Archive for July, 2012

Chasing Giants

The Phillies dropped two of three against the Giants this weekend, losing the first two games before getting a walkoff win on a Rollins single in the tenth yesterday afternoon.

In the series opener, Worley started the sixth with the score tied 1-1. Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam off of him in a five-run frame and the Giants went on to win 7-2. Hamels took a 5-4 lead into the eighth in game two, but San Francisco tied things up on a solo shot by Melky Cabrera and won it 5-4 in the tenth when Cabrera scored on Gregor Blanco’s bunt.

Yesterday Blanton pitched well, Mayberry homered twice and the Phils won 4-3 on walkoff single by Rollins.

After going 4-1 in their first five games to start the second half, the Phils are 1-3 over their last four.

The Phils lost the first two games in the set due mostly to shaky starting pitching. Hamels and Worley combined to allow 11 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings. Blanton was good yesterday, though, and the Phils got an outstanding performance from their wretched bullpen as their relievers combined to throw four scoreless innings in the game.

The Phillies are 42-54 on the year after beating the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in 12 innings yesterday. The Giants take the series two games to one. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 14 games out of first place.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a walk. He struck out six.

Second good outing in a row for Blanton. He has allowed five runs over 16 innings his last two times out and gone eight innings in each start.

Nate Schierholtz was the first batter of the game and he hit a 2-0 pitch from Blanton out to right, putting the Giants up 1-0. Blanton struck out Ryan Theriot before Melky Cabrera doubled to left. Buster Posey grounded to third and Pablo Sandoval flew to center to leave Cabrera stranded.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Blanton set San Francisco down in order in the second. He struck out Angel Pagan, got Brandon Crawford on a ground ball to first and Brandon Belt on a fly ball to right.

Blanton got pitcher Barry Zito and Schierholtz and Theriot behind him in a 1-2-3 third.

Posey singled with one out in the fourth and scored when Sandoval followed with a double to center, putting the Giants up 2-1. Pagan and Crawford both grounded out to leave Sandoval stranded.

It was 2-2 when Blanton set San Francisco down in order in the fifth and again in the sixth.

Pagan singled with one out in the seventh, but was caught stealing before Crawford flew to center for the third out.

Blanton got the first two hitters in the eighth with the Phils up 3-2 — Gregor Blanco hit for Zito and struck out swinging for the second out after Belt grounded to short for the first out. Schierholtz was next, though, and he homered again, hitting a 2-1 pitch out to left to put the Giants back up at 3-2. Theriot followed that with a double and Blanton walked Theriot intentionally. Posey flew to right on a running basket catch by Pence on the warning track to leave both runners stranded.

Bastardo stuck out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Bastardo was pitching for the second day in a row after getting one out in game two of the set. He’s allowed one hit while striking out six in three scoreless innings over his last five appearances, dropping his ERA on the year from 5.34 to 4.83.

Horst struck out the lefty Belt for the first out in the tenth. Righty Justin Christian hit for the pitcher Sergio Romo and singled to center. The lefty Schierholtz flew to Pence for the second out and Kendrick took over to face the righty Theriot. Christian stole second before Theriot fouled out to Ruiz to end the frame.

Horst has a 1.12 ERA and a 1.00 ratio after nine appearances.

Kendrick walked Sandoval with two outs in the eleventh. Pagan flew to left to leave him stranded.

Crawford doubled to center off of Kendrick to start the twelfth. Kendrick struck out Belt on a bunch of pitches off the plate for the first out. Switch-hitter Emmanuel Burriss hit for the pitcher Clay Hensley and Kendrick struck him out on a bunch of pitches off the plate for the second. Kendrick walked the lefty home run machine Schierholtz intentionally to put two men on for Theriot. Theriot flew to left to leave them both stranded.

Another outstanding bullpen performance from Kendrick. His last start was on July 6. Since then he has appeared four times in relief and thrown 5 2/3 scoreless innings. That’s an enormous boost for a terrible bullpen.

Overall the pen went four scoreless innings in the game, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out six. Kendrick threw 40 pitches, so don’t expect to see him anytime soon. Bastardo threw 13 pitches in the game and has thrown two days in a row. Horst threw 12 pitches.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Barry Zito went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Kratz. Utley and Howard both in the lineup against the lefty. Mayberry in lefty and Kratz catching the day game for Ruiz.

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Victorino walked with one out and scored on a triple to right center from Utley. 1-1. Howard was hit by a pitch, but Pence grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Both lefties reach base against Zito in the frame. Phils don’t score again after putting a man on third with one out.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Blanton and Rollins singled back-to-back to start the third, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Victorino flew to center for the first out. Utley grounded to first with Rollins forced at second for the second. Utley stole second before Howard struck out swinging to leave the runners on second and third.

No run for the Phils after putting two men on with nobody out to start the inning.

Down 2-1, Pence and Polanco went down to start the fourth before Mayberry hit a 3-2 pitch out to left. 2-2. Kratz flew to left to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Pence reached on a throwing error by Sandoval with two outs in the sixth. Polanco grounded to third for the third out.

Mayberry hit the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning out to left for his second home run of the day, putting the Phillies up 3-2. The Phils went in order behind him.

Second multi-homer game of Mayberry’s career. The other was July 6, 2011.

Lefty Javier Lopez started the bottom of the eighth with the game tied at 3-3. Victorino led off with a single, but Utley hit into a double-play behind him. Howard struck out swinging for the third out.

Polanco singled off of righty Sergio Romo with one out in the ninth. Mayberry struck out for the second out. Ruiz hit for Kratz and flew to right for the third.

Lefty Jeremy Affeldt set the Phillies down in order in the tenth. Nix, double-switched into the game in the top of the inning, struck out swinging for the first out.

First at-bat for Nix since May 9. His injury hurt the Phillies, forcing Mayberry and Wigginton to get way more at-bats against righties than they should have. Mayberry is hitting 208/272/272 against righties for the year in 136 plate appearances. Wigginton 247/293/361 in 181. That’s really not what you’re looking for from first basemen or corner outfielders.

Pence singled off of Affeldt with two outs in the eleventh. Righty Clay Hensley came in to pitch to Polanco and got him on a ground ball to third for the third out.

Righty Brad Penny started the twelfth for the Giants. Wigginton hit for Kendrick and hammered a ball to right, but Schierholtz took it running into the wall in right for the first out. Ruiz followed that with a walk and moved to third when Nix singled into right. Rollins was next and lined a single into center, scoring Ruiz to give the Phils a 4-3 win.

Rollins was 2-for-6 with an RBI in the game. 3-for-14 with a walk and three singles in the series. 256/313/409 for the year. Hitters batting #1 in the lineup for the Phillies have on-based .318 for the season, which is ninth-best in the NL.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a walk. 3-for-12 with a walk in the series. 253/317/387 for the season.

Utley 1-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. 3-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the set. On-basing .231 so far against lefties (in 26 plate appearances). 231/292/400 in 72 plate appearances for the year.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out three times. 2-for-11 with a walk and two home runs in the series. 182/325/485 in 40 plate appearances.

Pence 1-for-5 with a strikeout. 1-for-12 with a walk in the series. 5-for-his-last-39 (.128). 271/338/457 for the season.

Polanco 1-for-5 to drop his average to .255 on the year. 2-for-9 with a walk and a double in the series. 255/300/328 for the season. 6-for-his-last-49 (.122) with three walks and a double. 211/265/322 against lefties for the season.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with two solo home runs. 2-for-5 in the series. 237/274/397 on the year. Seven of his eight home runs have come against lefties and about 43% of his plate appearances. 208/272/272 against righties and 273/277/556 against lefties. Among the 95 NL players with 75 plate appearances against lefties for the season, Mayberry’s isolated power of .283 is ninth-best and tops among the Phillies.

Kratz was 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 2-for-10 on the year with two home runs.

Halladay (4-5, 3.96) faces lefty Randy Wolf (3-6, 5.60) tonight. Halladay allowed two runs in five innings against the Dodgers in his first start since returning from the DL. Righties are hitting 330/379/533 against Wolf for the season.


Phils not making it easy on whoever is in charge of naming employee of the month

Here’s a look at the record for the Philies, how many runs they’ve scored and allowed per game and the ERA and ratio their starters and bullpen pitched to for each month of the season so far:

Month Record RS/G RA/G SP ERA SP Rat RP ERA RP Rat
April 11-12 3.30 3.39 2.77 1.09 3.81 1.33
May 16-13 5.00 4.59 4.05 1.22 5.23 1.34
June 9-19 4.43 5.21 4.99 1.36 4.32 1.47
July 5-8 3.62 4.62 3.45 1.19 7.20 1.43

The Phillies are over .500 in just one month this season. They went 16-13 in May. A miserable June was the worst month of the season as they went 9-19.

The offense was solid in May and June. The Phils were third in the NL in runs scored in May and sixth in June. Twelfth in April and fourteenth so far in July.

Early in the year they were doing very well at preventing runs, but have dropped off significantly since April. Fourth in the NL in runs allowed in April, tenth in May, thirteenth in June and fourteenth so far in July.

The starting pitching was good in April. That’s about it. The numbers overall for July are okay — starters threw to a 4.70 ERA in the first six games of July, but have been good lately, throwing to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.09 ratio over the last seven games.

The first part of May, about the first half, was good for the starters as well. From May 1 to May 18, the Phillies went 10-7 and their starters pitched to a 3.13 ERA with a 1.09 ratio.

From May 18 to the end of June, the starting pitchers threw to a 5.34 ERA with a 1.38 ratio. The Phillies went 15-25 in those games.

The bullpen had its best month in April. A 3.81 ERA and a 1.33 ratio might look good compared to the rest of that chart, but it isn’t that good compared to the rest of the league. For the year, the average NL team has seen their relievers throw to a 3.86 ERA with a 1.36 ratio. A 3.81 bullpen ERA for the year would be ninth-best in the NL at this point. The Padres are eight-best with a 3.56 ERA and the Rockies ninth-best at 4.09.

Since the end of April, the bullpen has a 5.17 ERA and a 1.41 ratio.

Since June 12, the bullpen has a 6.15 ERA and a 1.58 ratio over 31 games.


Third time not lucky

The Phillies scored three runs in a game for the third straight time yesterday afternoon and this time the pitching wasn’t good enough to make it stand up. Cliff Lee was fantastic, but the bullpen wasn’t and the Dodgers topped the Phils 5-3 in 12 innings.

Lee allowed a solo homer to Juan Rivera, just one of two hits he would allow over eight innings, in the second. The Phils came back with a run in the fourth to tie things up at 1-1 on a single and a stolen base by Victorino and an RBI-single by Ruiz. Nobody scored again until the tenth, when Pence delivered another clutch two-run single, putting the Phils up 3-1. Papelbon, pitching for the third straight day, couldn’t nail down the save, though, as the Dodgers scored a pair of runs on four hits in the bottom of the tenth to tie things up again at 3-3. Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer off of Diekman in the bottom of the twelfth.

You shouldn’t count on winning too many games when you score three runs, but the bullpen is still the biggest problem for the Phillies. Six relievers for the Phils combined to allow four runs over 3 1/3 innings in the game. Manuel appears to have confidence in just about nobody in the bullpen, doing everything he can to make sure the guys he does have to use get favorable left-right match-ups. It makes for a lot of pitching changes — four of the six guys the Phillies used in relief in the game got one out or no outs. Kendrick, probably the second safest option in the pen after Papelbon, faced one hitter in the game.

And Papelbon looks like he’s wearing down himself. He was pitching for the third straight day in yesterday’s game and threw 32 pitches in the game. He got Sunday off after getting five outs on Saturday. He’s allowed at least one run in five of his last ten appearances, throwing to a 6.97 ERA with a 1.74 ratio in those outings. After hitting .200 against him in his 22 appearances through the end of May, opponents have hit .284 against him in his 15 outings since the start of June.

The Phillies are 41-52 on the year after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 in 12 innings yesterday afternoon. The Phils take the series two games to one. They’re still in last place in the NL East, 14 games behind the Nationals.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on two hits and one walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out four.

The Phillies have lost seven of the last eight games Lee has started. He’s been very good over his last three starts, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of the three while throwing to a 2.05 ERA with an 0.95 ratio.

He threw a 1-2-3 first, getting Tony Gwynn and Mark Ellis on ground outs and Matt Kemp swinging.

Juan Rivera led off the second and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Dodgers up 1-0. Lee got Jerry Hairston, Juan Uribe and Luis Cruz in order behind Rivera.

LA went in order again in the third. Lee got AJ Ellis to fly to center, pitcher Clayton Kershaw on a grounder to short and Tony Gwynn on a ground ball deflected by Lee to Rollins for the third.

The game was tied 1-1 when Lee threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

LA went in order again in the fifth.

AJ Ellis singled to left to start the sixth and Kershaw bunted him to second with the first out. Gwynn flew to Mayberry for the second out before Lee walked Mark Ellis, putting two Ellisi aboard for Kemp. Lee struck Kemp out swinging 0-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Huge strikeout for Lee to get the righty Kemp with two men on in a tie game.

Rivera, Hairston and Uribe went in order in the seventh.

Lee had thrown 84 pitches through seven innings. He had allowed one hit and one walk since Rivera’s homer to start the bottom of the second.

He threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Lefty Adam Kennedy hit for Kershaw with two outs and grounded to short to end the inning.

Kershaw threw 120 pitches in the game.

Bastardo started the ninth. Mark Ellis singled with one out. Kendrick came in to pitch to Kemp and struck him out for the second out. Lefty Andre Ethier hit for Rivera and Horst came in to pitch to Ethier. Ethier singled to right, moving Ellis up to third. Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Hairston. Ethier moved up to second on defensive indifference and Schwimer walked Hairston, loading the bases for Uribe. Lefty James Loney hit for Uribe and Schwimer struck him out swinging 2-2 to end the frame.

Huge strikeout for Schwimer to get Loney and keep the game alive. The Phillies use four pitchers in the inning, which is a lot for a game that ended with a righty homering off of a lefty in the twelfth. Kendrick faces just one batter in the game, which hurts a lot (although striking out Kemp in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game with a man on is a good out to get if you’re just going to get one).

Papelbon started the tenth with a 3-1 lead. Cruz led off and lined a double to left. Papelbon struck out AJ Ellis for the first out. Lefty Bobby Abreu hit for the pitcher Scott Elbert. Papelbon got ahead of Abreu 0-2, but Abreu blooped a 2-2 pitch down the third base line and the ball fell in shallow left field for a single. Cruz scored and the lead was cut to 3-2. With Gwynn at the plate, Abreu stole second. Gwynn hit a swinging bunt on a 3-1 pitch that dribbled off the third base side of the mound for another single, moving Abreu up to third. Papelbon struck Mark Ellis out swinging 0-2, which brought Kemp to the plate with two down, men on the corners and the Phils still up a run. Kemp hit Papelbon’s first pitch in the hole between short and third. Rollins made a fantastic effort, backhanding and making a strong throw to first, but Kemp just beat it out for another infield single. Abreu scored to tie the game at 3-3 with men on first and second for Ethier. Ethier flew to left to leave both runners stranded.

Four hits in the inning for the Dodgers. Cruz’s double was hit hard. Abreu’s single to left was a bloop, Gwynn reached on a swinging bunt dribbler and Kemp just beat out an infield single.

Big stolen base for the 38-year-old Abreu allows him to move up to third on one infield single and score on another.

Diekman started the eleventh. Cruz doubled to left with two outs and Diekman walked the righty AJ Ellis intentionally to pitch to the pitcher Josh Lindbloom. Righty Matt Treanor hit for the pitcher Lindbloom and grounded to Rollins to end the inning.

Diekman was back to start the twelfth. He walked righty Mark Ellis with one out, bringing Kemp to the plate. The righty hit a 1-0 pitch from Diekman well out to center, giving LA a 5-3 win.

Second time Kemp delivers, tying the game with the infield single in the tenth and winning it in the twelfth.

The pen goes 3 1/3 innings in the game, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. Four of the six pitchers who pitched for the Phillies after Lee left got one out or no outs.

Papelbon has a 5.52 ERA over his last 14 appearances going back to June 4.

Off day today, so everyone should be available on Friday. Papelbon threw 32 pitches and Diekman 30.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Clayton Kershaw went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Ruiz (5) Pence (6) Wigginton (7) Polanco (8) Mayberry. Utley plays against the lefty with the off-day tomorrow. Howard and Pierre on the bench. Wigginton at first and Mayberry in left. Mayberry is slugging .505 against lefties for the year, so I’d hit him ahead of Polanco (who’s on-basing .283 against left-handed pitching this season).

The Phillies went in order in the first and again in the second.

They started the third down 1-0. Polanco lined softly to second for the first out. Mayberry was next and hit a ball to Uribe at third. Uribe fielded, but his throw to first was bad for an error. Lee bunted Mayberry to second with the second out, but Rollins struck out swinging to leave him there.

Victorino singled to left to start the fourth and stole second after Utley flew to center for the first out. Ruiz was next and singled into center, scoring Victorino to tie the game at 1-1. Pence struck out and Wigginton flew to right to leave Ruiz at first.

Polanco, Mayberry and Lee went in order in the fifth.

Utley and Ruiz singled back-to-back with two outs in the sixth, putting runners on first and second for Pence. Pence grounded to second to leave both men stranded.

Wigginton, Polanco and Mayberry went in order in the seventh.

Kershaw had thrown 101 pitches through seven innings.

Lee hit for himself to start the eighth and struck out. Rollins grounded to short for the second out before Victorino doubled to left. Utley grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Lee had thrown 84 pitches in the game when he hit for himself to start the eighth.

Righty Kenley Jansen started the ninth and got the first two hitters. Howard hit for Wigginton and singled to right. Polanco walked behind him and Pierre ran for Howard at second. Mayberry walked on five pitches to load the bases and Pridie hit for Lee. Pridie flew to left on a 1-2 pitch to leave them loaded.

Righty Javy Guerra walked Rollins to start the tenth and Victorino bunted Rollins to second with the first out. Guerra walked the lefty Utley intentionally, putting two men on for Ruiz. Ruiz walked and the bases were loaded. Pence chopped a single into left, scoring Rollins and Utley to put the Phils up 3-1. Lefty Scott Elbert came in to pitch to Pierre and got Pierre to hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Second time in two games that Pence comes up with a clutch two-run single. Didn’t win the game this time.

Mayberry singled off of righty Josh Lindbloom with one out in the eleventh and the game tied at 3-3. Fontenot hit for Papelbon and struck out for the second out. Rollins struck out to leave Mayberry stranded.

Victorino singled off of righty Jamey Wright to start the twelfth. Victorino stole second and the righty Wright walked Utley intentionally. Ruiz flew to left for the first out. Pence was next and grounded to third with Utley forced at second for the second. Pierre grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Nothing for the Phils after putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Ruiz can’t move anybody up with the first out. Pierre leaves two men on to end the tenth and the twelfth.

Rollins was 0-for-5 with a walk in the game. 2-for-12 with two walks, a double and a home run in the series. 258/314/417 for the year.

Victorino 3-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases in the game. 6-for-12 with a double and a triple in the series. 254/317/392 on the year.

Utley 1-for-4 with two walks. 1-for-11 with three walks in the series. 226/288/340 in 59 plate appearances for the year.

Ruiz 2-for-5 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-11 with two walks and a double in the set. 350/413/586 on the season.

Pence 1-for-6 with two RBI. 3-for-12 with two walks and four RBI in the series. He’s had huge hits in three of the last four games — two run singles in each of the last two and a three-run homer on Sunday. 277/344/470 for the season.

Wigginton 0-for-3. 0-for-4 in the series. 239/312/387 for the year. 171/241/303 over his last 83 plate appearances. He’s hitting .216 against lefties for the season, but with a lot of walks and power (216/344/432).

Polanco 0-for-4 with a walk. 1-for-11 in the series. 256/300/327 on the year. 4-for-his-last-40.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a walk. 1-for-5 with a walk in the set. 233/272/370 for the season. The Phillies need him to at least hit lefties and he’s on-basing .265 against them (260/265/490).

The Phillies don’t play today. Giants at home on Friday.


The doctor is in and the Phillies are indefatigable in LA

The Phillies got Roy Halladay back last night, but it was Hunter Pence and the bullpen that stole the show as the Phils topped LA 3-2 for their fourth straight win.

A Jimmy Rollins double in the game’s first at-bat helped get the Phils an early 1-0 lead. Halladay gave up a pair of runs in the second and left after five innings with the Phils still down 2-1. The pen didn’t budge after he left, though, and Hunter Pence delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the eighth to put the Phillies on top to stay.

Five relievers combined to throw four scoreless innings after Halladay left the game. The bullpen came into the game having thrown to a 7.00 ERA over its last 15 games and a 5.33 ERA over its last 77 games.

The Phillies are 41-51 on the year after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 last night. They have won four in a row and remain in last place in the NL East, 13 games behind the first place Nats. They have allowed four runs in their last two games, winning two one-run games in a row despite scoring three runs in each of the two games.

Halladay got the start for the Phils and went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

Up 1-0, Halladay threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, but it took 18 pitches. Six to get unlikely leadoff hitter Bobby Abreu looking, five more to get Mark Ellis looking and seven to get Matt Kemp to fly to left.

Andre Ethier singled to right to start the second and moved to third on a double by Adam Kennedy. James Loney was next and the lefty lined a single into left field, scoring Ethier to tie the game at 1-1 and moving Kennedy up to third. Luis Cruz followed that with a single into center. Kennedy scored and LA led 2-1 with men on first and second and nobody out. AJ Ellis was next and lined to Utley for the first out with Utley throwing to first to double off Cruz. With pitcher Stephen Fife at the plate for his first career plate appearance, a wild pitch by Halladay allowed Loney to take third before Halladay got Fife looking to leave him stranded.

Another long inning for Halladay. Twenty pitches in the frame had him at 38 for the game after just two innings. The Dodgers hit him well in the frame. Three singles and a double. He struck out the pitcher in the first plate appearance of his career for one of them and got another on a bad base-running play by Cruz. The Ellis line drive was a soft liner — Cruz was way too far off of base and was doubled off easily.

Ellis singled with one out in the second, but Kemp grounded into a double-play behind him.

Kemp is a good guy to get out if you want to beat the Dodgers. So far in the series he’s 1-for-8 with a single and has grounded into two double-plays in the series.

Just ten pitches in the frame for Halladay.

He struck out Ethier and Kennedy in a 1-2-3 fourth.

With two outs in the fifth, the pitcher Fife hit a ball that Halladay handled, but Halladay’s throw to first was bad and Fife was safe on the error. Abreu grounded to first to leave Fife stranded.

Fife’s ball was chopped to the third base side of the mound. Halladay didn’t handle it cleanly then picked it up and threw in the dirt to first.

Schwimer started the sixth. He got the righties Ellis and Kemp for the first two outs. The lefty Horst came in to pitch to the lefty Ethier and hit him with a pitch. Kennedy flew to right for the third out.

I think there’s a lot to like there in a one-run game. Schwimer gets Kemp out. Then Manuel brings in the lefty to pitch to Ethier.

First outing for Schwimer after being charged with three runs while getting two outs against the Rockies. Horst was pitching for the first time since July 8. He has allowed one hit and two walks over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his six appearances with the Phillies this year. Manuel doesn’t seem so impressed — see his first appearance since July 8.

Kendrick pitched the seventh. Ellis singled with two outs, but Kendrick got Gwynn to pop to Polanco to set LA down.

The bullpen needs all the help they can get and that’s a huge inning from Kendrick. Kendrick to the bullpen isn’t enough to fix what’s wrong, but it’s a start.

Kendrick was back to start the eighth with the Phils up 3-2. He got the first two hitters before Kemp singled to right. Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Ethier and struck him out looking 3-2 to leave Kemp stranded.

Again, great job by the pen. Righties on righties and a big strikeout for Bastardo against the lefty Ethier.

Fantastic job out of the pen for Kendrick in the game. He got five huge outs in a one-run game and allowed two singles. Between one start and two reliefs appearances, he’s throw ten scoreless innings in July with an 0.70 ratio. He has a 6.23 ERA as a reliever this year with most of the ugly coming on May 9 against the Mets when he was charged with five runs in an inning. He has a 1.17 ERA as a reliever over 7 2/3 innings in his other six appearances.

Bastardo struck out the only batter he faced in the game. 5.10 ERA for the year and 8.22 ERA over his last 16 appearances since the end of May. Four lefties in the pen (Horst, Diekman, Savery and Bastardo) and Bastardo is still the guy facing lefties in a one-run game in the eighth.

With the Phils still up a run, Papelbon set the Dodgers down in order in the ninth. Righty Juan Rivera hit for pitcher Kenley Jansen and struck out looking 1-2 to end the game.

Papelbon was pitching for the second day in a row. He’s struck out six in 4 2/3 scoreless innings over his last four appearances.

Just a fantastic game for the bullpen. Halladay leaves after five and the relievers combine to throw four shutout innings in which they allow two singles and don’t walk a batter.

The Phillies lineup against righty Stephen Fife, making his major league debut, went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ruiz (6) Pence (7) Pierre (8) Polanco. Polanco again against the righty with Fontenot on base. Pierre in left.

Rollins doubled to right to start the game and Victorino bunted him to third with the first out. Utley grounded to first for the second out with Rollins scoring to put the Phillies up 1-0. Howard grounded to Ellis for the third out.

Phils manufacture a run with a double, a bunt and a ground out to give them the early lead. I’d rather see Victorino try to get a hit, but if they were looking for one run they sure got it.

Pence walked with one out in the second and moved up to second when Pierre followed with a single to right. Polanco flew to right for the second out and Halladay grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Nothing for the Phils after putting two men on with one out.

Down 2-1, the Phillies went in order on three ground outs in the third.

Howard walked to start the fourth and took second on a wild pitch by Fife, but was left there when Ruiz and Pence both grounded out and Pierre flew to right.

Polanco singled softly to right to start the fifth and Halladay bunted him to second with the first out. Rollins struck out swinging and Victorino grounded out to leave him there.

Howard walked with one out in the sixth and again took second on a wild pitch with Ruiz at the plate. Ruiz flew to second for the second out. Pence was next and he singled into center, a little to the left field side of Kemp. Howard tried to score from second, but he’s really slow. Kemp’s throw was a little up the third base side of the plate and the play at the plate was very close, but Ellis dove back to apply the tag Howard was called out for the third out.

Very close play at the plate. Looked safe to me at the time. Howard is still very slow either way. Should be able to score on a single to center with two outs.

That was it for Fife in the game. He held the Phillies to a run on four hits and three walks over six innings.

Righty Josh Lindbloom set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Pridie hit for with two outs and flew to center.

Pridie is 3-for-8 on the year and 1-for-4 as a pinch-hitter.

Righty Ronald Belisario started the eighth with the Dodgers still up a run. He came into the game with a 1.67 ERA and an 0.90 ratio for the year. He was pitching for the second straight day after needing just 11 pitches to strike out Ruiz, Pence and Mayberry in a 1-2-3 ninth in the first game of the set. Rollins and Victorino went down on a pair of ground balls to start the inning before Utley walked on four pitches. Belisario hit Howard in the foot 1-2 to put runners on first and second. Mayberry ran for Howard at first. Belisario hit Ruiz 3-2 to load the bases for Pence and righty Kenley Jansen came on to pitch to Pence. Pence hit a ball up the middle for a single. Utley and Mayberry both scored, putting the Phils up 3-2. Kemp threw Ruiz out going to third for the third out.

Pinch-running for Howard turns out to be a great idea. Second outfield assist of the game for Kemp. The Dodgers leave Belisario in to face the lefties Utley and Howard with two outs and neither of them on. He doesn’t get either of them out and both of them end up scoring (Howard in the person of Mayberry). Scott Elbert is the lefty in the pen for LA. He had thrown 21 pitches in game one of the set.

Ruiz was hit by a pitch for the 14th time this season in the inning. There’s only one player in either league other than Ruiz who has been hit by a pitch more than nine times this season — Josh Willingham has been hit 11 times for the Twins.

Jansen set the Phillies down in order in the ninth. Wigginton hit for Bastardo and flew to left for the third out.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout in the game. He’s 7-for-his-last-19 with five extra-base hits.

Victorino 0-for-3. He bunted Rollins over to third with the first out of the second inning, which allowed Rollins to score on Utley’s ground out. 6-for-his-last-15. Still hitting just 228/289/322 against right-handed pitching for the season.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 6-for-his-last-36 with one walk. 7-for-34 against righties (.207).

Howard 0-for-1 with two walks and a hit by pitch. 3-for-21 at the plate (.138) with a .308 on-base percentage.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a hit by pitch. He’s hitting .349 for the year and on-basing .411. All the hit by pitches (14) are helping to hide the fact that he’s not drawing nearly as many walks this year as he has in previous seasons. He’s only got 17 walks for the year — he’s walked just three more times than he’s been hit by pitch. With zero hit by pitches instead of 14, he’d been hitting .349 and on-basing .383 instead of hitting .349 and on-basing .411. He has .062 points of on-base percentage — .034 from walks and .028 from being hit by pitches. From 2009-2011, he hit .281 for the Phils and on-based .376. Of those .095 points of on-base percentage, about .010 came from being hit by pitches 20 times in 1,284 plate appearances and about .083 came from walking 150 times in those PA.

Pence 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. He came into the game 1-for-his-last-18.

Pierre 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 343/382/424 against right-handed pitchers for the season. 171/190/171 (7-for-41 with seven singles) against lefties.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a single. 4-for-his-last-36 (.111) with a walk and four singles.

Lee (1-6, 3.92) faces lefty Clayton Kershaw (7-5, 2.84) this afternoon. The Phillies have lost six of the last seven games that Lee has started and are 4-11 in his starts for the year. Both of his starts in July have been good — he’s 1-1 with a 2.57 for the month. Kershaw has allowed two earned runs or less in four of his last five starts. He’s allowed one home run in 32 1/3 innings over his last five outings.


Mighty Joe won

You shouldn’t count on winning when you score three runs, especially when you have just about the worst bullpen in the National League, but the Phillies figured out how to get it done last night and beat the Dodgers 3-2 behind a strong effort from Joe Blanton.

Home runs from Rollins and Howard helped the Phils to an early 3-0 lead. Blanton mowed LA down through the first five innings before the Dodgers got a run in the sixth and another in the seventh. Blanton came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth and Papelbon kept LA off the board in the ninth.

Third straight win for the Phillies. They have now gotten a quality start in five straight games and the starters have thrown to a 2.60 ERA in those games. Prior to this stretch they had not gotten more than two quality starts in a row since May 18.

The game featured the first home run of the year for Ryan Howard, who’s still just 3-for-20 on the season. Shane Victorino, miserable at the plate this year, delivered with the bat for the third straight day, going 3-for-4 with another triple. He’s 6-for-12 over the last three games and he and Rollins are providing suddenly providing a spark at the top of the lineup for a Phillies team desperate for wins.

The Phillies are 40-51 on the year after beating the LA Dodgers 3-2 last night. They have won three in a row and remain in last place in the NL East, 13 games behind the first place Nationals.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits, five singles and a double. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. Three of his last four starts have been pretty good.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Up 1-0, he set the Dodgers down in order in the second.

The Phillies were up 2-0 when he started the third. Blanton got Luis Cruz on a ground ball to short for the first out before AJ Ellis singled to left on a ball deflected by Rollins. The pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was next and tried to bunt, but struck out looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Jerry Hairston lined to first to end the inning.

The Phils led 3-0 when Blanton started the fourth. Mark Ellis led off and singled into center. Matt Kemp flew to center for the first out before Andre Ethier moved Ellis up to third with a single to right. Juan Rivera was next and he hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw home where Ruiz tagged out Ellis for the second out. With men on first and second and two down, Blanton struck James Loney out looking 2-2 to end the inning.

Blanton keeps LA off the board after they put runners on the corners with one out. Strikes out the lefty Loney with two men on to end the inning.

Blanton set the Dodgers down in order. Righty Juan Uribe hit for the pitcher Eovaldi and flew to center for the third out.

Hairston doubled to center to start the sixth. Ellis was next and hit a ball to Utley. Utley fielded and threw to first, but Howard didn’t handle the throw for an error that left LA with runners on first and third and nobody out. Kemp was next and he grounded into a double-play. Hairston scored from third to cut the lead to 3-1. Blanton got Ethier on a fly ball to right to set LA down.

Very strange error on Howard. The ball was chopped in-between first and second. Utley moved right to get the ball and threw to first in the air, but Howard just didn’t catch it. The ball seemed to hang between his glove and wrist for a split second and fell to the ground.

Rivera and Loney singled back-to-back to start the seventh, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Cruz hit a ball handled by Blanton and Blanton threw to second to force Loney for the first out. With runners on first and third, Blanton struck Ellis out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Lefty Bobby Abreu hit for the pitcher Tolleson and Blanton’s first pitch to Abreu was in the first and through Ruiz’s legs. Rivera scored from third, cutting the lead to 3-2, and Cruz took second. Blanton flew to center to leave Cruz at second.

Second defensive misplay for the Phils in two innings. Howard doesn’t catch the throw from Utley in the sixth and the ball goes through Ruiz with a runner on third. Both runs were earned, but Blanton did a nice job working around both of the miscues.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a one-run lead.

He threw 110 pitches in the game, including 15 in the bottom of the eighth. The bottom of the eighth ended with Blanton striking Kemp out swinging 1-2. If you see Blanton facing Matt Kemp in a one-run game in the eighth inning when he’s already thrown 105 pitches in the game it’s probably a good sign there’s not a whole lot of faith in the bullpen.

Papelbon started the ninth. Rivera singled with one out and Tony Gwynn ran for him at first. Loney grounded to second for the second out with Gwynn moving up to second. The lefty Adam Kennedy hit for the righty Cruz and Gwynn stole third. Kennedy got ahead in the count, but popped a 2-0 pitch up to Utley to end the game.

Third appearance in a row for Papelbon in which he has not been charged with a run coming off a string where he allowed runs in four of five outings. He was also coming off of an outing on Saturday where he went 1 2/3 innings. He threw 18 pitches last night.

The Phillies lineup against righty Nathan Eovaldi went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ruiz (6) Pence (7) Pierre (8) Polanco. Pierre hits seventh against the righty with Victorino hitting second despite miserable numbers against righties. Polanco at third against the righty with the lefty Fontenot on the bench.

Victorino reached on an error by the shortstop Cruz with one out in the top of the first, but Utley hit into a double-play behind him.

Ruiz doubled to left with one out in the second. Pence struck out for the second out before Pierre singled to right center, scoring Ruiz to put the Phils up 1-0. Polanco grounded to short for the third out.

With one out in the second, Rollins hit a 3-2 pitch out to right. 2-0. Victorino followed with a single and moved up to second when Utley grounded out for the second out. Eovaldi delivered a 2-2 pitch to Howard, which was taken for ball three, but Ellis threw to second where Victorino was way off base between second and third and tagged out to set the Phillies down.

Howard hit the first pitch of the fourth inning out to left, putting the Phils up 3-0. Ruiz and Pence walked back-to-back, putting two men on for Pierre. Pierre flew to Ethier at the wall in right and Polanco hit into a double-play behind him.

Good demo of why you don’t want to get picked off of second base with Howard at the plate. Phils didn’t have a lot of runs to give away in this one.

Victorino tripled to left with two outs in the fifth, but Utley lined out to first behind him.

Third triple for Victorino in three games. He will lead the league in triples if he continues at this pace. Tied for sixth right now. Dexter Fowler leads the NL with nine.

Righty Shawn Tolleson set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. The lead was cut to 3-1 when Tolleson set the Phils down in order in the seventh.

It was 3-2 when lefty Scott Elbert walked Rollins to start the eighth. Victorino moved Rollins up to second with a single. Utley popped to short for the first out and Howard hit into a double-play behind him.

Nothing for the Phils after putting men on first and second with nobody out.

Righty Ronald Belisario struck out Ruiz, Pence and Mayberry in order in the ninth.

Mayberry is hitting 205/265/270 in 132 plate appearances against righties for the year.

Rollins was 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run. 10-for-his-last-30 with four walks and six extra-base hits. 304/357/585 over his last 185 plate appearances, which started on May 29. Coming into the game on May 29, he was hitting 230/286/286 on the year over his first 215 plate appearances.

Victorino 3-for-4 with a triple. 6-for-12 with a walk, a double and three triples over the last three games.

Utley was 0-for-4 and left five men on base. He’s 6-for-his-last-33 (.182) with no walks.

Howard 1-for-4 with a home run and an error. 3-for-20 on the year.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. 8-for-his-last-19 with three doubles and a home run. He’s on-basing .413 for the year, but his walk rate is way down. Coming into the season he had walked in about 11.1% of his plate appearances for his career. This season he has walked in about 5.6% of them. If he’s going to keep slugging .600 (okay, .596) I think it’s a fine plan.

Pence was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out three times. He’s 1-for-his-last-18 with nine strikeouts.

Pierre 1-for-3 with an RBI. He also hit a ball to the wall in right in the fourth. He’s 4-for-his-last-6.

Polanco 0-for-3 and left three men on base. He’s 3-for-his-last-32 (.094) with a walk and three singles.

Halladay (4-5, 3.98) returns tonight against a Dodger pitcher TBD. Halladay threw to a 1.95 ERA over his five April starts, then went 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA in May as opponents hit .312 against him. Righty John Ely (NR) is a popular guess for the LA pitcher. Ely made five appearances for the Dodgers in 2011, including one start. 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.18 ratio in the PCL in 18 starts in 2012.


Second impressions

The Phillies started the second half nicely in Colorado this weekend, taking two of three from the Rockies.

The Rockies won the opener 6-2 on Friday. The teams went into the bottom of the sixth tied at 1-1, but Colorado scored five runs charged to Lee and Schwimer in the sixth and seventh innings and rolled to a win. The bullpen nearly gave away game two of the set. The Phils led 6-2 going into the bottom of the eighth, but Brian Sanches coughed up a three-run homer and Manuel had to call on Papelbon to get the last five outs. Two runs in the top of the ninth extended the Phillies lead and they won 8-5.

Yesterday the Phillies won 5-1 behind strong pitching from Cole Hamels and a three-run homer from Hunter Pence.

The bullpen is still terrible and if Utley (on-basing .289 so far) and Howard (0-for-8 in the series) are going to pull the Phils out of their long, long funk it hasn’t happened so far. There were signs of life from Shane Victorino the set, though. After going 0-for-4 in the first two games of the series, Victorino was 3-for-8 with a walk, a double and two triples as the Phils took the last two. He had three extra-base hits in his last 121 plate appearances going into get two of the set.

The Phillies are 39-51 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 5-1 yesterday afternoon. The Phils take the series two games to one. They’re in fifth place in the NL East, 14 games behind the first-place Nationals.

Remember this? The Phils went into the second half needing to play to a .707 winning percentage the rest of the way if they were going to get to 90 wins for the year. Taking two out of three against the Rockies is nice, but it actually ups that needed winning percentage to .708 the rest of the way. The needed winning percentage in remaining games to hit various win marks is now tracked in the Start Log at the bottom of the blue band.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple. He struck out seven and dropped his ERA on the year to 3.07. The Phillies have won just one of the last four games he has started, but he’s thrown to a 2.48 ERA with a 1.07 ratio over those four outings.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. Dexter Fowler led off with a single to left. Marco Scutaro was next and bunted. Hamels fielded, but his throw to first sailed over Wigginton’s head. Scutaro was safe and Fowler moved up to second, putting men on first and second for Carlos Gonzalez. Hamels struck Gonzalez out swinging for the first out. Ramon Hernandez was next and Hamels struck him out swinging at a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Michael Cuddyer grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Nice job by Fontenot backing up Hamels’s throw to first and holing everyone to a single base. Hamels does well to pitch around his error after the first two batters of the inning reach base.

Tyler Colvin singled to start the second, but Hamels got the next three Rockies in order behind him.

Fowler led off the bottom of the third and singled to right. Hamels picked him off of first with Wigginton throwing to Rollins for the first out. Hamels got Scutaro and Gonzalez behind Fowler.

Up 2-0, Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fourth. Mayberry made a nice diving catch on a ball hit by Cuddyer for the second out.

Chris Nelson reached on an infield single to start the fifth with the Phils up 5-0, but Hamels got Josh Rutledge to ground into a double-play behind him. Switch-hitter Jonathan Herrera hit for the pitcher Drew Pomeranz, but Hamels got him on a ground ball to second to end the inning.

Hamels walked Scutaro with one out in the sixth and Gonzalez followed with a triple to center that scored Scutaro and cut the lead to 5-1. Hamels struck Hernandez out for the second out and got Cuddyer on a ground ball to second for the third.

Big strikeout for Hamels, getting Hernandez for the second out with Gonzalez on third helps keep the Rockies from getting more.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Switch-hitter Eric Young hit for the pitcher Mike Ekstrom and singled to center to start the eighth. Hamels got the next three to turn Colorado away.

Bastardo got two ground balls and a strikeout in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Nice start to the second half for Bastardo. He came into the game having thrown to a 9.00 ERA in his 14 appearances since the end of June. He threw seven pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Drew Pomeranz went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Wigginton (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Fontenot. Utley and Howard both on the bench against the lefty after they both played the first two games of the series. Mayberry in left, Wigginton at first and Fontenot at second. Victorino continues to hit second with Polanco sixth against the lefty. Fontenot starts against the lefty with Utley resting.

Victorino tripled with one out in the top of the first. Pence struck out behind him for the second out, but Ruiz picked Pence up with a single into left that scored Victorino and put the Phils up 1-0. Wigginton drew a walk before Polanco grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the second and again in the third.

Ruiz led off the fourth with a double and moved up to third on a ground out by Wigginton. Polanco flew to right for the second out. Ruiz tagged and scored, putting the Phils up 2-0. Mayberry grounded to third for the third out.

Fontenot and Hamels both struck out to start the fifth before Rollins singled to left. An error on a pickoff throw by Pomeranz allowed Rollins to take second and Victorino walked to put two on for Pence. Pence hit a 2-1 pitch out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 5-0. Ruiz flew to center to set the Phillies down.

Huge swing off of Pence against a lefty. He came into the game hitting 247/326/442 against them for the year with just three home runs.

Righty Carlos Torres set the Phils down in order in the sixth.

Fontenot walked to start the seventh with the lead cut to 5-1. Hamels bunted him to second with the first out before Rollins walked. Victorino grounded to second for the second out and Pence flew to right for the third.

Righty Mike Ekstrom set the Phils down in order in the eighth.

Righty Rafael Betancourt started the ninth. Fontenot walked with one out. Howard hit for Hamels and grounded into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Rollins was 1-for-3 in the game and 5-for-12 with a walk, two doubles and a triple in the series. He’s hitting 261/315/414 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple yesterday. 3-for-12 with a walk, a double and two triples in the series. 3-for-8 with a walk and three extra-base hits in the last two games after going 0-for-4 in the opener. 245/311/379 on the year. Rollins and Victorino hit one-two at the top of the order — Rollins leads that duo with a .315 on-base percentage for the season.

Pence 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, which was his only hit of the series. He was 1-for-12, dropping his line on the year to 278/344/477.

Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 5-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 353/412/595 for the year. He has five home runs in his last 59 plate appearances.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk in his only action of the set. 181/253/319 over his last 79 plate appearances. 244/317/393 on the season.

Polanco 0-for-3 with an RBI. 1-for-7 in the series. 3-for-his-last-29 with a walk and three singles. 263/306/337.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-7 with two strikeouts in the set. 234/270/374 for the year. He’s terrible against righties (207/267/273 for the year) but hitting .269 against lefties with a .505 slugging percentage. On-basing .274 against left-handed pitching with zero walks in 95 plate appearances. That’s zero with a z.

Fontenot was 1-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-6 with two walks in the series. 315/365/371 for the year. Should be starting close to every game against a righty given the combination of Polanco being Polanco and Utley needing extra rest.

Utley was 3-for-8 with three RBI in the series and his hitting 262/289/405 over 45 plate appearances for the year. Howard was 0-for-1 yesterday and 0-for-8 with two walks in the set. He’s 2-for-16 so far.

Blanton (7-8, 4.98) faces righty Nathan Eovaldi (1-5, 4.21) tonight in LA. Blanton has a 6.12 ERA over his last nine starts. Eovaldi had a 2.35 ERA over his first five starts of the year but has thrown to a 7.71 ERA over his last three outings.


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