Archive for April, 2012

Seven is enough

The offense and Roy Halladay showed up at the same time last night for the Phillies and it proved to be a winning combination. The Phils rode a five-run third and Halladay’s pitching to a 7-1 win.

The Phils capitalized on some shaky defensive outfield play and were extremely aggressive on the bases in the five-run third. The inning was most memorable, however, for a two-run double that came off the bat of Freddy Galvis after Ruiz had been intentionally walked ahead of Galvis to load the bases. Ruiz continued to swing a hot bat in the game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run.

The Phillies are 2-3 on the year after beating the Miami Marlins 7-1 last night. The teams have split the first two games of the three-game set.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out three and has an 0.60 ERA on the year after two starts (he’s allowed one run in 15 innings).

The Phils are 2-0 in games started by Halladay and 0-3 in games started by anyone else.

He got switch-hitter Jose Reyes on a ground ball to first for the first out of the game before switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio reached on a swinging bunt. Righty Hanley Ramirez was next and hit a ball well to center, but Victorino made a nice over-the-shoulder catch for the second out. Righty Giancarlo Stanton followed and lined a single into left, moving Bonifacio up to second. Lefty Logan Morrison walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for righty Gaby Sanchez. Halladay got Sanchez on a ground ball to second to turn Miami away.

Another rough first inning for Halladay after allowing two singles in the first inning of his first start, which was followed by seven shutout innings in which he didn’t allow any hits. Nice catch by Victorino helped him out.

Righty Omar Infante led off the second and doubled high off the wall in left. He moved to third when righty John Buck flew to right for the first out. Pitcher Josh Johnson was next and he grounded to second for the second out, with Infante coming in to score from third to put the Marlins up 1-0. Reyes flew to center for the third out.

Halladay got Bonifacio on a fly ball to center to start the third and struck Ramirez out for the second out. Stanton singled to left, but Halladay retired Morrison on a ground ball to second to end the frame.

One strikeout through three innings for Halladay. He had thrown 59 pitches, 23 of which had been thrown in the first inning.

He was up 5-1 when he started the fourth and set Sanchez, Infante and Buck down in order.

Up 6-1 in the fifth, he got pitcher Chad Gaudin to pop to Rollins for the first out and struck out Reyes and Bonifacio behind him.

Ramirez doubled to start the sixth, but Halladay keep the Marlins off the board. Stanton grounded to short for the first out. Morrison went down on a softly hit ball that Halladay handled for the second out, with Ramirez moving up to third. Sanchez grounded to short for the third out.

Halladay set the Marlins down in order in the seventh. Lefty Chris Coghlan hit for Gaudin and popped to Galvis for the third out.

Qualls got three fly balls in a 1-2-3 eighth with the Phillies up 7-1.

Qualls had been unavailable for a few days with a foot problem and was making his first appearance since game two of the season. In two outings he has allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.

Stutes set Stanton, Morrison and Sanchez down in the ninth.

Stutes has appeared in the three of the five games the Phillies have played, putting him on pace to make about 97 appearances for the season. He has allowed three hits and two runs (both of which were unearned) over 2 2/3 innings.

Two perfect innings of relief for the pen. Qualls threw 16 pitches and Stutes 13.

The Phillies lineup against righty Josh Johnson went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Victorino (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Pierre in left against the righty with Mayberry at first. Lefties Nix and Thome on the bench. Polanco continues to hit at the top of the order, which isn’t a good place for him.

Pierre tried to bunt for a hit, but foul, before grounding to first for the first out in the bottom of the first. Polanco flew to right and Rollins grounded to second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Pence led off and singled into center. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to second. Pence and Infante collided in the base line as Infante waited to field the ball — Pence was called out on interference with Victorino safe at first. Mayberry followed with a single to left that moved Victorino up to second. Ruiz popped up to Infante for the second out. Victorino stole third with Galvis at the plate and a nice catch by Ramirez at third saved the ball from going into left field. Galvis grounded to second to leave the runners at the corners.

Two nice defensive plays by the Fish in the frame. Infante does his best to get run over by Pence and gets the call. Ramirez saves Buck an error at third and his team a run on the Victorino steal of third.

Halladay grounded to first to start the bottom of the third, but Pierre was next and he lined a single into right. Pierre stole second as the count went 2-0 on Polanco, sliding in just safe as Reyes put on the tag (he was out). Polanco hit a ball back up the middle and off of Johnson’s foot. The ball bounded off to short and Pierre raced around to score ahead of the throw home from Reyes, tying the game at 1-1. Polanco wound up on second. Rollins was next and he lined a single into left center. Polanco scored (2-1) and Morrison didn’t handle the ball cleanly in left, allowing Rollins to take second on the error. Pence was next and he singled to left. Jimmy came around to score with Morrison overthrowing the cutoff man as his throw sailed in high. Rollins scored easily to put the Phils up 3-1 and the throw home allowed Pence to take second. Victorino was next and he hit a ball into right-center that Stanton dove for and missed (it was first called an error and later changed to a hit). Pence moved up to third. Victorino stole second without a throw, putting men on second and third for Mayberry, but Mayberry popped to second for the second out. Johnson got behind Ruiz 1-0 then walked him intentionally to load the bases for Galvis. The crowd was already chanting “Freddy! Freddy!” when Galvis lined a 2-2 pitch into right for a double, scoring Pence and Victorino and moving Ruiz up to third. Halladay grounded out to second for the third out.

Lots of aggressive base-running from the Phils with one out. Pierre scored on Polanco’s single to short from second and Rollins scored from second on Pence’s single. Pierre called safe on the stolen base when he was out helped a lot.

The Phils stole two bases in the inning. Victorino may not have scored from first on the double by Galvis and Galvis wouldn’t have hit if first base hadn’t been open to walk Ruiz.

Miserable defense from the Fish in the frame, too. Morrison makes the error mishandling the ball hit by Rollins, then makes a throw home that allows Pence to take second. Stanton should have caught Victorino’s ball.

No RBI for Mayberry with one out and men on second and third as he pops up. Galvis is apparently not scaring a lot of people with his bat in the early going.

Long, long inning for Johnson. He was at 69 for the game after throwing 41 in the inning — he didn’t last long after that and better defense from the Fish (and a better call on Pierre’s stolen base) would have changed the game.

Rollins and Pence singled back-to-back with two outs in the fourth, putting men on first and second for Victorino. Victorino singled into left, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 6-1. Righty Chad Gaudin took over for Johnson and struck Mayberry out to leave the runners at first and second.

Ruiz doubled off of Gaudin to start the sixth, but the Phils couldn’t bring him home. Galvis flew to center, Halladay struck out on three pitches and Pierre grounded to first.

Righty Ryan Webb started the seventh for Miami. He got Mayberry on a ground ball to third before Ruiz an 0-1 pitch out to left, putting the Phillies ahead 7-1. Galvis grounded to second for the second out. Thome hit for Halladay, who had thrown 109 pitches, and lined to right.

Webb set Pierre, Polanco and Rollins down in order in the eighth.

Pierre was 1-for-5 in the game, but played a big role in the five-run third inning, stealing a base (out or not) and then scoring from second and Polanco’s off-the-footer. He’s 3-for-14 (.214) with three singles on the year.

Polanco was 2-for-5 with an RBI to raise his average to .222.

Rollins 2-for-5 with an RBI as well. He’s 4-for-9 over the last two games.

Pence 3-for-4 with an RBI, upping his average to .368.

Victorino 2-for-4 with two stolen bases. He’s hitting .353. Big catch in the first inning on Ramirez’s ball.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a strikeout and left four men on base. 4-for-16 with four singles and five strikeouts so far. No RBI in the third with runners on second and third and one out.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and a home run. 6-for-13 with two walks, a double and a home run so far.

Galvis was 1-for-4 with his second two-run double in the last two days, upping his average to .118.

Joe Blanton (0-1, 13.50) makes his first start of the year tonight against lefty Mark Buehrle (0-1, 3.00). Blanton has made one appearance on the year, allowing a run in 2/3 of an inning and taking the loss in game two of the series with the Pirates. Buehrle held the Reds to two runs over six innings in his first start of the year.

The Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, The Ryan Howard Family Foundation and Citizens Bank Foundation, will host the Hunting Park Baseball Field Dedication Ceremony on Friday, April 13 with Mayor Michael Nutter and Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard. Read all about it.


Phils dig into their bag of tricks to demo that they can lose with bad starting pitching, too

The Phillies got their first start of the season that wasn’t fantastic yesterday, but otherwise things looked just about the same. Not much offense and a defensive miscue that led an unearned run the Phils can’t afford to allow if they aren’t going to score.

There were some offensive highlights to the game as well. Freddy Galvis registered his first career hit, doubling to the gap in left-center to drive a pair of runs.

The other highlight was that the Phillies didn’t bunt in the game. Not once. No Laynce Nix popping the bunt up. No Jimmy Rollins bunting out of the three-hole, no seeing the third hitter in a scoreless game try to bunt the runners along. Of course, a lot of that probably had something to do with being way behind for much of the game, but this is no time to quibble.

For the second straight game, the Phillies had a defensive lapse at first base that led to at least one earned run. In Sunday’s game, Wigginton failed to handle Schneider’s throw to first on a would-be strikeout, which led to a pair of unearned runs. In yesterday’s game, neither Galvis nor Mayberry was there to cover first when Emilio Bonifacio bunted back to the mound. Hamels threw the ball into right field, allowing Bonifacio to take third. Bonifacio scored two batters later.

The Phillies are 1-3 on the year after losing 6-2 to the Miami Marlins yesterday. They have lost three in a row.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. Only three of the runs were earned. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out nine.

At least it was better than his first start of 2011.

Switch-hitter Jose Reyes was the first hitter of the game and he singled into right. Switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio followed with a single to left that put men on first and second with nobody out for righty Hanley Ramirez. Reyes and Bonifacio pulled off a double-steal as the count went 0-2 on Ramirez. With the infield back, Ramirez grounded softly to second. Ramirez was just out at first, Reyes scored to make it 1-0 with one down and Bonifacio on first. Righty Gaby Sanchez was next and Hamels struck him out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Righty Austin Kearns struck out swinging 1-2 to leave Bonifacio at third.

Back-to-back strikeouts by Hamels keep Bonifacio at third.

Lefty Chris Coghlan led off the top of the second and struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt for the first out. Righty Omar Infante went down on a line drive to third. Righty John Buck struck out swinging 0-2 for the third out.

Four strikeouts for Hamels through two innings. He had struck out four of the last five batters he had faced.

The pitcher Anibal Sanchez led off the third and grounded to third, with Polanco bouncing the throw over to Mayberry for the first out. Reyes was next and tried to bunt for a hit, but Ruiz popped out on it nicely and threw to first for the second out. Bonifacio struck out looking 1-2 to set Miami down.

Eight in a row for Hamels, who had thrown 41 pitches.

Ramirez led off the fourth with a double to left. Sanchez was next and singled into right. Ramirez scored easily, extending the Miami lead to 2-0. Hamels got behind Kearns 3-0, but came back to strike him out looking 3-2 for the first out. Coghlan grounded to short, with the Phillies turning the double-play to set the Fish down.

Infante led off the fifth and hit an 0-1 pitch out to left, extending the lead to 3-0. Hamels struck Buck and Sanchez both out behind Infante before Reyes lined a double to left. Ruiz threw Reyes out trying to steal third with Bonifacio at the plate to end the frame.

You don’t usually want to make the first or third or any out trying to steal third. Hamels allowed a career-best 0.79 home runs per nine innings in 2011, which was the best year of his career. So let’s hope we don’t see the ball going out of the yard too often in the early going. Infante didn’t hit it way out, but he did hit it through the wind.

Bonifacio bunted back to the mound to start the sixth. Hamels fielded and threw to first where nobody was covering. Hamels was charged with an error on the throw and Bonifacio went all the way to third while the Phils chased the ball around the outfield. Ramirez struck out looking for the first out, but Sanchez was next and doubled down the left field line, scoring Bonifacio to make it 4-0. That was it for Hamels and Joe Savery came on to pitch to the righty Kearns. Savery got behind Kearns 2-0 before Kearns grounded to third on a 2-1 pitch for the second out with Sanchez holding second. Coghlan followed and grounded to second on a nice play by Galvis for the third out.

Nice start to the year for Savery in the sixth, keeping more runs off the board after entering with one out and a man on second.

Galvis or Mayberry needs to cover first on the play. The ball was hit pretty straight back to Hamels, so I’ll go with Mayberry if we have to pick one. Either way, it draws attention to the fact that the Phils started two guys on the right side of their infield in the game with very little experience at the position. Cost the Phillies a run.

Savery came back to start the seventh and Infante led off by hitting a 1-1 pitch out to left for his second homer of the day. 5-0. Savery got Buck and Sanchez on a pair of ground balls before Reyes popped to Mayberry for the third out.

It was 5-2 when Herndon started the eighth. He was pitching for the second straight day after throwing 20 pitches in game three in Pittsburgh. Bonifacio led off and singled on a ball that was deflected by Polanco. Ramirez was next and he hit into a double-play, clearing the bases for Sanchez. Herndon got Sanchez swinging 2-2 to set the Fish down.

Papelbon started the ninth for the Phils, making his second appearance of the year and first since Opening Day. Kearns led off and homered to left. 6-2. Papelbon got the next three, getting Coghlan on a ground ball to the mound, Infante on a fly ball to right and striking Buck out swinging.

The Phils did not use Papelbon in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, which they led 4-3 with two outs and men on first and second before righty Matt Hague singled off of the lefty Bastardo. They do use Papelbon yesterday trailing by three runs in the top of the ninth.

I think if they had that to do over, they might do it differently.

The pen went 3 2/3 innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits (including two solo homers) and no walks.

Herndon has pitched two days in a row. He threw 13 pitches in the game. Papelbon 18 and Savery 15. None of that will matter much with the Phillies not playing today.

At least we know now that Manuel is aware Savery is on the team.

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Victorino (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Pierre leads off against a righty for the second-straight game and plays left. The righty Mayberry at first with Wigginton, Nix and Thome on the bench. Victorino hits fifth in the order after leading off and hitting out of the one and two spots in the series against the Pirates. Glad to see Victorino dropped to lower in the order — the Phillies are going to need him to drive in some runs. Against a righty, it seems clear to me that Thome is the best offensive option the Phillies have at first base (although it’s pretty likely we’re not going to see him start in back-to-back days). Less clear between Mayberry, Nix and Wigginton, although I would probably go with the lefty Nix. On the other hand, Mayberry doesn’t have nearly the career plate appearances that Nix and Wigginton do, so it’s a little harder to know what he might do. Polanco really shouldn’t hit second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when Pierre led off the bottom of the first and flew to left. Polanco grounded to short before Rollins singled into center, putting a man on first for Pence. Rollins stole second as the count when 1-1 on Pence. Pence popped to Infante in shallow left to leave Rollins at second.

Victorino grounded to first to start the second. Mayberry struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. Ruiz popped out to Kearns in shallow right field to set the Phils down.

Galvis and Hamels both struck out looking on a total of six pitches to start the third. Pierre grounded to second to end the inning.

Polanco and Rollins both grounded out to start the fourth before Pence singled into center. Victorino followed that up by walking on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Mayberry. Mayberry flew to right to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils were down 3-0 when they hit in the fifth. Ruiz, Galvis and Hamels went in order.

It was 4-0 when Pierre grounded to third for the first out of the sixth. Polanco was next and struck out swinging 3-2. Rollins singled into center and took second on a balk by Sanchez before Pence flew to Bonifacio in left center.

They started the bottom of the seventh down 5-0. Victorino led off with a single to right. Mayberry was next and he singled hard to left center, moving Victorino up to second. Ruiz hit a ball softly to first where it was short-hopped by Sanchez. Mayberry was caught up between first and second and thrown out at second, putting men on first and third with one down for Galvis. Galvis hit for himself and cleared the bases with a double to left center, getting the Phils on the board at 5-2. Nix hit for Savery. Lefty Randy Choate took over for the Marlins. Wigginton hit for Nix and Choate struck him out swinging for the second out. Pierre lined to short for the third out.

First career hit for Galvis. Came at a good time. I would have hit for him.

Victorino’s single was the first runner for the game for the Phils that came with less than two outs. Pierre has to hit for himself against the lefty cause the Phillies only had one right-handed hitter on their bench, Wigginton, and he had already struck out.

While on the subject, Frank Gailey’s first outing with Clearwater didn’t go that well either as Gailey was charged with two runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Righty Edward Mujica started the eighth for Miami. Polanco flew to right, Rollins struck out swinging and Pence grounded hard back to the mound.

And that was that for 2-3-4 in the order.

Righty Steve Cishek started the ninth for the Marlins with a 6-2 lead. He struck Victorino out looking 0-2 for the first out. Mayberry grounded to second for the second. Ruiz struck out swinging to end the game.

Pierre was 0-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-9 on the year.

Polanco 0-for-4 and 2-for-13.

Rollins 2-for-4 with two singles to up his average to .250 (4-for-16). Also stole his first base of the season.

Pence 1-for-4 and left two men on base. 4-for-15 for the year. His .886 OPS leads the team — he and Ruiz are the only two hitters with an OPS over .745. Halladay, 1-for-3 with a single on the season, is fourth on the team in OPS at .667.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 3-for-12 with a double, no walks and four strikeouts.

Ruiz 0-for-4 to drop his average to .400 (4-for-10).

Galvis 1-for-3 with a two-run double. He’s one of three Phillies with an extra-base hit for the season (Pence, Mayberry, Galvis).

Halladay (1-0, 0.00) faces righty Josh Johnson (0-1, 4.50) on Wednesday. Halladay allowed two singles in eight shutout innings against the Pirates on Opening Day. Johnson allowed three runs on ten hits and two walks over six innings in his first start of the season, which came against St Louis.

Eric Pettis, who pitched for Lakewood and Clearwater in 2011 and Williamsport in 2010, has written a book about his experience in the minors. This link is to the Kindle ebook version from Amazon. He was recently interviewed at Phillies Nation.


Nervousness grows as some fans wonder if the Phils can find a way to bunt themselves to a better bullpen

The Phils lost the last two games of the three-game set with Pittsbugh on a pair of walkoffs, losing game two 2-1 when their offense came up small. Yesterday the offense put up four runs, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead, allowing four runs over 2 2/3 innings as the Phils fell 5-4.

The starting pitching has been fantastic for the Phils over the first three games. Vance Worley allowed a run over six innings in yesterday’s game. Over three starts, Halladay, Lee and Worley have combined to allow two runs in 20 innings.

With the exception of Hunter Pence, just about everything else has been pretty miserable. The Phils scored one run in the first game and one in the second, before getting four in an odd third game made memorable when righty James McDonald walked Pence intentionally to get to the lefty Jim Thome and struck Thome out to end the top of the sixth.

Most fans expected the offense to struggle in the early going. Fewer thought we were going to see them bunt and bunt and bunt the way they have in the early going.

Yesterday’s late game breakdown had a lot to do with the bullpen, but also a big defensive misplay when an error by Wigginton on a would-be strikeout led to a pair of unearned runs. It’s the kind of thing you want to avoid if you have an offense built around bunting with your three-hitter.

The Phillies are 1-2 on the year after losing 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday afternoon. The Pirates take the series two games to one.

Worley started the game for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-base hits, a double and a home run. He struck out five.

He started the bottom of the first up 1-0. Jose Tabata singled to right with one out and stole second. Worley walked Andrew McCutchen, putting men on first and second for switch-hitter Neil Walker. Walker hit the ball hard to third, but Wigginton took it for the second out. Garrett Jones grounded to Galvis to leave the runners stranded.

Michael McKendry singled with two outs in the second, but Worley struck the pitcher James McDonald out looking behind him for the third out.

Worley set the Pirates down in order in the third.

Walker led off the fourth and lined a single into center, but Jones was next and hit a ball to first. Thome fielded, threw nicely to second and took the relay from Rollins to complete the double-play and clear the bases. Clint Barmes grounded to third for the third out.

If Thome really wants us to forget Howard at first, he needs to figure out a way to throw that ball into left field.

The Phils were up 2-0 when Worley started the fifth. Lefty Pedro Alvarez led off Pittsburgh and hit a 2-1 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 2-1. Worley retired the next three Pirates behind Alvarez.

McCutchen doubled to center with one out in the sixth. Walker was next and this time he lined to Rollins for the second out. Worley got ahead of Jones 0-2 and struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave McCutchen at second.

The Phillies hit for Worley in the top of the seventh and Stutes, pitching for the second straight day, started the bottom of the inning. Things started well enough. Stutes struck Barmes out for the first out. Alvarez was next and Stutes struck him out too, swinging at a 1-2 pitch that Schneider didn’t handle. Wigginton had taken over at first for Thome and couldn’t handle the throw from Schneider. Alvarez wound up on second with one out and Wigginton charged with an error. Stutes got McKendry to fly to right for the second out, but righty Casey McGehee was next and he doubled to center, scoring Alvarez to cut the lead to 4-2. Lefty Alex Presley was next and he lined a single to right. McGehee scored from second. 4-3. Presley stole second before Tabata flew to center to leave him there.

Would have been a great time to get an out on the Alvarez strikeout. Wigginton just didn’t catch the ball and it went off his glove. The righty Stutes stays in to pitch to the lefty Presley with two lefties available in the pen for the Phils and Presley drives in a run. Not saying a have a whole lot of confidence in Savery, either, but I’m just saying.

Stutes threw 27 pitches in the game.

Kendrick started the eighth, also pitching for the second straight day. McCutchen led off and singled to left. The switch-hitter Walker was next and he flew to left for the first out. Lefty Nate McLouth hit for the pitcher Evan Meek and Bastardo, also pitching for the second straight day, came in to pitch to him. Righty Yamaico Navarro hit for McLouth and McCutchen stole second before Bastardo walked Navarro on a 3-2 pitch. It put men on first and second for Barmes and Bastardo struck him out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Righty Matt Hague hit for the lefty Alvarez and singled into left, scoring McCutchen to tie the game at 4-4 and moving Navarro up to second. Bastardo struck McKendry out swinging 2-2 to leave the runners at first and second.

Both Kendrick and Bastardo had thrown a small number of pitches in game two of the series, 13 for Kendrick and six for Bastardo, but still Manuel lets Kendrick start the eighth inning against a righty when many assumed the eighth would belong to Bastardo. Kendrick also stays in to face the switchy Walker after McCutchen singled, despite the fact that Walker has been better against righties for his career (282/342/437 vs right and 274/327/388 against lefties).

Herndon started the ninth, making his first appearance of the year. McGehee led off with a double to left and Josh Harrison ran for him at second. Presley bunted Harrison to third with the first out. Herndon struck Tabata out swinging 3-2, which looked huge at the time, but McCutchen followed Tabata and hit a ball over Victorino’s head in center, bringing home Harrison and ending the game.

Herndon got ahead of McCutchen 0-2, but couldn’t put him away. With a runner on third and two down, Herndon had a base open and space to pitch around McCutchen and allow the Phils to try and get Walker. Didn’t happen.

Not a great start to the year for Herndon, who faced four men and allowed two hits, both which would have been for extra-bases if the second hadn’t ended the game. The strikeout of Tabata was big, but the other out he got was given to the Phils by Pittsburgh.

Bastardo, Stutes and Kendrick have all pitched two days in a row. Bastardo threw 20 pitches in the game and Stutes 27. Kendrick eight and Herndon 20.

Overall the pen went 2 2/3 innings in the game, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned.

Qualls was not available to pitch in the game because of a problem with his right heel.

The Phillies lineup against righty James McDonald went (1) Pierre (2) Victorino (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Thome (6) Wigginton (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Pierre in left, Thome at first and Schneider catching, all making their first starts of the season. Wigginton starts at third, although he’s not a great hitter against righties and can’t offer the defense that Polanco does. Victorino drops to second in the order with Pierre leading off. Galvis hits ahead of Schneider, which seems odd to me given that Galvis doesn’t seem to have much chance to get on base.

Victorino singled with one out in the top of the first and moved to second on a ground out by Rollins. Pence was next and he doubled into the left field corner, scoring Victorino easily to put the Phils up 1-0. Thome flew to left to leave Pence at second.

Just the second extra-base hit of the year for the Phils.

Galvis walked with one out in the second, but Schneider hit into a double-play behind him.

The Phils went in order in the third.

With one out in the fourth, Pence hit a 2-1 pitch out to left-center, putting the Phillies on top 2-0. Thome and Wigginton both grounded out behind him.

Third extra-base hit of the year for the Phils and the first home run.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

The lead had been cut to 2-1 when they hit in the sixth. Pierre led off with a bunt single and took second on a throwing error by Alvarez. Victorino bunted him to third with the first out. Rollins struck out swinging for the second out. The righty McDonald walked the righty Pence intentionally, putting men on first and third with two down. McDonald then struck Thome out looking 2-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Wow. Pence was 2-for-2 in the game with a double, a home run and seemingly the only hitter in the game with a pulse for the Phils, but still that was rather gutsy. It worked out pretty well for the Pirates, though.

Please, please, please it’s enough with bunting with the good hitters. The number of hitters in the lineup who can hit a double, much less a home run, is pretty limited. If you want to bunt all the time, what say you do it with Galvis, Polanco and Pierre and not Rollins, Victorino and Nix.

With a runner in scoring position and nobody out, Victorino bunts the runner to third. Then the Phillies fail to score with one out and a man on third. Rollins strikes out and Thome strikes out with a nutty IBB in-between.

Righty Jared Hughes started the seventh for Pittsburgh and walked Wigginton to start the inning. Galvis bunted. Hughes fielded and threw to first, where Walker, covering first, didn’t come up with the ball for an error. Wigginton wound up at third and Galvis at second with nobody out. Schneider lined hard to first for the first out. Nix hit for Worley and grounded to second for the second out with the runners holding. Pierre was next, though, and he lined a two-run single to right, putting the Phils on top 4-1. Victorino walked and the Phils pulled off a double-steal before Rollins struck out to leave the runners stranded at second and third.

That’s a bunt I can get behind — not because it worked out so great, but because Galvis isn’t Shane Victorino. Or Jimmy Rollins or Laynce Nix.

Speaking of Nix, that’s the second time in two games Nix came up empty in a big situation with a runner on third and less than two outs. In the top of the first in Saturday’s game, the Phils put men on first and third with one out for Nix and Nix struck out swinging for the second out before Mayberry flew to center to set the Phillies down.

Huge hit for Pierre, who had a fantastic game in his first start of the year.

Righty Evan Meek set Pence, Polanco and Wigginton down in order in the eighth with the lead cut to 4-3.

Righty Joel Hanrahan struck out Mayberry and Schneider in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Pierre was great in his first start of the year. 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBI. 2-for-5 in the three-game set. Mayberry was 0-for-1 with a strikeout in the game. 2-for-8 with a double and three strikeouts in the set.

Victorino was 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. 3-for-10 with two walks and two stolen bases in the series.

Rollins was miserable. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base. Huge strikeout in the sixth with one out and Pierre on third. 2-for-12 with two strikeouts in the set. Needs to stop bunting out of the three-hole really, really soon.

Pence 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and a home run. 3-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Thome 0-for-3 with a strikeout and three men left on base. Pence was memorably walked intentionally in front of him in the game. 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the series. Started a nice double-play defensively in the fourth. Nix was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the game and 0-for-4 with a walk in the set.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk. Playing him at third against a lefty makes a lot more sense to me than playing him at third against a righty, just cause he’s gotta have a big offensive advantage over Polanco to make up for Polanco’s defense. He made a big error in the seventh on Alvarez’s strikeout that led to two unearned runs the Phillies couldn’t afford to allow. 1-for-8 with a walk in the series. Polanco 0-for-1 in the game and 2-for-9 in the series.

Galvis 0-for-2 with a walk in the game. 0-for-10 with a walk in the series.

Schneider was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and left three men on base. He also hit into a double-play in the second. Big at-bat in the seventh with nobody out and men on second and third, but Schneider lined to first. Ruiz was 4-for-6 with a walk in the series.

Cole Hamels faces righty Anibal Sanchez today in the home opener.


Phils undefeated and hopeful they did not use up all their Halladay and offense for the next four days or so in the same game

The best news of all from the Opening Day win for the Phillies is that changing the calender from 2011 to 2012 apparently hasn’t made Roy Halladay any less fantastic. Halladay looked exactly like the best pitcher in baseball yesterday. He needed just 92 pitches to throw eight shutout innings, leading the Phils to a 1-0 win over the Pirates.

Going back to his last start of 2011, game five against the Cards, Halladay has thrown 16 innings in his last two starts and allowed one run. The Phillies have scored one run in those games.

In yesterday’s game, he allowed singles to the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning. After that, Halladay threw eight shutout innings in which he didn’t allow a hit or a walk, but hit two batters.

Jonathan Papelbon looked rather impressive himself in his Phillies debut. Pitching the ninth with a one-run lead, Papelbon faced three hitters and set them all down on a strikeout and a pair of ground outs.

The defense was good. The Phils turned a big double-play behind Halladay in the bottom of the first after a couple of hits. Wigginton made a pair of nice plays at first. So what could possibly be wrong?

Well, after a Spring Training dominated by worries about how the Phillies will score runs, they came out on Opening Day and managed just one. The bigger problem for the team is not what they did yesterday, but what they look likely to do tomorrow. And the day after that and the day after that. And how they’re going to win when they don’t get eight shutout innings from their starter.

Still waiting on that one.

The Phillies are 1-0 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 yesterday afternoon.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles. He didn’t walk a batter. He hit two and struck out five.

Lefty Alex Presley led off the bottom of the first for Pittsburgh and singled into center. Righty Jose Tabata was next and singled as well, on a swinging bunt down the third base line that put men on first and second for righty Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen grounded to short with Rollins going to Galvis and Galvis relaying to first to complete the double-play. Two down and a man on third for switch-hitter Neil Walker. Walker flew to left to leave Presley at third.

Nice first touch of his career for Galvis as the Phils turn a big double-play on McCutchen.

Lefty Garrett Jones grounded to second for the first out of the second. Righty Rod Barajas was next and dribbled to Halladay for the second out. Lefty Pedro Alvarez flew to center on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 third, getting righty Clint Barmes to pop to third, the pitcher Erik Bedard swinging and Presley on a ground ball to second.

Tabata led off the fourth with a ball hit to Rollins. Rollins fielded and threw to first, where Wigginton came off the bag nicely to tag and get Tabata for the first out. McCutchen was next and Halladay drilled him with a 1-2 pitch. Walker followed and hit a ball well to left that Mayberry took at the warning track. McCutchen was way off of first and had to go back, putting a man on first for Jones with two down. Jones grounded to first, leaving McCutchen stranded.

Nice play by Wigginton starts the frame with an out. The McCutchen hit-by-pitch breaks up nine down in a row for Halladay.

Halladay struck out Barajas and Alvarez both swinging to start the fifth. Barmes was next and he hit the ball well to left, but Mayberry took it going into the wall to end the inning.

Second time in two innings the Pirates hit the ball well to left, but Walker and Barmes both go down with no damage done.

Halladay had thrown 62 pitches through five innings.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth, getting Bedard on a soft fly ball to center and Presley and Tabata on a pair of ground outs.

The Phillies led 1-0 when Halladay started the seventh. He struck McCutchen out swinging 2-2 for the first out and got Walker and Jones on ground outs.

Halladay started the eighth after running the bases in the top of the inning, which he had started with a leadoff single. He got Barajas on a popup to second for the first and Alvarez on a fly ball to center for the second. Barmes was next and Halladay hit him 1-2, breaking Halladay’s sting of 13 in a row. Lefty Nate McLouth hit for the pitcher Chris Resop with two outs and a man on first. Halladay struck McLouth out swinging 1-2 to end the inning with Barmes at first.

Papelbon started the ninth with the Phils still up a run. He threw ball one to Presley, but came back with three straight strikes, getting him swinging 1-2 for the first out. Tabata grounded softly to third for the second out. Papelbon got ahead of McCutchen 0-2 and McCutchen hit a ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw to first, where Wigginton again made a nice play, holding the bag to get the out and end the game.

Ten pitches in the game for Papelbon.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Erik Bedard went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Victorino leads off against the lefty with Pierre on the bench. Mayberry starts in left and Wigginton at first, which is what you would expect, despite ugly Spring Trainings for both players. Galvis makes his debut, starting at second base for the sidelined Utley. Polanco hits second in the order, which is too high. In his final 406 plate appearances of 2011, Polanco posted a 243/304/287 line. Four places where the Phils have big offensive holes in the lineup — second, third, left and first. Against a lefty, they at least have a shot at approaching league average production in left and at first. Less so at second and third. Should be at least a little better against lefties for the righty Polanco. We’ll see how the splits for the switch-hitter Galvis look.

The Phillies start the game with a bench of five left-handed hitters — Nix, Pierre, Thome, Orr and Schneider.

Victorino was the first hitter of the year and he popped to shallow left for the first out. Polanco flew to center for the second before Rollins bunted for a single. Pence lined to center to leave Rollins at first.

Rollins bunts for a hit out of the three-hole and it works beautifully.

Wigginton led off the second and hit a ball up the middle that the second baseman Walker handled behind the shortstop side of second. Walker threw to first and Wigginton was called out on a very close play at first, which Manuel argued without success. Mayberry was next and he singled into right. Ruiz followed, coming off of a monster Spring Training in which he hit 479/500/771. He blooped a single into right, putting men on first and second for Galvis’s first career at-bat. Galvis grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play on an 0-1 pitch to end the frame.

Wigginton looked safe to me. Would have changed the inning significantly, given the two hits behind him. Also, he’s really, really slow to make it as close as it was. That took a long, long time to develop.

Halladay led off the top of the third and struck out swinging. Victorino struck out looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Polanco grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the fourth. Rollins popped to second, Pence grounded to third and Wigginton flew to left.

Mayberry struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fifth. Ruiz was next and singled on a ball deflected by Barmes at short. Galvis was next and grounded into a double-play again, this time to third, to set the Phillies down.

Ruiz 2-for-2 in the early going. Galvis 0-for-2 and twice grounded into a double-play.

Halladay struck out to start the sixth, but Victorino followed and walked on five pitches. Polanco flew to center for the second out. Victorino stole second as Rollins took strike one, but Rollins popped to short to leave him there.

Pence flew to center to start the seventh. Wigginton was next and hit a ball hard into center for a single. Mayberry followed and hit a ball into right that rolled into the corner for a double. Wigginton, who’s really slow, moved up to third. Ruiz was next and flew to right, not too deep, and Tabata took it coming in for the second out. Wigginton tagged from third and slid in just ahead of the tag from Barajas, putting the Phils up 1-0 with two down and a man on second for Galvis. Galvis grounded to short to end the frame with Mayberry at second.

Golly on Wigginton not scoring from first on Mayberry’s double that rolled into the corner. Nice job to score on Ruiz’s ball to right. Galvis did his best to hit into another double-play, but it’s not his fault if the Phillies don’t have a runner on first.

Halladay hit for himself to start the eighth and singled to right off of righty Chris Resop. Victorino showed bunt early in the count before striking out for the first out. Polanco walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Rollins. Rollins hit an 0-1 pitch hard, but it was snared by a leaping Walker at second for the second out. Resop struck Pence out swinging 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Halladay hits for himself up 1-0 in the eighth to lead off the inning having thrown 79 pitches in the game. Really not a fan of the idea that Victorino would try to bunt Halladay to second with the first out.

Righty Juan Cruz started the ninth for Pittsburgh. He got Wigginton on a ground ball back to the mound for the first out and struck Mayberry out for the second. Ruiz was next and he singled into right for his third hit of the day. Galvis nearly bunted for a hit with a pretty ball down the right field line, but it finally rolled foul. Cruz struck Galvis out swinging 2-2 to leave Ruiz at first.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk.

Rollins 1-for-4 with a bunt single and three men left on base. He lined hard to Walker in the eighth.

Pence 0-for-4 with a strikeout and three men left on base.

Wigginton was 1-for-4 with a single and scored the only run of the game. Didn’t score from first on the double from Mayberry, but did tag and score on the ball hit by Ruiz. He also made a couple of nice plays at first, one to handle a throw by Rollins and another on the throw by Polanco to end the game. Should have had another hit in the second on the ball he hit up the middle (and yes, he’s really slow, but, in his defense, he was also really safe at first).

Mayberry was 2-for-4 with a double and struck out twice.

Ruiz 3-for-3 with a sac fly that brought in the only run of the game.

Galvis was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and five men left on base. He hit into two double-plays. Defensively was part of the big double-play in the first inning that helped keep Pittsburgh off the board.

Cliff Lee faces righty Jeff Karstens on Saturday night.

For lovers of #DIV/0!, the Start Log for 2012 is up. Third straight Opening Day start for Halladay with the Phillies — in those starts he has combined to throw 21 innings and allow two runs.

This suggests that Scott Podsednik is likely to report to Triple-A rather than retire.


News bittersweet as Phils win, but pleas to extend Spring Training by like 120 games or so fall on deaf ears

Phils topped the Pirates 7-2 last night in their final game before opening the regular season on Thursday. They end their official Spring Training games with a 14-16-4 mark.

Hamels started the game for the Phillies and was fantastic, throwing four shutout innings in which he allowed three hits, no walks and struck out five. In seven Spring Training starts, Hamels threw to a 2.93 ERA with a 1.19 ratio.

Bastardo started the fifth, throwing on back-to-back days. He faced three batters, got two of them and allowed a single to the other. Herndon took over with two outs and a man on first and allowed a double and a single to the first two men he faced before getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Bastardo ends Spring Training with an 0.81 ratio, but a 4.15 ERA. I feel pretty sure that if he keeps throwing to an 0.81 ratio, his ERA is going to be a whole lot better than 4.15. Last year, for example, his ratio was 0.93 and his ERA 2.64.

Herndon finishes with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.29 ratio. Opponents hit .288 against him, but in 16 1/3 innings he struck out 14 and walked just two.

Valdes threw a 1-2-3 seventh. Qualls threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

Valdes will not make the team despite a 1.32 ERA and an 0.88 ratio and 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

Qualls 4.22 ERA and 1.03 ratio. Opponents hit just .179 against him, but he walked four in 10 2/3 innings.

Papelbon finishes with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.29 ratio. He held opponents to a .229 average, but walked five in 11 2/3 innings.

Polanco was 1-for-3 in the game and hit a three-run homer in the fifth. He ends Spring Training at 429/478/571.

Galvis had another extra-base hit, doubling in his only at-bat. 280/295/476 in 82 at-bats. He led the team with 14 RBI.

Nix also doubled in what was an awful spring for him. He was 1-for-4 with a double in the game and winds up at 208/300/264.

Ruiz was 1-for-2 with a double. 479/500/771 in 48 at-bats. .771? Yup. 23-for-48 with eight doubles and two home runs.

Mayberry ends his ugly spring with a good day, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. 203/259/304. He gets a big do-over starting on Thursday — he and the Phils could both use it, cause they’re going to need him to not hit .203 with no power.

We’ll probably be seeing a lot of Wigginton in the early going, too. He was 0-for-1 last night to drop his line to 185/260/246.

Roy Halladay faces lefty Erik Bedard on Thursday.

Joe Savery made the team and so did Pete Orr. Podsednik (309/377/455) and Luna (302/351/528) did not. Neither did Raul Valdes.

Valdes was significantly better than his fellow lefty Savery this Spring Training. Valdes threw 13 2/3 innings with a 1.32 ERA and an 0.88 ratio while striking out 14. Savery threw to a 3.48 ERA with a 1.45 ratio and struck out nine in 10 1/3 innings.

Pierre winds up outhitting Podsednik. 377/433/426 in 61 at-bats for Pierre and 309/377/455 in 55 at-bats for Podsednik.

This says Stutes and Herndon will start the year with the Phils.

That makes 25.

Hitters (13): Ruiz, Schneider, Thome, Mayberry, Wigginton, Galvis, Orr, Rollins, Polanco, Nix, Pierre, Victorino, Pence.

Pitchers (12): Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Worley, Kendrick, Papelbon, Savery, Bastardo, Qualls, Stutes, Herndon.


A bloop and a fast

Juan Pierre was at it again last night, going 1-for-2 with a double and a stolen base to lead the Phils to a 4-3 win over the Pirates. Pierre led off the bottom of the first with a bloop double off the glove of the left fielder and came around to score the first run of the game with the help of a pair of fly ball outs. In the third he was hit by a pitch, stolen second and came in to score on a double by Rollins.

Pierre is now hitting 373/431/424 in official Spring Training action and appears to have solidified a spot in the lineup for himself, at least against right-handed pitching.

Joe Blanton started the game for the Phils and allowed a pair of runs over 4 2/3 innings on two singles and a double. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. After five starts, Blanton has a 4.58 ERA and 1.07 ratio. In 19 2/3 innings he has walked just one batter while striking out 16.

Bastardo followed Blanton, facing one batter in the bottom of the fifth with the bases empty and striking him out to end the frame. Pat Misch went three innings after that, allowing a run on a solo homer to Andrew McCutchen in the sixth. Kyle Kendrick set McCutchen, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones down in order in the ninth with a one-run lead to get the save.

Kendrick dropped his ERA to a 1.54 with the outing. He and Valdes are the pitchers on the team who have pitched the most innings this spring without allowing a home run. They have combined to throw 24 1/3 innings without giving up a long ball (12 2/3 for Valdes and 11 2/3 for Kendrick). By a wide margin, Halladay is the pitcher on the team who has had the most trouble with allowing home runs in Spring Training. He has allowed seven in 22 innings — that rate of allowing home runs would have him giving about 64 over 200 innings. That might not even happen.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with a triple in the game and Galvis 2-for-3 with a seventh-inning triple that put the Phils on top to stay. Galvis is at 272/287/457 for the spring over 81 at-bats. Rollins was 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI out of the three-hole. He’s hitting 250/338/367.

The teams play again tonight with Hamels expected to pitch for the Phils.

In this article, Manuel suggests that Mayberry will still get a lot of chances despite the emergence of Pierre.

This article says Manuel won’t use Thome in the field a whole lot and suggests 20 games might be a realistic guess.


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