Tag: Braves

Papa don’t preach, but try to get Howard up late with somebody on base

On June 16, 1986, Jamie Moyer made his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs. Pitching against the Phillies and Steve Carlton, Moyer was hit hard but got the win. He allowed five runs over 6 1/3, taking a 7-2 lead into the seventh before the Phils scored three times in the inning to make the game close. James Parr was four months old.

Twenty-two years later Moyer is still on the mound and Parr has learned to walk. They pitched against each other last night. Neither of them pitched well, but Moyer had an advantage that Parr didn’t: All of the sudden his team refuses to lose.

The Phils went into the seventh in Atlanta down 7-4 and cut the lead to 7-6 with a pair of runs. In the eighth a two-run blast by Howard put them on top to stay.

Not without some drama, though. After Madson cruised through the bottom of the eighth, Lidge took the mound in the bottom of the ninth clinging to a one-run lead. If Lidge doesn’t get another out this season he’s already done more than enough for the Phils, but he brought to this game a look in his eye that we haven’t seen a whole lot of this season. I’m pretty sure it was holy-crap-how-am-I-gonna-get-anybody-out-with-this-slop. Lidge tried throwing a whole bunch of sliders out of the strike zone for a while and it didn’t work real well. He walked the bases loaded before striking out Gregor Blanco to end the game.

Despite the fantastic outcome for the Phils, it’s hard to ignore Burrell’s night. 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. Seemed worse than that somehow, though. It was a little tough not to notice with Burrell hitting fifth and Werth and Howard in the three and four spots combining to go 7-for-9 with a walk, a triple, two home runs and five RBI.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 8-7 to improve to 84-67 on the season. Seventeen games above .500 is the best mark of the season for the Phils. They have won five in a row. They lead the NL East by a half game.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks. All of the hits were singles and he struck out six.

Moyer walked Chipper Jones with two outs in the first, but Brian McCann grounded out to Rollins on the right side of second base with the big shift to end the inning.

Omar Infante started the second with a single. Casey Kotchman was next and grounded to second with Infante forced at second for the first out. Jeff Francoeur flew to center for the second out before Moyer got Brent Lillibridge swinging for the third out.

He started the third up 3-0. He struck out the pitcher Parr to start the inning, but hit Josh Anderson. With Martin Prado at the plate, Anderson took off for second on a pitch in the dirt. Ruiz threw to second and they may have had Anderson, but Rollins dropped the ball. Moyer walked Prado and Chipper singled into left, loading the bases. McCann was next and he singled into center and everyone moved up a base. Anderson scored to cut the lead to 3-1. Moyer struck out Infante for the second out. With the bases still loaded, Kotchman laced the first pitch of his at-bat into center for a single. Prado and Jones both scored, with Chipper sliding in just safe ahead of the tag from Ruiz, to tie the game at 3-3. Francoeur flew to right to leave the runners stranded at first and third.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fourth with the Phils up 4-3.

With two outs in the fifth, McCann bunted for a single against the big shift. Moyer struck out Infante again to end the inning.

Francoeur singled with one out in the sixth. Moyer then walked Lillibridge and pinch-hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch-hitting for the pitcher Buddy Carlyle. Anderson was next and got ahead 3-1 and hit a ball hard to first, but Howard took it and went to first for the second out as Francoeur scored to tie the game at 4-4. Nice play by Howard. Durbin came in to pitch to Prado and lefty Kelly Johnson hit for Prado with two outs and men on second and third. Johnson hit an 0-1 pitch back through the middle just out of the reach of Rollins for a two-run single. 6-4. Johnson went to second as the throw came home, but it hit the mound and there was no play at the plate. Durbin walked Chipper intentionally. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty McCann and McCann singled into center. Johnson scored without a throw to make it 7-4. Infante grounded to short for the third out.

Miserable inning for all three Phillies pitchers. Moyer lost his control and Durbin and Eyre both gave up big hits. The Braves scored four runs in the frame without an extra-base hit (they didn’t have one in the game).

Madson threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth with the Phillies down 7-6.

Lidge entered in the ninth to protect an 8-7 lead and walked Chipper on four pitches to start the inning. McCann was next and popped a 3-2 pitch up to Utley for the first out. With Jones on the move, Infante smashed a ball to third but right at Feliz. Feliz threw to first for the second out with Jones going to second. Kotchman walked on five pitches to put men on first and second. Francoeur was next and worked the count full, then fouled off four pitches in a row before drawing a walk that loaded the bases and brought up Gregor Blanco. Lidge quickly got ahead of Blanco 0-2 before delivering a pitch in the dirt. Blanco tried to hold up and the third base ump ruled he checked his swing (looked like he went around to me). Lidge delivered another ball to make it 2-2 before Blanco went down swinging to end the game.

Lidge labored badly, needing 33 pitches to get through the inning. He seemed to use his slider almost exclusively at the start of the inning. He tried to throw fastballs past Francoeur and just couldn’t do it as Francoeur fouled off four straight before drawing the walk. McCann just missed the pitch he popped up to Utley and Infante smashed the ball to third but right at Feliz.

Great to see him get through the inning and it’s a big win for the Phils. But there’s a lot of reason for concern when it comes to the pen. Durbin and Eyre were both ineffective again. Madson pitched great, giving the Phils a 1-2-3 seventh down three runs and a 1-2-3 eighth up by one. Madson hasn’t been charged with a run over his last eight appearances.

Overall the pen went 3 1/3 innings and was charged with a run on two hits and four walks. Durbin allowed a two-run single to Johnson in the sixth and the runs were charged to Moyer. Lidge threw 33 pitches, Madson 22, Durbin and Eyre six each. Phils should try to let someone besides Lidge close tonight.

Romero didn’t appear in the game. Manuel may have thought the sixth was too early to bring him in to pitch to McCann. Romero has pitched just two innings in September — I’d be surprised if the reason for that is that he’s feeling fine and Manuel doesn’t want to use him.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty James Parr went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth drops to third in the lineup with Utley up to second. Feliz at third with Dobbs on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the first with a single, but the Phillies went in order behind him.

Victorino singled to right with one out in the second, but Feliz and Ruiz both flew out behind him.

Rollins and Utley doubled back-to-back with one out in the third. Rollins scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Werth was next and hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, scoring Utley to put the Phils up 3-0. Howard followed with a single before Burrell struck out for the second out. Victorino followed with a double to right, but Howard was thrown out at the plate (by a lot) to end the frame.

Ruiz hit a 2-1 pitch out to left with one out in the fourth, putting the Phillies up 4-3. Moyer and Rollins went down behind him.

Werth and Howard singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth. It put men on first and second for Burrell, who struck out for his third time in three at-bats. Victorino grounded to first for the third out.

Ruiz walked with one out in the sixth and Moyer bunted him to second. Rollins struck out swinging to leave him stranded with the Phils up 4-3.

The Phils started the seventh down 7-4. Werth singled with one out and scored when Howard followed and drove a ball to left that Infante played badly, turning it into a triple. 7-5. Burrell struck out again for the second out, but Victorino picked him up with a single into right. Howard scored and it was 7-6. Feliz followed with a ground ball to short. Lillibridge fielded but mis-flipped to second and everyone was safe. Dobbs hit for Ruiz with righty Jeff Bennett on the mound and walked to load the bases. Stairs hit for Eyre and ripped a ball down the left field line but just foul before he grounded to first to end the frame.

Awful, awful game for the struggling Burrell. But that was the worst of it, striking out with a man on third in the seventh with one out. Huge hit for Victorino. Howard overshadowed himself with the home run in the eighth, but the RBI-triple in the seventh and the defensive play he made on Anderson in the sixth were also both critical in the game.

Still down a run, Werth walked with two outs in the eighth. Lefty Mike Gonzalez came in to pitch to Howard and Howard hit a 3-2 pitch out to left to put the Phils up 8-7. Burrell struck out for the third out.

Feliz walked with one out in the ninth. Coste struck out for the second out before Jenkins hit for Madson and struck out to leave Feliz stranded.

Rollins 2-for-5 with a double.

Utley 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He’s hitting 255/328/353 in September.

Werth had a huge game that nobody will remember cause of Howard and Lidge. 3-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 4-for-5 with a triple, his 45th home run and three RBI. Two big hits late in the game and a nice play at first in the sixth.

Burrell 0-for-5 and struck out five times. Slumping terribly, but had shown some signs of breaking out of it against the Brewers.

Victorino 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Picked up Burrell with a huge hit in the seventh.

Feliz 0-for-4. 2-for-his-last-13. After slugging .290 in August, Feliz is slugging .290 in September. He has two extra-base hits since July 19 (75 at-bats).

Ruiz 1-for-2 with his fourth home run of the year and a walk.

JA Happ (0-0, 5.71) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62) tonight. Jurrjens has thrown to a 4.68 ERA with a 1.47 ratio in his 11 starts since the All-Star break. He has allowed just 11 home runs in 176 1/3 innings on the season. Feliz is 3-for-3 with a home run against him this season. Happ gets the nod over Kendrick for the Phils. He’ll be making his third start of the season. Among the 53 NL players who have thrown at least 140 innings this season, Kendrick’s 5.44 ERA is 51st (doesn’t count last night’s games). Since the end of July, Kendrick has made seven starts and allowed 29 earned runs in 29 innings (9.00 ERA). He hasn’t gone five innings in either of his last two starts and hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last six.


Call it a comeback

The Phils put 22 runs on the board in the final two games of their series with the Braves, leaving many fans believing their bats may have finally awoken. Given the way they’ve been pitching, let’s hope so.

Atlanta scored 27 runs in the three-game set and the Phils got more miserable work from the weary pen yesterday — the bullpen threw 15 1/3 innings in the series. In games one and three of the set they allowed 15 runs in ten innings.

Only way to overcome that is to score a whole bunch of runs. And the Phillies did. After coming back from a 9-3 deficit to win on Saturday, the Phils rallied behind five home runs yesterday after trailing 5-0.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves yesterday, winning 12-10 to improve to 56-49 on the season. The Phillies win the series two games two one.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went two innings before being forced from the game by a long rain delay. He allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out one. The Phillies have won both games that Blanton has started, but he’s allowed seven earned runs in eight innings (7.87 ERA).

With one out in the first Yunel Escobar singled to left. Mark Teixeira followed with a walk that moved him to second before Brian McCann ripped a 2-0 pitch into right field for a single. Escobar slid in just ahead of Werth’s throw to put Atlanta up 1-0. Mark Kotsay was next with men on first and third with one out and he doubled to left-center. Teixeira scored to make it 2-0 with McCann holding third. Blanton struck out Jeff Francoeur with men on second and third before Kelly Johnson grounded to first for the third out.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 second.

Eaton started the third after a long delay. Teixeira singled with one out, but McCann grounded into a double-play behind him.

Eaton returned for the fourth. Kotsay led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch before Francoeur struck out for the first out. Kelly Johnson was next and he blasted a 1-0 pitch out to right field to make it 4-0. Infante was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out to left. 5-0. Pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes was next and he doubled to left. Gregor Blanco followed with a walk, but Eaton got Escobar to hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Condrey started the fifth with the game tied at 5-5 and gave up a leadoff single to Teixeira. He got the next two before walking Francoeur. With men on first and second, Johnson grounded to first for the third out.

With the Phils up 6-5, Condrey threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Romero started the seventh, pitching for the fourth straight day. He walked Teixeira with one out but got Corky Miller to hit into a double-play behind Teixeira.

It’s been a brutal couple of days for the Phils in terms of how much they’ve had to use their pen. I’d try pretty hard not to pitch guys four days in a row, though.

Seanez started the eighth with the Phillies up 12-5. Kotsay led off with a single before Francoeur popped to second for the first out. Johnson moved Kotsay to second with a walk before Infante blasted a ball into the corner in left for a double that scored Kotsay and made it 12-6 with Johnson moving to third. Greg Norton was next and hit a ball back to Seanez that the pitcher didn’t handle for an error. It loaded the bases for the lefty Blanco and Madson came in to pitch to him and walked him on five pitches to force in Johnson. 12-7. Escobar popped to third for the second out, but Martin Prado hit for the pitcher Buddy Carlyle and cleared the bases with a three-run double to right that made the score 12-10. Werth made a dive for the ball in right and didn’t get it — he probably would have saved the Phils a run by playing back on it. Corky Miller grounded to third for the third out.

Awful inning for both Seanez and Madson. Seanez got bombed and Madson, a day after walking three hitters in an inning, walks in a run with a six run lead.

Over his last four appearances, Seanez has been charged with six runs on five hits and five walks in two innings.

Lidge started the ninth, pitching for the third straight day. He walked Francoeur with one out, bringing Johnson to the plate as the tying run. Lidge struck out the lefty for the second out before Francoeur took second on defensive indifference with Infante at the plate. Infante grounded to second for the third out.

Long day for a tired pen, forced to throw seven innings. They allow eight runs on nine hits and six walks. Eaton, Seanez and Madson all pitched badly. Eaton threw 42 pitches. Everyone should enjoy the off-day today.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jorge Campillo went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Bruntlett (8) Coste. Bruntlett at third with Feliz still out and surprisingly Dobbs on the bench against the righty. Werth also starts in right against the righty with Jenkins on the bench. Campillo has been tough on lefties, they are hitting .204 against him this season compared to .254 for righties. Coste catches.

Utley singled with two outs in the first. He was running on a 3-2 count when Howard singled into center. Utley tried to score and was thrown out easily to end the inning.

With two outs in the second lefty Jo-Jo Reyes relieved Campillo after a long rain delay and walked Bruntlett. Coste moved Bruntlett to second with a single. Eaton hit for Blanton, who was going to have to leave the game, and drew a walk to load the bases. Rollins struck out looking for the third out.

Would have been nice to use someone other than Eaton with two men on to hit for Blanton. Assuming Feliz cannot hit, Taguchi and Ruiz were two right-handed options the Phillies had on a short bench. Both hit later in the game, but it’s not a lot of right-handed depth on the bench that Manuel gave himself by putting Werth and Bruntlett in the starting lineup.

Victorino was hit by a pitch to start the third. Utley struck out and Howard grounded into a double-play.

The Phils started the fourth down 5-0. Werth walked with one out and Bruntlett struck out behind him. Coste was next and he got the Phillies on the board, hitting a 2-1 pitch out to left-center to cut the Atlanta lead to 5-2. Taguchi hit for Eaton and reached on an infield single. Rollins followed with a walk. It put men on first and second for Victorino and he hit an 0-1 pitch out to left for a three-run homer. Utley flew to center for the third out.

Another pinch-hit for Taguchi, although it wasn’t really a majestic blast. Victorino has six home runs in July and is slugging .609 for the month. He had two home runs coming into July.

Burrell homered with one out in the fifth to put the Phils up 6-5. Werth was hit by a pitch, but Bruntlett struck out and pitcher Julian Tavarez made a circus catch between his legs on a line drive Coste hit back up the middle to end the inning.

Ruiz hit for Condrey to start the sixth and doubled to left. Rollins followed with a single that sent him to third before Victorino singled into center field. Ruiz scored to make it 7-5 with men on first and second for Utley. Utley struck out for the first out of the inning. Rollins and Victorino pulled off a double-steal that put men on second and third with one down. Rollins scored easily to make it 8-5. Victorino and Francoeur’s throw from right arrived at about the same time and Victorino hammered McCann, who dropped the ball and would have to leave the game with the Phils up 9-5. Burrell flew to left for the second out before Werth popped a 3-2 pitch out to left-center, putting the Phils up 11-5. Bruntlett flew to right for the third out.

Rollins homered with two outs in the seventh to make it 12-5. Victorino lined to second for the third out to end the inning.

With the lead cut to 12-10, Utley led off the eighth with a single but was caught stealing (he was safe but didn’t get the call). Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and his seventh home run of the season in the game. He was 4-for-13 in the series and is hitting 271/333/435 for the season.

Victorino was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. 5-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the series. 283/350/431 for the year.

Utley was 2-for-5 and struck out twice. 4-for-12 in the series. 288/368/559 for the year with no extra-base hits in his last 27 at-bats.

Howard 2-for-5 with two RBI. 4-for-12 with a home run in the set. 237/324/504.

Burrell 1-for-5 with a home run. 2-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. 277/400/585.

Werth 1-for-2 with a walk, a home run and two RBI. 2-for-7 in the series and 272/358/485 for the year. Jenkins was 1-for-3 with a walk in the series. 241/295/400.

Bruntlett 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. 0-for-6 with two walks in the series. 234/318/325 for the year. I don’t think it’s a good idea to start him against a righty with Dobbs on the bench. Dobbs was 0-for-1 in the game and 2-for-5 with a huge home run in the series. 313/350/443 for the year.

Coste was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. 5-for-7 in the series, raising his average for July up to .227. 291/340/500 for the year. Ruiz was 1-for-2 with a double in the game and 1-for-5 in the set. 211/309/277 for the year. Seems like he’s picked it up of late, but he’s hitting just .195 in July with one extra-base hit (the double yesterday, which was his first extra-base hit since June 13).

No game today.

Adam Eaton accepted a minor league assignment and JA Happ is likely to be called up, presumably to work as the second left out of the pen.

Pat Gillick says that Utley has a problem with his right hip. Utley says no.


Big bats, big pen help rally Phils past their ace

If the Phillies needed some life from their bats and some help from their bullpen, they got both yesterday. Cole Hamels gave up nine runs in the fourth inning, but the Phils roared back with seven in the fifth. Greg Dobbs capped the rally with a three-run homer that put the Phils up to stay at 10-9. After Hamels couldn’t make it through the fourth, six Phillies’ relievers combined to toss 5 1/3 shutout innings.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves yesterday afternoon, winning 10-9 to improve to 55-49 on the season.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on six hits and three walks. Only four of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He walked Yunel Escobar with one out in the first, but Mark Teixeira hit into a double-play behind him.

Brian McCann led off the second with a single, but Hamels got he next three.

He threw a 1-2-3 third.

The fourth started with the Phils up 3-0. Didn’t end that way. Escobar led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Teixeira. A walk to McCann loaded the bases for Omar Infante. Infante doubled to left and two runs scored. 3-2 with men on second and third. Jeff Francoeur flew to left for the first out and McCann tagged and scored to tie the game at 3-3 with Infante holding second. Martin Prado hit a ground ball to second that Utley didn’t handle for an error. Infante went to third. Mark Kotsay ripped a single into right and Infante scored to make it 4-3. With men on first and second pitcher Mike Hampton hit a ball back to Hamels that Hamels threw into left-center. Odd choice. Prado scored and Kotsay went to third with Atlanta up 5-3. Gregor Blanco was next and put down a beautiful bunt that went passed Hamels and had to be fielded by Utley. Utley had no chance and Blanco had a single. Kotsay scored (6-3) and Hampton went to second. Escobar flew to right for the second out before Teixeira hit an 0-1 pitch out to left-center for a three-run shot that made it 9-3. Seanez came in and got the lefty McCann to pop to second.

Pretty frustrating inning for Hamels with the error by Utley, his own error and the pretty bunt by Blanco. He didn’t respond real well. In the inning he allowed two walks, three singles, a double and a home run. Teixeira’s shot looked like it had put the game out reach in the fourth inning.

Eaton started the fifth, making his first appearance since July 12. Francoeur singled with one out before Prado flew to right for the second. Kotsay singled on a ball behind Rollins, but Rollins threw Francoeur out going for third to end the frame.

Madson started the sixth with the Phils up 10-9. Kelly Johnson led off with a walk. Blanco flew out for the first out before Madson walked Escobar. Teixeira went down looking before McCann walked on four pitches to load the bases with two down. Infante flew to right for the third out.

Durbin pitched the seventh. With one out, Greg Norton hit for pitcher Will Ohman and singled. Kotsay followed with a walk, but Durbin got the next two to end the frame.

Escobar led off the eighth with a single off of Durbin. Romero came in to pitch and set down Teixeira, McCann and Infante to leave him stranded. Great job by Romero against Teixeira and McCann.

Coming off a miserable game on Friday, Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

The pen goes 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and four walks. Madson and Durbin bend but don’t break. Romero pitched for the third straight day, Lidge his second and Durbin his second. Madson threw 27 pitches, Durbin 22. Everyone else was under 15.

Mike Hampton, just off the DL, and not Jo-Jo Reyes, got the start for the Braves. The Phillies’ lineup against the lefty went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Bruntlett (8) Coste. Victorino stays in the two spot against the lefty, maybe because Bruntlett is in the lineup and maybe not. Werth plays right against the lefty. Bruntlett at third for Feliz, who was scratched Friday with back problems. Coste catches, which is unusual for a start made by Hamels (and the results for Hamels weren’t so good).

Rollins led off the first with a single. Victorino and Utley went down behind him before Rollins was caught stealing second to end the inning.

Howard walked to start the second and moved to third when Burrell followed with a double. Werth grounded to third for the first out with the runners holding. Bruntlett was walked intentionally to load the bases and Coste lined a 1-2 pitch into left-center for a single that scored Howard and Burrell and put the Phils up 2-0. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third, but Rollins grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Victorino led off the third with a triple and scored when Utley followed with a sac fly to right. 3-0. Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

Down 9-3 in the fourth, Coste doubled with two outs. Taguchi hit for Seanez and flew to center.

Rollins, Victorino and Utley loaded the bases with singles to start the fifth. Howard singled to center and Rollins and Victorino scored, cutting the lead to 9-5 with men on first and third. Burrell hit a sac fly to center and Utley tagged and scored. 9-6 with one out and a man on first. Werth singled before Bruntlett flew to center for the second out. Coste singled to right and Howard scored to make it 9-7 with Werth moving to third. With righty Blaine Boyer on the mound, Dobbs hit for Eaton and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to put the Phils up 10-9. Rollins tried to bunt for a hit but was thrown out by Boyer to end the inning.

1-2-3 sixth a 1-2-3 seventh.

With one out in the eighth and righty Julian Tavarez pitching for Atlanta, Jenkins hit for Romero and drew a walk. Rollins and Victorino went down behind him.

Rollins was 2-for-5 and started the rally in the fifth.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a triple. He’s slugging .580 in July.

Utley 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a double.

Werth 1-for-4.

Bruntlett 0-for-3 with a walk.

Coste 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Dobbs had the biggest hit of the game, his third home run of the year.

Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.08) faces righty Jorge Campanillo (5-4, 2.83) this afternoon. Opponents are hitting .230 against Campanillo, lefites just .196. The Phillies have hit him hard this year. He’s made four appearances against the Phils this season, two of which are starts, and the Phils are hitting .368 against him. Blanton didn’t pitch well in his Phillies debut, allowing a pair of two-run homers as he gave up five runs in six innings against the Mets on Tuesday.


Lidge spares the Phils the misery of another close loss

The list of tasks on the Phils to-do list is short but daunting: get the hitters hitting and the bullpen getting some people out. Right now they’re not real close on either front.

The Phils scored three runs of fewer for the third straight game last night and the fourth time in five games. Given how badly the bullpen is pitching they’re going to need a lot more than three runs if they want to win a game. Brad Lidge got lit up so dramatically last night it was hard to come away from the game with much besides that on your mind.

Kyle Kendrick and Jair Jurrjens battled in a splendid pitcher’s duel through eight innings. Lidge started the ninth inning down 1-0 and the Braves put up seven runs in the frame, the big blast coming on a Brian McCann grand slam.

The Phillies have now lost five of their last six and each of the five losses has featured a blowup by a different guy in the pen — Seanez, Condrey, Madson, Romero and now Lidge. Durbin is the only guy in the pen to remain unscathed unless you count Eaton as a reliever. Eaton apparently has settled into a new role as team mascot in the roster spot where you’d be looking for a seventh reliever (he has thrown 6 1/3 innings since July 2).

The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, falling 8-2 to drop to 54-49 on the season. They have lost three in a row.

Kyle Kendrick got the start and gave the Phils their second straight great start. He went six innings, allowing a run on seven hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Mark Kotsay singled with one out in the second. Jeff Francoeur followed with a ground ball to third and Kotsay was forced at second for the second out. Kendrick walked Kelly Johnson on four pitches to put men on first and second. Omar Infante was next and hit a rocket of a line drive back up the middle and off Kendrick. It knocked Kendrick’s glove off and Kendrick picked the glove up and looked in it, but the ball had rolled behind him. It loaded the bases for pitcher Jair Jurrjens and Kendrick got him on a ground ball to second to end the frame.

Kendrick set the Braves down in order in the third.

Brian McCann led off the fourth and blasted a 1-0 pitch out to center to put Atlanta up 1-0. Kotsay grounded to first and Jenkins made a nice diving play coming in on a soft liner by Francoeur for the second out. Johnson singled again before Infante grounded to short.

Gregor Blanco doubled to right with one out in the fifth. Yunel Escobar was next and Kendrick hit him with a 1-2 pitch to put men on first and second. Mark Teixeira hit a ground ball to first and Howard fed Kendrick covering for the second out and the runners moved to second and third. Kendrick walked the lefty McCann to load the bases and got the lefty Kotsay to fly to left to end the frame.

McCann is really good, but I hate putting another man on base for a lefty given how hard they hit Kendrick.

Francoeur singled to start the sixth. Kendrick got Johnson and Infante on fly balls before Jurrjens singled to right, moving Francoeur to second. Blanco flew to Burrell on a nice play in foul territory to leave both men stranded.

Romero started the seventh down 1-0 coming off a rough outing against the Mets on Thursday. He struck out Escobar and Teixeira before McCann walked and stole second. Kotsay grounded to first for the third out.

Durbin threw a 1-2-3 eighth to drop his ERA to 1.75.

Lidge started the ninth down 1-0. Switch-hitter Greg Norton hit for Jurrjens to lead off the inning and blasted a double to the base of the wall in right-center. Blanco was next and bunted to third but beat out Dobbs’ throw for a single. With men on first and third the Phils brought the infield in, but Lidge walked Escobar to load the bases. Teixeira was next and he singled into left. Escobar scored and it was 2-0 with the bases still loaded. McCann hit a 1-2 pitch out to right for a grand slam. 6-0. Condrey entered the game and got Kotsay on a pop to Rollins in shallow left field before Kotsay doubled past Burrell in left. Johnson hit one off the wall in center for a double. Francoeur scored and it was 7-0. Infante singled into left and Johnson went to third. Norton grounded to first for the second out and Johnson scored to make it 8-0 with Infante at second. Condrey walked Blanco before Escobar grounded to second for the third out.

The pen went three innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and two walks. Lidge and Condrey were both terrible. Romero threw 23 pitches appearing for the second straight day. Lidge 18, Condrey 16.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Feliz was scratched from the lineup with tightness in the lower back, so Dobbs starts against the righty. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.

Victorino walked with one out in the first. With Utley at the plate he took off for second and McCann’s throw hit him and bounced away, allowing Victorino to go to third. Utley struck out and Howard flew to center.

No joy for Utley with a man on third and one out. Victorino stole second and wound up on third as the count went 1-1.

Dobbs singled with two outs in the second. Ruiz struck out behind him.

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

With the Phils down 1-0, Jenkins led off the fifth with a single. Dobbs was next and hit into a double-play. Ruiz grounded to third.

Kendrick was due to lead off the sixth having thrown 94 pitches and down 1-0. Taguchi hit for him and struck out. Rollins grounded to third before Victorino singled and stole second. Utley struck out again.

Golly.

They went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Dobbs lined to third on a nice play by Infante for the first out in the eighth. Ruiz hit it hard, too, but Teixeira caught his ball for the second out. Werth hit for Durbin with the righty Jurrjens still on the mound and smashed a 3-1 pitch back through the middle and off the pitcher’s body. Jurrjens jumped on it quickly and threw to first to get Werth to end the inning. Nice play.

Down 8-0 in the ninth, Utley singled with two outs and Howard followed with a home run to left. 8-2. Burrell flew to right to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases.

Utley 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Howard 1-for-4 with his 30th home run.

Burrell 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Jenkins 1-for-3.

Dobbs 1-for-3.

Ruiz 0-for-3.

Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.11) faces lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (3-9, 4.95) this afternoon. Reyes allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings his last time out, Sunday against the Nationals. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his last four starts, but opponents are hitting .287 against him for the year. He has a 7.14 ERA in nine starts in Atlanta and a 2.72 ERA in six starts away from Atlanta. Hamels has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. The Phils have scored 12 runs in those games combined.


Phils relievers have promises to keep and miles to go before they sleep

The Phillies split the first two games of their set with the New York Mets, winning one game thanks to a tremendous performance by their bullpen and losing the second due to its dismal failure.

Last night’s game was blown open late by the Mets as New York’s left-handed hitters pounded away at a Phils’ pen that featured a single, and last night at least, ineffective lefty. The first game of the set served as a reminder to all of one of the big differences between Brett Myers and JA Happ — even when Happ pitches well it’s reasonable to expect that he’s only going to go 4 2/3 innings. That leaves a lot of innings for the pen to throw.

After two long days, the Phillies’ relievers could sure use a break. The sad fact of the matter is the new Phillies’ rotation looks like it has only one guy who should be counted on to give it to them — and he’s not pitching today.

The Phillies lost to the New York Mets last night, falling 9-4 to fall to 48-40 on the season.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four.

In the first he gave up singles to Jose Reyes and Ryan Church that put men on first and third for David Wright. Moyer got Wright to hit into the double-play, but Reyes scored to make it 1-0. Carlos Beltran popped to Coste for the third out.

With one out in the fourth Wright doubled and stole third. Beltran walked to put men on first and third. Moyer picked Beltran off of first, but Howard’s throw to second went into left field for an error. Wright scored to put New York up 2-0. Damion Easley followed with a single into center that scored Beltran from second and made it 3-0. Moyer got the next two to leave him stranded.

The game was tied at 3-3 when Moyer started the seventh. Chris Aguila singled with one out and moved to third when Reyes hit a two-out double. Ryan Church was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Wright and got him on a ground ball to short to end the frame.

The bullpen blew up in the eighth. Romero started the inning and gave up one out singles to Easley and Carlos Delgado. It put men on first and third for righty Ramon Castro and Gordon came in to pitch to him. Lefty Marlon Anderson hit for Castro and Gordon walked him to load the bases, but not before a wild pitch from Gordon scored Easley to tie the game at 4-4 and sent Delgado to second. Lefty Endy Chavez hit for Aguila and moved the runners to second and third with a ground ball for the second out. Lefty Brian Schneider hit for Feliciano and ripped a double to right center, clearing the bases and putting the Mets up 6-4. Reyes flew to left for the third out.

Yuck. The Phillies only lefty in the pen leaves the game so Gordon has to face three lefties in a row. Anderson walked, Chavez grounded out and Schneider killed him with the double. Swindle, who is at least a second lefty in the pen if not the one the Phillies need, was sent down on Thursday so Happ could be called up.

The Mets blew the game open with three more runs against Seanez in the ninth. Fernando Tatis led off with a double and moved to third on a ground out by Wright. Beltran hit a ball pretty hard back to the mound that Seanez didn’t handle for a tough error. Tatis scored and it was 7-4. Easley moved Beltran to second with a single and Delgado followed with another single that loaded the bases. Anderson grounded to second and Beltran scored as Delgado was forced at second for the second out. 8-4. Chavez singled to right and Easley scored to make it 9-4. Condrey came in and got Schneider on a ground ball to short for the third out.

Again the Phillies can’t get the lefties out as hits by Delgado and Chavez help the Mets score three.

Long, bad day for the pen after Happ went just 4 2/3 the day before. They go 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk. Seanez and Gordon were the only two of the five Phillies relievers to throw more than ten pitches. Seanez threw 23 and Gordon 16. Phils could use a long outing by Kendrick this afternoon.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty John Maine went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Jenkins (8) Coste. Coste starts again. Jenkins in the lineup against the righty but dropped to seventh below Feliz. Rollins and Victorino back at the top of the order.

The Phillies didn’t have a man on base in the first three innings.

They started the fourth down 3-0. Victorino was hit by a pitch with one out and stole second before Utley walked. Howard was next and he smoked a 2-1 pitch out the opposite way to tie the game at 3-3. Burrell struck out and Feliz grounded to short to end the inning.

The game was still tied at 3-3 in the seventh. Burrell led off with a single and Bruntlett ran for him at first. Feliz bunted Bruntlett to second and righty Joe Smith walked Jenkins intentionally to put men on first and second. Coste flew to left for the second out. Dobbs hit for Madson and lefty Pedro Feliciano came in to pitch to Dobbs. Werth hit for Dobbs and hit a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Bruntlett scored to put the Phils up 4-3. Werth went for second when the throw came home, but Castro threw him out to end the inning.

The Phils put men on first and second with two outs in the eighth. Ruiz hit for Gordon and grounded to short.

They went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Rollins 0-for-4.

Victorino 1-for-3.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and a three-run homer. The home run was the only extra-base hit in the game for the Phils. They have two extra-base hits in the first two games of the series.

Burrell 1-for-3.

Feliz 0-for-3.

Jenkins 0-for-3 with a walk.

Coste 0-for-4.

Friday night the Phillies beat the Mets 3-2 on a single by Victorino with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. It was the fourth straight win for the Phils. They improved to 48-39 on the season.

JA Happ made his first start of the year for the Phillies. He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

Happ was really good through four, allowing just a walk and a single. He got a nice diving play from Werth in left to end the second with Castro, who had singled, on first base.

He started the fifth with the game tied at 0-0. Easley led off with a single and moved to third when Castro followed with a double. Chris Aguila walked to load the bases. The pitcher Johan Santana popped to Coste for the first out before Reyes hit a ground ball to second. Utley threw to Rollins but Reyes just beat the relay to first. Easley scored to make it 1-0 Mets. Happ walked Chavez to load the bases. It looked like he had Wright struck out on an 0-2 pitch, but didn’t get the call. Wright went on to walk and Castro scored to make it 2-0. Durbin came in to pitch to Beltran and struck him out swinging at a 3-2 pitch to end the frame.

Durbin pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out five of the six men he faced.

Madson threw a scoreless eighth, giving up a leadoff single to Chavez but getting the next three.

Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

Durbin was simply brilliant after Happ fell apart quickly. Overall the pen went 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, a single, and no walks. Durbin threw 35 pitches, Madson 14 and Lidge just five.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Johan Santana went (1) Werth (2) Utley (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Victorino (8) Coste. Werth in right hitting leadoff. Rollins moves to third. Victorino drops to seventh. Coste catches. I think I’d just hit Rollins leadoff.

Singles by Werth and Howard were the Phillies only two base runners of the first five innings.

They started the sixth down 2-0. Werth and Utley singled back-to-back after Durbin hit for himself and struck out to start the inning. It put men on first and second for Rollins and Rollins flew to center for the second out. Howard swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and hit a ground ball to where the shortstop would have been playing without the shift. Nobody was there and it went for a single that scored Werth and cut the lead to 2-1. Burrell was next with men on first and second and lined a single to left that scored Utley and made it 2-2. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

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

Howard and Burrell struck out to start the ninth before Feliz doubled to left. Victorino was next and he got behind in the count before he lined a 1-2 pitch into left that scored Feliz to give the Phils a 3-2 win.

Werth was 2-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4.

Rollins 0-for-4 with three men left on base.

Howard 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Burrell 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Feliz 1-for-4 with a double, the Phillies’ only extra-base hit of the game.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a game-winning single.

Coste 0-for-3.

On Thursday the Phillies beat the Braves 4-1 to improve to 47-39.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went 8 2/3 innings, coming one pitch short of a complete game. He allowed five hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out seven.

Yunel Escobar doubled with one out in the first, but Hamels got the next two behind him.

In the second he gave up a leadoff single to Omar Infante. He walked the next batter, Brian McCann, but got the next three.

He only allowed one more base runner before the eighth. He walked pitcher Jair Jurrjens with two outs in the fifth, but got Gregor Blanco bunting for a hit behind him to end the inning.

Blanco doubled with two outs in the eight before Escobar popped to second.

Hamels started the ninth up 4-0. Chipper Jones doubled to start the inning and scored when McCann doubled with two outs. 4-1. Gordon came in and made one pitch to Jeff Francoeur. Franceour flew to left to end the game.

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

The Phillies scored all four of their runs against Jurrjens, three of which came on home runs.

Utley put the Phils up 1-0 with a solo shot in the first.

Rollins started the third with a triple, but Victorino grounded to first, Utley struck out and Howard grounded to the pitcher.

Burrell doubled to start the fourth. Feliz brought him in with a one out single to make it 2-0.

Howard homered with one out in the sixth. Feliz hit a 2-2 pitch out to left to start the seventh.

Rollins 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple.

Victorino 0-for-4.

Utley 1-for-4 with his 24th home run.

Howard 1-for-4 with his 22nd.

Burrell 2-for-4 with a double.

Jenkins 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Feliz 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.

Ruiz 0-for-4.

The Phillies and Brad Lidge have agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $37.5 million.


Funk shrunk

Evidently the collective funk the Phils found themselves in earlier this month was as easy to fall out of as it was to fall into. All it took was a National League team to play.

A lot of things have gone right for the Phillies in Atlanta. Last night they got an early three-run bomb from Howard that put them up 4-0 in the third. Adam Eaton wasn’t great, but he was good enough. The bats have come alive and twice in two games they got huge outs from their pen. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-8 with two walks in the first two games against the Braves after going 3-for-26 in six games against the A’s and Rangers.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 last night. With the win they improve to 46-39 on the year and ensure they will win their first series out of their last seven. The Phillies have won five in a row against the Braves.

Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and five walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

Yunel Escobar singled with one out in the first. Chipper Jones followed with a ground out to second that moved Escobar to second. Eaton got Mark Teixeira on a popup to short for the third out.

Eaton walked Kelly Johnson with one out in the second. He struck Jeff Francoeur out swinging for the second out and got Mark Kotsay on a pop to third.

Gregor Blanco singled to center with one out in the third. Escobar flew to right for the first out before Eaton walked Chipper and Teixeira back-to-back to load the bases for the lefty Brian McCann. McCann flew to center for the third out to leave the bases loaded.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Eaton started the fifth up 5-0. Ruben Gotay hit for the pitcher Jorge Campillo to lead off the frame and lined a 2-2 pitch just out to right over the glove of Werth. Blanco followed with a walk. Escobar was next and he smashed a ball back up the middle, but Rollins made a fantastic play to start a double-play. Chipper grounded to third for the third out.

Great play by Rollins changed the inning.

Teixeira led off the sixth with a double. Eaton walked McCann on five pitches to put men on first and second before Johnson loaded the bases with a single to right. With the righty Francoeur at the plate Manuel called on Durbin. Durbin got Francoeur to hit a double-play ball to short. Teixeira scored to make it 5-2. Durbin got Kotsay looking at a 2-2 pitch to leave McCann stranded at third.

Great job by Durbin, who came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Romero started the eighth. Chipper was the first to face him and hit a 1-1 pitch just out to center. 5-3. Teixeira walked on four pitches before Romero struck McCann out swinging for the first out. Johnson was next and chopped a ball high to first. Howard fielded and tagged out Johnson for the second out as Teixeira went to second. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Francoeur and struck him out swinging to end the inning.

Lidge started the ninth, pitching for the second straight day in a non-save situation. He struck out Kotsay for the first out before Greg Norton hit for Royce Ring and singled to center. Blanco was next and hit a ball to Howard that Howard didn’t handle for an error. With runners on first and second, Lidge struck out Escobar for the second out. Chipper was next and hit a ground ball between first and second. Howard cut in front of Utley and didn’t make the play. He was charged with another error, his second in three batters and ninth on the season. It loaded the bases and brought Teixeira to the plate as the tying run, but Lidge struck him out swinging at a 3-2 pitch out of the strike zone to end the game.

Lidge strikes out the side, allowing a hit and working around two errors to post a scoreless frame. The pen allowed one run in four innings while striking out six. Durbin was fantastic. He threw 22 pitches, Lidge 28 with an assist to Howard, Romero 19 and Madson six.

Lidge and Romero were pitching for the second straight day.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jorge Campillo went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Werth again in right despite the righty and a couple of hits from Jenkins the night before. Coste catches Eaton. Howard stays at four and Burrell at five. With two switch-hitters and two lefties in the lineup the Phils have four righties in a row five through eight.

Utley doubled to right with two outs in the first. Howard grounded to first for the third out.

Feliz doubled to left with two outs in the second. Coste was next and hammered a double to left center. Feliz scored and the Phils led 1-0. Eaton followed with a single to left and Coste tried to score from second. Blanco’s throw was strong but a little up the third base line. McCann took it and made a nice tag to nail Coste to end the inning.

Rollins started the third with a single. Victorino flew to right before Rollins stole second. Utley walked and it brought Howard up with two men on. Howard got up 2-1 and then hit one out to left-center for a three-run shot that put the Phils up 4-0. Burrell flew to right and Werth grounded to short.

Coste singled with one out in the fourth and Eaton bunted him to second. Rollins walked to put men on first and second with two down, but Victorino popped to short to end the frame.

With two outs in the fifth, Burrell got ahead 3-1 and then pulled a ball on the outside of the plate out to left to put the Phillies up 5-0. Werth popped to first for the third out.

Feliz started the sixth with a single but Coste hit into a double-play behind him. Eaton struck out for the third out.

Rollins started the seventh with an infield single but Victorino, Utley and Howard went down in order behind him.

Werth singled with one out in the eighth. Feliz flew to left for the second out before Werth stole second. Coste grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

Bruntlett, who had entered the game in left in the bottom of the eighth, started the eighth with a walk. Rollins followed with a triple to right-center that scored Bruntlett and put the Phils up 6-3. Victorino struck out for the first out before Utley singled to left, scoring Rollins to make it 7-3. Utley stole second before Howard walked. It put men on first and second with one down. Taguchi hit for Madson and hit into a double-play.

Bad strikeout by Victorino with nobody out and a man on first. Utley picked him up.

Rollins was 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Victorino 0-for-5 and left five men on base. He’s 3-for-his-last-21.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Howard 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and a walk.

Burrell 1-for-4 with his 21st home run.

Werth 1-for-4.

Feliz 2-for-4 with a double.

Coste 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Cole Hamels (8-5, 3.38) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (8-3, 2.94) tonight. Over his last three starts Jurrjens has not allowed an earned run in 21 2/3 innings. He’s allowed just five home runs in 98 innings on the year. Opponents are hitting just .248 against him, but he’s walked too many, 37 in 98 innings. He’s just 22 so you might as well get used to him. Hamels has allowed six home runs in his last four starts but has gone at least seven innings in all of them.

This suggests that JA Happ or Brian Mazone will get a start this weekend against the Mets.


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