Archive for May, 2012

What have you done for me late, Lee?

Lee? Not a ton. The Phils left just about everything late last night up to their hitters, who hammered and hammered away at the New York pen to get the Phils a win.

The game was a meeting of the two worst bullpens in the National League and the results were dramatic. Relievers for both teams combined to allow 11 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Phils got the best of it, though, outscoring New York 9-3 after the start of the seventh inning to win the game 10-6.

Trailing 3-1 in the top of the seventh, Carlos Ruiz delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer off of Bobby Parnell to tie things up. The Phils got another run off the Met pen in the eighth and six more in the ninth before Raul Valdes was charged with three in the bottom of the ninth.

The offense continues to produce for the Phils. After finishing twelfth in the NL in runs scored in April, the Phillies are second in the league in runs scored for May. Ty Wigginton was fantastic at the plate in the series with New York, going 6-for-11 with three walks, two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI.

The Phillies are 27-25 on the year after beating the New York Mets 10-6 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one. They’re still in last place in the NL East, let’s not get crazy here, but just three games out of first place. That’s the closest they’ve been to first since they beat the Braves 4-2 on May 1.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out seven. He has a 4.95 ERA and a 1.50 ratio over his last three starts. Opponents have hit 304/353/544 against him over 20 innings in those three outings.

He walked Daniel Murphy with one out in the bottom of the first before David Wright doubled to center, scoring Murphy to put the Mets up 1-0. Lee got Scott Hairston on a ground ball to third for the second out before walking Vinny Rottino. That put men on first and second with two down for Lucas Duda, but Lee struck him out looking to leave both runners stranded.

Rob Johnson singled to start the bottom of the second with the score tied at 1-1. Lee struck out Omar Quintanilla for the first out. Pitcher Dillon Gee was next and he popped up a bunt. Lee let the bunt fall, threw to second for the first out and the relay to first completed the double-play to end the inning.

Nice play by Lee to let the bunt fall and make a strong throw to second.

Murphy singled with one out in the third, but Lee got Wright to ground into a double-play behind him.

Hairston singled into center to start the bottom of the fourth. Lee got Rottino on a fly ball for the first out before Duda moved Hairston up to second with a single. Lee struck Johnson out swinging for the second out and got Quintanilla on a ground ball to short to end the inning with two men left on base.

Lee struck out Andres Torres and Murphy in the fifth.

Hairston doubled with one out in the sixth. Rottino popped to Rollins for the second out, but Duda was next and pounded Lee’s first pitch to him way out to right, putting New York on top 3-1. Lee struck Johnson out swinging for the third out.

The score was tied at 3-3 when Bastardo started the seventh. Quintanilla flew to center for the first out. Lefty Jordany Valdespin hit for Parnell and Lee struck him out for the second before Torres singled to left. Murphy flew to right to leave Torres at first.

Bastardo dropped his ERA for the season to 1.84 with the outing. He’s allowed one run in 11 1/3 innings in May over 13 appearances.

Contreras started the eighth with the Phillies up 4-3 and set the Mets down in order, striking out Hairston and Rottino.

That’s six straight appearances for Contreras without being charged with a run. Over those six appearances he’s allowed just one hit and now walks while striking out six over 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

The lead was 10-3 when Valdes started the ninth. Duda led off and homered to center. 10-4. Valdes got the next two before righty Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit for the pitcher Chris Schwinden and singled to center. Torres followed that with a double to left, scoring Nieuwenhuis. 10-5. Papelbon took over for Valdes and Murphy singled to center, scoring Torres. 10-6. Wright grounded to Galvis to end the game.

Using Papelbon there seems more than a little unnecessary. Pretty sure that Manuel wouldn’t have done it if today was not an off-day.

Valdes allows his first runs of the year, picking a good time to do it. Second time on the season for him pitching back-to-back days. The other was May 25 and he allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless frame in that outing. The two-out single allowed by Papelbon tacks a third run on to his line for the game.

Papelbon has allowed one run in 8 2/3 innings over his last ten appearances while striking out 11.

Three innings overall for the pen in the game. They allow three runs on five hits and no walks while striking out three.

The series was a battle between the NL’s two worst bullpens. The Phils come out with the better bullpen ERA for the year at 4.64 (15th in the NL). Mets’s relievers have thrown to a 5.45 ERA for the season after allowing eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings last night.

Valdes threw 23 pitches in last night’s game. Contreras 16, Bastardo 14 and Papelbon eight. They should all be ready for Friday after the off-day today.

The Phillies lineup against righty Dillon Gee went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Wigginton (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Fontenot (8) Schneider. The lefty Fontenot plays second with Galvis on the bench. Wigginton again hits cleanup with Victorino fifth.

The Phillies went in order in the top of the first.

They were down 1-0 when they started the second, but Wigginton led off and hit an 0-1 pitch out to left for his fifth homer of the year, tying the game at 1-1. Victorino, Polanco and Fontenot all went down on ground balls behind him.

Rollins singled with two outs in the third. He stole second before Pierre grounded out to second to turn the Phillies away.

Pence and Wigginton both struck out as the Phillies went in order in the fourth.

Fontenot singled with one in the fifth. Schneider moved him up to second with a ground out, but Gee struck Lee out to leave Rollins at second.

Rollins and Pierre singled back-to-back to start the sixth, putting men on first and second. Pence was next and grounded into a double-play, leaving Rollins at third with two down. Wigginton drew a walk to put two men on for Victorino, but Victorino grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

The Phillies were down 3-1 when they hit in the seventh. Schneider doubled with two outs and Ruiz hit for Lee. Righty Bobby Parnell took over for Gee to face Ruiz and Ruiz hit a 1-1 pitch out to left, tying the game at 3-3. Rollins fouled out to the catcher to end the frame.

Pierre and Pence singled back-to-back off of righty Jon Rauch to start the eighth. It put runners on first and third for Wigginton, who struck out looking for the first out. Victorino was next and he hit a ball not very deep to center for the second out. Pierre tagged and scored despite an accurate throw from Torres, putting the Phils up 4-3. Polanco grounded to short for the third out.

No RBI for Wigginton as he strikes out with runners on the corners for the first out.

Lefty Tim Byrdak started the ninth for the Mets and walked Galvis. Schneider bunted Galvis to second with the first out. Mayberry hit for Contreras. Righty Ramon Ramirez came in to pitch to Mayberry and Mayberry moved Galvis to third with a single. Rollins was next and blasted a 1-1 pitch well out to right for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 7-3. Pierre followed that with a double to right and righty Chris Schwinden came on to pitch to Pence. Pence hit a ball that Schwinden fielded. He looked and threw to second, where Pierre was too far off second base, but Murphy missed the tag and both runners were safe. It brought Wigginton to the plate with runners on first and second and he doubled to left, scoring Pierre (8-3) and moving Pence up to third. Victorino followed that with a single into center, scoring both runners to make it 10-3. Polanco grounded to third and Wright went to second for the first out, but a throwing error by Murphy allowed Polanco to move up to second. Galvis popped to short to leave Polanco stranded.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in the game. 6-for-14 with a double and a home run in the series. 239/294/308 for the year. He has ten extra-base hits for the season and three of them have come in his last 19 plate appearances.

Pierre 3-for-5 with a double in the game and 4-for-8 with a double in the series. 324/361/366 for the season.

Pence 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. 3-for-12 with a double and two walks in the series. 262/333/480 for the year. He hit 270/361/548 in May after hitting 253/293/391 in April.

Wigginton 2-for-4 with a double and a home run last night. 6-for-11 with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBI in the series. 263/346/409 for the season. He has ten extra-base hits for the season and five of them (three home runs and two doubles) have come in his last 28 plate appearances.

Victorino 1-for-4 with three RBI last night and 1-for-12 in the series. 250/317/409 for the year. Like Pence, he was better in May than he was in April. 267/348/431 in May after hitting 228/276/380 in April.

Polanco was 0-for-5 in the game and 3-for-14 in the series. 275/303/345 for the year. On-based .307 in May after on-basing .299 in April. Six walks for the season and two in his last 116 plate appearances.

Fontenot was 1-for-3 in the game and in the series. He’s 9-for-21 with a double for the Phillies so far this year (429/500/476).

Schneider 1-for-3 with a double. 2-for-11 with a walk, a double and a home run in the series. 11-for-his-last-31 with three doubles and two home runs.

The Phillies are off today. Kendrick (1-0, 4.10) faces lefty Mark Buehrle (5-4, 3.26) on Friday night as the Phils open a series with the Marlins at home. Kendrick had the best start of his career his last time out, throwing a complete-game shutout against the Cardinals in St Louis. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last three outings. Buehrle has issued just 11 walks so far this season over 69 innings. He faced the Phils on April 12 and was charged with three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Wigginton and Victorino both homered off of him in that game.


And he’s the guy who’s healthy

Joe Blanton’s rough string of starts continued last night as the Phils fell to the Mets 6-3. After allowing six runs in five innings, Blanton has now strung together three miserable starts in a row. He didn’t get an out in the sixth inning in any of those outings, allowing 20 runs on 28 hits and three walks over 13 2/3 innings.

Opponents have hit .412 against him over his last three starts and .328 against him over his last five.

Last night’s start came on a day the Phils got news they’re going to need all the help they can get in the rotation. Roy Halladay was put on the DL with a shoulder strain and early estimates suggest he’ll miss six to eight weeks.

The Phillies are 26-25 on the year after losing 6-3 to the New York Mets last night. Coming off of a four-game win streak, they have lost two of their last three.

Blanton got the start for the Phils and went five innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, four doubles and two home runs. He struck out four.

Blanton leads the NL in total bases allowed with 127.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. He hit the leadoff man Mike Baxter and Baxter moved up to third when Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a single. David Wright was next and he lined a single into center on a ball deflected by a hopping Rollins. Baxter scored to tie the game at 1-1 and Nieuwenhuis moved up to second. Lucas Duda flew to center for the first out before Daniel Murphy grounded to second. Galvis went to Rollins to force Wright at second, leaving the Mets with runners on the corners with two down. Ike Davis singled into right, scoring Nieuwenhuis (2-1) and moving Murphy to second. Blanton uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Murphy to take third before getting Mike Nickeas on a ground ball he handled himself to end the inning.

Rollins usually catches that ball hit by Wright, which went off the top of his glove.

The game was tied at 2-2 when Omar Quintanilla doubled off of Blanton to start the second. Pitcher Jeremy Hefner bunted Quintanilla to third with the first out before a double by Baxter brought Quintanilla home, putting the Mets up 3-2. Nieuwenhuis grounded to first for the second out with Baxter moving up to third. Wright popped to Rollins to leave him stranded.

Blanton struck out Duda and Davis in a 1-2-3 third.

He got the first two in the fourth before Hefner hit a 2-1 pitch out to left, putting the Mets up 4-2. Blanton struck Baxter out looking for the third out.

He got the first two hitters to start the fifth before walking Duda. Murphy was next and hit a ball that Polanco deflected, but the Phils couldn’t get an out. Duda moved up to third and Murphy wound up at second with a double. Blanton walked the lefty Davis intentionally to load the bases and got Nickeas on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Davis ended the day hitting .170 for the season. I wouldn’t walk him intentionally that much. Blanton walks Duda in the inning, but he’s walked just ten hitters for the year. His walk rate is the best of his career. He’s given up as many home runs for the season as he has walks.

Blanton started the sixth with the lead cut to 4-3. Quintanilla led off with another double and righty Scott Hairston hit for Hefner. Hairston hit a 3-2 pitch from Blanton out to left, putting the Mets up 6-3. Valdes took over for Blanton and got the next three hitters to set the Mets down.

Valdes has allowed three hits and a walk over 8 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out 11 for the season.

Diekman struck out Duda and Murphy in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Seventh appearance on the year for Diekman and six of them have been good. In the other he allowed four runs in an inning, which can get you a 5.68 ERA. Over his last six appearances he’s allowed two hits, no walks and struck out nine over 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

Savery started the ninth. Quintanilla singled with one out, but he got the next two to keep the Mets off the board.

Savery dropped his ERA on the year to 4.15 with the outing. After throwing to a 1.42 ERA over his first five appearances on the year he’s thrown to a 6.75 ERA over his last six, allowing ten hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings. Three off his last six appearances have been good and three bad.

Three scoreless innings for the pen in which they allow one hit and no walks and strike out four.

Savery threw 17 pitches in the game, Diekman 14 and Valdes 12. Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeremy Hefner went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Wigginton (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Wigginton plays first and hits cleanup after his six RBI night. Pierre plays left against the righty and hits second. Ruiz continues to sit with his hamstring. Victorino drops to fifth in the order.

Rollins led off the game with a double and Pierre bunted him to third with the first out. He scored on a wild pitch (1-0) before Pence struck out swinging. Wigginton followed with a single, but was left at first when Victorino flew to center.

Down 2-1 to start the second, Schneider tied it up at 2-2 when he hit the first pitch he saw out to right with two men out. Blanton grounded to the pitcher to end the frame.

Down 3-2, the Phillies went in order in the third.

Polanco singled with two outs in the fourth, but Galvis flew to center to leave him stranded.

Down 4-2, The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Pierre led off the sixth with a single. Pence followed that with a double to left, scoring Pierre to make it 4-3 and taking third when Baxter mishandled the ball for an error. Wigginton grounded to first for the first out. Victorino struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch up near his eyes for the second. Polanco flew to left for the third, leaving Pence stranded.

The Phils can’t bring Pence home from third with nobody out as their four and five hitters both get a chance with less than two outs.

Righty Bobby Parnell started the seventh for New York with the Mets leading 6-3. He got Galvis and Schneider for the first two outs before Orr hit for Valdes. Orr grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

Rollins singled off of righty Jon Rauch to start the eighth, but the Phils went in order behind him.

Righty Frank Francisco started the ninth. Polanco singled with one out, but Galvis struck out looking behind him. He took second and then third on defensive indifference before Schneider struck out looking to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double. He has slugged .269 over his last 185 plate appearances.

Pierre 1-for-3. 6-for-his-last-13 with a double. One walk in his last 67 plate appearances.

Pence 1-for-4 with a double. 7-for-his-last-20 with three walks, two doubles and a home run. Not a factor last night, but he’s hitting 189/302/324 against lefties for the season.

Wigginton 1-for-4. Even with the monster day in game one of the series, he’s still hitting just 203/307/297 in May.

Victorino 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-19.

Polanco 2-for-4. 8-for-his-last-24.

Galvis 0-for-4. Among the 60 NL players with 175 plate appearances for the season, his on-base percentage of .257 is 60th.

Schneider was 1-for-4 with his second home run of the year.

Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.82) faces righty Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.92) tonight. The Phillies are just 2-5 in the seven games started by Lee, but 2-1 in his last three outings. Lee faced the Mets on May 9 in a game the Phils lost 10-6. The Phils started the seventh up 4-2 in that game, but Kendrick, Contreras and Sanches combined to allow eight runs over three innings. Gee started that game for the Mets and allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings.

PS: I updated the Start Log. Over the last 11 games, the Phillies have gotten four quality starts. During those 11 games, their starters have thrown to a 5.59 ERA with a 1.42 ratio while the pen has pitched to a 2.08 ERA and an 0.82 ratio over 30 1/3 innings.


Phils hoping they either get good news on Halladay or Wigginton starts making six RBI in a game a habit

Sadly, those things look about equally likely.

Ty Wigginton went nuts yesterday, hitting a two-run double, a three-run homer and driving in a career-high six runs as the Phils topped the Mets 8-4 in the opener of a series with New York.

The Phillies are on a roll, winners of five of their last six, but the game was played a day after staff ace Roy Halladay left his start after two innings with a shoulder problem — awful news for a Phillies team that can’t afford to lose much of anyone, much less the team’s best player.

Halladay will be examined today.

The Phillies are 26-24 on the year after beating the New York Mets 8-4 yesterday afternoon. They have won five of their last six games and two games over .500 matches their best mark of the season.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out six. The Phillies are 9-0 in the last night games he has started.

He threw a 1-2-3 first and struck out Scott Hairston and Lucas Duda setting the Mets down in order in the second.

The Phillies led 2-0 when Hamels started the bottom of the third. Rob Johnson singled with one out and the pitcher Jon Niese bunted him to second with the second. Jacob Turner was next and singled into right. Pence threw home. Schneider took the throw at the plate and threw to second where the Phils got Turner trying to move up to second to end the inning.

Daniel Murphy singled to start the fourth, but Hamels got Wright to hit into a double-play behind him. Hairston popped to Galvis for the third out.

Hamels got ahead of the lefty Duda 0-2 to start the fifth, but walked him on eight pitches. Righty Vinny Rottino was next and hit an 0-1 pitch out to left, tying the game at 2-2. Hamels got the next three to end the inning.

The Phils led 4-2 when Hamels started the sixth. Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off with a single to left. Hamels got Murphy and Wright on a pair of fly balls before Hairston hit a 1-0 pitch out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Hamels struck Duda out swinging to end the inning.

Second time in his last three starts that Hamels has allowed more than one home run in a game.

Up 5-4, Hamels set the Mets down in order in the seventh.

Switch-hitter Andres Torres hit for pitcher Jon Rauch to start the eighth and Torres doubled to left. Nieuwenhuis was next and grounded to second for the first out with Torres moving up to third. The Phils brought the infield in and Murphy hit a soft ground ball to second. Galvis charged nicely, fielded and threw to first for the second out with Torres holding third. Hamels stayed in to face the righty Wright and Wright grounded to third to end the inning.

Letting Hamels stay in to face Wright is nutty, but it worked out for the Phils. I think you have to bring in Papelbon to try to get four outs. The Phils were due to hit 2-3-4 in the top of the ninth.

Papelbon pitched the ninth with an 8-4 lead, setting the Mets down in order.

Papelbon threw 22 pitches in the game and has been charged with a run in one of his last nine appearances.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jon Niese went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Victorino (5) Wigginton (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Victorino hits cleanup with Pence third. Wigginton at first and Mayberry in left. Schneider catches the day game with Ruiz on the bench as a late scratch with a hamstring problem.

Polanco reached on an error by Murphy with one out in the top of the first, but Pence struck out behind him for the second out. Victorino was next and hit a ball that Wright handled at third, but Wright threw the ball away for the second error of the inning for the Mets and the Phils had runners on first and third. Wigginton walked to load the bases, but Mayberry flew to left to leave them loaded.

Galvis and Hamels both struck out as the Phillies went in order in the second.

Pence and Victorino walked back-to-back with two outs in the third and Wigginton cleared the bases with a double into right-center, putting the Phils on top 2-0. Mayberry lined to second to leave Wigginton at second.

Schneider walked with one out in the fourth and Hamels bunted him to second with the second out. Rollins flew to center to leave him at second.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Wigginton walked to start the sixth with the game tied at 2-2. Mayberry was next and hammered a 3-1 pitch way out to left, putting the Phils up 4-2. Righty Ramon Ramirez took over for Niese and set Galvis, Schneider and Hamels down in order, striking out Galvis and Schneider.

The game was tied at 4-4 when Rollins singled off of Bobby Parnell to start the seventh. Polanco hit a ball back to the mound and Parnell went to second, but Rollins was running and beat the throw there. Wright, covering second, relayed to first in time to get Polanco, leaving Rollins at second with one out. Pence drew a walk, putting men on first and second, before Victorino flew to center for the second out with Rollins moving up to third. Wigginton was next and singled into center, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 5-4. Mayberry struck out looking to leave the runners at first and second.

The Phillies still led by a run when Hamels hit for himself with two outs in the eighth and singled off of righty Jon Rauch. Rollins grounded to second to leave him stranded.

Polanco and Hunter singled back-to-back off of righty Manny Acosta to start the ninth, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Victorino struck out swinging for the first out, but Wigginton followed and hit an 0-2 pitch out to left-center for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 8-4. Mayberry followed that with a single and righty Jack Egbert, a real person, took over for Acosta and retired Galvis and Schneider to end the frame.

Rollins was 1-for-5 and struck out twice. He’s 3-for-his-last-20.

Polanco 1-for-5. He’s 3-for-his-last-14.

Pence 1-for-3 and walked twice. 316/435/561 over his last 69 plate appearances.

Victorino 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 1-for-his-last-15 with a double. 246/315/413 over his last 198 plate appearances.

Wigginton 3-for-3 with two walks, a double, a home run and six RBI. He came into the game 3-for-his-last-22. In game 45 of the season (for him), he upped his on-base percentage for the season from .317 to .340.

Mayberry 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and six men left on base. He was 1-for-his-last-16 coming into the game.

Galvis was 0-for-5 and struck out three times. He’s 2-for-his-last-17.

Schneider was 0-for-4 with a walk. Probably shouldn’t start against lefties that often. 225/299/298 against lefties for his career.

Hamels was 1-for-3 with a single in the game, upping his batting line on the year to 227/292/273 in 29 plate appearances. That tops Rollins’s line of 224/282/276 in everything but slugging percentage.

Blanton (4-4, 4.55) faces right-handed rookie Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17) tonight. Blanton has been charged with 14 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his last two starts, raising his ERA for the year from 2.96 to 4.55. Hefner will be making the fourth appearance and second start of his career. His first start did not go well as he allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Padres. He has walked just one batter in 11 2/3 innings for the season.


Ugh

The Phillies have lost three in a row, dropping the first two in their recent funk because of their starting pitching and last night’s game in spite of it. Kendrick was better than good enough in the opener with the Nationals, holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings, but the Phils frustrated at the plate and on the bases as they fell 2-1.

The 4-5-6 hitters in the lineup combined to go 0-for-9 with 16 men left on base in the game. The base-running issues peaked in the bottom of the sixth inning when the Phillies failed to score after putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Pence got the first chance to bring the runners home and hit a ball into center, but Rick Ankiel made a diving catch for the first out with Polanco too far off of third to tag up and score a run the Phils would need desperately.

On the plus side, the bullpen has quietly been excellent as the Phils dropped three straight, throwing 8 2/3 scoreless innings in those games. Last night Raul Valdes tossed two perfect frames in relief of Kendrick, dropping the bullpen ERA for the year to 4.88 (29th of 30 MLB teams).

The Phillies are 21-22 on the year after losing to the Washington Nationals 2-1 last night. The Phils have lost three games in a row and are 1-3 against the Nats this year.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out four and dropped his ERA on the year to 5.23. He has a 2.25 ERA over his last four starts and the Phillies have lost three of those games. The Phillies are 1-9 for the year in which Kendrick has appeared (five starts and five relief appearances).

Bryce Harper singled to center with one out in the top of the first, but Kendrick got Ryan Zimmerman to hit into a double-play behind him.

Kendrick got Adam LaRoche to fly to center for the first out in the second, but Ian Desmond was next and Desmond hit the first pitch he saw from Kendrick out to center, putting the Nats up 1-0. Kendrick got Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel on a pair of ground balls behind Desmond.

Kendrick has allowed five home runs in 32 2/3 innings on the year, which is the worst home run rate for any of the team’s starters other than Worley. Worley has allowed seven home runs in 44 innings.

Jesus Flores led off the third with a single to center and the pitcher Gio Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Steve Lombardozzi was next and flew to right. Flores tagged and moved up to third with two down. Harper was the next batter and Kendrick’s 2-2 pitch to him was in the dirt and got away from Ruiz. Flores tried to score from third, but Ruiz threw to Kendrick covering home and Kendrick tagged Flores out on a close play at the plate to end the frame.

Harper led off the fourth with a single and stole second before Kendrick struck out Zimmerman for the first out. He walked the lefty LaRoche on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Desmond and Desmond singled into left, scoring Harper to make it 2-0 and moving LaRoche up to second. Kendrick walked Espinosa on five pitches to load the bases, but struck Ankiel out swinging for the second out and got Flores on a ground ball to third to set Washington down.

Two walks in the innings for Kendrick, but the strikeout of Ankiel with one out and the bases loaded was huge. Two RBI for Desmond through four innings in a game in which the Phillies would score one run.

Kendrick set the Nats down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Mayberry made a fantastic play for the second out of the inning in the sixth, diving to his right to field a ball hit hard by LaRoche and flipping to Kendrick covering first to record the out.

Raul Valdes started the eighth and got pinch-hitter Xavier Nady, Lombardozzi and Harper in order.

Valdes got Zimmerman, LaRoche and Desmond in order in the ninth.

Third appearance of the year for Valdes. He has allowed one hit and no walks while striking out six over 4 2/3 scoreless innings. He threw 19 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Gio Gonzalez went (1) Pierre (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Fontenot. Rollins out of the lineup after the birth of his first child. Galvis starts at short with Fontenot at second. Pierre plays left against the lefty. Polanco returns to the lineup. Wigginton needs to start against left-handed pitching and Pierre should not.

Pierre and Polanco struck out as the Phillies went in order in the bottom of the first.

The Phillies were down 1-0 when Pence walked to start the bottom of the second. Ruiz struck out for the first out before Pence took second on a wild pitch. Mayberry struck out for the second out and Galvis struck out for the third.

Fontenot and Kendrick both struck out for the first two outs in the third before the Phillies loaded the bases on singles by Pierre and Polanco and a walk to Victorino. Pence grounded to short to leave them loaded.

Ruiz was hit by a pitch to start the fourth with the Phillies down 2-0. Mayberry struck out again for the first out and Galvis grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Polanco walked to start the sixth and moved to third when Victorino followed with a double. Pence was next and hit the ball well to center, but Ankiel made a diving catch for the first out. Polanco was way off third and unable to get back to tag and score. Ruiz was next and hit a ball to first. This time Polanco did try and score, but LaRoche threw home and he was tagged out for the second out. Mayberry flew to right for the third out.

At least Mayberry didn’t strike out this time. That’s some miserable base-running by Polanco, who has to score on Pence’s ball whether it is caught or not.

No runs for the Phils after putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

Righty Craig Stammen set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Orr hit for Kendrick and struck out for the third out.

Polanco and Victorino singled back-to-back off of Stammen with one out in the eighth, putting runners on first and second for Pence. Pence popped to Zimmerman at third for the second out and Ruiz grounded to short for the third.

Righty Henry Rodriguez started the ninth for Washington with the Nats still leading by two runs. Mayberry led off and walked on four pitches. Galvis flew to right for the first out before Mayberry took second on a wild pitch. Fontenot was next and singled into center. Mayberry looked like he might have been able to score, but held third, putting men on first and third with one down. With the righty Rodriguez still pitching, Wigginton hit for Valdes. A second wild pitch by Rodriguez moved Fontenot up to second and lefty Sean Burnett took over on the mound. Burnett got Wigginton on a fly ball to right, deep enough for Mayberry to tag and score from third. That cut the lead to 2-1 with two outs and Fontenot on second for Pierre. Luna hit for Pierre against the lefty and walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco lined to second to end the game.

I think it was nutty for the Nats to bring in a lefty to pitch to Wigginton in the middle of his at-bat, even after two wild pitches, but it worked out well for them. Mayberry should have scored on Fontenot’s single, but it didn’t matter as he scored anyway.

Mayberry draws a walk to get things started. After walking once in his first 77 plate appearances for the year, he has now walked five times in his last 38 plate appearances. Over the first 77 plate appearances he hit .240 and on-based .247. Over his last 38 plate appearances he hit .242 and on-based .342, proving once and for all that walks are our friend.

Pierre was 1-for-4 with a single in the game. Doesn’t belong in the lineup against a lefty, especially if the Phillies are going to play Mayberry at first and put Wigginton on the bench. Pierre is 1-for-his-last-12 and 5-for-his-last-26 (.192). 174/208/174 against lefties for the year.

Polanco was 2-for-4 with a walk and some ugly work on the bases. 351/383/468 over his last 83 plate appearances.

Victorino 2-for-3 with a walk and a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. 6-for-his-last-11 with two walks and two doubles. 296/380/444 in May.

Pence was 0-for-3 with a walk and left seven men on base. Should have had an RBI on the ball Ankiel caught in the sixth. He came into the game 10-for-his-last-24.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a strikeout and five men left on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-8.

Mayberry was 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and four men left on base. He’s 0-for-his-last-7, but hitting 271/333/390 in May. That’s not good, but considering he hit 204/204/245 in April, remember it could be a lot worse. He made a truly excellent defensive play for the second out in the sixth, robbing LaRoche of a hit.

Galvis 0-for-4 with three men left on base. He came into the game 10-for-his-last-28.

Fontenot 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 3-for-7 with three singles with the Phils so far.

Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22) faces righty Jordan Zimmerman (2-4, 2.58) tonight. Halladay’s ERA jumped from 1.95 to 3.40 when he allowed eight runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Braves on May 2. Since then he’s made three starts, going 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA and an 0.95 ratio. After walking ten hitters in five starts in April he has walked two so far in four May starts. Zimmerman threw to a 1.33 ERA in his four starts in April, but has cooled a bit in May. He has a 3.91 ERA in his four May outings. He faced the Phils on May 6 and allowed three runs over six innings — that’s the game where Hamels hit Harper.

The next update to Philliesflow will be around May 29.


Starter slide

The Phils won the opener of their series with the Red Sox, their sixth win in a row, but dropped the next two games of the set, putting them back at .500 for the season.

After the first game of the series, the rotation for the Phillies had made quality starts in nine games in a row. Game two featured Blanton’s worst start of the season and Cliff Lee followed that up with his worst outing of the year in game three.

Lee still doesn’t have a win on the year, but that has a whole lot more to do with the 14 runs the Phillies have scored in his six starts and the 7.62 ERA and 1.92 ratio the bullpen has thrown to in his games than it does with his 2.66 ERA or 0.86 ratio.

Yesterday, Lee allowed five runs in the first three innings and the Phils dropped game three 5-1.

The Phillies are 21-21 on the year after losing 5-1 to the Boston Red Sox yesterday afternoon. Boston takes the series two games to one.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out six.

Mike Aviles was the first batter of the game and hit a 1-1 pitch from Lee out to left. 1-0. Lee struck out Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz before Adrian Gonzalez singled into center. Will Middlebrooks struck out swinging to leave Gonzalez at first.

Daniel Nava walked with one out in the second and moved to second when Marlon Byrd followed with a single into left. The pitcher Josh Beckett was next and bunted. Lee fielded the bunt and threw to third, forcing Nava for the second out. It left runners on first and second with two down for Aviles and he singled to left, scoring Byrd (2-0) and moving Beckett up to second. Pedroia grounded to third for the third out.

Gonzalez singled to left with one out in the third and moved to third when Middlebrooks followed with a double to center. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was next and he hit a 2-0 pitch out to center for a three-run homer, putting the Red Sox up 5-0. Lee got Nava and Byrd on a fly ball to center and a line drive handled by Galvis to end the frame.

Lee allows five runs overall and two home runs in the first three innings of the game.

He set Boston down in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

Beckett led off the seventh with a single into center, but Lee got Aviles to ground into a double-play behind him. Pedroia singled to center before Ortiz flew to center to leave him at first.

Diekman pitched the eighth and set the Red Sox down in order, striking out Gonzalez, Middlebrooks and Saltalamacchia to drop his ERA for the year to 12.00.

Qualls pitched the ninth with the Phils down 5-1. He got Nava on a fly ball to left for the first out and struck out Byrd for the second. Switch-hitter Nick Punto hit for the pitcher Vicente Padilla and Qualls walked him, but Aviles went down on a ground ball to second to turn Boston away.

First time in three outings that Qualls is not charged with a run.

Two scoreless innings for the pen in the game in which they allow a walk but no hits. Qualls threw 21 pitches in the game and Diekman 11.

The Phillies lineup against righty Josh Beckett went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Polanco continues to sit with a sprained left ankle. Wigginton at third and Mayberry at first — both those guys should be on the bench against a lefty. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the bench.

Down 1-0, the Phillies went in order in the bottom of the first.

They were down 2-0 when Pence led off the second with a single, but Wigginton hit into a double-play behind him. Mayberry struck out swinging to end the inning.

Down 5-0, Galvis reached on an infield single to start the third. Schneider popped up to Beckett in foul territory for the first out before Lee moved Galvis up to third with a double. Rollins grounded to third for the second out with the runners holding. Pierre lined to first to leave them stranded.

No run for the Phillies after putting runners on second and third with one out. No RBI for Rollins as he grounds to third for the second out.

Victorino led off the fourth with a single and stole second before Pence lined to first for the first out. Wigginton grounded to third and Mayberry lined to right.

No run for the Phils after putting a runner on second with nobody out.

They went in order in the fifth.

Rollins walked to start the sixth, but Pierre hit into a double-play behind him. Victorino popped to short for the third out.

Pence singled to start the seventh, but the Phils went in order behind him.

With one out in the eighth, Orr hit for Diekman and doubled to right. Rollins followed with a single that moved Orr up to third. Pierre was next and flew to left for the second out/ Orr tagged and scored, cutting the lead to 5-1 and a throwing error by Nava allowing Rollins to move up to second. Beckett walked Victorino to put two men on and righty Vicente Padilla walked Pence to load the bases. It brought Wigginton to the plate at the tying run, but he grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

One run in the frame for the Phils on a double, a single, an error and two walks.

Righty Alfredo Aceves set Galvis and Mayberry down for the first two outs in the ninth. Ruiz hit for Schneider and grounded to second to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-3 with a walk in the game and 2-for-11 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 229/295/283 for the season.

Pierre 0-for-3 with an RBI. 0-for-8 in the series. 4-for-his-last-22 and hitting 319/360/353 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk in the series. 4-for-10 with a double and three walks in the set. 253/317/400 for the year.

Pence 2-for-3 with a walk in the series. 5-for-10 with three walks and a home run in the series. 268/324/506 for the season. 286/356/636 in May with seven home runs in 87 plate appearances.

Wigginton 0-for-4 and left six men on base. 2-for-11 in the series. 179/299/179 over his last 67 plate appearances. Batting .179 and slugging .179 means no extra-base hits — 10-for-his-last-56 with ten singles and 19 strikeouts. 250/336/333 for the season.

Mayberry 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 4-for-11 with two walks and a double in the series. 310/370/452 over his last 46 plate appearances. 248/279/333 for the year. 215/271/262 for the year against right-handed pitching.

Galvis 1-for-4 and struck out twice. 4-for-12 with two home runs in the series. 242/275/409 for the year. His isolated power for the season of .167 is better than the isolated power for Victorino, Mayberry, Wigginton or Rollins.

Schneider 0-for-3 in his only action of the series, dropping his line for the year to 278/297/389.

In Saturday’s game, Blanton was charged with seven runs over 4 1/3 innings as the Red Sox topped the Phils 7-5. Boston jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the game and the Phillie comeback fell short. Galvis hit his second homer in two games for the Phils and Mayberry, Luna and Victorino all had three hits. Valdes, Savery and Contreras combined to provide 4 2/3 innings of shutout relief in the game after Blanton exited in the fifth. Boston hit four home runs off of Blanton in his 4 1/3 frames.

Friday the Phils won the opener 6-4 behind Hamels, who allowed three runs over seven innings. The Phils jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first on RBI by Wigginton and Mayberry and a two-run single by Ruiz. Qualls gave up yet another homer to a lefty in the eighth, this time Adrian Gonzalez, to cut the lead to 5-4, but Galvis hit one out in the bottom of the eighth to extend the lead to 6-4. Papelbon closed the door in the ninth for his twelfth save.

Kendrick (0-3, 5.96) faces righty Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.22) tonight. Kendrick hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last three starts. Gonzalez faced the Phils on May 5 and held them to a run over seven innings.


Fifth win in a row gets the Phils past .500 but not past their bullpen problems

With their fifth straight win, an 8-7 squeaker over the Cubs last night, the Phils are finally back over .500 for the first time since topping the Pirates on Opening Day.

It sure was ugly, though.

The Phils were in control most of the way, taking a 5-2 lead into top of the eighth where a huge throwing error by Chicago pitcher Blake Parker helped them score three unearned runs and seemingly break the game open. Turned out there was some drama left. Halladay allowed his second home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth, cutting the lead to 8-3. Any hope that Jake Diekman was going to lead the charge that saved the bullpen was at least temporarily dashed in the bottom of the ninth. After a fantastic debut two games earlier, Diekman got two outs in the frame and was charged with four runs. Papelbon had to bail him out, getting the last out of the game on a ground ball to third with the tying run on base.

If the Diekman-as-Savior period was brief, so also was the march upwards from worst bullpen in baseball. After allowing four earned runs in an inning last night, the team’s bullpen ERA is up to 5.36 for the year, which is again the worst in either league.

The Phillies are 20-19 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 8-7 last night. The Phils sweep the two-game set and have won five games in a row for the first time this season.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He came into the start having allowed two home runs over his last 20 starts (142 2/3 innings) going back to 2011.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. David DeJesus led off with a double and Tony Campana bunted him to third with the first out. Starlin Castro was next and flew to left, deep enough for DeJesus to tag and score, tying the game at 1-1. Brayn LaHair hit a ball to left, where Pierre made a nice diving catch to end the inning.

Opponents are hitting .290 against Halladay in the first in this year and .227 in all other innings.

The Phillies led 4-1 when Halladay started the second. Ian Stewart singled with one out, but Halladay got Wellington Castillo to ground into a double-play behind him.

DeJesus singled with two down in the third, but was caught trying to steal second with Halladay throwing to Rollins to record the out.

Halladay set the Cubs down in order in the fourth.

Up 5-1, he set them down in order again in the fifth.

Darwin Barney led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. Lefty Adrian Cardenas, former first round pick of the Phillies, hit for the pitcher Casey Coleman and flew to center for the first out. DeJesus struck out for the second and Campana went down trying to bunt for a single for the third.

Castro homered to right-center on a 1-1 pitch to start the seventh, cutting the Phillies lead to 5-2. Halladay got LaHair on a fly ball to left for the first out before Alfonso Soriano singled to right. Stewart hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Halladay started the eighth with an 8-2 lead. Wellington Castillo led off and homered to left-center, making it 8-3. Halladay got the next three.

Halladay had only thrown 82 pitches through seven innings, which surely had a lot to do with the decision to have him pitch the eighth with a six-run lead. That and the fact that the bullpen is really, really hide-your-eyes bad.

Diekman started the ninth with the Phils still up five. He walked Campana on four pitches and Campana took second without a throw. Castro flew to left for the first out. Righty Jeff Baker hit for the lefty LaHair and walked, putting runners on first and second. Righty Joe Mather hit for the pitcher Michael Bowden and lined softly to Galvis for the second out. Diekman hit Stewart to load the bases for Castillo and Castillo cleared them with a double down the third base line and into the left field corner, cutting the lead to 8-6. Papelbon came in to pitch to the righty Barney and Barney singled into center, scoring Castillo to make it 8-7. Reed Johnson grounded to Wigginton at third to end the game.

Diekman faces six batters, walking two (including the leadoff man), hitting one and giving up a double while getting two outs.

Diekman threw 26 pitches in the game and Papelbon six. Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Wigginton (7) Luna (8) Galvis. Polanco on the bench. Luna at first after the pinch-hit grand slam the night before, accentuating the fact that the Phillies do not have a good option at first against right-handed pitching with Howard, Thome and Nix down.

Rollins led off the game with a single and moved up to second when Pierre grounded out softly for the first out. A Victorino walk put men on first and second, but Pence struck out for the second. Ruiz was next, though, and he singled into center, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 1-0 with men on first and second. Victorino and Ruiz pulled off a double-steal before Wigginton walked to load the bases. Luna fouled out to the catcher to leave them loaded.

The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phils hit in the second. Galvis grounded out to the pitcher for the first out, but Halladay singled, Rollins walked and Pierre singled behind him, loading the bases with one down for Victorino. Victorino grounded softly to first for the second out. Everyone moved up a base with Halladay scoring to make it 2-1 with men on second and third. Pence singled into center, scoring both runners and the Phils led 4-1. Ruiz followed that with a single that put men on first and second. Wigginton struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Casey Coleman set the Phils down in order in the third and again in the fourth.

Pence doubled off of Coleman to start the fifth and took third on a wild pitch. Ruiz singled in to right, scoring Pence and the Phils led 5-1. Wigginton and Luna both went down before Galvis moved Ruiz up to third with a single. Halladay grounded to the pitcher to leave runners at the corners.

Pierre bunted for a single with one out in the sixth and Victorino walked behind him. Pence flew to left and Ruiz grounded to short to turn the Phils away.

Luna reached on an infield single off of righty Blake Parker with one out in the seventh. Galvis hit into a double-play behind him.

The lead had been cut to 5-2 when the Phils hit in the eighth. Halladay led off with a single and moved to second when Rollins walked behind him. The runners moved up to second and third on a passed ball before Pierre grounded to second for the first out with both runners holding. Victorino struck out looking for the second out. Pence was next and dribbled a ball out in front of the plate, which should have ended the inning, but Parker bobbled then threw the ball away for an error, allowing both runners to score and extend the Phillie lead to 7-2. Righty Michael Bowden came in to pitch to Ruiz and Ruiz doubled to right, scoring Pence to make it 8-2. Wigginton struck out to leave Victorino at second.

The Phils shouldn’t have scored any runs at all in the frame. With runners on second and third with nobody out, Pierre grounds out and Victorino strikes out before Pence reaches on the two-run error and Ruiz follows with a double.

It was 8-3 when the Phils hit in the ninth. Bowden got Luna and Galvis for the first two outs before Fontenot hit for Halladay and singled to left. Rollins popped to first to leave him stranded.

Fontenot now 2-for-3 as a pinch-hitter on the year. The only Phillie with more pinch-hits on the season is Mayberry. Mayberry is 3-for-14 (.214) with a double and seven strikeouts as a pinch-hitter.

Rollins was 1-for-4 in the game, but walked twice and scored three runs. 2-for-8 with three walks in the series. 232/290/290 on the year.

Pierre was 2-for-5 in the game and 4-for-8 with a double in the series. 343/388/380 on the season. He is 14th in on-base percentage among the 105 NL players with 100 or more play appearances.

Victorino 0-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. 1-for-8 with two walks in the series. 244/301/394 for the year.

Pence 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Reached on a key dribbler in the eighth. 2-for-9 with a walk and a double in the series. 253/301/487 on the season.

Wigginton 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts. Mercifully got an out on the last batter of the game for Papelbon. 1-for-5 with two walks in the set. 3-for-his-last-30 with three singles and 13 strikeouts. 258/348/351. Huge opportunity for him to play regularly with Howard, Thome and Nix out and Mayberry awful, but he is not hitting.

Luna 1-for-5 with four men left on base. 2-for-6 with the Phillies for the year.

Galvis was 1-for-5 in the game and 3-for-9 with two doubles in the set. 230/270/367 for the year.

Hamels (5-1, 2.28) faces righty Daniel Bard (3-4, 4.30) tonight as the Phils play the Red Sox in Philadelphia. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last five starts and the Phillies have won all five of those games. He’s allowed just one home run in 35 innings in those outings.


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