The winny city

The Phillies got another lefty this afternoon and Roberto Hernandez got an early hook, but it all worked out as they topped the Cubs 7-2 for their second win of the season.

Hernandez was pulled after allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings on three hits and a walk while throwing just 73 pitches. The bullpen, which had been atrocious in the first three games of the year, was fantastic after he left, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings.

The other big development of the day was that the Phillies hammered left-handed pitching. Utley hit a two-run homer off of a lefty and he, Brown and Howard combined to go 6-for-14 on the afternoon and drove in five runs. John Mayberry delivered his second big blow off of a lefty coming off the bench in four games, hitting a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth.

The Phillies are 2-2 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 7-2 this afternoon.

Roberto Hernandez got the start, making his Phillie debut coming off of a Spring Training in which he threw to a 5.29 ERA and a 1.41 ratio over five starts. He went 5 1/3 innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out five.

Third straight good start for the Phillies.

Hernandez struck Emilio Bonifacio and Starlin Castro both out swinging to start the bottom of the first. Anthony Rizzo was next and flew to Revere at the wall in center.

Hernandez got Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena to start the second before Welington Castillo hit a 1-0 pitch way out to left to put the Cubs up 1-0. Ryan Sweeney struck out swinging for the third out.

Hernandez allows really a lot of home runs — 46 home runs over his last 302 1/3 innings pitched coming into the game, which is about 1.37 per nine innings. The righty Castillo got him in the second after the lefty Rizzo just missed to end the first. Herandez allowed 17 home runs to the 352 left-handed hitters he faced in 2013, which is about 4.8% of them, which is a lot. Seven of 269 right-handed hitters homered off of him, which is about 2.6%.

Darwin Barney led off the third and hit a ball to third that probably should have been handled by Asche but went for a single. The pitcher Travis Wood bunted Barney to second with the first out before Bonifacio lined to center for the second. Castro was next and hit a ball that a diving Utley stopped but did not glove cleanly. The ball got away from him and Castro scored from second, putting the Cubs up 2-0. Rizzo popped to Utley for the third out.

The Chicago led was cut to 2-1 when Hernandez started the fourth. Valbuena walked with one out, but Hernandez set Castillo and Sweeney down behind him.

From 2006 to 2009, Hernandez walked about 9.8% of the batters he faced. In 2012 and 2013 combined, he only walked about 5.8% of the hitters he faced. 2013 he walked about 3.4% of the righties he faced and about 8.0% of the lefties. About 5.9% overall. Overall in 2013, Phillie pitchers walked about 8.1% of the hitters they faced. The 5.9% walk rate for Hernandez is about the same as Kendrick’s 2013 walk rate (also 5.9%) and worse than the ’13 walk rate for Hamels (5.5%) or Lee (3.7%).

Hernandez threw a 1-2-3 fifth with the Phillies leading 3-2.

He struck Castro out swinging to star the sixth. With lefties Rizzo and Schierholtz due to hit for the Cubs, Diekman took over and set them both down on a fly ball to left and a Schierholtz strikeout.

Seems kinda early to me. Just 73 pitches for Hernandez. It’s a lot of outs for a bad bullpen to get. Bringing in Diekman to get the lefties worked great, though. First of three outings in which he was non-awful. 10.13 ERA and a 1.88 ratio after three times out.

It was 4-2 when Justin De Fratus started the seventh, making his first appearance of the year. He set the Cubs down in order, getting Valbuena and Castillo on fly balls before striking Sweeney out swinging.

Great start to the year for De Fratus. Two of the three batters he faced, Valbuena and Sweeney, were left-handed. Not sure why they thought a righty was the right way to go there, but it worked out for the Phils. Lefties Antonio Bastardo and Mario Hollands were in the pen after an off-day yesterday.

Bastardo pitched the eighth with a 6-2 lead. He walked Barney to start the inning and Bonifacio with one out, but got Castro to ground into an inning-ending double-play.

The bullpen was great today, but has still walked way too many hitters in the early going. Bastardo’s two walks in were the only hits or walks the relievers allowed in 3 2/3 innings on the day.

Hollands got the first two outs in the ninth with the Phils up 7-2. Righty Mike Olt pinch-hit for the Cubs and Jeff Manship came in to retire Olt on a ground ball to short to end the game.

That’s a little silly with the Phils up two runs with two outs and nobody on.

Overall the pen went 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the game, allowing no hits and two walks while striking out four. Nobody threw more than 18 pitches in the game and nobody has thrown more than one day in a row thanks to Thursday’s off day.

The Phillie lineup against lefty Travis Wood went (1) Ben Revere (2) Carlos Ruiz (3) Chase Utley (4) Marlon Byrd (5) Ryan Howard (6) Domonic Brown (7) Jayson Nix (8) Cody Asche. Phils face their third straight lefty. Nix at short again with Rollins away from the team for the birth of a child and expected back for Saturday’s game. Nix starts for the third time in four games on the season. The righty Mayberry on the bench. Lefties Brown and Asche in left and at third. Byrd hits fourth and Howard fifth, flipping the order from previous game in which they faced lefty Robbie Ross. Ruiz hits second again with Rollins out.

Ruiz walked with one out in the top of the first, but Utley and Byrd went down behind him.

Howard and Nix struck out in a 1-2-3 second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the third. Asche and Hernandez both struck out before Revere reached on an infield single. Ruiz was next and was hit 3-2, putting men on first and second with two down for Utley. Utley grounded to third to end the frame.

Hernandez 0-for-19 at the plate for his career with 12 strikeouts after that at-bat.

Byrd led off the fourth with the Phils down 2-0 and lined a ball to third. Valbuena didn’t catch it for an error that left Byrd safe at first. Howard followed with a ball over the head of the first baseman Rizzo and down the right field line. Byrd went to third and Howard should have been at second, but he’s really slow and had to settle for a single. It put runners on the corners for Brown and Brown hit a ball hard back up the middle for a single. Byrd scored (2-1) and the Phillies had runners on first and second with nobody out for Nix. Nix struck out swinging for the first out. Asche was next and hit a ball well to left center, but Bonifacio tracked it down for the second out. Howard moved up to third, but the runners were left stranded on the corners when Hernandez grounded to second for the third out.

Brown and Howard both deliver singles against the lefty in the frame and it gets the Phils a run. Valbuena’s error helps get the Phils on the board. The single by Brown was hit hard back up the middle, but Castro had a chance to make that play as well. Asche hit the ball really hard the other way.

Howard 3-for-11 (.273) against lefties on the year at that point. Brown 2-for-7 (.286).

Ruiz singled to right with one out in the fifth. Utley was next and hit the first pitch he saw from Wood out to right-center, putting the Phils up 3-2. Byrd and Howard went down behind Utley.

Utley homers off the lefty. 3-for-11 against lefties for the year through the home run. He hit 245/324/430 against lefties in 2013, coming off of two straight seasons where he struggled against left-handed pitching. 215/324/355 in 2012 and 187/298/308 in 2011. He absolutely crushed lefties in 2010, posting a 294/422/581 line against them with ten home runs in 166 plate appearances.

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

The lefty Gwynn hit for Diekman and struck out swinging 0-2 to start the seventh with the lefty Wood still on the mound for Chicago. Revere singled to left and the righty Hector Rondon came in to pitch to Ruiz. Revere stole second before Ruiz drew a walk, putting two men on for Byrd. Lefty Wesley Wright came on to pitch to Utley and Utley singled to right, scoring Revere (4-2) and moving Ruiz to second. Byrd dribbled out to the pitcher for the second out with the runners moving up to second and third. Howard hit the ball well to center, but Bonifacio took it at the wall to set the Phillies down.

Another big hit for Utley against a lefty, this time Wright. Howard hit the ball well against Wright as well, but into an out.

Not sure why Gwynn hit against a lefty for Diekman, but it didn’t work out very well. He’s a career 233/286/288 hitter against lefties. Righties Mayberry, Nieves and the switch-hitter Herandez on the bench for the Phils. Maybe too early for Mayberry and Nieves is the second catcher. Hernandez 295/326/341 against lefties in 46 plate appearances.

Brown singled to left off of Wright to start the eighth. Nix tried to bunt him to second, but popped it up to the pitcher for the first out. Asche struck out looking for the second out. Mayberry hit for De Fratus and homered to left. 6-2. Revere followed with a single into right and righty Brian Schlitter came in to pitch to Ruiz. Ruiz grounded to short to end the frame.

Mayberry gets to hit against the lefty with a runner on base anyway after not leading off the seventh for Diekman. Worked out well. Another big pinch-hit for Mayberry against a lefty after a pinch-hit double on Opening Day off of Pedro Figueroa. Brown singles against the lefty to start the inning, which allows him to score on the Mayberry homer.

Schlitter walked Howard with two outs in the ninth. Brown was next and doubled to the opposite field on a 3-2 pitch. Howard scored to make it 7-2. Nix grounded to short to end the frame.

Howard running on the 3-2 pitch with two outs helps him score on the Brown double.

Revere 3-for-5 with three singles and a stolen base.

Ruiz 1-for-2 and walked twice.

Utley 2-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBI.

Byrd 0-for-5.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk.

Brown 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI.

Nix 0-for-5, struck out three times and left four men on base.

Asche 0-for-4 and struck out twice.

Cliff Lee (1-0, 14.40) faces righty Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00) Saturday afternoon in game two of the set. Lee allowed eight runs in five innings against the Rangers in his first outing. Samardzija threw seven shutout innings against the Pirates in his first start.


2014 Start Log is up

The 2014 Start Log is up.

Highlights so far include:

  • Phillies are 0-2 when they get a Quality Start. In 2013 the Phillies were awful and went 57-34 in their Quality Starts. In 2012 they were .500 and went 62-37 when they got a Quality Start.
  • The bullpen has an 8.22 ERA and a 2.35 ratio, including a 20.25 ERA and 4.50 ratio on days when Kendrick pitches and a 7.71 ERA and 2.57 ratio on days when Burnett pitches.
  • The bullpen is on pace to walk 432 in 414 innings for the season. That might not even happen. If it does, you will have stopped watching the games six weeks ago by the time the season ends.
  • If the Phillies play the rest of their games at their current Pythagorean Winning Percentage, they will finish the year 89-73. Again, that might not even happen.

You can view the Start Log for 2013 here.


At least he wasn’t making his Major League debut

Baby steps. Maybe soon they can get down to two errors a game and go from there.

The Phillies got fantastic starting pitching for the second straight game last night, but Jonathan Papelbon allowed three in the bottom of the ninth and Texas topped the Phils 4-3.

Kendrick and Burnett combined to allowed two runs in 13 innings over the last two games (1.38 ERA with a 1.15 ratio) and the Phillies lost both games. They led each of the games after six innings.

In those games, the bullpen allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings (12.27 ERA and a 3.27 ratio). For the year, Phillie relievers have allowed eight walks in 7 2/3 innings. Five of the guys in their pen (Papelbon, Hollands, Diekman, Bastardo and Rosenberg) have each appeared twice. All of them except for Bastardo have been awful. The other two, Brad Lincoln and Justin De Fratus, have yet to appear.

The Phillies made three errors in last night’s game. In game two of the set, they made three major base-running mistakes.

After scoring 14 runs on Opening Day, they’ve scored five in the last two days, losing both games by one run in walkoff fashion.

The Phillies are 1-2 on the year after losing 4-3 to the Texas Rangers last night. Texas takes the three-game set two games to one.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple. He struck out four.

He allowed back-to-back singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus to start the bottom of the first with the Phillies up 1-0. A throwing error by Brown allowed Andrus to take second, leaving Texas with nobody out and men on second and third. Kendrick miraculously kept them off the board, however. He struck lefty Prince Fielder out swinging for the first out. Adrian Beltre was next and hit a ball that Kendrick didn’t handle for another error. Choo tried to score from third, but was tagged out after a long rundown. Two outs and Andrus on third for Alex Rios. Rios flew to center to set the Rangers down.

Ugly inning for the Phils. They allow two hits and make two errors. Lucky to keep the Rangers from scoring. Brown fails to excel defensively in the early going of his first start in left.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 second, striking out J.P. Arencibia for the second out. Up 3-0, he stuck Choo out swinging in a 1-2-3 third.

Kendrick walked Fielder to start the fourth and gave up a one-out single to Rios, putting men on first and second for Mitch Moreland. Moreland grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Kendrick set the Rangers down in order in the fifth. Choo reached on a Jayson Nix error to start the sixth, but Kendrick got the next three.

Moreland tripled to center with one out in the seventh and scored on a two-out single by Leonys Martin. Righty Michael Choice hit for righty Josh Wilson and Kendrick got Choice on a fly ball to right for the third out.

Just a fantastic outing for Kendrick. He goes seven innings and allows one run, working around three errors against a strong Texas offense. From the second through the sixth he allowed one single and one walk.

Mario Hollands looked great throwing a 1-2-3 eighth, getting Choo, Andrus and Fielder on a popup and two ground balls.

Hollands was working for the second straight day after an ugly outing in his debut in game two of the set.

Papelbon started the ninth up 3-1. Beltre led off with a single and took third on a Moreland double with one out. Lefty Jim Adduci hit for the righty Arencibia and singled softly to third. Beltre scored. 3-2 with men on first and third and one down. Martin was next and singled up the middle. 3-3 with men on the corners. Martin took second on defensive indifference before Donnie Murphy walked to load the bases for Choo. Papelbon got ahead of Choo 1-2, but walked him on a 3-2 pitch that wasn’t very close, forcing Adduci in to give Texas a 4-3 win.

Seven hitters for Papelbon in the game. He gets one out and allows four hits, three singles and a double, and walks two. He apparently didn’t care a lot for where the middle infielders were playing on the Martin single. Isn’t going to second-guess anyone, though, obviously. Sounds like a good plan.

Papelbon was really good last year. Seems likely to be really again this year. He has a ridiculous contract, but that’s not his fault. Didn’t have a good night last night.

The pen goes 1 1/3 innings in the game, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks. Hollands has pitched for two days in a row and threw ten pitches in the game. Papelbon 21.

The Phillie lineup against lefty Robbie Ross went (1) Ben Revere (2) Carlos Ruiz (3) Chase Utley (4) Ryan Howard (5) Marlon Byrd (6) Domonic Brown (7) John Mayberry (8) Cody Asche (9) Jayson Nix. The All-Star left fielder Brown finally makes a start in left. Ruiz hits second against the lefty. Mayberry at first with Howard DHing. Rollins away for the birth of a child with Nix at short. Asche at third against the lefty. Mayberry at first against the lefty with Howard DHing is my favorite part about this lineup. Brown and Asche on the field against a lefty is my second favorite part. Don’t know why you would hit Howard fourth against the lefty Perez and fifth against the lefty Ross the next day, but I’m not sure how much it matters, either.

The Phils jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a Ruiz double followed by an Utley single. Howard and Byrd both struck out looking behind Utley.

Mayberry and Asche singled back-to-back with one out in the second, but Nix grounded into a double-play.

Asche singles to left off the lefty. It looked a little like a ground ball to where you would expect the third baseman to be, but he’ll take it. Second time in three games that Asche got a hit into left field by hitting a ball where you would usually expect a third baseman.

Ruiz walked with one out in the third and took second on a wild pitch before Howard hit a 1-1 pitch out to center. 3-0. Byrd grounded to short for the third out.

Howard homers against the lefty. 2-for-9 (.222) against lefties so far with a double and a home run. Five strikeouts. OPSing .973 overall.

Mayberry walked with one out in the fourth and Nix reached on catcher’s interference with two outs. Revere grounded to third to set the Phillies down.

Ruiz singled to start the fifth and took second on a two-out single by Byrd. Brown grounded to short to end the frame.

Second straight inning the Phils put their leadoff man aboard and do not score.

Nix singled to right off of righty Shawn Tolleson with two outs in the sixth. Tolleson got Revere on a ground ball to second for the third out.

Revere went 0-for-5 with three men left on base in the game.

Lefty Pedro Figueroa walked Utley with one out in the seventh. Howard lined to first with Utley doubled-off to set the Phils down.

It was 3-1 when the Phillies hit in the eighth. Brown singled to right off of righty Seth Rosin with one out and took second on a passed ball before Mayberry grounded out to third. Asche flew to right to end the frame.

Rosin set Nix, Revere and Ruiz down in order in the ninth.

Revere 0-for-5 in the game. 3-for-14 (.214) with three singles in the three-game set.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. 3-for-11 (.273) with a double and three walks in the series.

Utley 1-for-3 with a walk last night and 5-for-13 (.385) with a double and a walk in the series.

Howard 1-for-4 with a two-run homer off the lefty Ross. Struck out twice. 4-for-13 (.308) with a double, a home run, one walk and seven strikeouts in the set. That’s a great series for Howard and he can strike out as much as he wants if he’s going to OPS .973.

Byrd 1-for-4 in the game and 5-for-13 (.385) with a walk and a home run in the series. Made a remarkable diving catch in game two to start a double-play.

Brown 1-for-4 with an error and two strikeouts. Is not yet the best defensive outfielder in the game. 2-for-10 (.200) with two singles in the set.

Mayberry 1-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-8 with a double and two walks in the series. 500/600/750 in four plate appearances against lefties and 0-for-4 with a walk against righties. Hit against lefties. Don’t play center field. Repeat.

Asche 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 4-for-8 (.500) with a walk, a double and a home run in the series. 500/556/1000. But can he maintain that pace over 162 games? Time will tell. Only lost one of three starts in the set to Jayson Nix.

Nix 1-for-3 with a single and an error. Has started 66.7% of the Phillie games this season. 2-for-7 (.286) with two singles.

The Phils are off today and face the Cubs in Chicago tomorrow afternoon.


Dutch treat, but not for the Phillies

Mario Hollands made his major league debut last night at what seemed like a bit of a weird time, entering in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game to face Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder. Didn’t work out so well for the Phils as Choo and Fielder both walked. Choo scored from second on a walkoff single from Adrian Beltre off of B.J. Rosenberg to give the Rangers a 3-2 win.

It wasn’t the only odd choice by the Phillies in the game. Facing their first lefty of the year, they put lefties Domonic Brown and Cody Asche on the bench and Cesar Hernandez and Jayson Nix in their lineup.

Nix and Hernandez were fine in the game, better than fine, actually, going 3-for-7 with a double between them. What wasn’t fine was the Phillies base-running, which saw them picked off of second, doubled off of first and caught stealing in a game where they scored two runs and lost by one.

The bullpen has walked six in 6 2/3 innings over the first two games. The Hollands walk to Choo to start the ninth last night helped put Choo in position to score from second when Beltre singled. Papelbon and Bastardo have been good pitching in relief in the early going — the other three relievers that have appeared, Diekman, Hollands and Rosenberg, have combined to allow four runs on six hits and five walks over three innings (12.00 ERA and a 3.67 ratio).

The Phillies are 1-1 on the season after falling 3-2 to the Texas Rangers last night. The teams have split the first two games of the three-game set.

A.J. Burnett got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on seven hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out three.

He allowed a leadoff single to Shin-Soo Choo in the bottom of the first. Choo was on the move when Elvis Andrus grounded to third, which allowed Choo to move up to second. Prince Fielder flew to center for the second out before Choo took third on a wild pitch. Adrian Beltre drew a walk, putting men on the corners with two down, but Burnett got Rios on a fly ball to center to leave both men stranded.

Wild pitch for Burnett in the frame. He’s been in the top ten in his league for six straight seasons and is the active MLB leader in wild pitches. Led the AL in wild pitches in 2011 with 25 and also in 2009 with 17.

Burnett walked Leonys Martin with two outs in the second. Robinson Chirinos grounded to third to end the inning.

He hit Choo with his first pitch in the third. Choo moved up to second when Andrus followed with a single to center, but Burnett got the next three to keep Texas off the board. Hernandez made a nice sliding play on a line drive hit by Rios of the third out.

Burnett has been in the top ten in his league in hit batters in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. He hit 19 batters in 2010, which lead the AL that year.

Donnie Murphy reached on a softly hit infield single to third with one out in the fourth. Burnett got Martin and Chirinos behind him to set Texas down.

Fielder doubled to right with two outs in the fifth. Burnett got Beltre on a ball hit hard to center for the third out.

The Phillies led 2-0 when Burnett started the sixth. Rios led off with a double to right and scored when Mitch Moreland followed with a single to right. 2-1. Murphy was next and lined a ball to right, but Byrd made a nice diving catch and doubled Moreland off of first. Martin followed with a single and stole second before Chirinos grounded to third for the third out.

Fantastic play by Byrd helps hold the Rangers to a run. Big difference between two outs and nobody on and nobody out and men on first and third.

Diekman started the seventh having thrown 23 pitches the day before. Choo led off with a single and Andrus bunted him to second with the first out. Fielder was next and grounded to short for the second out with Choo moving up to third. Beltre was next and lined an 0-1 pitch into the right-field corner, scoring Choo. 2-2. Diekman walked Rios intentionally and righty Michael Choice hit for the lefty Moreland. Choice struck out looking to end the inning.

Two appearances, two bad results for Diekman. Pitched a brilliant sixth in game one, but came back for the seventh and faced righties Beltre and Rios, both of who reached base and later scored. The righty Beltre delivered the big blow against him in last night’s game.

Bastardo struck out Murphy and Chirinos in a 1-2-3 eighth. He was also pitching for the second straight day after 24 pitches on Monday.

25-year-old lefty Mario Hollands made his debut in the ninth. Choo led off and walked on four pitches. Andrus bunted him to second again with the first out. Fielder was next and the lefty drew a walk. Rosenberg came in to pitch to the righty Beltre lined a 1-1 pitch into right-center for a single, scoring Choo to give the Rangers a 3-2 win.

You probably would prefer to have a lefty there, but pitching to Choo, Elvis Andrus, and Prince Fielder isn’t really where Hollands would ideally make his first appearance. Came in to pitch to lefties and allowed both of them, Choo and Fielder, to walk. Got one guy out, the righty Andrus, who was trying to make an out.

Second awful outing for Rosenberg in two days as he faces one hitter and gives up the game-winner. Still hasn’t been charged with a run, but has allowed three hits and a walk so far while getting two outs.

The pen went 2 1/3 innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. They’ve walked six batters in 6 2/3 innings so far for the year. That’s too many and will make you lose.

Diekman, Bastardo and Rosenberg have all pitched two days in a row. Diekman threw 16 pitches last night, Bastardo 14 and Rosenberg three. Hollands has pitched one day in a row and threw 14 pitches last night.

The Phillie lineup against lefty Martin Perez went (1) Ben Revere (2) Jimmy Rollins (3) Chase Utley (4) Marlon Byrd (5) Ryan Howard (6) Carlos Ruiz (7) John Mayberry (8) Jayson Nix (9) Cesar Hernandez. That’s just terrible. Utley at DH with Hernandez at second. Nix at third with the lefty Asche on the bench and Nix at third. Mayberry in left with Brown on the bench against the lefty — glad to see Mayberry in the lineup, but that’s not the answer. Howard again plays defense in a DH game and hit fifth with Byrd cleanup.

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

Byrd started the second with a single, but the Phillies went in order behind him.

Nix singled to start the third, but was caught stealing by a wide margin when Hernandez swung through a pitch on a hit-and-run. Hernandez singled, but Revere and Rollins both struck out behind him.

The caught stealing ahead of the Hernandez single costs the Phils in the frame.

The Phils went in order in the fourth. Ruiz led off the fifth and reached on an error by Beltre at third. Mayberry followed and lined to Murphy at second with Ruiz doubled off of first. Nix struck out looking for the third out.

Not good base-running by Ruiz. Second time in three innings the Phils give away an out on the bases. They can’t afford to do that given that they had four base-runners on three singles and an error through five innings.

Hernandez led of the sixth with a double. Revere followed and bunted, safely reaching first as Hernandez moved up to third. Rollins followed with a single into center, scoring Hernandez (1-0), and moving Revere up to second. Utley flew to center for the first out before Revere was picked off of second for the second. Byrd followed with a single to center, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard doubled to right, scoring Rollins (2-0) and moving Byrd up to third. Righty Jason Frasor came in to pitch to Ruiz and Ruiz grounded to short to end the frame.

Revere getting picked off of second in a close, reply aided play is the third out the Phillies gave away on the bases in four innings. Cost them at least one run in a game where they scored two. Byrd also fails to score from first on the two-out double by Howard.

The lead was cut to 2-1 when Frasor set the Phillies down in order in the seventh.

It was 2-2 when the Phillies faced lefty Neal Cotts in the eighth. Utley singled to right with two outs and took second on a wild pitch. The lefty Cotts walked the righty Byrd intentionally, but Howard struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Big at-bat for Howard against a lefty late in a tie game. Didn’t end well. Byrd walked intentionally in front of Howard.

Righty Joakim Soria set the Phillies down in order in the top of the ninth. Brown hit for Mayberry and popped to short for the second out.

Revere 0-for-3 and struck out twice. Got picked off of second ahead of what would have been an RBI-single by Byrd. 3-for-9 with three singles so far.

Rollins 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. 2-for-10 with five RBI.

Utley 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 4-for-10 with a double so far.

Byrd 2-for-3 with a walk. Made a fantastic diving catch to start a double-play in the sixth that allowed the Phils to hold Texas to a single run in the frame. Should have had an RBI with the single after Revere was picked off. 4-for-9 with a walk and a home run on the year. Looks really irritated and a little shocked on the field when things don’t go well for the Phillies. I assume he’ll get used to it.

Howard 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Struck out twice. Five strikeouts in nine at-bats, but a big hit last night and a 333/400/444 line so far.

Ruiz 0-for-4 and left three men on base. Got doubled-off of first in one of several base-running blunders for the Phils. 1-for-7 with two walks so far.

Mayberry 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 1-for-5 with a double and a walk. Excellent job by the Phillies of not playing him in center field.

Nix 1-for-4 and struck out twice. Got caught stealing on the missed hit-and-run by Hernandez. He’s a career .219 hitter with a 245/321/408 line against lefties.

Hernandez 2-for-3 with a double. Made a nice play on a Rios line drive to end the third. Excellent job by the Phillies of not playing him in center field.

Kendrick faces lefty Robbie Ross tonight. We’ll see who plays — let’s hope it doesn’t involve Nix and Hernandez.


The highway is alive tonight, but nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes

Sittin’ down here in the campfire light, searchin’ for the ghost of like six different people, including, surprisingly, Cliff Lee.

The Phillies exploded for 14 Opening Day runs yesterday afternoon, topping the Rangers 14-10. The Phils jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with the help of a second-inning grand slam from Jimmy Rollins, but Texas stormed back with eight runs charged to Lee over his five innings.

The Phillie offense kept pounding away, though, bashing out 17 hits, including six for extra-bases. Rollins, Byrd and Asche all hit home runs in the game. Utley, Asche and Revere all had three hits. John Mayberry came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit, two-run double in the fifth.

The Phils hit 13 home runs in their final 26 games in 2013.

The bullpen was actually a little better than you might think for a team that allowed ten runs. Lee obviously wasn’t at his best, allowing eight runs, but Bastardo and Papelbon were very solid at the back of the pen in the game, combining to throw 2 1/3 scoreless frames in which they allowed one base-runner. Diekman was fantastic in the sixth, but came back to start the seventh and allowed both of the hitters he faced to reach base. Rosenberg tried to bail him out, but didn’t have much success, allowing three of the four hitters he faced to reach as Texas scored twice.

The Phillies are 1-0 on the year after beating the Texas Rangers 14-10 yesterday afternoon.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing eight runs on 11 hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a three-run homer. After striking out 26 in 24 2/3 innings in Spring Training, he struck out just one.

Opponents are hitting .423 against Lee after one start. He didn’t allow 11 or more hits in any of his 31 starts in 2013 and allowed more than nine once (April 25 he allowed ten hits to the Pirates).

Lee set the Rangers down in order in the bottom of the first.

He started the second up 6-0. Adrian Beltre led off with a double to left and held second when Alex Rios reached on an infield single. Mitch Moreland flew to center for the first out before J.P. Arencibia drew a walk that loaded the bases for Leonys Martin. Martin singled to right and everyone moved up a base. 6-1 with the bases still loaded for Josh Wilson. Wilson doubled to left, clearing the bases. 6-4. Shin-Soo Choo grounded to second for the second out with Wilson moving up to third. Elvis Andrus flew to right to leave Wilson stranded.

Four runs in the frame for the Rangers on two doubles, two singles and a walk. All to righties except the single by the lefty Martin. Righty Josh Wilson delivers the big hit of the frame, a two-run double. The righty Beltre doubles off of Lee to get things started. Lee was ahead of Arencibia 0-2 but couldn’t put him away as Arencibia worked a seven-pitch walk ahead of the Martin single.

Prince Fielder and Beltre singled back-to-back to start the third, putting men on first and second for Rios. Rios hit a 1-0 pitch out to left-center, putting Texas up 7-6. Lee got the next three hitters in order with the help of a nice diving play by Revere in center on a ball hit by Arencibia for the second out.

The righty Rios delivers the second three-run swing in two innings for the Rangers.

It was 7-7 when Lee started the fourth. He allowed singles to Wilson and Andrus in the frame, but kept the Rangers off the board, getting Beltre on a ground ball to third to end the inning with two men on.

He started the fifth up 9-7. Arencibia doubled with two outs and scored when Martin followed with a single to center. 9-8. Wilson flew to center for the third out.

The Phillies led 13-8 when Diekman threw a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out Choo and Fielder.

The lefty Diekman impresses against the big Texas lefties, striking out Choo (left) looking and Fielder (left) swinging. Nice time for Sandberg to use Diekman and like the Mayberry move it worked out well for him.

Diekman came back for the seventh and things didn’t go as well. He faced Beltre and Rios, both righties, and they both reached on a Beltre walk and a Rios single. It left men on first and second with nobody out and Rosenberg came in to pitch to the right-handed pinch-hitter Michael Choice. Choice singled to center, loading the bases for Arencibia. Rosenberg got Arencibia to ground into a double-play, scoring Beltre from third (13-9) and leaving Rios at third with two down for Martin. Rosenberg walked Martin and the left-handed Jim Adduci hit for the righty Wilson. Adduci singled to left, scoring Rios (13-10) and moving Martin up to second. Bastardo took over to pitch to the lefty Choo and walked him, putting two men on for Andrus. Andrus grounded to Utley to end the inning.

After a fantastic sixth, Diekman faces two hitters in the frame and both reach base.

Rosenberg faces four hitters in the game, allowing two singles and a walk and getting the other, Arencibia, to ground into a double-play.

Bastardo faces two hitters in the frame, walking the lefty he was called on to get out before retiring the righty Andrus on a ground ball.

Bastrado set Fielder, Beltre and Rios down in order in the eighth with the Phils up 14-10.

Impressive frame for Bastardo against some good hitters. He gets four outs in the game. He got more than three outs in just five of his 48 appearances in 2013.

Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a four-run lead in the ninth.

Diekman and Bastardo both appear in two innings in the game. Diekman threw 23 pitches and didn’t have success coming back for the second frame. Bastardo threw 24 pitches and was great coming back for a second inning. Rosenberg wasn’t charged with a run in the game, but didn’t pitch well, throwing 12 pitches. Twelve pitches for Paplebon in his 1-2-3 frame.

Overall the pen went four innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. Three is too many to walk in four innings. Four is too many innings for the pen to pitch regularly. Diekman tries to go more than one inning after a great sixth and it doesn’t work. Rosenberg comes into the game with a 5.44 career ERA and struggles. Bastardo and Papelbon both pitch really well. You probably don’t want to see Papelbon pitching with a four-run lead too often, even with Thursday’s scheduled off-day. Ditto Bastardo going more than one inning.

The Phillie lineup against righty Tanner Scheppers went (1) Ben Revere (2) Jimmy Rollins (3) Chase Utley (4) Ryan Howard (5) Marlon Byrd (6) Domonic Brown (7) Carlos Ruiz (8) Cody Asche (9) Tony Gwynn, Jr. Brown at DH with Gwynn in left. The righty Byrd breaks up lefties Utley, Howard and Brown. Revere leads off with Rollins hitting second. Rollins last led off for the Phils on August 22, 2013. He hit somewhere other than leadoff for his last 140 PA in ’13. Revere was hitting leadoff for 192 of his 332 plate appearances in 2013, about 57.8%. He was in the leadoff spot on July 7, 2013, when he injured his ankle to end his season and had been for seven straight games. He entered the game with a career .313 on-base percentage while hitting first in the order over 773 plate appearances.

Brown at DH on Opening Day sure isn’t a sign the Phillies have a lot of confidence he has achieved his goal of being the best defensive outfielder in the game yet. Ryan Howard played defense for the Phils in the game — playing Howard defensively in a DH game is a poor idea.

Do you remember that the Phillies started John Mayberry and Erik Kratz on Opening Day in 2013? They did. Michael Young, too.

Revere, Rollins and Utley went in order in the top of the first.

The Phillies scored six times in the top of the second. Howard and Ruiz both drew walks while Brown and Byrd when down on a line out and a ground out. It left the Phils with two down and runners on first and second for Asche. Asche doubled to left on a 1-0 pitch, putting the Phils up 1-0 with men on second and third. Gwynn walked to load the bases for Revere. Revere singled into center with everyone moving up a base. 2-0 with the bases still loaded for Rollins. Rollins hit a 1-0 pitch out to right for a grand slam. 6-0. Utley grounded to second to end the frame.

Three walks in the frame. Howard, Ruiz and Gwynn. Rollins delivers the big blow on Opening Day after a ridiculous Spring Training in which he hit .173. Howard manages to score from second on a two-out double.

The lead was cut to 6-4 when the Phillies hit in the third. Howard and Bryd started the inning with back-to-back singles and moved up to second and third with Brown at the plate. Brown popped out to Beltre at third for the first out. Ruiz was next and hit a ground ball to short with Andrus coming home to get Howard for the second out. Asche grounded back to Scheppers to turn the Phils away.

No run for the Phils after putting men on second and third with nobody out. Brown pops out for the first out and Howard is thrown out at the plate on the ground out.

The Phillies trailed 7-6 when they hit in the fourth. Revere singled to left with one out and stole second before Rollins went down looking for the second out. Utley was next and singled to right on a ball deflected by Wilson at second, scoring Revere. 7-7. Howard moved Utley up to third with another single before Byrd popped to first to set the Phillies down.

Ruiz singled off of lefty Pedro Figueroa with one out in the fifth. Asche followed with a walk and Mayberry hit for the lefty Gwynn, lining a two-run double to center that put the Phils up 9-7. Revere and Rollins both flew out to leave Mayberry at second.

The lefty Asche draws a walk off of the lefty Figueroa. Great to see Mayberry hitting against lefties and he delivers the two-run double.

The lead was cut to 9-8 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Utley and Howard went down to start the frame before Byrd hit the first pitch he saw from Figueroa out to left, putting the Phils up 10-8. Brown followed and singled into center. He stole second before righty Alexi Ogando took over for Figueroa and walked Ruiz, putting men on first and second for Asche. Asche singled on a ball deflected by Ogando, allowing Brown to score (11-8) and moving Ruiz up to second. Mayberry followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Revere and Revere singled to center, scoring Ruiz and Asche (13-8) and leaving runners on the corners. Rolilns grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Mayberry gets on base again, this time walking against the rigthy Ogando. Byrd’s first homer with the Phils. Revere delivers a two-run single on a three-hit day.

Utley singled off of Ogando to start the seventh, but Howard, Byrd and Brown all struck out behind him.

It was 13-10 when the Phils hit in the top of the eighth. With one out, Asche homered to right off of righty Scott Tolleson. 14-10. Mayberry and Revere went down behind him.

Monster day for Asche as he goes 3-for-4 with a walk, a double and a home run.

Utley doubled to left off of righty Seth Rosin with one out in the ninth, but Howard and Byrd went down to leave him stranded.

Rangers giving a ton of room off the third base line to lefties and Asche and Utley both deliver doubles to left in the game.

Revere 3-for-6 with three singles, a stolen base and three RBI. Made a very nice diving catch in center to take a double away from Arencibia in the third.

Rollins 1-for-6 with a grand slam.

Utley 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI.

Howard 2-for-5 with a walk and two singles. Struck out three times. If he’s going to on-base .500, he can strike out as much as he wants. He’s not going to.

Byrd 2-for-6 with a home run. Left five men on base.

Brown 1-for-5 with a single and a stolen base.

Ruiz 1-for-3 and walked twice.

Asche 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and a walk. Two RBI. I’d watch what he does against left-handed pitching pretty closely in the early going — so far he’s 0-for-0 with a walk. He went 7-for-32 with a .265 on-base percentage against lefties last year.

Gwynn 0-for-1 with a walk. Hoping for the best, but he’s not really a guy you should be thrilled starting in left field for you on Opening Day. Came into the game having on-based .297 over his last 956 plate appearances.

Mayberry didn’t start, but had a big day. 1-for-2 with a walk, a double and two RBI. Sandberg picked a fantastic time to use him as a pinch-hitter, whether it worked or not. It worked.

A..J Burnett makes his first start as a Phillie tonight against lefty Martin Perez. Burnett has had two good years in a row and comes into the outing with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.23 ratio over his last 61 starts. The 22-year-old Perez made 20 starts for the Rangers in 2013, throwing to a 3.62 ERA and a 1.34 ratio. Lefties actually fared a little better than righties against the lefty Perez in 2013, posting a 282/349/410 line compared to 262/312/406 for righties.


A brillianter mind

Fantastic pitching today as the Phils and the Tigers squared off with Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander getting the starts. Detroit pitching was a little better and they won 1-0, putting an end to a three-game winning streak for the Phils.

Lee got the start for the Phillies, entering the game with a 2.75 and an 0.86 ratio. He went five innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk while striking out seven.

The Tigers scored a run in the top of the first one a one-out triple by Ian Kinsler that was followed by a two-out single by Victor Martinez. Lee followed that up with four scoreless frames.

After six starts, Lee has a 2.55 ERA and an 0.97 ratio. He’s struck out 26 in 24 2/3 innings.

Phillippe Aumont pitched the sixth and kept Detroit off the board. He allowed a two-out single to Torii Hunter, but Wil Nieves caught Hunter trying to steal second to end the inning.

Aumont drops his spring ERA to 2.77 with the scoreless frame. His ratio falls to 1.23. Opponents came into the game hitting just .205 against him, but he has a history of problems with walks and has walked seven in 13 innings. He also has just three strikeouts in his 13 frames — that’s just weird. He’s always walked people, he hasn’t always not struck them out. Whatever’s going on, the overall results are pretty good. I’d beware of the combination of huge walk rate and no strikeouts, though, cause his numbers are impressive cause he’s not giving up any hits and that could be a fluke. The no strikeouts could be a small sample size fluke, too. The reality that he walks way too many people is not.

Antonio Bastardo pitched a scoreless seventh, allowing a single to Tyler Collins and working around a Cesar Hernandez error at third.

Second error of the game for the Phillies. Ryan Howard was charged with a throwing error in the second, his third error of the spring.

Ryan Howard can never be allowed to throw. Domonic Brown can never be allowed to dive while efforting to catch a line drive. These things never work out the way you would hope them to. Everything else will take care of itself. Not saying the Phillies will win, mind you, but everything else will take care of itself.

Bastardo’s ERA is down to 1.86 and his ratio rises to 0.72 for allowing one hit plus walk in an inning. He’s struck out 12 and walked none in his 9 2/3 innings.

B.J. Rosenberg started the eighth and allowed the first two men he faced to reach base on a double and a single, but miraculously held Detroit off. With men on the corners and nobody out, Alex Gonzalez flew to left. Clete Thomas took it there for the first out. Jared Reeves, who had doubled to start the frame, tried to score from third, but Thomas threw him out at the plate for the second out. Rosenberg retired Ben Verlander on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Rosenberg drops his ERA to 3.65 and his ratio to 1.14 after 12 1/3 innings.

Nice throw by Thomas, who is hitting .211.

Jake Diekman struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth. He has a 5.19 ERA for the spring, but has pitched much better than that. 1.04 ratio with ten strikeouts and just one walk in 8 2/3 innings.

The Phillies had two hits in the game, singles by Nieves and Utley. Verlander went 6 1/3 for the Tigers, allowing a single and a walk while striking out seven.

Nieves is hitting .208 and Utley .182. Nieves might actually hit .208 during the regular season. If Utley hits .182 it’s going to be an even longer year than we think.

Marlon Byrd was 0-for-3 and struck out three times, dropping his average to .321.

Ben Revere is hitting .328 after going 0-for-3. Jimmy Rollins 0-for-2 to drop him to .174. Howard 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts. .246 with 24 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.

Cesar Hernandez started at third and went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Bobby Abreu went 0-for-3, striking out twice to drop his average to .244. Hernandez is at .257.

Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon with A.J. Burnett expected to pitch.


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