Tag: Braden Looper

Super Looper

The Phillies aren’t going to score 11 runs every game, but it’s still a little surprising when they score one. Ryan Howard entered last night’s contest with four home runs in five at-bats against Braden Looper, but the Phillies couldn’t plate a single run against the righty in six innings. Blanton and the pen pitched well, but the Phils went into the bottom of the ninth down by three and their last-gasp rally fell a little short.

The Phillies lost to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, falling 3-1 to drop to 6-7 on the season.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five. He has a 7.31 ERA after three starts.

The Phillies have three quality starts on the season, two of which have been made by Blanton (Myers had the other). The Phillies have lost all three games — they’re 0-3 when they have a quality start and 6-4 when they don’t.

Blanton got Rickie Weeks on a ground ball to third for the first out of the game, but Corey Hart was next and he singled to left. With Ryan Braun at the plate, Marson threw to Howard at first and Hart was caught for the second out. Braun struck out swinging for the third out.

Prince Fielder led off the fourth and hit a high popup in-between home plate and first base that fell between Howard and Marson for a single. Mike Cameron flew to left before a single by JJ Hardy moved Fielder to second. Craig Counsell grounded into a double-play to end the frame.

Blanton set down Jason Kendall, pitcher Braden Looper and Weeks in a 1-2-3 third.

Hart popped out for the first out of the fourth. Braun was next and he ripped a double into the left field corner, but it went off the wall and right to Ibanez whose throw to second was on the mark. Braun was tagged out for the second out. Blanton struck Fielder out looking for the third out.

Blanton got Cameron on a ground ball to third to start the fifth, but Hart was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch just out to left to put the Brewers up 1-0. Counsell flew to right for the second. Kendall followed with a single to left, but Blanton got Looper to fly to center for the third out.

With one out in the sixth, Hart reached on an infield single and moved to second when Braun followed with a walk. Fielder flew to center for the second out, moving Hart to third with two down. Cameron doubled down the left field line, clearing the bases to make it 3-0 Milwaukee. Blanton struck Hardy out looking for the third out.

Durbin started the seventh for the Phillies. He had thrown seven pitches the night before. He quickly set down Counsell and Kendall. Lefty Brad Nelson hit for Looper, who had shut the Phillies down for six innings but needed 107 pitches to do so, and Durbin struck Nelson out swinging 1-2 for the third out.

Condrey started the eighth. He was also pitching for the second straight day, having thrown 22 pitches over 1 2/3 innings in game one of the series. He struck out Weeks and Hart to start the inning. He got behind Braun 3-0 and then walked him on a 3-2 pitch. With the lefty Fielder due to hit, Manuel called on Eyre to pitch to him. Eyre got Fielder on a popup that Feliz took in shallow left to set Milwaukee down.

Eyre has made six appearances on the season and has yet to allow a hit or a walk in three innings pitched.

Madson entered in the ninth, well-rested but coming off a pair of weak outings in which he allowed four runs over two innings combined. He struck Cameron out on three pitches before walking Hardy on four. Counsell popped to Feliz for the second out and Kendall grounded to short for the third.

Overall the pen went three scoreless innings. They didn’t allow a hit and walked two while striking out four. Condrey threw 17 pitches, Durbin 13, Madson 11 and Eyre four. If Condrey were to pitch today it would be his third straight day.

The Phillies lineup against righty Braden Looper went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Marson. Marson catches Blanton with Feliz playing third and Dobbs on the bench.

Victorino and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first, but Howard hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

Looper shut them down in order in the second.

Rollins singled into center with two outs in the third. Victorino flew to center to end the inning.

Utley lined to center for the first out in the fourth. Howard drew a walk and was forced at second when Werth followed with a ground ball to third. Werth stole second as Looper delivered ball two to Ibanez to make the count 2-2, but Ibanez grounded to second to end the inning.

Down 1-0, Feliz and Marson went down to start the fifth. Blanton delivered a two-out single to left, but Rollins popped to short to end the inning.

The Phillies were down 3-0 when they hit in the sixth. Victorino chopped a ball to second for the first out and Utley flew to center for the second. Howard drew a walk and Werth followed with a single into left off the glove of the third baseman Counsell. Ibanez lined to right to leave the runners stranded.

Counsell probably should have made the play on the ball hit by Werth.

Righty Mark DiFelice struck out Feliz and Marson to start the seventh. Dobbs hit for Durbin and flew to center.

Seems like it might be early to use Dobbs, especially down three runs with two down and nobody on. At the time I thought it was the right move, though, cause they still had Stairs on the bench and there was nobody they were going to pinch-hit for for a long time. It didn’t work out for the Phillies, who wound up sending Coste to the plate as the winning run to face a righty with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Righty Carlos Villanueva entered the game to face the top of the Phillies order in the bottom of the eighth. Rollins got ahead in the count and the 3-1 pitch was low, but Villanueva got the call. Rollins popped the next pitch to short. Victorino was next and put down a pretty bunt, but Counsell made a nice play to get him for the second out. Utley hit a ball back up the middle, but Hardy handled it for the third out.

Righty Todd Coffey came in to close in the ninth. He struck out Howard for the first out before Werth lined a ball out to right-center for his second home run of the year. It cut the Brewer lead to 3-1. Ibanez was next and he singled to left. It brought Feliz to the plate as the tying run. Feliz dribbled a ball to third. Bill Hall fielded and threw to second to get Ibanez, but Feliz beat the relay to first on a very close play. Matt Stairs hit for Marson and delivered a single into right that moved Feliz to third. The pitcher’s spot was next and Coste hit for Madson. Bruntlett ran for Stairs at first. Coste struck out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

So it did wind up costing the Phils to use Dobbs in the seventh with two outs and nobody on, cause it meant the Phillies wound up with the righty Coste instead of the lefty Dobbs hitting against Looper with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Still think it was the right way to go, though.

Rollins 1-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4.

Howard 0-for-2 with two walks.

Werth 2-for-4 with a home run, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies.

Ibanez 1-for-4.

Feliz 0-for-4.

Marson 0-for-3.

Cole Hamels (0-1, 11.17) faces righty Dave Bush (0-0, 5.40) this afternoon. Hamels has made two starts on the year. The second wasn’t as bad as the first, but he let a big lead slip away and wound up allowing five runs over six innings. Opponents have hit .422 against him for the season and he’s yielded four home runs in 9 2/3 innings. He didn’t face the Brewers in the regular season in 2008, but dominated them in game one of the NLDS. In that game he allowed two singles and a walk over eight shutout innings while striking out nine. The Phils won the game 3-1. Bush has made three appearances on the year, two of which have been starts. In each of the starts he allowed three runs — one start went six innings and one went 6 1/3. He made two starts against the Phils in ’08 and threw to a 5.25 ERA with a 1.42 ratio. Dobbs is 6-for-13 with two home runs against him for his career, so if he’s ever going to start against a righty this may be the day. It’s a little tough with Feliz hitting .326, though, so we’ll see. Howard 5-for-14 with two home runs.

This suggests that Lidge has found a flaw in his delivery and that Ruiz could return early next week.

Please note that after the series with the Brewers I’m going to stop doing game recaps. I will continue to post and plan to resume recaps at near the end of the season, assuming the Phillies are in a race for a playoff spot. I may do some game recaps along the way as well.


Howard’s at-bats against Braden seem to be running on a Looper

Ryan Howard has hit four home runs in five career at-bats against Braden Looper. The most recent of them came with two outs in the fourth inning last night in St Louis. Howard’s solo shot was one of two runs the Phillies scored in the game — they won in large part because Joe Blanton gave them the kind of start they were hoping for when they traded for him last month.

Blanton went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks. Romero, Durbin and Lidge shut the Cards down in the eighth and the ninth.

The Phillies beat the St Louis Cardinals last night, winning 2-1 to improve to 60-50 on the season. The teams have split the first two games of the three-game series. The Phils are in first place in the NL East — with a late-inning collapse in Houston last night the Mets are in third place, two games behind the Phils. The Phillies lead the Marlins by a game and a half.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out five.

He walked Albert Pujols with two outs in the first, but struck Ryan Ludwick out behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 second.

He started the third up 1-0. Aaron Miles drew a walk with one out before Schumaker moved Miles to second with a single. Blanton struck Joe Mather out looking and then struck out Pujols looking at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Up 2-0 in the fourth, he set the Cards down 1-2-3.

Adam Kennedy led off the fifth with a single and pitcher Braden Looper bunted him to second for the first out. Miles was next and lined a ball to Utley at second. Utley threw to second to double Kennedy off and end the inning.

He had another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.

Ludwick led off the seventh and pounded a 1-1 pitch out to left, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Third home run in two games for Ludwick. Blanton got Troy Glaus to ground to short before Yadier Molina singled into center. Kennedy flew to right and righty Nick Stavinoha hit for the pitcher Looper and popped to Rollins.

Romero started the eighth with a one run lead and gave up a leadoff single to Miles. Switch-hitter Cesar Izturis hit for lefty Skip Schumaker and Romero struck him out for the first out. Righty Joe Mather was next and Manuel called on Durbin to come on and pitch to him. Durbin got behind Mather 2-0 but got him to hit a 2-2 pitch into a double-play to end the inning.

Lidge started the ninth. Pujols led off and hit a rocket to short that Rollins took and threw to first for the first out. Lidge struck out Ludwick on a 2-2 slider in the dirt for the second out, with Ruiz throwing to first to retire the batter. Glaus was next and Lidge walked him on a high 3-2 fastball. Brendan Ryan ran for Glaus as the tying run. Lefty Rick Ankiel, who had been left out of the lineup with an abdominal strain, hit for Yadier Molina and Lidge’s first pitch to him was wild and moved Ryan to second. After that Lidge threw three straight strikes, getting Ankiel swinging to end the game.

Two scoreless innings for the pen in which they allow a single and a walk. Lidge threw 16 pitches, Romero ten and Durbin six. None of the three had pitched on Friday.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Braden Looper went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Werth in right despite the righty with Dobbs playing third. I think you may have to conclude that Manuel does not want to put both Jenkins and Dobbs in the lineup against a righty cause he wants to have a lefty on the bench to call on to pinch-hit. I think I’d put them both in the lineup. Coste catches.

The Phils went 1-2-3 on three popups in the first.

Howard led off the second with a walk, but Burrell struck out and Werth hit into a double-play. Howard came into the game 3-for-4 in his career against Looper with three home runs.

Dobbs led off the third and hit the first pitch he saw out to right. It put the Phils up 1-0. The Phils went in order behind him.

With two outs in the fourth, Howard hit a 3-2 pitch out to right-center. 2-0. Burrell flew to center for the third out.

Coste singled with two outs in the fifth, but Blanton struck out behind him.

1-2-3 in the sixth.

Howard led off the seventh with a walk. Burrell hit into a double-play and Werth grounded to short.

With two outs in the eighth, Bruntlett hit for Blanton and walked. The catcher Molina picked him off first with Rollins at the plate to end the inning. Second time in two days Bruntlett has been picked off. Yesterday it was the pitcher.

Utley doubled with two outs in the ninth. Howard was walked intentionally to put men on first and second for Burrell, but Burrell flew to center for the third out.

Rollins 0-for-4.

Victorino 0-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double.

Howard 1-for-1 with his 31st home run and three walks.

Burrell 0-for-4 and left four men on base.

Werth 0-for-3.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with his fourth home run.

Coste 1-for-3.

Brett Myers (4-9, 5.46) faces righty Todd Wellemeyer (8-4, 4.13) tonight. The Phillies pounded Wellemeyer on June 13 — Wellemeyer was charged with eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in that game. Wellemeyer has been pretty good in his last two starts, allowing just two runs in each game but going just 11 innings combined. He has a 4.96 ERA with a 1.52 ratio in 11 starts at home this year and a 3.28 ERA with a 1.09 ratio in ten starts away. Myers was great on Tuesday against the Nats, holding Washington to an unearned run in seven innings. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last two starts, which is critical for him since he’s allowed 24 in 113 2/3 innings this year. Righties are also hitting .316 against him compared to .226 for lefties. Righties hit for a higher average against Myers in 2007, 2004 and 2003 as well, but not as dramatically as they have this season.


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