Archive for September, 2011

Meet me in someplace other than St Louis

Looking at the four teams from yesterday’s post, here’s how those potential playoff teams in the NL have pitched against the Phils this season:

Team Record vs. PHI ERA Ratio K/9
STL 6-3 2.96 1.21 5.4
MIL 3-4 3.00 1.24 6.4
ATL 6-9 4.21 1.28 6.2
ARI 3-3 4.33 1.38 9.0

St Louis was one of two teams in baseball with a winning record against the Phils going into last night’s game, winning six of the nine games the teams played (including three of four in the series that ended on Monday). Seattle was the other team and they went 2-1. Washington is 9-8 against the Phils after beating them last night.

The 2.96 ERA that St Louis pitchers threw to against the Phils is the best mark for any NL team. The Cards took three of four from the Phils in the recent series and the Phils won two of three against the Cards in St Louis in mid-June. May 16 and 17 the Phils played a two-game set in St Louis and lost both games as St Louis starters Jamie Garcia and Jake Westbrook held the Phils to two runs (one unearned) over 15 innings.

The Diamondbacks notable whiffed the Phils at a high rate, striking out 52 Phillie hitters in 52 innings. Ian Kennedy (14 strikeouts in 12 innings against the Phils over two starts) did a lot of the damage there. Joe Saunders struck out 11 Phillies in 11 2/3 innings in his two starts, despite allowing 11 runs in those 11 2/3 frames. Josh Collmenter struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings over two appearances and Daniel Hudson fanned six in six frames in his one start.

Last night the Phils lost 7-5 to the Washington Nationals to fall to 98-57 on the year. They have lost five in a row and six of seven.

It’s the first time this season the Phillies have lost five games in a row.

Worley gave up a two-run homer to Wil Ramos in the top of the second to put Washington up 2-0. They Phils came back in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on five singles to tie the game at 2-2. In the bottom of the third, Mayberry singled with two outs, stole second and took third on a throwing error by Ramos before scoring on single by Ibanez to put the Phils up 3-2. Danny Espinosa hit a two-run shot off of Worley in the sixth to put Washington back up at 4-3. Justin De Fratus started the eighth for the Phillies and hit the first batter he faced and walked the next one before Bastardo took over. Bastardo made a throwing error and allowed two singles before getting out of the frame. Washington plated three runs to extend their lead to 7-3. Mayberry followed a leadoff walk by Utley with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-5.

Not a good start for Worley, who allowed four runs over six innings. He has thrown to a 4.23 ERA over his last eight starts. Like Hamels, Worley’s home run rate has skyrocketed late in the season. Over his first 12 appearances for the year, Worley threw 62 1/3 innings and allowed just two home runs (0.29 HR per nine). Over his last 11 appearances, he’s thrown 66 2/3 innings and allowed eight (1.08 per nine).

Blanton threw a scoreless inning in the game. In three relief appearances since returning he has allowed a run on three hits and no walks over three innings while striking out four.

Schwimer threw a scoreless inning as well, dropping his ERA on the year to 6.35.

Bastardo faced six hitters. One reached on an error, two singled and he got three outs. Over his last six appearances, he’s thrown 3 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on six hits and five walks (16.20 ERA with a 3.30 ratio and opponents have hit 400/524/667 against him).

Mayberry was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the game. He’s hitting 307/350/614 since the All-Star break. 302/366/543 at home for the season compared to 248/308/512 on the road.

Francisco was 3-for-4 with three singles. He has started seven games in September and hit 400/400/400 (10-for-25 with ten singles and no walks).

Ibanez had two singles, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. He came into the game 2-for-his-last-22.

At the top of the order, Rollins, Victorino, Polanco and Utley combined to go 0-for-16 with two walks.

Roy Oswalt (8-9, 3.66) faces righty Brad Peacock (1-0, 1.42) tonight.


Hefty lefties

When the post-season arrives, the Phils will be starting left-handed pitchers in two of the first three games and feature a bullpen with a single lefty who came into yesterday’s game having allowed nine of the last 15 batters he had faced to reach base.

So it seems important to know how their potential playoff opponents in the NL fare against lefties. For the four NL teams other than the Phillies who look like they have the best chance to make the playoffs, here’s what the teams have done overall against left-handed pitching for the year (none of the numbers in this post include yesterday’s games):

Team AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
STL 259 333 417 158 750 (2)
ARI 239 314 417 178 731 (5)
MIL 252 314 413 161 727 (7)
ATL 229 292 352 123 644 (16)

So, by OPS, the Cards have been the best of those four teams against left-handed pitching and the Braves have been the worst. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Atlanta has been absolutely atrocious against lefties this year, hitting just 229/292/352 against them, which gives them the NL-worst .644 OPS against left-handed pitchers.

Here’s the list of St Louis’s best hitters against lefties who got at least 100 plate appearances against left-handed pitching this season. They are ordered by OPS:

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
STL Pujols 295 342 590 295 932 (16)
STL Holliday 241 411 446 205 857 (27)
STL Molina 278 364 464 186 828 (36)
STL Rasmus 256 374 451 195 825 (37)

That’s kind of a scary list because of its length, but with a couple of problems for the Cards. Holliday is hurt and Rasmus isn’t on the team anymore, traded to the Blue Jays in July. Oh, and the other problem is that they’re almost surely not going to make the post-season.

If they do, they do have some guys without 100 plate appearances against lefties who have good numbers against left-handed pitching. Allen Craig was hitting 306/338/613 against lefties in 63 plate appearances coming into yesterday and David Freese had hit 348/390/522 against southpaws over 77 plate appearances.

And here’s a lot at the top left-bashers on the other three teams, starting with the Snakes:

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
ARI Upton 274 385 563 289 948 (12)
ARI Young 282 387 556 274 943 (13)
ARI Roberts 280 400 504 224 904 (22)

Three guys there who have had monster years against left-handed pitching. Notably, two of them, Young and Roberts, have been miserable against righties. Young has hit 216/306/375 against righties and Roberts has hit 238/321/399 against them. Upton has hammered everyone, putting up a 301/372/535 line against righties. As good as he has been against both sides, he has shown a lot more power against lefties with an isolated power of .234 against righties and .289 against lefties.

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
MIL Braun 362 445 638 276 1.083 (2)
MIL Hart 323 422 586 263 1.008 (7)
MIL Weeks 270 380 472 192 852 (28)
MIL Fielder 279 358 455 176 813 (40)

Two monster bats against lefties for the Brewers in Braun and Hart. Weeks has been struggling with an ankle problem, but is getting stronger and playing again. Fielder, of course, is a lefty, but has still done his share of damage against left-handed pitchers.

Despite the two huge bats against lefties in Braun and Hart, the Brewers have had their share of guys who have brought down their numbers. Righty Casey McGehee has played regularly this year and hit 171/230/187 in his 135 plate appearances against lefties. His fellow righty Yuniesky Betancourt has also gotten a ton of chances and hit 239/256/345 against lefties.

Then there’s Atlanta. And they can’t hit lefties at all — their best hitter by OPS who got at least 100 plate appearances against lefties is their left-handed hitting catcher Brian McCann:

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
ATL McCann 264 312 486 222 798 (43)

That’s a little misleading because of the miserable year righty Dan Uggla has had with the bat. After hitting 173/241/327 through the first 86 games of the season, Uggla has hit 312/396/620 over his last 288 plate appearances. His numbers against lefties for the year are still atrocious, 197/284/338, but he hit 306/409/575 against lefties in 2010 and you have to think that he’s going to be more formidable against lefties in the post-season than he has during the regular season.

The Braves have had other problems against lefties this year, though. Righty Alex Gonzalez has on-based .284 against them. Lefties Freddie Freeman and Jayson Heyward have both struggled as well. Freeman has hit 256/314/420 against them in 194 plate appearances while Heyward has hit a hide-your-eyes 184/263/301 against them in 114.

So, purely for the standpoint of guys who can hit lefties, who should the Phillies be hoping to face in the post-season? It looks like the answer is clearly the Braves, with the caveat that Uggla is a whole lot better than his numbers so far this year. That can’t happen in the first round, of course. For me, the scariest team against lefties is Milwaukee — despite the miserable numbers for a couple of their regulars, Braun and Hart have just demolished left-handed pitching this season.

Finally, it seems important to point out the NL player who came into action yesterday with the best OPS against left-handed pitching for the season (among players with at least 100 plate appearances against lefties). Shane Victorino is the answer with a 327/444/645 line (1.089 OPS).

Yesterday the Phils played a double-header with the Washington Nationals, dropping both games to fall to 98-56 on the year. The Phillies have lost four in a row and scored three runs or less in 12 of their last 13 games.

The Phils lost the day game 4-3 in ten innings. Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and was fantastic again, tossing six shutout innings before being Schwimer took over in the seventh. Schwimer allowed a pair of singles before Roger Bernadina hit one out to right, putting the Nats up 3-0. The Phils tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Ibanez, 1-for-his-last-18, hit a three-run pinch-hit homer off of Tyler Clippard. Stutes started the tenth and got the first two before walking Michael Morse. Morse took second on a passed ball by Erik Kratz and came in to score on a pinch-hit single by Ryan Zimmerman, putting Washington up 4-3. Kratz doubled to start the bottom of the tenth, his first career extra-base hit, but was left at second when Orr lined to short, Schneider struck out and Gload grounded to short.

Kendrick has a 1.91 ERA in his 33 innings since the end of July. Those innings have come over seven appearances, five of which have been starts.

Not a good day for Schwimer, who saw his ERA on the year rise to 6.97 on the three-run homer. He’s allowed five runs in two innings over his last two appearances.

Joe Savery made his debut for the Phillies in the game. He started the eighth and allowed a single on a ball deflected by Orr. The next batter bunted the runner to second and Savery was pulled.

The Phils lost the night game 3-0. Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on 11 hits. Only two of the runs were earned and the Phillies made three errors in the game (Rollins, Utley and Ruiz). The offense had just three hits, two singles by Francisco and one by Polanco, as Ross Detwiler threw 7 1/3 scoreless frames for the Nats.

Danny Espinosa homered off of Lee in the second to put Washington up 1-0. Washington got another run on three singles in the sixth to push the lead to 2-0. Jayson Werth started the seventh with a double for Washington and went to third on a one-out single by Michael Morse. Werth came in to score on a bad pickoff throw by Ruiz, upping the lead to 3-0.

Justin De Fratus threw a 1-2-3 eighth after Lee left and has now thrown two scoreless innings in two appearances.

Herndon threw the ninth, allowing a two-out walks but striking out two and keeping Washington off the board. In his 20 appearances since the All-Star break he has thrown to a 1.65 ERA with a 1.21 ratio.

Vance Worley (11-2, 2.85) faces lefty John Lannan (9-13, 3.68) tonight in leave-your-lefties-on-the-bench night at the yard.

On the please-move-along-there’s-nothing-to-see-here front, Hunter Pence tweaked his left knee in game one yesterday and says it’s going to be fine.

Jimmy Rollins and his wife will host their first annual Havana Nights to benefit the Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Monday, November 14. Read all about it.


Phils still not scoring runs, but making great strides towards getting their intentional walking ship in order for the post-season

The Phils lost again last night, but clinched home field advantage throughout the post-season with a loss by the Brewers. The offense struggled again for the Phillies in the game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the late but falling 4-3 as the rally fell short.

The Phils have scored three runs or less in ten of their last 11 games.

Halladay surprised a bit in the game by not being lights-out. Coming into the outing having allowed one run over 17 innings over his last two starts, Halladay gave up a pair of runs in the first on his way to allowing four runs over eight innings in the game. It was the fifth time in 31 starts this season that Halladay was charged with more than three runs in a start. He also curiously walked Lance Berkman intentionally twice in the game after Berkman homered off of him in the first. Both times it worked out for Halladay, who came into the start have issued just two intentional walks for the season.

If we’re voting, I think having Halladay walk two batters intentionally in a start is a pretty poor idea. My argument is as follows: He’s Roy flippin’ Halladay. In 67 starts as a Phillie, last night’s is the only one in which Halladay has walked more than three batters in a game. It’s the first time since June 25, 2008 that he has walked more than three batters in a game pitching for any team. He walked more batters intentionally last night than he did in 489 2/3 innings between 2009 and 2010 combined (one IBB in those two seasons).

The Phillies are 98-54 on the year after losing 4-3 to the St Louis Cardinals. St Louis takes the series three games to one.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six.

Rafael Furcal was the first batter of the game and he doubled to right. Nick Punto was next and Furcal moved up to third on a passed ball by Ruiz before Punto grounded to first with Furcal scoring from third to put St Louis up 1-0. Albert Pujols grounded to Halladay for the second out before Lance Berkman hit a 1-0 pitch out to right. 2-0. Allen Craig lined to Utley for the third out.

Halladay set the Cards down in order in the second, getting Jon Jay on a ball handled by Ruiz, Gerald Laird on a ground ball to short and Daniel Descalso on a popup to Utley.

The lead was cut to 2-1 when pitcher Kyle Lohse led off the third with a double to center. Furcal bunted him to third with the first out before Halladay walked Punto. With men on first and third, Halladay struck Pujols out looking 2-2 for the second out. Berkman was next, though, and lined a single into center, scoring Lohse (3-1) and moving Punto to second. Craig popped to Utley for the third out.

With two outs in the fourth, Descalso hit a ground ball to first that Gload didn’t handle for an error. Halladay struck Lohse out swinging to leave Descalso at first.

Furcal reached on an infield single to start the fifth and Punto bunted him to second with the first out. Pujols flew to right for the second out and Halladay walked the switch-hitter Berkman intentionally, putting men on first and second with two outs for Craig. Halladay struck Craig out swinging 0-2 to leave both men stranded.

Not a fan of that one, although it’s harder to argue with if Halladay is going to blow Craig away.

Halladay set St Louis down in order in the sixth.

He walked Punto with two outs in the seventh. Pujols was next and doubled to left, plating Punto to extend the St Louis lead to 4-1. Halladay again walked Berkman intentionally, putting men on first and second, and got Craig on a ground ball to third to end the inning.

Again with the intentional walk to Berkman. Enough to make one suspect it has more to do with lack of fear of Craig than it does with fear of Berkman. Worked twice for the Phils, but I’m still not a fan.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Herndon started the ninth. Furcal doubled to left with one out. Punto was next and Herndon struck him out swinging for the second out. Pujols struck out swinging 0-2 to end the frame.

Five scoreless innings in his last four appearances for Herndon. He has a 1.71 ERA in 19 appearances since the All-Star break. He threw 17 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Kyle Lohse went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Pence (5) Ibanez (6) Polanco (7) Gload (8) Ruiz. Gload at first for Howard.

Down 2-0, the Phillies went in order in the bottom of the first.

Polanco singled with two outs in the second and Gload reached on an error by Punto at second behind him. It brought Ruiz to the plate with men on first and second and Ruiz singled into right just under the glove of a diving Punto, scoring Polanco and cutting the lead to 2-1. Halladay struck out swinging to leave the runners at first and second.

Punto’s error keeps the inning alive for Ruiz to knock into Polanco. Not a good inning defensively for the Cards at second, with Punto just missing on Ruiz’s single.

Victorino singled with one out in the third and the Phils down 3-1. Utley hit a ball to second. Punto fielded and went to second where Furcal didn’t handle it for an error that left the Phils with one down and men on first and second. Pence loaded the bases with a single to left, but Ibanez struck out swinging 2-2 and Polanco struck out swinging 1-2.

It’s almost like Howard were still in the lineup. No RBI, no contact for Ibanez with one out and the bases loaded and the Phils can’t take advantage of the extra out on the error by Furcal.

Gload singled to start the fourth. Ruiz flew to center for the first out and Halladay bunted Gload up to second with the second. Rollins walked to put two men on base, but Victorino grounded to first to leave them both stranded.

Can Gload score from second on a single with two outs? We may never know. I’m guessing it depends on what kind of a single it is. Not sure I would bunt him to second with the second out unless I was pretty sure.

Pence singled with one out in the fifth. Ibanez was next and smashed a ball back up the middle, but Lohse caught the low line drive and threw to first where Pence was doubled-off to end the inning.

Gload doubled to center with one out in the sixth. Ruiz grounded to short for the second out with Gload holding second. Halladay grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Down 4-1, the Phils went in order in the seventh.

Polanco walked with two outs in the eighth. With lefty Marc Rzepczynski on the mound for the Cards, Mayberry hit for Gload and grounded to first to end the inning.

Ruiz doubled to left to start the ninth. With righty Jason Motte pitching for St Louis, Moss hit for Herndon and struck out swinging. Rollins was next and he ripped a triple into the gap in right-center, scoring Ruiz to cut the lead to 4-2. Victorino grounded to short for the second out with Rollins scoring. 4-3. Lefty Arthur Rhodes came in to pitch to Utley and Utley singled to right. Righty Octavio Dotel took over for Rhodes and got Pence to ground to third to end the game.

Moss instead of Brown gets the at-bat against Moss. First at-bat of the year for Moss. Rollins looked good running the bases on his triple. Looked like a double when he hit it to me.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a triple and a walk. 6-for-18 with a triple in the four-game series. That’s his first walk since August 20 (although he missed about 20 days from August 22 to September 9). 278/339/397 for the year. He hit 20 triples in 2007 and has hit 19 since.

Victorino 1-for-5 with an RBI. 4-for-15 with three walks and a homer in the set. He’s hitting .195 in September and 288/365/505 for the year.

Utley 1-for-5. 4-for-18 in the series. He doesn’t have a walk in his last 63 plate appearances and is on-basing .241 in September. 262/341/430 for the season.

Pence 2-for-5 yesterday and 5-for-17 with two walks and a double in the series. 317/386/541 with the Phillies for the year. He’s tops on the team in all three categories with the exception of on-base percentage — Dane Sardinha has on-based .419 for the Phils this year in his 43 plate appearances.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 1-for-14 with a grand slam in the series. 4-for-his-last-32 and hitting 242/288/419 for the season.

Polanco 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-14 with a double and three walks in the series. He’s hitting 308/395/385 in September. 281/341/345 for the season. He was hitting .273 after going 0-for-4 against the Fish on September 3. He’s 19-for-his-last-57 (.333) with eight walks. 301/381/350 in his 118 plate appearances since August 5.

Gload 2-for-3 with a double. 2-for-7 in the series with a walk and a double. 257/278/314 for the year.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 2-for-9 with a walk and a double in the set. 280/371/385 for the season.

The Phils play a double-header with the Nats today. Kendrick (8-6, 3.22) faces lefty Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.76) in the afternoon game. Righties are hitting .295 against Detwiler for the season and have hit six of the seven home runs he has allowed. Kendrick has a 2.60 ERA over 52 innings in his last 11 appearances since July 6, but seven of the 22 runs he allowed in that time have been unearned. He’s allowed more than three earned runs in just one of his last ten starts. Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.38) faces rookie lefty Tom Milone (1-0, 4.60) in the night game.


Phils best in the East, but looking second-best in their series with the Cards

The Phils clinched the NL East this weekend with a 9-2 win over the Cardinals on Saturday. Just about everything went right for the Phillies in that game — Oswalt looked great throwing seven shutout innings and Ibanez hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth as the Phils scored six times to blow the game open.

The rest of the series hasn’t gone quite as well, with the Cards taking the other two games. The most worrisome developments of the two losses were continued struggles by Bastardo and more home runs allowed by Cole Hamels. Yadier Molina homered off of Bastardo in the eighth inning of game one of the set, breaking a 1-1 tie. In last night’s game, Hamels went seven innings and allowed four runs, all four of which scored on a pair of two-run homers.

After his appearance on September 5, Bastardo was looking unstoppable. He had thrown to a 1.35 ERA for the year and struck out 66 in 53 1/3 innings while opponents had hit .110 against him for the season. Since then he has faced 15 batters over five appearances and nine of them have reached base on four hits and five walks.

Through the end of July, Hamels had allowed eight home runs in 152 innings over 22 starts (0.47 home runs per nine innings). In his last nine starts he has allowed nine home runs over 54 innings(1.47 home runs per nine).

On Friday, the Phils lost the opener of the series 4-2 in 11 innings. Worley started for the Phils and walked three in the top of the second, with a walk to Rafael Furcal with the bases loaded forcing in David Freese to put St Louis up 1-0. The Phils tied it up in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back doubles by Polanco and Mayberry. It stayed tied until the eighth, when Yadier Molina homered off of Bastardo with one out to put the Cards up 2-1. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Howard delivered a pinch-hit double and came in to score when Corey Patterson dropped Ruiz’s fly ball in the right field corner after a long run, tying the game at 2-2. Schwimer started the ninth for the Phils and allowed a leadoff double to Furcal. Furcal would come in to score on a single by Adron Chambers and Tyler Greene followed that with an RBI-double that put St Louis on top to stay at 4-2.

Saturday the Phils won 9-2 with the help of a strong outing from Oswalt and a grand slam from Ibanez to clinch the NL East. Oswalt threw seven shutout innings and Stutes took over in the top of the eighth with a 3-0 lead. Stutes got just two outs but was charged with two runs on four hits before Lidge come on to get Allen Craig to set the Cards down with men on first and second. With their lead cut to a single run, the Phils scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth, getting RBI-singles from Victorino and Pence and a slam from Ibanez, extending their lead to 9-2. Madson allowed a two-out single in the ninth, but got Furcal to ground to second and end the game.

The Phillies lost 5-0 last night.

The Phillies are 98-53 on the year losing 5-0 to the St Louis Cardinals last night. St Louis has won two of the first three games in the four-game set.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies last night and went seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and two two-run home runs. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.

Ryan Theriot was the first batter of the game and he lined to center for the first out. Allen Craig was next and he doubled to left, putting a man on second for Albert Pujols. Pujols hit the first pitch he saw from Hamels out to left, putting St Louis on top 2-0. David Freese and Lance Berkman both struck out swinging to set St Louis down.

Yadier Molina led off the second and grounded out to Utley. Rafael Furcal followed with a bunt single and Furcal stole second as Hamels struck Jon Jay out swinging for the second out. Chris Carpenter struck out swinging to leave Furcal at second.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 third.

In the fourth, Berkman singled with one out. Hamels got Molina to ground into a double-play behind him.

Hamels struck out Furcal and Jay as he set St Louis down in order in the fifth.

Theriot doubled to start the sixth and Allen Craig hit an 0-2 pitch out to left-center behind him. 4-0. Hamels got the next three hitters in order.

Jay singled to right with two outs in the seventh, but Hamels got Carpenter on a fly ball to right for the third out.

Blanton started the eighth and got Theriot on a ground ball before Craig homered again, hitting a 1-2 pitch out to center to make it 5-0. Blanton struck out Pujols and Freese behind Craig.

Second outing for Blanton since his return — he’s allowed a run over two innings and struck out three.

Righty Justin De Fratus made his debut for the Phillies in the ninth. He got Berkman on a fly ball to center for the first out and Molina on a pop to short for the second. He walked Furcal on five pitches, but got Jay to ground to third to end the frame.

Blanton threw 19 pitches in the game and De Fratus 13.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Carpenter went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Pence (5) Ibanez (6) Polanco (7) Gload (8) Schneider. Howard and Ruiz rest to start the game, with lefties Gload and Schneider starting against the righty Carpenter.

The Phils were down 2-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Victorino and Utley singled back-to-back with one out, putting runners on first and second for Pence. Pence grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Polanco singled with one out in the second, but Gload grounded into a double-play behind him.

Schneider and Hamels both struck out to start the third before Rollins singled to left. Victorino grounded to first to end the inning.

Utley and Pence singled back-to-back to start the fourth, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Ibanez hit into a double-play and Polanco grounded to third, leaving Utley at third.

Hamels singled to right with two outs in the fifth, but Rollins flew to center to leave him stranded.

Victorino and Utley went down to start the sixth with the Phils down 4-0. Pence hit a ball to short that Furcal fielded, but his throw to first was bad for an error. Ibanez grounded to second to leave Pence stranded.

Polanco walked to start the seventh, but Gload and Schneider went down behind him. With two outs, Polanco still on first and Carpenter still pitching for the Cardinals, Bowker hit for Hamels and struck out swinging for the third out.

Bowker 0-for-8 with six strikeouts since joining the Phillies.

Down 5-0, Utley singled with two outs in the eighth. Pence struck out swinging to leave him at first.

Gload walked with two outs in the eighth, but Schneider struck out swinging behind him.

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

Rollins was 1-for-4 in the game. 5-for-14 in the first three games of the four-game set.

Victorino 1-for-4 in the game. 3-for-10 with a homer so far in the series.

Utley 3-for-4 in the game. 3-for-13 so far in the series. 5-for-his-last-29 coming into last night’s game.

Pence 1-for-4. 3-for-12 with two walks and a double in the series so far.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 1-for-10 with a grand slam in the series.

Polanco 1-for-3 with a walk. 4-for-11 with a double and three walks in the series. 306/389/387 so far in September.

Gload 0-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-17 in September with five singles.

Schneider 0-for-4 and struck out three times. He’s hitting .171 for the year and on-basing .234.

Halladay (18-5, 2.34) faces righty Kyle Lohse (13-8, 3.82) tonight.

Ryan Howard will have a cortisone shot in his left ankle.


Offense continues to sleep, but Phils reap a sweep

The Phils scored just five runs in their double-header with the Marlins yesterday, but thanks to some outstanding work from their starting pitchers it was enough to get a sweep. Kendrick threw five strong innings in the day game in his first start since August 24. Lee was brilliant in the night game, but lost his complete-game shutout when Jose Lopez tied the game with a homer on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth. The Phils won it in the tenth.

The Phils also got four shutout innings from the pen in Kendrick’s game, although the relievers didn’t pitch particularly well, allowing six hits and three walks over four frames.

It’s going to take some good pitching to get the Phils some wins these days — they have scored a total of 14 runs over their last seven games.

The night game of the double-header saw the return of Chase Utley to the starting lineup. He and Rollins started the same game for the first time since August 21.

The Phils won the day game of the double-header 3-1. RBI-doubles by Pence and Ibanez put them up 2-0 in the bottom of the first. Kendrick gave up a solo homer to Logan Morrison in the top of the fifth, the first hit he had allowed, cutting the lead to 2-1. Polanco walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead to 3-1. The Fish loaded the bases in the eighth and put their first two runners on in the ninth, but Lidge and Madson kept them off the board.

Bastardo had yet another worrisome outing in the game. He started the eighth and faced three batters, getting one out and allowing a double and a walk. Over his last four appearances, eight of the 11 batters that Bastardo has faced have reached base on three hits and five walks. That’s a problem for a Phillies team with no other left-handed relief options and only one lefty in the pen when Bastardo is pitching well.

The Phils won the night game 2-1 on a walkoff double to the gap in left-center by Howard in the bottom of the tenth.

The Phillies are 97-51 on the year after beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 last night in the second game of a day/night double-header. The Phils sweep the double-header and are in first place in the NL East, 12 games ahead of the Braves. The Phils won 97 games in 2010, but only two teams in the history of the organization (’76 and ’77) have won more than 97.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies in the night game and allowed a run over nine innings on five hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out 12 and didn’t walk a batter.

In the first he got Emilio Bonifacio on a ground ball to second for the first out before Bryan Petersen doubled to right. Mike Stanton was next and Lee hit him with a pitch, putting men on first and second. Jose Lopez flew to left for the second out and Omar Infante struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Donnie Murphy singled to start the second. Lee struck Matt Dominguez out for the first out and got Brett Hayes to ground into a double-play behind him.

Pitcher Alex Sanabia led off the third and struck out looking. Bonifacio flew to center for the second out and Petersen lined softly to short.

Lee got the first two in the fourth before Infante singled to center. He struck Murphy out swinging 0-2 to leave Infante at first.

Dominguez started the fifth with a single, but Lee struck out Hayes trying to hit and Sanabia trying to bunt for the first two outs. Bonifacio grounded to second for the third out.

Lee struck out Stanton and Lopez in the sixth.

Up 1-0, he set the Marlins down in order in the seventh.

Righty Gaby Sanchez hit for Hayes and grounded to second for the first out in the eighth. John Buck hit for the pitcher Steve Cishek and struck out for the second. Bonifacio struck out looking 0-2 for the third.

Lee struck out Petersen for the first out in the ninth. Stanton was next and ripped a line drive to left, but Ibanez made a fantastic diving catch for the second out. Lee got ahead of Lopez 0-2 and made a terrible pitch, a high fastball that Lopez hit out to left, tying the game at 1-1. Infante grounded to second for the third out.

Schwimer started the tenth for the Phils. He struck Murphy out for the first out before Dobbs hit for Dominguez. Schwimer got the lefty Dobbs on a popup to Martinez for the second out. Lefty Logan Morrison hit for the pitcher Edward Mujica and Morrison struck him out looking 1-2.

That’s the best of Schwimer’s seven career appearances and it came at a good time. He threw 15 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Alex Sanabia went (1) Rollins (2) Mayberry (3) Utley (4) Pence (5) Ibanez (6) Gload (7) Ruiz (8) Orr. Golly. Victorino on the bench with Mayberry in center and hitting second. Utley back to play second and hit third. Gload plays first with Howard on the bench. Orr at third with Polanco watching.

Mayberry singled with one out in the bottom of the first, but Utley and Pence both flew out behind him.

Gload singled with one out in the second and took second on a wild pitch. He was left there when Ruiz flew to left and Orr struck out swinging.

The Phils went in order in the third on fly balls by Lee, Rollins and Mayberry, all to center.

Utley, Pence and Ibanez all struck out in the fourth.

Gload singled to left to start the fifth and Ruiz flew to right behind him. Orr was next and hit a ball hard that was knocked down by the pitcher Sanabia. Sanabia picked up the ball and threw to second, forcing Gload for the second out with Orr safe at first. Lee moved Orr up to second with an infield single, but Rollins popped to the third baseman Dominguez in foul territory to end the inning.

Mayberry led off the sixth and hit a 2-0 pitch out down the left field line for a homer that put the Phils up 1-0. Utley grounded to short for the first out before Pence doubled to right. Ibanez moved Pence to third with a ground out to first, but Gload struck out swinging to leave him stranded.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

Utley singled with two outs in the eighth, but Pence struck out swinging behind him to leave him at first.

The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phillies hit in the bottom of the ninth. Ibanez and Ruiz both struck out as the Phils went in order.

Righty Burke Badenhop started the tenth for the Fish and couldn’t throw strikes. He walked Martinez on four pitches and threw three straight balls to Howard before finally getting one over. Howard hammered his 3-1 pitch to the gap in left-center and the ball landed on the warning track. Martinez raced around to score, giving the Phils a 2-1 win.

Howard breaks out of an 0-for-15 slump with a huge swing to win the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game with a strikeout. 1-for-5 in the double-header. 3-for-his-last-13 with three singles.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with his 14th home run. He has a .615 slugging percentage since the All-Star break, which is the best on the team. There are 148 NL players who have at least 100 plate appearances in the second half — Mayberry’s .615 slugging percentage is fifth-best (although he just barely makes the cut with 118 plate appearances).

Utley 1-for-4. 2-for-5 with two singles in the double-header.

Pence 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. He could probably use some rest before it’s all over, too.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 2-for-8 with a double in the double-header. 289/347/467 so far in September.

Gload 2-for-4 with a strikeout. That’s just the second time this year he has had more than one hit in a game. He’s 6-for-his-last-15 (.400). Just two walks in 100 plate appearances for the year.

Ruiz 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 1-for-5 on the day. 361/430/470 over his last 94 plate appearances.

Orr 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in the double-header. 2-for-his-last-19.

Vance Worley (11-2, 2.92) faces lefty Jaime Garcia (12-7, 3.68) tonight. Garcia started against the Phillies on May 17 and held them to an unearned run on five hits and walk over eight innings. The Phillies are 14-1 in the last 15 games that Worley has started. He’s thrown to a 4.34 ERA in his first three starts in September and opponents have hit .307 against him.


The doctor is in (the playoffs)

Roy Halladay pitched the Phils into the post-season with a magnificent outing yesterday afternoon, throwing a complete-game shutout as he led the Phils to a 1-0 win over Houston. With the victory, the Phils salvage a game in a three-game set in which they scored a total of four runs and failed to score more than two in any game against the lowly Astros.

Victorino and Polanco started yesterday’s game with back-to-back hits, but the Phils would get just two more hits the rest of the way, singles by Halladay and Pence in the sixth. They wouldn’t score after the first inning, notably loading the bases with one out in the sixth before being turned away on a Howard strikeout and Ibanez’s fly out to center. Howard was 0-for-11 in the series and is 3-for-his-last-23 with ten strikeouts.

The Phillies are 95-51 on the year after beating the Houston Astros 1-0 yesterday. The Astros take the series two games to one. The Phils have clinched a spot in the post-season and lead the second-place Braves by 11 games in the division.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete-game shutout, allowing six hits and a walk. All six of the hits were singles and he struck out seven.

He was up 1-0 when he pitched the bottom of the first. Jordan Schafer lined softly to third for the first out. Clint Barmes was next and he struck out swinging 0-2 for the second. JD Martinez grounded to short to end the inning.

Carlos Lee led off the second and hit a ball to third that Polanco didn’t handle for an error. It brought Brian Bogusevic to the plate with a man on first and Bogusevic moved Lee to second with a single to left. Jimmy Paredes bunted for a hit and the bases were loaded for Jose Altuve. Altuve hit a ground ball to third and Polanco came home, forcing Lee for the first out. Halladay got Humberto Quintero to hit into a double-play to keep Houston off the board.

No run for Houston after loading the bases with nobody out.

Halladay got pitcher Bud Norris to pop to Howard for the first out of the third. Schafer reached on an infield single and stole second before Barmes popped to Martinez for the first out. Martinez hit a ball hard, but Polanco took it at third and threw to first to end the inning.

Halladay set Houston down in order in the fourth.

Altuve led off the fifth and singled to center. Quintero flew to center for the first out. Norris tried to bunt Altuve up to second, but struck out fouling off a two-strike pitch. Altuve stole second, but was left there when Schafer grounded to third.

Halladay walked Martinez with one out in the sixth, but got Lee and Bogusevic behind him.

Paredes singled to right to start the seventh and Altuve bunted him to second with the first out. Quintero grounded to third for the second out with Paredes moving up to third. Righty Matt Downs hit for the pitcher Norris and Halladay struck him out swinging 0-2 to leave Paredes at third.

Halladay struck out Schafer and Barmes to start the eighth before Martinez singled to left. Jason Bogusevic ran for Martinez at first, but was left there when Lee flew to left.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 ninth, getting Bogusevic on a fly ball to center, Paredes on a ground out to short and striking out Altuve to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Bud Norris went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Orr (8) Martinez. Rollins on the bench with Martinez at short. Orr at second with Utley sidelined. Victorino back after not starting game two — still hope the Phils get him more rest soon.

Victorino led off the game with a double to center. Polanco was next and he singled into center. Victorino scored from second as the throw from Schafer came in high and Polanco took second with the Phils up 1-0. Pence grounded to the pitcher for the first out with Polanco holding second. Howard went down on a ground ball fielded by Altuve for the second with Polanco moving up to third. Ibanez grounded to first with Norris covering to leave Polanco at third.

And here ends the offense for the Phils. They are held to one after putting a man on second with nobody out.

They didn’t have another base-runner until the sixth inning, when Halladay led off with a single to right. Victorino walked behind him. Polanco was next and bunted, but Norris made a fantastic play, pouncing on the ball, whirling and somehow making an accurate throw to third to force Victorino for the first out. Pence followed with a single into left and the bases were loaded. Howard struck out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Ibanez flew to center to leave the bases loaded.

No run for the Phils after putting the first two men on and then loading the bases with one out. Big strikeout for Howard, who can’t put the ball in play with one out and the bases loaded.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

And again in the eighth. Halladay hit for himself and struck out for the first out.

Pence, Howard and Ibanez all struck out as the Phils went in order in the ninth.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in the game. His double was the only extra-base hit for the Phils. 1-for-9 with a double and a walk in the three-game series. 291/367/511 for the year. He’s hitting .190 in September. Still think he needs to rest.

Polanco 1-for-4 with an RBI. 1-for-7 with two walks in the series. 276/332/340 for the season.

Pence 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 4-for-11 with a walk, a double and a home run against his former team. 312/368/497 for the year. He’s hitting .385 over his last ten starts.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice, including a big strikeout in the sixth with one out and the bases loaded. 0-for-11 with a walk and four strikeouts in the series. 249/343/491 for the year.

Ibanez 0-for-4 with a strikeout and four men left on base. 1-for-6 with two walks and a double in the set. 246/294/424 for the year. 268/308/474 over his last 416 plate appearances since May 3. Everything’s great in the last 416 except he still isn’t walking. He walked just 24 times in those 416 plate appearances, which is about 5.8%. That’s lower than his career mark of walking in about 8.6% of his plate appearances. Coming into 2011 he had walked in more than 9% of his plate appearances for three straight seasons.

Ruiz 0-for-3. 2-for-10 with a walk and a home run in the series. 283/375/389 for the year. His power is down this year and especially down against left-handed pitching. This year his is hitting .261 against lefties and slugging .337. For his career he has hit .261 against lefties but slugged .414.

Orr 0-for-3 in the game and 1-for-8 in the series. 241/300/277 in 90 plate appearances for the season.

Martinez 0-for-3 with a strikeout. 0-for-9 with a strikeout in the series. 2-for-his-last-25 and hitting 200/253/290 for the year. The Phillies have given him 222 plate appearances.

The Phils play a double-header with the Fish today. Kyle Kendrick (7-6, 3.29) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 3.64) in the day game and Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.44) faces righty Alex Sanabia in the night game. Sanabia will be making his second appearance of the season and his first start.


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