Archive for June, 2012

Playoff intensity not delivering much but playoff results so far for the Phils

The problem for the Phillies isn’t that they fail to grasp the seriousness of their situation or elevate their level of play. The problem is that they do and that they have and they keep losing anyway. The Phils have battled for just about every at-bat over the last handful of games, but Rays and the Pirates haven’t seemed that impressed. After losing 5-4 yesterday afternoon, the Phils are 2-4 over their last six games.

They’ve still got plenty of time to get it going, but they didn’t start yesterday. Kendrick had a hide-your-eyes ugly first inning that saw the Pirates score five runs by the time they sent their seventh batter of the game to the plate. The pitching was great after that, Kendrick tossed six scoreless frames and new additions Sanches and Horst combined to throw two more, but the Phils couldn’t quite climb all the way back as their rally fell a run short.

So somebody needs to get in there an kick the flux capacitor or something. Cause right now all I can picture is a rather exasperated-looking Charlie Manuel firing off an “I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!” and the only response to this point has been a diverse group of opposing players hitting the ball all manner of hard and far against an equally diverse group of Phillie pitchers.

The Phillies are 36-42 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 yesterday afternoon. The teams split the four-game series. The Phils are in fifth place in the NL East, nine games behind the first place Nationals.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for first inning home runs, a three-run blast and a solo shot.

Kendrick has a 7.67 ERA over his last five starts. Opponents have hit .294 against him and he’s allowed five home runs and 15 walks over 27 innings.

Drew Sutton was the first batter of the game and reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Kendrick. Neil Walker followed that with a walk, putting runners on first and second for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen flew to right for the first out with Sutton tagging and moving up to third. With men on the corners, Garrett Jones singled to right, scoring Sutton to put the Pirates up 1-0 with men on first and second for Casey McGehee. McGehee hit a 1-2 pitch from Kendrick out to left-center. 4-0. Alvarez was next and homered to right. 5-0. Kendrick struck out Clint Barmes for the second out and got Michael McKenry on a fly ball to left for the third.

Kendrick got the first two batters to start the second before Walker singled to left. McCutchen went down swinging to leave Walker stranded.

He set the Pirates down in order in the third, fourth and the fifth.

He walked McGehee with one out in the sixth, but got Alvarez and Barmes behind him.

McKenry reached on an infield single to start the seventh. Burnett tried to bunt him to second, but Kratz fielded, threw to second for the first out and Rollins went to Fontenot at first to complete the double-play. Kendrick walked Sutton and Alex Presley ran for Sutton at first. Kendrick got Walker to line to left to leave Presley at first.

Very nice play by Kratz to pounce on the ball and throw to second to start the double-play.

Sanches started the eighth. Jones doubled off the railing in right with one out on a play that was still a double after being reviewed. McGehee was next and flew to center for the second out with Jones moving up to third. Sanches walked the lefty Alvarez intentionally to put runners on first and third for Barmes. Sanches got Barmes swinging 3-2 to leave both men stranded.

Fourth appearance for Sanches with the Phillies this season and the first time he hasn’t been charged with at least one run.

It was 5-4 when Horst started the ninth, making his debut with the Phillies. He walked McKenry on five pitches to start the frame. Tabata bunted McKenry to second with the first out. Alex Presley was next and Horst walked him, too, putting runners on first and second. Horst got Walker on a foul ball handled by Wigginton for the second out. McCutchen was next and Horst struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Horst facing the righty McCutchen with two men on doesn’t make you feel real comfortable, but the lefty got it done that time. He has thrown to a 2.11 ERA at Triple-A this year, but with a 1.59 ratio. In 38 1/3 innings he’s allowed 43 hits and walked 18.

Sanches and Horst get the job done in the game, throwing two scoreless innings as they allow a hit and two walks. Horst threw 24 pitches and Sanches 22.

The Phillies lineup against righty AJ Burnett went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Wigginton (7) Fontenot (8) Kratz. Pierre in left against the righty with Wigginton at first. Kratz makes his first start of the year catching the day game after a night game. Polanco hits fifth, which is terrible given that he has slugged .375 over his last 2,054 plate appearances coming into the game. Fontenot at second with Utley resting.

Down 5-0, Victorino singled with two outs and took second on an error by Jones in right. Pence grounded to the pitcher to end the inning.

Wigginton singled to center with one out in the second. Fontenot was next and flew to center for the second out, but was next and hit an 0-2 pitch out to center, getting the Phils on the board at 5-2. Kendrick grounded to second for the third out.

Second home run in five at-bats for Kratz on the year.

Pierre singled with one out in the third and stole second. Pierre took third on a ground out, but was left stranded when Burnett struck Pence out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the fourth and again in the fifth.

Victorino and Pence singled back-to-back with one out in the sixth, putting runners on the corners for Polanco. Polanco hit a ground ball to third. Alvarez went to second for the first out, but Polanco beat the relay to first as Victorino scored to make it 5-3. Wigginton walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Fontenot. Fontenot took ball one way high and then grounded to first to end the inning.

Kinda looked like Burnett had lost the strike zone there a little.

Kratz struck out to start the seventh. Utley hit for Kendrick and struck out for the second before Rollins walked. Righty Juan Cruz came in to pitch to Pierre and walked him, putting two men on for Victorino. Victorino flew to left for the third out.

Pence started the eighth and lined a 1-1 pitch just out to left off of righty Jason Grilli. 5-4. Polanco was hit by a pitch. Wigginton got ahead 3-1, but struck out swinging for the first out. Fontenot followed and singled on a ball knocked down but not handled by Grilli. It put runners on first and second for Kratz and Thome hit for him. He hammered the first pitch he saw out by foul and then struck out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Ruiz hit for Sanches and fouled out to McGehee as the first baseman went into the stands to make a great catch and end the inning.

Rollins singled off of righty Joel Hanrahan to start the ninth. Pierre bunted him to second with the first out and Victorino struck out swinging for the second. It brought Pence to the plate with two down and Rollins on second. Before Hanrahan threw a pitch to Pence, Rollins stole third, but Pence flew to McCutchen in shallow center to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. 5-for-16 with three walks, a double a triple and a home run in the series. 339/385/645 over his last 130 plate appearances. 268/322/419 for the year. He’s hitting .323 at home and .215 on the road.

Pierre 1-for-3 with a walk and another stolen base, which gives him 18 on the year. He’s been caught just three times. 2-for-11 with a walk in the series. 254/299/365 over his last 69 plate appearances and 315/355/380 for the year.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a strikeout and four men left on base. 5-for-15 in the series with two walks and five singles. 253/324/390 for the year. Doesn’t seem like a great choice to hit third against a righty given his 231/300/319 line against them for the season.

Pence 2-for-5 with a home run. 6-for-17 with two walks, a double, a triple and a home run in the series. He came into the series slugging .329 over his last 90 plate appearances without a home run. 277/345/476 for the season.

Polanco 0-for-3 with an RBI thanks to nice hustle to beat out his double-play ball. 4-for-10 with two walks and four singles in the set. 278/324/363. Polanco hitting fifth against a right-handed pitcher is a pretty good sign there are some issues with your lineup.

Wigginton 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-12 with two walks and a home run in the set. 250/317/398 for the year. Playing way too much against righties. 185/228/315 over his last 57 plate appearances. It’s him, Mayberry or Luna at first so far and they’re all right-handed. Mayberry’s hitting 212/246/470 in June. Luna is 1-for-his-last-11 with five strikeouts. If Nix is back in a few weeks, that will help. Till then I really think they should consider giving the lefty Fontenot a try at first against some righties.

Kratz was great. 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and made a great play to start a double-play on the bunt in the seventh. 2-for-7 on the year with two home runs.

Ruiz was 0-for-1 in the game and 8-for-14 with two home runs in the series. 362/429/588 for the year. He’s obviously getting a ton more hits in 2012 than he has over his career, but also hitting for way more power, especially against right-handed pitching. For his career, his isolated power against righties is .133. So far in 2012, his isolated power against righties is .242 (for lefties it is .183 this year compared to .155 for his career).

Cliff Lee (0-4, 3.72) faces righty Josh Johnson (4-5, 3.96) tonight in Florida. Lee has a 5.10 ERA over his last seven starts and the Phillies are 3-9 in his outings for the year. Johnson threw to a 6.61 ERA in his first six starts on the season. Since then he’s made nine starts, throwing to a 2.56 ERA and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of those outings.


Phils thrilled with Utley’s home run, wonder if 12 a game is too much to ask

They could probably cut it down to six a game if Pierre promises to stop getting caught stealing ahead of him if that would help.

For all of the energy Chase Utley’s return generated last night, the take home message is simple: scoring seven runs isn’t good enough if you’re going to allow 11. And what’s wrong with the Phillies has a lot more to do with preventing runs than it does with scoring them.

Bullpen game last night and that was sure to be a problem for the Phillies because their bullpen is wretched. Things looked good early for the Phils as back-to-back homers from Utley and Ruiz put the Phils up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but the Pirates responding by scoring eight unanswered runs. Down 8-2, the Phils scored five times in the sixth and seventh innings combined, cutting the lead to 8-7. Chad Qualls took the air out of the Phillies comeback, though, allowing three runs in the top of the eighth and the Pirates went on to win 11-7.

The bullpen ERA for the Phillies for the year is up to 4.67 with the game, which is 14th among the 16 NL teams.

Through the first 40 games of the season, the starting pitchers for the Phillies threw to a 2.93 ERA with a 1.09 ratio. Over the last 37 games, the starters have thrown to a 5.01 ERA and a 1.36 ratio. The Phillies are 15-22 in those games.

I truly do not understand why the Phillies chose to let the bullpen pitch last night instead of calling up a starter from Double-A or Triple-A. I’m sure there was a reason, I just don’t know what it is. Whatever it was, they’ve lost the game and shredded their bullpen for the next couple of days and their bullpen was bad before they shredded it. This afternoon they start Kyle Kendrick, who has gone about 5.58 innings per start in his 11 starts on the year, the lowest mark for anyone who’s started a game for the Phils other than Valdes. Kendrick has gone six innings in a start once in his last five tries.

The Phillies are 36-41 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-7 last night.

Raul Valdes got the start for the Phillies and went two innings, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a three-run homer by Michael McKenry. He struck out two.

Valdes set Josh Harrison, Drew Stubbs and Andrew McCutchen down in order in the top of the first.

He started the second up 2-0 and walked Casey McGehee on a 3-2 pitch. With Neil Walker at the plate, McGehee took off for second. Ruiz’s throw beat him there easily, McGehee might have thought the hit and run was on, and Utley chased him back to first and applied the tag for the first out. Valdes walked Walker 3-2, putting a runner on first for Pedro Alvarez and Alvarez struck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Jose Tabata was next and lined a single to left, moving Walker up to second. Michael McKenry was next and he hit a 3-2 fastball out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Pirates up 3-2. Pitcher James McDonald flew to left for the third out.

Two walks for Valdes in the inning and then he grooves a 3-2 fastball to McKenry in front of the pitcher spot. That was a truly terrible pitch. Pirates gave him an out on the bases and still score three in the frame. That could have been better.

Savery started the third. Harrison led off and hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Sutton flew to left for the first out before Savery picked Harrison off of first with Wigginton throwing to Rollins for the second out. McCutchen flew to center to set the Pirates down.

McGehee homered off of Savery to start the fourth. 4-2. Walker followed with a double and moved to third on an Alvarez ground out. Tabata struck out swinging and Savery walked the righty McKenry intentionally to pitch to McDonald with two outs and runners on the corners. McDonald singled to left, scoring Walker to make it 5-2 with runners on first and third. Harrison grounded to third for the third out.

Savery walked Sutton to start the fifth and McCutchen moved him to second with a single. McGehee flew to right for the first out before a Walker singled, scoring Sutton (6-2) and moving McCutchen to third. Savery struck Alvarez out swinging 0-2 for the second out and Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Tabata. Tabata singled to center. McCutchen scored, 7-2, and Walker went to third. McKenry was next and singled to left on a ball deflected by Fontenot. Walker scored. Tabata to third. 8-2. Schwimer struck McDonald out looking to finally set the Pirates down.

Back-to-back two out singles get the Pirates two more runs. Valdes and Savery were both awful in the game, combining to allow eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. Savery’s line is worse thanks to two-out hits allowed by Schwimer that bring in two runs charged to Savery.

Schwimer was back to start the sixth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Harrison and Sutton to start the inning, but got the next three to leave the runners at first and second.

Diekman started the seventh with the Phils down 8-4. He struck out Alvarez and McKenry while setting the Pirates down in order.

Qualls started the eighth with the lead cut to 8-7. Lefty Alex Presley hit for the pitcher Brad Lincoln and walked. Barmes grounded to third for the first out with Presley moving up to second. Sutton doubled to center, scoring Presley. 9-7. McCutchen was next and hit a 2-2 pitch out to right center. 11-7. McGehee flew to left before Walker singled into center. Alvarez grounded to first for the third out.

Just a miserable job by Qualls after the Phillies had fought to get back in the game. In his defense, he has been overused of late. He got Tuesday off, but through Monday had thrown five of six days including pitching the ninth with a five-run lead on Monday.

Bastardo pitched the ninth. He allowed a two-out walk to Presley, but got Barmes on a fly ball to center to end the frame.

Awful night for the bullpen. Savery (53 pitches) and Valdes (43) surely can’t pitch for a while. Qualls threw 35 pitches. He’s only thrown one day in a row, but has been pitching way too much. He also has a 4.60 ERA for the year and opponents are hitting .302 against him. Schwimer has thrown back-to-back days and threw 26 pitches last night. Bastardo has thrown back-to-back days, four of the last five days and threw 14 pitches last night. Diekman threw 13 pitches last night.

So who can pitch tonight? Savery and Valdes look like they are not candidates. Papelbon and Diekman look like they should be fine. Qualls, Bastardo and Schwimer seem to be in a gray area with Schwimer having thrown less of late than the other two.

The Phillies lineup against righty James McDonald went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Utley (4) Ruiz (5) Pence (6) Victorino (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Utley makes his 2012 debut with the Phillies and hits third. Wigginton at first against the righty. Fontenot at third with Polanco on the bench. Polanco was 6-for-his-last-10 with two walks.

Rollins walked to start the bottom of the first. Pierre grounded to short with Rollins forced at second for the first out, but was caught trying to steal second before Utley hit a 2-2 pitch out to right, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Ruiz followed and homered to left on a 3-1 pitch, extending the lead to 2-0. Pence drew a walk, but Victorino flew to left to leave him at first.

Chase arrives with a bang and Ruiz follows it up with another. The caught stealing by Pierre during Utley’s at-bat costs the Phils a run.

Down 3-2, the Phils went in order in the second. Lee hit for Valdes and struck out for the third out.

Rollins singled to left to start the bottom of the third. Pierre was next and grounded back to the pitcher with Rollins forced at second for the first out. Utley was next and again hit the ball hard, but this time to straight away center. McCutchen handled it on the warning track for the second out. Ruiz lined to third to leave Pierre stranded.

Down 5-2, the Phillies went in order in the fourth.

Down 8-2, they went in order in the fifth.

Utley reached on an infield single on a ball Alvarez could have handled with one out in the sixth. Could have made a better throw, too. Ruiz was next and grounded to second with Utley forced at second for the second out. Pence was next and doubled to left center, scoring Ruiz from first to make it 8-3. Victorino followed that with a single to left, scoring Pence. 8-4. Polanco hit for Schwimer and righty Jared Hughes took over for McDonald to pitch to him. Victorino stole second before Polanco walked. Fontenot grounded back to the mound to leave both runners stranded.

Luna led off the seventh and hit a ground ball to third that Alvarez didn’t handle for an error. Rollins was next and tripled to center, scoring Luna to make it 8-5. Pierre was next and lefty Tony Watson came in to face him. Pierre singled to left, scoring Rollins. 8-6. Utley followed and hit a ground ball between first and second, closer to first. McGehee, who had been holding Pierre on first, didn’t go after the ball and it found right field for a single that moved Utley up to second. Ruiz was next and lined a ball to right. Tabata lost it in the lights or something, but he sure didn’t catch it. Ruiz had a single, Pierre scored (8-7) and Utley moved up to second. Righty Brad Lincoln took over for Watson. He struck Pence out swinging 3-2 and got Victorino on a fly ball to left for the second out. Thome hit for Diekman and struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Awful defense by the Pirates in the frame. Alvarez starts with an error and McGehee and Tabata both don’t make plays that are called singles. Lincoln squashes the rally for the Phils, entering with two men on and nobody out and getting Pence, Victorino and Thome.

Righty Jason Grilli set the Phils down in order in the eighth with the Pirate lead extended to 11-7. McCutchen made a great diving catch on a ball Luna hit to right-center for the second out, taking a double away from Luna.

Righty Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth. Ruiz walked with two outs, but Pence grounded to third to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple. 381/435/730 over his last 69 plate appearances.

Pierre 1-for-5 with an RBI and a caught stealing ahead of the Utley homer in the first. He also stole a base in the game. For the year he has 17 steals and been caught three times (and picked off once). 1-for-his-last-12 at the plate.

Utley was 3-for-5 in with a home run on the year. One of the hits looked a lot like a ground ball to short that Alvarez turned into an adventure, both in fielding and throwing the ball. The other single looked a lot like a ground ball to first the McGehee decided not to field for whatever reason.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run. He’s on pace to hit .364 with 23 home runs, so that’s something. 8-for-his-last-13.

Pence 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. 10-for-his-last-44 (.227). Great against righties for the year (292/355/489) and oddly can’t hit lefties (217/308/391).

Victorino 1-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-his-last-21 with five singles. One extra-base hit, a double, in his last 71 plate appearances. Pence can’t hit lefties and Victorino can’t hit righties. Victorino 324/400/620 against lefties and 228/298/317 against righties. No other real choice to play center against right-handed pitching. Pierre and Mayberry seem like possible candidates. Mayberry’s as bad as Victorino against righties and Pierre couldn’t do it defensively.

Wigginton 0-for-2. 2-for-his-last-10. Also can’t hit righties — 257/302/365 for the year.

Fontenot was 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-his-last-13 with three singles and five strikeouts.

Kendrick (2-7, 5.54) faces righty AJ Burnett (8-2, 3.24) this afternoon. The Phillies have lost three of the last four games that Kendrick has started and he’s thrown to an 8.10 ERA in those outings. Opponents have hit .324 against him in his five June starts and he’s walked 15 in 25 1/3 innings. Lefties are on-basing .401 against him for the year. That’s too much. The Pirates have won the last nine games that Burnett has started and he’s thrown to a 1.97 ERA in those appearances. Righties are slugging .298 against him for the season with five extra-base hits in 135 plate appearances.

Update: Sanches up, Savery down.


Save yourself

The script says we’re about to see Chase Utley ride in to save the season, but the Phillies looked more than capable of saving themselves last night. They sparkled with the gloves and got home runs from Ruiz and Wigginton as they topped the Pirates 5-4.

Their defense was outstanding in the game. In the top of the first, Worley made a nifty glove-hand flip to Ruiz to nail a runner from third for the second out. Fontenot made a fantastic diving play on a ball up the middle for the second out in the third. Mayberry made a beautiful throw from left to nail a runner at the plate and help get the Phils out of a jam in the seventh. Ruiz tracked down a bunt running up against the wall after a leadoff double by the Pirates started the eighth.

The pen was good enough in a tight game. Michael Schwimer, in particular, was excellent. Schwimer entered the top of the seventh with nobody out, runners on second and third and the Phillies up a run. After going way up and in to Jose Tabata on the first pitch of Tabata’s at-bat, Tabata grounded back to the mound with the runners holding for the first out. Neil Walker was next and flew to left, with Mayberry making the catch and a fantastic throw to the plate where Ruiz applied the tag for the third out.

The Phillies are 36-40 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 last night. The Phillies have won the first two games of the set and are in fourth place in the NL East, eight games behind the first-place Nationals. Since the end of the day on June 12, the Phillies have played 13 games and gone 7-6, which is the best mark in the NL East.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out five.

It was the worst of Worley’s last four starts and the only game of the four that the Phillies have won. He has a 2.08 ERA over his last four outings and opponents have hit .198 against him. He’s allowed one home run in 30 innings in June.

Jose Tabata was the first batter of the game and Worley hit him with an 0-1 pitch. Neil Walker was next and Worley walked him, putting runners on first and second for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen grounded to short for the first out with the runners moving up to second and third. Garrett Jones was next and hit a ball fielded by Worley. Worley glove-flipped home where Tabata was tagged out by Ruiz for the second out. Casey McGehee grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Worley keeps the Pirates off the board after the first two hitters of the inning reach base. Very nice play to get the second out.

The Phillies were up 1-0 when Pedro Alvarez doubled to center to start the second. Clint Barmes grounded to short for the first out with Alvarez moving up to third. Michael McKenry was next and flew to left, deep enough for Alvarez to tag and score, tying the game at 1-1. Worley struck the pitcher Eric Bedard out looking to end the frame.

Up 2-1, Worley threw a 1-2-3 third. Fontenot made a nice diving play on a ball hit up the middle by Walker for the second out.

Up 4-1, he struck out Jones and Alvarez in a 1-2-3 fourth.

McKenry doubled to left with one out in the fifth and Bedard bunted him to third with the second out. Tabata grounded to second to leave him at third.

McCutchen doubled with one out in the sixth and moved up to third on a ground out by Jones. McGehee followed with a single to right that scored McCutchen, cutting the lead to 4-2. Worley struck Alvarez out swinging 2-2 to leave McGehee at first.

Worley allowed the first two batters in the top of the seventh to reach on a walk (Barmes) and a single (McKenry). It put men on first and second and switch-hitter Drew Sutton hit for the pitcher Bedard and doubled softly to left, scoring Barmes (4-3) and moving McKenry to third. Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Tabata and got him on a ground ball Schwimer handled himself with the runners holding at second and third. Walker was next and flew to left. Mayberry took it there for the second out. McKenry tagged and tried to score from third, but Mayberry’s throw from left was fantastic and Ruiz applied the tag to end the inning.

Fantastic throw by Mayberry. Schwimer keeps the Pirates from getting more after coming into the game with nobody out, runners on second and third and the Phils up one. He got more than a little bit of luck on the ball Tabata hit after Schwimer’s first pitch to Tabata was up and in. Tabata hit the ball hard, but Schwimer was able to field it and throw to first for the first out. Big defensive play by Schwimer, but without it the Pirates might have had two runs instead of none.

Schwimer only threw five pitches in the game, but that might be the biggest outing of his career to this point. After throwing to an 8.53 ERA over his first five appearances through the end of May, Schwimer has made ten June appearances in which he has thrown to a 1.86 ERA with an 0.72 ratio, allowing four hits and three walks over 9 2/3 innings. Opponents have hit .129 against him in June. Again, the Phillies really, really need a righty in the pen other than Qualls and Papelbon. Schwimer was fantastic last night, but I don’t think you want to try to cash that check just yet.

Bastardo started the eighth and allowed a leadoff double to McCutchen. Righty Josh Harrison hit for the lefty Jones and tried to bunt McCutchen up to third. He popped up the first pitch he saw from Bastardo and Ruiz made a fantastic running basket catch near the wall for the first out. McGehee popped to Wigginton for the second out and Bastardo struck out Alvarez for the third.

Great defensive play by Ruiz helps Bastardo out of a jam after the leadoff double.

Bastardo pitches the eighth inning isn’t going to work. I think it has to be a combination of Bastardo and Qualls, with Qualls facing the righties and Bastardo the lefties. That’s tough, though, since Qualls really can’t face lefties in a tight game, but at least the Phillies have four lefties in the pen who can. It probably wasn’t a choice last night, though, with Qualls having thrown five of the last six days, including the ninth inning of game one of the series with a five-run lead. Bastardo got the righties Harrison and McGehee with a man in scoring position before striking out the lefty Alvarez.

Bastardo has thrown three of the last four days and last night’s was the only appearance of the three in which he was not charged with a run. He has a 5.84 ERA over his last 12 appearances and opponents have hit .302 against him in those outings. He’s walked ten of the 65 (15.4%) right-handed batters he’s faced on the year, which is one of the reasons he can’t be the guy against everyone in the eighth inning. See also the 5.84 ERA over his last 12 appearances.

Papelbon started the ninth with the Phils up 5-3. He struck Barmes out for the first out before McKenry hit a 2-2 pitch out to left-center, cutting the lead to 5-4. Lefty Alex Presley hit for the pitcher Tony Watson and flew to left for the second out. Tabata struck out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Papelbon has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances. Over those three outings, he has allowed four runs on six hits and two walks over three innings and his ERA for the year has gone from 2.02 to 3.03. If it’s 4.04 after three more days we really need to start to worry. He has a 5.00 ERA in his eight June appearances.

Schwimer was fantastic in the game, wriggling out of the seventh inning jam with the help of a great throw from Mayberry. But we don’t need to go nuts about how fantastic the bullpen was in the game. Overall they went three innings, allowing a run on two hits, a double and a home run. Schwimer needed a nice play on Tabata’s ball and a great throw by Mayberry to keep the Pirates off the board. Had Ruiz not homered in the eighth to put the Phils up another run, nobody would have a whole lot to say about the excellence of the pen this morning.

Papelbon threw 20 pitches in the game, Bastardo ten and Schwimer five. Everyone in the bullpen should be available for tonight’s game — their availability might wind up mattering a lot given that the Phils look likely to start Valdes or Savery.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Eric Bedard went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Wigginton (7) Mayberry (8) Fontenot. Fontenot starts at second against the lefty with the switch-hitter Martinez on the bench. Wigginton at first and Mayberry in left with Pierre on the bench.

Pence tripled to right with two outs in the first and came in to score when Ruiz followed with a single to left. 1-0. Victorino moved Ruiz to second with a single into center, but Wigginton grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Fontenot singled to center with one out in the second and the score tied at 1-1. Worley bunted him to second with the second out and Rollins walked behind Worley. Polanco was next with two outs and men on first and second. He singled to left. Fontenot scored from second, putting the Phils up 2-1. Rollins was caught between second and third and tagged out to end the inning.

Worley gets the bunt down and Polanco delivers a two-out single. Fontenot starts the rally with a single off of a lefty. Looked like they had a chance to get Fontenot at the plate, but the throw was cut to get Rollins headed for third.

Ruiz singled to right with one out in the third. Victorino flew out behind him, but Wigginton was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 4-1. Mayberry grounded to second for the third out.

Big blow for Wigginton, who was 9-for-his-last-52 (.173) coming into the game.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth.

Polanco singled to start the fifth and Pence walked behind him, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Ruiz flew to right, Victorino struck out and Wigginton grounded to third.

Polanco on-base again, but nothing for the Phils after putting runners on first and second with no outs. Polanco is 6-for-his-last-10 with two walks.

The lead was cut to 4-2 when the Phils went in order in the sixth.

It was 4-3 when righty Juan Cruz set them down in order in the seventh.

Ruiz homered to left on an 0-2 pitch from Cruz to start the eighth, putting the Phils up 5-3. Victorino followed with a walk and moved up to second when Wigginton followed with a single. Lefty Tony Watson came in to pitch to Mayberry and struck him out swinging for the first out as Victorino stole third. With men on first and third, the righty Luna hit for the lefty Fontenot. Watson got him to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Home run by Ruiz is the difference in the game with Papelbon allowing a solo shot to McKenry in the ninth. Again the Phils can’t add on despite putting men on first and second with nobody out. Mayberry gets a gift as the Pirates bring in a lefty to pitch to him, but strikes out for the first out with two men on and nobody out.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 2-for-his-last-11 with two walks, a double and a home coming off of an 11-game stretch where he hit .417.

Polanco 2-for-4 with an RBI. 6-for-his-last-10 with two walks and two doubles. He’s driven in at least one run in three straight games.

Pence 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple. 9-for-his-last-40 (.225).

Ruiz 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, raising his average to a league-high .361. 6-for-his-last-9. .419 over his last nine games (419/528/674 in 53 plate appearances).

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk. .224 over his last 67 plate appearances. He’s walked four times in his last four games, giving him a .412 on-base percentage in those games despite hitting .231 (3-for-13).

Wigginton 2-for-4 with a huge home run. The only thing we should be expecting Wigginton to do is hit against lefties and he delivered a big blow against Bedard last night. Against left-handed pitching, he’s hitting an ugly .238 for the year, but five home runs in 65 at-bats against southpaws have helped him to slug .477 against them.

Mayberry 0-for-4. The spark he was showing a week or so ago seems to have faded. He’s 1-for-his-last-16 with six strikeouts. Like Wigginton, Mayberry needs to hit lefties and has hit for power against them despite weak numbers overall. Mayberry is hitting 268/274/537 against left-handed pitching for the year and 206/267/280 against righties. 206/267/280 means you can’t be on the field against righties as a corner outfielder or a first baseman. If you’re going to on-base .274 against lefties, slugging .537 isn’t enough.

Fontenot 1-for-3 in the game to drop his average on the year to .344. Fantastic diving play in the top of the third might have helped his cause significantly given his defensive struggles in his first few appearances with the team. He’s hitting 408/442/490 in 52 plate appearances against righties. The team needs guys who can hit righties — again, take a look at what Mayberry and Wigginton have done against righties from positions that should be supplying the offense (not suggestion we should or will see Fontenot at first or left, although I honestly don’t think Fontenot at first against a righty if Wigginton and Mayberry are both struggling badly is impossible).

TBD faces righty James McDonald (6-3, 2.19) tonight. No game on Friday night due to rain messed up the rotation for the Phils. It’s Kendrick’s turn, but he would be on short rest and so would everyone behind him until the next off-day (July 2) if the Phils don’t give a start to somebody not in the rotation. We’ll see what happens. McDonald has been great this year. Opponents have hit .195 against him and he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his starts. Righties are hitting 184/245/286 against him for the season.

Update: Looks like Valdes (2-0, 1.84) starts tonight. He has one other career start, which came with the Mets in 2010. He allowed a run on three hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings and the Mets beat the Nats 7-2.

Chase Utley went 2-for-5 with a home run for the Triple-A IronPigs and is coming soon to a theater near you.


Sloppy, but Joe’s

The Phillies and Pirates combined to make six errors last night, but it was the Phillies who came out on top with an 8-3 win in the series opener. Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly at the top of their game, making three errors in the first inning and walking three straight hitters in the seventh with the third walk forcing in a run.

Joe Blanton hasn’t pitched well at all of late, but was better last night, allowing three runs, only two of which were earned, over seven innings. There’s a whole lot not going well for the Phillies these days, but one thing that is going well is that they are finding a way to win Blanton’s starts no matter how he pitches. They’ve won five of the last eight games he’s started — during those outings, Blanton has thrown to a 6.75 ERA and allowed 16 home runs in 49 1/3 innings. In three of the five wins, Blanton has allowed five or more runs in the game.

For the season, Blanton has allowed 3.25 times as many home runs to right-handed batters as he has allowed walks to right-handed batters (four walks and 13 home runs).

Jimmy Rollins continues to pound the ball at the top of the order for the Phillies. He was 2-for-5 with a double and a home run in last night’s game, providing the only extra-base hits the Phillies would get in the contest. He’s hitting 393/433/750 over his last 60 plate appearances (22-for-56 with eight doubles and four home runs).

The Phillies are 35-40 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 last night. They are tied for fourth-place in the NL East with the Marlins, eight games behind the Nationals.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight. It was the second time in his last eight starts that he allowed less than five runs in a start.

Blanton has walked 13 batters on the year and allowed 18 home runs. His walk rate is about half of what it has been for his career and the results overall are atrocious. He needs to get his home run rate down really soon, even if it means a lot more walks.

Blanton got the first two in the top of the first before Andrew McCutchen hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Garrett Jones followed that with a walk that put two men on for Neil Walker, but Blanton got Walker to ground to second to turn the Pirates away.

Pedro Alvarez singled to center to start the top of the second with the Phils up 4-0. Righty Mike McKenry was next, hitting for Rod Barajas, and moved Alvarez up to second with a single to left. Blanton got Clint Barmes to hit into a double-play before striking pitcher Jeff Karstens out to set Pittsburgh down.

With one out in the third, Jose Tabata hit a 1-0 pitch out to right-center, cutting the lead to 4-1. Blanton got the next three.

Another home run for Blanton, who came into the game having allowed 15 home runs in 42 1/3 innings over his last seven starts.

The Phillies were up 5-1 when Blanton started the fourth. Walker led off and doubled to left, but Blanton struck the next two hitters out behind him. Barmes was next, though, and singled to center. Pence charged, fielded and threw home. The plate at the plate was close, but Pence’s throw was a little on the first base side of the plate and Walker slid in safe to make it 5-2. Barmes took second on the play at the plate, but Blanton struck Karstens out to leave him there.

Blanton got Alex Presley on a fly ball to right for the first out of the fifth with the Phils up 7-2. Tabata was next and hit a ball down the third base line. Polanco fielded, but his throw to first was way high for an error that allowed Tabata to take second. McCutchen followed with a single into center that scored Tabata. 7-3. Jones was the next hitter and grounded back to the mound. Blanton fielded and threw to second for the second out. Blanton struck Walker out swinging to leave Jones at first.

Blanton allowed a leadoff single to Alvarez to start the seventh, but got the next three. Righty Matt Hague hit for Karstens and flew to right for the third out.

Diekman started the eighth with the Phillies up 8-3. He walked the leadoff man Jones to start the frame, but got Walker to ground into a double-play behind him. Diekman struck Alvarez out for the third out.

Diekman dropped his ERA to 3.86 with his 16th appearance. He’s walking way too many hitters, having allowed ten walks in 14 innings.

Qualls started the ninth with a five-run lead. He allowed a leadoff single to McKenry, but got Barmes to hit into a double-play behind him. Pinch-hitter Casey McGehee grounded to third for the third out.

Qualls was pitching for the third straight day. The Phillies don’t have someone else who can pitch the ninth with a five-run lead? Savery has thrown two-thirds of an inning since June 12. Valdes has made one appearance since being recalled on June 20. Schwimer has thrown 1 2/3 innings since June 16. Qualls needs to pitch for the third day in a row and for the fifth time in six days? Assuming all three of Savery, Valdes and Schwimer are available, that’s a mistake, even against three righties in the ninth.

Qualls hasn’t been charged with a run over 8 1/3 innings in his last nine appearances. The Phillies do need another right-handed reliever in the pen. Papelbon is the closer, Qualls can’t ever pitch against lefties and Schwimer has had some problems getting people out.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeff Karstens went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Pierre in left and Fontenot at second against the righty. Wigginton plays first against the righty with Mayberry on the bench.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a double to right and Pierre bunted him to third with the first out. Pence followed with a single to right that scored Rollins and put the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz was next and singled to right. Tabata fielded and threw to third, not in time to get Pence. Ruiz headed for second when the throw went to third. Alvarez took Tabata’s throw and threw to second, throwing the ball into right field for the first error of the play. Tabata got to the ball and threw home as Pence tried to score, but his throw was not handled at the plate for another error, allowing Pence to score and make it 2-0 with Ruiz on third. Victorino was next and singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 3-0. Polanco was next and singled to right. Victorino headed to third and Tabata threw there. Again his throw was on line and again it was not handled for another error. This one allowed Victorino to score and extend the lead to 4-0 with Polanco on second. Wigginton and Fontenot both struck out swinging to leave Polanco on second.

Wild play on the Ruiz single. Tabata’s throw from right after the Alvarez error should have been handled at the plate, but they still wouldn’t have gotten Pence. Three errors in the frame for the Pirates. Tabata should be wary of throwing the ball anywhere.

The Phillies went in order in the second.

It was 4-1 when they hit in the third. Ruiz singled with one out, stole second and went to third on a ground out by Victorino. Polanco was next and singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 5-1. Wigginton grounded to third for the third out.

It was 5-2 when the Phillies hit in the fourth. Fontenot led off with a single. Blanton tried to bunt him to second, but popped up to Alvarez for the first out. Fontenot stole second before Rollins hit a 3-0 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 7-2. Pierre flew to center for the second out before Pence reached on an infield single. Ruiz struck out swinging for the third out.

Rollins swinging 3-0 and hits the ball out of the yard. It’s his sixth home run in June. Through May 12, Rollins had 147 plate appearances for the season in which he hit 230/276/267 with five doubles and no home runs. Since May 12 he has gotten 180 plate appearances in which he has hit 299/350/539 with 12 doubles and eight home runs.

It was 7-3 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. With two outs and nobody on, Wigginton hit a ball to short that Barmes didn’t handle for the fourth Pirates error of the game. Fontenot moved Wigginton to third with a single, but Blanton grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Lefty Doug Slaten set the Phillies down in order in the sixth.

A single by Ruiz and walks to Victorino and Polanco, all issued by Slaten, loaded the bases for Wigginton to start the seventh. He got to hit against the lefty, too, and walked as well to force in Ruiz and extend the lead to 8-3 with the bases still loaded. Fontenot struck out swinging for the first out. Luna hit for Blanton and struck out for the second. Rollins struck out for the third.

Just one run for the Phils in the inning after their first four hitters reach on a single and three walks. After the first run, they can’t get any more with nobody out and the bases loaded as Fontenot and Luna both strike out with less than two outs.

Righty Jared Hughes set the Phils down in order in the eighth.

Rollins was 2-for-5 in the game with a double and a home run.

Pierre was 0-for-3. He’s 5-for-his-last-21 (.238).

Pence 2-for-5 with an RBI. 8-for-his-last-37 (.216).

Ruiz 3-for-5 with three singles. .313 in April, .418 in May and .319 in June.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-his-last-14 (.214).

Polanco 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-6 with two walks and two doubles. He has walked six times in his last 31 plate appearances and six times in his first 190 plate appearances for the season.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 8-for-his-last-49 (.163). 207/274/350 over his last 157 plate appearances.

Fontenot was 2-for-4 and struck out twice, including once with the bases loaded and nobody out. He’s hitting .345 for the year.

Worley (3-4, 2.78) faces lefty Eric Bedard (4-7, 4.13) tonight. Worley has thrown to a 1.35 ERA over his last three games and the Phillies have lost all three. Bedard threw to a 2.57 ERA in his first seven starts on the year. Over his last seven appearances he has thrown to a 5.59 ERA and allowed 18 walks in 37 innings.


Same old story same old act

One step up and two steps back.

After winning the opening game of the series with the Rays on a walkoff homer by Thome, the Phils lost both games of a double-header yesterday to drop back to six games under .500 for the season.

The series got off to a hopeful start. Bastardo and Papelbon combined to allow three innings in the eighth and ninth as the Phils blew a 6-3 lead, but Thome delivered a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Phils a 7-6 win.

Yesterday they lost the day game of the double-header 3-2 in a heart-breaker. Rollins homered in the bottom of the sixth to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. Hamels threw seven shutout innings, but after 111 pitches he was due to hit third in the bottom of the seventh. With Luna playing third for the Phils, Manuel had Polanco hit for Hamels with two outs and nobody on base. Bastardo started the eighth and walked two of the first three men he faced before allowing a three-run homer to Carlos Pena that put the Rays up 3-1. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies put runners on the corners with the score 3-2 and one out. Mayberry struck out for the second out. With a righty on the mound, Thome hit for Qualls and was walked intentionally. The Rays brought on lefty Jake McGee, Martinez hit for himself and flew to right to end the inning. The Phils went quietly in the ninth and lost by a run.

Big questions for Manuel in the game. Among them are why Hamels didn’t start the eighth and why Bastardo did. Bastardo had thrown 29 less than impressive pitches in game one of the set. Others found fault with sending Martinez to the plate to face McGee with two outs and the bases loaded. The biggest issue of all, though, was sending Thome to the plate to face a righty with a base empty in a situation where he was sure to be walked, leaving the Phillies without a legitimate pinch-hitting option against a lefty like McGee.

Cliff Lee was awful as the Phils lost the night game 7-3, allowing five runs over seven innings. He has a 5.10 ERA over his last seven starts and the Phils have lost five of those games. The bullpen was terrible in that game as well. BJ Rosenberg got two outs in the eighth and walked four with the fourth walk forcing in a run. Diekman took over for him with two outs and the bases loaded and walked in another run.

The Phillies are 34-40 on the season after dropping both games of a double-header with the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. They are in last place in the NL East, nine games behind the first-place Nationals.

They lost the day game 3-2.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out seven. He didn’t allow an extra-base hit in the game.

He didn’t allow a runner in the first three innings.

BJ Upton walked to start the fourth, but was picked off of first with Wigginton throwing to Rollins for the first out. Jeff Keppinger and Hideki Matsui singled back-to-back with two outs, putting runners on first and second for Ben Zobrist. Zobrist walked to load the bases, but Hamels got Sean Rodriguez on a fly ball to left to leave them loaded.

He walked Elliot Johnson with one out in the fifth and Johnson stole second with two men down, but Hamels got Upton on a ground ball to short to leave Johnson at second.

After a 1-2-3 sixth, Hamels led 1-0 when he started the seventh. Rodriguez singled with one out, but Hamels got Jose Molina to ground into a double-play to end the frame.

Bastardo started the eighth with a one-run lead. Hamels had thrown 111 pitches in the game. Bastardo walked two of the first three men he faced, putting runners on first and second for the lefty Carlos Pena. Pena hit the first pitch he saw from Bastardo out to right, putting the Rays up 3-1. Qualls took over for Bastardo and got out of the frame on a line out, a walk and a caught stealing.

Bastardo started the inning having thrown 29 pitches the day before. He faced two switch-hitters in Johnson and Conrad, walking Johnson before walking the righty Upton ahead of Pena. I don’t think you can bring in Qualls to pitch to two switch-hitters to start the inning. If you were only picking between Qualls and Bastardo I think it has to be Bastardo, despite the 29 pitches. There are other guys out there, though.

Over his last four appearances, Bastardo has allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. He has been charged with at least one run in three of the four outings.

Schwimer threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Phillies lineup against lefty David Price went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Wigginton (6) Mayberry (7) Luna (8) Martinez. Luna at third, Mayberry in left and Wigginton at first. Luna starts a game at third for the first time since 2010 and makes his first ever appearance there with the Phillies.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a single, but was caught stealing second before Pence doubled to center. Ruiz struck out looking to leave Pence at second.

The Phillies didn’t have another base-runner till the fifth. With one out, Mayberry was hit by a pitch and moved up to second on a single by Luna. Martinez and Hamels both grounded out to keep the Phils off the board.

Rollins put the Phils up 1-0 when he started the sixth with a home run to left. Victorino followed with a walk and stole second before Pence struck out for the first out. Ruiz was walked intentionally to put men on first and second, but Wigginton and Mayberry both flew to center to leave the runners stranded.

Down 3-1, Polanco hit for Hamels with two outs in the seventh and walked. Rollins grounded to third for the third out.

Manuel uses the right-handed pinch-hitter he will need later with two outs and nobody on, taking Hamels out of the game after 111 pitches. Presumably he did it at least partly so that Polanco could take over for third at Luna with a 1-0 lead.

Down 3-1, Pence doubled to right with one out in the eighth. Ruiz moved him to third with a single and Wigginton singled after that, scoring Pence (3-2) and moving Ruiz to third. With one out and men on the corners, righty Burke Badenhop struck Mayberry out looking 0-2 for the second out. Thome hit for Qualls and was walked intentionally, loading the bases. Lefty Jake McGee came on to pitch to Martinez and Pierre ran for Thome at first. Martinez flew to shallow right for the third out.

Martinez and not Pierre or Fontenot hitting against McGee is fine. I think the big mistake is calling on Thome to hit against the righty Badenhop with the base open. Thome is sure to be walked. How about Pierre or Fontenot hit for Qualls and not wasting Thome?

Huge strikeout for Mayberry with one out, men on the corners and the Phillies down a run.

Rollins singled with one out in the ninth. Victorino struck out for the second out before Rollins stole second. Righty Fernando Rodney struck out Pence to end the game.

The Phillies lost the night game 7-3.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out nine.

He gave up a leadoff single to Desmond Jennings in the top of the first, but got Pena to hit into a double-play behind him.

He allowed three runs in the second, allowing a single and a walk to the first two hitters before Rodriguez and Conrad doubled back-to-back. After Conrad’s double, he got the next three to leave Conrad stranded.

Lee threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

The lead was cut to 3-2 when he started the fifth. He walked Jennings with two outs. Jennings stole second before Lee got Pena swinging for the third out.

Lee got the first two in the seventh before Ben Zobrist single and a Rodriguez walk brought Conrad to the plate with two men on. Conrad smashed a double to center, just missing a home run and plating both runners to extend the lead to 5-2. Rodriguez plowed over Schneider at the plate as the catcher waited for the throw and Schneider would have to leave the game. Lee got Jose Lobaton on a ground ball to third for the third out.

It was 5-3 when Lee struck out the side in the seventh.

BJ Rosenberg started the eighth and walked three of the first five batters he faced, loading the bases for Lobaton with two outs. Manuel left Rosenberg in to pitch to the switch-hitter and walked him as well, forcing in a run to make it 6-3. Diekman came on and walked pitcher Brandon Gomes to force in another run. 7-3. He tried to walk Jennings, too, but Jennings struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch way up and away to leave the bases loaded.

I think it’s a poor idea to leave Rosenberg in to face someone hitting left-handed in any inning in which he has already walked the bases loaded. Just generally, I think if someone walks the bases loaded you want to get him out of the game.

Diekman threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Cesar Ramos went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Mayberry (7) Schneider (8) Martinez. Pierre in left against the lefty. Schneider catches. Martinez at second. Polanco hitting fifth is atrocious.

Victorino walked and stole second with two outs in the first. Pence walked behind him to put two men on, but Polanco flew to left to leave them both stranded.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Down 3-0, Rollins walked with one out in the third, but Pierre and Victorino both grounded out behind him.

A walk by Pence, a double by Polanco and a Mayberry single to start the fourth got the Phils on the board and cut the lead to 3-2. After putting Mayberry on second with nobody out, the Phils couldn’t get a third run. Schneider popped out. With righty Wade Davis now pitching for Tampa, Fontenot hit for Martinez and grounded out and Lee struck out.

After going in order in the fifth, the Phillies started the sixth down 5-2. Pence led off with a walk and came in to score on a Polanco double. 5-3. Polanco took third on the throw, but was left there when Mayberry struck out, Ruiz popped to second and Fontenot grounded to second.

The Phils can’t bring home the runners from third with nobody out. Mayberry strikes out and Ruiz pops out with a man on third and less than two outs.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

Down 7-3, Victorino bunted for a single to start the eighth, but was erased when Pence followed and grounded into a double-play. Polanco walked before Mayberry grounded to third.

The Phils didn’t have a base-runner in the ninth.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk in the second game yesterday. He was 5-for-12 with a walk and two homers in the three-game set. 266/316/404 on the year. 392/436/706 over his last 55 plate appearances.

Pierre was 0-for-4 in the game. 2-for-7 with a homer in the series. 322/361/390 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk in the game and 1-for-7 with two walks in the series. 249/320/393 on the year. He’s 10-for-his-last-47 (.213).

Pence 0-for-1 and walked three times. 2-for-10 with three walks and two doubles in the series. 272/341/462 on the year.

Polanco 2-for-3 with a walk and two doubles. 2-for-8 with two walks and two doubles in the series. 273/313/361 on the season.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. In the day game of the double-header, Mayberry struck out for the second out in the bottom of the eighth with men on first and third. In the night game he struck out with Polanco on third and nobody out in the bottom of the sixth. 1-for-11 with four strikeouts in the series. 239/277/402 on the year. He came into the series 11-for-his-last-28 with four home runs.

Schneider was 0-for-2 in his only action of the series and left the game with a right ankle sprain after being bowled over by Sean Rodriguez. Manuel says he will be out a few days in this article. 232/293/362 on the year.

Martinez was 0-for-1 with a strikeout and 0-for-9 with four strikeouts in the series. He’s hitting 133/188/200 for the year and 185/245/268 for his career. The Phillies should consider not starting him every day.

Blanton (6-6, 5.04) faces righty Jeff Karstens (0-1, 4.50) tonight. Six of Blanton’s last seven starts have been terrible — he has thrown to a 7.44 ERA over those seven outings while allowing 15 home runs in 42 1/3 innings. Karstens has thrown just 12 innings over three starts on the year. He will be making his first start since April 17 after missing time with shoulder and hips problems.


Vance’s trance over the Rockies not enough to advance the cause of the Phillies

The Phils got the pitching performance they needed from Vance Worley last night, but the bats went silent as the Rockies topped the Phillies 4-1.

Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a home run for the Phils, but that was all the offense they would get in the game. They were unable to score despite leadoff doubles in the second and again in the eighth.

Worley kept the Rockies off the board until the seventh, when a two-run homer by Chris Nelson put Colorado on top to stay. Wilin Rosario hit a two-run homer off of Michael Schwimer in the top of the ninth to account for the rest of the Colorado scoring.

Worley has thrown to a 1.35 ERA over his last three starts, allowing three earned runs over 20 innings. The Phils have lost all three games.

The Phillies are 33-38 on the year after losing to the Colorado Rockies 4-1 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one. They are in last place in the NL East, nine games behind the first place Nationals.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second up 1-0. Tyler Colvin walked with one out. Jordan Pacheco was next and moved Colvin to third with a single to right. Worley got Chris Nelson to ground back to the mound into a double-play to turn the Rockies away.

Worley struck out pitcher Jeff Francis and Dexter Fowler in a 1-2-3 third.

Marco Scutaro walked to start the fourth. Carlos Gonzalez was next and grounded to second with Scutaro forced at second for the first out. Cuddyer popped to short for the second out before Colvin reached on catcher’s interference, putting men on first and second. Gonzalez was thrown out trying to steal third to end the frame.

Worley threw a 1-2-3 fifth. Pence made a nice sliding catch in right on a ball hit by Nelson for the second out.

Switch-hitter Eric Young hit for Francis to start the sixth and flew to center for the first out. Worley got Fowler to pop to short behind him for the second out before Scutaro singled to right. Gonzalez grounded to second for the third out.

Colvin doubled to left with one out in the seventh. Pacheco grounded to short for the second out, but Nelson followed and hit a 2-1 pitch out to left center, putting the Rockies up 2-1. Wilin Rosario grounded to third to set Colorado down.

Qualls started the eighth with the Phillies still down a run. Fowler and Scutaro singled back-to-back with one out, putting runners on the corners. Diekman came in to pitch to the lefty Gonzalez and a wild pitch moved Scutaro up to second before Gonzalez hit a ground ball to short. With the infield in, Rollins took the grounder and threw home where Fowler was tagged out by Ruiz for the second out. Diekman struck the righty Cuddyer out swinging to leave the runners on first and second.

Great job by Manuel to get Qualls out of the game and let Diekman pitch to the lefty Gonzalez. After he gets the lefty Gonzalez, Diekman stays in the game to face the righty Cuddyer and strikes him out to leave two men on base. Would have been nice to put a righty on Cuddyer there, but the Phils have three righties in the pen. Papelbon is probably not an option behind in the eighth, Qualls had already pitched and Schwimer doesn’t make you feel a whole lot better than letting the lefty Diekman face Cuddyer. Worked out well for the Phils.

Qualls allows hits to two of the three batters he faces, but no runs thanks to Diekman and Rollins’s play to nail Fowler at the plate. He hasn’t been charged with a run in six innings over his last six appearances, dropping his ERA on the season from 5.32 to 4.18.

Diekman got the lefty Colvin to pop to third for the first out. Lefty Todd Helton hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle and Diekman walked him after getting ahead 0-2. Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Nelson and got him on a fly ball to right for the second out. Rosario was next, though, and he hit the first pitch from Schwimer out to left, extending the Colorado lead to 4-1. Schwimer struck out DJ LeMahieu for the third out.

Diekman goes one inning in the game and is charged with a run on one walk as Helton scores on the Rosario homer allowed by Schwimer. He has a 1.86 ERA over his last 12 appearances but has allowed 11 hits and six walks over 9 2/3 innings (that’s a 1.76 ratio).

Three righties in pen, one of which is the closer and one of which can’t face lefties ever means that right number three is going to have to pitch. Righty number three is Schwimer and he has a 5.14 ERA for the year after allowing a run on one hit over two-thirds of an inning last night.

Overall the pen went two innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Diekman threw 17 pitches, Schwimer 12 and Qualls eight. Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jeff Francis went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Martinez. Pierre in left against the lefty. Mayberry at first after Wigginton delivers a big two-out hit to start the rally in the ninth in game two. Martinez at second.

Rollins was the first batter of the bottom of the first and hit a 2-2 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 1-0. Pence singled to left with one out, but Ruiz struck out behind him for the second before Victorino reached on an infield single that moved Pence up to second. Polanco struck out looking to leave both runners stranded.

Mayberry doubled to center to start the second. Martinez popped to Nelson for the first out. Worley was next and reached on a throwing error by Pacheco at third, leaving the Phils with runners on the corners with one down. Rollins fouled out to Cuddyer for the second out with the runners holding. Pierre flew to center to leave them stranded.

No run for the Phils after the leadoff double. Martinez can’t move the runner out. Rollins can’t bring the runner home from third with one out.

The Phils went in order in the third.

Mayberry singled with one out in the fourth. Martinez struck out behind him and Worley popped to short.

Pierre bunted for a single with one out in the fifth and moved up to second on a ground out by Pence. Ruiz grounded to second to leave Pierre at second.

Righty Josh Roenicke set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. Mayberry hit the ball well, but Scutaro made a nice diving play to field the ball and throw to first in time to get Mayberry for the third out.

Roenicke struck Martinez out for the first out in the seventh with the Phillies down 2-1. Fontenot hit for Worley and singled to left, but lefty Rex Brothers came in to pitch to Rollins and got him to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Wigginton doubled off of righty Matt Belisle to start the eighth. Pence struck out for the first out and Ruiz flew to center for the second with Wigginton tagging and moving up to third. Victorino popped to Scutaro to leave him at third.

Again, like in the second, the Phillies don’t score after the leadoff double. Pence can’t move Wigginton up to third with the first out.

Trailing 4-1, Polanco and Mayberry went down against righty Rafael Betancourt to start the ninth. Thome hit for Martinez and struck out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Thome now 0-for-12 as a pinch-hitter with eight strikeouts.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a home run in the game. 4-for-11 with two walks, two doubles and a home run in the three-game series. He’s hitting 260/309/382 for the year. 294/344/483 over his last 154 plate appearances. 15-for-his-last-39 (.385) with eight extra-base hits.

Pierre starts against the lefty and goes 1-for-3. He was 2-for-7 with a triple in the series. 323/360/379 for the year.

Pence 1-for-4 last night and 2-for-13 with a double in the series. Two home runs so far in June after hitting eight in May. 275/339/464 for the year.

Ruiz 0-for-4 last night and 2-for-10 with a double and a home run in the series. 347/414/568 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-4. 4-for-12 with four singles in the series. 252/319/399 for the season.

Polanco 0-for-4. 2-for-10 with two walks and a double in the series. 274/309/356.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double. 5-for-11 with a walk, three doubles and a home run in the series. 11-for-his-last-28 with two walks and eight extra-base hits. 249/284/422 for the year.

Martinez was 0-for-3 and struck out twice in the game. 1-for-11 with a three-run homer in the series. He’s on the field way, way too much for the Phillies after being on the field way, way too much for the Phillies in 2011. 6-for-36 on the year with five singles and a home run.

Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48) faces righty James Shields (7-4, 3.72) tonight. The Phillies really need Lee to help them stabilize the rotation with Halladay out. He hasn’t done it so far, winless for the year and having thrown to a 4.79 ERA in his three June starts and a 4.87 ERA over his last six. The Phillies are 3-8 in his starts for the year and have lost three games in a row. Shields has allowed one earned run in 14 innings over his last two starts (four runs if you count the three unearned runs he surrendered). He started game two of the 2008 World Series against the Phils, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings as the Rays won 4-2.


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