Tag: Adam Eaton

The Hunter and the hunted

Last night’s game featured the last two MVPs of the league, a pair of fantastic pitching performances, a guy some people think has a shot to win the triple crown this season and a hill with a flag pole in it in the middle of center field. But Hunter Pence stole the show. The Astros’ young outfielder Pence pounded a pair of home runs, driving in two of the four runs the Astros would need to win the game. He added a brilliant, game-saving defensive play in right field with the Phillies threatening to tie the game with two outs in the ninth.

A lot of things made the difference in a one-run game for the Phils. Shane Victorino struck out with a man on third and one out in the eighth. Ryan Howard should have but didn’t make a defensive play at first in the seventh that would have prevented Houston to score their fourth run.

Utley and Howard combined to go 0-for-7 with a walk and left eight men on base.

The Phillies lost to the Houston Astros last night, falling 4-3 to drop to 27-23. The teams have split the first two games of the four-game set.

Adam Eaton got the start for the Phillies and was very good. He went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first and a 1-2-3 second.

Ty Wigginton doubled to start the third, but Eaton got the next three hitters on ground balls to turn Houston away.

Miguel Tejada singled with one out in the fourth, but Eaton got Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee on fly balls to end the inning.

Pence homered down the line in right to start the fifth, tying the game at 1-1. Wigginton followed with a single before Eaton got JR Towles on a fly ball to left for the first out. The pitcher Brandon Backe was next and he put down a bunt between the mound and first base that nobody fielded. Backe had a single and Wigginton moved to second. Bourn hit a ball hard to second, which was about the only way the Phils were going to get a double-play given his speed. They turned it nicely to end the inning.

Eaton walked Berkman with one out in the sixth, but got Lee to fly to left to end the inning.

Eaton started the seventh with the game still tied at 1-1. Pence led off and Eaton got behind him 3-0 before Pence absolutely crushed a ball out to left field, putting Houston up 2-1. Towles singled with one out in the inning and Backe bunted him to second for the second out. Bourn hit the first pitch of his at-bat under the glove of Howard at first and into right field. Towles scored to make it 3-1 and Bourn went to second on the throw home. Howard should have made the play at first to end the inning. Kaz Matsui grounded to second for the third out.

Madson pitched the eighth after throwing one pitch the night before. With one out, Berkman tripled into the right field corner. Lee followed with a fly ball to right deep enough to score Berkman and put Houston up 4-1. Pence struck out for the third out.

Critical run allowed by Madson in the eighth. It proved to be the difference in the game.

Very nice start for Eaton against a good-hitting team in a good place to hit. Madson threw 13 pitches.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Brandon Backe went (1) Rolllins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Victorino in center against the righty and he probably will be for a while. Werth hit the DL with his strained oblique and the Phils called up TJ Bohn. Jenkins in right and Ruiz behind the plate. The plan had apparently been to give Burrell two days off in a row with the Phils seeing two righties to start the series — if that was the plan it was scrapped, either because of the pinch-hit home run for Burrell on Thursday night or the injury to Werth.

Victorino singled with one out in the first, but Utley hit a line drive to second and Victorino was doubled off first to end the frame.

With one out in the second, Burrell hit the first pitch of his at-bat out to left to put the Phils up 1-0. Feliz drew a walk with two outs, but Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.

With one out in the third, Rollins and Victorino singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second with one out for Utley and Utley grounded to second, moving the runners to second and third with two down for Howard. Howard struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch.

More problems for the middle of the order as Utley and Howard can’t drive in a run after the Phils put men on first and second with one out.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

With the game still tied at 1-1 in the seventh, Burrell led off and ripped a ball ticketed for the left-field corner. Wigginton made a nice play at third to take a hit away from him. Jenkins and Feliz struck out to end the inning.

Down 3-1 in the eighth, Dobbs hit for Eaton with one out and doubled to center. Rollins moved him to third with a single and righty Doug Brocail came in to pitch to Victorino. Rollins stole second, but just barely. He looked out to me. Not a fan of running there — it does put the tying run in scoring position, but the Astros would have had a tough time doubling up Rollins and Victorino. Victorino struck out, which was a huge second out for Houston. Brocail got behind Utley 2-0 before he walked him intentionally to load the bases for Howard. Howard grounded the first pitch of his at-bat to first to turn the Phils away.

Backe exited with one out in the eighth, having held the Phils to a run on six hits while striking out six.

Again the middle of the order had a chance for the Phils and were turned away. Victorino’s strikeout with one out and a man on third hurt a lot. He’s been hitting well, it will be interesting to see if the temporary loss of the possibility of losing his job to Werth will change that.

Down 4-1 in the ninth, Burrell led of and hit a ball in to left-center. Bourn took a nutty angle and turned it into a double as he let it get passed him. Burrell stayed in the game to run for himself with the Phils down three. Jenkins grounded to short and Burrell moved to third. Feliz was next. He got behind 1-2 and then smashed a ball back through the middle off the head of the Astros’ closer Jose Valverde. The ball bounced passed Tejada and into left field as Valverde lay face down on the field. I’ve seen the replay several times and it’s still not clear to me if the ball hit Valverde’s body before it hit his head or not. It looked exceedingly ugly either way, but Valverde was amazingly able to continue to pitch. With Feliz on first and the Phils down 4-2 with one out, Valverde’s first pitch since taking a line drive off his head was a 96 mile an hour fastball passed Ruiz. Ruiz got down 1-2 before he singled into center. It put men on first and second with one down and Bruntlett ran for Ruiz at first. Coste hit for Madson and struck out trying to check his swing for the second out. Rollins got down 0-2 before he smashed a ball into right for a double, but Pence made a brilliant play, racing to cut the ball off before it got to the wall. Bruntlett had to hold third, which was unfortunate because Berkman didn’t handle the throw from Pence cleanly. Outstanding play by Pence in right, but I think Bruntlett has to at least try score from first on a double with two outs. Victorino flew to center to end the game.

Valverde’s antics on the mound make him a tough guy to root for if he’s not on your team, but I was just astounded that he was willing and able to continue after Feliz crushed a ball off his head.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a strikeout and left four men on base.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk and left three men on base.

Howard 0-for-4 with a strikeout and five men left on base. Another tough night for Howard and Utley.

Burrell was 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. He has hit the ball hard in the last two games after struggling most of the month.

Jenkins 0-for-4 and struck out twice. It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do in right field against a lefty with Werth out. My guess would be Taguchi or Bohn rather than Jenkins, but I’m hoping it’s Jenkins. We’ll see.

Feliz 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Ruiz 1-for-4.

Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76) faces righty Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76) tonight. Moehler has appeared in eight games for the Astros, three of which, his last three, have been starts. As a starter this year he’s 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA on the season but has yet to get an out in the sixth inning. He was exclusively a reliever in 2007, but in 2006 he appeared in 29 games, 21 of which were starts, and finished with a 6.57 ERA. Over his career the 36-year-old has made 192 starts, most of which came with the Tigers, and thrown to 4.81 ERA in those starts. Lefties are hitting .382 against him this season, righties .286. Myers allowed three runs in six innings his last time out, which was Monday against the Nats. The Phillies are 0-5 in the last five games he’s started. Righties are hitting .331 against him for the season, which is going to make it tough to be successful unless you pitch in an all-lefty league. He’s allowed 15 home run in 59 1/3 innings.


Antiques roadshow

Old pitchers have been the story of the first two games of the Phils’ series with the Diamondbacks. After 45-year-old Jamie Moyer bested young Max Scherzer in the first game of the set, 44-year-old Randy Johnson got the win last night as he outpitched Adam Eaton.

Not that outpitching Eaton was that remarkable a feat. Eaton again was hurt by the big inning, and for the second time in three starts didn’t get an out in the fifth inning. The lowlight was walking The Big Unit on four pitches with the bases loaded, but if lowlights are your thing the three-run bomb by Stephen Drew two batters later is highly recommended.

Ryan Howard started the game on the bench for the Phils against the lefty Johnson. After striking out in a pinch-hitting appearance Howard is hitting .168 on the year. He’s 1-for-his-last-16 with eight strikeouts.

The Phillies lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, falling 6-4 to drop to 19-15 on the season. The four-game series is tied at one game apiece.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing six runs on five hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out one.

In the first he got ahead of Chris Young 0-2 before Young ripped a double down the left field line. Stephen Drew grounded back to Eaton for the first out, with Young holding second. Eric Byrnes was next and he hit a chopper down the third base line. It went off the heel of Feliz’s glove and Feliz flipped to Eaton covering third to try and get Young at third, but the flip was wild and the ball rolled down the third base line towards home. Byrnes went to second on the flipping error by Feliz. Fourth error on the year for Feliz. Conor Jackson was next and he lined a single into left-center off the tip of the glove of a diving Bruntlett. Young scored to make it 1-0 and Byrnes went to third. Justin Upton followed with a ground ball back to the mound and Byrnes was caught between third and home in a rundown. Upton went to second on the rundown, so it put men on second and third for Mark Reynolds with two outs. Reynolds popped to short for the third out.

Eaton hit Augie Ojeda with a 1-2 pitch with one out in the second. Pitcher Randy Johnson couldn’t bunt him to second and struck out for the second out. Young grounded to third for the third out.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third.

He started the fourth with a 2-1 lead and everything went bad quickly. He walked Upton on five pitches to start the inning. Reynolds was next and hit a ball to deep right that went in and out of the glove of Werth for a double. Miguel Montero followed with a walk to load the bases. Ojeda flew to center for the first out and the runners had to hold. The pitcher Randy Johnson was next and Eaton walked him on four pitches, forcing in Upton to tie the game at 2-2. Young hit a ground ball to short and Johnson was forced at second for the first out as Reynolds scored. 3-2 with men on first and third for Drew. Drew hit a three-run homer to right-center. 6-2. Byrnes flew to right for the third out.

Eaton allowed three walks, a double and a home run in the inning.

Seanez threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth to drop his ERA on the year to 1.38. After walking eight hitters in his first nine innings on the season, he hasn’t walked a batter in his last four innings.

Gordon started the seventh and gave up a one out single to Drew. Flash threw away a pickoff attempt at first with Byrnes at the plate and Drew went to second. Drew moved to third when Byrnes grounded out for the second out. Jackson flew to right for the third out.

Chad Durbin started the eighth with Brad Harman playing third base after Howard hit for Feliz in the top of the inning. Upton led off with a single, but Durbin struck out Reynolds and Montero flew to left for the second out. With Ojeda at the plate, Upton was caught stealing to end the inning.

Durbin threw 17 pitches in his inning. Seanez needed just 16 to throw two. Gordon threw 13.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Randy Johnson went (1) Victorino (2) Bruntlett (3) Utley (4) Burrell (5) Werth (6) Feliz (8) Coste (8) Harman. Howard starts the game on the bench against the lefty. Utley plays first with Harman at second. Werth in right and Victorino in center. Coste catches.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

Feliz walked with two outs in the second and moved to second when Coste was hit by a pitch. Harman flew to center for the third out.

Eaton led off the third and hammered a 1-0 pitch into center for a double. Victorino put down a pretty bunt and it took a nice bare-handed play by Reynolds at third to get him at first. Eaton went to third, but it didn’t matter cause Bruntlett hit the first pitch he saw out to left to put the Phillies up 2-1. Johnson struck out Utley and Burrell to end the frame.

Werth singled to start the fourth. Feliz followed and looped a ball into shallow left-center, but Byrnes made a nice diving catch for the first out. Werth stole second with Coste at the plate and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Miguel Montero. Coste struck out and Harman flew to right, so the Phils couldn’t score after the Phils put a man on third with one out.

With one out in the fifth, Victorino walked and scored when Bruntlett ripped an 0-1 pitch into the right field corner for a double, cutting the Arizona lead to 6-3. Utley grounded to first and Burrell struck out swinging.

Werth started the sixth with a home run, making the score 6-4. Feliz was next and singled off the glove of Conor Jackson and into right field, but he was thrown out going for second. Coste popped to short and Harman struck out swinging.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Burrell singled with one out in the eighth and went to second on a ground out by Werth. With righty Tony Pena on the mound, Howard hit for Feliz and struck out to end the frame.

Howard and not Dobbs was a choice Manuel made in the eighth. Howard got a chance as the tying run with a man on and the Phils down 6-4, but it meant that Harman had to play third in the bottom of the eighth. Dobbs would get a chance to tie the game with a man on in the ninth against a righty anyway.

Righty Brandon Lyon came on for the Diamondbacks in the ninth to protect a 6-4 lead. Coste popped out to the catcher for the first out before Ruiz hit for Harman and singled into left. It brought Chad Durbin up as the winning run and Dobbs hit for Durbin and flew to left for the second out. Victorino singled, moving Ruiz to third and putting the tying run on base for Bruntlett, but Bruntlett flew out to left to leave both runners stranded and end the game.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 5-for-his-last-13 with two doubles. He still has just four extra-base hits and a .315 slugging percentage on the season.

Bruntlett was 2-for-5 with a home run, a double and three RBI. He’s 4-for-10 with three extra-base hits and six RBI in the first two games of the series.

Utley was 0-for-4 and struck out three times.

Burrell 1-for-4 and struck out twice.

Werth was 2-for-4 with his sixth home run.

Feliz 1-for-2 with a walk and robbed of another hit by a nice catch by Byrnes.

Coste 0-for-3.

Harman 0-for-3.

Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 5.01) faces righty Micah Owings (4-1, 4.42) tonight. Owings was 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his first four starts. In his last two he’s allowed 11 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. Overall on the season he’s allowed six home runs in 36 2/3 innings. Lefties are hitting .310 against him, righties .145. He made two starts against the Phils in 2007 and went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. May 8 and May 29. Lefties are hitting .350 with a 2.05 ratio against Kendrick, righties .247, 1.18. He hasn’t walked a batter in his last two starts and has never faced Arizona.


Good news for Phillies fans as Howard’s lease on 0-for-4 with two strikeouts appears to have been month-to-month

The bad news would be if he had decided to sublet to Pat Burrell, but the early results are encouraging.

Ryan Howard had a miserable April, but April is over. Last night after driving in the Phils’ first run with an RBI-double in the third, Howard blasted a mammoth shot out to right in the bottom of the eighth that proved to be the game winner for the Phils.

The Phillies only scored three runs on the night, but thanks to a nice outing by Eaton and three hitless, shutout innings from the amazing Phillies bullpen, three was enough.

The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres last night, winning 3-2 to improve to 16-13 on the season. The Phils take the series two games to one. For the second time in seven games the Phils get a win in a game where they scored three runs, so a word of thanks to the pitching, and the bullpen especially, is in order. Last year the Phils were 4-16 in games when they scored three runs and 4-41 in games where they scored less than four runs. So far this year they’re 2-2 in games where they score three runs and 2-9 in games where they score less than four.

The Phillies start the day in first place in the NL East, a half game ahead of the Marlins and the Mets.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies against his former team and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out two. Eaton was hit hard early but pitched better as the game went on.

Tad Iguchi singled to left with one out in the first and Adrian Gonzalez followed with a home run to right. 2-0. Eaton got the next two.

Jim Edmonds singled with one out in the second. Josh Bard smashed a line drive to third for the second out. Pitcher Randy Wolf hammered a ball to deep right, but Werth caught it with a jump on the warning track to end the frame.

Brian Giles started the third with a walk and Iguchi moved him to second with a single. Gonzalez hit a line drive to second that Utley caught and glove-hand flipped to second to double Giles off. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a single that sent Iguchi to second with two outs. Khalil Greene swung at a 3-2 pitch low and outside and lined to first on a nice jumping play by Howard to leave both runners stranded.

Edmonds walked with one out in the fourth and the game tied at 2-2, but Eaton got the next two.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth. Nice play by Bruntlett to take a hit away from Giles on a ball up the middle for the first out of the fifth.

Madson started the seventh and got the first two before lefty Paul McAnulty hit for Wolf. McAnulty walked on four pitches and Manuel called on Romero to pitch to the lefty Giles. Third straight day for Romero after throwing 23 pitches on Wednesday. He struck Giles out swinging at a 3-2 pitch.

Gordon pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

Lidge started the ninth up 3-2 in his first appearance since Sunday. He got Greene on a fly ball to center, struck out pinch-hitter Tony Clark and got Edmonds on a ground ball to short to end the game.

Three scoreless innings, one walk for the bullpen. Madson threw 13 pitches, Romero seven, Gordon nine, Lidge 12. Phils should try hard to keep Romero out of tonight’s game. The pen allowed two runs in the three-game set, which came on a home run against Madson with the Phils up 7-2 in the ninth in game one of the series.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Randy Wolf went (1) Victorino (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Victorino gets the start in center. He should start again tonight with another lefty on the mound of the Giants and Jenkins, presumably, again on the bench. Ruiz catches Eaton.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

Burrell singled with one out in the second. Feliz popped to short for the second out before Bruntlett moved Burrell to second with a single. Ruiz walked to load the bases, but Eaton struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch.

Victorino doubled to start the third, but Werth and Utley both struck out behind him. Howard doubled to left-center to score Victorino, getting the Phils on the board at 2-1. Burrell followed with another double and Howard scored. 2-2. Feliz flew to left for the third out.

Ruiz walked with one out in the fourth. Eaton tried to bunt him to second, but Bard took the bunt and threw to second to force Ruiz for the second out with Eaton safe at first. Victorino walked before Werth struck out again, ending the inning.

Utley singled to start the fifth, but Howard, Burrell and Feliz struck out behind him.

With two outs in the sixth Taguchi hit for Eaton and was robbed of yet another hit by a fantastic defensive play, this one by Greene at short. Taguchi has been victimized by a ton of great defense and he’s got a .205 batting average to prove it.

Victorino walked to start the seventh and was running on the pitch as Werth lined to center. Victorino couldn’t get back in time and was doubled-off. Utley struck out for the third out.

Howard led off the eighth and got ahead 2-0 before he hit a long home run to right, putting the Phils up 3-2. Burrell, Feliz and Bruntlett went down behind him.

Victorino was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. He was 1-for-4 in the series and is hitting 235/316/294.

Werth was 0-for-4, struck out twice and left four men on base. 1-for-11 with a triple in the series and 0-for-his-last-7 with five strikeouts. 1-for-his-last-15 has him at 265/354/530 on the year.

Utley was 1-for-4 and struck out three times. 4-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. 357/424/748.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI. 3-for-11 in the series and 184/303/388 on the year.

Burrell was 2-for-4 with a double. 2-for-10 in the series. 333/454/677.

Feliz was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 2-for-11 with a double in the series. 200/255/347.

Bruntlett was 1-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-10 with two walks in the series. 228/282/278.

Ruiz 0-for-1 and walked twice. 2-for-5 with a big double in the series. 203/276/261.

Jenkins was 4-for-7 in the series. 265/307/349.

Taguchi was 0-for-1 in the series and is hitting 205/244/256 on the season.

Dobbs was 1-for-2 with a double in the series. 333/400/556.

Coste was 1-for-4 in the series. He’s hitting 350/435/600.

Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 5.15) faces lefty Patrick Misch (0-0, 3.00) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with San Francisco. Misch appeared in 18 games for the Giants last season, including four starts. Overall in ’07 he went 0-4 with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.46 ratio. Righties hit .316 against him and lefties just .238. He’s made just one appearance in ’08 for the Giants, which came in long relief against the Reds on Sunday. After Zito got bombed and exited after just three innings, Misch came on to toss six innings in which he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk. Kendrick’s numbers are pretty bad on the year and he’s actually pitched worse than his numbers look at first glance as seven of the 22 runs he’s allowed have been unearned. Lefties are hitting .356 against him after hitting .321 against him last year. He didn’t face the Giants last season.


Phils jump out to an early lead, hold off Eaton

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
PIT 9-13 97 4.41 10 669 (13) 6 6
PHI 12-11 109 4.74 T-4 799 (4) 10 4

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
PIT 9-13 139 6.32 16 5.98 (16) 5.25 (15)
PHI 12-11 100 4.35 8 4.22 (10) 2.60 (1)

Led by five-hitter Chris Coste, the Phils found themselves ahead 6-0 in the fourth inning last night. They got out with a win, but not the easy win you might have hoped for. For his second straight start, Adam Eaton appeared to be cruising but then ran into an inning where he was just lit up. Last night it was the fourth he couldn’t get out of and it meant the Phils had to call on their pen to throw 5 1/3 innings to escape with a 6-5 win.

The Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates last night, winning 6-5 to improve to 13-11 on the year. They are two games over .500 for the first time this season.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out three.

Eaton started the first with a 2-0 lead and set the Pirates down 1-2-3.

Ryan Doumit walked to start the second. Eaton struck out Xavier Nady for the first out and Adam LaRoche hit into a double-play to end the inning. Nice play by Utley at first to start the double-play.

The Phils led 4-0 in the third. Brian Bixler singled with one out, but Eaton got the next two to end the inning.

Eaton started the fourth with a 6-0 lead. Jason Bay homered with one out to make it 6-1 and Doumit and Nady followed with back-to-back doubles. 6-2. Nady moved to third on a ground out by LaRoche before Doug Mientkiewicz doubled into right, scoring Nady to make it 6-3. Eaton walked Brian Bixler on four pitches and Durbin came in to pitch to pitcher Zach Duke. Duke lined to third for the third out.

Durbin got the first two in the fifth before Bay walked and Doumit followed with a double that moved him to third. Nady was next and he singled into left, scoring both runners to cut the Phillies’ lead to 6-5. Durbin struck out LaRoche to end the inning.

Durbin came back to throw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Gordon started the seventh after throwing an inning the day before. He walked the leadoff man Nate McLouth to start the inning, but got the next three. Real surprised to see Gordon to go on back-to-back days with Madson, Seanez and Condrey pitching so little for the Phils.

Romero pitched the eighth and got the first two before walking Jose Bautista, who pinch-hit for Mientkiewicz. Bixler was next and he reached on an infield single slowly hit to third. It put the trying run on second for pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino, but Paulino grounded to third to end the inning.

Lidge struck out McLouth and Bay in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Durbin threw 33 pitches, Gordon 22 and Romero 21 as the Phils have to call on their pen to throw 5 2/3 innings. Lidge threw 11 pitches to get his fifth save and keep his ERA at 0.00.

The Phillies’ lineup against left Zach Duke went (1) Taguchi (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Burrell (5) Coste (6) Feliz (7) Bruntlett (8) Harman. Howard on the bench. Utley at first. Coste catches and hits fifth. Brad Harman makes his first career start and plays second. We knew Howard was going to be on the bench, but I was a little surprised it wasn’t Coste at first and Ruiz behind the plate instead of Utley at first, Harman at second and Coste catching.

Werth and Utley walked back-to-back with one out in the first. Burrell struck out for the second out, but Coste followed with a double that scored both runners and put the Phils up 2-0. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the second.

Werth homered to center with one out in the third. 3-0. Burrell doubled with two down and Coste followed with a single off the glove of the shortstop Bixler. Burrell scored to make it 4-0. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

Bruntlett started the fourth with a single and Harman followed and smashed a double to left-center. Bruntlett scored and it was 5-0. Eaton tried to bunt Harman to third, but was called out on on batter interference for the first out of the inning. Taguchi flew to left for the second out before Werth drove Harman in with a single to left. 6-0. Utley grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fifth.

Durbin and Taguchi singled back-to-back with two outs in the sixth, but Werth struck out looking to leave them stranded at first and third.

With one out in the seventh, Burrell walked and Coste followed with a single that moved him to second. Bohn ran for Burrell at second and Feliz hit a ground ball to third. Coste was forced at second for the second out, leaving men on first and third with two outs for Bruntlett. Bruntlett grounded to second to end the frame.

With righty Tyler Yates on the mound for the Pirates, Dobbs hit for Harman to start the eighth and drew a walk. The next three Phils went down behind him, including Ryan Howard, who struck out yet again pinch-hitting against Damaso Marte.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Taguchi was 1-for-5.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run and two RBI.

Utley was 0-for-4 with a walk.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Coste was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI.

Feliz was 0-for-4 and left four men on base.

Bruntlett was 1-for-4.

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

Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 5.59) faces righty Matt Morris (0-3, 9.15) tonight. Morris has been terrible this season. Opponents are hitting .380 against him and he’s allowed five home runs in 20 2/3 innings. He wasn’t great last year, throwing to a 4.89 ERA with a 1.52 ratio in his 32 combined starts with the Giants and the Pirates. He did have success in two starts against the Phils, though, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. He faced the Phils on May 4 and June 1. On June 1 he held them to one hit, a single by Victorino, over six shutout innings. Kendrick has struggled in three of his four starts this season. Lefties are hitting .371 against him, righties .239. He faced the Pirates once last season, on July 29, and was really good. He held them to a run on six hits over seven innings.


Utley invites some friends to his latest run-the-bases event

Watching Chase Utley hit home runs might never get old if you’re a Phillies fan, but all those bombs do get a little less effective when they are solo shots. With the top of the order decimated by injury, Utley has been hitting blast after blast out to right field in recent days. He came into last night’s game with three home runs in three days, all of them solo shots. He added yet another solo home run in the first inning last night, but when he hit a towering drive out down the right field line in the fifth, something was different and it changed the game. Two runners were aboard.

Utley is simply on fire, doing his very best to carry the team with Rollins out and Howard struggling terribly. Not much he can do if all his home runs are solo. The Phils rode his bombs to a win last night, with the help of some good relief pitching and a brilliant play by Bruntlett to end the game. Pedro Feliz won it with a pinch-hit home run in the seventh, but if you’re going to overshadow what Utley has done for the Phils over the past few days it’s going to take a little more than a game-winning home run or a game-saving defensive play.

The Phillies beat the Mets last night, winning 5-4 to improve to 9-10 on the year. The Mets take the series two games to one, but it was a big win for the Phils. In addition to breaking the Mets four-game win streak against them, the win was the difference between being 8-11 or 9-10 after the first 19 games. 9-10 sure looks a lot better.

Adam Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out four. He pitched very well early and it fell apart quickly for him in the sixth.

He struck out Jose Reyes swinging at a pretty 1-2 breaking pitch to start the first. Luis Castillo grounded back to the pitcher before David Wright drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Carlos Beltran grounded to second for the third out.

With two outs in the second, catcher Raul Casanova hit a ground ball deep in the hole between short and third. Bruntlett slid and knocked it down but Casanova had an infield single. Endy Chavez grounded to first for the third out.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third.

Wright led off the fourth and lined a single into right. Eaton struck Beltran out looking at a 1-2 pitch before Delgado moved Wright to second with a ground out to first. Ryan Church struck out looking to end the frame.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He started the sixth with a 4-0 lead and it all fell apart for him. Reyes led off with a high fly ball hit well to right. Jenkins jumped for it at the wall but couldn’t get it and Reyes had a triple. Castillo lined a single to left and Reyes scored. 4-1. Wright followed with a double and Castillo went to third. Beltran lined a single into center and both runners scored. Howard cut off the throw from Werth, which looks like it would have a least had a chance to get Wright. 4-3. Four hits in a row was apparently enough for Manuel, and he brought in Chad Durbin to pitch to Carlos Delgado. Delgado drove a ball to left field that Burrell caught after a long run for the first out. Church was next and Beltran stole second before Church blooped a single into right. Jenkins threw home strong but off line and Beltran slid in safely to tie the game at 4-4. Not a good throw from Jenkins, but Beltran would probably have been safe if the throw was on target. Still the second questionable play from Jenkins in the inning after he looked odd trying to get the Reyes triple. Durbin walked Casanova to put men on first and second with one out for Endy Chavez. Chavez flew to center for the second out and Marlon Anderson hit for the pitcher Pelfrey. Durbin struck him out to set the Mets down.

Durbin was fantastic after pitching in Saturday’s game as well. He is a seemingly odd choice to come in to pitch to lefties Delgado and Church. He gave up the RBI single to Church but faced five batters, four lefties and the switch-hitter Casanova. That’s just a little too much to ask of Durbin, but he managed to pull it off. Manuel could have called on Romero, but with just one lefty in the pen it’s tough when you know that Delgado and Church are still looming late in the games and you need a lefty to try to get them out.

Romero faced the top of the Mets order in the seventh. He walked Wright with two outs and Wright stole second before Beltran struck out to end the frame.

He came back for the eighth and got the lefties Delgado and Church to start the inning before Casanova doubled to left. Switch-hitter Angel Pagan hit for the lefty Chavez and Romero got him on a pop to second to end the frame.

I think that Romero going two innings and, in particular, pitching the seventh, is telling. In this game the primary thing the Phils needed Romero to do was get out Delgado and Church when they came up late in the game, the seventh or eighth cause Lidge was going to pitch the ninth if it was close. They didn’t need Romero to pitch the seventh. Top of the Mets order was Reyes and Castillo, two switch-hitters that are better against lefties than righties, a Wright, a righty who kills lefties. I think that Manuel went with Romero in the seventh instead of Madson or Seanez tells you something about either his confidence level in those guys or their availability — Seanez especially, cause Madson threw 22 pitches on Saturday.

Lidge started the ninth with a 5-4 lead and walked pinch-hitter Damion Easley to start the inning. Reyes was next and reached on an infield single that went off of Lidge, moving Easley to second. Castillo tried to bunt and then struck out swinging for the first out. Lidge got Wright to pop to Howard in foul territory for the second out. Beltran was next and he smashed a ball back up the middle. Bruntlett made a fantastic play, diving to his left behind and a little to the left of second. He got to his feet and threw to first in the dirt, but Howard scooped it to beat Beltran and end the game. Very nice play by Bruntlett and by Howard. Castillo and Wright’s at-bats really hurt the Mets in the inning, especially Castillo being unable to move the runners up with nobody out.

Four shutout innings from the pen. Durbin against all those lefties and Romero for two innings were particularly impressive. Manuel is going to have to use his whole pen, and by that I mean Condrey and Seanez, or the other guys are going to get burned out before too long. He may not have a choice about using them tonight in Colorado.

Romero is almost definitely out tonight in Colorado after 31 pitches. Durbin threw 22 and probably won’t/shouldn’t go three days in a row. Lidge threw 20 pitches.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Mike Pelfrey went (1) Werth (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Coste (8) Bruntlett. Rollins and Snelling went on the DL prior to the game and TJ Bohn and Brad Harman were called up. Bruntlett at short, Dobbs at third, Werth in center. That’s the eight best hitters that Manuel can put on the field at this point, he gives up defense at third and behind the plate to do so. I like Dobbs hitting second against a righty. I would still go Werth then Utley/Howard/Burrell given the players currently available, but I think this lineup is a lot better than some we’ve seen of late despite the three lefties in a row 2-3-4. I don’t think Coste in the second spot is a terrible idea, either, if Utley isn’t going to hit there.

Werth struck out to start the first. Dobbs was next and he hammered a 1-2 pitch deep to right. Church took it for the second out, but he had to jump to get it. Nicely timed by Church, Dobbs gave it a ride. Utley was next and he homered, of course, hitting a 2-0 pitch out to right-center to the same place he always does. If you’re looking to catch a Chase Utley home run ball I can make some suggestions about where you might want to sit.

Coste singled with one out in the second. Bruntlett followed and hit into an inning-ending double-play.

Eaton led off the third with a walk. Werth followed with a ground ball to second and Eaton was forced for the first out with Werth safe at first. Dobbs flew to right for the second out before Utley moved Werth to second with a walk. Howard flew to left to leave them both stranded.

Burrell started the fourth with a ball smashed into left and off the wall on a hop. He went for two and was thrown out easily at second. Jenkins followed and smashed a single back up the middle. Coste hit a ground ball to second and Jenkins was forced at second for the second out before Bruntlett moved Coste to second with a single. Eaton popped out to Delgado to end the inning.

Burrell getting thrown out at second killed the Phils in that inning. They can’t score on three hits.

The Phils continued to hit Pelfrey hard in the fifth and this time they got through. Werth led off and blooped a single into right. Dobbs followed with a single of his own and it put men on first and second for Utley. Utley got ahead 3-1 before he hit a monstrous towering drive down the right field line and off the foul pole for a three-run homer that put the Phils up 4-0. Howard and Burrell went down behind him before Jenkins singled off the first base bag, but Coste grounded to third to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth. Just called up TJ Bohn made his Phillies debut. He hit for Durbin and struck out for the second out.

Pedro Feliciano came on to pitch the seventh with lefties Dobbs, Utley and Howard due to hit. Feliz hit for Dobbs and got ahead 2-0 before he hit one out to the opposite field to put the Phils up 5-4. Utley followed with a single into right before Howard went down looking for the first out. Feliciano stayed in to pitch to Burrell and walked him, but Jenkins flew to left and Joe Smith came in and struck out Coste to end the inning. No way Feliciano faces Burrell without Jenkins hitting behind him. I didn’t know if Shoeneweis was available after throwing 21 pitches on Saturday or not, but even if both he and Wagner were both available I think the Mets have to save Shoeneweis in case he has to pitch to Utley and Howard in the eighth.

As it turns out, he didn’t. The Phils went 1-2-3 in the eighth. Ruiz hit for Romero and grounded to short for the second out.

Werth was 1-for-5 in the game. 1-for-14 with a single in the three-game series. 268/388/390 on the year. The Phils need him badly right now.

Dobbs was 1-for-3. 3-for-5 with a home run in the series. 320/346/480. It’s tough to get his bat in the lineup with Feliz and Jenkins on the team, but he’s been hitting well of late.

Utley was 3-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI. 6-for-11 with four home runs in the set. 351/432/797 (really!).

Howard was 1-for-4. 1-for-13 with a single, six strikeouts and no walks in the series. 186/318/386. Wish you were here.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-11 with two singles and two walks in the series. 339/462/694.

Jenkins was 2-for-4 with two hard-hit singles. 2-for-6 in the series. 246/292/361.

Coste was 1-for-4 and left four men on base. 2-for-6 with a walk in the set. 385/467/731. Ruiz was 0-for-1 in the game and 2-for-5 in the series. 208/255/250 on the year with two extra-base hits, both doubles.

Bruntlett was 1-for-4 with a great defensive play to end the game. 2-for-9 with two walks in the series and 186/255/256 on the year with one extra-base hit, a home run, on the season. If the question is how much better is Bruntlett than Brad Harman at this point in Harman’s career, I’m afraid the answer is probably a lot.

Feliz homered in his only at-bat, his third on the year. 1-for-7 in the series and 1-for-his-last-11 overall. It may seem like he’s struggling, but he’s hitting 217/288/400 on the season and his career line is 251/288/432. So he is, just not as much as you might hope.

Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 4.40) faces lefty Mark Redman (2-1, 4.60) tonight as the Phils play the first of two against the Rockies. Redman has made three starts this season and had been pretty good, although he didn’t go six innings in any of them. Opponents are hitting .288 against him, but he’s kept them in the yard. He’s only allowed one home run on the season. He made two appearances against the Phils in 2007, including a start on May 1 when he was with the Braves. He threw five scoreless innings of relief against the Phils on September 12 when he was with the Rockies. Kendrick has been worse than his numbers on the year. Of his three starts, just one has been good. Lefties are hitting .367 against him. Kendrick started the second game of the NLDS in 2007 and got the early hook before Kaz Matsui hit a grand slam off of Kyle Lohse.

Brutal travel schedule for the Phils with the ESPN game starting late last night before they have to travel to Colorado.

Everyone seems to agree that the handling of Jimmy Rollins was a mistake. Me too.


Investigation underway to determine who dropped the ball in allowing Pat Burrell to bat in the ninth inning

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
HOU 5-8 53 4.08 10 728 (9) 12 3
PHI 6-7 59 4.54 T-6 786 (4) 7 3

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
HOU 5-8 55 4.23 9 4.26 (11) 4.50 (11)
PHI 6-7 62 4.77 11 3.81 (8) 3.53 (5)

Do the rules even permit that? If the Astros want to protest the game on those grounds, or even the grounds that the Phils scored the winning run on a play where their base-runner was completely and totally out, I have no problem with that whatsoever. Who knew what and when did they know it?

Shawn Chacon dominated the Phillies last night, tossing eight shutout innings. Turned out it wasn’t enough. The Phils started the bottom of the ninth down 3-0 and Chris Snelling hit Jose Valverde’s first pitch out to right. Chase Utley was hit by a pitch and two batters later Burrell tied it up at 3-3 with an opposite field blast. Jenkins got on base and stormed around to score the winning run on a double into the left field corner by Pedro Feliz.

Brilliant comeback by the Phils to get a win after their hitters looked dead for the first eight innings of the game. Not to be lost in the excitement of the ninth is that their pitching kept them in the game. Adam Eaton gave the Phils a quality start for the third time in three tries. Durbin and Seanez combined to throw three shutout innings out of a bullpen that has been fantastic in the early going.

The Phillies beat the Houston Astros last night, winning 4-3 to improve to 7-7 on the season.

Eaton got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. All seven of the hits were singles and he struck out three.

Eaton got the first two in the first before Lance Berkman drew a walk. Carlos Lee singled into center, moving Berkman to third, and Miguel Tejada followed with another single. Berkman scored to put the Astros up 1-0. Geoff Blum popped to first to end the frame with two runners stranded.

With two outs in the second, pitcher Shawn Chacon singled back through the middle. It brought up former Phil Michael Bourn, and Bourn grounded to Utley to set Houston down.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third, getting Berkman and Lee, the guys who hurt him in the first, on a couple of ground balls.

Tejada walked to start the fourth, but Eaton got the next three to leave him stranded at first.

Bourn singled with one out in the fifth. Mark Loretta was next and hit a ground ball to short. Bruntlett did a nice job with a quick throw to second to start the double-play that ended the frame.

Berkman started the sixth with a single. Lee was next and he singled into center. Werth dropped the ball for an error, allowing Berkman to go to third. The Phils came into the game having made 15 errors on the season, but just one by an outfielder (Taguchi). Tejada flew to left for the first out. Blum was next and singled past Howard and into right. Berkman scored to put Houston up 2-0 and Lee went to third. Hunter Pence followed hit a fly ball to deep center. Werth tracked it down, but Lee scored to make it 3-0 with two down and Berkman on first. Brad Ausmus popped to short for the third out.

Chad Durbin started the seventh. He got the first two before Loretta and Berkman singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Lee, but Lee grounded to third to end the frame.

Durbin came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth, dropping his ERA on the season to 0.75.

Seanez started the ninth. He got the first two before he walked Bourn. Bourn stole second and Seanez walked Loretta on a high 3-2 pitch. Berkman smashed a 1-1 pitch that looked ticketed for right, but Howard made a nice play on one hop to end the frame. The pick by Howard on Berkman’s ball looked like a nice play in a game the Phillies had lost at the time. After the bottom of the ninth it looks bigger.

Another fantastic appearance for Durbin. He has allowed eight hits over his first 12 innings with the Phils, all of them singles. He threw 30 pitches, so we won’t see him tonight. Seanez threw 22 pitches, so he’s a little more likely but my guess is the Phils would try to stay away from him if they can.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Shawn Chacon went (1) Werth (2) Ruiz (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Bruntlett. Wow is that ugly. The big surprise is Rollins is still not able to play after the off-day Monday. Many were expecting him to return for this game, but he remains on the bench. Werth plays center, Jenkins right and Bruntlett short. I was joking the other day when I suggested to look for Feliz hitting leadoff soon, but Ruiz hitting second isn’t a whole lot better. He came into the game with a .250 on-base percentage for the year. Werth does seem to make sense in the leadoff spot, given the options.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first and again in the second.

Feliz led off the third with a single. Bruntlett was next and got ahead 3-1. He swung at the 3-1 pitch and hit a double-play ball to third. Eaton grounded to third to end the inning. Swinging 3-1 didn’t work out for Bruntlett. On the plus side he at least had a good pitch to hit, he just didn’t hit it well.

Werth led off the fourth with a single, but Ruiz followed and hit into a double-play. Utley flew to right for the third out. Second inning in a row the Phils got a single from their leadoff man and hit into a double-play behind him.

Howard and Jenkins struck out in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Down 3-0, Feliz and Bruntlett started the sixth with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second with nobody out for the pitcher’s spot, and Dobbs hit for Eaton and struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch. Werth popped to second for the second out. Ruiz hit a ball in the hole between short and third, but Tejada made a nice play and a strong throw to end the inning. The strikeout by Dobbs is pretty bad, cause even a productive out can move a runner to third with one out. They wouldn’t have scored on Werth’s popup anyway, but not striking out might have been the way to go if they got to pick.

Howard walked with one out in the seventh, but Burrell struck out behind him and Jenkins flew to Bourn at the track in center.

Bruntlett walked with one out in the eighth and Rollins hit for Chad Durbin. Bruntlett stole second before Rollins grounded to third. The stolen base probably prevented a double-play that would have ended the inning, but it didn’t matter much when Werth followed and flew to right.

With righty Jose Valverde on to protect a 3-0 lead, Chris Snelling hit for Ruiz to start the ninth and hit the first pitch he saw just out to right. 3-1. Valverde hit Utley with his first pitch to him, bringing up Howard as the tying run. Howard got behind 0-2 looking at two pitches and then struck out swinging. Burrell got behind 0-1 before he hit a ball well out to the opposite field, tying the game at 3-3. Jenkins got behind 0-2 looking but battled all the way. The eleventh pitch of the at-bat was a fastball way inside. Jenkins swung and missed, but the ball went off of Ausmus’s glove and Jenkins took first with one out. Feliz was next and he hit a ball hard down the third base line and into the corner. Lee got to it and made a weak throw to Tejada, but Tejada made a strong throw to the plate. The ball beat Jenkins to home plate, but the throw was slightly on the first base side of the plate. Jenkins slid in and was called safe. Phils win. All fantastic. 1) Blum should have made the play at third 2) the relay from Lee to Tejada was terrible 3) Tejada’s throw to the plate was great 4) Jenkins should have, and may have, been held at third 5) fantastic hustle by Jenkins, who also showed more speed than I knew he had and 6) Jenkins was really out.

Werth was 1-for-4 to drop his average to .391.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 and left three men on base. His slugging percentage on the year is down to .244. He has two extra-base hits on the season, both doubles.

Utley was 0-for-3.

Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. 1-for-his-last-9 with five walks and four strikeouts.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and his fifth home run.

Jenkins was 0-for-4 and struck out twice but won the game with his ninth inning sprint around the bases. 2-for-his-last-15 with two singles.

Feliz was 3-for-4 with a game-winning double in the ninth.

Bruntlett was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 6.14) faces right Roy Oswalt (0-3, 9.00) tonight. Oswalt has been bombed in his first three starts. Opponents are hitting .400 against him and he’s allowed 30 hits in 16 innings, including five home runs. He curiously isn’t walking anyone, having allowed just two walks over his first three starts. He comes off of a nightmare start against the Marlins on Friday in which he went just four innings and was charged with eight earned runs. He made two starts against the Phils last season and was hit hard, charged with ten earned runs in 12 innings (7.50 ERA). He faced the Phils on April 13 and July 3. Kendrick gets an extra day of rest after Eaton skips ahead of him in the rotation to pitch last night’s game. Kendrick has made two stars on the season, neither of them good. His 6.14 ERA isn’t impressive, but it also doesn’t reflect how badly he’s struggled early. He has allowed 11 runs in his first 7 1/3 innings, only five of which have been earned. Lefties are hitting .381 against him. In his last start he walked six in 2 1/3 innings. He has never faced the Astros.


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