Tag: Ben Francisco

All about the Louis Bens

It would be all about the Benjamins if Francisco’s first name was actually Benjamin. Mostly at least. It would also be some about Cole Hamels, too. And a little about a great job by Ryan Madson to get out of a huge jam in the bottom of the eighth.

The Phils got an outstanding pitching performance from Cole Hamels last night and one big swing of the bat from Ben Francisco as they topped the Cards 3-2 in game three of the NLDS.

Hamels and St Louis lefty Jaime Garcia locked up in a pitcher’s duel that saw the Phillies come to bat in the seventh with the game scoreless. With two outs, Victorino on first and Ruiz set to hit in front of Hamels, who was clearly going to be removed for a pinch-hitter having thrown 117 pitches in the game, the lefty Garcia walked Ruiz intentionally. Francisco hit for Hamels and blasted a three-run homer to left, putting the Phils on top 3-0. The bullpen struggled for the Phillies after Hamels left. Worley allowed a run on two singles and a walk in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead to 3-1. In the eighth, another single off of Worley and two off of Lidge loaded the bases for St Louis with one out. Madson came in to try to lock down a long save and got out of the eighth on a double-play ball smashed to second by Allen Craig. Madson was charged with a run in the bottom of the ninth when Albert Pujols led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Yadier Molina, cutting the lead to 3-2. Ryan Theriot came to the plate 4-for-4 on the day as the winning run with two outs and a man on first, but Madson got him to ground to Utley at second to end the game.

The decision to walk Ruiz, 1-for-11 in the series, ahead of the pitcher’s spot with two outs in the seventh was baffling. It put another runner on base for the righty Francisco to hit against the lefty Garcia. After he homered, the St Louis comeback fell a run short. The foundation may have been Francisco’s 1-for-9 against Garcia for his career, but that was a bad idea and it hurt St Louis.

For Francisco it was a shining moment in a down season. He started for the Phillies in right field on opening day, but disappointed offensively, hitting an ugly 197/324/309 in 184 plate appearances between April 13 and June 30.

His home run last night was a much-needed lift for an offense that has seen its starters knock in zero runs in the last 16 innings.

The St Louis pen continues to befuddle the Phillies. After two scoreless innings in game three, they have thrown eight scoreless frames since being hit hard in game one.

The Phillies pen, on the other handled, struggled like they did in game one. The pen was great in game two, throwing three scoreless innings in relief of Lee. In games one and three they have allowed five runs on 11 hits and two walks over four innings. Eleven hits is more than you want to allow in four innings.

The Phils have won both of the games in which their pen has pitched badly and won the one where it didn’t.

The Phillies lead the NLDS with the St Louis Cardinals two games to one after winning game three 3-2 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six shutout innings, allowing five hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles to Albert Pujols. He struck out eight. He has allowed two earned runs over 21 innings in his last three post-season starts.

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).

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.

Hamels got Furcal on a ground ball to second for the first out of the bottom of the first. Craig popped to Rollins on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Pujols was next and doubled to center on a 2-2 pitch before Hamels hit Berkman 1-0 to put men on first and second. Berkman and Pujols pulled off a double-steal, but Hamels struck Freese out swinging 0-2 to leave them at second and third.

Molina hit a 2-2 pitch way out but foul before flying to Pence for the first out of the second. Theriot singled to right, but Hamels struck Jay out looking 3-2 for the second out and pitcher Jaime Garcia out swinging to leave Theriot at first.

Furcal went down swinging 1-2 to start the third before Craig walked on a 3-2 pitch up and away. Pujols flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the second out and Berkman grounded to Utley to end the frame.

Don’t want to walk guys ahead of Pujols and Berkman, but it worked out okay for Hamels there.

Hamels struck Freese out trying to check his swing for the first out in the fourth. Molina grounded to short for the second. Theriot was next and he dribbled an 0-2 pitch down the third base line that stayed fair for a single. Theriot stole second as the count went 2-0 on Jay, so Hamels put Jay on intentionally to pitch to Garcia with men on first and second. Garcia grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Furcal popped to Utley to start the fifth and Craig flew to center behind him. Pujols ripped an 0-1 pitch into the gap in right center where the ball rolled all the way to the wall for a double. Berkman grounded to Howard to end the inning.

Hamels got Freese looking 2-2 to start the sixth. Molina got ahead of Hamels 3-0, but Hamels came back and struck him out swinging for the second out. Theriot was next and he singled to left, bringing Jay to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Hamels walked Jay on a 3-2 pitch that was low and his 111th of the game. Hamels struck Garcia out swinging 1-2 with his 117th pitch of the game to leave both runners stranded.

Theriot was 3-for-3 in the game at that point and Freese 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Worley started the seventh with the Phils on top 3-0. Furcal grounded to first for the first out, but Worley walked Craig on a 3-2 pitch behind him. Pujols was next and he blooped a ball into right that fell between Utley and Pence, putting men on first and second for Berkman. Berkman swung at the first pitch and hit a ground ball to second, with Utley going to Rollins at second to force Pujols for the second out with Craig moving up to third. Freese was also swinging at the first pitch and singled into center, scoring Craig to make it 3-1 and moving Berkman to second. Molina flew to right on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

I’m pretty sure it’s enough with walking Craig ahead of the great hitters.

Worley was back to start the eighth and got ahead of Theriot 0-2 before Worley looped a single that dropped right in front of Pence. Fourth hit of the game for Theriot. Bastardo took over to pitch to the lefty Jay and Punto hit for Jay. Punto flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Righty Matt Holliday hit for the pitcher Fernando Salas and Lidge came in to pitch to him. Lidge threw strike one to Holliday before Holliday singled into left, moving Theriot up to second. Adron Chambers ran for Holliday at first. Furcal was next and singled to left on a 1-2 pitch, loading the bases for the Cards. Manuel called on Madson to pitch to Craig and Craig hit an 0-1 pitch hard but right at Utley. Utley ran to second then made a strong throw to first to complete the double-play and end the inning.

Just a huge pitch for Madson to get the double-play and get the Phillies out of the inning. Madson also gets out of the frame with just two pitches — important since he was coming back for the ninth. Getting a double-play also meant the guy behind Craig, Pujols, didn’t get to hit with a bunch of men on bases.

Fantastic decision by Manuel to bring in his best relief option with one out in the eighth inning.

It was good Pujols didn’t get to hit with the bases loaded cause he doubled to left to start the ninth. Madson got Berkman to fly to center on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Madson got ahead of Freese and threw an 0-2 pitch that Freese took that looked real good to me. Might have been a little high. Freese took if for ball one then grounded to second 2-2 for the second out with Pujols moving up to third. Molina was next and he lined a single into center, scoring Pujols and cutting the lead to 3-2. Pitcher Kyle Lohse ran for Molina at first and Theriot came to the plate with a 4-for-4 for the game and hitting .750 in the series. Madson got Theriot to hit a one-hopper to Utley on a 2-2 pitch with Utley going to Howard in plenty of time to end the game.

Either team could have won the game on every pitch of Theriot’s at-bat, but Madson gets the job done for his second career post-season save. The other came in game five of the 2009 World Series. Madson has pitched in every game in the series, including the one that the Phillies won by five runs. Anyone remember Juan Uribe last year or Madson pitching with five-run leads? Just saying. That just saying aside, I thought it was great Manuel brought Madson in with one out in the eighth yesterday. Less fantastic he brought him into the ninth inning of game one, which the Phils won by five runs (the Phils were actually up seven runs, 11-4, with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth when Madson entered game one).

Three ugly innings for the bullpen in which they allow two runs on seven hits and a walk. Madson threw 20 pitches in the game and Worley 18. Bastardo and Lidge were both under ten.

Pujols and Theriot both went 4-for-5 in game three. Theriot had four singles and Pujols three doubles and a single. Pujols is 7-for-13 in the series and Theriot 6-for-9.

Furcal 1-for-5 in the game and 4-for-14 in the series.

Craig 0-for-3 with two walks. He’s 1-for-10 in the series but has walked four times. The Phillies should really try to stop walking him ahead of Pujols and Berkman.

Freese 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. 2-for-12 with six strikeouts in the series.

Molina 1-for-5 in the game and 3-for-12 in the series.

Jay 0-for-1 and walked twice. 2-for-8 with three walks in the series.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jaime Garcia went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Utley (2B/L) (3) Pence (RF/R) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Victorino (CF/S) (6) Mayberry (LF/R) (7) Polanco (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). Mayberry starts in left against the lefty with Ibanez on the bench. That seems like the right decision, although Ibanez went 3-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in the first two games of the series.

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

Rollins was the first batter of the game and fouled out to Pujols. Utley grounded to first for the second out. Pence lined to Furcal at short for the third out.

Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to start the second. Victorino flew to center for the second out and Mayberry struck out swinging 0-2 for the third.

Polanco grounded to short for the first out of the third before Ruiz chopped a ball over Freese’s head and into left for a single. Hamels tried to bunt but popped the first pitch from Garcia up to Molina in foul territory for the second out. Rollins was next and he hit a ball into center that Jay may have had trouble seeing in the sun, but it would have fallen anyway. Rollins had a single and Ruiz moved up to second. Utley grounded to Pujols to leave both runners stranded.

Pence flew to Berkman on the edge of the track in right for the first out of the fourth. Howard struck out looking 2-2 for the second. Victorino grounded to third to end the frame.

Mayberry started the fifth with a ground out to short. Polanco grounded to third for the second. Ruiz smashed a 3-2 pitch to Furcal’s right, but Furcal made a nice play to pick the ball and a strong throw to first to get Ruiz and set the Phillies down.

Hamels hammered a 1-0 pitch to left to start the sixth, but Craig took it after a long run for the first out. Rollins was next and flew to left for the second out. Utley was next and singled into center. He took second when Garcia delivered a 1-1 pitch to Pence that looked like it could have been blocked by Molina but wasn’t. With Utley on second, Pence was walked intentionally to put men on first and second. Howard grounded to first 0-2 for the third out to leave both men stranded.

Victorino got ahead 3-0 to start the seventh and singled into center on a 3-2 pitch. The first pitch to Mayberry was a low fastball that Molina again couldn’t block, allowing Victorino to move up to second. Mayberry flew to right for the first out and Berkman nearly picked Victorino off of second, with Victorino scurrying back just ahead of the tag. Polanco was next and grounded to third for the second out with Victorino holding second. For reasons that completely escape me, Garcia walked Ruiz intentionally to put men on first and second. Francisco hit for Hamels and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a three-run homer that put the Phils on top 3-0. Rollins doubled over Jay’s head and stole third, but was left there when Utley grounded to second.

Walking Ruiz intentionally is kinda baffling.

Righty Fernando Salas started the eighth with the Phillies up 3-1 and got Pence on a fly ball to right for the first out. Howard was next and he grounded to second for the second out. Victorino grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Righy Jason Motte was on for the Cards to start the ninth. Skip Schumaker was in center for St Louis, where he had played 13 innings in 2011. Mayberry led off and hit a ball into center that Furcal tracked down with an over-the-shoulder catch for the first out. Polanco was next and broke his 0-for-11 with a single to right. Ruiz hit a ball into center that Schumaker made a diving effort at. It was originally ruled a non-catch with Ruiz safe at first with a single, but the umpires huddled and called it a catch (it was). Polanco went back to first with two down. Madson hit for himself and Motte struck him out swinging 0-2 to leave Polanco at first.

Dotel, Motte, Rhodes and Salas have combined to throw eight scoreless innings so far in the series in which they have allowed one hit (Polanco’s game three single off of Motte) and no walks.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double in the game. He’s 7-for-12 with a walk and three doubles in the series.

Utley 1-for-4. 4-for-10 with two walks and two doubles.

Pence 0-for-3 with a walk and 3-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 2-for-11 with a home run and six RBI in the series. 1-for-8 in the last two games.

Victorino 1-for-4 yesterday and 4-for-12 with four singles in the series.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the game and in the set.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a single. 1-for-12 in the series. He’s now hitting 254/321/287 in 140 career post-season plate appearances. 7-for-41 (.171) with the Phillies in the playoffs since the start of the 2010 post-season.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a memorable intentional walk. He’s 1-for-11 in the set.

Polanco and Ruiz are a combined 2-for-23 at the bottom of the order for the Phils. Rollins and Utley are a combined 11-for-22 so far at the top.

Roy Oswalt faces righty Edwin Jackson in game four.


Meet me in someplace other than St Louis

Looking at the four teams from yesterday’s post, here’s how those potential playoff teams in the NL have pitched against the Phils this season:

Team Record vs. PHI ERA Ratio K/9
STL 6-3 2.96 1.21 5.4
MIL 3-4 3.00 1.24 6.4
ATL 6-9 4.21 1.28 6.2
ARI 3-3 4.33 1.38 9.0

St Louis was one of two teams in baseball with a winning record against the Phils going into last night’s game, winning six of the nine games the teams played (including three of four in the series that ended on Monday). Seattle was the other team and they went 2-1. Washington is 9-8 against the Phils after beating them last night.

The 2.96 ERA that St Louis pitchers threw to against the Phils is the best mark for any NL team. The Cards took three of four from the Phils in the recent series and the Phils won two of three against the Cards in St Louis in mid-June. May 16 and 17 the Phils played a two-game set in St Louis and lost both games as St Louis starters Jamie Garcia and Jake Westbrook held the Phils to two runs (one unearned) over 15 innings.

The Diamondbacks notable whiffed the Phils at a high rate, striking out 52 Phillie hitters in 52 innings. Ian Kennedy (14 strikeouts in 12 innings against the Phils over two starts) did a lot of the damage there. Joe Saunders struck out 11 Phillies in 11 2/3 innings in his two starts, despite allowing 11 runs in those 11 2/3 frames. Josh Collmenter struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings over two appearances and Daniel Hudson fanned six in six frames in his one start.

Last night the Phils lost 7-5 to the Washington Nationals to fall to 98-57 on the year. They have lost five in a row and six of seven.

It’s the first time this season the Phillies have lost five games in a row.

Worley gave up a two-run homer to Wil Ramos in the top of the second to put Washington up 2-0. They Phils came back in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on five singles to tie the game at 2-2. In the bottom of the third, Mayberry singled with two outs, stole second and took third on a throwing error by Ramos before scoring on single by Ibanez to put the Phils up 3-2. Danny Espinosa hit a two-run shot off of Worley in the sixth to put Washington back up at 4-3. Justin De Fratus started the eighth for the Phillies and hit the first batter he faced and walked the next one before Bastardo took over. Bastardo made a throwing error and allowed two singles before getting out of the frame. Washington plated three runs to extend their lead to 7-3. Mayberry followed a leadoff walk by Utley with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-5.

Not a good start for Worley, who allowed four runs over six innings. He has thrown to a 4.23 ERA over his last eight starts. Like Hamels, Worley’s home run rate has skyrocketed late in the season. Over his first 12 appearances for the year, Worley threw 62 1/3 innings and allowed just two home runs (0.29 HR per nine). Over his last 11 appearances, he’s thrown 66 2/3 innings and allowed eight (1.08 per nine).

Blanton threw a scoreless inning in the game. In three relief appearances since returning he has allowed a run on three hits and no walks over three innings while striking out four.

Schwimer threw a scoreless inning as well, dropping his ERA on the year to 6.35.

Bastardo faced six hitters. One reached on an error, two singled and he got three outs. Over his last six appearances, he’s thrown 3 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on six hits and five walks (16.20 ERA with a 3.30 ratio and opponents have hit 400/524/667 against him).

Mayberry was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the game. He’s hitting 307/350/614 since the All-Star break. 302/366/543 at home for the season compared to 248/308/512 on the road.

Francisco was 3-for-4 with three singles. He has started seven games in September and hit 400/400/400 (10-for-25 with ten singles and no walks).

Ibanez had two singles, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. He came into the game 2-for-his-last-22.

At the top of the order, Rollins, Victorino, Polanco and Utley combined to go 0-for-16 with two walks.

Roy Oswalt (8-9, 3.66) faces righty Brad Peacock (1-0, 1.42) tonight.


Phils apparently looking to make up for what they missed with roster expansion with lineup expansion

The Phils continued to roll last night, beating the Brewers 7-2 to win for the ninth time in their last 11 games, winning the game with a wackadoo starting lineup that didn’t include Rollins, Utley, Howard or Ibanez. They did just fine without those guys as Valdez, Pence, Mayberry and Francisco combined to go 8-for-18 in the game and drive in six runs.

Hamels gave the Phils another fantastic start, throwing a complete game and holding the Brewers to a pair of runs on two solo homers. If you’re looking for something to worry about in the complete game effort, I’d go with the rising home run rate for Hamels — he was great at preventing the home run early in the season, but has been a lot less great recently. In his first 17 starts he allowed six in 116 innings (about 0.47 HR per nine innings). Over his last 11 starts he has now allowed eight in 78 innings (about 0.92 HR per nine innings).

The Phillies are 92-48 on the year after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 last night. They are 44 games over .500 for the first time in the history of the organization and lead the NL East by ten games over the Braves.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both solo home runs. He struck out two.

He set the Brewers down in order in the first, getting Corey Hart on a fly ball to right, Jerry Hairston on a ground ball to short and Ryan Braun on a popup that Martinez handled.

Prince Fielder grounded to second for the first out of the second. Casey McGehee was next and he singled to left, but Hamels got Yuniesky Betancourt to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Hamels struck Jonathan Lucroy out swinging for the first out in the third. Carlos Gomez tried to bunt for a hit, but Mayberry retired him for the second. The pitcher Chris Narveson grounded to second.

Hamels walked Hairston with one out in the fourth, but got Braun and Fielder to leave him stranded.

McGehee grounded to third for the first out of the fifth. Betancourt was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left center to put the Brewers up 1-0. Hamels got Lucroy and Gomez behind Betancourt.

He started the sixth with a 6-1 lead. Nyjer Morgan flew to center for the first out, but Hart was next and he lined a 3-1 pitch out to right center, cutting the lead to 6-2. Hamels got Hairston and Braun behind Hart.

Fielder singled to right to start the seventh. McGehee popped to Martinez for the first out. Betancourt was next and he went down on a soft ground ball handled by Hamels, with Fielder moving up to second with two down. Lucroy walked on five pitches and righty Josh Wilson hit for the pitcher Tim Dillard. Wilson grounded to third to end the inning.

Hamels set Morgan, Hart and Hairston down in order in the eighth.

Up 7-2, he got Braun, Fielder and McGehee in the ninth. He threw 111 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Chris Narveson went (1) Victorino (2) Valdez (3) Polanco (4) Pence (5) Mayberry (6) Ruiz (7) Francisco (8) Martinez. Valdez at short with Rollins, who was activated before the game, on the bench. Martinez at second with Utley having his head checked and rested. Mayberry at first against the lefty with Howard resting. Ibanez resting with Francisco in left. Francisco starts just his third game since July 22. July 22 was the 98th game of the year for the Phils — last night’s game was number 140. Polanco drops to three in the order with Valdez hitting second.

The Phils didn’t have a base-runner until Hamels walked with two outs in the third. Victorino flew to center to leave him at first.

They went in order in the fourth.

Mayberry started the fifth with a single. Ruiz fouled out to the catcher and Francisco hit into a double-play behind him.

This might not even be Francisco’s favorite year in professional baseball.

The Phils were down 1-0 when Martinez and Hamels both struck out to start the sixth. Victorino was next and hit a ball to left that almost left the yard, hitting high off the very top of the wall and bouncing back onto the field for a double. Valdez was next and doubled just over the head of Gomez in center, scoring Victorino to tie the game at 1-1. Polanco followed with a walk that put men on first and second for Pence. Pence hit a ball to the gap in right-center that Gomez misplayed badly. Pence should have had a double, but wound up at third with Valdez and Polanco both scoring to put the Phils up 3-1. Mayberry was next and reached on an infield single with Pence scoring. 4-1. Mayberry stole second before Ruiz brought him home with a double to left. 5-1. Francisco singled to left and Ruiz scored. 6-1. Righty Tim Dillard came in to pitch to Martinez and Martinez singled to right where the ball was mishandled by Hart for an error, allowing Francisco to go to third. Hamels struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Looked like the misplay of Pence’s ball that gave him an extra-base was going to cost Milwaukee a run when Mayberry followed with an infield single that brought Pence home from third, but he would have scored on Ruiz’s double anyway. Gomez didn’t have a good inning in center either way.

The lead was cut to 6-2 when the Phils hit in the seventh. Polanco singled with two outs, but Pence grounded to the pitcher behind him.

Francisco singled with two outs in the eighth and stole second before Martinez drew a walk. It put men on first and second for Hamels. Hamels hit for himself and struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Valdez singled with one out in the ninth and Polanco went down on a fly ball to right behind him. Pence was next, though, and he doubled to right with Valdez scoring to extend the lead to 7-2. Mayberry walked before Ruiz grounded to third for the third out.

Victorino went 1-for-5 with a double, dropping his average on the year to .299. That’s the first time he’s ended the day with an average under .300 this year since July 28.

Valdez 2-for-5 with a double. He’s 7-for-19 with three extra-base hits to start September.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a walk. He has one extra-base hit, a double, in his last 155 plate appearances over 36 games.

Pence 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI to raise his line with the Phillies to 311/383/541.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-his-last-8 with three walks.

Ruiz 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 321/390/420 since the All-Star break.

Francisco 2-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-7 with a double and two walks in his last two starts.

Martinez 1-for-3 with a walk. Five walks in 26 plate appearances in September.

Roy Halladay (16-5, 2.49) faces righty Shawn Marcum (12-5, 3.11) tonight. Righties have hit just 181/230/301 against Marcum for the year. Lefties have fared better at 257/313/390. He made one start against the Phils this year, allowing an unearned run on April 18. Halladay hasn’t allowed a home run in his last eight starts. Halladay has made one start against Milwaukee this year and it was pretty much his worst outing of the season. On April 19 he was charged with six runs in 6 2/3 innings in Philadelphia and the Phils lost 9-0. Halladay’s line was bad for the night anyway, but got worse when Herndon took over for him with two outs and two on in the seventh and gave up a three-run shot to Casey McGehee.


Concern grows that batters may refuse to face Lee unless agreement can be reached to hold July more regularly

After an unbelievable June in which he allowed one run in 42 innings over six starts, Cliff Lee was a little off in July. Last night he made his first start of August and it looked like June all over again. Lee threw a complete game shutout, striking out eight as the Phils topped the Giants 3-0.

Pence went 3-for-4 in last night’s game, homering early and adding an RBI-single in the ninth. He drove in two of the three runs the Phils scored in the game.

The Phillies are 72-39 on the year after beating the San Francisco Giants 3-0 last night in San Francisco. They have won seven in a row and lead the NL East by 8 1/2 games.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing six singles and a double. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight.

Aaron Rowand led off the bottom of the first with a single, but Lee got Jeff Keppinger to ground into a double-play behind him. Pablo Sandoval grounded to third for the third out.

Up 2-0, Lee set the Giants down in order in the second.

Chris Stewart singled to center with one out in the third. The pitcher Madison Bumgarner bunted him to second with the second out, but Lee got Rowand to ground to short to leave Stewart stranded.

Sandoval singled with one out in the fourth. Lee struck Carlos Beltran out behind him before Orlando Cabrera moved Sandoval to second with a single. Lee struck Cody Ross out swinging 2-2 to the inning with both men stranded.

Lee set the Giants down in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh. In the fifth inning, Howard made a very nice over-the-shoulder sliding catch in foul territory to retire Stewart for the second out. In the sixth, Keppinger hit a ball down the third base line, but Polanco made a diving stop and threw to first in time for the second out. Cabrera ripped a line drive ticketed for left field in the seventh, but Polanco snared it for the second out.

Aubrey Huff singled to start the eighth with the Phils still up 2-0. Stewart flew to left for the first out and switch-hitter Andres Torres hit for the pitcher Bumgarner. Torres reached on an infield single that moved Huff up to second, but Lee struck Rowand out looking and got Keppinger on a ground ball to third to keep the Giants off the board.

Lee was up 3-0 when he started the ninth. Beltran doubled to left with one out. Cabrera popped to short for the second out and Lee struck Ross out looking 2-2 to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Madison Bumgarner went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Utley and Ibanez sit against the lefty with Mayberry in lefty and Valdez at second. Victorino hits third for Utley with Polanco hitting second.

Rollins and Polanco both singled to start the game, putting men on first and second. Rollins was thrown out trying to steal second for the first out, with Polanco moving up to second. Victorino walked, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard hit an inside-out liner to third, which was caught by Sandoval. Sandoval threw to second to double-off Polanco and end the frame.

No run for the Phils on two hits, a walk and a stolen base.

Pence led off the second and homered to left, putting the Phils up 1-0. Mayberry was next and he homered to left, too. 2-0. Ruiz grounded to second for the first out before Valdez walked. Lee tried to bunt him to second, but struck out for the second out. With Rollins at the plate, Valdez was picked off of third and then thrown out at second to set the Phillies down.

The Giants had gotten six outs in the game, two of which they had gotten on the bases.

Polanco and Victorino struck out as the Phils went in order in the third.

Howard and Mayberry struck out as the Phils went in order in the fourth.

Ruiz and Lee struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth.

Victorino singled to right with two outs in the sixth, but Howard struck out behind him.

Pence singled to center to start the seventh. Mayberry was next and he grounded to third, with Pence forced at second for the first out. Ruiz hit into a double-play to end the frame.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Victorino singled to left with one out in the ninth and moved up to second on a ground out by Howard. Pence chopped a ball up the middle for a single and Victorino raced around to score, putting the Phils up 3-0. Mayberry struck out swinging to leave Pence at first.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a single and a caught stealing. He’s stolen 24 bases on the year and been caught six times.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a couple of nice plays at third.

Victorino 2-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Pence 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. 360/393/600 in 25 at-bats with the Phillies so far. The Phils are 6-0 since he arrived.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts. He has three home runs in his last 11 at-bats.

Ruiz 0-for-3.

Valdez 0-for-2 with a walk.

Vance Worley (7-1, 2.33) faces lefty Jonathan Sanchez (4-5, 3.81) tonight. Sanchez has been sidelined with biceps tendinitis and will be making his first start since June 24. He’s walked 52 of the 297 right-handed batters he’s faced this season. Righties are hitting just .224 against him for the year, but on-basing .367. Worley didn’t pitch great in his last start, allowing four runs in six innings to the Pirates. His seven starts before that were fantastic, though. In those outings he was 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA and opponents hit .151 against him over 47 1/3 innings.

Manuel is doing his best to explain why he called Lincecum and Cain “good but not great.” It’s kind of a tough task.

The article linked above suggests that when Oswalt is activated to start Sunday’s game, Francisco or a pitcher may lose their roster spot. The Phils are currently carrying 11 pitchers. If you count Gload as an infielder, they have seven infielders.


Rule V mash

Things looked bad early for the Phils last night, but Cliff Lee made it through a shaky start to his start and Michael Martinez delivered another big hit. Down 2-0, Utley doubled in a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. The Phils rallied for two more in the ninth, getting two-out singles from Francisco and Rollins before Martinez cleared the bases with a two-out double.

For Martinez it was his second huge offense game in the last three the Phils have played. He’s hitting 297/357/459 in 37 at-bats in July. In the five games since the All-Star break, he’s driven in more runs than Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Brown and Ruiz combined. The day before the All-Star break, he went 4-for-5 against the Braves.

The Phillies are 60-36 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 4-2 last night. They lead the NL East, 3 1/2 games ahead of the Braves.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

Reed Johnson led off the bottom of the first and doubled to right on a 3-2 pitch. Starlin Castro was next and he hit Lee’s first pitch out to left, putting the Cubs up 2-0. Aramis Ramirez was next he doubled to center. Jeff Baker lined to short for the first out before Marlon Byrd hit a ball hard towards third that Martinez snared. Martinez went for first for the second out with Ramirez holding second. Lee struck Alfonso Soriano out looking 1-2 to end the inning with Ramirez at second.

Not a great start for Lee. First three batters he faces deliver extra-base hits, followed by a line drive out and a ball hit hard to third.

Carlos Pena started the second with a double and moved to third when Geovany Soto followed with a single. The pitcher Matt Garza tried to bunt Soto to second but couldn’t and struck out for the first out. Lee struck Johnson and Castro out back-to-back to leave runners on the corners.

Lee threw a 1-2-3 third and a 1-2-3 fourth.

Johnson doubled to left with one out in the fifth. Castro was next and he hit a ball that was deflected by Rollins and went into left for a single that moved Johnson to third. Lee got Ramirez on a popup to short and struck out Baker to keep the Cubs from extending their lead.

No run for Chicago after putting men on first and third with one out.

Carlos Pena singled to right with two outs in the sixth. Lee got Soto on a ground ball to third to leave him at first.

Stutes took over for Lee in the seventh. Johnson singled to left with one out and Castro flew to right behind him for the second. Ramirez moved Johnson to second with a single into center and lefty Blake DeWitt hit for the righty Baker. Stutes got DeWitt on a fly ball to center to leave both runners stranded.

Stutes was back to pitch the eighth with the score tied at 2-2. He got the first two batters before getting behind the lefty Pena 2-0. Pena was walked intentionally and Stutes struck Soto out to leave him at first.

Not a fan of walking Pena or much of anyone with two outs and nobody on base.

Bastardo started the ninth with a 4-2 lead. Lefty Kosuke Fukudome hit for the pitcher Sean Marshall and the lefty Bastardo struck him out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Johnson struck out swinging 0-2 for the second. Castro fouled off fives pitches before striking out looking 1-2 to end the game.

Three scoreless innings for the pen. Stutes threw 37 pitches in the game, Bastardo 18. Neither of them have thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Garza went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Ibanez (7) Brown (8) Ruiz. Victorino returns to the lineup and Mayberry goes back to the bench. Martinez continues to play third and hit second for Polanco. Second is too high for Martinez.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Ibanez and Brown walked back-to-back with two outs in the second and the Phils down 2-0. Ruiz grounded to second to end the frame.

The Phils went in order in the third and again in the fourth.

Brown doubled to left with one out in the fifth, but was left stranded at second when Ruiz fouled out to Pena and Lee struck out swinging.

Martinez walked with one out in the sixth, stole second and took third on a throwing error by Soto. Utley struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out and Howard struck out swinging 3-2 to leave Martinez at third.

Utley and Howard can’t put the ball in play against the righty Garza and the Phils don’t score with one out and a man on third. Martinez turned out to be the hero in the ninth, but did his best to make a run for the Phils out of almost nothing in the sixth.

Brown singled to center with two outs in the seventh and moved to second when Ruiz followed with a single to right. With the righty Garza still pitching for Chicago, Gload hit for Lee and flew to center to leave both men stranded.

Gload is 1-for-his-last-14.

Rollins led off the eighth and singled to right off of Garza. Lefty Sean Marshall took over for Garza and Martinez singled softly to center, moving Rollins to second. Utley was next he hammered a 1-1 pitch to the gap in left-center. The ball landed on the track and bounced off the wall. Both runners scored and the game was tied at 2-2 with nobody out and Utley on second. Utley stole third as Howard struck out swinging for the first out. Victorino was next and chopped a ball to short. Castro fielded and threw home, where Soto tagged out a sliding Utley on a close play for the second out. Ibanez struck out swinging to leave Victorino at first.

Third strikeout of the game for Howard.

With the lefty Marshall on the mound, Mayberry hit for brown and grounded to short to start the eighth. Ruiz struck out swinging for the second out. Francisco hit for Stutes and singled to center. Rollins was next and he reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Ramirez at third, putting men on first and second for Martinez. Martinez flared an 0-1 pitch into right that dropped inside the line. Both runners scored, putting the Phils up 4-2. Martinez was caught be between second and third and was tagged out sliding into third for the third out.

Manuel takes Brown out of the game with the score tied, letting Mayberry hit for him against the lefty. Francisco delivers a big pinch-hit single that keeps the frame alive for Rollins to single and Martinez to double and put the Phils ahead.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with two singles. He’s 8-for-his-last-18 and hitting 365/412/492 in July.

Martinez was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a stolen base and two RBI.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI. He’s 2-for-his-last-18.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out three times. 1-for-his-last-19.

Victorino 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup.

Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk.

Brown 2-for-2 with a double and a walk and removed for a pinch-hitter against a lefty in a tie game. He’s 2-for-his-last-12. I think the Phils should be considering both Mayberry and Francisco as potential platoon partners for Brown in right with Victorino back.

Ruiz was 1-for-4. He’s hitting 341/442/477 so far in July.

Worley (5-1, 2.15) faces righty Ryan Dempster (7-6, 4.68) this afternoon. Dempster threw to a 6.32 ERA in his first 13 starts of the year, but has gone 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA and a 1.10 ratio over his last seven outings. Worley has allowed one run or less in seven of the nine starts he has made for the Phillies this season.

This suggests that Oswalt could return in early August if things continue to go well.


Complete works of Cliff Lee getting rave reviews

The Phils topped the Cardinals 4-0 last night behind still more dominant pitching from Cliff Lee. Lee threw a complete-game shutout and rolled to his eighth win of the year, backed up by home runs from Rollins and Howard.

Over his last four starts, Lee has allowed one run in 33 innings, throwing to an 0.27 ERA with an 0.76 ratio. He has thrown two complete games in a row and threw 15 innings in the two starts before that — he’s averaging 8.25 innings pitched over his last four starts.

Lee and Halladay have now combined for seven complete games on the season — Halladay has four and Lee has three. No other team in either league has more than six complete games for the year.

The Phillies are 47-28 on the year after beating the St Louis Cardinals 4-0 last night. They have won the first two games of the set, outscoring St Louis 14-2.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing six hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He threw a career-high 126 pitches.

He walked Ryan Theriot to start the bottom of the first. Jon Jay grounded to second with Theriot forced at second for the first out. Matt Holliday hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Yadier Molina singled to left with one out in the second. Lee struck Andrew Brown out looking for the second out and got Daniel Descalso on a fly ball to center for the third.

Pitcher Kyle Lohse doubled to left to start the third. Pete Kozma, the nine hitter behind Lohse hitting eighth, was next and hit a ball hard back up the middle, but Lee leaped up and snared it, looking Lohse back to second and throwing to first to get Kozma. Theriot moved Lohse to third with a single, but Lee got Jay to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Great defensive play by Lee on the ball hit hard by Kozma saves the Phils a run.

Up 3-0, Lee set the Cards down in order in the fourth.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth as well. He had thrown 69 pitches through five innings.

Two popups and a fly ball to center in a 1-2-3 sixth.

Lance Berkman doubled to left with one out in the seventh. Molina was next and grounded to third with Berkman holding. Brown grounded to third for the third out.

Kozma singled to center with two outs in the eighth. Theriot was next and hit a ball back up the middle that was deflected by Lee, but went to Utley who threw to first for the third out.

Up 4-0, Lee got the first two hitters in the ninth before Berkman singled to center. Molina grounded to short to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Kyle Lohse went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Polanco (6) Francisco (7) Brown (8) Ruiz. Francisco plays left with Ibanez on the bench against the righty.

Rollin started the game with a single to center on a ball deflected by Kozma at second, but Victorino hit into a double-play behind him. Utley flew to right to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the second and again in the third. Francisco ripped a ball down the third base line, but was robbed of extra-bases by a diving Descalso to end the second.

Rollins led off the fourth and hit a 2-2 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 1-0. Victorino grounded to second before Utley singled to left. Howard was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left. 3-0. Polanco followed with a single before Francisco hit into a double-play to set the Phils down.

Sixteen homers for Howard on the year, all 16 against righties.

The Phils went in order in the fifth and again in the sixth.

Howard started the seventh with a single to right. Polanco was next and hit a line drive, but it was caught by Kozma at second and Kozma threw to first where Howard was doubled-off. Francisco flew to center for the third out.

Ruiz singled to right with one out in the eighth. Lee hit for himself and grounded to short for the third out.

Lee had thrown 99 pitches through seven innings when he hit for himself in the eighth.

Victorino tripled to right with one out in the ninth and came in to score when Utley followed with a fly ball to right, putting the Phils up 4-0. Howard struck out for the third out.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a home run in the game. He has three home runs in the last nine games. In those games he’s hitting 297/381/568 in 42 plate appearances.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a triple.

Utley 1-for-3 with an RBI. 3-for-his-last-15 with three singles.

Howard 2-for-4 with a two-run homer. 258/370/570 against righties for the year and 267/327/367 against lefties.

Polanco 1-for-3. He’s 1-for-his-last-14.

Francisco 0-for-3 to drop his average to .218. Descalso made a great play to take extra-bases away from him in the second. 4-for-his-last-26 with four singles and eight walks.

Brown was 0-for-3 and is hitting .141 in 64 June at-bats. He has outslugged Francisco for the year, but Francisco is out-on-basing him .338 to .278 for the season.

Ruiz 1-for-3. He’s raised his average from .238 to .257 over the past two games, going 5-for-7.

Oswalt (4-5, 3.38) faces righty Chris Carpenter (1-7, 4.47) tonight. Carpenter has allowed a ton of hits so far this year. After allowing 370 in 472 2/3 innings in 2009 and 2010 combined, he has given up 113 in 98 2/3 innings so far this season. Righties are hitting .302 against him for the year. The Phils are just 5-7 in the games that Oswalt has started this year and have lost three of the last four. Oswalt has allowed at least three runs in each of his last three starts. He’s thrown to a 5.12 ERA with a 1.40 ratio over his last three outings.

The next update to Philliesflow won’t be until next week.


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