Tag: Brewers

Can I call you, Joe (if I need someone to pitch us into the NLCS)?

The Phillies needed three fantastic performances from their starting pitchers to get past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. After Hamels and Myers dazzled in games one and two, game four it was up to Blanton to pitch the Phillies into the NLCS and he delivered. Blanton took a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning before he gave up a solo home run to Prince Fielder this afternoon. It was the only extra-base hit he allowed. He didn’t walk a hitter and struck out seven.

Fielder’s home run was the only extra-base hit for the Brewers in the last two games of the series.

If Joe Blanton pitched the Phils into the NLCS, there’s little question who hit them into it. Pat Burrell sprung out of a mini-slump today, delivering a huge three-run homer in the top of the third inning that put the Phils up to stay at 4-0. He added a solo shot in the top of the eighth.

Burrell’s blasts were much-needed for a Phillies offense that largely had to get it done without Utley and Howard. The dynamic duo of lefties that makes up the three-four punch of the Phillies order combined to go just 4-for-26 in the series. Compounding the problem for the Phils, at the bottom of the order, Feliz and Ruiz combined to go 4-for-27. Between them, that’s half the lineup. The Phillies had to make do, and they did. Burrell had two big blasts in game four, Werth put together some timely contributions and Victorino gave them a grand slam in game two.

Thanks to Blanton and his cohorts in the rotation, that was enough.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon, winning 6-2. With the win they take the best-of-five series three games to one. They will play the Dodgers in the NLCS. Game one is Thursday.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on five hits. One of the hits he allowed went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

He faced a Milwaukee lineup that went (1) Cameron (CF/R) (2) Durham (2B/S) (3) Braun (LF/R) (4) Fielder (1B/L) (5) Hardy (SS/R) (6) Hart (RF/R) (7) Counsell (3B/L) (8) Kendall (C/R). That is the same lineup that Milwaukee used against Myers in game two.

There were five position players on the bench for Milwaukee to start the game: Mike Rivera (R), Tony Gwynn, Jr (L), Brad Nelson (L), Alcides Escobar (R) and Bill Hall (R). Escobar is a 21-year-old infielder with four career at-bats who took Weeks’ spot on the roster after Weeks sprained his knee trying to beat out a base hit in game three.

Blanton started the first up 1-0. He struck Cameron out looking at 2-2 fastball at the knees. Durham popped to Dobbs at third on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. He got ahead of Braun 0-2, but Braun laced a 2-2 pitch into left field for a single. Fielder worked the count full before he hit a fly ball well to the opposite field, but Burrell took it a couple of steps in front of the warning track for the third out.

Long inning for Blanton. He threw 29 pitches, which would be the most he would throw in an inning on the day.

He threw a 1-2-3 second, getting Hardy to pop a 1-1 pitch to Dobbs, Hardy to ground his first pitch to short and Counsell to pop a 2-0 pitch up to short. Seven more pitches had him at 36.

He threw a 1-2-3 third with the Phils up 5-0. Kendall worked the count full and flew to right. Sabathia hit for the pitcher Suppan and went down swinging on three pitches. Cameron flew to center on an 0-1 pitch.

Nice, quick inning against the bottom of the order for Blanton after the Phils gave him a big lead. Eleven pitches. 47 for the game.

He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 fourth. Durham struck out swinging at a 1-2 pitch in the dirt. Braun struck of swinging 2-2. Fielder flew to right. Sixteen pitches had him at 63.

Hardy led off the fifth and lined a single into left on a 1-1 pitch. First base-runner that Blanton had allowed since Braun’s single in the first. Blanton struck out the next two, getting Hart swinging after Hart got ahead 0-2 and Counsell on four pitches. Kendall grounded a 2-2 pitch to short for the third out. Eighteen pitches. 81.

Lefty Tony Gwynn hit for pitcher Yovani Gallardo to start the sixth and hit a 2-2 pitch into right for a single. Again Blaton got the next three men he faced. Cameron popped to second. Durham flew to right. Braun stuck out looking at a low 1-2 fastball. Eighteen more pitches put him at 99 for the game.

He still had a 5-0 lead when he started the seventh. Fielder led off and worked the count full and then blasted a monster shot way, way out to right-center. 5-1. Hardy was next and he lined an 0-1 pitch into right for a single. That was it for Blanton after 107 pitches. Manuel called on Madson to pitch to Hart. Hart grounded a 1-1 pitch to second, but not hard enough for the Phils to get two. Hart was out at first for the first out with Hardy moving to second. Counsell was next and he chopped a 1-1 pitch between first and second. Howard made a diving play to stab the ball and threw to Madson covering first for the second out as Hardy went to third. Kendall flew to right on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Very surprised, and pleased, to see Manuel bring in Madson and not Durbin in the seventh. Both had pitched on Saturday, with Madson throwing 13 pitches to get four outs and Durbin throwing 20 pitches to get two. But under normal circumstances I think Manuel would tend to go to Durbin in that situation. Durbin has really struggled lately, so I was thrilled to see Manuel change things up and go with Madson for more than an inning. Worked great for the Phils.

Madson returned to start the eighth with the Phils now up 6-1 and got Bill Hall, who had entered in the top of the inning as part of a double-switch, to ground an 0-2 pitch to short for the first out. Cameron was next and he singled up the middle on the first pitch of his at-bat. Cameron took second on defensive indifference before Durham grounded a 1-2 pitch to second for the second out with Cameron going to third. Braun lined a 2-2 pitch into left field for another single and Cameron scored, cutting the Phillies lead to 6-2. It brought up Fielder with two outs and a man on first and Fielder crushed a 1-1 pitch, hitting a line drive that would have been a single into right except the shift had Utley playing in shallow right. Utley speared the ball to end the inning.

I do not understand at all why Romero did not come on to pitch to Fielder. Does not make any sense to me if he is healthy. Especially after Fielder had hit it to the moon an inning earlier. Fielder got a good pitch to hit (and hit it good), so if they were pitching around him to get to the righty Hardy they didn’t do a good job of it.

Lidge started the ninth up 6-2. Hardy led of and grounded to Feliz at third for the first out. Hart was next and hit a 2-2 pitch hard to third and under the glove of Feliz and into left for a single. Lefty Brad Nelson hit for the pitcher Guillermo Mota and Lidge struck the rookie out on a 2-2 slider away for the second out. Kendall grounded a 1-2 pitch to short and the series was over.

Very muted celebration for the Phils, which was nice to see. They have accomplished a lot, but they don’t look like they think they’re done.

Madson and Lidge combined to go three innings, allowing a run on three singles. Madson threw 24 pitches, Lidge 16. They have a long time to rest before Thursday. As a group, the Phillies pen threw ten innings in the series, allowing four runs, all of them earned (3.60 ERA), on 13 hits and three walks.

The Milwaukee pen had to throw six innings in the game and was charged with one run, the homer by Burrell off of Mota. As a group they allowed one run in 17 2/3 innings in the series, clearly outpitching the Phillies pen. Notably, the Brewers used several starting pitchers in relief in the set (Gallardo, Villanueva, McClung, Parra), while the Phils stuck to their relief corps.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeff Suppan went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Dobbs gets his first playoff start against the righty with Feliz on the bench. Ruiz continues to catch, he started all four games of the series. Ruiz was behind the plate for about 66% of the hitters that Blanton faced while with the Phillies this season.

The hitters on the bench to start the game for the Phils were Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Bruntlett (R), Feliz (R), Jenkins (L) and Stairs (L).

Rollins got ahead 3-1 to start the first. He checked his swing 3-1 on a pitch that looked inside, but Suppan got the called strike to run the count full. Rollins hit a laser out to right on the next pitch to put the Phils up 1-0. Victorino popped to short for the first out before Utley drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch low. Howard hit the first pitch of his at-bat to short, where third baseman Counsell was playing thanks to the shift, and the Brewers turned the double-play to end the frame.

Burrell got behind 1-2 to start the second before he singled down the right field line. Werth had a long at-bat, but struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch that was outside for the first out. Dobbs followed and hit an 0-1 pitch into right-center for a single, with Burrell going to third. Dobbs took second on a wild pitch before Ruiz went down looking at a 1-2 pitch on the outside corner. Blanton struck out swinging on three pitches to end the inning.

Phils get nothing out of second and third with one out. Bad at-bat for Ruiz, who swung at bad 1-1 pitch low and away before going down looking.

Rollins flew to right on a 1-2 pitch to start the third. Victorino was next and hit a flair down the left field line that dropped. Victorino had a double. Utley grounded to second on a 1-1 pitch for the second out and Victorino went to third. Howard was walked intentionally, bringing up Burrell with two down and men on first and third. The first four pitches of Burrell’s at-bat went ball-strike-ball-strike, evening the count at 2-2. Both of the strikes were called, low and on the outside part of the plate. Burrell simply cannot hit that pitch. Don’t know if it was the single down the right field line in the first that got in his head or it was just a mistake, but Suppan threw a 2-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate and Burrell just hammered it out to left. Terrible idea (or just missed his spot) for Suppan. Burrell’s three-run shot put the Phils up 4-0. Werth was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch out to left-center. 5-0. Dobbs flew to center for the third out.

Burrell came into the game 9-for-21 (429/571/952) with three home runs in his career against Suppan. I think you have to question the intentional walk to Howard. Second time in the series that the intentional walk to Howard hurt Milwaukee. In game one it was followed by back-to-back walks that forced in a run.

Yovani Gallardo came in to pitch the fourth and set the Phils down in order. Ruiz grounded to third, Blanton struck out and Rollins grounded to second.

Gallardo threw a 1-2-3 fifth as well. Victorino grounded to first, Utley grounded to second and Howard flew to left.

Burrell flew to right on an 0-2 pitch to start the sixth. Werth was next and hit a towering popup to left on a 3-2 pitch. The ball hit a cable at the top of the stadium and was redirected back to the infield, where Counsell made an amazing diving play to record the second out. Dobbs blooped a single down the left-field line before Ruiz popped to third to set the Phillies down.

Blanton hit for himself to start the seventh with the Phillies up 5-0. He had thrown 99 pitches. He struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Rollins followed with a single to left, but Victorino followed and swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Lefty Manny Parra struck out Utley and Howard to start the eighth. Guillermo Mota came in to pitch to Burrell with the Phils up 5-1. Mota hung an 0-2 slider to Burrell and Burrell popped that one out to left too, putting the Phils up 6-1. Werth followed and chopped an 0-2 pitch back up the middle, Hardy’s throw just nipped him at first (looked safe to me).

Feliz, who had entered to play third in the sixth, led off the ninth with a hundred-hopper into right for a single. Ruiz tried to bunt and popped it up to Fielder for the first out. Stairs hit for Madson and grounded into a double-play on a 2-1 pitch to end the frame. Again Manuel chooses Stairs over Jenkins in a hitting situation where it looks like he’s only going to get to use one of them in the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a home run in the game. 6-for-16 (.375) with two doubles, a home run and a walk in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double in the game. 5-for-14 (.357) with three doubles, three walks and a grand slam in the series. Led the team with five RBI. He also stole three bases.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. 2-for-15 (.133) with a double, two walks and two RBI in the series.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. 2-for-11 (.182) with a double and five walks in the series. Utley and Howard combine to go 4-for-26 (.154) with two doubles.

Burrell 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI in the game. 3-for-12 (.250) with two walks in the series. Was having a miserable series before today’s game, but made up for it in a big way. He struck out just once in the series.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a home run today. 5-for-16 (.313) with three doubles, a triple and a home run in the series. Didn’t draw a walk and struck out six times, which led the team.

Dobbs 2-for-3 in the game and 3-for-5 (.600) in the series. I would guess we might see him get some more starts against righties in the NLCS. Feliz was 1-for-1 today and 3-for-13 (.231) with a double and an RBI in the set.

Ruiz was 0-for-4 and left four men on base. 1-for-14 (.071) in the series. Coste did not play in the series.

Stairs was 0-for-1 today and 0-for-2 in the series. Jenkins 0-for-1 in the series. Bruntlett 1-for-1 with a single.


Phils could have used Moyer, runs in game three

The Phils let the Milwaukee Brewers back into the best-of-five NLDS last night. With a 4-1 loss, the Phils now lead the best-of-five series two games to one with CC Sabathia looming as the Brewers’ game five starter if the Phils can’t find a way to beat Jeff Suppan this afternoon.

Jamie Moyer made an early exit in yesterday’s game. For the Phils it was the first time this series that their starting pitcher was not fantastic. Moyer needed 90 pitches to give the Phils just four innings and left having allowed two runs.

The offense is a bigger issue for the Phils. After one run in yesterday’s game they have scored nine in the first three games of the set, four of which came on a single swing from Victorino. Yesterday they put their leadoff man on base in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth and brought him in to score just once.

The Phillies lost the Milwaukee Brewers last night, falling 4-1. The Phils lead the best-of-five series two games to one. The winner of the series will face the Dodgers. LA finished their sweep of the Cubs with a 3-1 win last night.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks. All four of the hits against Moyer were singles — the Brewers did not have an extra-base hit in the game. He struck out three.

Moyer faced a Milwaukee lineup that went (1) Cameron (CF/R) (2) Hall (3B/R) (3) Braun (LF/R) (4) Fielder (1B/L) (5) Hardy (SS/R) (6) Hart (RF/R) (7) Weeks (2B/R) (8) Kendall (C/R). That’s the same lineup that the Brewers used in game one of the series with Moyer’s fellow lefty Hamels on the mound for the Phils.

There were five position players on the bench for Milwaukee to start the game: Mike Rivera (R), Tony Gwynn, Jr (L), Brad Nelson (L), Craig Counsell (L) and Ray Durham (Switch).

Moyer walked Cameron on four pitches to start the first. He got ahead of Hall 1-2, but walked him as well. His first pitch to Braun was in the dirt. Ruiz should have blocked it, but didn’t handle it and it bounced way away towards the Brewers’ dugout. Moyer was charged with a wild pitch and the runners went to second and third with nobody out. Braun popped up to third on a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Fielder was next and he flew to right on a 1-1 pitch. Werth took it just in front of the warning track. The runners both moved up with Werth’s throwing going to third, but too late. Cameron scored to make it 1-0 Milwaukee with two down and a man on third. Hardy lined a 2-2 pitch just past Rollins and Hall scored to make it 2-0. Moyer got behind Hart 2-0, but came back to strike him out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Long inning for Moyer. He threw 34 pitches. He threw a first pitch ball to each of the six hitters he faced.

Weeks led off the second and got ahead 3-1 before he hit a 3-2 pitch to deep third. Feliz fielded and made a fantastic throw to first, nipping Weeks for the first out. Weeks sprained his knee trying to beat the ball out and was replaced by Counsell at second base in the top of the fourth. Moyer got ahead of Kendall, but Kendall hit a 1-2 pitch under the glove of Utley and into right field for a single. Utley should have made the play, and it meant more pitches for Moyer. Bush bunted Kendall to second for the second out. Cameron was next and walked again. This time Moyer got ahead of him, not getting the call on a 1-2 pitch that was very close but perhaps a tick inside before walking him in an eight-pitch at-bat. It put men on first and second for Hall. Hall got ahead 3-1 and then took two pitches and was twice the victim of a questionable call as he went down looking to end the inning with both men stranded. He took a step towards first after the 3-1 pitch was called a strike. The 3-2 pitch looked pretty outside as Hall headed towards first again and had to be told the inning was over.

Another long inning for Moyer. Twenty-eight pitches had him at 62 for the game.

Braun flew to right for the first out in the third. Fielder got ahead 2-0, but struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Hardy lined a 1-2 pitch into right for a two-out single. Hart was next and he hit the first pitch he saw into right. Werth fielded the ball near the line as Hart rounded first base and threw behind him. Howard tagged Hart out as he dove back in to first base to end the inning. Fourteen pitches for Moyer in the third had him at 76.

Fantastic play by Werth.

Counsell hit an 0-2 pitch to short to start the fourth. Rollins made strong throw to nip him for the first out. Moyer got ahead of Kendall 0-2 before Hall grounded a 3-2 pitch to third for the second out. Bush grounded an 0-2 pitch to short for the third out. Fourteen more pitches for Moyer put him at 90 for the game.

Condrey started the fifth after Stairs hit for Moyer in the top of the fifth. The Phils trailed 2-0. He hit Cameron with a 3-2 pitch to start the frame. Hall was next and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle for a single. Cameron did a great job running the bases, aggressively taking third and sliding in safe just ahead of Victorino’s throw. With men on first and third and nobody out, Braun flew to left on the first pitch of his at-bat. Burrell had zero chance to throw out Cameron, who tagged and scored, but missed the cutoff man Rollins throwing towards home and Hall tagged up and took second as well. Feliz had to field the throw from Burrell and Hall was safe easily. Big mistake by Burrell, but it didn’t cost the Phils. Condrey walked the lefty Fielder intentionally, putting men on first and second for Hardy. Hardy flew to right on an 0-1 pitch for the second out with both runners holding. Hart walked on four pitches, loading the bases for Counsell. Counsell got ahead 2-0, but Condrey came back and got three called strikes on Counsell to set him down and leave the bases loaded. Counsell looked like he had a case on strike three, which looked high.

Big out for Condrey to get Counsell with the bases loaded, especially after getting behind 2-0.

Durbin started the sixth and got Kendall to ground to short for the first out. The pitcher’s spot was next and the Brewers let Villanueva hit for himself. He singled up the middle and went to second when Cameron followed with a single up the middle. It put men on first and second with one out for Hall. Hall lined a 2-2 pitch into right for another single, but the pitcher Villanueva was unable to score from second. Most runners would have scored on the play. It loaded the bases with one out and Braun and Fielder coming to the plate for Milwaukee. Durbin struck Braun out swinging at a 1-2 slider that was way outside. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Fielder. Fielder got ahead 3-1, but hit a soft fly ball to left that Werth took for the third out. Jenkins had entered in righty when Eyre came into the game, with Werth moving to left and Burrell going to the bench.

Given the seriousness of the situation, I was surprised to see Eyre and not Romero come in to pitch to Fielder. Manuel must have thought it was too early in the game. Fielder still didn’t have a hit in the series after the fly ball to left.

Second time in the game that Braun had come up small with men on base and less than two outs. He popped to third with nobody out and men on second and third in the first.

Eyre came back to start the seventh. Hardy led off with a single into center. The slumping Hart was next and he put a pretty bunt down the first base line. Howard made a nice play to field and flip to Utley for the first out as Hardy went to second. Counsell was next and he hit a slow roller to first as well, but the ball was hit too slowly this time and Howard couldn’t get an out anywhere as Counsell slid in head first with a single. Hardy moved to third. Kendall hit a 1-1 pitch into left for another single, scoring Hardy to make it 4-1 as Counsell moved to second. With men on first and second, one out and the lefty Eyre still on the mound, the Brewers called on lefty Brad Nelson, a 25-year-old with seven career at-bats, to hit for the pitcher Villanueva. Eyre struck Nelson out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Madson came into the game to pitch to Cameron and got him to ground to short on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Eyre faced three righties in the inning, Hardy and Hart to start the inning and Kendall with one out and men on first and third. The only guy of the three he got was Hart, and he bunted. Seanez is the guy who should have started the inning, and he’s not on the roster because JA Happ is. Without Seanez, though, it has to be Madson. If not to start the inning, to come in and pitch to Kendall.

Brad Nelson hitting against a lefty when the other choice was Ray Durham is a gift for the Phils.

Madson looked great in a 1-2-3 eighth. He struck Hall out on three pitches, got Braun to line to Utley and struck Fielder out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

The Phillies pen went four innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks. They struck out five. Condrey, Durbin and Eyre all looked bad, Madson was fantastic. Condrey threw 26 pitches, Durbin 20, Eyre 20 and Madson 13. You would assume everyone is available today.

I was surprised to see Eyre pitch so long with Romero not appearing in the game. Another shaky outing for Durbin. The Phils really need him with Seanez not on the roster, and he’s been struggling for a while now. The strikeout of Braun was encouraging.

The Milwaukee pen went 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, including Werth’s double off of Gagne in the eighth. The Brewers pen has not allowed a run in 11 2/3 innings in the series. Nobody in the Milwaukee pen threw more than 17 pitches, so they are likely all available today as well. After a perfect 1 1/3 innings last night, Villanueva has not allowed a hit or a walk in 3 2/3 innings in the first three games of the set. Stetter has done his job against the Phillies lefties, getting four outs without allowing a hit or a walk.

The Phillies lineup against righty David Bush went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth returns to the second spot in the order after a big day hitting sixth in game two. Victorino dropped again to sixth. Ruiz continues to start behind the plate in the post-season. Ruiz was behind the plate for about 60% of the batters that Moyer faced this season, with Coste catching the other 40%.

The hitters on the bench to start the game for the Phils were Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Bruntlett (R), Dobbs (L), Jenkins (L) and Stairs (L).

Rollins got ahead 1-0 to start the game, but went down swinging 1-2 for the first out. Werth was next and got behind 1-2 before he struck out on just about the worst pitch you can imagine. The ball was about a foot outside and bounced way in front of the plate. Don’t know if Werth thought the ball was uncatchable for Kendall or not — either way it was a very odd decision to swing at the pitch. Utley grounded the first pitch of his at-bat back to Bush to set the Phils down.

The Phils started the top of the second down 2-0. Howard split the gap in left-center with the first pitch of his at-bat and the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Howard had a double. Burrell grounded a 2-2 pitch to Hall for the first out and Howard had to hold. Victorino lined the first pitch of his at-bat to center for the second. Feliz flew to left on a 1-2 pitch to leave Howard stranded.

Phils can’t bring Howard in after the leadoff double.

Ruiz flew to right for the first out in the third. Moyer was next and grounded back to Bush for the second. Rollins blooped an 0-1 pitch the opposite way and into left field, where is landed near the line and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Werth went down swinging, he flailed at a 1-2 curve ball to leave Rollins stranded.

Utley singled into center to start the fourth. He was running when Howard grounded a 3-2 pitch to second. Counsell looked to second, then threw to first as Utley rounded second. Utley probably could have made it to third, but fell going around the base. He had to scurry to get back to second safely as Fielder took the throw from Counsell and then threw to second. Burrell flew to right for the second out. Victorino lined a 2-1 pitch, but right to Hardy to end the inning.

Third time in three innings the Phils put a runner on second and didn’t score him. Like in the second when Howard led off with a double, Burrell and Victorino can’t bring the runner in (although this time the runner didn’t make it to second until there was one out).

Feliz led off the fifth and chopped the first pitch of his at-bat between third and short. Hall moved to his left and the ball went off the tip of his glove for a single. Ruiz got behind 0-2 and flew to right for the first out. Stairs hit for Moyer, who had thrown 90 pitches but allowed just two runs and had thrown a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth, with the righty Bush still pitching for the Brewers. Stairs flew to center on an 0-1 pitch for the second out. Rollins swung at the first pitch and popped to Hardy.

That’s a really early exit for Moyer. Manuel did have a good, well-rested pen, and Moyer had thrown 90 pitches, but I was still surprised to see Stairs hit for Moyer.

The Phils put their leadoff man on in the second, fourth and fifth and couldn’t plate any of them.

They started the sixth down 3-0. Werth led off and drove an 0-2 pitch to deep right. Hart caught it crashing into the wall, but the ball came out of the glove as he hit the ground. Werth was running all the way and wound up at third with a triple. Utley popped to Hardy in shallow center field for the first out with Werth holding. Howard was next lefty Mitch Stetter came in to pitch to him. Howard hit a slow ground ball to third. Werth scored to cut the lead to 3-1 and Hall threw to first to nip Howard for the second out. Howard was called out at first, but he was probably safe on a very close play. Righty Carlos Villanueva came in to pitch to Burrell and got Burrell to ground to third to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Victorino led off and tried to bunt for a hit, but bunted foul. He flew to right near the line for the first out. Feliz grounded to second for the first out. Ruiz hit a ball hard down the third base line, but Hall made a nice play to field it and throw him out.

Jenkins flew to left for the first out in the eight with the Phillies down 4-1. Rollins was next and he dribbled a ball down the first base line. Gagne made a nice play, fielding the ball and tagging Rollins out for the second out. Werth pounded a 3-2 pitch off the base of the wall in left center for a double, but Gagne stayed in to pitch to Utley and got Utley to fly to center to set the Phillies down.

Torres started the ninth with a 4-1 lead. Howard led off with a single into center. Dobbs hit for Madson and got behind 0-2 before he lined a 3-2 pitch into right center for a single that moved Howard to second. Victorino got behind in the count as well, but reached out and hit a 1-2 pitch that was way outside into left for a single that loaded the bases with nobody out. Feliz was next and swung at the first pitch, hitting a double-play ball to third. Hall fielded and threw to second. Victorino didn’t slide into second, instead hip-checking Counsell and dumping him to the ground. Counsell made a fantastic play, delivering the relay to first to double-up Feliz as Howard scored. The call was that Victorino was out on interference at second. Howard had to return to third and Dobbs to second. Ruiz dribbled back to the pitcher for the third out.

I don’t know why Coste didn’t hit for Ruiz with two outs and men on second and third. Jenkins was behind Ruiz, so there wasn’t a reason to save him. Ruiz is a terrible hitter and Coste is not.

Victorino’s play at second is indefensible. Just a terrible decision. The Brewers aren’t going to like it, either. Feliz hitting into the double-play was awful, too. No Stairs to hit for him against the righty after Stairs hit for Moyer in the top of the fifth.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double.

Werth 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.

Utley 1-for-4.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double.

Burrell 0-for-3. 0-for-8 in the series.

Victorino 1-for-4.

Feliz 1-for-4 with four men left on base. He hit into an enormous double-play in the ninth.

Ruiz 0-for-4. 1-for-10 in the series.

The Phils have still scored in only one inning of each of the three games.

I don’t think Manuel had a good game. Pulling Moyer early, using Stairs, arguably his best hitter on the bench, in the fifth, letting Eyre pitch to a bunch of righties. I don’t know what he was saving Coste for.

Joe Blanton (9-12, 4.69) faces righty Jeff Suppan (10-10, 4.96) this afternoon. Suppan was hit hard at the end of the season, throwing to an 8.44 ERA with a 2.11 ratio in his last five starts. Righties hit .308 against him for the year (lefties .288) and he allowed 30 home runs in 177 2/3 innings — only three NL pitchers gave up more home runs.

He faced the Phillies twice this year. On April 24 in Milwaukee, he held the Phils to a run over seven innings on five hits (including a home run by Werth). The Phils scored two runs off of David Riske in the eighth and won the game 3-1. He faced Myers in Philadelphia earlier this month (September 14) and the Phils hit him hard — he was charged with six runs in 3 2/3 innings. Burrell homered off of him in that game.

Burrell is 9-for-21 (.429) with two doubles and three home runs in his career. Utley 9-for-19 with a homer. Howard 3-for-10 with two homers. Rollins 8-for-24. Werth 4-for-7 with a home run. Dobbs is 0-for-6 against Suppan with two strikeouts while Feliz has gone 6-for-22 (.273) with two doubles and a homer.

Suppan had a remarkable post-season in 2006, helping to pitch the Cardinals into the World Series. In the NLCS against the Mets, he made two starts and allowed one earned run on five hits and six walks over 15 innings.

Blanton was 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.37 ERA in his 13 starts with the Phillies this season. Righties hit him hard, hitting .286 with a 1.56 ratio against him compared to .256 with a 1.25 ratio for lefties. The Phillies have won the last four games he started.

One of his starts with the Phils came against Milwaukee. On September 14 he allowed three runs over seven innings and the Phils got the win 7-3. Cameron and Durham both homered off of him in that game. Durham is the Brewer who has seen him the most, he’s 6-for-14 with two doubles, a triple and a home run against him (429/429/929).


Not saying it’s over, but if you’ve been working up the courage to ask what chorizo is I wouldn’t wait much longer

With a win against the Milwaukee Brewers last night, the Phils took a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five set. For the second time in two games, the Brewers couldn’t do much of anything against the Phillies starting pitcher. Brett Myers held them to a pair of runs on two hits and three walks over seven innings and the Phils rolled to a 5-2 win. Between Myers and Hamels in the series opener, Phillies starters have allowed two runs on four hits and four walks over 15 innings.

Again all of the Phillies scoring came in one inning. After a three-run third carried the Phils to a win in the opener, last night it was Shane Victorino’s grand slam off of CC Sabathia in the bottom of a five-run second that gave the Phils all the runs they would need. Sabathia, pitching on three days rest for the fourth straight start, finally looked mortal. After the Phillies had tied the game at 1-1 in the second on an RBI-double by Feliz, Brett Myers had an epic at-bat in which Sabathia just couldn’t put the weak-hitting pitcher away with two men out. Myers drew a nine-pitch walk and Rollins followed with a walk of his own. Victorino hit a hanging 1-2 pitch out to left for his first career grand slam.

Victorino wouldn’t have been in position to deliver his game-changing blast had it not been for an aggressive lineup change by Charlie Manuel. Manuel moved the hot Victorino to the two-hole in the order, dropping the slumping Jayson Werth to sixth in the order against the lefty. Victorino hit 282/345/537 against lefties this year, Werth a monster 303/368/652 with 16 home runs in 155 at-bats against them. They both left the game with more than a little bit of momentum, combining to go 5-for-8 with four doubles and a grand slam.

Finally, Brad Lidge returned to the mound a day after throwing 35 pitches to get a shaky save in game one and looked like a different pitcher. He looked completely in control as he threw a perfect ninth to make him 43-for-43 in save chances as a Phillie.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers last night, winning 5-2. With the win they take a two games to none lead in the best-of-five NLDS. They have won five games in a row.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks. Both of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four.

He faced a Milwaukee lineup that went (1) Cameron (CF/R) (2) Durham (2B/S) (3) Braun (LF/R) (4) Fielder (1B/L) (5) Hardy (SS/R) (6) Hart (RF/R) (7) Counsell (3B/L) (8) Kendall (C/R). Hall and Weeks on the bench against the righty Myers with Durham at second and Counsell at third.

There were five position players on the bench for Milwaukee to start the game: Mike Rivera (R), Tony Gwynn, Jr (L), Brad Nelson (L), Rickie Weeks (R) and Bill Hall (R).

Myers struck Mike Cameron out on three pitches to start the game. Cameron didn’t swing at any of them. Durham was next and Myers walked him on four pitches. Myers got ahead of Braun before Braun hammered a 1-2 pitch off the wall in left for a double that sent Durham to third. The lefty Fielder was walked intentionally, loading the bases with one out. Myers got behind JJ Hardy 3-0 before he got strike one over, but then delivered ball four low and outside. Hardy’s walk forced in Durham and put the Brewers up 1-0. For reasons unknown, Hart swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and chopped a ground ball back to Myers. Myers threw home and Ruiz made a strong throw to first to complete the double-play.

Hart swings into a double-play the first pitch after Myers walked in a run.

Myers was pretty much awesome after that. Counsell struck out swinging 1-2 to start the second. Kendall flew to right on a 1-2 pitch and Sabathia swung away ahead 2-0 and flew to left. Kendall hit the ball well for the second out, Werth took it in front of the track after a short run.

Eleven pitches in the second for Myers. After throwing 21 in the first, that put him at 32 through two innings.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 third with a 5-1 lead. Cameron got ahead 3-1 but popped to Utley. Durham struck out swinging. Braun fouled out to Ruiz on a 1-1 pitch. Sixteen pitches. 48 for the game.

Fielder grounded out to second on a 1-0 pitch to start the fourth. Hardy fouled out to Howard for the second out. Myers got ahead of Hart 0-2 and then drilled him in the back. First base-runner Myers had allowed since walking Hardy in the first. Counsell grounded to second on an 0-1 pitch to end the frame. Nine pitches put Myers at 57.

Myers quickly got ahead of Kendall 0-2 to start the fifth. Kendall fouled three pitches off before taking ball one and then ball two before grounding to third. Lefty Tony Gwynn hit for the pitch Mitch Stetter and struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch. Cameron swung at the first pitch and popped to short. Fifteen pitches for Myers. 72.

Durham grounded out to second on a 1-1 pitch to start the sixth. Braun dribbled an 0-2 pitch out in font of the plate and Ruiz pounced on it quickly to throw him out at first. Fielder swung at the first pitch and grounded to second. Quick seven pitch inning for Myers put him a 79.

Hardy led off the seventh and doubled to left on a 1-2 pitch. Hart hit a 1-0 pitch into right field for the second out. Hardy tagged up and moved to third. Werth uncorked a strong throw and made the play at third close, but Hardy slid in safely. Counsell grounded a 3-1 pitch to second and Hardy came in to score and cut the lead to 5-2. Kendall grounded to second on a 1-0 pitch. Fifteen pitches for Myers put him at 94 for the game.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils up 5-2. Righty Rickie Weeks hit for the pitcher Eric Gagne to start the inning. He hit a 1-1 pitch hard to short, where Rollins tried to backhand the ball and dropped it. By the time he picked it up he had no chance to get the speedy Weeks and Rollins was charged with an error. Cameron was next and hit a high foul near the stands behind third base. Feliz made the play after a run for the second out. Durham was next and tried to bunt a 1-1 pitch but fouled it off. He chopped the next pitch back to Madson. Madson threw to second, but his throw was high and Weeks came in hard. Weeks was forced at second but Rollins couldn’t double-up Durham at first. Braun singled into left on a 1-0 pitch, moving Durham to second. Romero came in to pitch to Fielder, who was the tying run, and threw one pitch. Fielder shattered his bat and hit a slow, slow roller to second. But he’s really slow hisownself and Utley threw him out easily to end the frame.

Lidge started the ninth up 5-2 after throwing 35 pitches the day before. Hardy lined 1-1 pitch to left for the first out. Hart flew to shallow right for the second out. Lidge got behind Counsell 3-1, but got strike two over before fouling off a pitch and then flying to center to end the game.

Two scoreless innings for the Phillies pen. They allowed one hit, the single to Braun off of Madson in the eighth. Just 12 pitches for Lidge this time. Madson threw 11 and Romero one. You have to believe everyone will be available on Saturday with the off-day today.

The Milwaukee pen went 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks. In the first two games they have now thrown 8 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and four walks. McClung threw 33 pitches last night, which looks like the only potential issue for Saturday for the Brewers.

The Phillies lineup against lefty CC Sabathia went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Victorino moves up to second in the order with Werth dropped to sixth. Ruiz stays behind the plate despite the fact that Coste caught Myers far more frequently during the regular season. Coste was behind the plate for 628 of the 817 (about 77%) of the batters that Myers faced.

The hitters on the bench to start the game for the Phils were Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Bruntlett (R), Dobbs (L), Jenkins (L) and Stairs (L).

Rollins grounded to short on a 1-1 pitch for the first out in the first with the Phils down 1-0. Victorino was next and he swung at a bad 2-1 pitch that was outside before he ripped a 2-2 pitch down the third base line, off the base and high in the air. Victorino wound up at second with a double. On Sabathia’s first pitch to Utley, Victorino stole third without a throw (Kendall didn’t catch the pitch cleanly). Sabathia got behind Utley 2-1, but threw him a ridiculous pitch that Utley flailed at wildly to even the count at 2-2. Curve ball, maybe? Dunno, but it fooled Utley. Utley struck out on the next pitch for the second out. Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning with Victorino stranded at third.

Sabathia mows down the Phils’ lefties with one out and a man on third. Utley can’t bring the runner in from third with one out.

Burrell started the second and flew to left on a 2-1 pitch. Werth was next and he got behind 1-2 before he doubled into left-center. Feliz was next and hit a 1-0 pitch down the left field line. The ball bounced off the wall where the stands come out. Feliz had a double and Werth scored from first to tie the game at 1-1. Ruiz followed and grounded to first for the second out, moving Feliz to third. Myers was next and had the most memorable at-bat of the night, and that’s saying something cause the guy two hitters after him hit a grand slam. Myers swung at the first pitch for strike one and swung at the second pitch for strike two. The next pitch was very, very close, maybe a little high. Myers took it and thought he was out — he even took a half-step towards the dugout. He wasn’t. Two of the next five pitches were balls in the dirt. The other three were foul balls, with the fans cheering wildly every time that Myers fouled one off. Myers walked on the ninth pitch of his at-bat to put men on first and third. Rollins was next and drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases. It brought up Victorino, with righty Seth McClung warming in the Milwaukee pen. Victorino got behind 1-2 and then popped his first career grand slam out to left on a hanging breaking pitch, putting the Phils up 5-1. Utley struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

Sabathia struck out Howard to start the third, making Howard and Utley 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the game. Burrell popped to right on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Werth was next and doubled into left center again, to almost the safe place he had doubled in the first. Werth stole second on the first pitch of Feliz’s at-bat, again without a throw. Feliz struck out swinging 3-2 to end the inning.

Through three innings, Werth and Victorino had combined to go 4-for-4 with three doubles and a grand slam.

Ruiz hit a ground ball back the mound to start the fourth. Sabathia bare-handed and got him at first for the first out. Myers had another long at-bat, flying to center for the second out. Rollins got ahead 3-0 and doubled to left on a 3-1 pitch. Shane Victorino was walked intentionally, putting men on first and second for the lefty Utley (who had struck out twice already). Lefty Mitch Stetter came in to pitch to Howard. Rollins and Victorino pulled off a double-steal, again without a throw, putting men on second and third with two outs for Howard. Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Four stolen bases through four innings without a throw from Kendall on any of them. Even with a lefty on the mound, walking Victorino to pitch to Utley is a poor idea.

Righty Seth McClung came in to start the fifth. Burrell led off and walked on five pitches. Werth chopped a ball down the line to third. Counsell made a low throw to first, but Fielder scooped it nicely for the first out as Burrell moved to second. Feliz swung at the first pitch and popped to second. Ruiz drew a five-pitch walk. Myers swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and dumped a single into right. The shock may have been too much for Burrell, who couldn’t score from second with two outs. With the bases loaded and two outs, Rollins hammered an 0-1 pitch right at Fielder at first for the third out.

McClung was still on the mound to start the sixth. He got ahead of Victorino 0-2 before Victorino lined a ball hard to center. After a big misplay in game one, Cameron again misplayed the ball. He came in, then went back and had the ball go off his glove. Victorino had a leadoff double, but Cameron should have made the play. The righty McClung stayed in to pitch to Utley and Utley lined to right for the first out. Howard was walked intentionally, putting men on first and second for Burrell. Burrell took three called strikes for the second out. Werth flew to center on a 3-1 pitch for the third out.

Shouse and Parra were both lefties in the Milwaukee pen presumably available to pitch to Utley and Howard. Parra had thrown 15 pitches the day before. Instead they left McClung in — Utley hit the ball hard and they walked Howard, but McClung got the big strikeout of Burrell.

Gagne started the seventh. Feliz got ahead in the count, but grounded a 3-1 pitch to short. Ruiz flew to right on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Dobbs hit for Myers with the righty Gagne on the mound and struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Torres started the eighth. Rollins led off with a single to right, but was caught stealing second for the first out with Victorino at the plate. Fantastic throw by Kendall on an inside fastball to get Rollins. Victorino popped to third for the second out. Utley struck out swinging 2-2 for the third out.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Ripped the ball in the fifth with the bases loaded, but right at Fielder.

Victorino 3-for-4 with two doubles and a grand slam.

Utley 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Hit the ball well in the sixth, but right at the right fielder.

Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

Werth 2-for-4 with two doubles.

Feliz 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk.

No game today. Game three is Saturday in Milwaukee.

Chorizo is a Spanish sausage that, according to Wikipedia, won 14-of-81 Sausage Races at Miller Park this season. This makes it a below average sausage-racer (with five meats in the race and 81 races, you would expect each of them to win about 16.2 times a season if the wins were divided equally). Hot dog, apparently, is a force to be reckoned with.

Geoff Jenkins may be the Phillies’ secret weapon if the series comes down to sausage-racing. Jenkins has participated in the event and won his race. If you’re ever in a situation that requires you to guess the winner in a race between a professional athlete and stadium employees, I think you want to go professional athlete at least nine times out of ten.


Phils/Playoff Victory Reunion Show finally comes together

That playoff victory was just making some unreasonable demands. Glad they got it worked out, though. It was a little tough to watch, but the ending was good.

The Phillies won their first playoff game in 15 years yesterday, but the way Cole Hamels threw makes you think they may not need to wait 15 days before he pitches them to another. Hamels looked exactly like one of the elite pitchers in baseball in the first game of the series against the Brewers, holding Milwaukee to a pair of singles and a walk over eight shutout innings as the Phils pulled out a 3-1 win.

Hamels was arguably the only Phillie that played well. The Phils had four hits in the game and managed to score in just one inning. They needed a whole lot of help from the Brewers to do that — three defensive misplays and three walks back-to-back-to-back helped the Phils put up the only three runs they would score in the contest in the bottom of the third.

Brad Lidge made the ninth inning memorable. Coming in to game with a three-run lead, Lidge struggled yet again and needed 35 pitches to get through a frame that turned out to be a lot more exciting than one might hope. Despite the struggles, he made it through to extend his streak to 42 saves in 42 tries for the Phils. Still, it’s a little worrisome to see him bend but not break so often these days after we didn’t see him even bend at all for most of the season.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, winning 3-1 in the first game of the best-of-five series.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles and a walk. He struck out nine.

He faced a Milwaukee lineup that went (1) Cameron (CF/R) (2) Hall (3B/R) (3) Braun (LF/R) (4) Fielder (1B/L) (5) Hardy (SS/R) (6) Hart (RF/R) (7) Weeks (2B/R) (8) Kendall (C/R).

There were five position players on the bench for Milwaukee to start the game: Mike Rivera (R), Tony Gwynn, Jr (L), Brad Nelson (L), Craig Counsell (L) and Ray Durham (Switch).

Cameron led off the first. Hamels didn’t get the call on a close 2-1 pitch, running the count to 3-1. Cameron watched strike two and then went down swinging 3-2 for the first out. Hall was next and popped up an 0-1 pitch into shallow center, where Rollins took it for the second out. Hamels struck Braun out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Fourteen pitches in the first inning for Hamels.

He struck Fielder out swinging 1-2 to start the second. Hardy hit a 2-1 pitch into right-center field that Victorino took for the second out. Hart hit an 0-1 pitch back up the middle, but Utley moved to his right, back-handed and threw to first to set the Brewers down.

Hamels had thrown 25 pitches through two innings.

Rickie Weeks went down swinging at a 2-2 pitch to start the third. Kendall started his at-bat and hit a long foul ball to left before hitting a lazy fly ball into right-center that Victorino took for the second out. Gallardo flew to Burrell on a 1-0 pitch for the third out. Gallardo hit the ball well and Burrell had to make a run towards to corner to get to it — he looked like he was running about the way that he usually does despite the back issue. Hamels had thrown 36 pitches through three.

Hamels started the fourth up 3-0. Cameron grounded to second on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Hall got behind 1-2 and then grounded to Howard. Braun hit a lazy fly ball to left on an 0-1 pitch to end the frame.

Perfect through four, having thrown 44 pitches and struck out four.

Fielder struck out swinging 3-2 to start the fifth. Hardy grounded to short on a 2-2 pitch. Hart hit a foul ball hard 0-1 and then singled into right on an 0-2 pitch for the first Milwaukee base-runner of the game. Hamels struck Weeks out looking 1-2 to leave Hart stranded.

60 pitches.

Kendall started the sixth and struck out swinging 3-2. Craig Counsell was next, he had entered with Carlos Villanueva as part of a double-switch. Counsell lined a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Hamels got behind Cameron 3-0 before walking him 3-1. It put men on first and second with one down for Hall. Hamels struck Hall out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Braun swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and popped to short to leave both men stranded.

Twenty-one pitches in the sixth for Hamels, putting him at 85 for the game.

Fielder hit Hamels’ first pitch of the seventh down the first base line. Howard played it oddly — the ball wasn’t hit exceptionally hard, but Howard didn’t get in front of it and then made a backhand stab. It worked and Fielder was down for the first out. Hardy was next and hit a 1-1 pitch to third. Feliz did a weird half-dive thing, going to the ground too early, but recovered in time to make the play and throw Hardy out for the second out. Hart flew to center on the first pitch of his at-bat.

It was a five-pitch inning for Hamels. He had thrown 90 through seven.

Hamels hit for himself to start the seventh and returned for the eighth still up 3-0. Lefty Tony Gwynn hit for the pitcher Carlos Villanueva and put down a beautiful bunt on the first pitch he saw. The ball made it passed the mound on the first base side, but Utley made a fantastic play, charging, gloving and making a glove-hand flip to first to beat Gwynn for the first out. Hamels struck Kendall out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Counsell grounded an 0-1 pitch to third to set the Brewers down.

Eleven pitches in the inning, seven of which Hamels threw to strike out Kendall, put him at 101 for the day.

Lidge started the ninth with a three-run lead. He got ahead of Cameron 0-2, but had trouble putting him away. He finally threw a 3-2 slider past him. Cameron must have been looking for something else, cause it hung right where you wouldn’t want it to hang. Switch-hitter Ray Durham hit for the righty Hall. Lidge got ahead of him as well, but Durham lined a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Braun was next and Lidge got up on him 1-2 as well, but couldn’t put him away. Braun lined a high 3-2 pitch down the right-field line and into the corner for a double. Utley went out to catch the relay and slipped, failing to catch the ball, which allowed Durham to score from first and cut the lead to 3-1 with Braun on second and one out. Utley was charged with an error. Fielder was next and Lidge got ahead of him 1-2, too. Fielder worked the count full before Lidge got him with a fastball outside of the zone for a huge second out. Fielder swung at ball four. Hardy walked on five pitches, bringing Hart and a terrible slump to the plate as the go-ahead run with two down. Lidge looked comfortable against him, throwing a 2-2 fastball past him to end the game.

Fielder was the big at-bat of the inning, and he helped Lidge by swinging at ball four.

Tough inning for Lidge, who needed 35 pitches to get through. Interesting decision by Manuel not to bring Hamels back for the ninth. Righties Cameron and Hall scheduled to start the inning may have contributed to the decision. I would have brought him in, too. It’s pretty hard to feel real good about Lidge right now despite the 42-for-42.

I think the approach to using relievers and pitch counts needs to be dramatically altered in the post-season, moving away from what’s in the best long-term interests of the team and the player to how do we win this game today. So if the Phils think Brad Lidge gives them the best chance to win tonight’s game, they should use him. I’d be surprised, though, if they don’t think someone else (like Madson) can help them more a day after Lidge threw 35 pitches.

While the Phillies pen largely got another day off, Milwaukee’s was called on to throw four innings, which they did without allowing a run. They allowed just one hit and one walk, both of which were surrendered by Parra. Villanueva threw 25 pitches, Parra 15, Stetter 12 and Mota 7.

The Phillies lineup against righty Yovani Gallardo went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth moves up to second in the order with Utley dropped to third. Burrell in the lineup after having problems with his back the day before. The righty Feliz plays third with the lefty Dobbs on the bench against the righty Gallardo. Coste on the bench with Ruiz catching. Ruiz was behind the plate for 722 of the 914 batters that Hamels faced this season, about 79%.

The hitters on the bench to start the game for the Phils were Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Bruntlett (R), Dobbs (L), Jenkins (L) and Stairs (L).

Rollins led off the first and hit a 2-2 pitch well to second, but Weeks made a nifty play to backhand the ball and throw to first for the first out. Gallardo struck Werth out swinging at a 1-2 fastball for the second. Like Rollins, Utley hit the ball hard as well, but his line drive was caught by Fielder at first to end the inning.

The Phillies started to hit in the second in a light rain with the wind blowing wildly. Howard drew a five-pitch walk to start the inning. Burrell hit the first pitch of his at-bat to short, where Hardy took it, stepped on second and threw to first to complete the double-play. Gallardo threw four straight balls to Victorino, putting him on first with two down for Feliz. Feliz hit a 2-1 pitch hard to short, but it was taken on one hop and Feliz was thrown out to leave Victorino stranded.

Tough to see Burrell hitting into a double-play first pitch when Gallardo couldn’t throw a strike.

Ruiz started the third and hit a 2-1 pitch back up the middle for a single, the first hit of the game. Hamels bunted the first pitch of his at-bat to third. Hall fielded, looked to second where he would have had Ruiz, but bobbled the ball, picked it up and threw to Weeks covering first. Weeks dropped the ball for an error. Ruiz moved to second with Hamels safe at first. Rollins swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and flew to shallow left for the first out. Werth was next and swung at a bad pitch to start his at-bat, then took two balls before taking strike two and finally going down swinging at a bad pitch for his second strikeout of the game. Bad at-bat for Werth. Utley and Cameron picked him up, though. After a loud foul ball, Utley lined a 2-2 pitch into center that Cameron misplayed. He came in on the ball, then had to go back and finally had the ball go off his glove. Utley had a bases-clearing double and the Phils were up 2-0. The righty Gallardo intentionally walked Howard, putting men on first and second with two down for Burrell. Second time in less than three innings that Gallardo appeared to want no part of Howard. Gallardo walked Burrell on a low 3-2 curveball, loading the bases for Victorino. Victorino took two balls before Gallardo got strike one over. He checked his swing at a 2-1 pitch in the dirt and got the call on the appeal at third. Close. Ball four was close, but ball four nonetheless. Utley came in to score and it was 3-0. Feliz hit a 1-1 pitch to center for the third out, leaving the bases loaded.

Three bad defensive plays in the frame by the Brewers, including the error by Weeks and Cameron’s misplay of Utley’s double. Hall would have had Ruiz at second without the bobble. The intentional walk to Howard with Gallardo struggling to find Dana DeMuth’s strike zone hurt as well when Burrell and Victorino followed with walks.

Gallardo had thrown 57 pitches through three innings.

Ruiz tried to bunt for a hit to start the fourth. He popped a 1-0 pitch back to Gallardo for the first out. Hamels struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Rollins lined a 3-2 pitch into right for a single. Werth was next, bringing his 0-for-2 with two strikeouts with him to the plate. He hit a high popout that Fielder took in foul territory to end the inning.

Lefty Mitch Stetter started the fifth with Utley and Howard due to hit and the Phils up 3-0. Utley grounded a 2-2 pitch to third for the first out. Howard struck out swinging at a 3-2 breaking pitch that was low and away for the second out. Round one of Utley and Howard versus the Brewer’s lefties goes to the Brewers. Villanueva came in to pitch to Burrell. Burrell flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the third out.

Villanueva came back for the sixth. Victorino led off and tried to bunt, but missed, before flying to right on an 0-2 pitch. Feliz flew to center before Ruiz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to third. Eight pitch inning for Villanueva.

Villanueva came back for the seventh and struck out Hamels, Rollins and Werth in order.

Lefty Manny Parra came in to pitch the eighth. Utley grounded a 3-2 pitch to second for the first out before Howard walked on five pitches. Bruntlett was next, having entered defensively for Burrell in the top of the inning. Bruntlett hit the first pitch he saw from Parra back up the middle. Hardy made a diving stop to keep it in the infield, but Howard was safe at second. Victorino grounded an 0-1 pitch to second and Bruntlett was forced at second for the second out, but the ball was hit too slowly for Victorino to be doubled-up. It brought up Feliz with one out and men on first and third and Guillermo Mota came in to pitch to him. Manuel did not to hit Dobbs for Feliz, choosing to keep Feliz’s glove in the game with a three-run lead. Victorino stole second without a throw before Feliz popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right-center field. Counsell made a nice play to catch the ball, chasing it and making an inning-ending catch with glove extended to set the Phils down.

Don’t quite understand why the lefty Parra stayed in to face both Bruntlett and Victorino. Bruntlett probably doesn’t scare you, but Victorino was better against lefties this year and the Phils did have a man on base with just one out.

Feliz was not involved in a play defensively in the top of the ninth.

Rollins was 1-for-4. Weeks robbed him of a hit in the first.

Werth had a terrible game. 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and three men left on base.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI. The double was well-hit, but Cameron should have made the play. He made two very nice defensive plays in the game, one on a ground ball up the middle and one on a drag bunt past the mound.

Howard was 0-for-1 with three walks. The Brewers seemed happy to pitch around him with the righty Burrell and his bad back behind Howard.

Burrell 0-for-2 with a walk. It’s possible that today could be the last day we see him in a Phillies uniform at home.

Victorino 0-for-2 with a stolen base and two walks.

Feliz 0-for-4 and left six men on base. That hardly seems possible given the Phils had four hits in the game. Here goes: grounded to short to end the second with Victorino on first (one), flew to center with the bases loaded to end the third (three more, four total), popped out to Counsell with men on second and third and two down in the eighth (six).

Ruiz 1-for-3. The way Lidge was pitching, I felt a lot more comfortable with him behind the plate in the ninth than I would have with Coste back there. Would be nice to get Coste’s bat in, but I think we may see a lot of Ruiz in the post-season.

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) faces lefty CC Sabathia (17-10, 2.70) tonight. The Brewers acquired the 28-year-old Sabathia from Cleveland on July 7. The 2007 AL Cy Young winner had made 18 starts for the Indians and thrown to a 3.83 ERA with a 1.23 ratio. He made 17 starts for the Brewers since — 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.00 ratio. Lefties have hit just .205 against him this season. Righties .247. He’s allowed just 19 home runs in 253 innings. Sabathia led all of baseball in innings pitched this season — there were only three players in either league who threw more than 230. The 35 starts he made are also the high for either league. His last three starts have all come on three days rest and he’s been brilliant — in those three starts he went 21 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs (0.84 ERA) on 15 hits and four walks without giving up a home run.

Sabathia has pitched in the post-season for the Indians in 2001 and 2007. In four post-season starts he’s 1-2 with a 7.17 ERA and a 2.13 ratio.

He’s made two career starts against the Phillies. On June 10, 2002, he pitched into the seventh inning and held the Phils to three runs over seven innings. Terry Adams was a little better and the Phils won 3-1. On June 20, 2007, he allowed four runs over six innings in Cleveland, but the Indians scored eight runs in the sixth inning and rolled to a 10-6 win. The Phillies hitters don’t have a lot of at-bats against him. Rollins is 3-for-7 with a double and a triple. Utley and Howard a combined 1-for-6 with a double by Howard. You would think Stairs would have faced him in the AL, but he hasn’t, no doubt cause of lefty-lefty. Stairs is 0-for-1 against him. Victorino, Jenkins and Feliz are all 0-for-3 against him. The Phils may be able to get some info out of Tad Iguchi — Iguchi isn’t on the roster but has 29 career at-bats against Sabathia (7-for-29 (.241) with a double and a home run).

Myers had an absolutely miserable first half of the season, going 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA and a 1.56 ratio in his first 17 starts. Opponents hit .284 against him and he allowed 24 homers in 101 2/3 innings. Baffled, the Phils sent him to the minors and he came back a new pitcher. In his first 11 starts after returning, Myers went 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 ratio. And then, at the end of the year, in his last two starts it all few apart for him again. He comes into game two of the NLDS off of a pair of miserable starts in which he didn’t go five innings either outing and allowed 16 runs over 8 1/3 innings. The Fish blasted him for ten runs in four innings on September 19 and the Braves scored six runs against him in 4 1/3 on September 24.

In the 11 game stretch (from July 23 through his start on September 14) after his return from the minors, Myers allowed four home runs in 80 innings. Opponents hit 216/268/308 against him. In his 19 other starts he allowed 24 home runs in 110 innings.

Myers made one start against the Brewers this season. It came in the window where he was pitching great and he pitched great. On September 14, pitching on three days rest, Myers dominated the Brewers. He held them to a run on two hits and needed just 95 pitches to throw a complete game. Maybe throwing a complete game on three days rest hurt him and maybe it didn’t, but he’s been awful in his two starts since.

Fielder 1-for-5 with a home run against him in his career. Braun 0-for-3. Hardy 0-for-10, Hart 1-for-5, Kendall 1-for-6. Cameron 3-for-13 with two home runs.


Cole versus the undershirt, round two

Ding, ding.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces 22-year-old righty Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 1.88) this afternoon. Gallardo made just four starts for the Brewers this season, allowing three runs in one start, one run in two starts and throwing seven shutout innings against the Marlins on April 25. Three of the starts came in April or early May. On May 1 he faced the Cubs and fell at first base, injuring his right knee. He had what was thought at the time to be season-ending knee surgery for a torn ACL. He was back throwing off a mound by mid-August, though, and was activated from the DL on September 23. On September 25 he started against the Pirates and went four innings, allowing a run on three hits and two walks while striking out seven. He has faced the Phillies once before. On August 3, 2007 in Milwaukee, Gallardo held the Phils to a run on four hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. The Brewers won the game 2-1 and Gallardo got the win. Fielder singled in a run in the first off of Kendrick and Braun put Milwaukee up 2-0 with an RBI single in the fifth. Burrell homered off of Gallardo in the seventh to cut the lead to 2-1, but that was how it ended.

Gallardo is a highly-touted, highly-talented super prosepct. But if he can put up a good performance in a playoff game in Philadelphia against the Phillies’ offense after throwing four innings since May 1 he’s going to go from highly-touted to legend pretty quick.

In 2007, he threw 110 1/3 innings, pitching to a 3.67 ERA with a 1.27 ratio. He struck out 101. Righties hit just .244 against him with a 1.17 ratio. Lefties didn’t hit much better, but drew a lot more walks. They ended ’07 at .247 with a 1.42 ratio. He doesn’t allow a lot of home runs — just 11 in 134 1/3 innings for his career.

Hamels has thrown 227 1/3 innings this season, second in the NL to only Johan Santana. The 24-year-old has been very good, though, throwing to a 2.98 ERA with a 1.18 ratio in his 13 starts since the All-Star break (9-6 with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.02 ratio before the break). Manuel did a far better job limiting pitch counts for Hamels in the second half of the season. Hamels threw 115 pitches or more four times through July 3 and just once after July 3. He threw 116 pitches on Tuesday as he went seven innings against the Braves.

Over his last three starts, Hamels has allowed six earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (2.79 ERA) with a 1.34 ratio. He’s still striking people out late in the season — 16 over his last 19 1/3 innings.

Hamels hasn’t walked more than three hitters in a game this season.

He faced the Brewers twice this season, on April 23 and September 13. On April 23 he allowed a pair of two-run homers to Fielder and the Phils lost 5-4. Earlier this month the Phils gave him a 5-0 lead in the second and Hamels got the win, holding Milwaukee to two runs on six hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings. He’s made five career starts against the Brewers, going 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.10 ratio.

Fielder is 4-for-15 (.267) with two home runs against him. Hardy 4-for-11 (.364) with two doubles and a home run. Braun 3-for-10 with a double and a home run. That’s about as bad as it gets, though. Hart 1-for-13 (.077), Durham 1-for-7, Cameron 1-for-7, Hall 3-for-15 with five strikeouts.

He’s made one post-season start in his career, going 6 2/3 innings against the Rockies in game one last year. He allowed three runs on three hits and four walks. Hopefully he’s gotten everything worked out with his shirt since then (in his playoff start last year, Hamels wore a long-sleeve shirt under his jersey on a hot day and allowed three runs early in the game — there was speculation by some, including Hamels, that the shirt was a factor).

If you feel any need to relive last year’s playoff runs for the Phils, here’s game one, two and three.


Nothing like a cold pitcher of Brewer

The post-season rosters haven’t been set yet, but here’s a look at what some of the guys that could be pitching out of the Milwaukee pen over the next few days have done this season and in September:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Eric Gagne R 46.1 5.44 1.47 38 11.2 3.09 0.94 10
Salomon Torres R 80.0 3.49 1.45 51 12.2 8.53 2.05 7
Guillermo Mota R 57.0 4.11 1.40 50 10.1 2.61 1.06 8
C Villanueva R 108.1 4.07 1.31 93 15.1 2.35 1.17 16
Seth McClung R 105.1 4.02 1.41 87 16.1 1.10 1.04 17
Brian Shouse L 51.1 2.81 1.17 33 5.0 7.20 1.40 1
Mitch Stetter L 25.1 3.20 1.30 31 2.2 6.75 1.88 2

McClung actually made one start in September — along with Gagne, Villanueva and Mota, he has nice numbers this month.

Torres was hit hard twice in his last six appearances, both times by the Cubs, and has the numbers to prove it. On Saturday he gave up three runs on three hits without getting an out. On September 18 he was charged with four runs in an inning in Chicago.

The issue of who is going to get out Howard and Utley (and presumably Stairs and Jenkins off the bench) could be a big one this series. Both Shouse and Stetter at first glance appear to have pretty solid numbers for the season and miserable numbers for September. Not to be forgotten is how fragile those numbers for the month are given how few innings each of them has pitched. Settler has been charged with runs in just one of his seven appearances this month. Shouse was charged with a run or more in two of his seven appearances.

Opponents are hitting just .165 against Stetter, but he has walked 19 in 25 1/3 innings.

And here’s the Phillies:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Brad Lidge R 69.1 1.95 1.23 92 12.2 0.71 1.34 17
Ryan Madson R 82.2 3.05 1.23 67 14.0 0.64 0.93 17
Chad Durbin R 87.2 2.87 1.32 63 11.2 6.94 1.89 5
Clay Condrey R 69.0 3.26 1.51 34 8.2 1.04 1.15 4
Rudy Seanez R 43.1 3.53 1.45 30 7.0 2.57 0.86 5
JC Romero L 59.0 2.75 1.34 52 6.0 7.50 2.00 5
Scott Eyre L 25.2 4.21 1.17 32 6.1 4.26 1.11 8

Manuel will surely rely on Madson, Durbin, Romero and Lidge with the game on the line. The Phillies wouldn’t have won 92 games and probably wouldn’t be in the playoffs without the contributions they got from Durbin and Lidge this season. But Durbin has been terrible of late. It sure feels like Lidge has been shaky recently, too, but that may just be because we’ve never seen much of anything go wrong with him in a Phillies uniform. His numbers sure weren’t shaky in September.

Unbelievable month for Madson, which didn’t get the recognition it deserves. Seventeen strikeouts in 14 innings while yielding just a single earned run.

Seanez and Condrey probably won’t be on the mound if the outcome is in question and Manuel has any other choice. Both have pitched well, though.

As a Phillies fan, the guy I’m most scared of out of the pen these days is Durbin. Romero is 1A — another guy that had just an amazing year and helped get the Phillies where they are. Fifty-two strikeouts in 59 innings. He may be worn down a bit, though. Over his last ten appearances he’s gotten more than one out without being charged a run just twice.

Lidge, Madson and Durbin both pitched last on Saturday. Romero last pitched on Friday. Those guys are the core of the pen and that’s a lot of rest for some pitchers who needed a lot of rest. Hopefully it was enough.

It appears now that JA Happ will be on the roster to pitch out of the pen, perhaps costing Seanez his spot. Happ threw to a 3.69 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for the Phils this season. He appeared in eight games, making four starts. He struck out 26 with a 1.33 ratio. He was very good down the stretch, throwing 18 2/3 innings in September with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.07 ratio.

Burrell hurt his back in batting practice today. His status for tomorrow is unknown. That’s a big deal if he misses game one, but not quite as big a deal as it would be if Yovani Gallardo wasn’t right-handed.


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