Tag: Astros

Houston? We have a solution

After dropping two straight one-run games to the Astros, the Phils made sure it was going to take 16 runs if Houston was going to pull off that particular feat for a third day in a row. The Phillies cruised behind an offensive explosion this afternoon, overcoming Cole Hamels’ worst start of the year.

Coming off two brilliant starts, Hamels allowed six runs in four innings.

The Phils leave Houston with a big win, but it’s hard to ignore the two tough losses that preceded it. In both of those games the Phils seemed to have the Astros on the ropes late in the game but came away empty.

The Phillies beat the Houston Astros this afternoon, winning 15-6 to improve to 28-24 on the season. The teams split the four-game set.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He didn’t strike out a batter. He has at least four strikeouts in each of his other starts this season.

He got the first two in the first before Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman singled back-to-back. It put men on first and third for Carlos Lee. Lee fouled off a 2-2 pitch and his backswing caught home plate umpire Jerry Crawford in the back of the head. Crawford was unable to continue and the game had to be delayed for 12 minutes. When it resumed, Lee hammered Hamels’ second pitch out to left to put the Astros up 3-0. Hunter Pence popped to second for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 second.

With the game tied at 3-3 in the third, Hamels walked Michael Bourn to start the inning and Kaz Matsui moved Bourn to second with a single. Tejada grounded to short and Matsui was forced at second for the first out, but Utley double-clutched the throw to first so the Phils didn’t get the double-play. With men on first and third and one out, Berkman hit the first pitch of his at-bat into right field for a single. Bourn scored and the Astros led 4-3 with men on first and second. Tejada stole third and scored when Lee grounded to short, making it 5-3. Pence flew to center to end the inning.

Not an error by Utley as the Phils don’t get the double-play on Tejada’s ball, but it cost the Phils a run.

Ty Wigginton led off the fourth with a double with the Phils down 5-4. JR Towles popped to second for the first out before the pitcher Chris Sampson singled to right and Wigginton moved to third. Bourn grounded to short and Sampson was forced at second. Utley made a strong relay this time, but Bourn was just too fast to double-up. Wigginton scored and it was 6-4. Bourn stole second before Matsui grounded to third to end the inning.

Seanez started the fifth with the Phils still down 6-4. He got the first two before Lee walked and stole second. Pence reached on an infield single that moved Lee to third with two down. Wigginton was next and he ripped a ball down the third base line for what would have been a double but was ruled foul. With the exit of the home plate umpire the crew was one ump short and the home plate ump had to make the call on the ball that looked like it went over the bag. He called it foul but was probably wrong. Wigginton walked to load the bases, but Towles grounded to short for the third out.

Romero was up 9-6 when he started the sixth. Mark Loretta doubled to start the inning, but Seanez got the next three.

Up 15-6, Madson threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Madson allowed a two out single to Darin Erstad in the eighth, but got Bourn to pop to short to end the inning.

Condrey threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

Long day for the pen, but in the five innings they pitched the Phils outscored the Astros 11-0. Seanez 24 pitches, Madson 22, Romero 17 and Condrey seven. None of those guys had pitched since Friday so there’s a chance you could see any of them tomorrow night against the Rockies.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Chris Sampson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.

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

Down 3-0 in the second, Burrell walked with one out and Jenkins followed with his third home run of the year. It made the score 3-2. Feliz and Ruiz went down behind him.

Huge hit for Jenkins after the Astros had jumped out to the early lead.

Hamels singled to start the third and moved to third when Rollins followed with a double. Victorino grounded to second for the first out with the runners unable to advance. Utley flew to center deep enough for Hamels to score and tie the game at 3-3 with Rollins going to third. Howard walked, but Burrell popped out for the third out.

With two outs in the fourth, Ruiz doubled and Hamels followed with a single to right that scored Ruiz and cut the Houston lead to 5-4. Rollins flew to left for the third out.

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

They started the sixth down 6-4. Burrell led off with a home run just out to left. 6-5. Jenkins singled and moved to third on a double by Feliz. Ruiz singled to right and the runners moved up a base. 6-6 with men on first and third and no outs. Bruntlett hit for Seanez and walked to load the bases. Rollins hit a slow ground ball to second. Matsui wanted to tag Bruntlett and throw to first for the double-play, but Bruntlett did a nice job to stop in between first and second. Matsui threw to first to get Rollins, but Bruntlett was safe at second as Feliz scored to put the Phils up 7-6. Victorino ripped a double down the left-field line. Feliz and Bruntlett both scored to put the Phils up 9-6. Utley grounded to second and Howard flew to left to end the frame.

Burrell doubled to start the seventh and moved to third when Jenkins followed with a single. Taguchi ran for Burrell at third before Feliz hit a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Taguchi scored and it was 10-6. Jenkins went to second. Ruiz tried to bunt and struck out bunting foul for the first out. Dobbs hit for Romero and tripled into the right field corner, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 12-6. It really should have been a double, but when Matsui took the relay from Pence he looked at home and allowed Dobbs to go to third. Rollins grounded to second for the second out before Victorino drove Dobbs home with a single. 13-6. Utley bombed a 2-0 pitch into the second deck in right-center. 15-6. Howard struck out for the third out.

Bunting with Ruiz is pretty absurd there.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the eighth and 1-2-3 in the ninth. Bohn hit for Madson in the ninth and grounded out for the second out.

Rollins was 1-for-6 in the game with a double and an RBI. 7-for-20 with four doubles in the four game series. 321/367/527 on the year.

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. 7-for-20 with a double in the series. 270/325/375 for the season.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in the series. 2-for-13 in the series. 303/385/616 on the year.

Howard was 0-for-4 with a walk and struck out twice. 5-for-17 with two doubles and two home runs in the series. 204/303/471 for the season. He’s slugging .609 in May.

Burrell was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and a home run. 5-for-11 with two doubles and three home runs in the series. 283/421/602 for the year.

Jenkins 3-for-5 with a home run. 4-for-14 in the set. 283/318/391.

Feliz was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 6-for-16 with a double in the series. 257/301/434 for the year. He’s hitting 310/341/512 in May.

Ruiz 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 4-for-13 in the series. 246/310/314. Coste was 2-for-6 in the series and is hitting 329/396/524 for the season.

On Saturday night, the Phillies lost to the Astros 4-3.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out two. Over hit last two starts he’s allowed nine doubles in 12 innings.

He started the first up 1-0. Bourn singled and stole second after Matsui struck out. Berkman walked and Lee doubled in both runners to put Houston up 2-1. Pence flew to center for the third out.

He hit Wigginton to start the second, but got a double-play and a ground out to turn the Astros away.

Matsui walked with one out in the third and went to third when Tejada followed with a double. Myers walked Berkman intentionally to load the bases with one out, but got Lee on an inning-ending double-play ground ball to third.

With the Phils up 3-2 in the fourth, Wigginton doubled with one out but Myers got the next two to leave him stranded.

Bourn doubled to start the fifth. Matsui bunted but popped it up to Myers. Tejada flew to center and Bourn went to third. Myers walked Berkman for the third time in five innings. Lee was next and ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left-field corner. Bourn scored to tie the game at 3-3 as Berkman went to third and Burrell threw to second. The ball got away from Utley at second and Berkman stormed home, but Howard picked up the ball as it rolled towards first and threw home. Coste tagged Berkman out to end the inning.

Wigginton reached on an infield single with one out in the sixth. Ausmus flew to left for the second out on a nice play by Burrell near the wall. Burrell threw to first to try to double Wigginton off, but Howard didn’t handle the throw and Wigginton went to second on the play. Miserable defense at first from Howard in the series and it cost the Phils again on Saturday. Mark Loretta hit for the pitcher Brian Moehler and singled into left-center. Wigginton scored to put the Astros up 4-3. Bourn grounded to first for the third out.

Second time in two games a play not made by Howard in which he isn’t charged with an error contributes to the Phillies giving up a run. The Phils lost both of those games by one run.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phils down 4-3. Tejada singled with one out, but Durbin got the next two to turn Houston away.

Durbin pitched the eighth as well. Pence led off with a single but Coste threw him out stealing second. Durbin struck out Wigginton and Ausmus to end the inning.

Again we see Durbin pitch much later in the game, and in a one-run game, than we have during the early parts of the season. Neither Gordon or Romero had pitched on Friday and Manuel called on Durbin to throw 27 pitches in a one-run game.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Brian Moehler went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Coste catches against the righty.

With one out in the first, Victorino reached on an error by Berkman and stole second. Utley walked before Howard doubled to left, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 1-0 with men on second and third. Burrell hit a ball to third and Wigginton came home where Utley was tagged out for the second out. Jenkins popped to second for the third out.

Phils can’t score again after putting men on second and third with one out.

Myers singled with two outs in the second, but Rollins grounded to first for the third out.

With one out in the third, Utley was hit by a pitch. Howard followed and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 3-2. Burrell and Jenkins grounded out behind him.

1-2-3 in the fourth.

Victorino singled with one out in the fifth, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

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

Coste and Taguchi, hitting for Myers, went down to start the seventh before Rollins doubled. Victorino grounded to first to end the frame with the Phils down 4-3.

Taguchi doesn’t have a hit in May. 0-for-11. No hits isn’t good, but it’s hard to feel like he’s worth a spot on the roster if he’s going to get so few opportunities. It’s not going to happen with Werth on the DL, or probably ever, but I still think the Phils should consider giving that roster spot to a third catcher.

Still down a run in the eighth, Burrell drew a two out walk and Bohn ran for him at first. Lefty Wesley Wright came in to pitch and Bruntlett hit for Jenkins. Bruntlett grounded to third for the third out.

Jenkins is a better hitter than Bruntlett. I would let him hit against a lefty there if Bruntlett is the other choice.

Feliz and Coste started the ninth with back-to-back singles off of righty Doug Brocail. Ruiz ran for Coste at first and Dobbs hit for Durbin. Brocail stepped off the rubber and threw to second, but there was nobody covering second. The runners moved to second and third with two outs. Dobbs fisted a ball to shallow center for the first out. Rollins was walked intentionally to load the bases. Victorino got ahead 2-0 and hit a fly ball to left and Feliz tagged and tried to score. Darin Erstad made a strong throw home without a cut, slightly up the first base line. Ausmus took the throw and tagged Feliz out on a close play as Feliz slid into home to end the game.

I’ve heard some criticism today about the 2-0 pitch that Victorino swung at. It may not have been a good pitch to hit, but at least it looks to me like it was a strike. The result was unfortunate, but I don’t have a problem with Victorino swinging at the pitch.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double.

Victorino 1-for-5.

Utley 0-for-2 with a walk.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and a home run and drove in all three of the Phillies’ runs.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Jenkins 0-for-3.

Feliz 1-for-4.

Coste 1-for-4.

Jamie Moyer (4-3, 4.37) faces lefty Jorge De La Rosa (1-2, 7.78) tomorrow night as the Phils play the first of three against the Rockies in Philadelphia. De la Rosa has made four starts for the Rockies this year and hasn’t gone six innings in any of them. It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do in right without Werth against the lefty. Moyer is 2-0 in his last two starts and has allowed three runs over 12 2/3 innings.


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.


The middle rages

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
HOU 27-21 234 4.88 3 747 (7) 54 13
PHI 26-22 232 4.83 4 776 (6) 30 6

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
HOU 27-21 221 4.60 9 4.68 (13) 3.75 (8)
PHI 26-22 208 4.33 7 4.48 (8) 2.92 (1)

The middle of the Phillies order has been mostly missing in May as the 3-4-5 of Utley, Howard and Burrell have done just about zilch. Not last night, though. Ryan Howard banged the ball around the yard for the second straight game, but the biggest swing of the night came off the bat of Burrell. With the game tied at 5-5 in the eighth, Burrell bounced off the bench and bopped a ball just out to left to put the Phils on top to stay.

The Phils again got great work from their bullpen. The pen gave them four innings and were not charged with a run.

The bad news on the night was a weak start from Kyle Kendrick, whose ERA is over 5.00 for the season, and an injury to Jayson Werth. Werth hurt his right oblique and had to leave early. Losing Werth for a stretch of games would be a big blow to the Phils, forcing Jenkins to play against lefties or Taguchi, Bruntlett or Dobbs to see regular time as a corner outfielder.

The Phillies beat the Houston Astros last night in the first game of a four-game set. They won 7-5 to improve to 27-22 on the year and have won three in a row. Tonight they have a chance to go six games over .500 for the first time this season and win four in a row for the first time this season.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out two. His ERA is up to 5.19.

Michael Bourn led off the first with a single. Kendrick got Kaz Matsui on a line out to second before Miguel Tejada hit a ground ball to short. Bourn was forced at second for the first out with Tejada safe at first. The red hot Lance Berkman was next and he smashed a ball just over Dobbs in left for a double. Tejada scored and Houston led 1-0. Carlos Lee crushed the first pitch of his at-bat, but Victorino took it to end the inning.

Kendrick started the second with the game tied at 1-1. Hunter Pence led off with a walk and moved to third when Ty Wigginton followed with a single. Brad Ausmus flew to right for the first out and Pence tagged and scored. Jenkins’ throw home was terrible, up the third base line, but Pence probably would have been safe even if it had been on line. The pitcher Roy Oswalt bunted Wigginton to second, but Kendrick struck out Bourn for the third out.

Up 4-2 in the third, Kendrick gave up a two out single to Berkman. Lee flew to right for the third out.

With one out in the fourth, Wigginton dumped a ball into right-center. Victorino got to it quickly, but his throw to second was off target and Wigginton was safe with a double. Ausmus hit a slow ground ball to short for the second out and Wigginton moved to third. Oswalt grounded out to end the inning.

With the Phils up 5-2 in the fifth, Bourn led off with a single and stole second after Matsui flew to left for the first out. Tejada fouled out to Ruiz and Berkman popped to short. Kendrick had thrown 79 pitches through five innings.

Kendrick hit Lee with a pitch to start the sixth. Pence followed with a single that moved him to second. Wigginton was next and he ripped the first pitch of his at-bat into the left field corner. Both runners scored and the Phils’ lead was cut to 5-4. With the righty Ausmus at the plate, Madson came in to pitch and Ausmus bunted Wigginton to third for the first out. Geoff Blum hit for Oswalt and Romero came in to pitch to the switch-hitter Blum. Blum didn’t have a hit against lefties on the season (0-for-10). He singled into left, of course, and Wigginton scored to tie the game at 5-5. Romero struck out Bourn for the second out and got Matsui to ground to short for the third out.

Durbin started the seventh with the score tied at 5-5. Berkman doubled with one out, but Durbin got Lee to ground to third and Pence to pop to Ruiz in foul territory to leave him stranded.

Gordon threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a 7-5 lead. He has a 1.86 ERA in May after throwing to a 1.80 ERA in April. In his one appearance in March he allowed five runs in a third of an inning (135.00 ERA).

Lidge pitched the ninth with a two run lead. He gave up a two out single to Tejada, which brought up Berkman as the tying run. Berkman flew to left on the first pitch of his at-bat to end the game.

It will be over-shadowed by Burrell’s big swing and Howard’s night, but the bullpen was fantastic for the Phillies again last night. After Kendrick left in the sixth, the pen went four innings without being charged a run. They allowed three hits and didn’t walk a batter. Romero gave up the single to Blum with the run charged to Kendrick, but otherwise they kept the Astros in check for four frames.

Durbin was used in the seventh inning, which is later than we have generally seen him this year.

Manuel has backed off on his use of Romero significantly in April and that’s a very good sign. After making 13 appearances in April, Romero has made just eight in May and they haven’t been particularly good. In 6 1/3 innings he’s thrown to a 4.26 ERA with a 1.89 ERA. Romero was fantastic but overused in the early part of the season. Maybe that’s something that can be remedied with less use and maybe it isn’t. We’ll see. Four days in a row April 29 through May 2 was a poor idea.

Despite having to throw four innings, the only guy to throw more than ten pitches out of the Phillies’ pen last night was Lidge. He threw 13.

Berkman was 3-for-5 with two doubles against the Phils last night. He’s hitting 506/573/935 with eight home runs in 74 at-bats in May. How badly he hurts the Phils is going to be critical in the three remaining games of the set.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Roy Oswalt went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Feliz (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. The slumping Burrell gets the night off against the tough righty. Dobbs plays left. Jenkins in right, giving the Phils four lefties in five hitters three through seven in the order. Victorino again in center with Werth on the bench. Ruiz catches.

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

Down 1-0 in the second, the Phils loaded the bases with nobody out on singles by Howard and Feliz and a walk to Jenkins. Dobbs popped to second for the first out. Ruiz followed with a single into right and everyone moved up a base with Howard scoring to tie the game at 1-1. Kendrick grounded to short and Tejada threw home to force Feliz for the second out. Rollins grounded to third to end the frame.

One run out of bases loaded and nobody out.

Victorino started the third with an infield single and move to second when Utley followed with a walk. Howard doubled into left. Victorino scored to tie the game at 2-2 and Utley went to third. Feliz laced the first pitch of his at-bat back through the middle for a single. Utley scored to make it 3-2 and Howard held third with nobody out. Jenkins hit a fly ball to center. Not very deep, but Howard tagged anyway and Bourn’s throw was ridiculously bad. Howard scored easily and Feliz went to second with the Phils up 4-2. Dobbs and Ruiz both grounded out to leave Feliz stranded.

Rollins doubled to center with one out in the fourth. Victorino and Utley went down behind him.

Howard led off the fifth with a long home run to left that put the Phils up 5-2. Jenkins singled with one out, but Dobbs and Ruiz went down behind him.

Kendrick started the sixth with a single, but Rollins followed and hit into a double-play. Victorino singled before Utley flew to Bourn on the warning track to end the frame.

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

With lefty Wesley Wright on the mound, Burrell hit for Dobbs to start the eighth. He hit a 3-2 pitch just out to left, putting the Phils up 6-5. Ruiz followed with a walk. Werth was next and grounded to short. Ruiz was forced at second for the first out. Werth clearly had something wrong with his side or lower back, but stayed in the game. A single by Rollins moved Werth to second, where he was replaced by pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett. Victorino popped to short for the second out, but Utley followed and singled into right. Bruntlett scored to put the Phils up 7-5 and Rollins went to third. Howard struck out to end the frame.

Feliz walked to start the ninth. Taguchi grounded to short behind him and Feliz was forced at second. Coste hit for Gordon and singled, putting men on first and second for Ruiz. Ruiz flew to center for the second out and Bruntlett popped to short to leave the runners stranded.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double.

Victorino 2-for-5. He’s 5-for-his-last-10.

Utley 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Howard 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI.

Feliz 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 7-for-his-last-13.

Jenkins 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

Dobbs 0-for-3 and left five men on base.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Adam Eaton (0-2, 5.59) faces righty Brandon Backe (3-5, 4.58) tonight. Righties are hitting just .240 against Backe, lefties .309. In 55 innings he’s walked 29, which is a lot. He’s also given up ten home runs. He’s been better in his four starts at home, 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.48 ratio, than he has away (1-4 with a 5.46 ERA and a 1.66 ratio in six starts). He faced the Phillies once this season, on April 7, and it was his worst outing of the year. The Phils scored six runs on ten hits over just three innings. Eaton hasn’t gotten an out in the sixth inning in any of his last three starts. Over his last three outings he’s allowed 12 runs in 14 innings while walking ten. His walk rate is actually up compared to last season. He faced the Astros once this season and pitched well. On April 15 he held Houston to three runs over six innings.


Bench-clearing maul

Brett Myers is the latest Phil to give the team a fantastic start. Including his outing yesterday afternoon, the rotation has provided eight quality starts in the last ten games. Over those ten games, their starting pitchers have thrown 61 1/3 innings and been charged with 20 earned runs while allowing 49 hits and 21 walks. That’s a 2.93 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. The Phils went 6-4 in those ten games — their record would have been much better if they had been able to put some runs on the board.

Yesterday the Phillies cleared off their bench and finally got some hitting to go with the pitching. Taguchi, Dobbs and Coste all got starts and combined to go 8-for-15, score four runs and drive in three.

The Phils jumped out early and were up 6-1 by the end of the fourth inning. They cruised to a win behind seven strong innings from Brett Myers.

Each of the last two games the Phils have won they have gotten a contribution from their bench. On Tuesday Chris Snelling started the ninth with a pinch-hit home run before the Phils added three more in the inning to get a 4-3 win.

The Phillies beat the Houston Astros yesterday, winning 10-2 to improve to 8-8 on the season. The Phils win the three-game set two games to one. It’s the second straight series win for the Phillies after taking two of three from the Cubs earlier this week.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight, which is the most he has struck out in a start since opening day last year against the Braves.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 first.

In the second, Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada started the inning with back-to-back singles. It put men on first and second for Geoff Blum and Blum lined a ball to short. Bruntlett made a nice play to get the first out. Myers struck out Darrin Erstad for the second out before Humberto Quintero singled to right. Jenkins was on the ball quickly and threw home. Not a great throw, and up the first base line a little, but Lee was out easily trying to score to end the inning.

Michael Bourn walked with one out in the third. Myers struck out Mark Loretta for the second out before Bourn stole second. Myers got Lance Berkman swinging at a 2-2 pitch to set the Astros down.

Tejada homered to right with one out in the fourth, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 4-1. Myers struck out Blum and got Erstad to fly to left to end the frame. Myers had six strikeouts through four innings.

Quintero doubled to start the fifth, but Myers got the next three to set the Astros down.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 sixth and a 1-2-3 seventh. Nine in a row.

Gordon came in to pitch the eighth, replacing Myers, who had thrown 112 pitches. Tomas Perez led off the inning with a pinch-hit single, but Gordon got the next three to end the frame.

Condrey started the ninth with the Phils up 10-1, seeing his first action since Saturday. Lee led off and got ahead 2-1 before he homered to center. 10-2. Tejada followed with a single to left. Condrey struck out Blum and got Erstad on a ground ball back to the mound. With two outs and Tejada on first, Quintero grounded to short to end the game.

Condrey threw 17 pitches, Gordon 13. Both came into the game well-rested and should be able to go today if it comes to that.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brandon Backe went (1) Taguchi (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Coste (8) Bruntlett. The Phils clear the bench, putting Taguchi in center, Dobbs at third and Coste behind the plate. Bruntlett plays short with Rollins out with the ankle problem (he was actually unavailable for this game after the death of his uncle).

Taguchi and Dobbs singled back-to-back to start the first. Utley struck out for the first out before Howard singled to right. Taguchi scored to put the Phils up 1-0 and Dobbs went to third. Burrell was next and hit a ground ball to deep short. Tejada fielded and threw to first, but wide. Dobbs scored to make it 2-0 and Burrell had his second infield single in two days as Howard went to second. Jenkins followed with a double to center. Howard scored to make it 3-0, but Tejada’s relay from center nailed Burrell for at the plate for the second out of the inning. Coste hit it hard to third and Blum couldn’t handle it. Coste was safe on the error and Jenkins went to third. Bruntlett lined to first to leave them both stranded.

Myers walked on four pitches to start the second and Taguchi moved him to second with a single. Dobbs was next and he hammered Backe’s first pitch out but foul before flying out to left for the first out. Utley pounded a ball off the wall in right and Myers did a terrible job of reading it. Myers had to stay at third and Utley had a long single to load the bases. Howard hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Awful base-running by Myers on the ball that Utley hit costs the Phils a run.

Burrell walked to start the third and Jenkins followed and hit a ground ball to third. Blum fielded and threw to second, but his throw was bad for his second error of the game and everybody was safe. Coste was next and doubled off the wall in left. Burrell scored and Jenkins moved to third with the Phils up 4-0. Bruntlett struck out with nobody out and men on second and third. Myers followed and grounded softly to second. The runners had to hold. Taguchi grounded to third. Blum made another bad throw, but Berkman dug it out to end the inning.

Phils score a run but can’t get more after putting men on second and third with nobody out. Bruntlett’s strikeout hurt.

Dobbs started the fourth with a single and Utley followed and homered to right-center field. It put the Phillies up 6-1. Righty Dave Borowski came in to pitch for Houston and walked Howard. Burrell was next and hit a double-play ball to third, but Blum bobbled and had to throw to first to get an out. Howard was safe at second. Fourth bad play by Blum through 3 1/3 innings. Borowski walked the lefty Jenkins intentionally to set up the double-play, but Coste blooped a single into right to load the bases for Bruntlett. Bruntlett struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch for the second out. Hamels has allowed two earned runs in 22 innings in his three starts.

Second really bad at-bat in two innings for Bruntlett, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and seven men left on base through four innings.

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

Howard started the sixth with a home run to right that put the Phils up 7-1. Burrell was next and he hit one just barely out to left. 8-1. Jenkins went down on strikes before Coste singled to left, but Bruntlett and Myers went down behind Coste to end the inning.

Former Phil Geoff Geary set the Phils down 1-2-3 in the seventh to drop his ERA on the season to 2.84.

Jenkins doubled to left with two outs in the eighth. Coste followed with a two-run blast to center to put the Phils up 10-1. Bruntlett grounded to third to end the inning.

Taguchi was 2-for-5 in the game and 2-for-5 in the series. He’s hitting 286/286/429 on the season.

Dobbs was 2-for-5 and just missed a home run. 2-for-7 in the series. 250/286/300 on the year.

Utley was 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. 3-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. 317/400/651.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk. 3-for-10 with three walks in the series. 211/361/456 on the year.

Burrell was 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run. 5-for-12 with two home runs in the series, including a two-run shot in the ninth on Tuesday to tie the game. 373/492/804.

Jenkins was 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. Hopefully that breaks him out of the mini-slump. 2-for-12 in the set. 236/288/364.

Coste was 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and three RBI in his only action in the series. 400/478/850.

Bruntlett was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and eight men left on base yesterday. It was forgotten by the huge offensive output, but that was just a miserable game for him. He did make a nice play on the line drive in the second to help out Myers. 1-for-10 in the series. 176/222/265 on the year.

Feliz was 3-for-8 in the series with a ninth-inning double that won the first game. 226/281/377.

Ruiz was 1-for-5 with a walk in the series. A hide-your-eyes 186/239/233 on the year.

Werth was 2-for-8 in the series and is hitting 370/514/556 for the year.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 0.82) faces lefty Johan Santana (1-2, 3.05) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with the Mets. Santana has made three starts for the Mets and comes into the game with an 0.97 ratio. Opponents are hitting .211 against him and he’s walked just four in 20 2/3 innings. He has allowed four home runs, all of which have been hit by righties. Hamels has been fantastic. Opponents are hitting .143 against him and he’s walked just seven. He made three starts against the Mets in ’07, going 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.67 ratio. He faced them on April 9, June 7 and June 29.


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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