Archive for May, 2012

Hamels pitches up a storm and interviews up another

The Nationals won the first two games of the three-game set this weekend, but Cole Hamels made sure people were going to remember game three for a while with last night’s effort. Hamels was great in the game, holding Washington to a run over eight innings as the Phils cruised to a 9-3 with behind Hamels’s arm and a pair of homers from Hunter Pence.

The game was most memorable, though, for the first pitch Hamels delivered to Washington wunderkind Bryce Harper in the bottom of the first — a 93-mile an hour fastball into the small of Harper’s back. Harper stole home later in the inning and Hamels was hit himself in the third. It’s probably not something that will be forgotten, but that might have been the end of things for the time being had it not been for this interview, in which Hamels is quoted as saying, “I was trying to hit him.”

The Phillies are 14-15 on the year after beating the Washington Nationals 9-3 last night. The Nats take the series two games to one. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on five hits and walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out eight and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.45. The Phillies have won five of the six games he has started this season.

He got the first two in the bottom of the first before hitting Bryce Harper with the first pitch of Harper’s at-bat. Jayson Werth was next and moved Harper up to third with a single. Harper stole home as Hamels made a throw to try to pick Werth off of first before Chad Tracy popped to Rollins to end the inning.

Hamels walked Wilson Ramos with two outs in the second, but got pitcher Jordan Zimmerman on a fly ball to center for the third out.

Harper singled to left with two outs in the third, but Hamels struck Werth out to leave Harper at first.

Up 3-1, Hamels set the Nats down in order in the fourth.

Ian Desmond tripled to left with two outs in the fifth. Steve Lombardozzi was the next hitter and Hamels got him on a soft ground ball he handled himself to end the inning.

Chad Tracy singled to center with two outs in the sixth. Hamels got Danny Espinosa on a ground ball to third for the third out.

Through six innings, Hamels had thrown 91 pitches.

Still up two runs, Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

He got the first two in the eighth before Harper doubled to left. Xavier Nady, who took over in right for Werth after Werth injured his wrist, grounded to second for the third out.

Sanches started the ninth with a 9-1 lead. He walked Espinosa with one out. Rick Ankiel was next and he grounded to first, with Espinosa forced at second for the second out. Ramos followed with a single into left that moved Ankiel up to second. Lefty Roger Bernadina hit for the pitcher Tom Gorzelanny and doubled to right, scoring Ankiel (9-2) and moving Ramos up to third. Ian Desmond followed that with an infield single, scoring Ramos (9-3) and moving Bernadina to third. Desmond took second without a throw before Lombardozzi popped to second, ending the game with both runners stranded.

Sanches threw 32 pitches in the game. He has now made two appearances for the Phillies and been bad in both, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks over three innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jordan Zimmerman went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Nix (6) Ruiz (7) Polanco (8) Orr. Pierre in left against the righty. The lefty Orr at second with Galvis on the bench.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Down 1-0, they went in order in the second.

Orr singled to center with one out in the third. Hamels was next and was hit by the first pitch of his at-bat, putting runners on first and second for Rollins. Rollins grounded to first for the second out with the runner moving up to second and third. Pierre grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Victorino walked to start the fourth. Pence was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to center, putting the Phils on top 2-1. Nix singled and moved to second on a ground out by Ruiz. Polanco singled into center, scoring Nix to put the Phils up 3-1. Orr struck out for the second out before Hamels moved Polanco up to second with a single. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

Pierre led off the fifth with a walk, but Victorino grounded into a double-play behind him. Pence grounded to third for the third out.

Nix and Ruiz went down to start the sixth before Polanco lined a ball into right. Werth came in and made a sliding effort but didn’t make the catch, injuring his wrist in the effort. Orr popped to short for the third out.

Zimmerman walked Hamels and Rollins to start the seventh before Pierre bunted for a single that loaded the bases. Righty Craig Stammen came in to pitch to Victorino and Victorino lined to left on a diving play by Harper with the runners holding. Pence was next and hit a ball well to center, but Ankiel took it and Hamels stayed at third (good thing, too, cause Ankiel made an amazing throw to the plate). Stammen stayed in to face the lefty Nix with the bases still loaded and struck Nix out swinging 0-2 to leave the bases loaded.

No run for the Phils after loading the bases with nobody out. I thought it was nutty to let Stammen pitch to Nix, but it worked out great for the Nats. Stammen’s spot was due to hit third in the bottom of the inning.

Lefty Sean Burnett pitched the eighth and set the Phillies down in order. Galvis hit for Orr and flew to left for the third out.

Hamels hit for himself to start the ninth, flying to center off of righty Ryan Perry for the first out. Rollins was next and walked on four pitches. He stole second before Pierre singled into center, scoring Rollins to make it 4-1. Pierre moved up to second as the throw came home. Victorino followed and tripled to right, plating Pierre. 5-1. Pence homered to left. 7-1. Nix flew to center for the second out before Ruiz singled to left. Polanco doubled to left, moving Ruiz up to third. The Nats finally pulled Perry as lefty Tom Gorzelanny took over. Galvis greeted him with a single into center, scoring both runners to make it 9-1. Mayberry hit for Hamels and struck out swinging to end the frame.

Second home run of the game for Pence. First triple of the year for Victorino. He’s got some work to do if he’s going to lead the league in triples. Galvis delivers a two-run single. Hamels hits for himself to start the inning, then doesn’t pitch the bottom of the ninth after the Phils extend the lead to 9-1.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with two walks in yesterday’s game. 1-for-12 with two walks and a double in the series. 223/273/259 for the season with four extra-base hits, all doubles, in 122 plate appearances.

Pierre 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in the game. 3-for-7 with two walks in the series. 333/388/359 for the year. 5-for-his-last-11. He has walked in about 7.1% of his plate appearances for the season. Over his career he has walked in about 5.7%. His .388 on-base percentage leads the team. Mayberry was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts in the series, dropping his line on the year to 203/217/254.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. 3-for-12 with two walks, a double and a triple in the set. 246/294/415 on the year.

Pence was 2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI in the game. 5-for-14 with a double and three home runs in the set. 274/308/487 for the year.

Nix was 1-for-5 in the game and 1-for-7 with two strikeouts in the series. 311/380/578 on the year. Wigginton was 0-for-5 in the series and struck out four times. 0-for-his-last-9. 289/360/408 on the year.

Ruiz was 1-for-5 yesterday and 3-for-12 with a home run in the series. 318/344/565 for the year. Among the 109 NL players with 75 or more plate appearances, his slugging percentage of .565 is eighth.

Polanco 3-for-5 with a double. 4-for-14 with a double in the series. 268/304/309 for the year. 366/395/439 over his last 43 plate appearances. He, Rollins, Galvis and Mayberry all have more than 50 plate appearances for the season and a slugging percentage under .310.

Orr 1-for-3 yesterday and 1-for-5 in the series. 276/300/414 for the year. Galvis was 1-for-2 with two RBI yesterday and 2-for-7 with a double in the series. 198/225/302 on the season.

In Saturday’s game, Worley didn’t pitch well, allowing five runs in six innings, and the Phils didn’t do much against Gio Gonzalez as they fell 7-1. Savery allowed two runs in an inning in relief of Worley. The Phils had just five hits in the game.

Friday the Nats won the opener 4-3. Manuel was ejected early, arguing a checked swing on Harper’s at-bat in the first. Pence put the Phils up with a two-run homer off of Strasburg in the fourth, but Chad Tracy hit a solo shot off of Kendrick in the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1. Ruiz homered in the fifth to extend the lead to 3-1, but the Nats got a run in the sixth charged to Savery and another charged to Qualls in the eighth to tie the game up at 3-3. Schwimmer, back for his third inning after throwing two scoreless frames, allowed a run in the bottom of the eleventh on a pair or singles and a pair of walks.

Schwimer threw 58 pitches in the game. Papelbon did not appear.

Halladay (3-2, 3.40) faces lefty Jon Niese (2-1, 4.08) tonight. Halladay struggled in his last outing, unable to hold a 6-0 lead and allowing eight runs over 5 1/3 innings. Niese was also hit hard in his last start, allowing five runs in three innings in Houston.


Blanton leaves some wondering why he’s so eager to catch a plane if it’s only going to bring him back to Earth

Joe Blanton was outstanding yesterday, throwing a complete game three-hit shutout as the Phils topped the Braves 4-0. Pitching in the early afternoon the day after a 15-13 marathon, Blanton needed just 88 pitches to get the job done in a game that took just two hours and two minutes.

First complete game for Blanton since 2007. Maybe his best start since joining the Phillies, and almost surely his best since September 22, 2009. He held the Marlins to two hits and two walks over seven innings that day and struck out nine. Maybe the best of his career since throwing a complete-game three hitter against the Twins while with the A’s on June 2, 2007.

The Phillies are 13-13 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 4-0 yesterday. They take the series two games to one.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing three singles, no walks and striking out six. He dropped his ERA on the year to 2.83, which is four-best among the six Phillies who have started a game for the team this season.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. Freddie Freeman singled to center with two outs, but Blanton got Dan Uggla to ground to short for the third out.

Blanton didn’t allow a base-runner in the second, third or fourth. He struck out Juan Francisco in the second. He got Pastornicky looking in the third and Martin Prado looking in the fourth.

Still up a run, Blanton got the first two to start the fifth, striking Francisco out again for the second out. David Ross was next and reached on an infield single, but Blanton got Pastornicky to ground to short for the third out.

Blanton got the Braves in order in the sixth. Pitcher Randall Delgado was the first hitter for Atlanta and hit the ball well, but Victorino made a nice running catch to take it for the first out.

Blanton had thrown 67 pitches through six innings.

He started the seventh with Polanco at third, Galvis at second and Wigginton moved over to first. The Braves went in order again.

He struck Francisco out for the third time in the game as he threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Livan Hernandez to start the ninth and struck out swinging. Bourn followed with a single into center, putting a runner on first for Martin Prado. Prado hit the ball hard, but Galvis speared his line drive at second and threw to first to double-off Bourn, ending the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Randall Delgado (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Nix (7) Orr (8) Schneider. Polanco on the bench with Wigginton at third. Pierre in left after sparking a ninth-inning rally in game two of the set. Nix at first. Schneider catches the day game after a night game. Orr at second against the righty with the weak-hitting Galvis on the bench.

Rollins led off the game with a single to left and moved up to second when Pierre bunted for a single. Victorino was next and flew to right for the first out with Rollins moving up to third. Pence followed with a ball to center for the second out, deep enough for Rollins to tag and score, putting the Phils up 1-0. Wigginton struck out swinging to set the Phillies down.

Nix led off the second with a single to left, but Orr, Schneider and Blanton all went down behind him.

The Phils went in order in the third. Pierre again tried to bunt for a hit, but Francisco caught it in the air for the second out.

Pence struck out as the Phils went in order in the fourth.

Blanton struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth.

Rollins, Pierre and Victorino went down in the sixth.

Pence and Wigginton both grounded out to start the seventh, but Nix was next and he a 2-1 pitch from Delgado out to center to put the Phils up 2-0. Orr singled to right, but was thrown out trying to steal second with Schneider at the plate.

For his career, Orr now has 16 stolen bases and has been caught seven times. Safe about 69.6% of the time. Might want to think about staying put.

Blanton reached on an infield single with one out in the eighth, but Rollins hit into a double-play behind him.

Pierre singled to left to start the ninth. Victorino was next and hit a 2-2 pitch from Hernandez out to right, putting the Phils up 4-0. Pence followed that with a double to left. Wigginton struck out for the first out before Polanco moved Pence up to third with a ground out to second. Galvis flew to center to leave him there.

First home run of the year for Victorino against a right-handed pitcher. He came into the game hitting 228/274/241 against righties.

Rollins was 1-for-4 in the game and 4-for-15 in the series. He’s hitting 240/280/270 for the year. Three extra-base hits, all doubles, in 108 plate appearances on the year.

Pierre 2-for-4. 2-for-5 with a walk in the series. 324/368/352.

Victorino 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the game and 5-for-14 with a home run in the set. 245/286/406 for the year. The list of Phillies that are on-basing .310 or less for the season includes Polanco, Pence, Victorino, Rollins, Mayberry, Thome and Galvis.

Pence 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI in the game. 4-for-12 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 263/302/404 on the year.

Wigginton 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-12 with two walks and five strikeouts in the series. 6-for-his-last-21 with six singles. 310/375/437 for the year.

Nix 2-for-3 with his second homer of the year. 5-for-9 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 342/419/658 for the year. He’s fifth in the NL in slugging percentage among players with 25 or more plate appearances.

Orr 1-for-3 in the game and in the series. 292/320/458 for the year. His isolated power of .167 is third-best on the team behind Nix and Ruiz. That might not even last all season.

Polanco 0-for-1 in the game and 4-for-11 in the series. 265/307/301 for the year (an isolated power of .036).

Galvis 0-for-1. 2-for-11 with a double in the series. 190/220/291 for the year. His OPS for the year peaked at .669 after going 1-for-4 with a double against the Giants on April 16. Since then he’s 8-for-48 with two walks and two doubles (167/200/208 over 51 PA).

Mayberry didn’t have an at-bat yesterday. He was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double in the series. He’s hitting 226/241/283 for the season.

Kendrick (0-2, 6.59) faces righty Steven Strasburg (2-0, 1.13) tonight. Kendrick has made two starts this year. The first, against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, was a disaster, but he was a lot better his last time out, holding the Cubs to two earned runs over six innings. Strasburg has made five starts on the year and allowed one or no runs in four of them. He allowed two runs in the other start. Strasburg has made one other appearance against the Phillies, which came on August 21, 2010.


Chance-to-see-stuff-that’s-stastically-improbable giveaway night in Atlanta largely a hit

Overall I’d say people feel like they got their money’s worth with Halladay being unable to hold a six-run lead and Ruiz driving in seven runs in a game his team lost. My impression is people might have felt Contreras, Schwimer and Sanches not pitching so well fell a little flat.

Wild one last night in Atlanta, which the Braves won 15-13 on a walkoff two-run homer by Chipper Jones in the bottom of the eleventh.

Staked to a 6-0 lead, Roy Halladay allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings in the game. The Phils failed to hold leads of 6-0 and 12-8 in the contest.

Carlos Ruiz went nuts, driving in seven runs, including three in the seventh on a three-run homer and three in the eighth on a three-run double.

Neither team got a lot of outstanding work from their pen, but the Braves got the last laugh in that department. After Savery and Bastardo went 1 2/3 scoreless frames, Contreras, Schwimer and Sanches combined to allow seven runs in three innings. With Qualls and Papelbon both in the pen having been used heavily over the past four days, the Phils brought Sanches out to start his third inning of the game in the eleventh. He didn’t get an out before Chipper won the game with a walkoff home run.

The Phillies are 12-13 on the year after losing to the Atlanta Braves 15-13 in 11 innings last night. The teams have split the first two games of the series.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on 12 hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a grand slam. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.

Martin Prado and Freddie Freeman singled back-to-back with one out in the bottom of the first, putting runners on first and second for Brian McCann. McCann hit a ball to first. Wigginton fielded, went to second for the first out and Rollins threw to Halladay covering first to complete the double-play and end the inning.

Great play by the Phils. Rollins did a great job at second, holding the ball long enough for Halladay to get to first while Freeman slid in hard.

Halladay set the Braves down in order in the second.

He started the third with a 4-0 lead and set Atlanta down in order.

McCann singled with two outs in the fourth, but Halladay struck Dan Uggla out behind him.

Halladay started the fifth with a 6-0 lead. Chipper Jones, Eric Hinske and Taylor Pastornicky all singled to start the frame, loading the bases with nobody out. Lefty Juan Francisco hit for the pitcher Cristhian Martinez and Halladay got him to pop to third for the first out. Michael Bourn was next and he singled into right, moving everyone up a base. Chipper scored and it was 6-1. Prado followed with an infield single, again moving everyone up a base. 6-2. Freeman popped to Galvis for the second out. McCann was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch well out to right, tying the game at 6-6. Halladay struck Uggla out looking to end the inning.

First home run allowed by Halladay since September 19, 2011. At least he made it memorable.

Hinske singled with one out in the sixth and a double by Pastornicky moved Hinske up to third. Lefty Jason Heyward hit for the pitcher Livan Hernandez and singled into right, scoring both runners to put Atlanta up 8-6. Savery took over for Halladay. He got Bourn swinging as Ruiz threw Heyward out trying to steal second, setting the Braves down.

Savery dropped his ERA on the year to 1.42 with the outing. In 6 1/3 innings, he has allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk.

The Phillies were up 9-8 when Bastardo started the seventh. Pitching for the third day in a row, he set Atlanta down in order on three fly balls. Two of the outs came on nice plays by Mayberry in left. He made a diving play to take a hit away from Prado for the first out and retired Freeman as he crashed into the wall for the second.

After not going a full inning in any of his first six outings on the year, Bastardo has now done so twice in the last two days. Over the last two days he’s thrown two perfect innings in two times out.

Contreras started the eighth with the Phillies on top 12-8. Uggla led off with a single. Chipper was next and hit a ball back up the middle that the Phillies might have gotten two on, but Rollins didn’t handle it for an error and the Phils didn’t get any. Righty Matt Diaz hit for the pitcher Kris Medlen and Contreras struck him out swinging for the first out. Pastornicky singled to center, scoring Uggla (12-9) and moving Chipper up to second. Contreras walked Heyward on a 3-2 pitch, loading the bases. The righty Schwimer took over for the righty Contreras, coming in to pitch to the lefty Bourn. Schwimer walked Bourn on four pitches, forcing in Chipper to make it 12-10. Prado followed with a single into center, scoring Pastornicky and Heyward, making it 12-12 with men on first and third. Freeman was next and flew to left for the second out. Bourn tagged and scored, putting Atlanta on top 13-12. McCann flew to center for the third out.

Schwimer comes in to face Bourn with Bastardo and Savery having already pitched in the game.

Contreras and Schwimer were both awful in the inning. Far from a sure thing, but if the Phillies had turned a double-play on the Rollins error ball, Conteras would have faced three hitters in the inning and put up a zero. Instead, the next two hitters he faced reached base. So a little bit of tough luck for Contreras in the frame, but that doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t look like he can offer much help out of the pen at this point and hasn’t for a while.

Schwimer faced four batters in the inning, allowing a walk, a single and a sac fly. It was his third appearance of the year for the Phils. Two of them have been bad.

It was 13-13 when Sanches started the ninth, making his first appearance for the Phils since 2007. He allowed back-to-back singles to Chipper and Jack Wilson with one out, putting men on first and second. Righty David Ross hit for the pitcher Craig Kimbrel and Sanches struck him out swinging for the second out. Sanches walked the lefty Heyward on four pitches, loading the bases for another lefty Bourn. Bourn flew to center for the third out.

Sanches came back to throw a 1-2-3 tenth.

He started the eleventh, but didn’t get an out. Uggla led off with a single to left. He got ahead of Chipper 0-2, but Chipper hit Sanches’s 41st pitch of the game, a 3-2 offering, out to right-center. Braves win 15-13.

You really want to try to avoid bringing Sanches back for a third inning if you can help it at all.

In the game, the pen goes 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and three walks.

Sanches threw 41 pitches. Contreras 21. Bastardo has thrown three days in a row and threw 11 pitches in the game. Schwimer 15 and Savery six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Nix (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Galvis stays in the lineup despite miserable offensive results with the lefty Orr on the bench.

Polanco singled to center with one out in the top of the first. Victorino struck out behind him for the second out and Pence flew to center for the third.

Wigginton walked to start the second and moved to second when Nix followed with a single into center. Ruiz was next and grounded into a double-play, leaving a runner on third for Galvis with two down. Galvis struck out swinging at a high 2-2 pitch that was way out of the strike zone.

Rollins and Polanco singled back-to-back with one out in the third, putting runners on the corners for Victorino. Victorino singled into right, scoring Rollins to make it 1-0 and moving Polanco up to third. Victorino stole second before Pence walked to load the bases. Wigginton fouled out to Chipper at third for the second out, but Nix blasted a ball to right that went over Hinske’s head in right for a three-run double, putting the Phils up 4-0. Hanson hit Ruiz with an 0-2 pitch before Galvis flew to center for the third out.

Hinkse probably should have caught the ball that Nix hit to right, although Nix hit it well. Wigginton can’t bring the runner in from third, popping out with the bases loaded for the second out.

Polanco and Victorino singled back-to-back with two outs in the fourth. Righty Cristhian Martinez took over for Hanson and get Pence to ground to short for the third out.

Wigginton started the fifth with a single and scored on a one-out double by Ruiz, putting the Phils up 5-0. Galvis followed that with a double, plating Ruiz to make it 6-0. Halladay moved Galvis up to third with a ground out to second for the second out. Rollins grounded to third to leave him there.

It was 6-6 when the Phils hit in the sixth. Livan Hernandez set the Phils down in order.

The Phillies were losing 8-6 when lefty Eric O’Flaherty started the seventh. Wigginton led off with a walk. Mayberry hit for Nix and singled softly to right, putting men on first and second for Ruiz. Ruiz pounded a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 9-8. Kratz hit for Savery and grounded to third. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

Righty Kris Medlen started the eighth for the Braves. He got Polanco and Victorino before Pence and Wigginton singled back-to-back, putting men on first and second for Mayberry. Mayberry walked to load the bases. Ruiz ripped a double into right field, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 12-8. Galvis flew to center for the third out.

Six RBI in two at-bats for Ruiz. Three-run homer in the seventh and a three-run double with the bases loaded in the eighth.

First walk of the year for Mayberry. One walk in 54 plate appearances.

The Phillies were down 13-12 when the hit in the ninth. Righty Craig Kimbrel walked Pierre on four pitches. Pierre stole second before Rollins struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch that surprised many observers cause it was so far off the plate. Polanco grounded to short for the second out with Pierre moving up to third. Victorino was next and hit a ball up the middle. Wilson nearly made an incredible play to end the game, fielding, spinning and making a strong throw to first, but Victorino just beat it out for an infield single. Pierre scored and it was 13-13. Pence struck out swinging to leave Victorino at first.

Fantastic job by Pierre to draw the walk and steal the base, helping to create a huge run for the Phils that kept the game alive.

Jonny Venters struck out Wigginton and Mayberry in a 1-2-3 tenth.

Chad Durbin got Galvis, Sanches and Rollins in the top of the eleventh.

Galvis tried to bunt for a hit, but Durbin threw him out at first. Sanches hits for himself in a tie game having already thrown two innings. The Phils had Schneider and Orr on the bench and Qualls and Papelbon in the pen. Qualls had thrown two days in a row and three of the last four. Papelbon had also thrown two days in a row and three of the last four.

Rollins was 1-for-7 in the game. He’s 7-for-his-last-22.

Polanco 3-for-6 to raise his average to .268. After going 0-for-1 against Arizona on April 24, he was hitting .196 for the year. He’s gone 11-for-26 since.

Victorino 3-for-6 with two RBI, including a huge one to bring Pierre home with two outs in the top of the ninth. He came into the game 5-for-his-last-42 (.119).

Pence was 1-for-5 with a walk. He only has one walk in his last 48 plate appearances.

Wigginton 2-for-4 with two walks. 362/424/517 over his last 66 plate appearances. Started a nice double-play early.

Nix 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. 8-for-his-last-18 with three walks and five extra-base hits. Mayberry was 1-for-2 with a walk in the game.

Ruiz 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. He leads the Phils with a .575 slugging percentage for the year. He drove in more runs in last night’s game than Galvis, Rollins, Polanco, Pierre or Mayberry have for the season.

Galvis 1-for-6 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts. His on-base percentage for the year is down to .222.

Blanton (2-3, 3.81) faces righty Randall Delgado (2-2, 6.30) this afternoon. Blanton has walked just three hitters in 26 innings for the season and allowed just one home run. The bad news is that opponents are hitting .318 against him. Delgado hasn’t gone more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his four starts and has walked 12 so far in 20 innings. Lefties have hit 357/417/449 against him so far and righties 211/362/277. So lefties have pounded him and righties haven’t done much in the way of getting a hit, but Delgado has walked about 14.9% of the right-handed hitters he has faced.


Brave new world?

The Phils beat the Braves 4-2 last night, rallying late to break a 2-2 tie in support of a strong outing by Cole Hamels. It was the second time in two games the offense had put together a late inning rally to get the Phils a win.

The Phillies have won five of their last seven games.

John Mayberry was one of the heroes last night, doubling with one out in the eighth to start the rally that put the Phils ahead. His bloop to the opposite field was far from a magnificent blast ripped into the gap, but the struggling Mayberry can use any hit he can get.

It was also the first extra-base hit of the year for a Phillies pinch-hitter. They are now 4-for-32 on the year with a double, a walk and 16 strikeouts (125/176/156).

The starting pitching continues to shine. Hamels went six strong innings, allowing two runs, one of which scored with the help of some weak defense by the Phils in the bottom of the sixth. The Phillies have 12 quality starts in their last 13 games.

The Phillies are 12-12 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 4-2 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out six and his ERA for the year rose to 2.78.

The Phillies have won the last four games that he has started and he has not allowed more than two runs or thrown less than six innings in any of them.

Martin Prado singled into center with one out in the bottom of the first. Prado stole second before Hamels struck Freddie Freeman out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Brian McCann got ahead of Hamels 3-0 before flying to left on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.

Hamels got the first two to start the second before Juan Francisco lined a single to left. Tyler Pastornicky grounded to short for the third out.

He struck out pitcher Brandon Beachy and Michael Bourn in a 1-2-3 third.

He started the fourth up 2-0. Freddie Freeman flew to left for the first out. McCann was next, though, and he blasted a 3-2 pitch out to right, cutting the lead to 2-1. Hamels struck Dan Uggla out swinging for the second out before walking Matt Diaz. Francisco grounded to first to end the inning.

Bourn singled to right with two outs in the fifth. Prado flew to right for the third out.

Freeman led off the sixth with a single on a ball deflected by Wigginton. McCann was next and Hamels walked him on five pitches, putting runners on first and second. Uggla popped up to Wigginton on the infield fly rule before a single by Diaz loaded the bases for Francisco. Francisco flew to left for the second out, deep enough for Freeman to tag and score, tying the game at 2-2. Pastornicky grounded out on a ball handled by Hamels for the third out.

Wigginton should have made the play on the ball hit by Freeman to start the frame, which would have helped Hamels out quite a bit.

Bastardo started the seventh in a tie game and set down the side in order. Righty Jack Wilson hit for the pitcher Beachy and flew to left for the first out before Bastardo struck out Bourn for the second. Prado flew to center for the third.

First time this season that Bastardo has gotten three outs in an appearance. He was pitching on back-to-back days for the second time this year. Got his ratio down to 1.85 for the year.

Qualls started the eighth with a 4-2 lead. Freeman led off and singled to left. McCann was next and Qualls got him to hit into a double-play to clear the bases. Uggla singled to left before Qualls walked Diaz on four pitches. It put men on first and second with two down for Francisco. Qualls got Francisco swinging 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

A day after giving up a two-run, game-tying homer to a left, Qualls again faces a bunch of lefties in the eighth. The lefty Freeman singles before the lefty McCann gets a shot as the tying run and hits the ball real hard, but into a double-play. Qualls strikes out the lefty Francisco at the plate as the go-ahead run.

So it worked. It’s going to fail to work a lot of the time, though. Qualls just isn’t good enough against lefties to pitch to them day after day with the game on the line. The Phils are going to need to figure something else out, cause if Qualls just stays in there to pitch the whole eighth in tight games every time he’s going to put up some ugly numbers. So far for the year, lefties are hitting 333/368/632 against him. The Phillies got lucky in last night’s game that when McCann absolutely crushed his ball, it was into a double-play.

Bottom line is Qualls in the eighth worked last night, though. Pitching for the second straight day, he dropped his ERA on the year to 2.89. He has allowed six hits and a walk over 3 1/3 innings in his last four appearances after allowing three hits and two walks over six innings his first six times out.

Papelbon pitched the ninth, also throwing for the second straight day. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Kris Medlen and flew to left for the first out. Wilson fouled out to Ruiz for the second and Bourn struck out swinging to end the game.

Three scoreless innings for the pen in which they allow two hits and a walk while striking out three. Bastardo, Qualls and Papelbon have all thrown two days in a row. Qualls threw 18 pitches in the game, Bastardo 14 and Papelbon ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brandon Beachy went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Nix (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Rollins leads off for the fourth straight day. Nix in left with Pierre on the bench. Wigginton at first with Mayberry on the bench. Galvis plays second with the lefty Orr on the bench.

The Phillies went in order in the top of the first and again in the second and third.

Polanco singled with one out in the fourth and went to third on a two-out double by Pence. Wigginton was next and singled into left, plating both runners to put the Phils up 2-0. The ball rolled under the glove and past a charging Prado, the error allowing Wigginton to move all the way up to third base. Nix flew to center to leave him there.

With their lead cut to 2-1, the Phils went in order in the fifth.

Rollins led off the sixth with a single, but was caught stealing for the first out. Polanco and Victorino both grounded out behind him.

It was 2-2 when the Phils hit in the seventh. Pence led off and smashed a ball, but Pastornicky snared it at short for the first out. Wigginton was next and he smashed a ball to deep right center field, but Diaz ran it down on a nice play for the second out. Nix doubled to left, but was left at second when Ruiz flew to right.

The Phils pounded Beachy in the inning, but with nothing to show for it. Another extra-base hit for Nix.

Lefty Jonny Venters started the eighth for Atlanta and got Galvis on a ground ball to short for the first out. Mayberry hit for Bastardo and flared a ball down the first base line that dropped in right, which was a double for the hustling Mayberry. Rollins followed Mayberry and singled into left, putting runners on first and third for Polanco. Polanco struck out swinging at a wild pitch, but the ball got far enough away to allow Mayberry to score from third (3-2) and Rollins, who was on the move, got credit for a stolen base of second. Victorino was next and hit a ball hard up the middle, off of Venters, for a single. It put men on first and third for Pence with two outs and righty Kris Medlen came in to pitch to Pence. Victorino was on the move when Pence hit what would have been a ground ball to second. But there was nobody there. It went into right center field for a single, plating Rollins to make it 4-2 and moving Victorino up to third. Wigginton struck out swinging to leave the runners at the corners.

Huge hit for Mayberry, bloop or no. Nice job running the bases by him to get a double out of it. Victorino on the move turns Pence’s ground out to second into an RBI-single.

Pierre hit for Qualls and flew to left to start the ninth. Ruiz and Galvis singled back-to-back, putting runners on first and second for Mayberry. Mayberry hit into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Mayberry is hitting .216 for the year. He doesn’t have a walk in 51 plate appearances. Across both leagues, there are 253 players with at least 50 plate appearances and Colorado’s Ramon Hernandez is the only player other than Mayberry without a walk.

Pierre is 1-for-his-last-8.

Rollins was 2-for-4 in the game with a stolen base and a caught stealing. He’s 6-for-15 for the year (400/471/467) in his four games hitting leadoff.

Polanco 1-for-4. He’s 8-for-his-last-20 with two walks.

Victorino 1-for-4. 5-for-his-last-42 (119/140/286 over 43 plate appearances). For the year, he’s hitting 205/256/219 against right-handed pitchers and 303/333/870 against lefties. He has 23 at-bats against lefties for the season and has hit all four of his home runs against lefties.

Pence 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to raise his average to .264. He’s 5-for-his-last-16.

Wigginton 1-for-4 with two RBI, two strikeouts and a non-error misplay at first. He’s tied with Ruiz for second on the team in RBI with ten.

Nix 1-for-3 with a double. He leads the team with five. He’s the only hitter on the team with an OPS over .838 (he’s at .910).

Ruiz was 1-for-4. He’s 8-for-his-last-19 with six RBI.

Galvis 1-for-4. He’s on-basing .227 for the year. 3-for-his-last-27 with a double and a walk.

Halladay (3-2, 1.95) faces righty Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.00) tonight. The Phillies have lost the last two games that Halladay has started, although he allowed just five runs in 14 innings in the two outings combined. He still hasn’t allowed a home run on the year or gone less than seven innings in a start. Hanson has made five starts on the year and allowed more than two runs in just one of them. Lefties have had success against him in the early going, hitting 273/344/400 against him so far.


Fans looking for some kind of historian to explain what exactly happened last night, but some suggest it might have been a rally

The Phils offense has struggled horribly this season, but they delivered in a big way last night, picking up the bullpen as the Phils rallied late to top the Cubs 6-4. The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the game and cruised behind another strong start by Vance Worley until the Cubs pounded out three runs against the pen in the top of the eighth. Polanco, who had already provided two outstanding defensive plays in the game at third, delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the inning that put the Phils on top to stay.

It was just the second win of the year for the Phillies in a game where they had allowed more than two runs.

The starting pitching for the Phillies has been outstanding lately. Worley was fantastic last night, holding the Cubs to a run over seven innings and giving the Phils their eleventh quality start in their last 12 games. Over those 12 games, their starters have thrown to a 2.69 ERA with a 1.13 ratio. The Phils have gone 6-6.

The bullpen is a different story. Last night’s game saw Bastardo and Qualls combine to blow a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning. In the frame, Bastardo got an early hook and Qualls stayed in long enough to give up a game-tying homer to a left-handed hitter. Over the last nine games, the bullpen has allowed 15 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings (6.53 ERA). Bastardo still hasn’t gotten more than two outs in any appearance for the year.

The Phillies are 11-12 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 6-4 last night. The teams split the four-game series. The Phillies have won four of their last six.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 1.97.

Worley has made five starts on the season and allowed more than one run in one of them.

David DeJesus was the first batter of the game and he hammered a 2-2 pitch off the wall in right. The ball rolled right to Pence and Pence made a perfect throw to second to nail DeJesus for the first out. Worley got the next two hitters behind him.

Worley started the second with a 4-0 lead and set the Cubs down in order.

He got Blake DeWitt, Geovany Soto and pitcher Chris Volstad in order in the third.

Worley struck DeJesus out looking for the first out in the fourth. The speedy Tony Campana was next and he put down a pretty bunt, but Polanco made a great play to field and throw to first in time to nip Campana for the second out. Starlin Castro followed with a single on a ball deflected by Rollins. It brought lefty Bryan LaHair to the plate for Chicago and he slapped a ball down the left field line, just out of the reach of a diving Polanco for a double that moved Castro up to third. Alfonso Soriano flew to right for the third out.

Great play by Polanco on the bunt by Campana helps keep the Cubs off the board. Campana was 5-for-14 in the series with three stolen bases and six runs scored.

Worley walked Ian Stewart to start the fifth. DeWitt was next and he chopped a ball in-between first and second. Wigginton made a sliding backhand attempt to field the ball, but it went off of his glove for an error that put men on first and second with nobody out. Worley struck out Soto for the first out before Volstad bunted the runners up to second and third with the second. DeJesus flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

You want to avoid walking the leadoff man, especially with a four-run lead, but Worley works around that and the error by Wigginton nicely.

Worley threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Soriano doubled to right to start the seventh and Worley walked Stewart behind him. DeWitt was next and singled into center, loading the bases for Soto. Soto hit a ball to third. Polanco fielded, tagged third and threw to first to complete the double-play. Soriano scored from third to make it 4-1. With two down and a man on second, righty Reed Johnson hit for Volstad. Worley got Johnson on a ground ball to first to end the frame.

Another big defensive play by Polanco, this time starting a critical double-play. Worley again walks Stewart and again handles Soto in a big situation.

Bastardo started the eighth. He got DeJesus to foul out to Ruiz for the first out before walking Campana on four pitches. Qualls came in to pitch to the righty Castro. Campana stole second before Castro singled into left, scoring Campana to make it 4-2. LaHair was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to right-center, tying the game at 4-4. Qualls got Soriano on a fly ball to left for the second out before Stewart singled to center. DeWitt flew to left to end the frame.

Bastardo gets the quick hook after walking Campana on four pitches, then Qualls gives up the homer to the lefty LaHair with Savery presumably available in the pen. For the year, lefties are hitting 333/375/688 against Qualls and righties are hitting 118/167/167. In 2011, lefties hit 320/381/452 against Qualls and righties 218/255/257. Qualls should not be pitching against left-handed hitters as the tying run late in the game a whole lot.

Bastardo walking Campana on four pitches is bad, but the Phils still haven’t let him get more than two outs in an appearance yet this year. He does have a 2.40 ratio, having allowed four hits and four walks over 3 1/3, which is kinda high.

Papelbon started the ninth with a 6-4 lead. He walked the leadoff hitter Stewart, but got the next three, striking Campana out looking 0-2 to end the game.

Eighth save of the year for Papelbon, who lowered his ERA on the season to 0.90. He’s allowed one run in ten innings on six hits and three walks.

Two innings for the pen in which they are charged with three runs on three hits and two walks. Papelbon threw 16 pitches. Bastardo and Qualls were both under ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Nix (7) Ruiz (8) Orr. Rollins continues to lead off with Polanco hitting second. Wigginton at first and Nix in left with Pierre on the bench against the righty. Orr plays second with Galvis on the bench.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a single. Polanco struck out for the first out before Victorino moved Rollins up to second with a single. Pence singled into center, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 1-0 and moving Victorino to second. Wigginton strucko out for the second out before a walk to Nix loaded the bases for Ruiz. Ruiz singled into right, scoring Victorino and Pence to make it 3-0. With men on first and second, Orr lined a single into right, scoring Nix to make it 4-0. DeJesus’s throw from right wasn’t close to getting Nix, but Soto didn’t handle it cleanly and the error allowed Orr to move up to second. Worley grounded to short for the third out.

Polanco singled with one out in the second, but Victorino struck out for the second out and Pence grounded to short to end the inning.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the third, but Orr grounded back to the pitcher to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

Wigginton singled with two outs in the fifth, but Nix lined to right behind him for the third out.

Orr bunted for a single with one out in the sixth. Worley bunted him to second with the first out. Orr moved up to third on a balk before Rollins walked, putting runners on first and third for Polanco. Polanco flew to center to end the inning.

Righty Shawn Camp started the seventh for the Cubs with the lead cut to 4-1. Wigginton singled with two outs. Lefty Scott Maine came in to pitch to Nix. Mayberry hit for Nix and struck out swinging to leave Wigginton at first.

Mayberry’s average drops to .204 after striking out against the lefty. 1-for-10 as a pinch-hitter with six strikeouts. Phillies pinch-hitters overall are 3-for-30 on the year with three singles and a walk (100/156/100).

It was 4-4 when the Phillies hit in the eighth. With one out and the lefty Maine still on the mound for the Cubs, Pierre hit for Qualls and was hit by a pitch. Galvis popped out out foul for the second out before righty Rafael Dolis came in to pitch to Rollins. Rollins singled into right, moving Pierre up to third. Polanco was next and lined a double into left, scoring both runners to put the Phils on top 6-4. Victorino grounded hard to second to leave Polanco stranded.

Pierre pinch-hits against the lefty and gets on base. Thome and Schneider, both lefties, were the other guys on the bench for the Phils at the time with Thome unavailable.

Rollins was 2-for-4 in the game with a big hit in the eighth-inning rally. 4-for-15 with a double and two walks in the four-game set. 4-for-11 with a double and a 364/462/455 line in three games since his insertion into the leadoff spot. He’s still hitting a miserable 235/283/271 for the year.

Polanco was 2-for-5 with a double, the only-extra base hit of the game for the Phils, and two big RBI. He also made two big defensive plays in the game, one on the bunt by Campana and the other starting the double-play on the ball hit by Soto with the bases loaded. He was 4-for-13 with a double in the series. He’s 7-for-his-last-16 with two walks and two doubles. 250/299/292 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-5 in the game and 2-for-17 with a double in the series. He’s 4-for-his-last-38 (105/128/289 over 39 PA). 228/276/380 for the year.

Pence 1-for-4 with an RBI in the game and 3-for-16 with a double in the series. 203/239/313 over his last 67 PA. 253/293/391 for the year.

Wigginton 2-for-4 in the game with his third error of the season, which is the most of anyone on the squad. Nix and Wigginton have combined to make five errors defensively for the Phils so far. Wigginton was 5-for-13 with a walk and a homer in the series. 322/379/475 for the year. He went 1-for-9 with a single to start the season and has hit 360/411/540 in 56 plate appearances since.

Nix was 0-for-2 with a walk in the game. 0-for-6 with three walks in the series. 276/382/517 for the year. For the season, he has five walks in 34 plate appearances, which is about 14.7% of his PA. Coming into the season he had walked in about 5.7% of his plate appearances for his career. His walk rate is the best of anyone on the team except for Blanton — Blanton has walked in two of nine plate appearances to this point. Nix leads the team in on-base percentage. He’s also leading the team in isolated power at .241. The Phillies ought to play him a whole lot as long as he’s going to lead the team in both on-base percentage and isolated power.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. 4-for-11 with a walk, a double, a home run and five RBI in the set. 313/343/516 for the year.

Orr 2-for-3 with an RBI in the game and 2-for-6 with a walk in the series. He’s hitting 286/318/476 for the season. Galvis was 1-for-8 with two strikeouts in the set and is at 191/225/294 for the year.

Cole Hamels (3-1, 2.73) faces righty Brandon Beachy (2-1, 1.05) tonight as the Phils face the Braves in Atlanta. Since allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Marlins his first start of the season, Hamels is 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA and an 0.86 ratio. Beachy has allowed two earned runs in 20 2/3 innings (0.87 ERA) over his last three starts. He’s allowed one extra-base hit to a right-handed hitter so far this season (Matt Kemp homered off of him in his most recent start).


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