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.