Tag: Aaron Cook

Orr Pete could homer and everyone could go home

The Phillies got great pitching yesterday and a late home run from Pete Orr, beating the Pirates 2-1.

Cook and Lopez combined to throw five scoreless innings for the Phils to start the game. Neither of them have much of a chance to start the year in the rotation for the Phils, but both of them have better results in official spring training games than anyone who actually is in the rotation with the exception of Hamels. Hamels got hammered in a game against the Dominican Republic that didn’t count towards official spring statistics.

Orr homered in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie. It was his only at-bat of the game. He’s 3-for-11 with two home runs so far this spring.

Utley had two hits. He was 2-for-4 with a double. 206/357/353.

Inciarte was 1-for-3 with a double. He also threw Brad Hawpe out trying to score from second on a single to end the top of the second. The double was the first extra-base hit of the spring for Inciarte. He’s 5-for-17 with a double and three walks (294/429/353).

Ruf and Howard both 1-for-3 with a single. Ruf’s line is up to 211/318/368, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to matter a ton if he’s not usable defensively.

Brown and Nix 0-for-3. Nix is hitting 219/265/313 in 32 official spring at-bats. Galvis 0-for-4 to drop his line to 283/313/500.

Aaron Cook got the start for the Phillies and went three shutout innings, allowing a single and a walk. After 11 innings, he has a 2.45 ERA with a 1.27 ratio.

Rodrigo Lopez followed Cook and threw two scoreless frames in which he allowed three hits and no walks. Lopez didn’t fare as well in the World Baseball Classic, but his numbers in official spring action are fantastic. Seven scoreless innings in which he’s allowed six hits and a walk (0.00 ERA with a 1.00 ratio).

Papelbon struck out Andrew McCutchen and Hawpe in a 1-2-3 sixth. That drops his ERA to 19.64. He has struck out seven in 3 2/3 innings, so we all might just want to try and calm down a little.

Aumont pitched the seventh and was charged with a run on one hit. He allowed a single to Neil Walker to start the frame and hit the next batter. Walker moved up to third on a fly ball and scored on a wild pitch.

Aumont has a 3.00 ERA but an impressive 0.67 ratio in three spring appearances.

Diekman pitched a scoreless eighth. He allowed back-to-back singles to the first two hitters he faced, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double-play.

Diekman has struck out 14 in nine innings over his seven appearances, but thrown to a 5.00 ERA with a 1.44 ratio. Opponents are hitting .314 against him.

Cesar Jimenez started the ninth with a one-run lead and got the save. He got the first two hitters before allowing a single and a double, which put men on second third for Felix Pie. Jimenez struck Pie out looking 0-2 to end the game.

Jimenez has allowed five hits in 2 2/3 innings over his three appearances, but has not been charged with a run. Opponents are hitting .385 against him.

Lannan is expected to start this afternoon as the Phils play the Rays.

The Phillies announced the Cole Hamels will start on Opening Day.

The Dominican Republic scored two runs in the top of the ninth to beat the US in the World Baseball Classic 3-1. Rollins was 0-for-4 and struck out twice. The US team faces Puerto Rico tonight in an elimination game.


Irregular season

Freeze frame, November, 2012. The Phillies shock the baseball world by naming you their new GM. Your job — add a starting center fielder, a starting third baseman, a starting corner outfielder, a top setup man and a fifth starter. Trade Vance Worley, Trevor May, Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla if you want, but make sure you take on less than $20 million in 2013 payroll.

Good luck.

If that’s your charge and you come back with Ben Revere, Michael Young, Delmon Young, John Lannan and Mike Adams, you’ve done your job.

Obviously Amaro had more flexibility than that, especially around who he traded. Keeping Worley would have made adding a fifth starter unnecessary. And some of the positions he filled from outside of the organization could have been filled from within. If the Phillies fail to play Domonic Brown just about every day to start 2013, they’re making a mistake. But they haven’t done that yet and, no matter what they say in January, I don’t think they will. And I don’t think that the off-season has been a disaster for the Phillies.

If there’s a disaster here, and despite how ugly 2012 was, I don’t think this is a disaster yet, it didn’t start this off-season. It started a couple of years ago and moves slow.

Success or failure for the 2013 Phillies is going to have a whole lot more to do with what Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee combine to produce for the $137ish million the Phils have committed to pay them than it will with what Delmon Young produces for the $750,000 they’ve committed to pay him. And a lot of what we saw in 2012 should make you worry about that group’s ability to produce $137 million worth of value in 2013.

You can pay all five of the new guys mentioned above this season with the $20 million the Phils have committed to Howard. With a couple of million left over. You can get most of the way there with the $13 million they’re going to pay Papelbon.

It’s a lotta eggs in a small number of baskets. There is no solution if those eggs can’t play anymore or simply have bad contracts — but it’s not Delmon Young’s fault, either. The choices are declare it’s over and rebuild or declare it’s not and do what you can with the limited flexibility that you have left. I’m glad they chose the later. This is what do what you can with the limited flexibility you have looks like.

Bottom line for me is that the Phillies may have made mistakes. Some of them are big mistakes. Maybe too big for the team to overcome in next few seasons. I’m a lot less sure they came this off-season, though.

Yesterday I updated my guess on who the hitters on the team are at this point. Earlier this month I made a guess on the pitching side. Here’s what I came up with then:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Horst (L)
12 R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)

Assuming 12 pitching spots to start the season, I gave the four open slots to Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus.

Not a whole lot has changed since January 9. The Phillies signed free agent righties Rodrigo Lopez, Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz and announced that righties Justin Friend and Kyle Simon would be invited to camp as NRIs, along with lefty Adam Morgan.

The list looks pretty much the same in my mind these days, with the exception of the addition of a few candidates:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Cruz (R)
12 A Cook (R)
R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

I still feel pretty good about the Horst and Aumont picks. That gets the Phillies to ten pitchers — five starters and five relievers, including two lefties in Bastardo and Horst.

I feel like there’s a chance that Cook can challenge Lannan for the fifth starter job. But I still think Lannan is the guy. Kendrick ended the season pitching really well out of the rotation, but I shake the feeling that the Phillies would be better off using him as a long reliever. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though, at least not to start the season.

Assuming Kendrick is in the rotation, there’s still an issue about long relief. The Phillies don’t have a long man in the ten guys I mentioned. Juan Cruz seems like he might get some consideration for that role. I’d guess the Phils think Rosenberg could give them more than one inning.

I still think the last two spots are pretty wide open. Valdes and De Fratus were the two relievers I picked last time. Valdes was fantastic for the Phillies in 2012 and De Fratus has put up outstanding numbers in the minors over the last few years.

Valdes would be the third lefty in the pen, though. And they still wouldn’t have a long man. Stutes is the other guy who seems like a legit candidate if he shows he’s healthy early in camp. He was solid for the Phillies in 2011 and got four or more outs in 14 of his 57 appearances.

Anyway, I’ll stick with Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus for the last four spots. That leaves the Phils with 12 pitchers — Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kendrick, Lannan, Papelbon, Adams, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont, De Fratus and Valdes. Still three lefties and still no long reliever. My top candidates among the guys not on that list would be Cruz, Rosenberg and Stutes.

This article suggests the Phillies have had the third-best off-season in the NL East.


Fans hold out hope that 2012 Halladay and maybe all of 2012 turn out not to have been real, either

And our outfield, too. Don’t forget that.

Moving down the blue band in the middle of the Start Log for 2012, you’ll find the section on quality starts. The biggest surprise from 2012 in that area is that Halladay made 25 starts for the Phillies in 2012 and only 15, 60%, were quality starts.

Here’s the percentage of starts that Halladay, Hamels, Lee and everybody else have made over the past three

2012 2011 2010
GS QS% GS QS% GS QS%
Halladay 25 60.0 32 78.1 25 75.8
Hamels 31 74.2 31 77.4 21 63.6
Lee 30 70.0 32 78.1 - -
Everyone else 76 52.6 67 50.7 96 50.1

So all three of Halladay, Hamels and Lee delivered quality starts in a lower percentage of outings in 2012 than they did in 2011. But Hamels and Lee were down a little and Halladay was down a lot. Over the last three seasons, the trio of Halladay, Hamels and Lee have combined to make a quality start in 72.5% of their outings. From 2012 to 2011, the percentage for that group dropped from 77.9% to 68.6%, thanks mostly to Halladay’s drop.

Notably, over the past three years, the percentage of quality starts delivered by pitchers other than Halladay, Hamels and Lee has had a very slender range, between 50.0% and 52.6%. Since 2010, the only pitcher to make quality starts in 60% or more of his starts in any year is Oswalt. Oswalt made quality starts in 60.9% of his 23 starts in 2011 and 75% (9 of 12) in 2010.

One final thought on quality starts and Vance Worley. Whether it was due to his enormously high BABIP or not, Worley was worse in 2012 than he was in 2011. His walk and home run rates stayed about the same while his hit rate skyrocketed and his ERA went from 3.01 in 2011 to 4.20 in 2012. In 2012, the Phillies went 9-14 in the games that Worley started. In 2011, they were 16-5. But for the two years, the percentage of Worley’s starts that were quality starts stayed the about the same — 56.5% in 2012 and 57.1% in 2011.

The Phillies and 33-year-old righty Aaron Cook apparently have a deal and Cook will try to make the team as a NRI. Cook has been awful over the last three years, throwing to a 5.54 ERA in 318 2/3 innings with the Rockies and Red Sox. Prior to 2010, Cook had had four straight years in which he threw at least 150 innings with an ERA+ better than 110.

This article reminds that Ryan Vogelsong was with the Phillies in spring training in 2010. He made two official spring training appearances, allowing six runs in three innings. Didn’t make the team. Went to Triple-A and threw to a 4.91 ERA in 25 appearances and was released in July. Was picked up by the Giants in time to make 61 appearances between 2011 and 2012, 59 starts, in which he threw to a 3.05 ERA with a 1.24 ratio. In 2011 he was an All-Star and finished eleventh in NL Cy Young voting.


I mean, what the hell?

My favorite Charlie Manuel quote is, and will probably always be, “We need to be more focused or something.” A strong second, though, is “I mean, what the hell?” That one finds its way into print regularly, and with it Manuel usually manages to perfectly capture his combination of anger and frustration with his team, a player or a situation.

Yesterday Charlie Manuel used his game three starter and his game four starter in game two of the five-game series with the Rockies. Only one of them got hurt, but it still wasn’t the way things are traditionally done. The Phillies lost the game, so Manuel owns that one now as the Phils head to Colorado needing to win at least one of two if they want to keep their season alive.

The Phils lost game two the NLDS yesterday, falling 5-4. Carlos Gonzalez and his speed helped create a run for Colorado in the first and Yorvit Torrealba blasted a two-run homer off of Hamels in the fourth to make it 3-0. A single by Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook sparked another rally in the fifth as the lead was extended to 4-0. The Phils came back with three runs in the sixth to get within one, but a leadoff double by Ryan Spilborghs led to another Colorado run to make it 5-3. The Phils got a late solo blast from Werth to cut the lead to 5-4, but that was how it ended.

Yesterday will also be remembered because Phillies starter Cole Hamels’ wife Heidi went into labor during the game. This article suggests that Hamels did not receive that news until he was done pitching for the day.

The Phillies and Rockies are tied at one game apiece in their five-game NLDS. Game three is Saturday night in Colorado.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

He faced a Rockies lineup that went (1) Gonzalez (LF/L) (2) Fowler (CF/S) (3) Helton (1B/L) (4) Tulowitzki (SS/R) (5) Atkins (3B/R) (6) Torrealba (C/R) (7) Spilborghs (RF/L) (8) Barmes (2B/R). The righty Atkins stays in the lineup with the lefty Stewart on the bench. Gonzalez and Fowler switch places at the top of the order. The righty Spilborghs starts in right with the lefty Hawpe on the bench. Iannetta was on the bench again despite his 296/406/580 line against lefties on the season. Torrealba hit 220/288/322 against lefties for the year.

The Rockies had lefties Jason Giambi, Ian Stewart, Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith on the bench to start the game, along with righty and Chris Iannetta and switch-hitter Eric Young.

Gonzalez led off the game for the Rockies. Hamels didn’t get the call on a close 1-2 pitch that looked good to me. Gonzalez singled into right on a 3-2 pitch. Fowler was next and Hamels had Gonzalez picked off first as Gonzalez took off for second. Hamels threw to first and Howard had plenty of time, but double-clutched the throw and Gonzalez was safe at second. Fowler bunted an 0-1 pitch back to Hamels for the first out, moving Gonzalez to third. Helton hit a swinging bunt up the first base line on a 2-1 pitch. Hamels fielded and threw home, but Gonzalez was safe and Colorado led 1-0 with Helton safe at first. Hamels probably would have had Helton at first if he had gone there. Tulowitzki got behind 0-2 and then grounded into a double-play to end the inning, third to second to first.

More bad defense from Howard early in the game after he threw a ball away early in game one. Howard was fantastic defensively early in the season, but his fielding tailed off towards the end of the season. In game one he threw a ball away and yesterday the Phillies should have had Gonzalez at second, which would have saved them a run.

Sixteen pitches in the first inning for Hamels.

Atkins lined softly to Howard to start the second inning. Torrealba was next and he hit a ground ball in the hole between short and third. Rollins fielded, but Torrealba beat his throw to first for a single. Hamels struck Spilborghs out swinging 0-2 for the second out, and it brought Barmes to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Barmes struck out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Thirteen pitches in the inning for Hamels had him at 29 for the game.

Hamels struck Cook out on three pitches to start the top of the third. Gonzalez was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch past a diving Utley and into right field for his second single of the day. Fowler struck out looking 2-2 for the second out. With Hamels ahead of Helton 0-1, he again picked Gonzalez off as the runner took off for second. This time Howard delivered to second and Gonzalez was tagged out to set the Rockies down.

Thirteen pitches in the inning for Hamels. 42.

Helton was back at the dish to start the fourth and lined a 2-2 pitch into center. Tulowitzki popped a 1-2 pitch to Utley for the first out and Hamels struck out Atkins for the second. Torrealba was next, though, and he lined a 1-1 pitch out to left to put Colorado up 3-0. Spilborghs flew to left on an 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Long inning for Hamels. Twenty-four pitches had him at 66 for the game.

Barmes flew to center to for the first out of the fifth, but Cook was next and he blooped a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Gonzalez lined a double to right, sending Cook to third. It brought up Fowler with men on second and third and one down and Fowler hit a ball to the warning track in left. Ibanez took it for the second out, but it was deep enough for the runners to move up. 4-0 with two outs and Gonzalez on third. Helton popped to Rollins to leave Gonzalez stranded.

Seventeen pitches in the inning put Hamels at 83.

Blanton started the sixth after Dobbs hit for Hamels in the bottom of the fifth. He got Tulowitzki on a ground ball to third for the first out. Lefty Ian Stewart hit for the righty Atkins and Blanton struck him out swinging 2-2. Torrealba grounded to short for the third out.

Blanton was back to start the seventh, too, with the Phillies now down 4-3. Spilborghs was the first hitter to face him and he lofted a double to left that fell just in front of the sliding Ibanez. Barmes was next and he put down a bunt. Blanton fielded and tried to get Spilborghs at third, but Spilborghs was safe with Barmes safe at first. Lefty Seth Smith hit for the pitcher Jose Contreras and Happ came in to pitch to him. With the pitcher’s spot due to lead off the bottom of the inning, Cairo took over at third for Feliz as part of a double-switch. Happ wouldn’t be in the game long. Smith smashed a 2-1 pitch off his left leg, just below the knee. Spilborghs held third, but Barmes moved to second and Smith was safe at first with a single. Eyre came in to pitch to Gonzalez with the bases loaded and nobody out. He stuck out Gonzalez for the first out and stayed on to pitch to the switch-hitter Fowler. Fowler hit a fly ball to right deep enough to score Spilborghs and extend the Rockies lead to 5-3. Eyre then got Helton on a pop to shortstop to end the inning and leave two men stranded.

Fowler is much better against lefties, but Manuel leaves Eyre in to face him anyway and Fowler delivers the RBI that proves to be the game-winner. Lots of lefties left to face in the game, though, including Helton right behind Fowler. I think an interesting question is whether Manuel would have brought in a righty to pitch to Fowler if Happ had been able to stay in the game and got Gonzalez like Eyre did. He then could have brought Eyre in to face Helton. I think he probably wouldn’t have and kept Happ in to pitch to Fowler as well, given they still had more than two innings to play.

Second time in the game the Phillies pitcher tries to get an out at a base other than first and it doesn’t work. Hamels tried to get Gonzalez at home on Helton’s dribbler up the first base line and that didn’t work either.

Myers started the eighth with the Phils still down by two. He hit the leadoff man Tulowitzki and walked Stewart behind him. Torrealba bunted the runners to second and third for the first out before Myers walked Spilborghs intentionally to set up the double-play. Barmes hit an 0-1 pitch to third. It might have been a double-play, but Cairo had to come home and did. Tulowitzki was forced for the second out with the bases still loaded. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle. Bastardo came in to pitch to Giambi and struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave the bases loaded.

Huge out by Bastardo. Myers didn’t pitch well.

Madson came in to pitch the ninth with the Phils down 5-4. He got Gonzalez to pop to short and then struck out Fowler and Helton.

Madson looked fantastic, setting down two of the Rockies’ lefties.

The Phillies lineup against righty Aaron Cook went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with a five-man bench that included righties Francisco and Cairo and lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with the Phillies down 1-0. He grounded an 0-1 pitch to second for the first out. Victorino was next and he got behind 0-2 before he singled to left. Utley hit a 1-1 pitch to second and Colorado nearly turned two, but Utley just beat Tulowitzki’s relay to keep the inning alive. Howard struck out looking to end the inning.

Werth led off the second and got ahead 3-0 before he flew to left for the first out. Ibanez dumped a 2-2 pitch into center in front of Fowler for a single, putting a man aboard for Feliz. Feliz struck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Cook struck Ruiz out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Hamels drew a five-pitch walk to start the third. Rollins hit an 0-1 pitch to first. Helton tagged the bag and threw to second where Hamels was tagged out to complete the double-play. Victorino was next and he reached on a single back up the middle off the glove of Barmes. Utley struck out looking 1-2 to leave Victorino stranded.

Cook had thrown 45 pitches through three innings.

Howard led off the fourth and singled to center on a 3-1 pitch to lead things off. Werth followed and hit into a double-play. Ibanez grounded softly to second for the third out. Down 4-0, Feliz grounded to short to start the fifth. Ruiz followed and drew a five-pitch walk and Dobbs hit for Hamels. Dobbs flew to right on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Rollins lined to short on the first pitch of his at-bat to end the inning.

Victorino led off the sixth and hit a ground ball back up the middle. Barmes got to it and fielded, but his throw to first was off the glove of Helton and Victorino took second on the throwing error by Barmes. Utley was next and lined a single to right, sending Victorino to third. Howard was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. The ball rolled to the wall, scoring Victorino to make it 4-1 and moving Utley to third. Righty Jose Contreras came on to pitch to Werth. With the infield back for the Rockies, Werth couldn’t put the ball in play and struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Colorado left the righty Contreras in to pitch to Ibanez and Ibanez smashed the first pitch he saw from Contreras into center for a two-run single. 4-3. Feliz got behind 0-2 and then blooped a ball behind second base that dropped for a hit, moving Ibanez to second. Ruiz again swung at the first pitch and grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Ruiz has had terrible results swinging at the first pitch in the series.

Righty Matt Belisle came in to protect the 5-3 Colorado lead in the seventh and set the Phils down in order. Cairo hit the ball well, but it was taken by Fowler for the first out. Rollins struck out swinging 1-2 and Victorino grounded to second.

Righty Rafael Betancourt started the eighth for Colorado. He got Utley and Howard on a pair of ground balls, but Werth connected on an 0-1 pitch and blasted it out to right-center to get the Phillies within one at 5-4. Lefty Franklin Morales came in to pitch to Ibanez. Ibanez hit his 1-1 pitch hard, but on the ground to Barmes to end the inning.

Betancourt gets through the lefties Utley and Howard and then gets hurt by the righty. Joe Beimel was presumably available after throwing just two pitches in game one, but doesn’t appear in the game for Colorado.

The lefty Morales was still on the mound to start the ninth, so Manuel announced the righty Francisco as his pinch-hitter. The Rockies called on their closer, righty Huston Street to pitch to Francisco. Francisco went down on a ground ball to third for the first out. Stairs hit for Ruiz next and drew a walk. Cliff Lee ran for him at first. Cairo came to the plate as the winning run, but flew to right for the second out. Rollins was next and he laced a 1-2 pitch into right for a single that moved Lee to second. Street got Victorino to line a 2-2 pitch to second to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game with a huge single in the ninth. 2-for-9 with two singles in the series.

Victorino was 3-for-5 in the game and is 4-for-9 with a double in the series.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a single in the game. 2-for-8 in the set.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 4-for-8 with two doubles in the first two games.

Werth 1-for-4 with a homer. 3-for-7 with a triple and a homer so far.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with two RBI. 4-for-8 with a double and four RBI.

Feliz 1-for-3 in the game and 3-for-7 in the series. Cairo was 0-for-2 in the game.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk. He hit into a critical double-play in the sixth. I implore him to stop swinging at the first pitch. He’s 1-for-5 with two walks in the series.

Stairs had a huge at-bat in the ninth and drew a walk to put the tying run on base.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the game.

Carlos Gonzalez is the guy who has done the most for the Rockies offensively. He’s 5-for-9 with a double in the series. Torrealba had a big home run in game two, he’s 3-for-6 with a double and a home run. Tulowitzki is the only other Rockie with more than one hit — he’s 2-for-7 with a double.

No game today. Game three is tomorrow night in Colorado and starts at 9:37. Game four is Sunday night and doesn’t start till 10:07. Fantastic.

One of Happ, Blanton or Martinez will start game three. Blanton threw 19 pitches in game two and Happ four. Happ says his leg will be okay. I think there’s close to no chance it’s Happ in game three.

In the article linked above, Manuel says that he used both Blanton and Happ in the game because he was trying to win. It didn’t happen, though, and it hurt the Phillies chances to win the series. I think it was a bad idea. I know he said he might do it for days before it happened. I didn’t believe him. I also don’t think there’s any chance that not knowing who is pitching game three is going to help Blanton or Martinez.

Happ had X-rays on his leg and says he’s okay. Probably a little less okay than he would have been if Seth Smith hadn’t smashed a line drive off his body, though, but I’m just guessing.

I think the Phillies should start Pedro tomorrow and Blanton in game four. My guess is they will, too, but I’m far from sure.

Martinez says he could throw 90 to 100 pitches in a start if he goes in game three. He threw 130 pitches against the Mets on September 13, really he did, and then threw 56 and 83 in his last two starts of the season.

This article considers the possibility that game three will be postponed due to weather.

Todd Zolecki’s Twitter page says that Heidi Hamels gave birth to a baby boy this morning at 9 AM.


Lee saves the best for first

The struggling Phillies rotation didn’t make a quality start in the last 12 games of the regular season, but it only took Cliff Lee 113 pitches in the first game of the irregular season to show just how little that matters. Making the first playoff start of his career, Lee threw a complete game as he led the Phillies to a 5-1 win in their NLDS opener against the Colorado Rockies.

Lee and Rockie starter Ubaldo Jimenez both put up zeroes for the first four innings of the game. In the best early scoring chance, Yorvit Torrealba led off the second with a double, but Werth gunned him down trying for third to end the inning and the threat after Clint Barmes flew to right for the second out. The Phillies finally got to Jimenez in the fifth. Werth started the inning with a walk that was followed by an Ibanez double as the Phils score twice in the inning. They followed it up with three more in the sixth as Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez blasted away and Jimenez was chased from the game. The Rockies scored a run against Lee in the ninth on a bloop single, a wild pitch and a ball laced to the gap in right-center by Tulowitzki.

The Phils were far from flawless in the game. They threw the ball away early and didn’t catch it early. They didn’t run the bases well, either, getting caught stealing, doubled off of third, and caught in rundowns. They wound up on third when they should have been home. They hit well enough, though, and Lee pitched well enough, to get them a win in the opener.

The Phillies lead the Rockies one game to none in the best-of-five series. Game two is this afternoon.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing a run on six hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

He faced a Rockies lineup that went (1) Fowler (CF/S) (2) Gonzalez (LF/L) (3) Helton (1B/L) (4) Tulowitzki (SS/R) (5) Atkins (3B/R) (6) Torrealba (C/R) (7) Hawpe (RF/L) (8) Barmes (2B/R). Lefties Hawpe and Gonzalez play the corner outfield positions. Righty Garrett Atkins starts at third with the lefty Stewart on the bench for the Rocks.

In addition to Stewart, the Rockies had lefties Jason Giambi and Seth Smith on the bench to start the game, along with righties Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta and switch-hitter Eric Young. Phils get a break from Phillie-killer Spilborghs and lefty-killer Iannetta.

Lee faced Fowler to start the first and Fowler swung at the first pitch of the game and popped it into right. The wind took the ball, but Werth took it for the first out. Gonzalez was next and he lined a 1-2 pitch from Lee into left for a single. Helton was next and Lee got ahead of him 1-2 as well before Helton hit a ground ball to first. Howard stepped on first for the second out and threw to second. Rollins couldn’t handle his throw to second, but it was backed up by Ibanez in left and Gonzalez held second. It brought up monster righty Troy Tulowitzki with first base open. Tulowitzki dribbled a 2-1 pitch past the mound for a single. Utley fielded and didn’t have a play at first, but threw to third where he might have had Gonzalez except that Feliz dropped the ball. Atkins was next and got ahead 2-0 before lofting a fly ball to shallow center. The wind took it and pushed it back, turning it into an adventure for Victorino, but the center fielder took it to end the inning and leave both men stranded.

Two misplays in the inning for the Phils without an error. Howard’s throw to second and Feliz dropping Utley’s throw. Also two balls hit in the air that were badly blown by the wind.

Seventeen pitches in the first for Lee.

Torrealba led off the second and ripped a 1-1 pitch down the line in left for a double off the glove of Feliz. Hawpe was next and Lee got ahead of him 0-2 before Hawpe flew to center on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Barmes followed and lofted a fly ball to right. Werth took it for the second out. With the pitcher due to hit next, Torrealba tagged and tried to go to third, but Werth threw him out on a close play to end the inning. Torrealba was safe and the Phillies just got the call, but it was a strong throw from Werth who caught the ball with awkward footing.

No run for the Rockies after the leadoff double.

Eight pitches for Lee had him at 25 through two innings.

Thanks to the out at third ending the top of the second, Lee got to face the pitcher Jimenez to start the third. Lee struck him out on four pitches for the first out. Fowler followed and worked the count full before lofting a ball down the third base line. Rollins took it after a long run for the second out. Gonzalez grounded an 0-1 pitch to Utley for the third out.

Fourteen pitches in the inning for Lee. Thirty-nine for the game.

Helton led off the fourth and grounded an 0-1 pitch to Utley for the first out. Tulo was swinging first pitch and skied a ball to center. Victorino had to dance around a little with the wind blowing hard, but took it for the second out. Lee struck Atkins out looking 3-2 to end the inning.

Eight in a row for Lee, who had thrown 48 pitches through four innings after a nine-pitch fourth.

Torrealba lined the first pitch of the fifth to center for the first out of the inning. Hawpe struck out trying to check his swing on a 1-2 curveball. Two down. Barmes flew softly to left to set the Rockies down.

Eleven in a row for Lee. Ten pitches in the inning and 58 for the game.

Lee started the sixth with a 2-0 lead and again set the Rockies down in order. Jimenez struck out, Fowler grounded an 0-2 pitch to short and Gonzalez flew softly to left on another 0-2 pitch.

Fourteen in a row. Eleven pitches in the inning and 69 in the game.

Lee led 5-0 when he started the seventh. Helton got ahead 3-0 to start the inning, but popped out to Rollins in foul territory on a 3-1 pitch for the first out. Tulowitzki popped to Howard in foul territory on a 2-1 pitch. Atkins got ahead in the count, too, but instead of fouling out he doubled the opposite way to break up Lee’s string of 16 set down in a row. Torrealba broke his bat grounding softly to second to set the Rockies down.

Big inning for Lee against the heart of the Colorado order.

Sixteen pitches in the inning for Lee. 85.

Hawpe grounded softly to the mound for the first out of the eighth. Barmes was next and grounded an 0-1 pitch softly to short for the second out. The righty Spilborghs hit for the pitcher Franklin Morales. He hit a 2-1 pitch down the third base line, but Feliz took it and made the long throw across the infield to end the frame.

Eleven pitches had Lee at 96 for the day.

Fowler flew to right on Lee’s first pitch of the ninth. Gonzalez was next and he fisted an 0-1 pitch into left for a single. Helton got behind 0-2 and then flew to left for the second out. With Tulowitzki at the plate, Gonzalez took second on a wild pitch by Lee. Tulowitzki lined a 3-2 pitch into right-center. Werth didn’t see the ball until late, but Gonzalez would have scored anyway. His run made it 5-1 with two outs and Tulowitzki on second. Lee struck Atkins out swinging 1-2 to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Ubaldo Jimenez went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). Werth hits fifth to break up the lefties Utley, Howard and Ibanez.

The Phillies started the game with a five-man bench that included righties Francisco and Cairo and lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako.

Rollins led off the first for the Phils and grounded a 1-0 pitch to Barmes at second for the first out. Victorino followed and flew to right on a 1-1 pitch for the second. Utley looked at a 2-2 pitch at the knees to set the Phillies down.

Howard started the second with the game still scoreless and went down looking at an 0-2 pitch for the first out. Werth was next and he became the Phillies first base-runner of the game, lining a single to left. Ibanez followed with the first post-season at-bat of his career, grounding a 1-2 pitch from Jimenez into a double-play.

Jimenez had thrown 20 pitches through two innings.

Feliz led off the bottom of the third and grounded a 2-1 pitch to third for the first out. Ruiz was swinging first pitch and grounded to short for the second out. Lee followed and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle for a single. With the count 0-2 on Rollins, Lee stole second as Jimenez delivered ball one. The Rockies picked Lee off of second then, but the Phillies got another call and gave Rollins one more chance. He struck out swinging at the next pitch.

The Lee single at least makes Jimenez throw some pitches after he needed just five pitches to get the first two outs of the inning.

Victorino lined an 0-1 pitch to right for the first out in the bottom of the fourth. Utley was next and he struck out looking 3-2 for the second out. Howard followed and lined a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Werth got behind in the count and Howard was caught trying to steal second to end the inning.

Jimenez had thrown 46 pitches through four innings.

Werth led off the fifth and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Ibanez got ahead 2-0 before he ripped a 3-1 pitch into the right field corner for a double. Werth scored from first and the Phils led 1-0. Feliz was next and he also got ahead 2-0 before chopping a soft ground ball to second. Barmes took it for the first out, but Ibanez went to third. Ruiz worked the count full and then dumped a ball into right field for a single. The ball got passed Hawpe, allowing Ruiz to take second on the error. Ibanez scored from third to make it 2-0. Lee was next and he didn’t bunt. Instead he hit a ball back to the mound and Jimenez caught Ruiz off of second, throwing first to Tulowitzki who threw to Atkins who tagged out Ruiz. It cost the Phils, cause Rollins followed with a single to right that moved Lee to second. Victorino got ahead 3-1 before flying to left to end the inning.

I would have liked to see Feliz do more with his at-bat. His out did move the runner to third, but the Phils had Jimenez on the ropes. Awful job by Ruiz on the bases and it cost the Phillies a run.

Long inning for Jimenez. Thirty-five pitches put him at 81 for the game.

Utley lined a single to right to start the sixth. Howard followed and blasted a 1-0 pitch to left. Gonzalez had a long run and probably should have made the play, but got turned around the wrong way and the ball went off his glove on the warning track as Gonzalez crashed into the wall. It went as a double and scored Utley to make it 3-0. Werth followed and blasted a 3-1 pitch high off the wall in left-center. It’s a home run on just about any other day, but this one went high off the wall and rolled a long way towards right field. Werth should have had an inside-the-park home run, but wasn’t running out of the box and had to settle for an RBI-triple. Howard scored and it was 4-0 with nobody out and a man on third. That was it for Jimenez, and lefty Joe Beimel came in to try to get the lefty Ibanez. Ibanez hit a 1-0 pitch into right for a single, driving in his second run in two at-bats as Werth scored from third. 5-0. Righty Matt Daley came in to pitch to Feliz and got Feliz on a fly ball to left for the first out of the inning. Ibanez moved to second on a wild pitch as the count went 1-2 on Ruiz. Ruiz came back to work a walk, putting men on first and second with one down for Lee. Lee was bunting this time, and he got down a good one on the first offering from Daley. It put men on second and third with two outs for Rollins. Rollins got ahead 2-0 and then hit a grounded to second. Barmes didn’t handle it cleanly, but recovered in time to get Rollins on a close play at first and end the inning with both runners stranded.

Tough decision to bring Jimenez back to start the top of the sixth against two lefties after he struggled badly in a long bottom of the fifth. Jimenez also led off the top of the sixth for Colorado. First round of the Ibanez, Utley and Howard against the lefties in the Colorado pen goes to the Phils.

Daley was back to start the seventh for the Rockies. Victorino led off and doubled to left. The other lefty in the Colorado pen, Franklin Morales, came in to pitch to Utley. Morales got Utley on a 2-2 popup that Atkins took in foul territory while fighting with the railing for the first out. Victorino stole third as Howard swung through strike one. Howard held up his check swing at 1-2 and then hammered the next pitch, but right at Helton. Helton caught it for the second out and threw to first where Victorino was doubled-off to end the inning.

There’s some more bad base-running for the Phils. Howard crushed the ball, but Victorino still can’t get doubled-off and needs to be close to the base since he’ll score without a problem if the ball makes it to the outfield.

Jason Marquis started the ninth inning for the Rockies. He got Werth and Ibanez on a pair of ground outs to start the inning before Feliz reached on an infield single. Ruiz again swung at the first pitch and grounded to second.

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a double.

Utley 1-for-4 and struck out twice.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Werth had a great game. 2-for-3 with a triple that should have been a home run, a big walk to start a rally and an RBI.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Feliz 1-for-4.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. In both of his plate appearances that he made outs he swung at the first pitch. In his other two he saw eight pitches in each — he walked and singled.

Lefty Cole Hamels faces righty Aaron Cook this afternoon in game two.

The 30-year-old Cook made 27 starts for the Rockies this season, throwing to a 4.16 ERA and a 1.41 ratio over 158 innings. He doesn’t walk righties, he walked just seven of them all season long. He does give up a lot of hits, though, 175 in 158 innings on the season. Opponents hit .284 against him and lefties and righties hit for about the same average — .285 for righties and .282 for lefties.

He comes into the post-season off of two good starts in which he combined to allow one run over 13 innings on eight hits and a walk (that’s an 0.69 ERA and an 0.69 ratio).

He made two starts against the Phils this year. On April 12 the Rockies gave him a four-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, but the Phillies came back to win the game 7-5 thanks to four late runs. Cook went six innings in the game, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. He also faced the Phils on August 6 in Philadelphia. This time he allowed three runs over five innings and the Phils won 3-1. Paul Bako hit a solo home run off of Cook in that game.

He has faced the Phillies a ton over his career. Feliz 7-for-30 (233/258/267), Howard 6-for-17 with a home run (353/389/706), Utley 8-for-21 (381/391/619), Rollins 11-for-29 (379/379/517). The Phils have generally hit him hard over his career, posting a 333/363/490 line against him. He’s appeared against them nine times, making eight starts. 5.85 ERA and a 1.59 ratio over 47 2/3 innings.

Hamels went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.29 ratio over 32 starts in 2009. He went into the All-Star break with an ugly 4.87 ERA, but threw to a 3.76 ERA and a 1.19 ratio in 15 starts after the break. He was also much better at home this year than away from Citizens Bank Park. 3.76 ERA and a 1.12 ratio at home and a 4.99 ERA and a 1.48 ratio away. Over his career he’s been way better at night than during the day. In ’09 he was 0-6 with a 5.44 ERA and a 1.56 ratio in nine day starts and 10-5 with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.19 ratio in his 23 night starts. For his career he has a 3.27 ERA and 1.09 ratio at night and a 4.66 ERA and a 1.39 ratio during the day.

Hamels started game one of the 2007 NLDS against the Rockies, which the Phillies lost 4-2. We’ll have to keep an eye on his shirt this time. The 25-year-old Hamels already has an outstanding post-season resume. In six playoff starts he’s 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA and an 0.94 ratio. He’s allowed 26 hits in 41 2/3 innings.

He faced the Rockies on April 10 of this year and got hammered. He was charged with seven runs on 11 hits and a walk and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Garrett Atkins connected for a two-run homer off of him in the game. The April 10 start was the only time in his career he’s faced the Rockies in the regular season.

He comes into the post-season not pitching well. Over his last three starts he’s gone 16 2/3 innings with a 7.02 ERA and a 1.51 ratio. All three of the starts have been bad.

Phillies win today. Hamels pitches well and the Phils hit Cook. Let’s hope I’m right, though, cause if they don’t it’s a big problem. The Rockies will have the momentum headed to Coors, where they are tough to beat.

The playoff start log is up to date. The Phillies have made quality starts in seven straight post-season games. All six of the starts that Hamels has made in the post-season for his career have been quality starts.

This suggests that Pedro, Happ and Blanton are all available to pitch today. I would be pretty surprised to see Blanton pitch, however.


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