It was ugly take two last night as the Phils fell to the Astros 5-2. The Phils made two errors in the game and got all their offense on two swings of the bat, solo home runs by Pence and Ruiz.
In the first two games of the series, Brett Myers and JA Happ, two pitchers who have struggled this season, have held the Phils to two runs over 14 innings. The Phillies, meanwhile, have been awful. Looking sloppy and tired they have slogged through the first two games against one of the worst teams in baseball and lost them both.
The game was also notable because Cole Hamels was again hurt by the long ball. Clint Barmes delivered the biggest swing of the game, a three-run homer off of Hamels in the fourth. The homer was preceded by a Howard error, but the fact that Hamels gave up another big home run seems like a bigger deal than the Phils presumably temporary sloppy play in the field. From the beginning of the season to the end of July, Hamels allowed eight home runs in 152 innings (0.47 home runs per nine innings). Over his last seven starts he has allowed seven in 47 innings (1.34 home runs per nine). Over his last three starts he’s allowed five home runs in 21 innings.
The Phillies are 94-51 on the year after losing 5-2 to the Houston Astros last night. The Phils have lost three in a row, but still lead the NL East by 11 games. They have 17 games left to play and a magic number of one to reach the post-season and a magic number of five to win the division.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out six.
Hamels got Jason Bourgeois to ground to Rollins for the first out of the bottom of the first. Clint Barmes was next and he doubled to left. JD Martinez followed that with another double to left, scoring Barmes to put the Astros up 1-0. Carlos Lee followed with a single to right that pushed Martinez to third before Hamels hit Matt Downs with a pitch to load the bases. Hamel struck Chris Johnson out swinging at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Jason Michaels was next and he hit a ground ball to third with Polanco going to Martinez to force Downs and end the inning.
Big strikeout for Hamels for the second out with the bases loaded, which helps limit the damage to a single run.
He got Humberto Quintero on a fly ball to left for the first out in the second and struck pitcher JA Happ out for the second. Bourgeois singled to center and stole second before Hamels struck Barmes out swinging to end the inning.
Matt Downs singled to center with two outs in the third, where the ball went through Mayberry legs for an error that left Downs at third. Johnson grounded to Hamels to leave him there.
JB Shuck singled to right to start the fourth with the score tied at 1-1. Shuck stole second before Hamels struck Quintero out for the first out. Happ was next and he hit a ground ball to first that Howard didn’t handle. The Phils still might have gotten Happ at first, but Hamels was late to cover and the Astros had men on first and third with one out. Bourgeois singled to left, Shuck scored (2-1) and Happ took second. That brought Barmes to the plate and he delivered the swing of the game, hitting the first pitch he saw from Hamels out to left-center. 5-1. Hamels got Martinez and Lee behind Barmes to end the inning.
Second error in two innings for the Phils, but the real problem is the three-run homer that Hamels allowed to Barmes. The error did cost the Phils a run ahead of the homer, but even with the out Barmes would still have hit a two-run homer if everything else went the same way.
Hamels walked Downs to start the fifth. Johnson flew to center for the first out before Shuck moved Downs to second with a single to right. Hamels struck Quintero out again for the second out and Happ flew to Mayberry to leave both runners stranded.
Herndon set the Astros down in order in the sixth and again in the seventh.
Great outing for Herndon, who now has made two appearances in which he has thrown three scoreless innings since his 69-pitch outing on September 4.
Schwimer pitched the eighth. Shuck led off with a single and Quintero followed that with a single that moved Shuck up to second. Right Angel Sanchez hit for the pitcher Fernando Rodriguez and bunted. Polanco fielded the bunt and went to third, where Shuck was forced for the first out. Bourgeois flew to right for the second out before Schwimer hit Barmes with a pitch, loading the bases. Martinez flew to right to leave them loaded.
Two hits and a hit batter in the inning for Schwimer. That’s also two scoreless appearances in a row for him.
Schwimer threw 21 pitches in the game and Herndon threw 17. Neither has pitched more than one day in a row.
The Phillies lineup against lefty JA Happ went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Howard (5) Mayberry (6) Francisco (7) Ruiz (8) Martinez. Victorino finally gets a much-needed day off with Mayberry in center. Francisco plays left with Ibanez on the bench against the lefty. Martinez at second with Utley sidelined — Orr is the other choice, but he’s not a great option against a lefty.
The Phils went in order in the first.
They were down 1-0 when they hit in the second. Mayberry doubled to left with one out. Francisco popped to third for the second out. Ruiz got ahead 2-0, but grounded to short 3-1 to leave Mayberry at second.
The Phils went in order in the third.
With one out in the fourth, Pence hit an 0-1 pitch out to left-center, tying the game at 1-1. Howard walked behind him. Mayberry struck out swinging for the second out before Francisco moved Howard to second with a single. Ruiz grounded to short to set the Phillies down.
The Phils were down 5-1 when they hit in the fifth. Martinez and Hamels went down to start the inning before Rollins singled to right. Happ walked Polanco and Pence on ten total pitches, loading the bases for Howard. Howard hit a 3-2 pitch well to left, but a jumping Martinez caught it at the wall to turn the Phillies away.
Almost a big swing for Howard against a lefty. He’s hitting 230/291/358 against lefties for the season.
Ruiz walked with two outs in the sixth, but Martinez grounded to short behind him.
Right Fernando Rodriguez struck out Victorino and Rollins as he set the Phils down in order in the seventh.
Victorino was double-switched into the game in the bottom of the sixth. Would like to see him get more rest. I’d guess Manuel is thinking that he’ll get it after the Phillies lock up the division, but I kind of wish he would get it now.
Rodriguez was back to strike out Pence and Mayberry in a 1-2-3 eighth.
Righty David Carpenter started the ninth for Houston. Bowker hit for Schwimer and struck out looking for the first out. Ruiz followed and hit a 2-2 pitch just out to right, cutting the lead to 5-2. Orr hit for Martinez and popped to short for the second out. Victorino struck out swinging to end the game.
Glad to see Manuel knows that Bowker is on the team. Bowker is now 0-for-5 with four strikeouts with the Phils.
Rollins 1-for-4. 2-for-8 since returning to the starting lineup.
Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk. 0-for-his-last-7.
Pence 1-for-3 with a walk and his 20th home run of the year. 400/462/743 (14-for-35 with four walks, four doubles, a triple and two home runs) over his last 39 plate appearances.
Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and a long fly ball. He’s 3-for-his-last-19 with two home runs.
Mayberry 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and an error. 200/293/343 over his last 41 plate appearances.
Francisco 1-for-3. 7-for-his-last-13 with two walks. He only has 26 plate appearances since July 23 but is hitting 364/423/455 in those plate appearances. 277/367/361 n his last 99 plate appearances since May 28.
Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run. 13-for-his-last-37 with seven walks, a double and a home run (351/455/459 over 45 plate appearances).
Martinez was 0-for-3. He’s 2-for-his-last-22 with two singles. I feel like I’m kind of out of words on this one.
Roy Halladay (17-5, 2.44) faces righty Bud Norris (6-9, 3.78) this afternoon. Norris has been very effective against righties this year, but lefties have had more success. Righties have hit just 208/281/346 against him while lefties have put up a 287/357/478 line. He’s tailed off a little towards the end of the year, throwing to a 4.86 ERA over his last eight starts. Over his last 11 starts he’s given up 12 home runs in 64 1/3 innings, which is too many (at that rate he’d allow about 37 over 200 innings). Halladay faced Houston on opening day, holding them to a run over six innings.
Matt Gelb tweets that Domonic Brown, 1-for-4 in game one of the series, may be back with the Phils when it’s over.
Kendrick looking forward to returning to start on Thursday.