in the ninth.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer. He’s 2-for-his-last-14.

Polanco 0-for-4, struck out three times and made an error at third. He has one extra-base hit, a double, in his last 104 at-bats.

Utley 1-for-4 and struck out twice.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-his-last-24 with ten strikeouts.

Top four in the lineup for the Phils went 2-for-16 with eight strikeouts in the game.

Pence 1-for-4 with a weird fall-down on the warning track that helped Phillips triple.

Mayberry 0-for-4. 1-for-his-last-12.

Ruiz 1-for-3. 310/373/430 since the All-Star break.

Valdez 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He doubled in the first run of the game for the Phils and singled ahead of Victorino to score the second. He’s hitting 304/353/543 in 46 at-bats so far in August.

Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56) faces righty Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02) tonight. Arroyo has had a miserable season, but threw eight shutout innings against the Marlins in his most recent start. Lefties are pounding him this year, hitting 324/376/590 against him for the season. He made one start against the Phillies this year, allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings on May 23. Halladay has made one start against the Reds this season, allowing three runs in seven innings on May 25.

Hamels is quoted here as saying: “Because it’s so late in the season, I want to be able to finish the season healthy and go into the postseason healthy.” Hopefully someone in the organization is in touch with the fact that the Phils still have about a fifth of their season left to play and aren’t actually in the post-season at this point. They aren’t really that close yet either. The magic number for the Brewers, who have played better than the Phils since the All-Star break and have a 10 1/2 game lead in the NL Central, is 18. The Marlins, who are 59-74 and 26 1/2 games behind the Phils in the NL East, could still finish ahead of the Phils in the division. That probably won’t even happen, but I’m just sayin.


Good riddance, Irene

Hurricane Irene tore through the region over the weekend, leaving a path of destruction a wiping out two of the three games the Phillies were scheduled to play with the Marlins. The Phils and Florida will play a makeup double-header on September 15.

The Phils lost the one game the teams did play, getting a weak start from Oswalt and falling 6-5. Oswalt was coming off of a fantastic start against Washington in which he had struck out nine in eight shutout innings, but looked a lot worse on Friday, allowing six runs on 12 hits over 5 2/3 innings.

The Phillies are 83-46 on the year after losing to the Marlins 6-5 on Friday. They are in first place in the NL East, six games ahead of the Braves.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on 12 hits and a walk. Only five of the runs was earned. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, four doubles and a grand slam by John Buck. Oswalt struck out two.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the game with a single to right and stole second. Infante was next and hit a ball that Valdez fielded at short, but Valdez threw the ball away for an error that put runners on the corners with nobody out. Logan Morrison was next and he grounded into a double-play, with Bonifacio scoring to put the Marlins up 1-0. Oswalt struck Mike Stanton out swinging to end the frame.

Greg Dobbs started the second with a single. Oswalt got the next two batters before Buck moved Dobbs to third with a single to right. Oswalt got the pitcher Clay Hensley to pop to Utley in foul territory to leave the runners stranded at the corners.

Oswalt set the Marlins down in order in the third.

He started the fourth with the score tied at 1-1. Stanton led off with a double and Dobbs followed with a ball past a diving Howard and down the first base line for another double, scoring Stanton to put Florida up 2-1. Oswalt retired Gaby Sanchez on a popup to Valdez for the first out and got Mike Cameron to fly to left for the second. He walked Buck intentionally to pitch to Hensley and the runners moved up to second and third on a passed ball before Hensley grounded to third to set the Marlins down.

Not a fan of the intentional walk to Buck there, but the grand slam off of Oswalt two innings later is a compelling argument.

Bonifacio singled to center to start the fifth, but Oswalt got Infante to ground into a double-play behind him. Morrison followed that with a double to right, but Oswalt got Stanton to ground to third to leave Morrison stranded.

The Marlins loaded the bases to start the sixth on singles by Dobbs, Sanchez and Cameron. It brought Buck to the plate and he hit a 1-0 pitch just out to right for a grand slam that put the Fish up 6-1. Oswalt got Hensley and Bonifacio on a pair of fly balls before Infante doubled to left. Herndon took over to pitch to Morrison and got him to fly to right to leave Infante stranded.

Herndon was back for the seventh with the lead cut to 6-4. He struck Stanton out swinging for the first out before Dobbs doubled again to right. Herndon got Sanchez on a fly ball to left and struck Cameron out looking to leave Dobbs at second.

Herndon has not allowed a run in 13 innings over his last 11 appearances.

Stutes started the eighth and struck Buck out looking for the first out. Lefty Bryan Petersen hit for the pitcher Ryan Webb and doubled to right, but Stutes struck out Infante and Bonifacio both swinging to leave Petersen at second.

Nice outing for Stutes, who has had a rough August in which he has thrown to a 5.56 ERA and had four bad outings in nine appearances.

Madson pitched the ninth and set the Marlins down in order on two ground balls and a fly ball to left.

Madson has now thrown two scoreless innings in two appearances since allowing six runs in 2/3 of an inning against the Nats on August 19.

The bullpen will be well-rested after not playing any games on Saturday or Sunday.

The Phillies lineup against righty Clay Hensley went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez at short with Rollins on the DL. Mayberry starts in left against a righty with Ibanez sidelined by his sore groin.

The Phillies were losing 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Polanco walked with one out, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Valdez led off the bottom of the third and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left for his first home run of the year, tying the game at 1-1. The Phillies went in order behind him.

Down 2-1, Utley, Howard and Pence went in order in the fourth.

Mayberry, Ruiz and Valdez went in order in the fifth.

They were losing 6-1 when Martinez, double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, flew to center for the first out of the sixth. Victorino grounded to second for the second out before Polanco singled to center and moved to third when Utley followed with a double to left. It put men on second and third for Howard and lefty Michael Dunn took over for Hensley to pitch to Howard. Howard hit a 1-0 pitch out right center for a three-run homer that got the Phils back in the game at 6-4. Righty Ryan Webb took over for Dunn and Pence reached on an infield single. Mayberry followed that with a double to center, moving Pence to third. Ruiz flew to right to leave both runners stranded.

Third home run of the year for Howard against a left-handed pitcher.

The Phils went in order in the seventh. With the righty Webb still pitching for Florida, Orr hit for Herndon and lined to right for the first out.

Righty Edward Mujica started the eighth and Polanco hit a ground ball to third. Dobbs fielded it, but his throw to first was high and Polanco was safe on the error. Utley popped to short for the first out and Mujica struck Howard out looking for the second. Pence moved Polanco to third with a single, but Mayberry struck out looking to leave both runners stranded.

Utley and Howard both get to hit against the righty as they tying run after Polanco reaches on an error, but can’t do anything against Mujica.

Righty Steve Cishek struck Ruiz out swinging for the first out of the ninth. Ibanez hit for Madson and singled to right. Lee ran for Ibanez at first and Martinez doubled to the gap in left center, scoring Lee to make it 6-5. Victorino got to hit with the tying run in scoring position, but flew to left for the second out. Polanco grounded to short to end the game.

First at-bat for Ibanez since August 21 against the Nationals.

Victorino was 0-for-5 in the game. He’s 1-for-his-last-10.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a walk and a single. 233/294/271 in his last 266 plate appearances.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double.

Howard 1-for-4 with a three-run homer. 240/296/380 against lefties for the year.

Pence 2-for-4 with two singles. He’s hitting .330 with the Phillies.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a double. 1-for-8 in his last two starts.

Ruiz 0-for-4. 12-for-his-last-31 (.387).

Valdez 1-for-2 with a home run. Six career home runs in 978 plate appearances, four of which came last year with the Phillies.

Hamels (13-7, 2.62) faces righty Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) tonight. Bailey faced the Phils on May 26, allowing four runs in four innings in a game the Phils won 10-4. Ibanez hit a three-run homer off of Bailey that day. Hamels comes off the DL with inflammation in his left shoulder to make the start. He’s been outstanding against righties this year, holding them to a 202/244/288 line. Righties have hit 238/286/389 against him for his career. Hamels has allowed just six home runs to right-handed batters in 2011 — in 2010 he allowed 21 to righties and in 2009 he allowed 17.


Dog days of summer bring down days for relievers

The Phillies bullpen was outstanding early in the year, but they’ve been a little less outstanding lately. The numbers for the season overall are still good, the 3.49 ERA the pen has thrown to this year is sixth-best in the NL, but the pen has fallen off overall.

Here’s what the relievers for the Phils did in April and May and what they have done since:

IP/G ERA Ratio K/9
April and May 2.75 2.80 1.28 6.9
June, July & August 2.35 4.09 1.27 8.4
Total 2.54 3.49 1.27 7.7

Since the end of May, the pen has been throwing fewer innings per game and striking out more batters when they do pitch, but with worse results overall. In their appearances in April and May, Phillie relievers allowed about 0.34 runs per inning pitched. In their appearances since the end of May they have allowed about 0.47 runs per inning pitched.

The bullpen is still throwing a tiny number of innings compared to the rest of the league. No NL team has thrown fewer frames than the 322 2/3 innings the Phils have tossed this year — the Dodgers are 15th in the NL in relief innings pitched and LA relievers have thrown 18 more innings than the relievers for the Phillies have.

In this post from January, I pointed out that in 2010 the Phillies relievers threw not just the fewest number of innings in the NL, but the fewest number of innings that any NL team had thrown for five years. At this point in the 2011 season, the Phillies have played 128 games and thrown 322 2/3 innings, which puts them on a pace to throw about 408 1/3 innings for the year. That would be fewer than the 421 innings they threw during the 2010 season, but still more than the 397 2/3 innings that the St Louis bullpen tossed during the 2005 season.

The strong start to the year makes the numbers for the Phillies pen look pretty good overall compared to the rest of the league. But the relievers have thrown to a 4.09 ERA since the end of May and that’s a whole lot less exciting than the 2.80 ERA for the first two months of the year. Only two NL teams, the Mets and the Astros, have seen their relievers throw to an ERA worse than 4.09 for this season overall.

Oswalt (6-7, 3.51) faces righty Clay Hensley (1-5, 5.47) tonight as the Phils start a series with the Marlins. Right-handed hitters have hammered the righty Hensley this year, hitting .337 against him. Hensley was a reliever in the first half of the season and threw to a 3.60 ERA over 15 appearances. Since the All-Star break he has appeared only as a starter, starting seven games and throwing to a 6.29 ERA. His first three starts after the break were good — he threw to a 2.65 ERA and opponents hit .165 against him. Over his last four starts he has allowed 19 runs in 17 1/3 innings. Oswalt was fantastic his last time out, throwing eight shutout innings against the Nats and striking out nine. He has been hit hard by righties this year, they have posted a 305/346/447 line against him, which is way better than their 247/295/384 line against him over his career.

Sunday’s game has been moved and will be played as part of a double-header on Saturday.


D’oh!

The Phils dropped game three of their set with the Mets yesterday afternoon, falling 7-4 and allowing four runs in a first inning that included a big error from Michael Martinez in which the Phils got no outs on a ball that might have yielded a double-play.

The error put some focus on the absence of Jimmy Rollins at short, but it also took some focus away from the fact that Kyle Kendrick didn’t pitch well. Kendrick was charged with six runs over four innings in the game. Thanks to the error by Martinez, only two of them were earned, but Kendrick allowed two home runs, including a three-run shot to Nick Evans in the first after the Martinez error, over four innings.

John Mayberry took a temporary break from homering in the game, going 0-for-4 with an RBI, but the offense is on a roll that saw the Phillies score 23 runs in the three-game set and has produced more than three runs in eight straight games. Victorino and Pence continue to produce for the Phils. The pair drove in three runs yesterday and went a combined 9-for-26 in the three-game set, driving in ten runs. Victorino has hit 348/424/618 over his last 232 plate appearances (not a typo, look it up) and Pence is hitting 322/402/540 in his 102 plate appearances since joining the Phillies.

The Phillies are 83-45 on the year after falling to the New York Mets 7-4 yesterday afternoon. The Phils take the series two games to one and remain in first place in the NL East, 6 1/2 games ahead of the Braves.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk. Only two of the six runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out two.

Angel Pagan was the first batter of the game and singled to center. Ruben Tejada was next and hit a ball to short that Martinez didn’t handle for an error, putting men on first and second. David Wright was next and singled to right, loading the bases for Lucas Duda. Duda grounded to second with Utley going to Martinez to force Wright for the first out of the game. Pagan scored and the Mets led 1-0 with men on the corners. Kendrick struck Jason Bay out swinging 2-2 for the second out, but Nick Evans was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a three-run homer that made it 4-0. Josh Thole grounded back to Kendrick for the third out.

The Phils might not have gotten two if Martinez hadn’t muffed Tejada’s ball, but they sure would have gotten one. At least Evans is a righty, cause Kendrick giving up a three-run shot to a lefty in the first might have been too much.

Pitcher Mike Pelfrey singled with one out in the second, but Kendrick got Pagan and Tejada behind him on a pair of fly balls.

The lead was cut to 4-3 when Kendrick started the third. Wright led off and homered to right, extending the New York lead to 5-3. Kendrick hit Duda with a pitch before getting Bay on a fly ball to center for the first out. Evans moved Duda to second on a single deflected by Polanco, putting men on first and second for Thole. Thole grounded to second with Evans forced at second for the second out. Turner flew to center to end the frame.

After allowing the homer to Wright to start the third, Kendrick had allowed two home runs in two innings and a batter.

Pagan walked with one out in the fourth and stole second before Tejada reached on an infield single that moved him to third. With men on first and third, Wright hit a fly ball to left for the second out, deep enough for Pagan to tag, score and put the Mets up 6-3. Duda fouled out to Ruiz to leave Tejada at first.

Michael Schwimer took over for Kendrick to start the fifth, making his second career appearance. He walked the leadoff man Bay on six pitches and Evans followed Bay with a double to the gap in right center, scoring Bay to make it 7-3. Schwimer got Thole to pop to third for the first out before walking Turner. Pelfrey bunted the runners up to second and third with the second out, but Schwimer got Pagan on a fly ball to left to leave them there.

Not a great showing for Schwimer, who allowed a run on two walks and a double and has now allowed a run in each of his appearances with the Phils. You want to avoid walking the leadoff guy when you can.

Lidge pitched the sixth and he walked the leadoff guy, too, walking Tejada on four pitches. Lidge struck Wright out swinging for the first out as Tejada stole second, then got Duda looking for the second out. Bay flew to left to leave Tejada at second.

Lidge has now thrown nine innings on the year, allowing two runs. The good news is that he has struck out 11 in his nine innings. The bad news is that he has walked eight.

Bastardo started the seventh and got Evans on a line drive hit hard to third for the first out. He walked Thole, but struck Turner out swinging behind him for the second out. Righty Ronny Paulino hit for Pelfrey and Bastardo walked him, too, putting men on first and second with two down. Pitcher Chris Capuano ran for Paulino at first, but Bastardo struck Pagan out swinging 0-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Two more walks for the pen. Schwimer, Lidge and Bastardo combined to walk five in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Bastardo has been charged with two runs in 12 2/3 innings over his last 13 appearances.

Herndon pitched the eighth with the New York lead cut to 7-4. Wright singled to center with one out and moved to third when Duda followed with a double to center. Bay hit a ball back to Herndon. Herndon fielded and came home, where Wright was tagged out for the second out. With men on first and third, Herndon struck Jason Pridie out swinging 3-2 turn New York away.

Herndon hasn’t been charged with a run in 11 2/3 innings over his last ten appearances.

Madson pitched the ninth with the Phils still down three runs, making his first appearance since allowing six runs in two-thirds of an inning to the Nats last Friday. He was a better this time, getting Thole swinging for the first out and Turner on a ground ball to third for the second. Lefty Willie Harris hit for the pitcher Manny Acosta and singled to right, but Madson got Pagan to ground to third for the third out.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row and the Phils are off today. Bastardo threw 24 pitches and Schwimer 23. Lidge 17, Herndon 15 and Madson 15.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mike Pelfrey went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Martinez. Howard returns to the lineup, but Ibanez remains sidelined with Mayberry playing left. Ruiz catches the day game after Schneider caught the night before. Martinez plays short with Rollins on the DL.

The Phils were down 4-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Polanco singled softly to right with one out and took second on an error by Duda. Utley flew to center for the second out, deep enough for Polanco to tag and move up to third. Howard walked, putting men on the corners for Pence. Pence struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Ruiz and Martinez singled back-to-back with one out in the second, putting men on first and second. Kendrick bunted them to second and third with the second out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 and then singled into center on a 3-1 pitch, scoring both runners and cutting the lead to 4-2. Polanco was next and he singled into right, sending Victorino to third. Utley singled to center and both runners moved up a base with Victorino scoring. 4-3 with men on first and second for Howard. Howard walked to load the bases, but Pence flew to right to leave them loaded.

Five men stranded for Pence through two innings.

Ruiz singled with one out in the third and the Phils down 5-3. He stole second and Martinez moved him up to third with a ground out. Kendrick grounded to second to leave him at third.

Down 6-3, Utley doubled with two outs in the fourth. Howard hit a 1-0 pitch hard, but Evans handled it at first and threw to Pelfrey covering to get Howard and end the inning.

Down 7-3, Pence started the fifth with a single to left. Mayberry was next and grounded to short, with Pence forced at second for the first out. Ruiz grounded to second and Mayberry was forced at second for the second out. Martinez grounded to the pitcher for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the sixth. Orr hit for Lidge and flew to right for the first out.

Utley doubled to center to start the seventh and took third on a throwing error by Pagan. Lefty Tim Byrdak struck Howard out looking 3-2 for the first out and righty Manny Acosta came in to pitch to Pence. Pence reached on an infield single with Utley scoring to cut the New York lead to 7-4. Mayberry fouled out to the catcher Thole and Ruiz struck out looking to leave Pence at first.

Martinez struck out swinging to start the eighth. With Acosta still on the mound for the Mets, Gload hit for Herndon and doubled to right. Victorino hit a ground ball to second, which Turner fielded, but Duda didn’t handle Turner’s throw and was charged with the third error of the game for the Mets. It put men on first and third for Polanco. Polanco hit a ball hard, but Turner made a diving play at second and started a double-play to end the inning.

After going 1-for-1 with a double in the game, Gload is now slugging .298 for the year. The good news is that his last three hits have gone for extra-bases. The bad news is that he’s 3-for-his-last-28 (.107) with a walk and three doubles.

Righty Bobby Parnell walked Utley to start the ninth, but Howard and Pence both struck out swinging behind Utley. Mayberry walked on a 3-2 pitch, moving Utley to second and bring Ruiz to the plate as the tying run. Ruiz grounded to short to end the game.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with two RBI in the game. 4-for-14 with two triples, a home run and seven RBI in the three-game series. 313/387/546 for the year. 274/351/496 in 153 plate appearances in the leadoff spot for the season. Rollins is hitting 266/334/417 in 428 plate appearances in the leadoff spot this year.

Polanco 2-for-5 with two more singles. 6-for-14 with a walk in the series. 213/277/231 over his last 119 plate appearances. 281/335/345 for the season.

Utley 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and an RBI. 3-for-10 with two doubles and a walk in the series. 279/365/460 for the year. 214/302/379 over his last 63 plate appearances.

Howard 0-for-3 with two walks and two strikeouts. 1-for-7 with two walks and five strikeouts in the series. 4-for-his-last-26 with four singles and 12 strikeouts. He’s hitting 251/341/477 for the season.

Pence 2-for-5 with an RBI and six men left on base. 5-for-12 with two walks and a home run in the set. He’s hitting just .269 over the last seven games, but with two home runs and five walks to give him a 269/387/500 line in those 31 plate appearances. 311/365/484 for the year.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with a walk. 3-for-11 with two walks and two home runs in the series. He drove in six runs. 269/333/528 for the year. 308/351/702 over his last 111 plate appearances.

Ruiz 2-for-4 yesterday and 4-for-9 with a double and two RBI in the series. 275/368/387 for the year. He has on-based .376 over his last 1,006 plate appearances going back to the start of the 2009 season.

Martinez 1-for-4 with a single and a big error. 1-for-6 in the series. 211/250/292 for the year in 176 plate appearances. Of the 174 NL players with 175 plate appearances, his .250 on-base percentage is 174th and his .292 slugging percentage is 169th. He’s 6-for-his-last-43 with a double and a walk (140/159/163).

The Phils are off today and start a series with the Marlins tomorrow night.


Phils willing to go the extra mile not to muddy the waters around the closer situation for the Mets any further

A day after hammering the Mets 10-0 in the series opener, the Phils were right back at it last night. They scored nine runs in the first five innings, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in support of Worley. Stutes floundered a bit in the late innings, allowing three runs over two innings, but the Phils held on for a 9-4 win.

Mayberry continues to pound the ball for the Phils. Starting at first for a sidelined Howard, Mayberry went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer early in the game. He has hit seven home runs in his last 47 plate appearances.

Vance Worley is pretty impressive hisownself. Worley threw seven strong innings, striking out nine and holding the Mets to a single run. The Phillies are 14-2 in the games he’s started this season.

The Phillies are 83-44 on the year after beating the New York Mets 9-4 last night. They are 39 games above .500 for the first time this year.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out a career high nine and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.65.

He allowed back-to-back singles to Angel Pagan and Ruben Tejada to start the game, putting men on first and third with nobody out for David Wright. Wright hit a ball to third with Polanco fielding and throwing home where Pagan was tagged out for the first out. With men on first and second, Worley struck Lucas Duda out looking 2-2 for the second out. Jason Bay was next and walked on five pitches to load the bases, but Worley got Nick Evans looking to leave the runners stranded.

Two big strikeouts for Worley helps keep New York off the board after the first two batters reach base.

Josh Thole started the second with a single to left and moved to third when Justin Turner followed with a double. Again Worley came up with strikeouts to work out of the jam. He struck pitcher Jon Niese out looking on three pitches. Pagan struck out looking 1-2 for the second out. Tejada struck out looking 3-2 to set New York down with two more runners stranded.

Five strikeouts for Worley through two innings. All five of them looking.

He struck Bay out swinging in a 1-2-3 third.

Up 4-0, he set New York down in order in the fourth.

Up 5-0, he threw a 1-2-3 fifth, striking Niese out looking for the first out.

He had a 9-0 lead when the threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Evans doubled to center to start the seventh and moved to third when Thole grounded to second for the first out. Turner was next and hit a ball slowly to second where Martinez made a nice play, fielding and making a glove-hand flip to first to get the second out as Evans scored to make it 9-1. Righty Scott Hairston hit for the pitcher Pedro Beato and Worley struck him out swinging for the third out.

Stutes started the eighth. He got the first two before Willie Harris singled to right. Duda was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch way out to right, cutting the lead to 9-3. Mike Baxter popped to short for the third out.

Stutes was back for the ninth. Evans led off and tripled to center. Thole was next and hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw to first for the first out. Evans scored to make it 9-4. Turner followed that with a double to right, but Stutes got Jason Pridie, pinch-hitting for pitcher Bobby Parnell, on a fly ball to center that moved Turner to third for the second out and Pagan on a fly ball to left to end the game.

Not a good day for Stutes, who allowed three runs on four hits over two innings. Three of the hits went for extra-bases. Over his last 14 appearances he’s thrown to a 5.79 ERA and opponents have hit five home runs against him in 18 2/3 innings.

He threw 32 pitches in the game, which seems like a lot for a guy who enters with a 9-1 lead.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jon Niese went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Pence (5) Mayberry (6) Francisco (7) Valdez (8) Schneider. Ibanez on the bench with a groin problem, Francisco in left. Howard on the bench with bursitis in his left foot, Mayberry at first. Valdez at short with Rollins on the DL. Victorino leads off with Rollins out of the lineup with Polanco moved up to second. Pence moves up to fourth with Howard out of the lineup. Four righties for the Phils 4-5-6-7. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the bench. The Phils have a day game today, but against a righty so they could have started Schneider today and Ruiz last night against the left-handed starter. After last night’s game, Schneider is 1-for-20 with an 050/174/050 line on the year against lefties. Not clear to why Manuel would do it the way he did unless Ruiz is banged up or he thought he needed Schneider’s left-handed bat in the lineup with lefties Howard and Ibanez sidelined. If he did it to get Schneider’s left-handed bat in the lineup I’m not sure it was a great idea.

Polanco and Utley struck out as the Phils went in order in the first.

Francisco singled to left with two outs in the second and moved to third when Valdez followed with a double. Schneider struck out swinging 2-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Worley struck out looking to start the third, but Victorino was next and homered down the left field line to put the Phils up 1-0. Polanco followed that with a single to center and Utley was hit by a pitch, putting men on first and second for Pence. Pence struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Mayberry was next, though, and blasted a 1-1 pitch out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 4-0. Francisco followed with a single to left, but Valdez struck out swinging to leave him at first.

Second huge home run for Mayberry in two days. He’s hitting 359/405/872 in August with six home runs in 39 at-bats. Big strikeout for Pence ahead of Mayberry. It was Pence’s tenth start of the year hitting in the cleanup spot and the results haven’t been good. Between the Phils and the Astros he’s hitting 200/263/257 for the year out of the four-hole in 38 plate appearances. 226/273/333 for his career in 99 plate appearances as a four-hitter. So maybe we’ve finally found something he can’t do?

Worley singled with one out in the fourth and moved to second when Victorino followed with a ground out to first. Polanco was next and he singled to left, scoring Worley to put the Phils up 5-0 with Polanco taking second on the throw home. Utley grounded to second for the third out.

Worley delivers a one-out hit and the Phils get a run out of it thanks to the two-out single by Polanco.

Pence and Mayberry singled back-to-back to start the fifth, putting men on first and second. Francisco walked and the bases were loaded. Righty Pedro Beato took over for Niese to pitch to Valdez. Valdez flew to right, deep enough for Pence to score (6-0) and Mayberry to move up to third. With men on first and third and one down, Schneider chopped a ball to first. Evans fielded and threw home, where a sliding Mayberry was tagged out for the second out. With men on first and second, Worley singled into center. Francisco scored to make it 7-0 with Schneider moving up to second. Victorino was next and lined a ball to center that Pagan misplayed and then hopped at as it went over his head. Victorino had a triple that cleared the bases with Francisco and Schneider scoring to make it 9-0. Polanco flew to right for the third out.

Second triple in two days gives Victorino a career-high 14 for the year. Jose Reyes is the only player in either league with more — Reyes has 16.

Utley led off the bottom of the sixth and was hit by a pitch. Martinez ran for him at first. Pence grounded into a double-play and Mayberry grounded to second to turn the Phils away.

Francisco doubled softly to right to start the seventh and moved to third on a hard-hit ground out by Valdez. Lefty Tim Byrdak came in to pitch to Schneider and struck him out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Pete Orr, just activated when Hamels went on the DL, hit for Worley and struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Again Schneider with the lefty as he can’t bring the runner home from third with one out. Orr has gotten three at-bats with the Phils since May 19. 271/331/406 at Triple-A this year in 251 at-bats.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a triple, a home run and three RBI. He’s hitting 364/446/643 in 149 plate appearances since the start of July. He missed a little more than two weeks in July.

Polanco 2-for-5 with an RBI. He’s hitting 231/288/271 in 279 plate appearances since the end of April.

Utley 0-for-2 and hit by two pitches. He’s 2-for-his-last-18.

Pence 1-for-4 with a single and three men left on base. The Phillies are 17-5 since he joined the team.

Mayberry 2-for-3 with a three-run homer. 10-for-his-last-22 with three home runs and a 1.475 OPS.

Francisco 3-for-3 with a walk and a double. He had three hits since July 3 coming into the game. His numbers against lefties are still bad for the year. His numbers against rigthies are bad, too, but the numbers against lefties are more surprising. He’s hit 216/320/318 in 103 plate appearances against lefties for the season.

Valdez 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He’s played seven days in a row now, starting six days, and gone 6-for-23 with three walks and four extra-base hits. 261/333/478 over those 27 plate appearances.

Schneider 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and five men left on base. Again, putting him the lineup last night cause Ruiz needs to sit makes sense to me, but putting him in the lineup against the lefty cause he’s left-handed and Ibanez and Howard are on the bench wouldn’t. He’s 1-for-his-last-10. In 2010, Schneider was hitting 206/302/343 for the year after going 0-for-1 against the Padres on August 28 — he went 9-for-his-last-23 with six walks to end his ’10 season with a 240/345/384 line.

Kendrick (7-5, 3.24) faces righty Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.61) this afternoon. Pelfrey has a 3.86 ERA over his last 15 appearances, 14 of which have been starts. He’s made four starts against the Phils this year, one (May 28) of which has been good and three that have been awful. Overall he’s 0-2 against the Phils for the year with a 7.58 ERA. Howard is 4-for-10 against him for the season with a pair of home runs. Kendrick was great his last time out, forced into the game after a rain delay forced Oswalt from the game after zero pitches and holding the Nats to two runs over six innings. He’s made four appearances against the Mets this year, one start and three relief appearances, and thrown to a 1.76 ERA over 15 1/3 innings. Pelfrey and Kendrick faced off against each other on July 17 in New York, a game the Phils won 8-5. Kendrick pitched very well that day, holding the Mets to a run over seven innings while Martinez hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs to pace the offense.


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