Tag: Albert Pujols

Game two leaves Phils hoping the starting rotation isn’t departing on them quite yet

Cause I really don’t know what Plan B is if the starting rotation isn’t going to be good. I have this sinking feeling it might involve Michael Martinez, though.

If game one looked bad early for the Phils and got better as it went along, game two was just the opposite. After three innings, the Phils had a 4-0 lead with Cliff Lee on the mound and Chris Carpenter on the ropes. After nine innings, the Phils had lost 5-4 and the series was tied up.

The Phils jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as five of their first six hitters for the game reached based. They extended the lead to 4-0 in the second when Rollins doubled with two outs and was knocked in by Pence. St Louis got back in the game with three runs charged to Lee on a leadoff walk and four hits in the fourth. The Cards tied things up at 4-4 in the top of the sixth when Ryan Theriot doubled off of Lee with two outs and came to score on a Jon Jay single. Allen Craig led off the seventh with a triple off the glove of Victorino and Pujols singled off of Lee right behind him to put St Louis up to stay at 5-4.

The St Louis bullpen was fantastic in the game. After allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings in the series opener, Cardinals relievers had to pitch six innings in relief of Carpenter in game two. They allowed one single and didn’t walk a batter in six shutout frames.

The Phillies lost to the St Louis Cardinals 5-4 last night. With the loss the best-of-five NLDS is tied up a one game apiece.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing five runs on 12 hits and two walks. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and two triples. The five runs he allowed in last night’s start were more than he allowed in his ten starts in June and August combined. In June and August, Lee threw 81 2/3 innings and allowed three runs.

Over his last three post-season starts, Lee has a 7.13 ERA and a 1.64 ratio. He has been charged with 26 hits and three walks in 17 2/3 innings.

He faced a St Louis lineup that went (1) Rafael Furcal (SS/S) (2) Allen Craig (RF/R) (3) Albert Pujols (1B/R) (4) Lance Berkman (LF/S) (5) David Freese (3B/R) (6) Yadier Molina (C/R) (7) Ryan Theriot (2B/R) (8) Jon Jay (CF/L). That’s the same lineup the Cards used in game one with Theriot replacing the lefty Skip Schumaker at second with the lefty Lee pitching for the Phils.

St Louis had six hitters on the bench to start the game, righties Matt Holliday and Gerald Laird, lefties Adron Chambers, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso and switch-hitter Nick Punto.

Furcal hit the first pitch of the game off the wall in right. The ball rolled away from Pence and Furcal was safe at third with a triple. Lee struck Craig out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Pujols swung at the first pitch and popped to Utley in shallow right-center for the second out with Furcal holding. Berkman got ahead in the count and smashed a 2-0 pitch down the third-base line, but Polanco back-handed and threw to first to get him for the third out.

No run for St Louis after the leadoff triple. No contact for Craig and Pujols pops up to Utley. Berkman smashed the ball.

Lee threw nine pitches in the first.

He started the second up 3-0. Freese doubled to right on his first pitch of the inning. Molina struck out looking 1-2 for the first out and Theriot out looking 0-2 (on the seventh pitch of his at-bat) for the second. Neither Molina or Theriot liked the calls, but they looked like good pitches to me. Jay went down on a ball handled by Lee for the third out to leave Freese stranded.

Second time in two innings that St Louis can’t score after an extra-base hit to start the inning.

Lee was at 23 pitches.

The Phils were up 4-0 when Lee started the third. Carpenter led off and flew to right on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Furcal hit a ball up the middle, but Utley made a nice play moving to his right and threw Furcal out on a close play at first for the second out. Lee walked Craig on a 3-2 pitch, but struck Pujols out waving at an 0-2 curve ball to leave Craig at first.

Odd deep count on Carpenter in the inning plus the walk of Craig, but Lee keeps St Louis off the board. You want to avoid walking guys ahead of Pujols.

Lee was at 43 pitches through three innings.

He got ahead of Berkman 0-2 to start the fourth, but couldn’t put him away as Berkman drew a walk. Lee struck Freese out looking at a 1-2 fastball for the first out. Molina hit a 3-2 pitch back up the middle, just missed by Lee and off the glove of a diving Rollins, putting men on first and second for Theriot. Theriot hit the first pitch from Lee the opposite way, past Howard and down the right field line for a double. Berkman scored to cut the lead to 4-1 with men on second and third. Jay hit a 1-0 pitch into right, scoring Molina (4-2). Pence came home with the throw, but Theriot held third. Jay took second as the throw came home, sliding in safely to second just ahead of the return throw from Ruiz. With one down and men on second and third, switch-hitter Nick Punto hit for Carpenter. Lee struck Punto out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Furcal singled into left on a 1-0 pitch. Theriot scored to make it 4-3. Jay tried to score from second, arriving at the plate at the same time as Ibanez’s lollipop throw from left. Jay buried Ruiz, but Ruiz held on to the ball for the third out.

Great play by Ruiz to hold onto the ball. Ibanez’s throw was accurate at least if not strong. Punto can’t put the ball in play with one out and men on second and third. Walking the leadoff guy often doesn’t work that well.

Lee’s pitch count was up to 70 after a 27-pitch inning.

Lee set the Cards down in order in the fifth, getting Craig and Pujols both looking 0-2 before Berkman popped to Rollins for the third out.

Twelve pitches in the inning put him at 82.

He got the first two hitters in the sixth, getting Freese swinging for the first out and Molina on a fly ball to left for the second. Theriot was next and doubled to left on a 1-0 pitch. Jay followed and singled into left on an 0-1 pitch. Theriot scored to tie the game at 4-4 with Jay taking second on the throw. Lefty Skip Schumaker hit for the pitcher Fernando Salas and reached on an infield single, moving Jay up to third. Furcal hit a 1-0 pitch to third with Polanco going to second to leave both runners stranded.

Nineteen more pitches in the game for Lee. He was at 101.

Craig led off the seventh and drove a ball to center the Victorino misplayed before it went off his glove for a leadoff triple. Pujols was next and he lined the first pitch he saw from Lee into left-center for a single. Craig scored and St Louis led 5-4. Berkman was next and he moved Pujols to third with a single. That was it for Lee. Lidge came on to pitch to Freese. Freese hit a ball that Lidge fielded. He threw home where Pujols was out for the first out with Freese taking second on the play and Berkman moving up to third. Lidge walked Molina intentionally to load the bases then got out of the jam by getting Theriot to ground into a double-play to set St Louis down.

Long run for Victorino, but the ball Craig hit would have been a nice one to have. Lidge does a great job, coming in with men on first and third and nobody out and keeping St Louis off the board.

Bastardo started the eighth and walked Jay on six pitches. Descalso, double-switched into the game in the bottom of the seventh, was next and bunted Jay to second with the first out. Bastardo struck Furcal out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Worley came in to pitch to the righty Craig and got him to fly to right 1-1 to leave Jay at second.

Glad to see Bastardo get the big strikeout on Furcal, but walking Jay on six pitches wasn’t a good way to start the inning.

Madson started the ninth. Pujols led off with a single to left. Berkman struck out swinging 3-2 as Pujols was hung up by Ruiz and eventually tagged out for the second. Madson struck out Chambers, double-switched into the game in the eighth, on a 2-2 pitch for the third out.

Three shutout innings for the pen in relief of Lee in which they allowed a hit and two walks. Madson threw 15 pitches, Bastardo 12, Lidge six and Worley three.

Furcal is 3-for-8 with a triple so far in the series. Pujols 3-for-8 with three singles. Berkman 2-for-8 with a big homer in game one.

Jay and Molina are both 2-for-7 with two singles.

Freese and Craig have gone 2-for-14 with seven strikeouts.

Schumaker 3-for-5 with a double and Theriot 2-for-4 with two doubles.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Carpenter went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Utley (2B/L) (3) Pence (RF/R) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Victorino (CF/S) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Polanco (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). That’s the same lineup they used against righty Kyle Lohse in game one.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench, righties John Mayberry, Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco, lefties Brian Schneider and Ross Gload and switch-hitter Michael Martinez.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first and hit a 2-0 pitch off the top of the wall in right for a double. Utley and Pence both walked behind, loading the bases for Howard. Howard singled up the middle, scoring Rollins and Utley and moving Pence to third with the Phils up 2-0. Victorino swung at the first pitch from Carpenter and flew to center with Jay moving in. Pence held third. Ibanez was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch to left for a single, scoring Pence (3-0) and moving Howard up to second. Polanco got ahead in the count but grounded into a double-play on a 2-1 pitch to end the inning.

Again Howard and Ibanez deliver big hits to get the Phils on the board. Again Rollins starts the rally. Victorino can’t bring Pence in from third with the first out.

Carpenter threw 30 pitches in the inning.

Ruiz led off the bottom of the second and grounded to short on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Lee was next and struck out trying to check his swing 2-2. Rollins was next and he smashed a 3-1 pitch even higher off the wall in right (more right-center this time) for another double. Rollins was running as Carpenter delivered a 3-2 pitch to Utley way out of the zone. Utley had another walk and the Phils had men on first and third. Pence got behind in the count but singled hard to right 0-2. Rollins scored from third to make it 4-0 with Utley moving up to second. Howard hit a 2-0 pitch well to left, but Berkman took it on the track to leave both runners stranded.

Two long doubles for Rollins in two innings. The one in the second was hit the bigger part of the field and very nearly a home run. Not sure that Rollins would have scored from second on the single by Pence. No chance without two outs, but he might have tried with two.

Another long inning for Carpenter, who had thrown 56 through two innings.

Victorino grounded to first to start the third. Ibanez grounded hard to second on a 2-0 pitch for the second out. Polanco struck out swinging 0-2 for the third out.

Polanco 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a grounded into a double-play in the first three innings of the game after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in game one. He went 6-for-33 in the post-season in 2010. In his most recent playoff action prior to 2010, Polanco had gone 0-for-17 for Detroit in the 2006 World Series against St Louis.

Carpenter was at 64 pitches for the game.

Righty Fernando Salas started the fourth for St Louis with the lead cut to 4-3. He set the Phils down in order on three ground balls, getting Ruiz, Lee and Rollins.

He was back for the fifth and threw another 1-2-3 frame, striking out Utley and Pence and getting Howard on a fly ball to center.

Utley struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch they looked like it was outside by a non-trivial amount.

Two huge shutdown innings for Salas after Carpenter leads in which the Cards get back into the game.

Righty Octavio Dotel started the sixth for St Louis with the score tied at 4-4. He was pitching for the second time in the series after two-thirds of an inning and seven pitches in game one. Victorino lined to center for the first out. Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2 for the second. Polanco flew to center for the third.

The Phils were down 5-4 when Dotel started the seventh and struck Ruiz out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Gload hit for Lidge. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski came in to pitch to Gload. Francisco hit for Gload against the lefty and flew to center for the second out. Rollins was next and he singled to left on a 1-0 pitch, but Rzepczynski picked him off of first with Pujols throwing down to second where Rollins was tagged out to end the inning.

Dotel has struck out four in two scoreless innings in the first two games of the series.

Rzepczynski was back to start the eighth and hit Utley with a 1-1 pitch. Boggs came in to face Pence, having thrown 36 pitches in game one, and Pence grounded to short with Utley forced at second for the first out. Lefty Arthur Rhodes came in and struck Howard out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Righty Jason Motte made his first appearance of the series, getting Victorino to fly to center 0-2 to leave Pence at first.

Motte was back for the ninth. He struck Ibanez out swinging 0-2 for the first out. Polanco flew to right for the second. Ruiz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to second to end the game.

Six shutout innings from the St Louis bullpen in the game in which they allowed one hit, the single by Rollins against Rzepczynski, and struck out six. Motte, Dotel and Salas all had great days for St Louis.

Rollins was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a stolen base and a caught stealing. He’s 5-for-8 so far in the series.

Utley was 0-for-1 with two walks and was hit by a pitch. 3-for-6 with two walks and two doubles so far.

Pence 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-8 in the first two games.

Howard 1-for-4 with two RBI. 2-for-7 with a home run and six RBI in the series.

Victorino 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 3-for-8 with two RBI.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. 3-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in the series.

Polanco 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in the series. He hit 243/304/287 in his last 409 plate appearances in the regular season.

Ruiz 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 0-for-8 with two strikeouts so far.

Game three is tomorrow in St Louis.


One and just getting started

Roy Halladay faces Kyle Lohse tomorrow at 5:07 in game one of the NLDS.

Halladay went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.04 ratio this season, striking out 220 in 233 innings. He was second in the NL in ERA, second in innings pitched, first in WAR for pitchers and fourth in ratio. For the third straight season, he led his league in fewest walks per nine innings pitched. It wasn’t real close. Halladay walked 35 in 233 2/3 innings or 1.348 per nine innings. Lee was second-best in the NL and he walked 1.625 per nine.

Lefties had a lot more luck against Halladay than righties, hitting 273/305/354 against him compared to 206/236/275 for righties.

Halladay has allowed more than two runs in a start once in his last seven outings. Over those seven appearances he’s thrown to a 1.65 ERA with a 1.02 ratio.

Over his last 12 starts he’s allowed one home run in 86 1/3 innings (Lance Berkman hisownself on September 19, causing Halladay to unleash a fury of intentional walks the likes of which haven’t been seen before or since).

Halladay was third-best in the NL in terms of fewest HR per nine innings, behind Charlie Morton (six HR in 171 innings) and Matt Cain (9 in 221). That group of three was way better than the rest of the league. Halladay was third with 0.385 HR per nine and Madison Bumgarner was fourth at 0.528.

Halladay made two starts against St Louis this year, throwing to a 3.21 ERA with a 1.14 ratio and striking out 11 in 14 innings. On June 21, Halladay allowed a run over six innings as the Phils topped the Cards 10-2 in St Louis. The Cards scratched out a run in the fifth with the help of a bloop hit and a double-play that wasn’t. Halladay left down 1-0 and the Phils came to bat in the eighth down 2-1. In the eighth they scored nine runs without an extra-base hit.

In that game St Louis brought righty Jason Motte into the game to face Howard in the eighth inning and Motte hit Howard. Just saying.

The other start came September 19 in St Louis. Halladay gave up the home run to Berkman in the first and spent the rest of the day intentionally walking him (okay twice, but still). Halladay allowed four runs over eight innings in the game, his only start since August 16 in which he has allowed more than two runs. Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Phils scored two runs charged to Motte but lost 4-3.

Pujols is 2-for-11 against Halladay for his career. Berkman 2-for-5 with two walks. Molina 1-for-5. Punto 4-for-14. Jay 1-for-8. Craig 0-for-4. Schumaker 3-for-8.

Halladay has made three career post-season starts and threw a one-walk no-hitter against the Reds in game one of the ’10 NLDS.

The Phils lost game one of the ’10 NLCS against the Giants with Halladay on the mound and won game five with Halladay looking sick and off.

Overall, Halladay has made three career post-season starts and gone 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA and an 0.77 ratio. He has a 4.15 ERA over his last two playoff starts.

Righty Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.39) goes for St Louis.

Coming off two ugly years in 2009 and 2010 where Lohse threw to a 5.54 ERA over 41 appearances and 40 starts, Lohse has been good for St Louis this season. He was tenth in the NL in ratio with a 1.168 and sixth in the league in best walk rate with 2.007 per nine innings.

Lohse had very similar numbers against righties and lefties for the season. Righties hit 248/284/384. Lefties fared a tiny bit better, but with a very similar 249/299/397 line.

Lohse started the season pitching great. In his 11 starts before the end of May, he threw to a 2.13 ERA with an 0.92 ratio over 80 1/3 innings. June, July and August didn’t go as well, though, as Lohse made 15 starts in which he threw to a 5.29 ERA and allowed 94 hits in 81 2/3 innings as opponents hit .288 and slugged .506 against him. He was very good in his four starts in September, throwing to a 1.37 ERA without allowing a home run in 26 1/3 innings.

He made two starts against the Phils on the year and had good numbers, throwing to a 1.76 ERA with an 0.98 ratio over 15 1/3 innings. On June 22 in St Louis, he held the Phils to three runs over eight innings and the Phils won 4-0 behind a complete-game from Cliff Lee. Rollins and Howard both homered off of Lohse in the fourth inning of that game. Rollins hit a solo shot and Howard’s was a two-run homer.

Lohse also started the September 19 game against Halladay and pitched very well, allowing an unearned run over 7 1/3 innings. The Phils scored their only run of the game in the second that day with the help of two bad plays by Nick Punto, one of which was called an error and one of which wasn’t.

Hunter Pence is the Phillie who has faced Lohse the most over his career. In 41 at-bats, Pence has hit 317/349/415 against him (13-for-41 with two doubles and a triple). Howard 8-for-16 with four walks and two home runs. Utley 4-for-24 (.167). Rollins 5-for-27 with a home run (.185). Polanco 10-for-28 (.357) with ten singles. Ibanez 9-for-39 with three home runs (.273 with a .545 slugging percentage). Victorino 5-for-24 with two doubles.

Pence’s next playoff plate appearance will be his first.

Lohse has made six post-season appearances. Five of them, including a start, came with the Twins between 2002 and 2004. He also appeared in relief for the Phils in game two of the ’07 NLDS against the Rockies. Kendrick started that game for the Phils and took a 3-2 lead into the top of the fourth. The Rockies loaded the bases against Kendrick with two outs and Lohse took over to pitch to Kaz Matsui. Matsui hit a 1-2 pitch from Lohse out to right for a grand slam, the Rockies led 6-3 and went on to win the game 10-5.

Overall, in six post-season appearances Lohse has thrown to a 3.38 ERA with an 0.90 ratio. He’s allowed just two walks in 13 1/3 innings and struck out 15. His other start came in game three of the 2003 NLDS between the Twins and Yankees. He allowed three runs in five innings that game and New York won 3-1. Hideki Matsui hit a two-run homer off of Lohse in the second inning of that game.

Is there time to get like Polanco and Ibanez to change their last names to Matsui before five o’clock tomorrow? Just spit-balling here, but it could be the kind of thing that pushes the Phillies over the top.

It’s still not clear what’s up with Matt Holliday and his finger. If you see him on the field, you should be wondering if he can throw at all.

Rafael Furcal has a hamstring problem and his status is also murky.

The very mention of Albert Pujols should terrify us all, but Pujols comes into tomorrow’s game having gone 6-for-32 with two doubles and a home run over his last seven games (188/212/344) to end the regular season.

On the less good news side, Berkman is hitting 400/492/540 over his last 59 plate appearances. Righty Allen Craig is 12-for-his-last-32 with five home runs (375/412/938). Five is an unusual number of home runs to have hit in your last 32 at-bats. Punto hit .308 and on-based .424 in September (but in just 35 plate appearances). Yadier Molina hit .305 this season and 352/390/549 over his last 197 plate appearances.


Hefty lefties

When the post-season arrives, the Phils will be starting left-handed pitchers in two of the first three games and feature a bullpen with a single lefty who came into yesterday’s game having allowed nine of the last 15 batters he had faced to reach base.

So it seems important to know how their potential playoff opponents in the NL fare against lefties. For the four NL teams other than the Phillies who look like they have the best chance to make the playoffs, here’s what the teams have done overall against left-handed pitching for the year (none of the numbers in this post include yesterday’s games):

Team AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
STL 259 333 417 158 750 (2)
ARI 239 314 417 178 731 (5)
MIL 252 314 413 161 727 (7)
ATL 229 292 352 123 644 (16)

So, by OPS, the Cards have been the best of those four teams against left-handed pitching and the Braves have been the worst. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Atlanta has been absolutely atrocious against lefties this year, hitting just 229/292/352 against them, which gives them the NL-worst .644 OPS against left-handed pitchers.

Here’s the list of St Louis’s best hitters against lefties who got at least 100 plate appearances against left-handed pitching this season. They are ordered by OPS:

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
STL Pujols 295 342 590 295 932 (16)
STL Holliday 241 411 446 205 857 (27)
STL Molina 278 364 464 186 828 (36)
STL Rasmus 256 374 451 195 825 (37)

That’s kind of a scary list because of its length, but with a couple of problems for the Cards. Holliday is hurt and Rasmus isn’t on the team anymore, traded to the Blue Jays in July. Oh, and the other problem is that they’re almost surely not going to make the post-season.

If they do, they do have some guys without 100 plate appearances against lefties who have good numbers against left-handed pitching. Allen Craig was hitting 306/338/613 against lefties in 63 plate appearances coming into yesterday and David Freese had hit 348/390/522 against southpaws over 77 plate appearances.

And here’s a lot at the top left-bashers on the other three teams, starting with the Snakes:

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
ARI Upton 274 385 563 289 948 (12)
ARI Young 282 387 556 274 943 (13)
ARI Roberts 280 400 504 224 904 (22)

Three guys there who have had monster years against left-handed pitching. Notably, two of them, Young and Roberts, have been miserable against righties. Young has hit 216/306/375 against righties and Roberts has hit 238/321/399 against them. Upton has hammered everyone, putting up a 301/372/535 line against righties. As good as he has been against both sides, he has shown a lot more power against lefties with an isolated power of .234 against righties and .289 against lefties.

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
MIL Braun 362 445 638 276 1.083 (2)
MIL Hart 323 422 586 263 1.008 (7)
MIL Weeks 270 380 472 192 852 (28)
MIL Fielder 279 358 455 176 813 (40)

Two monster bats against lefties for the Brewers in Braun and Hart. Weeks has been struggling with an ankle problem, but is getting stronger and playing again. Fielder, of course, is a lefty, but has still done his share of damage against left-handed pitchers.

Despite the two huge bats against lefties in Braun and Hart, the Brewers have had their share of guys who have brought down their numbers. Righty Casey McGehee has played regularly this year and hit 171/230/187 in his 135 plate appearances against lefties. His fellow righty Yuniesky Betancourt has also gotten a ton of chances and hit 239/256/345 against lefties.

Then there’s Atlanta. And they can’t hit lefties at all — their best hitter by OPS who got at least 100 plate appearances against lefties is their left-handed hitting catcher Brian McCann:

Team Player AVG OBP SLG ISO OPS (NL Rank)
ATL McCann 264 312 486 222 798 (43)

That’s a little misleading because of the miserable year righty Dan Uggla has had with the bat. After hitting 173/241/327 through the first 86 games of the season, Uggla has hit 312/396/620 over his last 288 plate appearances. His numbers against lefties for the year are still atrocious, 197/284/338, but he hit 306/409/575 against lefties in 2010 and you have to think that he’s going to be more formidable against lefties in the post-season than he has during the regular season.

The Braves have had other problems against lefties this year, though. Righty Alex Gonzalez has on-based .284 against them. Lefties Freddie Freeman and Jayson Heyward have both struggled as well. Freeman has hit 256/314/420 against them in 194 plate appearances while Heyward has hit a hide-your-eyes 184/263/301 against them in 114.

So, purely for the standpoint of guys who can hit lefties, who should the Phillies be hoping to face in the post-season? It looks like the answer is clearly the Braves, with the caveat that Uggla is a whole lot better than his numbers so far this year. That can’t happen in the first round, of course. For me, the scariest team against lefties is Milwaukee — despite the miserable numbers for a couple of their regulars, Braun and Hart have just demolished left-handed pitching this season.

Finally, it seems important to point out the NL player who came into action yesterday with the best OPS against left-handed pitching for the season (among players with at least 100 plate appearances against lefties). Shane Victorino is the answer with a 327/444/645 line (1.089 OPS).

Yesterday the Phils played a double-header with the Washington Nationals, dropping both games to fall to 98-56 on the year. The Phillies have lost four in a row and scored three runs or less in 12 of their last 13 games.

The Phils lost the day game 4-3 in ten innings. Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and was fantastic again, tossing six shutout innings before being Schwimer took over in the seventh. Schwimer allowed a pair of singles before Roger Bernadina hit one out to right, putting the Nats up 3-0. The Phils tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Ibanez, 1-for-his-last-18, hit a three-run pinch-hit homer off of Tyler Clippard. Stutes started the tenth and got the first two before walking Michael Morse. Morse took second on a passed ball by Erik Kratz and came in to score on a pinch-hit single by Ryan Zimmerman, putting Washington up 4-3. Kratz doubled to start the bottom of the tenth, his first career extra-base hit, but was left at second when Orr lined to short, Schneider struck out and Gload grounded to short.

Kendrick has a 1.91 ERA in his 33 innings since the end of July. Those innings have come over seven appearances, five of which have been starts.

Not a good day for Schwimer, who saw his ERA on the year rise to 6.97 on the three-run homer. He’s allowed five runs in two innings over his last two appearances.

Joe Savery made his debut for the Phillies in the game. He started the eighth and allowed a single on a ball deflected by Orr. The next batter bunted the runner to second and Savery was pulled.

The Phils lost the night game 3-0. Lee got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on 11 hits. Only two of the runs were earned and the Phillies made three errors in the game (Rollins, Utley and Ruiz). The offense had just three hits, two singles by Francisco and one by Polanco, as Ross Detwiler threw 7 1/3 scoreless frames for the Nats.

Danny Espinosa homered off of Lee in the second to put Washington up 1-0. Washington got another run on three singles in the sixth to push the lead to 2-0. Jayson Werth started the seventh with a double for Washington and went to third on a one-out single by Michael Morse. Werth came in to score on a bad pickoff throw by Ruiz, upping the lead to 3-0.

Justin De Fratus threw a 1-2-3 eighth after Lee left and has now thrown two scoreless innings in two appearances.

Herndon threw the ninth, allowing a two-out walks but striking out two and keeping Washington off the board. In his 20 appearances since the All-Star break he has thrown to a 1.65 ERA with a 1.21 ratio.

Vance Worley (11-2, 2.85) faces lefty John Lannan (9-13, 3.68) tonight in leave-your-lefties-on-the-bench night at the yard.

On the please-move-along-there’s-nothing-to-see-here front, Hunter Pence tweaked his left knee in game one yesterday and says it’s going to be fine.

Jimmy Rollins and his wife will host their first annual Havana Nights to benefit the Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse Pennsylvania at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Monday, November 14. Read all about it.


Third time proves to be more alarming than charming

The Phils still can’t score, but it’s a lot more alarming that now they aren’t winning. Last night Cliff Lee battled the home plate umpire for most of the game and walked a career high six, but it was hard to ignore what the offense wasn’t doing. It wasn’t scoring runs and it hasn’t been for a while now. With a 3-1 loss last night the Phils have lost three games in a row for the first time this season.

The Phillies have now scored one run or no runs in four of the last five starts made by Lee.

After an 18-8 April, the Phillies are 7-7 in May. In April they allowed about 3.38 runs per game. The good news is that that’s gotten better — so far in May they’ve allowed 3.14 runs a game. The bad news, of course, is that they can’t score enough. After averaging 4.62 runs a game in April they have scored just 3.36 runs a game so far in May.

The Phillies are 25-15 on the year after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 3-1 last night. They have lost three in a row.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and six walks. All six of the hits were singles and he struck out four. After nine starts he has a 3.84 ERA. He’s thrown to a 3.78 ERA over his last five outings, but the Phillies have gone 1-4.

He walked 18 batters in 212 1/3 innings in 2010. So far in 2011 he has walked 13 in 58 2/3 innings.

Ryan Theriot led off the bottom of the first with a single to center. Jon Jay bunted him to second with the first out before Albert Pujols flew to left for the second. Lee walked Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman back-to-back, loading the bases for Allen Craig. Craig flew to right to leave all three runners stranded.

Lee threw a 1-2-3 second with a 1-0 lead, striking Yadier Molina out swinging 1-2 for the first out, getting Nick Punto on a ball that Lee handled and threw to first for the second and striking the pitcher Jake Westbrook out swinging 0-2.

Lee walked Theriot to start the third, but got Jay to ground into a double-play behind him. Pujols grounded to short to end the inning.

Holliday and Berkman walked back-to-back again to start the fourth. Again Lee got Craig, striking him out for the first out, but Molina was next and reached on an infield single that loaded the bases. Punto was next and lined a single to right, moving everyone up a base and tying the game at 1-1. Lee struck the pitcher Westbrook out for the second out before Theriot singled to right. Berkman scored easily to make it 2-1, but Lee took the throw from right and threw Molina out at home to end the inning.

Lee set the Cards down in order in the fifth and the sixth.

Punto led off the seventh with a single and pitcher Kyle Lohse hit for the pitcher Westbrook and Lohse bunted Punto to second with the first out. Theriot walked, putting men on first and second for the Cardinals, and Jay followed that with a single to center. Punto scored to extend the lead to 3-1 with Theriot taking second. Stutes took over for Lee and got Pujols to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

That could have been worse. Again Lee gives up a walk in the inning, but the Cards don’t need it to help them score this time.

Romero started the eighth and got the leadoff hitter Holliday before hitting Berkman with a pitch. Craig flew to center for the second out before Molina dribbled a single between short and third and under the glove of Rollins. Punto flew to Mayberry to leave the runners at first and second.

Romero threw 20 pitches in the game. Stutes threw five.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jake Westbrook went (1) Rollins (2) Valdez (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Mayberry (6) Francisco (7) Orr (8) Ruiz. Polanco gets the day off with a tight back. Valdez starts at third with Ibanez moved up to the three-spot in the order. Victorino on the bench with a hamstring. Mayberry in center with Francisco in right, which is a whole lot better than anything that involves Martinez starting in the outfield. The lefty Orr at second. There’s some ugly to spread around there with Polanco and Victorino out and no good option at second anyway, but Valdez shouldn’t ever be hitting second.

The Phils went in order in the first. Valdez tried to bunt, which is a good idea for several reasons including Pujols at third and being Valdez, but Westbrook handled it and threw it to first to get him for the second out.

Howard led off the top of the second with a walk. Mayberry was next and hit a ground ball to third with Pujols fielding and throwing to second for the first out. Mayberry stole second before Francisco singled to left, scoring Mayberry without a play at the plate to put the Phils up 1-0. Orr was next and hit a ball that Westbrook fielded. Westbrook threw to second to force Francisco for the second out with Orr safe at first. Just for a second, though, cause Westbrook picked Orr of first to set the Phillies down.

Rollins ripped a ball to right center with two outs in the first that fell and hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double. Valdez grounded to second on a nice play by Punto in shallow right to leave Rollins stranded.

Howard walked with one out in the fourth. Mayberry flew to left and Francisco flew to center to leave him stranded.

The Phils were down 2-1 when they hit in the fifth. Orr and Ruiz went down to start the inning before Lee singled into center. Rollins moved him to second with a single, but Valdez grounded to third to turn the Phils away.

Howard walked with one out in the sixth, but Mayberry hit into a double-play behind him.

The Phils went in order in the seventh, with Pujols making a nice play on a ball hit hard by Francisco for the first out.

With righty Eduardo Sanchez on the mound for the Cardinals and the Phils down 3-1, Gload hit for Stutes to start the eighth and singled to center. Rollins hit into a double-play behind him. Polanco hit for Valdez and struck out looking for the third out.

Ibanez, Howard and Mayberry went in order in the ninth.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double in the game, which was the only extra-base hit for the Phils. His batting average for balls in play is .301 for the season.

Valdez was 0-for-3 with three men left on base. He’s hitting 214/225/271 against right-handed pitching for the year. The Phillies have now given him 460 plate appearances since the start of 2010 in which he has hit 252/297/344. He’s really not the guy you want hitting second.

Ibanez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his first action of the year hitting third. He’s 0-for-his-last-10.

Howard 0-for-1 with three walks. 0-for-his-last-9 with three walks.

Francisco 1-for-3 with an RBI. 108/327/108 over his last 50 plate appearances. He slugged .455 through April 27 and has slugged .146 in 55 plate appearances since.

Orr was 0-for-3. He’s slugging .298 for the year. Phillies second baseman have combined to hit 228/281/279 for the season, for a .560 OPS that’s the worst in the NL. The Fish were behind them last night before Omar Infante went 3-for-4.

Ruiz was 0-for-3. He’s 1-for-his-last-30 and hitting 033/211/033 over his last 38 plate appearances.

Roy Oswalt (3-1, 3.33) faces lefty Jaime Garcia (5-0, 1.89) tonight. Garcia finished third for NL Rookie of the Year last season and has allowed one run in 16 innings over his last two starts. He faced the Phillies twice in 2010 (May 3 and July 21, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.00 ratio. Oswalt has made five starts on the year, going six innings in each of the first four and allowing two runs or less each time before allowing five runs in three innings against the Diamondbacks before hitting the DL after his April 26 start.

This says that Utley will not return this week, but that it’s likely he’ll be back in the majors before May 30.


Phils still hoping someone on the pitching staff might meet them in St Louis

The Phillies have started the second half with three awful starts in five games by the stating rotation. Throw in a late home run by Aramis Ramirez in a close game in Chicago and you’ve got 1-4 to start the second half for the Phils when they were looking for a whole lot more.

Last night the Phils gave Kendrick an early 3-0 lead and things looked good through the first out of the fifth inning. After the first out in the fifth, though, the next eight St Louis batters went walk, double, home run, ground out, home run, home run, ground out, home run. Things didn’t look so good anymore.

In the five games since the All-Star break the Phillies have pitched to a 7.46 ERA and a 1.61 ratio. Opponents are hitting .317 against them and they’ve allowed more than two home runs per game (11 in five games).

The Phillies are 48-44 on the season after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 8-4 last night. They have lost four of five and are in third place in the NL East. They trail the first place Braves by six games and the second place Mets by a half game.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and three walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and three home runs. He struck out two.

He had a 3-0 lead when he started the bottom of the first. Felipe Lopez led off with a single and moved to third when Jon Jay followed with a ground-rule double. Albert Pujols hit a ground ball to short for the first out. Lopez scored to cut the lead to 3-1 with Jay holding second. Colby Rasmus was next and hit the ball hard, but Valdez made the play at second for the second out as Jay went to third. Kendrick struck Allen Craig out swinging to end the inning.

Kendrick walked Skip Schumaker on four pitches to start the second. Schumaker stole second before Kendrick walked Yadier Molina on five pitches. It brought the pitcher Blake Hawksworth to the plate and he bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Nine-hitter Brendan Ryan followed and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins went to first for the second out with Schumaker scoring to cut the lead to 3-2. Lopez grounded to second to leave Molina stranded.

Eight balls in nine pitches to start the inning isn’t the way to go. Kendrick got off easy.

Pujols doubled with one out in the third and moved to third when Rasmus followed with a fly ball to center. Kendrick got Craig on a fly ball to left for the third out.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 fourth with the Phillies up 4-2.

Ryan flew to center for the first out in the fifth before Lopez walked. Jay doubled to center and Lopez scored to make it 4-3. Pujols pounded a 1-0 pitch out to left and the Cards were on top 5-4. Kendrick got Rasmus on a ground ball to first before Craig and Schumaker hit back-to-back home runs. 7-4. Molina grounded to short to finally end the inning.

Just the three home runs in the frame for St Louis. First career homer for Craig.

Durbin started the sixth with the Phils still down three. Switch-hitter Randy Winn hit for the pitcher Hawksworth and hit a 2-0 pitch out to right to put the Cards up 8-4. Jay walked with two outs, but Durbin got Pujols on a ground ball to third for to leave him stranded.

Romero got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Madson threw a 1-2-3 eighth to drop his ERA on the year to 6.08.

The Phillies didn’t even have to pitch the ninth, what with having already lost and all.

Nice to see the bullpen pitch a little better. Durbin did give up the solo shot to Winn, but it was the only hit or walk the relievers surrendered over three innings.

Romero was pitching for the second day in a row. Durbin threw 23 pitches in the game. Romero and Madson both threw 12.

The Phillies lineup against righty Blake Hawksworth went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Victorino (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez at second with Utley on the DL. Ibanez and his .399 slugging percentage for the season hit third.

Polanco reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Pujols with one out in the first. He moved to second on a single by Ibanez. It brought Howard to the plate with two men on and he doubled into right. Polanco scored to put the Phils up 1-0 with Ibanez moving to third. Werth popped out to first for the second out, but Victorino picked him up with a single into center that scored both runners and made it 3-0. Ruiz singled to right before Valdez flew to left for the third out.

No RBI for Werth with one out and men on second and third.

The lead was cut to 3-1 when Kendrick walked to start the second. Rollins was next and hit a ball to second with Kendrick forced at second for the second out. Polanco hit into a double-play.

Werth reached on an infield single on a ball hit out in front of the plate with two outs in the third and the lead at 3-2. He was picked off of first to end the frame.

Ruiz doubled with one out in the fourth. Valdez lined to short for the second out before Kendrick walked again. Rollins singled into center and Ruiz scored, putting the Phillies up 4-2. Polanco popped to second to leave both runners stranded.

Ibanez started the fifth with a single, but Howard hit into a double-play behind him. Werth walked before Victorino grounded to second for the third out.

The Cardinals were winning 7-4 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Hawksworth got Ruiz and Valdez to start the inning and Dobbs hit for Kendrick. Dobbs singled softly to left, but Rollins grounded to second to turn the Phillies away.

Howard and Werth singled back-to-back in the seventh with two outs and the Phils down 8-4. It put men on first and third for Victorino, but Victorino fouled out to the catcher to leave both men stranded.

Righty Jason Motte got the first two in the eighth before Gload hit for Romero. Gload singled, but Rollins grounded to second to end the frame.

Two hits in two at-bats for the two lefties on the Phillies bench.

Ibanez walked with one out in the ninth and Howard hit into a double-play behind him.

Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-20 with two singles.

Polanco was 1-for-5. 4-for-14 with four singles since his return.

Ibanez 2-for-4 in the game. 6-for-his-last-13.

Howard was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He’s 8-for-20 with a double and two home runs since the break.

Werth 2-for-3 with a walk. 4-for-17 with a double and six walks since the break.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with two RBI. 7-for-23 with a double and a homer over the last five games. He’s walked once in his last 74 at-bats. On-basing .271 in July.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double. 4-for-16 since the break.

Valdez was 0-for-4. 3-for-16 since the break. Among the 265 NL players with 175 plate appearances for the season, his .268 on-base percentage is 258th.

Jamie Moyer (9-9, 4.88) faces righty Chris Carpenter (10-3, 3.16) tonight. Moyer has a 1.09 ratio to go with his 4.88 ERA. He’s walked just 20 in 110 2/3 innings and opponents are hitting just .238 against him. Things would be better if he hadn’t given up 20 home runs on the year. He’s been hit hard in each of his last two starts, allowing 13 runs in 8 1/3 innings in the outings combined. Carpenter has been great again this year, but had two weak outings in a row before holding the Dodgers to a run over eight innings his last time out.


Phils find strong signs of life among the ruins of their World Series heroes

If you’ve been confused by Cole Hamels over the past couple of years, last night’s outing probably isn’t going to help much. Hamels was awesome, throwing hard and deep into the game. It was his second start of the season that was absolutely fantastic — in his other four outings he’s thrown to a 6.35 ERA and allowed 28 hits and ten walks in 22 2/3 innings.

He took a 1-0 lead into the top of the ninth last night. The Cards did tie the game up, but Ruiz sent the Phillies fans home happy when he hammered a Blake Hawksworth offering in the tenth out to left to give the Phils a 2-1 win. Ruiz drove in both of the Phillies runs in the game.

Hamels wasn’t the only Phillies pitcher who has struggled recently that came up big last night. The game also featured an impressive outing by Brad Lidge. Lidge entered in the ninth inning with nobody out and a man on second and got out of it, blowing away Brendan Ryan with one out and men on first and third before getting a fly ball to center to end the threat. It wasn’t quite striking out Eric Hinske to win the World Series and end a post-season that saw him allow one run in 9 1/3 innings while striking out 13, but now is not the time to quibble.

The Phillies are 15-11 on the season after beating the St Louis Cardinals 2-1 in ten innings last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing one run on eight hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out eight.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He struck out Matt Holliday and David Freese to start the second before Yadier Molina singled to left. Joe Mather grounded to short to end the frame.

He set the Cards down in order in the third.

Hamels walked Ryan Ludwick on five pitches to start the fourth. Albert Pujols was next and flew to Ibanez in shallow left for the first out. Hamels struck out Matt Holliday for the second out before Freese moved Ludwick to second with a single to left. Molina hit a ball back up the middle, but Castro made a nice play to get the Phils out of the frame. He fielded behind second and made a strong throw to get Molina for the third out.

Very nice play by Castro, who has been solid defensively filling in for Rollins.

Joe Mather singled to start the fifth. The pitcher Wainwright tried to bunt him to second but struck out for the first out. Brendan Ryan hit a ground ball to short with Mather forced at second for the second out. A Tyler Greene single to center moved Ryan to third and Ludwick walked to load the bases for Pujols. Pujols popped to Utley on the first pitch from Hamels for the third out.

Holliday singled to start the sixth, but Freese grounded into a double-play behind him. Yadier Molina singled and stole second, but Mather struck out to leave him stranded.

Hamels mowed the Cards down in order in the seventh and again in the eighth.

He started the ninth up 1-0. Freese led off and lined a double to center. Molina was next and he doubled into to right field corner, scoring Freese and tying the game at 1-1. Manuel brought in Lidge to face the righty Mather. Lefty Skip Schumaker hit for Mather and moved Molina to third with a ground out to Howard. Lefty Colby Rasmus hit for the pitcher Wainwright and Lidge walked him intentionally. It brought up Ryan with one out and men on first and third and Lidge struck him out swinging at three pitches in a row. Lefty Jon Jay flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

Lidge comes up huge in a big spot for the Phils, entering a tie game in the ninth with a man on second and nobody out and keeping him from scoring. Striking out Ryan with one out and men on first and third was enormous.

Contreras pitched the tenth. He allowed a one out double to Pujols, but struck Holliday out behind him and got Freese to pop to first to end the frame.

Contreras threw 16 pitches in the game and Lidge 12. That’s two good outings in a row for Lidge, who has struck out three in two innings over his last two times out. Contreras has now struck out 14 in 7 2/3 innings for the year and allowed one run. Opponents are hitting .185 against him and he hasn’t walked a batter.

The Phillies lineup against righty Adam Wainwright went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Nothing new there with Castro at short and Victorino hitting leadoff with Rollins on the DL.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Ibanez walked with two outs in the second, but Castro struck out behind him.

Ruiz chopped a double down the third base line and into the left field corner to start the third. Hamels bunted right in front of the plate. Molina pounced on the ball and threw to third. Freese put down a high tag on Ruiz, but Ruiz was called out for the first out. Victorino followed with a single to left that moved Hamels to second. Polanco hit a double-play ball to short, but Tyler Greene’s relay to first was in the first and Pujols didn’t pick it cleanly. It put men on first and third with two down for Utley, but Utley flew to center.

Molina made a nice play on Hamels bunt, but the pitchers need to do a better job with the bunts or stop bunting. Blanton bunted into two double-plays in Monday night’s game.

Werth singled to center with one out in the fourth and Ibanez walked behind him. Castro hit into a double-play to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Polanco hit a ball to third that Freese didn’t handle to start the sixth. Polanco wound up on second on the two-base error. Utley moved him to third with a ground ball to second. Howard was next and hit a ball hard on the ground to first, but Pujols took it and beat Howard to first for the second out with Polanco holding third. Werth grounded softly to third on a nice play by Freese to leave Polanco stranded.

No run for the Phils with one out and a man on third. Howard hit the ball hard, just right to Pujols. He’s on pace to drive in 112 runs this year, which would be his lowest mark for a season in which he got 350 plate appearances.

Ibanez tripled to right center to start the seventh. Castro grounded to short with Ibanez holding for the first out. Ruiz was next, though, and he hit a fly ball to right deep enough to score Ibanez and put the Phils up 1-0. Hamels hit for himself and struck out for the third out.

No RBI for Castro with one out and a man on third.

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

The game was tied at 1-1 when they hit in the ninth with lefty Dennys Reyes on in relief for Wainwright. Reyes walked Howard and righty Blake Hawksworth came in to pitch to Werth. Werth struck out for the first out. Ibanez got to hit against the righty, but he flew to center for the second out. Castro grounded to second to end the inning.

Ruiz faced Hawksworth in the tenth. He hit a laser on the first pitch he saw, way out to left but foul. He got ahead 2-1 and then straightened it out, popping one over the fence in left to give the Phils a 2-1 win.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Polanco 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 3-for-his-last-21.

Utley 0-for-4 and left three men on base.

Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Werth 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Ibanez was 1-for-2 with a huge triple and a pair of walks. 293/400/512 over his last 50 plate appearances.

Castro was 0-for-4 to drop his average to .254. He left five men on base.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run. He drove in both of the runs that the Phillies scored.

Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 7.61) faces righty Brad Penny (3-1, 1.56) tonight. Kendrick has made five starts — one was great and the other four were very bad. Penny hasn’t allowed a home run in his five starts. Righties are hitting .197 against him for the year.

Ryan Madson will be out for at least eight weeks. That’s atrocious.

Shane Victorino and Nelson Figueroa share their opinions on the use of a taser against a fan during Monday’s game in this article.

I added a section to the Start Log that shows the pace the Phillies are on for runs scored and runs allowed.


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