The Phillies got more great starting pitching in yesterday’s game against the Astros, but it took some late heroics from Hunter Pence and a fantastic debut by Jake Diekman to get them a 4-3 win in ten innings.
Lee started the game for the Phils and was great, holding Houston to a run over eight innings and striking out ten. With Papelbon having thrown three days in a row, Qualls came on with a 3-1 lead in the ninth and couldn’t get the job done. The Astros tied the game up with a pair of runs and Diekman was forced into his major league debut with two outs and men on second and third. Diekman struck out Marwin Gonzalez to get the Phils out of the jam, came back to set the Astros down in order in the tenth and got the win when Pence hit a walkoff homer in the bottom of the inning.
The Phillies need a whole lot of help in their pen. But Diekman’s debut in which he struck out three over 1 1/3 perfect innings raises hopes that he may be part of the solution.
The 5.19 ERA for the Phillie bullpen is the worst in all of baseball. In yesterday’s game, they allowed two runs in two innings and cost Lee the win, but were arguably better than they had been during Lee’s other starts for the year. Coming into the game, the bullpen had thrown to a 9.00 ERA and a 2.22 ratio in Lee’s starts for the season. They were a little better than that in yesterday’s game, allowing two runs in two innings (9.00 ERA), but allowing just four hits plus walks over two frames (2.00 ratio).
Chad Qualls continues to struggle against lefties. Trying to nail down the save in the top of the ninth he faced two left-handed hitters and both of them doubled. Lefties are hitting 346/414/567 against him for the season.
On the plus side, the starting pitching continues to shine. The Phillies have gotten six quality starts in a row. Over those six games their starters have thrown to a 2.20 ERA with a 1.05 ratio.
The Phillies are 18-19 after beating the Houston Astros 4-3 yesterday afternoon. They sweep the two-game set and have won three in a row and four of their last five.
Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out ten and dropped his ERA on the year to 1.95. The Phillies are 1-4 in the games he’s started this season.
He walked Justin Maxwell with one out in the top of the first. Matt Downs went down on a fly ball to right for the second out before Schneider threw Maxwell out trying to steal second to end the frame.
Carlos Lee singled to center to start the second. Chris Johnson was next and he grounded to Lee. Lee went to second to force the other Lee for the first out. Our Lee struck JD Martinez out for the second out and got Jason Castro on a ground ball to second for the third.
Lee had a 2-0 lead when he started the third. Marwin Gonzalez led off with a single to center. The pitcher Jordan Lyles was next and tried to bunt, but failed twice then struck out looking for the first out. Jose Altuve was next and hit a ground ball that was deflected off Polanco to Rollins. Rollins went to second to for Gonzalez for the second out. Lee struck Maxwell out swinging 1-2 to set the Astros down.
Big no bunt for Lyles changes the inning and the Phils get a big play from Rollins to get an out on the ball hit by Altuve.
Lee struck out Downs and Johnson as he set the Astros down in order in the fourth.
Martinez singled to center to start the fifth, but Lee got Jason Castro to ground into a double-play behind him. Lee struck Gonzalez out swinging for the third out.
He struck out Altuve and Maxwell in a 1-2-3 sixth.
He started the seventh up 3-0. Matt Downs led off and hit a 3-1 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 3-1. Lee got the next three Astros behind Downs.
Lee started the eighth having thrown 95 pitches in the game. Castro led off and struck out on a wild pitch that got away from Schneider, allowing Castro to take first. Gonzalez was next and hit a ball that Lee handled. Lee went to second for the first out Galvis relayed to first to complete the bases-clearing double-play. Lefty Travis Buck hit for the pitcher Fernando Rodriguez and singled to right. Lee got Altuve on a fly ball to right to leave Buck at second.
Big double-play for the Phils after Castro reaches on the strikeout. The lefty Buck hits against the lefty Lee and reaches base on a single.
Manuel was ejected for arguing with the home plate umpire after the Castro strikeout on a wild pitch for reasons not clear to me.
Qualls started the ninth with a two-run lead, pitching for the second day in a row. Lefty Jordan Schafer hit for the righty Maxwell and hammered a double to center on a 3-2 pitch. Downs was next and he went downs on a ground ball to second, which moved Schafer up to third with one out. Lee was next and singled into center, just passed a diving Rollins. Schafer scored and it was 3-2. Brian Bogusevic ran for Lee and stole second before Johnson grounded softly to third for the second out. Righty JD Martinez was next and singled to right. Bogusevic was held up at third, but Pence lost the handle trying to transfer the ball out of his glove for an error that allowed Bogusevic to come home and tie the game at 3-3. The lefty Castro was next and he doubled off the wall in right, putting runners on second and third for the switch-hitter Gonzalez. Lefty Jake Diekman came on to pitch to him. Diekman struck Gonzalez out swinging 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Qualls can’t pitch to lefties. Shafer doubles off of him to start the mess. Castro, the other lefty that Qualls faced in the inning, doubled as well. Qualls faced six batters in the innings. Two were lefties and both of them doubled. Of the four righties, he allowed two singles and got two ground outs. His ERA is up to 4.05 for the year after being charged with two runs in 2/3 of an inning in the game.
Lee had thrown 110 pitches through eight innings, so he wasn’t a good choice to start the ninth.
Huge debut for Diekman, coming into the game with two outs in the ninth and men on second and third in a tie game.
He was back to pitch the tenth. Switch-hitter Jed Lowrie hit for the pitcher Brandon Lyon and flew to right for the first out. Diekman struck out Altuve and Schafer behind him.
Three strikeouts in 1 1/3 perfect innings for Diekman.
Qualls and Diekman each threw 21 pitches in the game. Diekman’s 21 were better. Qualls has pitched two days in a row.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jordan Lyles went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Polanco hits fifth after a two-run homer in game one of the set. Schneider catches the day game after a night game with a righty on the mound. Galvis plays second with Orr on the bench. Mayberry hits sixth, hitting 224/269/265 against righties for the season coming into the game.
Rollins was the first batter in the bottom of the first and doubled to right on a ball deflected by Lee at first. Pierre bunted him to third with the first out, but Victorino struck out for the second and Pence grounded to second.
No RBI for Victorino after the Phillies put Rollins on third with one out.
Mayberry reached on a throwing error by Altuve with one out in the second. Galvis flew to center for the second out, but Schneider was next and he hit the first pitch from Lyles out to right-center, putting the Phils on top 2-0. Lee grounded to second for the third out.
Nice start to the game for Schneider, who threw Maxwell out to end the top of the first and hit his first homer of the year in the bottom of the second.
The Phils went in order in the bottom of the fourth.
They went in order in the fifth, too. Rollins tried to bunt for a hit, but popped it up to the catcher in foul territory for the second out.
Pence homered to right off of Lyles with one out in the sixth, extending the lead to 3-0. Polanco followed that with a single, but Mayberry and Galvis both went down behind him.
Rollins singled off of lefty Fernando Abad with two outs in the seventh and the lead cut to 3-1. Wigginton hit for Pierre and the righty Fernando Rodriguez took over for Abad. Wigginton drew a walk, putting two men on for Victorino, but Victorino popped out to the catcher to leave both runners stranded.
Pence singled to right off of righty Brandon Lyon to start the bottom of the eighth. He took second on a wild pitch before Polanco moved him up to third with a single to right. Mayberry was next and hit a ground ball to third. Pence was caught up between third and home and eventually tagged out for the first out. It brought Galvis to the plate with men on first and second and he flew to center. Schneider was next and hit a ball to first that Lee handled, throwing to Lyon covering first who made an ugly slide into the bag in time to beat Schneider and end the inning.
No runs for the Phils after putting me on first and third with nobody out.
The game was tied at 3-3 when the Phillies hit in the bottom of the ninth. Lyon was back for the Astros and set Ruiz, Rollins and Wigginton down in order.
Righty Brett Myers got Victorino to foul out to third for the first out of the tenth. Pence was next and hit a ball just out to left, giving the Phils a 4-3 win.
Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double in the game. 2-for-8 with a walk in the two-game set. He’s hitting 231/278/293 for the season. He doesn’t have a walk against a left-handed pitcher yet this year.
Pierre 0-for-2 with a strikeout. 0-for-6 in the series. 3-for-his-last-12. 330/380/360 for the year.
Victorino was 0-for-5 with a strikeout and three men left on base yesterday. 1-for-9 with a triple in the series. 250/301/408 on the season. 2-for-his-last-13.
Pence was 2-for-5 with two solo homers. 4-for-9 with two homers in the series. He came into the series 1-for-his-last-15. 255/301/497 for the year. The Phillies have a team on-base percentage of .307 for the year, which is 13th among the 16 NL teams. Victorino, Pence, Mayberry, Rollins and Galvis all have at least 93 plate appearances for the year and an on-base percentage of .301 or worse.
Polanco was 2-for-4. 3-for-7 with a walk and a home run in the series. 288/321/368 for the season. 356/390/479 over his last 80 plate appearances. His .321 on-base percentage for the season is fourth-best on the team among players with 100 plate appearances.
Mayberry 1-for-4 to up his average to .247. 3-for-8 with a double in the series. 247/269/337 on the year. After not walking in his first 51 plate appearances on the season he has walked three times in his last 42. 333/364/500 over his last 33 plate appearances. Slugging .264 for the season against right-handed pitching.
Galvis 0-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-7 with a walk in the series. 225/265/351 for the year. 8-for-his-last-21 with three walks, three doubles and a triple. His isolated power with the Phillies is .121. Over 2,179 minor league plate appearances it is .076.
Schneider 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in his only action of the series. He’s now hitting 303/324/404 for the season. First home run since April 21, 2011.
Vance Worley (3-2, 3.07) faces righty Matt Garza (2-1, 2.56) tonight in Chicago. Worley threw to a 1.97 ERA over his first five starts of the season, but has pitched to a 6.00 ERA over his last two starts. Garza flummoxed the Phils the last time he saw them, holding them to a hit and and a walk while throwing seven shutout innings on April 29.
Er, not so much on Worley starting tonight. This article says that Worley will miss the start with a sore elbow and Kendrick will take the start in his place. Kendrick has thrown to a 6.43 ERA in his three starts on the season, although only one of the three has been terrible. In his first start of the year he allowed seven runs in three innings against the Diamondbacks. In his two starts since, he’s allowed four runs over 11 innings, throwing to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.36 ratio.