Archive for October, 2011

Maybe they’re going about this all wrong?

In 2011, for the second-straight year, the Phils were ousted from the post-season in a series where they scored more runs than the team they were playing. After outscoring the Giants 20-19 while losing the 2010 NLCS, the Phils outscored the Cardinals 21-19 while dropping that NLDS three games to two in 2011.

It sure seems like that should be pretty unusual, given that the object of the game is to score more runs than your opponent.

But it’s not. At least it hasn’t been in 2011. No matter who wins the World Series, it will be true that teams that scored fewer runs than their opponents in a given 2011 playoff series will have a better record than teams that scored more runs than their opponent. Of the six series that have been played so far in the 2011 post-season, the team that scored fewer runs has won four of them. Look:

Year Series Winner Runs Loser Runs
2011 ALCS TEX 39 DET 25
2011 ALDS DET 17 NYY 28
2011 ALDS TEX 16 TBAY 21
2011 NLCS STL 43 MIL 26
2011 NLDS STL 19 PHI 21
2011 NLDS MIL 23 ARI 25

That’s nuts. The teams that scored more runs than their opponents overall in those series went 2-4. The Yankees outscored the Tigers by 11 runs while losing their five-game NLDS, thanks to a 9-3 win in game one and a 10-1 win in game four.

So maybe it happens all of the time? But it doesn’t. Usually the team that scores more runs just wins. Kinda like you would expect.

The Phils lost to the Giants in an NLCS series in 2010 where they scored more runs than San Francisco, but before that it hadn’t happened since 2004. Coming into the 2011 playoffs, teams that had scored fewer runs than their opponent in a post-season series since 2004 had gone 2-47 in those series. Before the Giants topped the Phils in the 2010 NLCS, the last team to lose a post-season series in which they had scored more runs than their opponent were the 2004 Yankees.

In 2010, the Phils lost to the Giants despite outscoring them:

Year Series Winner Runs Loser Runs
2010 WS SF 29 TEX 12
2010 ALCS TEX 38 NYY 19
2010 ALDS TEX 21 TBAY 13
2010 ALDS NYY 17 MIN 7
2010 NLCS SF 19 PHI 20
2010 NLDS PHI 13 CIN 4
2010 NLDS SF 11 ATL 9

After that you need to go back to 2004 to find a post-season series where the team that scored the most runs didn’t win.

Year Series Winner Runs Loser Runs
2009 WS NYY 32 PHI 27
2009 ALCS NYY 33 LAA 19
2009 ALDS NYY 15 MIN 6
2009 ALDS LAA 16 BOS 7
2009 NLCS PHI 35 LAD 16
2009 NLDS LAD 13 STL 6
2009 NLDS PHI 20 COL 15
2008 WS PHI 24 TBAY 15
2008 ALCS TBAY 43 BOS 28
2008 ALDS BOS 18 LAA 13
2008 ALDS TBAY 21 CWS 13
2008 NLCS PHI 25 LAD 20
2008 NLDS LAD 20 CHI 6
2008 NLDS PHI 15 MIL 9
2007 WS BOS 29 COL 10
2007 ALCS BOS 51 CLE 32
2007 ALDS BOS 19 LAA 4
2007 ALDS CLE 24 NYY 16
2007 NLCS COL 18 ARI 8
2007 NLDS ARI 16 CHI 6
2007 NLDS COL 16 PHI 8
2006 WS STL 22 DET 11
2006 ALCS DET 22 OAK 9
2006 ALDS DET 22 NYY 14
2006 ALDS OAK 16 MIN 7
2006 NLCS STL 28 NYM 27
2006 NLDS NYM 19 LAD 11
2006 NLDS STL 14 SDP 6
2005 WS CWS 20 HOU 14
2005 ALCS CWS 23 LAA 11
2005 ALDS CWS 24 BOS 9
2005 ALDS LAA 25 NYY 20
2005 NLCS HOU 22 STL 16
2005 NLDS STL 21 SD 11
2005 NLDS HOU 25 ATL 21
2004 WS BOS 24 STL 12
2004 ALCS BOS 41 NYY 45
2004 ALDS BOS 25 LAA 12
2004 ALDS NYY 21 MIN 17
2004 NLCS STL 34 HOU 31
2004 NLDS STL 22 LAD 12
2004 NLDS HOU 36 ATL 21

Teams came close a couple of times, in 2006 the Cardinals scored one more run that the Mets in winning the NLCS four games to three, but from 2005 through 2009 there were 35 post-season series played and the team that scored the most runs won all 35 of them.

Since the start of the 2004 post-season and not including the ’11 World Series, teams scoring the most runs in a playoff series have gone 49-6. Four of the six series losses happened this year and two of the six losing teams were the Phillies.



Post-season exposes the Achilles heel of the Phillies — turns out it’s the post-season

With a 1-0 loss on Friday, the Phils dropped their series with St Louis and were bounced out of the playoffs. For the second time in two years, it’s a disappointing end to a year for a team that looked destined for great things at times during the regular season.

Again it was an offensive collapse that did the Phillies in. After scoring 11 runs in the first game of the NLDS, the Phils scored just ten runs in the last four games. Three of those came on a pinch-hit home run by Ben Francisco in game three. In the five-game series, Pence, Ibanez, Howard, Polanco and Ruiz combined to go 12-for-89 (.135).

Game five featured two brilliant pitching performances, one from Roy Halladay and the other from Chris Carpenter. Halladay gave up a triple and a double to the first two batters in the game, with Skip Schumaker’s double plating Rafael Furcal for the only run of the contest. Carpenter threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits. Utley had a single on a ball deflected by a diving Pujols in the sixth. Victorino doubled in the second and singled in the fourth.

It was even worse than that for the Phils. For the second straight year, Ryan Howard got the last at-bat of the season for the Phils. He grounded to second this time, but crumpled to the ground almost immediately after with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. The timeline for his return is not known, but he may not be ready for Spring Training.

Again the Phils were eliminated from the post-season in a series in which they scored more runs than their opponent. The Phils outscored the Cards 21-19 in this year’s NLDS and outscored the Giants 20-19 in the 2010 NLCS.

The season is over for the Phils after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 1-0 in game five of the NLDS. Since the start for 2010, the Phillies have won 199 regular season games, winning the most games in either league in both ’10 and ’11. They are 7-7 in their last 14 playoff games.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple allowed to the first two hitters of the game. He struck out seven.

Halladay was the only Phillie to make more than one start in the series. In two starts, he threw to an 2.25 ERA and an 0.69 ratio. He allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks over 16 innings. All four of the runs he allowed came in the first inning. Three came on a three-run homer by Berkman in game one.

He faced a St Louis lineup that went (1) Rafael Furcal (SS/S) (2) Skip Schumaker (CF/L) (3) Albert Pujols (1B/R) (4) Lance Berkman (LF/S) (5) Matt Holliday (LF/R) (6) Yadier Molina (C/R) (7) David Freese (3B/R) (8) Punto (2B/S). Schumaker starts in center, where he played 13 innings during the regular season. Theriot, 1-for-7 against Halladay for his career, on the bench with the switch-hitter Punto (4-for-14) at second.

St Louis had six hitters on the bench to start the game, righties Matt Theriot, Allen Craig and Gerald Laird, and lefties Adron Chambers, Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso.

Furcal was the first batter of the game and tripled to center on a 2-1 pitch. Schumaker was next and Halladay got ahead of him 0-2, but Schumaker hit a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner for a double that scored Furcal and put the Cards up 1-0. Pujols was next and hit a weird spinning ball towards second. Utley bare-handed it and threw to third, where Schumaker was tagged out for the first out with Pujols safe at first. Pujols took second on a wild pitch before Berkman reached on catcher’s interference when his backswing hit Ruiz’s glove, putting men on first and second. Halladay got Holliday to pop to Polanco in foul territory for the second out and Molina grounded to short to set the Cards down.

Yet another aggressive play by Utley and this one works as he guns down Schumaker at third for the first out.

Halladay set St Louis down in order in the second, striking Freese out swinging, getting Punto on a line drive to third and the pitcher Carpenter on a ground ball to short.

Furcal grounded to second to start the third. Schumaker flew to left for the second out and Pujols struck out swinging.

Eight in a row for Halladay.

Berkman flew to center to start the fourth and Berkman struck out swinging behind him. Molina singled to center and stole second before Freese struck out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Punto started the fifth with a single to left. Carpenter was next and bunted, but Ruiz jumped on the ball and threw to second to force Punto. Carpenter didn’t run and was easily doubled up. Furcal flew to Ibanez to set St Louis down.

In the sixth, Halladay got Jay (who took over for Schumaker in center in the third), Pujols and Berkman on three ground balls.

He got Holliday on a fly ball to center for the first out in the seventh and struck Molina out looking for the second. Freese was next and he singled to left. Descalso ran for Freese, but Halladay struck Punto out swinging 0-2 to leave him at first.

Carpenter singled into center to start the eighth. Furcal was next and hit a ball out in front of the plate. Ruiz took it and went to second, where his throw wasn’t handled by Rollins for an error. Ruiz was charged with an error and St Louis had men on first and second with nobody out. Jay bunted the runners to second and third with the first out and Halladay walked Pujols intentionally to load the bases. Halladay stayed in to pitch to Berkman and struck him out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Holliday flew to left to leave the bases loaded.

Manuel sure stayed with Halladay a long time. The pitch that got Holliday was number 126 in the game. Worked out great for the Phillies, but I think you have to bring Bastardo in to pitch to Berkman with one out and the bases loaded. Berkman is a lot better against righties than lefties. On the other hand, Halladay struck him out and kept St Louis off the board after loading the bases with one out.

Madson struck out Descalso and Punto in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Madson made four appearances in the series, allowing a run on four hits and no walks over 4 1/3 innings while striking out six.

Overall, the pen threw ten innings in five games for the Phils in the series. They allowed five earned runs on 12 hits and four walks over ten innings (4.50 ERA and a 1.60 ratio). They struggled in game one as Stutes allowed three runs in relief of Halladay. In game two they threw three scoreless innings to back Lee. In game three they allowed two runs over three innings in relief of Hamels, but held on for the win. Blanton and Lidge combined to throw two scoreless frames in game four and Madson threw a shutout inning in game five.

Nobody on the Cards had more than one hit in the game.

Schumaker and Theriot both went 6-for-10 in the series, each with two doubles.

Pujols was 7-for-20 with two walks and three doubles.

Freese 5-for-19 with nine strikeouts, but drove in a team-high five runs, including four in game four. Two doubles and a home run in the series.

Berkman was just 3-for-18, but with a big home run in game one.

Craig 1-for-10 with a triple and four walks.

Furcal 5-for-22 with two triples. He didn’t draw a walk out of the leadoff spot for St Louis in the series.

Holliday was 2-for-9 with two singles and Jay 2-for-12 with two singles. Jay drew three walks.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Carpenter went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Utley (2B/L) (3) Pence (RF/R) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Victorino (CF/S) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Polanco (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench, righties John Mayberry, Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco, lefties Brian Schneider and Ross Gload and switch-hitter Michael Martinez.

Rollins, Utley and Pence went in order in the bottom of the first with the Phils down 1-0.

Howard grounded to second to start the second, but Victorino was next and ripped a double to right. Ibanez fouled out to Punto for the second out and Polanco grounded to short.

In the third, Ruiz flew to right, Halladay struck out swinging and Rollins grounded to third on a ball he thought was foul.

Carpenter hit Utley with a pitch to start the fourth. Pence was next and grounded to second with Utley forced at second for the first out. Howard lined to second for the second out. Victorino moved Pence to third with a single, bringing Ibanez to the plate with men on the corners. Ibanez hammered a 3-2 pitch to right, but Berkman took it at the wall to end the inning.

Two hits for Victorino to start the game, but Phils can’t score. Ibanez just missed.

Polanco, Ruiz and Halladay all grounded out as the Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Rollins grounded to short to start the sixth. Utley was next and hit a ball to first, deflected by a diving Pujols and into right for a single. Molina threw him out trying to steal second for the second out. Pence grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Fantastic throw by Molina to throw Utley out at second on a breaking ball. Again Utley aggressive on the bases and again it hurts the Phils. Utley stole 14 bases during the regular season without being caught. Over the last three years he has stolen 50 bases during the regular season and been caught twice.

Howard, Victorino and Ibanez went in order in the seventh. Howard got way ahead in the count, then flew to right 3-0 for the first out.

Polanco and Ruiz both grounded out to start the eighth. With the righty Carpenter still pitching for the Cards, Gload hit for Halladay. Gload struck out swinging 1-2, but Molina’s throw to first pulled Pujols off the bag and Gload was safe. Rollins smashed a ball back up the middle, but it was deflected by Carpenter, went to Punto and Punto threw to first in time to nip Rollins.

Close play at first for the third out. Rollins used to be a little faster than he is now.

Utley smashed Carpenter’s first pitch of the ninth to center, but Chambers took it at the wall for the first out. Pence grounded to third for the second out. Howard grounded to second to end the season, crumpling to the ground with an injury unable to get up as the Cardinals celebrated.

Utley just missed.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. He hit 450/476/650 in the series, going 9-for-20 with a walk and four doubles.

Utley 1-for-3 in the game with a caught stealing. 438/571/688 7-for-16 with three walks, two doubles and a triple.

Pence 0-for-4 in game five. 4-for-19 with two walks and four singles in the series. 211/286/211. 2-for-5 in game one and 2-for-14 after game one.

Howard 0-for-4. 2-for-19 with a walk, a home run and six RBI in the series with a 105/143/263 line. People remember him striking out to end the NLCS in 2010, but Howard was good in that series, going 7-for-22 with a 318/400/500 line.

Victorino was 2-for-3 in game five with a double, which was the only extra-base hit in the game for the Phils. 6-for-19 with a double in the series. 316/316/368.

Ibanez 0-for-3. 3-for-15 with a home run and four RBI in the series. 200/200/400. He’s 10-for-46 (.217) for the Phils in the post-season since the start of 2010.

Polanco 0-for-3 in the game and 2-for-19 in the series (105/105/105). 8-for-his-last-65 in the post-season (.123) and 8-for-48 over the last two years in the playoffs with the Phillies (.167).

Ruiz 0-for-3 in the game and 1-for-17 in the series (059/111/059).

Mayberry didn’t play in game five. He was 0-for-4 in the series.

Gload 0-for-1 in game five and 1-for-2 in the series.

Francisco didn’t play in game five. He was 1-for-2 with a three-run homer in the series.

Martinez appeared as a pinch-runner but didn’t have an at-bat in the series. Schneider didn’t appear.


Goliath looking a little peaked after David knocks in four runs in his last two at-bats

The Phillies are built to win with dominant starting pitching, but for the second game in the four they’ve played this post-season they didn’t get it last night. Oswalt allowed five runs in six innings in front of an offense that has plated six runs in their last 25 times at-bat and the Phils fell 5-3 to even the series with the Cards heading into game five.

David Freese had a monster game for St Louis. Coming into his at-bat in the bottom of the fourth inning, Freese was 2-for-13 in the series with seven strikeouts. He knocked in four runs in his last two at-bats, going 2-for-2 with a two-run double and a two-run homer.

Rollins doubled to start the game and scored when Utley followed and ripped a triple down the first base line. Pence knocked Utley in with a single to put the Phils on top 2-0, but was caught stealing on a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out-double-play with Howard at the plate that seemed to kill the early momentum for the Phils. Lance Berkman ripped a double to the gap in right-center in the bottom of the first, plating Skip Schumaker to cut the lead to 2-1. Oswalt walked Berkman to start the fourth and hit Matt Holliday behind him, putting two men on base for Freese. Freese doubled into the left field corner, clearing the bases and put the Cards on top 3-2. In his next at-bat, which came in the sixth, Freese pounded an Oswalt pitch way out to center for a long home run that extended the St Louis lead to 5-2. Singles by Gload and Utley and a wild pitch by Fernando Salas helped the Phils get a run in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 5-3. Marc Rzepczynski struck Howard out with a man on second to end the eighth and Jason Motte set the Phils down in order in the ninth.

With the strikeout, Howard is 2-for-15 in the series. That’s part of a big problem for the Phils that has seen Rollins and Utley pound the ball at the top of the order while most of the rest of the lineup goes quiet. Rollins and Utley are 15-for-29 with seven extra-base hits and four walks in the series so far. Pence, Howard, Victorino, Ibanez, Mayberry, Polanco and Ruiz have combined to go 16-for-92 (.174) in the series with 14 singles.

If I never see Jason Motte on the mound for Cards again it would be okay with me. The Phils have one hit against him in 3 1/3 scoreless innings in the set. Octavio Dotel got two more outs for the St Louis pen as well, he has now thrown 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the series over three appearances without allowing a hit or a walk.

The NLDS between the Phillies and the St Louis Cardinals is tied at two games all after the Cards topped the Phils 5-3 last night.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing five runs on six hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a walk. He struck out five.

He faced a St Louis lineup that went (1) Rafael Furcal (SS/S) (2) Skip Schumaker (2B/L) (3) Albert Pujols (1B/R) (4) Lance Berkman (LF/S) (5) Matt Holliday (LF/R) (6) Yadier Molina (C/R) (7) David Freese (3B/R) (8) Jon Jay (CF/L). Holliday makes his first start of the series in left, moving Craig to the bench. Schumaker at second against the righty and moves up to second in the order with the hot righty Theriot on the bench. Freese dropped to seventh in the order with Holliday in the lineup.

St Louis had six hitters on the bench to start the game, righties Matt Theriot, Allen Craig and Gerald Laird, lefties Adron Chambers and Daniel Descalso and switch-hitter Nick Punto.

Oswalt started the bottom of the first with a 2-0 lead. He struck Furcal out swinging 0-2 for the first out, but Schumaker was next and the lefty lined a single the other way into left. Pujols popped to Polanco for the second out before Berkman drove a ball off the wall in right-center. Victorino seemed to be having trouble with the sun and slipped when he got to the ball as he tried to throw. The ball dribbled away and he picked it up as Berkman went to third. Schumaker scored to cut the lead to 2-1 and Victorino was charged with an error that allowed Berkman to take third on his double. Holliday grounded to second on a 2-1 pitch to leave Berkman stranded.

Victorino wasn’t charged with an error in 1,150 2/3 innings in center during the regular season.

Oswalt struck Molina and Freese both out swinging 0-2 for the first two outs of the second. Jay grounded to second for the third out.

The pitcher Edwin Jackson struck out looking 1-2 for the first out of the third. Furcal grounded to short for the second out before Schumaker singled to right. It brought Pujols to the plate with a man on first. Oswalt struck him out swinging 2-2 to leave Schumaker at first.

Five strikeouts for Oswalt through three innings. He had thrown 39 pitches.

Oswalt walked Berkman on five pitches to start the fourth. Holliday was next and Oswalt hit him on the right arm with the first pitch of his at-bat, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Molina drove a ball to right-center, but Pence tracked it down for the first out making a nice running grab. Freese was the next hitter and he doubled into the left-field corner. Berkman scored easily and Holliday slid in just ahead of the relay from Rollins for the second run, putting the Cards on top 3-2. Jay moved Freese up to third with a ground out to second. Oswalt got Jackson on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Furcal tried to bunt for a hit to start the bottom of the fifth, but popped it up to Polanco in foul territory for the first out. Oswalt’s 1-1 pitch to Schumaker was a ball inside as a squirrel ran right past Schumaker. Discussion ensued. It was still a ball. Schumaker flew to center for the second out and Pujols flew to right.

Oswalt had thrown 62 pitches. He came up with a pretty funny line after the game about wondering how big an animal it would have had to have been for the pitch not to have counted. It makes it kinda hard for me not to picture a herd of bison or something. So at least we’ve got that if not a baseball team to follow that can score without the help of a wild pitch or an intentional walk from planet Wackadoo.

Berkman grounded to third on a 3-2 pitch for the first out of the sixth. Holliday was next and singled up the middle before Molina flew to left for the second out. Freese followed and hit a 1-0 pitch out to straight away center for a two-run homer, extending the St Louis lead to 5-2. Jay grounded to second for the third out.

Double and a home run for Freese in his last two at-bats.

Blanton pitched the seventh, making his first appearance of the series, and set St Louis down in order. Descalso, double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, flew to right for the first out. Furcal grounded to first for the second and Theriot grounded to short for the third.

Lidge started the eighth with the St Louis lead cut to 5-3. Pujols flew to right, Berkman flew to left and Holliday struck out swinging 1-2.

Two perfect innings for the pen as Lidge and Blanton don’t allow a hit or a walk. Lidge threw ten pitches in the game and Blanton eight. Everyone should be available on Friday.

Freese is hitting .267 in the series after going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Schumaker also had two hits for the Cards, going 2-for-3. He’s 5-for-8 in the set.

Furcal 0-for-4 in the game and 4-for-18 so far.

Pujols 0-for-4 with a strikeout last night. 7-for-17 with three doubles in the series.

Berkman 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. 3-for-15 with a double, a homer and two walks in the series.

Holliday was 1-for-3 and scored two of the St Louis runs. 2-for-5 in the set.

Molina 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s 3-for-15 in the series with three singles.

Jay was 0-for-2. 2-for-11 with three walks in the series.

The Phillies lineup against righty Edwin Jackson went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Utley (2B/L) (3) Pence (RF/R) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Victorino (CF/S) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Polanco (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). Mayberry back on the bench against the righty with Ibanez in left.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench, righties John Mayberry, Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco, lefties Brian Schneider and Ross Gload and switch-hitter Michael Martinez.

Rollins was the first batter of the game and hit a ball hard to center and over Jay’s head that bounced over the wall. Jay looked like he had some trouble finding the ball in the sun, but he might not have caught it even if he hadn’t. Utley was next and he ripped a ball passed Pujols and down the first base line. The ball kicked off the stands and Utley had a triple. Rollins scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Pence singled into center on the first pitch of his at-bat with Utley scoring from third to put the Phillies up 2-0. Howard was next and took a 3-2 pitch for called strike three as Pence took off for second and was thrown out on a close play to complete the double-play. Victorino flew to left for the third out.

I know it’s 3-2 and all, but I still think you want to avoid a caught stealing ahead of your five-hitter when every player you’ve sent to the plate in the game has gotten a hit. In his defense, Pence was probably safe.

Jackson struck out Ibanez and Ruiz in the second, both swinging. Polanco popped to Pujols in foul territory in-between.

Oswalt grounded to short for the first out in the third. Rollins was next and hit a ball back up the middle that Schumaker got to, but not in time to throw Rollins out at first. Utley was next and grounded out with Rollins forced at second for the second out. Pence grounded to third to leave Utley at first.

Howard struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fourth. Victorino was next and grounded to short for the second out. Ibanez flew to left for the third.

Jackson had thrown 44 pitches through four innings. He had been perfect since the first except for the infield single by Rollins.

The Phillies were trailing 3-2 when they hit in the fifth. Polanco led off and singled to left on a 2-2 pitch. Ruiz swung at the first pitch and flew to left for the first out. Oswalt bunted Polanco to second with the second. Rollins got ahead but grounded to first on a 2-1 pitch to set the Phillies down.

Utley led off the sixth with Theriot at second after Schumaker had grabbed at his leg during his at-bat in the fifth. He drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Utley was running 3-2 when Pence hit a ground ball to short. Furcal fielded and threw to first. Pujols saw Utley round second, came off of first and threw to third where Utley was tagged out for the first out of the inning. It brought Howard to the plate with one down and Pence on first. Howard got ahead 3-0, but flew to center on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Victorino grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

That’s not so much a good play by Utley. We might want to cut him a little slack what with being the only guy who ever gets a hit and whatnot, though.

Lefty Arthur Rhodes took over for Jackson to start the seventh and struck Ibanez out swinging for the first out. Righty Octavio Dotel got Polanco on a ground ball to third for the second out. Ruiz flew to center to end the frame.

Righty Fernando Salas started the eighth for St Louis. Gload hit for Blanton and singled to right. Salas balked Gload to second and Martinez ran for Gload at second. Rollins smashed a 2-1 pitch, but Theriot took it on a short hop and threw to first for the first out with Martinez moving up to third. Utley chopped a 1-1 pitch up the first base line that hit first base and popped up in the air too high for Pujols to get it in time to get Utley. Utley had a single and Martinez moved up to third. Salas’s 1-2 pitch to Pence was outside and in the dirt. Molina couldn’t block it and Martinez scored from third to make it 5-3 with Utley moving up to second. Pence grounded to short for the second out with Utley holding second. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski took over for Salas and struck Howard out swinging 0-2 to leave Utley stranded.

Righty Jason Motte started the ninth for St Louis. He got behind Victorino 3-2, but threw two strikes in a row before Victorino grounded to Pujols for the first out. Ibanez didn’t come close to hitting Motte’s 0-2 pitch, a high fastball he waved at for the second out. Polanco got behind 0-2 and blooped a ball into right-center, but Jay made a nice sliding catch to end the game.

The Phils finally do something against Salas, who is charged with a run in two-thirds of an inning. The other four guys who pitched in relief for the Cards in the game combined to not allow a hit or a walk in 2 1/3 innings.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double. He’s 9-for-16 with a walk and four doubles in the series.

Utley 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk. 6-for-13 with two doubles, a triple and three walks.

If you had told me that Rollins and Utley were going to go 15-for-29 with seven extra-base hits and four walks in the set I wouldn’t have guessed the Phillies were going to win half the games.

Pence 1-for-4 with an RBI. 4-for-15 with two walks and four RBI in the series.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out three times. 2-for-15 in the series with a walk, a home run and six RBI.

Victorino 0-for-4. 4-for-16 with four singles and two RBI.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and struck out three times. 3-for-12 with a home run and four RBI in the series. 1-for-8 since going 2-for-4 in game one.

Polanco 1-for-4. 2-for-16 with no walks in the series.

Ruiz 0-for-3 in the game and 1-for-14 in the series.

Roy Halladay will face righty Chris Carpenter tomorrow night in game five. Not really what we were hoping for, but it will at least give people a rare opportunity to use the phrase “must win” without hyperbole. Almost worth it.

But not quite.


All about the Louis Bens

It would be all about the Benjamins if Francisco’s first name was actually Benjamin. Mostly at least. It would also be some about Cole Hamels, too. And a little about a great job by Ryan Madson to get out of a huge jam in the bottom of the eighth.

The Phils got an outstanding pitching performance from Cole Hamels last night and one big swing of the bat from Ben Francisco as they topped the Cards 3-2 in game three of the NLDS.

Hamels and St Louis lefty Jaime Garcia locked up in a pitcher’s duel that saw the Phillies come to bat in the seventh with the game scoreless. With two outs, Victorino on first and Ruiz set to hit in front of Hamels, who was clearly going to be removed for a pinch-hitter having thrown 117 pitches in the game, the lefty Garcia walked Ruiz intentionally. Francisco hit for Hamels and blasted a three-run homer to left, putting the Phils on top 3-0. The bullpen struggled for the Phillies after Hamels left. Worley allowed a run on two singles and a walk in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead to 3-1. In the eighth, another single off of Worley and two off of Lidge loaded the bases for St Louis with one out. Madson came in to try to lock down a long save and got out of the eighth on a double-play ball smashed to second by Allen Craig. Madson was charged with a run in the bottom of the ninth when Albert Pujols led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Yadier Molina, cutting the lead to 3-2. Ryan Theriot came to the plate 4-for-4 on the day as the winning run with two outs and a man on first, but Madson got him to ground to Utley at second to end the game.

The decision to walk Ruiz, 1-for-11 in the series, ahead of the pitcher’s spot with two outs in the seventh was baffling. It put another runner on base for the righty Francisco to hit against the lefty Garcia. After he homered, the St Louis comeback fell a run short. The foundation may have been Francisco’s 1-for-9 against Garcia for his career, but that was a bad idea and it hurt St Louis.

For Francisco it was a shining moment in a down season. He started for the Phillies in right field on opening day, but disappointed offensively, hitting an ugly 197/324/309 in 184 plate appearances between April 13 and June 30.

His home run last night was a much-needed lift for an offense that has seen its starters knock in zero runs in the last 16 innings.

The St Louis pen continues to befuddle the Phillies. After two scoreless innings in game three, they have thrown eight scoreless frames since being hit hard in game one.

The Phillies pen, on the other handled, struggled like they did in game one. The pen was great in game two, throwing three scoreless innings in relief of Lee. In games one and three they have allowed five runs on 11 hits and two walks over four innings. Eleven hits is more than you want to allow in four innings.

The Phils have won both of the games in which their pen has pitched badly and won the one where it didn’t.

The Phillies lead the NLDS with the St Louis Cardinals two games to one after winning game three 3-2 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six shutout innings, allowing five hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles to Albert Pujols. He struck out eight. He has allowed two earned runs over 21 innings in his last three post-season starts.

He faced a St Louis lineup that went (1) Rafael Furcal (SS/S) (2) Allen Craig (RF/R) (3) Albert Pujols (1B/R) (4) Lance Berkman (LF/S) (5) David Freese (3B/R) (6) Yadier Molina (C/R) (7) Ryan Theriot (2B/R) (8) Jon Jay (CF/L).

St Louis had six hitters on the bench to start the game, righties Matt Holliday and Gerald Laird, lefties Adron Chambers, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso and switch-hitter Nick Punto.

Hamels got Furcal on a ground ball to second for the first out of the bottom of the first. Craig popped to Rollins on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Pujols was next and doubled to center on a 2-2 pitch before Hamels hit Berkman 1-0 to put men on first and second. Berkman and Pujols pulled off a double-steal, but Hamels struck Freese out swinging 0-2 to leave them at second and third.

Molina hit a 2-2 pitch way out but foul before flying to Pence for the first out of the second. Theriot singled to right, but Hamels struck Jay out looking 3-2 for the second out and pitcher Jaime Garcia out swinging to leave Theriot at first.

Furcal went down swinging 1-2 to start the third before Craig walked on a 3-2 pitch up and away. Pujols flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the second out and Berkman grounded to Utley to end the frame.

Don’t want to walk guys ahead of Pujols and Berkman, but it worked out okay for Hamels there.

Hamels struck Freese out trying to check his swing for the first out in the fourth. Molina grounded to short for the second. Theriot was next and he dribbled an 0-2 pitch down the third base line that stayed fair for a single. Theriot stole second as the count went 2-0 on Jay, so Hamels put Jay on intentionally to pitch to Garcia with men on first and second. Garcia grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Furcal popped to Utley to start the fifth and Craig flew to center behind him. Pujols ripped an 0-1 pitch into the gap in right center where the ball rolled all the way to the wall for a double. Berkman grounded to Howard to end the inning.

Hamels got Freese looking 2-2 to start the sixth. Molina got ahead of Hamels 3-0, but Hamels came back and struck him out swinging for the second out. Theriot was next and he singled to left, bringing Jay to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Hamels walked Jay on a 3-2 pitch that was low and his 111th of the game. Hamels struck Garcia out swinging 1-2 with his 117th pitch of the game to leave both runners stranded.

Theriot was 3-for-3 in the game at that point and Freese 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Worley started the seventh with the Phils on top 3-0. Furcal grounded to first for the first out, but Worley walked Craig on a 3-2 pitch behind him. Pujols was next and he blooped a ball into right that fell between Utley and Pence, putting men on first and second for Berkman. Berkman swung at the first pitch and hit a ground ball to second, with Utley going to Rollins at second to force Pujols for the second out with Craig moving up to third. Freese was also swinging at the first pitch and singled into center, scoring Craig to make it 3-1 and moving Berkman to second. Molina flew to right on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

I’m pretty sure it’s enough with walking Craig ahead of the great hitters.

Worley was back to start the eighth and got ahead of Theriot 0-2 before Worley looped a single that dropped right in front of Pence. Fourth hit of the game for Theriot. Bastardo took over to pitch to the lefty Jay and Punto hit for Jay. Punto flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Righty Matt Holliday hit for the pitcher Fernando Salas and Lidge came in to pitch to him. Lidge threw strike one to Holliday before Holliday singled into left, moving Theriot up to second. Adron Chambers ran for Holliday at first. Furcal was next and singled to left on a 1-2 pitch, loading the bases for the Cards. Manuel called on Madson to pitch to Craig and Craig hit an 0-1 pitch hard but right at Utley. Utley ran to second then made a strong throw to first to complete the double-play and end the inning.

Just a huge pitch for Madson to get the double-play and get the Phillies out of the inning. Madson also gets out of the frame with just two pitches — important since he was coming back for the ninth. Getting a double-play also meant the guy behind Craig, Pujols, didn’t get to hit with a bunch of men on bases.

Fantastic decision by Manuel to bring in his best relief option with one out in the eighth inning.

It was good Pujols didn’t get to hit with the bases loaded cause he doubled to left to start the ninth. Madson got Berkman to fly to center on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Madson got ahead of Freese and threw an 0-2 pitch that Freese took that looked real good to me. Might have been a little high. Freese took if for ball one then grounded to second 2-2 for the second out with Pujols moving up to third. Molina was next and he lined a single into center, scoring Pujols and cutting the lead to 3-2. Pitcher Kyle Lohse ran for Molina at first and Theriot came to the plate with a 4-for-4 for the game and hitting .750 in the series. Madson got Theriot to hit a one-hopper to Utley on a 2-2 pitch with Utley going to Howard in plenty of time to end the game.

Either team could have won the game on every pitch of Theriot’s at-bat, but Madson gets the job done for his second career post-season save. The other came in game five of the 2009 World Series. Madson has pitched in every game in the series, including the one that the Phillies won by five runs. Anyone remember Juan Uribe last year or Madson pitching with five-run leads? Just saying. That just saying aside, I thought it was great Manuel brought Madson in with one out in the eighth yesterday. Less fantastic he brought him into the ninth inning of game one, which the Phils won by five runs (the Phils were actually up seven runs, 11-4, with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth when Madson entered game one).

Three ugly innings for the bullpen in which they allow two runs on seven hits and a walk. Madson threw 20 pitches in the game and Worley 18. Bastardo and Lidge were both under ten.

Pujols and Theriot both went 4-for-5 in game three. Theriot had four singles and Pujols three doubles and a single. Pujols is 7-for-13 in the series and Theriot 6-for-9.

Furcal 1-for-5 in the game and 4-for-14 in the series.

Craig 0-for-3 with two walks. He’s 1-for-10 in the series but has walked four times. The Phillies should really try to stop walking him ahead of Pujols and Berkman.

Freese 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. 2-for-12 with six strikeouts in the series.

Molina 1-for-5 in the game and 3-for-12 in the series.

Jay 0-for-1 and walked twice. 2-for-8 with three walks in the series.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jaime Garcia went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Utley (2B/L) (3) Pence (RF/R) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Victorino (CF/S) (6) Mayberry (LF/R) (7) Polanco (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). Mayberry starts in left against the lefty with Ibanez on the bench. That seems like the right decision, although Ibanez went 3-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in the first two games of the series.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench, righties Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco, lefties Brian Schneider, Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload and switch-hitter Michael Martinez.

Rollins was the first batter of the game and fouled out to Pujols. Utley grounded to first for the second out. Pence lined to Furcal at short for the third out.

Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to start the second. Victorino flew to center for the second out and Mayberry struck out swinging 0-2 for the third.

Polanco grounded to short for the first out of the third before Ruiz chopped a ball over Freese’s head and into left for a single. Hamels tried to bunt but popped the first pitch from Garcia up to Molina in foul territory for the second out. Rollins was next and he hit a ball into center that Jay may have had trouble seeing in the sun, but it would have fallen anyway. Rollins had a single and Ruiz moved up to second. Utley grounded to Pujols to leave both runners stranded.

Pence flew to Berkman on the edge of the track in right for the first out of the fourth. Howard struck out looking 2-2 for the second. Victorino grounded to third to end the frame.

Mayberry started the fifth with a ground out to short. Polanco grounded to third for the second. Ruiz smashed a 3-2 pitch to Furcal’s right, but Furcal made a nice play to pick the ball and a strong throw to first to get Ruiz and set the Phillies down.

Hamels hammered a 1-0 pitch to left to start the sixth, but Craig took it after a long run for the first out. Rollins was next and flew to left for the second out. Utley was next and singled into center. He took second when Garcia delivered a 1-1 pitch to Pence that looked like it could have been blocked by Molina but wasn’t. With Utley on second, Pence was walked intentionally to put men on first and second. Howard grounded to first 0-2 for the third out to leave both men stranded.

Victorino got ahead 3-0 to start the seventh and singled into center on a 3-2 pitch. The first pitch to Mayberry was a low fastball that Molina again couldn’t block, allowing Victorino to move up to second. Mayberry flew to right for the first out and Berkman nearly picked Victorino off of second, with Victorino scurrying back just ahead of the tag. Polanco was next and grounded to third for the second out with Victorino holding second. For reasons that completely escape me, Garcia walked Ruiz intentionally to put men on first and second. Francisco hit for Hamels and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a three-run homer that put the Phils on top 3-0. Rollins doubled over Jay’s head and stole third, but was left there when Utley grounded to second.

Walking Ruiz intentionally is kinda baffling.

Righty Fernando Salas started the eighth with the Phillies up 3-1 and got Pence on a fly ball to right for the first out. Howard was next and he grounded to second for the second out. Victorino grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Righy Jason Motte was on for the Cards to start the ninth. Skip Schumaker was in center for St Louis, where he had played 13 innings in 2011. Mayberry led off and hit a ball into center that Furcal tracked down with an over-the-shoulder catch for the first out. Polanco was next and broke his 0-for-11 with a single to right. Ruiz hit a ball into center that Schumaker made a diving effort at. It was originally ruled a non-catch with Ruiz safe at first with a single, but the umpires huddled and called it a catch (it was). Polanco went back to first with two down. Madson hit for himself and Motte struck him out swinging 0-2 to leave Polanco at first.

Dotel, Motte, Rhodes and Salas have combined to throw eight scoreless innings so far in the series in which they have allowed one hit (Polanco’s game three single off of Motte) and no walks.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double in the game. He’s 7-for-12 with a walk and three doubles in the series.

Utley 1-for-4. 4-for-10 with two walks and two doubles.

Pence 0-for-3 with a walk and 3-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 2-for-11 with a home run and six RBI in the series. 1-for-8 in the last two games.

Victorino 1-for-4 yesterday and 4-for-12 with four singles in the series.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the game and in the set.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a single. 1-for-12 in the series. He’s now hitting 254/321/287 in 140 career post-season plate appearances. 7-for-41 (.171) with the Phillies in the playoffs since the start of the 2010 post-season.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a memorable intentional walk. He’s 1-for-11 in the set.

Polanco and Ruiz are a combined 2-for-23 at the bottom of the order for the Phils. Rollins and Utley are a combined 11-for-22 so far at the top.

Roy Oswalt faces righty Edwin Jackson in game four.


L27OGY?

If there is one, let’s just hope it’s for the Phils and not St Louis.

Cole Hamels faces lefty Jaime Garcia this afternoon in game three in St Louis.

Hamels went 14-9 for the Phils with a 2.79 ERA and an 0.97 ratio. He was second in the NL in ratio and in the top ten in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched. He allowed just 169 hits in 216 innings — that’s about 7.042 per nine innings, which was second-best in the league behind Clayton Kershaw.

Righties hit just 204/251/326 against the lefty Hamels for the season. Lefties 249/286/376.

Hamels had the best year of his career preventing home runs in 2011, allowing just 19 in 216 innings. He allowed a lot more homers towards the end of the year. Over his first 17 starts of the year through the end of June he threw 116 innings and allowed just six home runs. That’s 0.47 home runs per nine innings. From the start of August to the end of the season he allowed 11 home runs in 64 innings (1.54 per nine). In the 38 innings he threw in September, Hamels allowed nine home runs (2.13 per nine).

He made one start against St Louis this year, allowing four runs in seven innings on September 18. The Phils lost that game 5-0. Hamels struck out nine in seven innings, but allowed pair of two-run homers in the game. Pujols hit one in the first and Allen Craig got him in the sixth. Blanton gave up a run in relief in the eighth and Chris Carpenter threw eight shutout innings against the Phils.

Pujols is just 4-for-23 for his career against Hamels, but with a double and two home runs. Berkman 7-for-21 with seven singles. Theriot seems like a good bet to start at second, he’s 7-for-21 with two doubles and a homer against Hamels. Furcal 2-for-10. Craig 2-for-6 with a homer. Molina 4-for-18 with two doubles.

Hamels was named the most valuable player of the 2008 World Series and the 2008 NLCS. In six playoff starts in ’08 he threw to a 2.16 ERA with an 0.94 ratio. Overall he has made 12 playoff starts for his career, throwing to a 3.33 ERA with a 1.03 ratio. Last year he threw a complete-game shutout against the Reds in game three of the NLDS, allowing four singles, a double and no walks as the Phils won 2-0.

Lefty Jaime Garcia, 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA in the regular season, goes for the Cardinals.

The 25-year-old Garcia was better against righties than lefties this year, holding righties to a 264/309/388 line while lefties hit 308/352/418 against him. He was also a lot better at home than on the road, throwing to a 2.55 ERA with a 1.11 ratio at home and a 4.61 ERA with an ugly 1.54 ratio in his 17 starts on the road.

Garcia is good at keeping the ball in the yard. Over the last two seasons he has allowed 24 homers in 358 innings (0.60 per nine).

He made two starts against the Phillies this year and was very good, holding them to two runs (one earned) over 15 innings.

On May 17 he held the Phils to an unearned run over eight innings as the Cards topped the Phillies 2-1. St Louis went up 1-0 with a run off of Oswalt in the fourth on a walk and two singles. Rollins reached on a dropped popup by Tyler Greene in the eighth and scored on a sac fly by Polanco to tie the game at 1-1, but Baez started the ninth and allowed the first three men he faced to reach on singles, which loaded the bases. Berkman singled off of Romero to give the Cards a walkoff win.

On September 16 he allowed a run over seven innings in Philadelphia as the Cards won 4-2. The Cards jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second with a run off of Worley on three walks and a single. Back-to-back doubles by Polanco and Mayberry tied the game up at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, which is the only earned run the Phillies scored charged to Garcia this year. Molina homered off of Bastardo in the eight to put the Cards up 2-1, but the Phils tied the game at 2-2 when Corey Patterson dropped a fly ball from Ruiz with two outs in the ninth, allowing Martinez to score from second. St Louis scored two runs charged to Schwimer in the top of the eleventh to get the win.

Pence is the Phillies with the most career at-bats against Garcia. He’s 3-for-15 against Garcia with a double, a triple and a home run. Howard 2-for-12 with a home run (one of just nine HR on the year that Garica allowed in 163 1/3 innings in 2010), Utley 0-for-6, Rollins 1-for-11, Polanco 2-for-11 with a double, Victorino 2-for-9.

Garcia will be the first lefty that the Phillies have faced in the post-season. Ibanez was 1-for-3 against Garcia this year and Mayberry 3-for-6 with a double.

Garcia will be making his first post-season appearance.

This suggests that Mayberry will start in left instead of Ibanez. Ibanez is 3-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in the first two games of the series. I think Mayberry is the better choice.


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