The bad news is that the Phillies are going to need to excel at both scoring and preventing runs if they are going to make themselves a factor in the NL this year. The good news is they look like they might be halfway there — the offense pounded out nine runs last night, one more than their pitching allowed as the Phils topped the Twins 9-8.
The Phils aren’t spreading a whole lot of joy with their play these days, even when they win. Last night they scratched out a one-run win despite leads of 7-1 in the third inning and 9-3 in the fourth with Cole Hamels on the mound.
Over the last five games, the Phillies have scored 33 runs (6.60 runs per game). Over the last seven, they’ve scored 5.86 runs per game. The bad news is they’ve gone 2-5 over their last seven and that’s because the pitching is absolutely terrible. The Phillies have allowed 50 runs in their last seven games (7.14 per game) and at least five in all seven.
In the first two games of the series, the weak-hitting Twins have scored 19 runs against the Phillies.
Last night it was Hamels who couldn’t keep runs off the board. He has a 6.08 ERA over his last four starts and has allowed at least four runs in each of the four. His ERA has risen from 2.17 to 3.34 for the year over those four appearances.
The Phillies are 30-34 on the year after beating the Minnesota Twins 9-8 last night. The teams have split the first two games of the series. They are in fifth place in the NL East and 9 1/2 games out of first place. 2-9 in their last 11 games.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits and two walks. Only six of the runs were earned. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and two home runs. He struck out six.
He started the bottom of the first with a 6-0 lead. Denard Span led off and singled into center. Ben Revere was next and grounded to second with Span forced at second for the first out. Hamels struck out Joe Mauer for the second out and got Josh Willingham on a ground ball to third to end the inning.
He got Justin Morneau on a fly ball to right for the first out in the second. Ryan Doumit struck out looking for the second out, but Trevor Plouffe followed and hit a 1-2 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 6-1. Brain Dozier flew to Victorino to set Minnesota down.
Jamey Carroll singled to right to start the third with the Phillies up 7-1. Span flew to center before Carroll stole second. Revere singled into right on a ball deflected by Martinez, putting runners on the corners with one out for Mauer. Mauer hit a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded and threw to Martinez at second for the second out, but Martinez’s relay to first was way offline on the right field side for an error. Carroll scored from third on the play (7-2), Revere went to third and Mauer wound up at second on the error. Willingham was the next batter and he grounded to third for the second out. Revere came in to score and cut the lead to 7-3. Hamels walked Morneau, putting runners on second and third, but struck Doumit out swinging 0-2 to leave them there.
Up 9-3, Hamels struck out Plouffe and Dozier while setting the Twins down in order in the fourth.
Span singled to start the fifth, but Hamels got Revere to hit into a double-play behind him. Mauer grounded to short for the third out.
Willingham led off the sixth and hit an 0-1 pitch out to center, cutting the lead to 9-4. Hamels got the next three.
Second home run in six innings for Hamels. Fortunately for the Phils they were both solo shots. Over his last six starts, he has allowed eight home runs in 41 2/3 innings. Over his first seven starts, he allowed three home runs in 47 1/3 innings. His ERA has risen from 2.28 to 3.34 over his last six.
Dozier doubled to start the seventh and Hamels walked Carroll behind him. Span was next and he slapped a ball the other way, down the third base line for a double that scored Dozier (9-5) and moved Carroll to third. Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Revere with two down and men on second and third. Revere singled into left, scoring Carroll (9-6) and moving Span to third. Mauer followed that with a single into right. Span scored (9-7) and Revere moved up to second. A wild pitch by Bastardo moved the runners up to second and third. Bastardo got the righty Willingham swinging 3-2 for the first out. Morneau was next and hit a ground ball to second. Martinez threw him out at first, but Revere scored (9-8) and the Twins had a man on third with two outs for the switch-hitter Doumit. Bastardo struck him out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.
Hamels faces three hitters in the inning, allowing two doubles and a walk. Bastardo faces five hitters in the frame, allowing singles to the first two before getting the next three. Hamels allows one run before he leaves with nobody out and men on second and third, and Bastardo allows the hits that plate those runners with the runs charged to Hamels (not that he has a lot to complain about with Bastardo entering the game with nobody out and men on second and third).
Bastardo is charged with run on two hits in the inning, raising his ERA to 2.53. Over his last five appearances, he has allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out 13. He got a huge strikeout of the righty Willingham for the first out with men on second and third and nobody out.
Qualls started the eighth with the Phillies still up a run. He struck Plouffe and Dozier both out swinging for the first two outs. The next hitter was Carroll and Qualls struck him out swinging too, but on a wild pitch that allowed Carroll to take first. Papelbon took over for Qualls and got the lefty Span on a fly ball to left to end the inning.
Super double hooray for Manuel, who lets Qualls face three righties in a close game and Qualls strikes all three of them out. He then doesn’t let Qualls pitch to the lefty Span, instead bringing Papelbon in to get the final out of the eighth inning.
Qualls goes two thirds of an inning in the game, dropping his ERA on the year to 4.56. He’s made eight appearances so far in June and allowed runs in just one of them, but allowed four runs in a third of an inning the time he did. He has pitched for two days in a row.
Papelbon was back to pitch the ninth and got the Twins in order, getting Revere on a ground ball to second, Mauer swinging and Willingham on a pop to Martinez on a nice play tracking the ball down in shallow center with Victorino playing deep.
Papelbon goes 1 1/3 perfect innings in the game, dropping his ERA to 2.10. He’s allowed two runs in 13 2/3 innings over his last 14 appearances (1.32 ERA and 0.80 ratio).
Overall the pen goes three innings, allowing a run on two hits and no walks while striking out six. Bastardo allows hits that create runs charged to Hamels. Bastardo threw 23 pitches. Qualls has thrown two days in a row and threw 12 pitches in the game. Papelbon threw 11 pitches.
The Phillies lineup against righty PJ Walters went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Thome (5) Victorino (6) Ruiz (7) Polanco (8) Mayberry (9) Martinez. Polanco returns to third base, hitting eighth. Thome at DH against the righty and Pierre in left. Mayberry plays first with Wigginton on the bench, coming into the game hitting 198/258/233 against righties for the year. Martinez at second with the lefty Fontenot on the bench.
Walters clearly wasn’t right to start the game. Rollins, Pierre and Pence all reached on singles before Thome hammered a single to right, scoring Rollins and Pierre to put the Phils up 2-0 with men on first and second. Righty Jeff Manship took over for Walters and got Victorino on a fly ball to center for the first out, but Ruiz was next and blooped a single into right. Pence scored (3-0) and Thome moved up to second. Polanco flew to left for the second out. It brought Mayberry to the plate with men on first and second. Mayberry quickly got behind in the count, but hammered a 1-2 pitch well out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 6-0. Martinez grounded to first for the third out.
Big swing for Mayberry, who hits hit first home run of the year off a right-handed pitcher and third overall.
Pence singled with two outs in the second and Thome walked behind him. Victorino grounded to second to end the frame.
It was 6-1 when the Phillies hit in the third. Ruiz led off with a double to center. Polanco grounded out behind him for the first out, but Mayberry was next and doubled down the third base line, scoring Ruiz to make it 7-1. Martinez flew to left for the second out and Rollins struck out for the third.
Four RBI for Mayberry in the first three innings on an RBI-double and a three-run homer, both off of righties.
Righty Anthony Swarzak started the fourth for Minnesota with the lead cut to 7-3. Pence singled with one out. Thome was next and he blasted a 2-1 pitch way out to center, putting the Phils up 9-3. Victorino grounded out behind Thome for the second out before Ruiz walked. Polanco grounded to second to end the inning.
Martinez walked with one out in the fifth, but Rollins hit into a double-play behind him.
Pierre singled to start the sixth, but Pence flew to right for the first out and Thome hit onto a double-play behind Pence.
Ruiz doubled off of Swarzak with one out in the seventh and the lead cut to 9-4. Polanco was next and hit a ball to short. Dozier handled it and threw to third where Ruiz was tagged out for the second out. Mayberry grounded to short for the third out.
Polanco hit the ball pretty hard, but right at Dozier. Dozier had an easy throw to third, where Ruiz was tagged out on a play that wasn’t very close. That’s one of those things you want to avoid when possible.
It was 9-8 when the Phils hit in the eighth. Righty Jeff Gray got Martinez and Rollins for the first two outs before Pierre singled to center. He took second on a balk before Pence grounded to short for the third out.
Lefty Glenn Perkins started the ninth. Thome led off and reached on an error by the pitcher. Fontenot ran for him at first and moved to third when Victorino doubled to left. Perkins walked the righty Ruiz intentionally to load the bases. Polanco grounded to third, with Plouffe fielding and throwing home to force Fontenot for the first out. Mayberry struck out swinging for the second and Martinez struck out swinging for the third.
No run for the Phillies after loading the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Polanco at least makes contact, grounding to third for the first out before Mayberry strikes out for the second. Mayberry strikes out against the lefty with one down and the bases loaded after two big swings against righties earlier in the game.
Thome hits for himself against the lefty to start the ninth after a big game with the bat. Wigginton was not available to hit, but the righty Luna presumably was.
Rollins was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in the game. He’s 6-for-his-last-25 (.240). He has two walks and a .304 on-base percentage over his last 92 plate appearances.
Pierre was 3-for-5 to raise his average to .326. 7-for-his-last-17 with seven singles.
Pence was 3-for-5 with three singles. 14-for-his-last-35 (.400) with 14 singles.
Thome 2-for-4 with four RBI. 10-for-21 with two walks, two doubles, two home runs and ten RBI in the five-game stretch of DH games for the Phillies. 0-for-10 with seven strikeouts as a pinch-hitter. 12-for-31 (.387) when not a pinch-hitter for the year. The last five games for the Phils have been DH games. They have scored 33 runs, ten of which have been driven in by Thome. We don’t want to go too nuts about the offensive resurgence if it’s foundation has Thome driving in two runs a game and Thome won’t be on the field hardly at all a week or so from now.
Victorino 1-for-5 with a double and left four men on base. He’s 3-for-his-last-18.
Ruiz 3-for-3 with two doubles and two walks. 5-for-his-last-7 with three walks and three doubles.
He did it in front of Polanco, who went 0-for-5 and left eight men on base in his first plate appearances since June 5.
Mayberry 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and four RBI. He came into the game 2-for-22 in June.
Martinez 0-for-4 with a walk and an error. 4-for-13 on the season.
Blanton (5-6, 5.40) faces lefty Scott Diamond (5-1, 1.61) tonight. Blanton has a 9.91 ERA over his last five starts. In those outings he has allowed 11 home runs in 26 1/3 innings and opponents have hit .361 against him. His walk rate is the best it has been for his career — he’s walked just 12 hitters in 75 innings. He might want to try more walks and less throwing the ball over plate, cause what he’s doing right now isn’t working so well. Diamond hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings over his last two starts. He’s made seven starts on the year and walked just four batters in 44 2/3 innings. He hasn’t walked a left-handed hitter this season.