The Phillies got Jimmy Rollins back in the lineup last night, but it was a guy who has been here all along that did the heavy lifting as the Phils topped the Cleveland Indians 2-1. Jamie Moyer was fantastic, holding Cleveland to a run on two hits over eight innings.
The lack of offense from the Phils continues to baffle. Last night they failed to deliver an extra-base hit yet again. After scoring two runs in the bottom of the first they were shut out the rest of the game on two singles and two walks.
The game was also notable in how it ended. Lefty JC Romero pitched to three hitters in the top of the ninth with a one-run lead. Two of them reached before Lidge came in to record back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. After the game, Manuel responded to a question about the closer situation by saying, “Lidge is our closer. In my mind, he’s our closer and that’s what counts.” Maybe so, but what’s happening in Manuel’s mind, while interesting, is a whole lot less important to the Phillies than what happens on the field and last night it was someone other than Lidge facing three batters in the ninth inning of a one-run game.
All that said, I think bringing on Romero to pitch to switch-left-switch to start the inning is a pretty good idea. It’s just not the way it’s always been done with this team.
Not to be forgotten is that Manuel also had been ejected from the game, so he shouldn’t have been involved with the decision on who pitched the ninth inning anyway.
The Phillies are 36-32 on the year after a 2-1 win over the Indians last night. They have won four of their last six but scored just three runs in their last two games. They’re in third place in the NL East, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.
Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 4.43. Four of his last five starts has been really good with nine runs allowed in an inning in Boston on June 11. Nine runs in an inning will do a number on your numbers (4.22 ERA over his last five starts in this case), but Moyer is pitching very well.
He got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 first.
He started the second inning up 2-0. He got two more ground outs to start the second before lefty Russell Branyan came to the plate and hammered the first pitch he saw way out to right. 2-1. Anderson Hernandez grounded to Utley for the third out.
Moyer threw a 1-2-3 third and struck out two while setting Cleveland down in order again in the fourth.
He got two ground outs and a fly ball to right in a 1-2-3 fifth.
Moyer got the first two in the sixth before Trevor Crowe reached on an infield single. The lefty Shin-Soo Choo was next and walked on five pitches. Crowe stole third before Moyer got Carlos Santana on a fly ball to left to leave both runners stranded.
He came back with a 1-2-3 seventh and then set the Indians down in order again in the eighth. Former Phil Jason Donald hit the ball well in the eighth, but Victorino tracked it down on the warning track for the second out of the inning.
Romero started the ninth with a one-run lead and got the switch-hitter Crowe on a ground ball to second for the first out. The lefty Choo was next and hit a ball back up the middle that Rollins fielded behind second, but Choo was safe with an infield single. Switch-hitting Carlos Santana was next and Romero walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was nowhere near the plate. It brought righty Austin Kearns to the plate with one out and men on first and second. Lidge came in to pitch to him and struck him out swinging at a 2-2 slider for the second out. Righty Jhonny Peralta followed Kearns, also coming to the plate as the go-ahead run. Lidge struck him out swinging at a 2-2 slider as well to end the game.
Romero threw 13 pitches in the game and Lidge ten.
The Phillies lineup against righty Mitch Talbot went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Schneider. Rollins returns to the lineup and the leadoff spot. Victorino is dropped all the way to seventh. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the DL.
Polanco singled with one out in the first and moved to second when Utley followed with a walk. Howard was next and hit a 1-0 pitch into left for a single that scored Polanco (1-0) and moved Utley to third. Werth hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez followed and hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Crowe to catch it and end the inning.
Victorino walked to start the second with the lead cut to 2-1. Schneider hit into a double-play behind him and Moyer struck out.
The Phils went in order in the third.
Werth walked with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Ibanez followed with a single to right. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to second. Donald fielded and threw to Hernandez at second for the second out of the inning with Victorino safe at first, but Ibanez was ruled out on interference and the run was taken off the board with the inning over.
Manuel got ejected arguing the call, which cost the Phils a run, but the ump got it right. Ibanez was way off of second.
The Phillies went in order in the fifth.
Howard singled with two outs in the sixth, but Werth flew to right behind him to set the Phillies down.
The Phils went in order in the seventh and again in the eighth.
Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and is hitting 311/429/578 in 45 at-bats for the season.
Polanco was 1-for-4. He’s 7-for-his-last-22.
Utley 0-for-2 with a walk. 6-for-his-last-16 with a double, a triple and a home run. He walked 20 times in April and has walked 19 times in May and June combined.
Howard was 2-for-3 with an RBI. He’s hitting 329/368/686 in June.
Werth was 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI. He’s hitting .218 in June after going 0-for-17 with ten strikeouts to end May. He’s 12-for-his-last-72 (.167). On the plus side, maybe the Phillies will be able to afford him next year after all.
Ibanez 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s 4-for-his-last-20. His slugging percentage dropped to .371 after the June 6 against the Padres. He had gotten it back up over .400 since then, but it’s back going the wrong direction and sitting on .400 at the start of the day today.
Victorino was 0-for-2 with a walk in the seven-hole. He’s 1-for-his-last-14.
Schneider was 0-for-3. He was hitting 303/395/364 after going 3-for-4 against the Red Sox on June 12. He’s gone 1-for-14 since, dropping his line on the year to 234/333/277.
Another game for the Phils without an extra-base hit.
Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 4.48) faces righty Jake Westbrook (4-4, 4.76) tonight. Kendrick has been really good in three of his last four starts with one bad outing against the Marlins. Westbrook allowed five runs in seven innings against the Mets last Thursday. He missed the 2009 season off of Tommy John surgery and his rates of allowing hits, walks and home runs are all up above his career marks since his return.