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 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.
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.