Archive for April, 2013

Just what the doctor ordered

Their season is only eight games old, but twice already the Phillies have needed a big start from Cliff Lee and twice he has delivered. Last night he gave the overworked middle relievers a break as he went 8 2/3 innings in an 8-3 win over the Mets.

After two starts, Lee is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA and an 0.60 ratio. He has thrown 16 2/3 innings, striking out 14 and walking none. Righties are hitting .133 against him.

The offense delivered seven early runs, scoring four in the second before Howard, Young and Mayberry all hit solo home runs in the third. Mayberry started in right against a right-handed pitcher and had a big day, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. He’s 4-for-12 with three doubles, a home run and three walks against righties in the early going (333/467/833). Young tripled and homered, going 3-for-4 in the game and driving in a pair of runs.

The Phillies are 3-5 on the year after beating the New York Mets 8-3 last night. The teams have split the first two games of the three-game series.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went 8 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. Only two of the runs were earned. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double, a triple and a home run. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

Daniel Murphy and John Buck both singled in the top of the first, but Lee got Marlon Byrd on a fly ball to center to leave two men stranded.

Lucas Duda singled to start the second, but Lee got Justin Turner to ground into a double-play behind him. Ruben Tejada flew to right for the third out.

Lee started the third up 4-0 and set the Mets down in order.

It was 7-0 when he started the fourth. David Wright led off and reached on a throwing error by Rollins, putting a man on for Buck. Buck hit the first pitch he saw from Lee out to right, cutting the lead to 7-2. Lee got the next three.

Second home run the opposite way for Buck in two games in the set. The error by Rollins ahead of the home run costs the Phils a run.

It was 8-2 when Jordany Valdespin tripled to center with one out in the fifth. Valdespin scored on a passed ball (8-3) before Lee struck out Collin Cowgill for the second out. Murphy doubled to right, but was left at second when Wright grounded to short.

Second miscue by the Phils on the passed ball by Kratz, although Valdespin would have scored from third on Murphy’s double anyway.

Lee set the Mets down in order in the sixth. Lefty Mike Baxter hit for the pitcher and struck out looking for the third out.

Lee needed seven pitches to set New York down in order in the seventh.

He struck out Murphy in a 1-2-3 eighth.

Byrd singled to right with one out in the ninth. Righty Anthony Recker hit for the pitcher Brandon Lyon and Lee struck him out looking for the second out. Turner was next and moved Byrd up to second with a single. Lee had thrown 106 pitches in the game and Manuel called on Adams to pitch to the righty Ruben Tejada. Tejada struck out looking 0-2 to end the game.

I thought it was a very good decision by Manuel to pull Lee when he did. The middle of the pen has been overused, but the guys at the back, Adams, Papelbon, Aumont and Bastardo, haven’t had a ton to do.

It was the third appearance of the year for Adams. He has struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing one hit.

The Phillie lineup against righty Dillon Gee went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Young (6) Brown (7) Mayberry (8) Kratz. Kratz behind the plate after Quintero caught Halladay in game one of the set. Revere continues to lead off despite his slow start in combination with Rollins hitting well. Mayberry starts in right against the righty with Nix on the bench.

The Phillies went in order in the bottom of the first.

Young and Brown singled back-to-back with one out in the second. Brown’s ball was hit softly to left. The throw went to third and hit Young, allowing Brown to move up to second. Mayberry cleared the bases with a double down the third base line. 2-0. Kratz grounded to third for the second out before Lee singled into center, scoring Mayberry to put the Phils up 3-0. Revere moved Lee up to second with a single before Rollins doubled into the right field corner. Lee scored (4-0) and Revere moved up to third. Utley flew to left to leave the runners at second and third.

Very nice hustle on the bases by both Young and Brown on Brown’s single. Young took third on the single and Brown ran hard to take the extra-base when Duda’s throw hit Young.

Revere doesn’t score from first on the two-out double by Rollins.

Howard led off the third and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left-center. 5-0. Young was next and hit the first pitch he saw out the opposite way. 6-0. Brown flew to left for the first out before Mayberry lined a 1-0 pitch out to left. 7-0. Kratz singled, but Lee and Revere went down to leave him stranded.

Quite an inning as Howard, Young and Mayberry all put home run number one for the season on the board. All three go after Gee early in the count. Howard and Young hit the ball out the opposite way and Mayberry pulls his down the line.

Righty Glen Burke was on the mound for the Mets when the Phils hit in the fourth with their lead cut to 7-1. Utley walked with one out. Howard lined to Tejada for the second out before Utley stole second. It brought Young to the plate and he tripled to center, scoring Utley to make it 8-1. Brown grounded to short for the third out.

Young was again aggressive on the bases as he went for three. The Mets probably would have had him with a good relay to third. They didn’t get one.

It was 8-3 when Burke set the Phillies down in order in the fifth.

Utley walked off of lefty Scott Rice with two outs in the sixth, stole second and took third on a throwing error. Howard struck out swinging to leave him at third.

Righty Latroy Hawkins set Young, Brown and Mayberry down in order in the seventh.

Brown is 5-for-25 against righties on the season.

Righty Brandon Lyon set Kratz, Lee and Revere down in order in the eighth. Lee hit for himself having thrown 96 pitches in the game.

Revere was 1-for-5 in the game. He’s hitting .229 without an extra-base hit.

Rollins 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He made a throwing error in front of the Buck home run that cost the Phils a run. 8-for-25 with two walks and four extra-base hits against righties (320/370/560).

Utley 0-for-2 with two walks and two stolen bases.

Howard 1-for-4 with a strikeout and his first home run. 161/206/258 on the year in 34 plate appearances.

Young 3-for-4 with a triple and a home run. 7-for-his-last-13 with three extra-base hits.

Brown 1-for-4 with a bloop single and a strikeout. 2-for-his-last-15 with two singles and no walks.

Mayberry gets the start against the righty Gee and delivers two extra-base hits off of him, going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI in the game.

Kratz 1-for-4 with a strikeout and a passed ball. He’s on-basing .192 with eight strikeouts in 26 plate appearances.

Kendrick (0-1, 7.94) faces righty Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 1.50) tonight. Kendrick pitched better than his line against the Royals in his first start, throwing four scoreless innings to start the game before allowing a two-run single in the fifth. With two outs in the fifth and two men on he was asked to walk Billy Butler intentionally and was then pulled from the game. Horst took over and allowed a three-run triple to Alex Gordon with all three runs charged to Kendrick. Hefner allowed a run to the Marlins over six innings in his first outing of the year.


Universe grateful to be able to cross Erik Kratz off the what-the-!@#$%-is-wrong-with-Roy-Halladay list

I’m not sure what’s wrong with Roy Halladay. I am sure the Phillies have worked hard to try to figure it out, but whatever’s going on behind the scenes, what’s happening on the field isn’t working. What’s happening on the field is that Halladay keeps pitching and keeps getting hammered. Last night they changed up his catcher and Halladay allowed seven runs over four miserable innings, upping his ERA for the year to 14.73 for the year after two starts, as the Mets pounded the Phils 7-2.

The Phillies are 0-4 in games started by Hamels or Halladay and 2-1 in games started by anyone else. That duo has combined to throw to a 12.50 ERA in their four starts and gone an average of about four and a half innings per start.

The Phils have two quality starts in the seven games they’ve played, one by Lee and one by Lannan, and they’ve won both of those games. 0-5 in the games where they didn’t get a quality start and their starters have gone an average of about 4.7 innings in those games and thrown to an 11.57 ERA.

The bullpen, very strong at the back end, lacked a middle man when the season started. The Phillies have tried to use Durbin, Horst and Valdes in the middle innings, but they’ve had to use them a lot and none of the three has pitched well. Horst leads that group with a 6.75 ERA and the trio has combined to throw to an 8.16 ERA. Durbin and Horst are both on pace to make about 93 appearances for the season. Horst is on pace to throw about 123 innings in relief, which would be more than his career high of 31 1/3. Valdes is on pace to throw about 131 innings — he’s 35 and has thrown 107 1/3 innings for his career.

The Phillies are 2-5 on the year after losing 7-2 to the New York Mets last night in game one of a three-game set.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a three-run homer by John Buck. He struck out three.

After two starts, Halladay has a 14.73 ERA and a 2.45 ratio. Opponents have hit .353 against him. In 7 1/3 innings he’s walked six and allowed three home runs.

He struck out David Wright in a 1-2-3 first.

Marlon Byrd doubled to center with one out in the second. Lucas Duda was next and Halladay hit him 2-2, putting men on first and second for John Buck. Buck got ahead in the count and hit a 2-0 pitch out to right. 3-0 Mets. Ruben Tejada was next and he drew a walk. Pitcher Matt Harvey tried to bunt Tejada to second, but struck out for the second out. Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded to Halladay to end the frame.

Daniel Murphy walked to start the third and moved up to second on a ground out by Wright. Ike Davis fouled out to Howard for the second out before Byrd walked on a 3-2 pitch Halladay thought caught the outside part of the plate. Duda singled into center, scoring Murphy to make it 4-0. Buck grounded to Young to finally set the Mets down.

Revere really can’t throw. Not that it needs to go near the top of the list of Phillie problems or that someone who could would have gunned down Murphy. It’s just a thing.

Halladay had thrown 78 pitches through three innings.

He struck out Nieuwenhuis in a 1-2-3 fourth.

The New York lead was cut to 4-1 when Murphy doubled to right-center to start the fifth. He moved up to third on a wild pitch. With the infield in, Wright singled to left, scoring Murphy. 5-1. Davis moved Wright up to third with a single and that was it for Halladay. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Byrd and struck him out swinging for the first out. Duda was next and Durbin walked him, loading the bases for Buck. Buck popped to Utley for the second out, but Tejada lined a single into center, scoring two runners and sending Duda to third with the Mets up 7-1. Harvey went down on a ball handled by Quintero to end the frame.

Durbin faces five hitters in the frame, allowing a walk and a two-run single with both runs charged to Halladay. Looks like a scoreless inning for Durbin in the box score. Not so much.

Fourth appearance of the year for Durbin. He has an 8.10 ERA and a 2.70 ratio through 3 1/3 innings. He’s pitched two days in a row.

Horst started the sixth. Righty Collin Cowgill hit for the lefty Nieuwenhuis and Horst struck him out swinging for the first out. Muprhy flew to left for the second before Wright doubled to center. Horst struck Davis out to leave Wright at second.

Horst came back and struck Duda out in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Fourth appearance for Horst as well. Two scoreless innings in two of them. In one he allowed a run in an inning and in the other he was charged with three runs in a third of a frame. He faced seven batters over two innings last night, getting six outs and allowing Wright’s double. Like Durbin, he has thrown two days in a row.

Valdes threw a 1-2-3 eighth. Righty Justin Turner hit for the pitcher Harvey and struck out for the second out.

Valdes was back to pitch the ninth with the New York lead cut to 7-2. Murphy led off with a double to right and Valdes walked Wright behind Murphy. Valdes got the next three, though, getting Davis to foul out to Young for the first out, striking Byrd out for the second and getting Duda to ground to second for the third.

Eight batters for Valdes in the game. Six outs, a double and a walk. Three appearances for the year — last night was the first that wasn’t awful. He has a 9.53 ERA and a 2.12 ratio for the season. Opponents have hit .360 against him.

Unlike Durbin and Horst, Valdes hasn’t thrown two days in a row, but he did throw 26 pitches last night. Horst and Durbin both threw 20. The Phillies really need Cliff Lee to go deep into games these days — it’s not reasonable to expect him to go eight innings every start.

Overall the pen threw five shutout innings, in the game, allowing three hits and two walks. They weren’t quite that good, though, cause Durbin allowed a hit in the walk in relief of Halladay in the fifth with the runs charged to the starter.

Phillie relievers have walked 13 in 22 1/3 innings for the season, which is too many.

The Phillie lineup against righty Matt Harvey went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Young (6) Brown (7) Nix (8) Quintero. Quintero gets the start behind the plate after Halladay remarked about not being on the same page with Kratz in his first start of the season.

Revere led off the bottom of the first with a walk. He stole second and moved up to third on a ground out by Rollins. Utley was next and the Mets bizarrely brought the infield in. Utley popped to third for the second out. Howard struck out swinging 0-2 to leave Revere at third.

Great job by Revere to get things going with the walk and the steal. Less great job by Utley and Howard as the old guard of the Phils gets set down by Harvey. Utley can’t bring the runner home from third with one out.

Down 3-0, the Phillies went in order in the second.

Quintero led off the third with the Phils down 4-0 and blooped a single into center. Halladay tried to bunt and couldn’t, then struck out looking for the first out. Revere hit into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Halladay can’t get the bunt down. You probably won’t see Revere ground into a ton of double-plays. He was just nipped at first this time.

Rollins doubled to center to start the fourth and moved up to third on a single by Utley. Howard was next and flew to right for the first out. Rollins tagged and scored to get the Phils on the board at 4-1. Young struck out and Brown flew to center to leave Utley stranded.

Good no strikeout by Howard gets the Phils on the board. Four extra-base hits for Rollins in the early going. Three doubles and a homer in 32 plate appearances with an isolated power of .200.

The Phillies were down 7-1 when they hit in the fifth. Nix led off with a walk. Quintero struck out for the first out. Carrera hit for Durbin and struck out swinging for the second. Revere struck out swinging for the third.

Utley reached on an error by Ike Davis with one out in the sixth. Howard and Young went down behind him.

Harvey set the Phils down in order in the seventh.

Lefty Josh Edgin started the eighth. Kratz, who had entered defensively in the top of the inning, led off with a double down the third base line. Kratz went to third on a ground out by Revere and scored on another by Rollins. 7-2. Utley flew to left for the third out.

Edgin was back for the ninth and got Howard, Young and Brown in order.

Revere 0-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base. Did his best to get the Phillies started in the bottom of the first, but they didn’t score with the help of Utley’s popup to third with one out. Revere is 7-for-30 (.233) with seven singles so far.

Rollins 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Utley 1-for-4. No RBI in the first with Revere on third and one out. 3-for-his-last-12 with three singles.

Howard 0-for-3 with an RBI and two strikeouts. 0-for-9 with five strikeouts against lefties for the year. 4-for-27 with four singles overall.

Young was 0-for-4 in the game. He and Mayberry are the unlikely team leaders in walks. They each have four.

Brown 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He is 3-for-his-last-19 after going 3-for-7 to start the season. 4-for-21 (.190) against right-handed pitching.

Nix 0-for-2 with a walk. 3-for-14 with three singles on the year.

Quintero 1-for-3. Failed to spark a return to excellence for Halladay. 1-for-6 on the season.

Cliff Lee (1-0, 0.00) faces righty Dillon Gee (0-1, 1.42) tonight in game two of the set. Lee allowed two singles and struck out eight over eight shutout innings in his first start on the year. Gee was also good in his lone start, allowing a run over 6 1/3 innings against the Padres.


Feels like the first time

We didn’t learn anything new last night, but seeing Cliff Lee pitch lights out one more time was more than enough for Phillie fans looking for signs of life. Lee was fantastic, allowing two singles over eight shutout innings, and Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth as the Phils topped Atlanta 2-0.

The pitching was outstanding last night, but the Phils have scored four runs over their last two games. More would be better, especially if 60% of the rotation is going to be Kendrick, Lannan and a version of Roy Halladay who can’t get people out. Michael Young and Ryan Howard were quiet in the opening set, combining to go 2-for-21 out of the four and five spots in the order.

The Phillies are 1-2 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 2-0 last night. The Braves take the series two games to one.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles, no walks and striking out eight.

He set the Braves down in order in the bottom of the first.

He started the second up 2-0 and struck out Freddie Freeman and BJ Upton to start the frame before Dan Uggla singled to left. Chris Johnson grounded to first to end the inning.

Lee struck out Gerald Laird and pitcher Kris Medlen in 1-2-3 third.

Justin Upton singled to left with one out in the fourth. Lee got Freeman to ground into a double-play behind Upton.

Freeman 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a GDP through two at-bats after hammering the Phils in games one and two of the set.

Lee struck out Uggla in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Laird led off the sixth and reached on an error by Utley, but Lee got the next three. Righty Reed Johnson hit for the pitcher Cory Gearrin and flew to center for the first out.

Lee struck out both Uptons in a 1-2-3 seventh. Freeman absolutely crushed a ball in-between, but Nix took it on the warning track for the second out.

Lee got a little help from the weather on a cold night in Atlanta on Freeman’s ball. It was well struck.

Lee needed just eight pitches to set Uggla, Johnson and Laird down in order in the eighth.

Papelbon started the ninth with a 2-0 lead. Switch-hitter Ramiro Pena hit for the pitcher Anthony Varvaro and Palelbon struck him out swinging for the first out. Simmons grounded to Utley for the second out and Papelbon got Heyward swinging at a ball way outside to end the game.

Second appearance of the year for Papelbon after allowing two runs in an inning in game two of the set. He threw 11 pitches in the game and has pitched for two days in a row.

The season is only three days old, but last night was the first game of the three in which the pen has been non-terrible. The bullpen threw to a 6.23 ERA in the set and walked five in 8 2/3 innings.

The Phillie lineup against righty Kris Medlen went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Young (6) Brown (7) Nix (8) Kratz. Nix in right against the lefty with Mayberry on the bench. Manuel did it the other way with righty Tim Hudson on the mound for Atlanta in game one of the series. Mayberry on the bench against a righty appeals a lot, though.

Rollins singled to center with one out in the top of the first. Utley flew out to left before Howard moved Rollins up to second with a single. Rollins stole third on a soft throw back to the mound by Laird before Young walked to load the bases for Brown. Brown grounded to second to leave them loaded.

Howard’s single was a ground ball to where the shortstop would be if the Braves weren’t in their Howard shift.

Nix started the second with a single and moved to third when Kratz followed with a double to left. Lee was next and walked to load the bases for Revere. Revere grounded to short with Lee forced at second for the first out. Nix scored and the Phils led 1-0 with one out and runners on the corner. Revere quickly stole second and Rollins went on to walk, loading the bases for Utley. Utley flew to right, deep enough for Kratz to tag and score from third, putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard lined to Simmons to end the frame.

Glad to see Kratz deliver the double after an awful night at the plate in game two.

Brown singled with one out in the third, but Nix and Kratz went down behind him. Nix hit his ball well, but Heyward took it in right for the second out.

Rollins doubled to right with two outs in the fourth and Utley drew a walk behind him. It put men on first and second for Howard, but Howard grounded out to Uggla in shallow right field to set the Phillies down.

Young and Nix struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth. Brown smoked a line drive, but Uggla handled it for the second out.

Righty Cory Gearrin set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. Revere hit a ball well into the gap in right-center, but Heyward made a diving catch to take extra-bases away from him for the third out.

Righty Jordan Walden started the seventh. He got Rollins on a fly ball to left for the first out before Utley singled to left. Howard was next and he hammered a ball to center, but BJ Upton took it at the wall after a long run for the second out. Young flew to BJ Upton in right-center to set the Phils down.

Howard hit the ball really well. Not quite well enough on a cold night (41 degrees) in Atlanta.

Anthony Varvaro started the eighth for Atlanta and set Brown, Nix and Kratz down in order.

Varvaro was back for the ninth. Galvis hit for Lee and grounded out to start the inning. Revere singled into center, but was doubled off of first to set the Phillies down when Rollins lined to Uggla.

Revere was 1-for-5 with a stolen base in the game. 3-for-14 with a walk and two steals in the series. 0-for-4 against lefties. I don’t think he’s going to lead off against lefties for too long — not because he’s 0-for-4 against them, but because leading him off against lefties is a poor idea.

Rollins 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and a stolen base in the game. 5-for-14 with a walk, two doubles and two stolen bases in the set.

Utley 1-for-2 with a walk, an error and an RBI. 5-for-11 with a double, a triple, a home run and a walk in the series. He has six RBI for the year — the rest of the team has three (Kratz 1, Revere 1, Howard 1).

Howard was 1-for-4 and left five men on base. He got chances to hit with runners on base in the second, fourth and seventh. Pretty bad start to the season for Howard, he was 1-for-12 with a walk and an RBI. Just three strikeouts, but one came in game one with one out and runners on second and third.

Young 0-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-9 with three walks in the series. He’s obviously not going to walk in 25% of his plate appearances, but I would be thrilled to see him up his walk rate this season. Looked a little shaky defensively at third in game one of the series, but was largely unnoticed defensively after that, which is a good sign.

Brown 1-for-4 with a single and left three men on base. 4-for-11 with four singles and a walk in the series. No strikeouts yet, but no extra-base hits either. He went 2-for-4 in his chances against lefties in the series.

Nix 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. 2-for-6 in the series. Mayberry took over for Nix defensively in right in the bottom of the eighth, but did not have an at-bat in the game. He was 2-for-7 with a double and a walk in the series. No quite sure I understand using Mayberry as a defensive replacement for Nix — Nix is a pretty good defensive outfielder and there’s not a lot of data on Mayberry in right (although his numbers are great in limited time).

Kratz 1-for-4 with a double, which was nice to see after a miserable day at the plate in game two of the set. 2-for-12 with a double and an RBI in the series. Curious comments from Halladay after game two in the set suggesting that he and Kratz may not have been on the same page should be monitored carefully. Quintero is going to get a chance to start a game soon anyway, given that the Phillies play in each of the next six days. Sunday afternoon against the Royals seems likely.

Kendrick gets the start late this afternoon in the home opener against the Royals and righty Wade Davis. Kendrick finished 2012 on a major roll pitching out of the rotation. He threw to a 3.20 ERA over 12 starts to end the year. Davis will be making his first start since 2011 after 54 appearances for the Rays last year, all in relief. He didn’t allow a home run to any of the 130 left-handed batters he faced in 2012 while throwing to a 2.43 ERA with a 1.09 ratio.


Dr no

The 2012 season didn’t start badly for Roy Halladay. Just the opposite, actually. He threw eight shutout innings on opening day and ended April with a 1.95 ERA over five starts. Things didn’t start to take their dramatic turn in the wrong direction until May.

At least we now know that 2013 won’t go the same way as 2012 for Halladay. Cause last nice he made his first appearance of the year and was horrid, needing 40 pitches to get through the first on his way to allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings as the Braves pounded the Phils.

Halladay has a 5.50 ERA over his 21 starts since the beginning of May, 2012. In those starts he’s allowed 136 hits, including 20 home runs, in 122 2/3 innings. Twenty is too many home runs to give up in 122 2/3 innings even if you’re not Roy Halladay.

The Phillies are 0-2 on the year after losing to the Atlanta Braves 9-2 last night.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out nine. Striking out nine in 3 1/3 innings is usually the sign of a good outing. This wasn’t one of those times.

Andrelton Simmons was the first hitter of the game for Atlanta and Halladay struck him out swinging for the first out in the bottom of the first. Jason Heyward was next, though, and Heyward singled to right. Justin Upton followed and hit a 1-2 pitch out the opposite way to right-center for his second home run of one game and one at-bat, putting Atlanta up 2-0. Freddie Freeman followed with a walk before Halladay struck BJ Upton out swinging for the second out. Dan Uggla was the next hitter and Halladay walked him, putting runners on first and second for lefty Juan Francisco. Francisco singled to right, scoring Freeman to make it 3-0 as Uggla moved up to third. Halladay struck Evan Gattis out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Three runs in the frame for the Braves on three hits, two singles and a home run, and two walks. Halladay threw 40 pitches in the inning, which is more than what would be ideal.

He struck out the side in the second, getting pitcher Paul Maholm looking and Simmons and Heyward both swinging.

Freeman blooped a single the opposite way to left field with one out in the third. He went to second on a wild pitch before BJ Upton struck out for the second out. Halladay walked Uggla, but got Francisco on a ground ball to first to end the inning.

Gattis led off the fourth and hit a 1-1 pitch just out to left. 4-0. Halladay struck out Maholm for the first out before Simmons singled into center. Valdes came in to pitch to the lefty Heyward and walked him 3-2, then walked the righty Justin Upton 3-2 as well, which loaded the bases for Freeman. Freeman lined a ball into left-center that split the gap and rolled to the wall, clearing the bases and putting Atlanta up 7-0. Valdes struck out BJ Upton and Uggla back-to-back to set Atlanta down.

Gattis’s homer just barely made it out, eluding Brown as he jumped for it at the wall. Valdes gives up back-to-back walks and both of the runners score on the Freeman double. He walked one of the last 36 batters he faced in 2012. Halladay leaves the game with one out and a runner on first and Simmons scores on the Freeman double.

Gattis flipped his bat and his ball just barely cleared the fence. Not saying the Phils don’t have bigger fish to fry. I’m just saying.

Valdes came back and set the Braves down in order in the fifth.

He goes 1 2/3 innings in the game, allowing two runs on one hit, the Freeman double, and two walks.

Bastardo pitched the sixth. He walked Justin Upton with two outs, but got Freeman looking to leave Upton stranded.

Adams struck out BJ Upton and Juan Francisco in a 1-2-3 seventh.

First appearance as a Phillie for Adams. Is it too much to ask him to go nine? Every day?

Papelbon made his ’13 debut in the eighth. He got the first two before Simmons singled. Heyward was next and hit a 3-1 pitch out to right, making it 9-2.

The pen goes 4 2/3 innings in the game, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. Valdes threw 40 pitches in the game and surely can’t pitch tonight. Papelbon 22, Bastardo 18 and Adams eight.

Last night was the first of eight games in eight days for the Phils, so they have seven more before an off-day. Hopefully they won’t have to wait too long for one of the starters to get an out in the sixth inning, or the bullpen numbers are going to get even uglier. The bullpen has a 7.04 ERA through two games. They’re obviously way better than that, but they are lacking a long man, which is something you don’t want to be lacking if your starters are going to average about four innings a game and you have to play the next seven days in a row.

Kendrick and Lannan aren’t real good candidates to go deep into games, either. The Phillies have three candidates to pitch deep into games and two of them just pitched badly. So let’s hope we see Cliff Lee pitching well for a long time tonight.

The Phillie lineup against lefty Paul Maholm went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Young (6) Brown (7) Mayberry (8) Kratz. Revere again leads off, this time against a lefty, with Rollins still hitting second. The lefty Brown stays in the lineup and plays left. Mayberry in right, which makes a lot more sense against a lefty than it did a righty on Opening Day. I think it’s unlikely that Revere will lead off against lefties very often this season.

Rollins doubled to left with one out in the top of the first. Utley followed him and struck out swinging for the second out, but Howard was next and drew a walk as Rollins stole third, putting runners on the corners for Young. Young grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Brown and Mayberry singled back-to-back to start the second with the Phillies down 3-0. It put men on first and second for Kratz and Kratz grounded into a double-play. Halladay struck out swinging to leave Brown at third.

Brown starts the inning with a hit off of the lefty, which is nice to see even if nothing comes of it.

Rollins singled to left with one out in the third. Utley flew to center for the second out and Howard struck out looking to leave Rollins at first.

Rollins 2-for-2 with a single, a double and a stolen base through two and a half innings.

Brown lined a single to left with one out in the fourth. Mayberry was next and hit a ball that Francisco didn’t handle for an error, which again put two men on for Kratz. Kratz struck out for the second out. Halladay hit for himself and struck out to leave both runners stranded.

Again Kratz goes down after Brown and Mayberry get on board. Halladay had thrown 79 pitches in the game. He would face three batters in the bottom of the fourth, getting one out and allowing a single and a homer. You can’t really hit for Roy Halladay in the fourth, but if you’re playing on paper and you know he’s going to face three hitters in the bottom of the inning and get one out, you might want to consider it.

Down 7-0, the Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Young singled to center with one out in the sixth. Brown was next and grounded to first for the second out with Young moving up to second. Righty Cory Gearrin came in to pitch to Mayberry and walked him, putting men on first and second for Kratz. Kratz went down swinging to leave the runners stranded.

Again Kratz with Brown on second and Mayberry on first. In the second he hit into a double-play to end the inning. In the fourth he struck out with one out and men on first and second. Sixth he struck out to end the inning with two men on. Six men left on base through six innings.

Kudos to Mayberry for drawing the walk against the righty.

Righty Christhian Martinez started the seventh for Atlanta. Nix hit for Bastardo and singled to right. Revere was next and moved Nix up to second with a single. Rollins flew to right for the first out before Utley doubled into the right field corner, clearing the bases and getting the Phils on the board at 7-2. Luis Avilan came in to pitch to Howard and struck him out for the second out. It brought Young to the plate and he hit a dribbler on the first base side of the mound. Avilan popped off the mound, sliding to get the ball and threw to first. The ball hit Young and Young was called out for running out of the base line.

Really weird call you don’t see very often. Young was just about on the line when the ball hit him. Utley would have scored from second when the ball got away from Young, so it cost the Phillies a run. Avilan made a fantastic sliding play to make it close at first. Tired of him.

Righty Anthony Varvaro got Brown, Mayberry and Kratz in order in the eighth.

The Phils were down 9-2 when Vavaro set them down in order in the ninth. Galvis hit for Papelbon and struck out swinging for the first out.

Revere was 1-for-5 in the game. He’s 2-for-9 with a walk and a stolen base so far.

Rollins 2-for-5 with a double. 3-for-10 with a stolen base after two games.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two strikeouts. 4-for-9 with three extra-base hits and five of the team’s seven RBI.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. 0-for-8.

Young 1-for-4. 1-for-6 with two walks.

Brown 2-for-4. 3-for-7 with three singles and a walk. 2-for-4 against lefties in the very early going.

Mayberry 1-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-7 with a double and a walk after two games. Walked against a righty last night after doubling off of righty Jordan Walden in game one of the set.

Kratz was awful at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and leaving six men on base in the first six innings. 1-for-8 with three strikeouts so far.

Cliff Lee faces righty Kris Medlen tonight in game three of the set. Lee threw to a 4.79 ERA in his six spring starts. He made two starts against Atlanta in 2012 and both of them were very good as he allowed one earned run in 15 innings between the two outings. Medlen was outstanding in 2012, throwing to a 1.57 ERA with an 0.91 ratio over 138 innings in 50 appearances, 12 of which were starts. He had an 0.97 ERA in his 12 starts. Opponents hit .191 against him and he walked ten in 83 2/3 innings while striking out 84.


Doctor which

Roy Halladay makes his first start of the year tonight as the Phils face lefty Paul Maholm and the Braves in game two of the season.

Halladay had a miserable spring, throwing to a 6.06 ERA overall in his six starts. He pitched to a 2.16 ERA and an 0.96 ratio in his first three spring starts, but threw eight innings with a 10.12 ERA and 2.87 ratio over his last three.

None of that would matter at all, of course, had it not been for a lackluster 2012 for Halladay. Coming off two years in which he had been just about the best pitcher on the planet, Halladay threw to a 5.28 ERA over his last 20 starts in ’12. Opponents hit .282 against him in those starts and he allowed 18 home runs in 119 1/3 innings.

There’s a pretty long list of Braves with good career numbers against Halladay. We’ve seen enough of Freddie Freeman to last the year after one day of the season, but Freeman has nine career RBI against Halladay in just 15 at-bats. 7-for-15 with three home runs. BJ Upton has 42 at-bats against Halladay for his career and a 357/417/524 line. Uggla 11-for-34 (.324) with three home runs. McCann, who’s on the DL, has a 360/407/560 line against Halladay in 25 at-bats. Heyward just 3-for-17 (.176) and Justin Upton 2-for-6 with two singles.

Maholm made 32 appearances (31 starts) between the Cubs and Braves in 2012, throwing to a 3.67 ERA with a 1.22 ratio. Righties have hit him pretty well over his career, posting a 290/351/444 compared to 224/290/321 for righties.

He’s fared pretty well against the Phillies. Rollins is 5-for-22 (.227) with a double against him. Howard 5-for-21 (.238) with a double. Utley has fared a little better, going 6-for-18 with three doubles and a home run.

The Phillies put Edgar Inciarte on waivers and claimed 25-year-old left-handed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of waivers from Cleveland. The speedy Carrera has a career 255/306/347 line in 384 major league plate appearances and a .299 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching. If there’s data that suggest he’s an unusually good defensive player, I’m not sure where it is.

Counting the 2011 playoffs, the Phillies are 87-93 over their last 180 games. Ezequiel Carrera is an upgrade over Ender Inciarte, so that’s a good thing. The problem is that the Phillies don’t need a tiny upgrade over a player that never should have been on their roster in the first place. They need better players. They need the argument about who the third-best outfielder on their team is not to include John Mayberry and Laynce Nix. They need a major upgrade and it’s going to surprise me if it comes from picking up guys waived by the Indians.


Braves celebrate Opening Day by announcing Open Season on pitches thrown by Cole Hamels

The 2013 season started for the Phillies last night and it didn’t start well. Cole Hamels made his first Opening Day start and came up with a klunker, allowing three home runs as the Braves scored five runs charged to him in five innings.

Michael Young didn’t play very well at third and Chad Durbin’s first outing of the year was a dud. Durbin faced three hitters and all three reached base as he was charged with two runs without getting an out.

What did go well was the offense, which plated five runs, and especially Chase Utley. Utley was fantastic at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBI. He homered off of righty Tim Hudson in the fourth and tripled off of lefty Eric O’ Flaherty in the seventh.

The Phillies are 0-1 on the season after losing to the Braves 7-5 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and three home runs. He struck out five.

He walked Jason Heyward with one out in the bottom of the first. Justin Upton was next and Hamels struck him out swinging 3-2, but Freddie Freeman followed and blasted a 2-1 pitch out to right, putting Atlanta up 2-0. BJ Upton went down on a ball hit hard back to Hamels to end the inning.

The lefty Freeman had some success against Hamels in the game.

Dan Uggla led off the bottom of the second. Uggla got ahead 3-0 and then hit the fourth pitch of his at-bat out to left. 3-0. Hamels got the next three.

Two of the first six batters that Hamels faces on the year homer. Uggla’s was the only one of the three long balls that Hamels actually turned to look at to see if it would leave the yard. On the other two he just hung his head on the mound when the pitch was hit.

Andrelton Simmons doubled to left to start the third. Hamels got the next two hitters before Freeman lined a single to right, scoring Simmons to put Atlanta up 4-0. Upton flew to center for the third out.

Again the lefty Freeman gets the lefty Hamels. Three RBI in two at-bats for Freeman for the season at that point.

Chris Johnson singled with one out in the fourth and the Atlanta lead cut to 4-1. It brought Gerald Laird to the plate and Laird hit a ball hard down the third base line and off the glove of a diving Young. The ball rolled into foul territory and Young chased — Johnson wound up on third and Laird was at second with a double. The pitcher Tim Hudson was next and grounded to Rollins with the runners holding for the second out. Simmons was next and grounded to third to end the inning.

Generous of the home town scorer to call Laird’s ball on the misplay by Young a double. Hamels puts up his first zero of the year after Atlanta scores in each of the first three innings. The Phils get lucky that it’s the pitcher coming to the plate with one out and men on second and third after the Laird double.

The Atlanta lead was cut to 4-3 when Hamels started the fifth. He got Heyward on a fly ball to right before Justin Upton hit a 1-2 pitch out to left center. Hamels got ahead of him 0-2, but Upton just crushed his 1-2 offering to make it 5-3. Hamels got the next two to set the Braves down.

Third homer of the game for Atlanta. Two to righties (Uggla and Justin Upton) and the other to the lefty Freeman.

Durbin started the sixth for the Phillies and walked the leadoff man Uggla on six pitches. Johnson was next and doubled into left on the first pitch of his at-bat, sending Uggla to third. It brought Laird to the plate with nobody out and men on second and third. He was swinging at the first pitch as well and blooped a single into left-center. Brown charged and mishandled the ball, but Revere was right there to pick it up and get it into the infield. Uggla scored on the play to make it 6-3 with one out and runners on the corners. Lefty Juan Francisco hit for the pitcher Luis Avilan and Horst came in to pitch to him. Righty Reed Johnson hit for Francisco and hit a ball back up the middle, off the edge of Horst’s glove to Rollins. Rollins went to second for the first out and Utley relayed to first for the second. As the throw went to first to complete the double-play, Johnson came home from third. Howard took the throw at first and threw home, but his throw was not handled and Johnson would have been safe anyway. 7-3. Simmons popped out to first to end the inning.

Much confusion about whether or not Manual made an error around bringing in Horst before the lefty Juan Francisco was announced as the pinch-hitter or not. Francisco was definitely in the on-deck circle when Horst came in, but announcers on the TV broadcast indicated the he had not been announced and therefore the righty Reed Johnson was hitting for the pitcher Avilan and not the left-handed pinch-hitter Francisco. The box score on the MLB.com web site shows that Francisco actually hit for Avilan. I don’t know. Either way, Horst faced the righty Reed Johnson and got him to hit into a double-play.

Not a good start for Durbin. He faces three batters in the game, allowing a walk, a single and a double without getting an out. Durbin pitched for the Braves last year, which makes it a little more interesting that both Johnson and Laird were swinging first pitch on their hits.

Nice job by Revere to be right on the ball and prevent Johnson from scoring when Brown mishandled the bloop by Laird. Didn’t wind up mattering as Johnson scored on the double-play, but it was a nice play.

Horst was back for the seventh. Freeman blooped a single to left with two outs, but Horst struck out BJ Upton to leave Freeman at first.

Freeman’s bloop was a little odd. It stayed in the air for a long, long time and Brown wasn’t close to getting there. Looked like he was playing really deep in left given the left-handedness of the hitter.

Horst goes two scoreless innings in the game, striking out two and allowing a bloop single on a ball that might have been handled.

Aumont pitched the eighth. He walked Johnson with one out. Laird was next and hit a ball hard to third. It probably would have been a double-play ball if Young had handled it cleanly. He didn’t, but picked it up and threw to first. The throw was in the dirt, but Howard did a nice job to scoop it for the second out as Johnson moved up to second. Switch-hitter Ramiro Pena hit for the pitcher Jordan Walden and grounded to first to end the inning.

Aumont goes one scoreless inning in the game, striking out one and allowing a walk. Last year he walked nine for the Phillies in 14 2/3 innings and walked 34 in 44 1/3 innings in the minors. That’s too many walks. The Phillies should have turned a double-play on the ball hit by Laird.

Overall the pen goes three innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three. Horst pitched great. Durbin did not. Aumont threw a scoreless innings but needs to walk fewer hitters. Horst threw 17 pitches, Aumont 14 and Durbin eight. All three seem likely to be available for game two of the set given the off-day today.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) M Young (6) Brown (7) Mayberry (8) Kratz. Two of the nine players the Phillies start were also in the lineup for game one in 2012 (Rollins and Mayberry). Kratz starts behind the plate with Ruiz suspended. Brown in left with the righty Mayberry in right and the lefty Nix on the bench. Mayberry comes into the game with good numbers against Hudson — 4-for-13 with two home runs. Revere leads off against the righty with Rollins hitting second. One of the things that does is prevents three lefties two through four in the lineup from Revere to Howard (if Revere were hitting second). Revere and Michael Young make their Phillie debuts. Erik Kratz enters the game with zero career plate appearances in April and seven career plate appearances in March, April, May or June.

The Phillies went in order in the first.

They were down 2-0 when they hit in the top of the second. Young walked with one out and moved up to second when Brown followed with a single to right. It put two men on for Mayberry and Mayberry grounded into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Mayberry hits into a lot of double-plays. So far, this year is no exception.

Revere singled to left with two outs in the second and the Phils down 3-0. He stole second before Rollins grounded to second to leave him stranded.

The Phillies were trailing 4-0 when Utley started the fourth with a home run to center. 4-1. Howard grounded out to Uggla in shallow right field for the first out and Young struck out swinging for the second before Brown drew a walk. Mayberry struck out looking to leave Brown at first.

With one out in the fifth, the Phillies loaded the bases for Utley on singles by Hamels and Rollins and a walk to Revere. Utley singled to right, scoring Hamels and Revere to cut the lead to 4-3 and taking second as the throw came in to third. It put men on second and third with one down for Howard and lefty Luis Avilan came in to pitch to him. Avilan quickly got ahead of Howard 0-2 and struck him out swinging for the second out. The righty Young was walked intentionally to load the bases for Brown. Brown grounded to second to leave them loaded.

Second big hit for Utley in two innings after the homer in the fourth. Howard comes up empty in a big spot, striking out with one out and men on second and third. Intentionally walking Michael Young so your lefty can pitch to Domonic Brown in the fifth inning is a poor idea, but it worked out well for the Braves in this case. I don’t think that’s in the best interest of your team in the long run, however.

The Phils trailed 5-3 when they hit in the sixth. Mayberry and Kratz went down for the first two outs. With the lefty Avilan still on the mound for the Braves, Frandsen hit for Hamels and singled into center. Revere grounded to short to end the frame.

Avilan pitched well in the game for Atlanta, holding the Phils to a single (by the righty Frandsen) and an intentional walk (to the righty Young) over 1 2/3 innings.

Atlanta led 7-3 when lefty Eric O’ Flaherty started the seventh for the Braves. Utley tripled with one out and scored on a Howard ground out, cutting the lead to 7-4. Young grounded to third to set the Phillies down.

Utley triples off of the lefty after homering off the righty Hudson earlier in the game.

Mayberry doubled to left off of righty Jordan Walden with one out in the eighth. He took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a Kratz single to cut the lead to 7-5. Nix hit for Horst and Kratz took second on another wild pitch before Nix flew to left for the second out. Revere struck out swinging to leave Kratz stranded.

Righty Craig Kimbrel set Rollins, Utley and Howard down in order in the ninth.

Revere was 1-for-4 in the game with a walk and a stolen base. Made a nice defensive play to be in the area when Brown mishandled the single in the sixth.

Rollins 1-for-5.

Utley 3-for-5 with a triple, a home run and three RBI.

Howard 0-for-5 with an RBI. Struck out with one out and men on second and third at a big moment in the fifth.

Young didn’t look good defensively at third. He was 0-for-2 and walked twice (once intentionally).

Brown 1-for-3 with a walk. Less than outstanding in left. Mishandled one ball while charging but was backed-up nicely by Revere. Queerly was nowhere close to catching Freeman’s bloop single in the seventh.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double-play. He hit 229/291/335 against right-handed pitching in 2012. So it’s not a good sign if you’re starting him in one of your corner outfield positions against a righty on Opening Day.

Kratz 1-for-4 with an RBI.

The Phillies don’t play today. Game two of the season and the series is tomorrow night.


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