Tag: brian sanches

Second impressions

The Phillies started the second half nicely in Colorado this weekend, taking two of three from the Rockies.

The Rockies won the opener 6-2 on Friday. The teams went into the bottom of the sixth tied at 1-1, but Colorado scored five runs charged to Lee and Schwimer in the sixth and seventh innings and rolled to a win. The bullpen nearly gave away game two of the set. The Phils led 6-2 going into the bottom of the eighth, but Brian Sanches coughed up a three-run homer and Manuel had to call on Papelbon to get the last five outs. Two runs in the top of the ninth extended the Phillies lead and they won 8-5.

Yesterday the Phillies won 5-1 behind strong pitching from Cole Hamels and a three-run homer from Hunter Pence.

The bullpen is still terrible and if Utley (on-basing .289 so far) and Howard (0-for-8 in the series) are going to pull the Phils out of their long, long funk it hasn’t happened so far. There were signs of life from Shane Victorino the set, though. After going 0-for-4 in the first two games of the series, Victorino was 3-for-8 with a walk, a double and two triples as the Phils took the last two. He had three extra-base hits in his last 121 plate appearances going into get two of the set.

The Phillies are 39-51 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 5-1 yesterday afternoon. The Phils take the series two games to one. They’re in fifth place in the NL East, 14 games behind the first-place Nationals.

Remember this? The Phils went into the second half needing to play to a .707 winning percentage the rest of the way if they were going to get to 90 wins for the year. Taking two out of three against the Rockies is nice, but it actually ups that needed winning percentage to .708 the rest of the way. The needed winning percentage in remaining games to hit various win marks is now tracked in the Start Log at the bottom of the blue band.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple. He struck out seven and dropped his ERA on the year to 3.07. The Phillies have won just one of the last four games he has started, but he’s thrown to a 2.48 ERA with a 1.07 ratio over those four outings.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. Dexter Fowler led off with a single to left. Marco Scutaro was next and bunted. Hamels fielded, but his throw to first sailed over Wigginton’s head. Scutaro was safe and Fowler moved up to second, putting men on first and second for Carlos Gonzalez. Hamels struck Gonzalez out swinging for the first out. Ramon Hernandez was next and Hamels struck him out swinging at a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. Michael Cuddyer grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Nice job by Fontenot backing up Hamels’s throw to first and holing everyone to a single base. Hamels does well to pitch around his error after the first two batters of the inning reach base.

Tyler Colvin singled to start the second, but Hamels got the next three Rockies in order behind him.

Fowler led off the bottom of the third and singled to right. Hamels picked him off of first with Wigginton throwing to Rollins for the first out. Hamels got Scutaro and Gonzalez behind Fowler.

Up 2-0, Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fourth. Mayberry made a nice diving catch on a ball hit by Cuddyer for the second out.

Chris Nelson reached on an infield single to start the fifth with the Phils up 5-0, but Hamels got Josh Rutledge to ground into a double-play behind him. Switch-hitter Jonathan Herrera hit for the pitcher Drew Pomeranz, but Hamels got him on a ground ball to second to end the inning.

Hamels walked Scutaro with one out in the sixth and Gonzalez followed with a triple to center that scored Scutaro and cut the lead to 5-1. Hamels struck Hernandez out for the second out and got Cuddyer on a ground ball to second for the third.

Big strikeout for Hamels, getting Hernandez for the second out with Gonzalez on third helps keep the Rockies from getting more.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Switch-hitter Eric Young hit for the pitcher Mike Ekstrom and singled to center to start the eighth. Hamels got the next three to turn Colorado away.

Bastardo got two ground balls and a strikeout in a 1-2-3 ninth.

Nice start to the second half for Bastardo. He came into the game having thrown to a 9.00 ERA in his 14 appearances since the end of June. He threw seven pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Drew Pomeranz went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Wigginton (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Fontenot. Utley and Howard both on the bench against the lefty after they both played the first two games of the series. Mayberry in left, Wigginton at first and Fontenot at second. Victorino continues to hit second with Polanco sixth against the lefty. Fontenot starts against the lefty with Utley resting.

Victorino tripled with one out in the top of the first. Pence struck out behind him for the second out, but Ruiz picked Pence up with a single into left that scored Victorino and put the Phils up 1-0. Wigginton drew a walk before Polanco grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the second and again in the third.

Ruiz led off the fourth with a double and moved up to third on a ground out by Wigginton. Polanco flew to right for the second out. Ruiz tagged and scored, putting the Phils up 2-0. Mayberry grounded to third for the third out.

Fontenot and Hamels both struck out to start the fifth before Rollins singled to left. An error on a pickoff throw by Pomeranz allowed Rollins to take second and Victorino walked to put two on for Pence. Pence hit a 2-1 pitch out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Phils up 5-0. Ruiz flew to center to set the Phillies down.

Huge swing off of Pence against a lefty. He came into the game hitting 247/326/442 against them for the year with just three home runs.

Righty Carlos Torres set the Phils down in order in the sixth.

Fontenot walked to start the seventh with the lead cut to 5-1. Hamels bunted him to second with the first out before Rollins walked. Victorino grounded to second for the second out and Pence flew to right for the third.

Righty Mike Ekstrom set the Phils down in order in the eighth.

Righty Rafael Betancourt started the ninth. Fontenot walked with one out. Howard hit for Hamels and grounded into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Rollins was 1-for-3 in the game and 5-for-12 with a walk, two doubles and a triple in the series. He’s hitting 261/315/414 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple yesterday. 3-for-12 with a walk, a double and two triples in the series. 3-for-8 with a walk and three extra-base hits in the last two games after going 0-for-4 in the opener. 245/311/379 on the year. Rollins and Victorino hit one-two at the top of the order — Rollins leads that duo with a .315 on-base percentage for the season.

Pence 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, which was his only hit of the series. He was 1-for-12, dropping his line on the year to 278/344/477.

Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 5-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 353/412/595 for the year. He has five home runs in his last 59 plate appearances.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk in his only action of the set. 181/253/319 over his last 79 plate appearances. 244/317/393 on the season.

Polanco 0-for-3 with an RBI. 1-for-7 in the series. 3-for-his-last-29 with a walk and three singles. 263/306/337.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-7 with two strikeouts in the set. 234/270/374 for the year. He’s terrible against righties (207/267/273 for the year) but hitting .269 against lefties with a .505 slugging percentage. On-basing .274 against left-handed pitching with zero walks in 95 plate appearances. That’s zero with a z.

Fontenot was 1-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-6 with two walks in the series. 315/365/371 for the year. Should be starting close to every game against a righty given the combination of Polanco being Polanco and Utley needing extra rest.

Utley was 3-for-8 with three RBI in the series and his hitting 262/289/405 over 45 plate appearances for the year. Howard was 0-for-1 yesterday and 0-for-8 with two walks in the set. He’s 2-for-16 so far.

Blanton (7-8, 4.98) faces righty Nathan Eovaldi (1-5, 4.21) tonight in LA. Blanton has a 6.12 ERA over his last nine starts. Eovaldi had a 2.35 ERA over his first five starts of the year but has thrown to a 7.71 ERA over his last three outings.


Playoff intensity not delivering much but playoff results so far for the Phils

The problem for the Phillies isn’t that they fail to grasp the seriousness of their situation or elevate their level of play. The problem is that they do and that they have and they keep losing anyway. The Phils have battled for just about every at-bat over the last handful of games, but Rays and the Pirates haven’t seemed that impressed. After losing 5-4 yesterday afternoon, the Phils are 2-4 over their last six games.

They’ve still got plenty of time to get it going, but they didn’t start yesterday. Kendrick had a hide-your-eyes ugly first inning that saw the Pirates score five runs by the time they sent their seventh batter of the game to the plate. The pitching was great after that, Kendrick tossed six scoreless frames and new additions Sanches and Horst combined to throw two more, but the Phils couldn’t quite climb all the way back as their rally fell a run short.

So somebody needs to get in there an kick the flux capacitor or something. Cause right now all I can picture is a rather exasperated-looking Charlie Manuel firing off an “I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!” and the only response to this point has been a diverse group of opposing players hitting the ball all manner of hard and far against an equally diverse group of Phillie pitchers.

The Phillies are 36-42 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 yesterday afternoon. The teams split the four-game series. The Phils are in fifth place in the NL East, nine games behind the first place Nationals.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for first inning home runs, a three-run blast and a solo shot.

Kendrick has a 7.67 ERA over his last five starts. Opponents have hit .294 against him and he’s allowed five home runs and 15 walks over 27 innings.

Drew Sutton was the first batter of the game and reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Kendrick. Neil Walker followed that with a walk, putting runners on first and second for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen flew to right for the first out with Sutton tagging and moving up to third. With men on the corners, Garrett Jones singled to right, scoring Sutton to put the Pirates up 1-0 with men on first and second for Casey McGehee. McGehee hit a 1-2 pitch from Kendrick out to left-center. 4-0. Alvarez was next and homered to right. 5-0. Kendrick struck out Clint Barmes for the second out and got Michael McKenry on a fly ball to left for the third.

Kendrick got the first two batters to start the second before Walker singled to left. McCutchen went down swinging to leave Walker stranded.

He set the Pirates down in order in the third, fourth and the fifth.

He walked McGehee with one out in the sixth, but got Alvarez and Barmes behind him.

McKenry reached on an infield single to start the seventh. Burnett tried to bunt him to second, but Kratz fielded, threw to second for the first out and Rollins went to Fontenot at first to complete the double-play. Kendrick walked Sutton and Alex Presley ran for Sutton at first. Kendrick got Walker to line to left to leave Presley at first.

Very nice play by Kratz to pounce on the ball and throw to second to start the double-play.

Sanches started the eighth. Jones doubled off the railing in right with one out on a play that was still a double after being reviewed. McGehee was next and flew to center for the second out with Jones moving up to third. Sanches walked the lefty Alvarez intentionally to put runners on first and third for Barmes. Sanches got Barmes swinging 3-2 to leave both men stranded.

Fourth appearance for Sanches with the Phillies this season and the first time he hasn’t been charged with at least one run.

It was 5-4 when Horst started the ninth, making his debut with the Phillies. He walked McKenry on five pitches to start the frame. Tabata bunted McKenry to second with the first out. Alex Presley was next and Horst walked him, too, putting runners on first and second. Horst got Walker on a foul ball handled by Wigginton for the second out. McCutchen was next and Horst struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Horst facing the righty McCutchen with two men on doesn’t make you feel real comfortable, but the lefty got it done that time. He has thrown to a 2.11 ERA at Triple-A this year, but with a 1.59 ratio. In 38 1/3 innings he’s allowed 43 hits and walked 18.

Sanches and Horst get the job done in the game, throwing two scoreless innings as they allow a hit and two walks. Horst threw 24 pitches and Sanches 22.

The Phillies lineup against righty AJ Burnett went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Wigginton (7) Fontenot (8) Kratz. Pierre in left against the righty with Wigginton at first. Kratz makes his first start of the year catching the day game after a night game. Polanco hits fifth, which is terrible given that he has slugged .375 over his last 2,054 plate appearances coming into the game. Fontenot at second with Utley resting.

Down 5-0, Victorino singled with two outs and took second on an error by Jones in right. Pence grounded to the pitcher to end the inning.

Wigginton singled to center with one out in the second. Fontenot was next and flew to center for the second out, but was next and hit an 0-2 pitch out to center, getting the Phils on the board at 5-2. Kendrick grounded to second for the third out.

Second home run in five at-bats for Kratz on the year.

Pierre singled with one out in the third and stole second. Pierre took third on a ground out, but was left stranded when Burnett struck Pence out looking 1-2 to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the fourth and again in the fifth.

Victorino and Pence singled back-to-back with one out in the sixth, putting runners on the corners for Polanco. Polanco hit a ground ball to third. Alvarez went to second for the first out, but Polanco beat the relay to first as Victorino scored to make it 5-3. Wigginton walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Fontenot. Fontenot took ball one way high and then grounded to first to end the inning.

Kinda looked like Burnett had lost the strike zone there a little.

Kratz struck out to start the seventh. Utley hit for Kendrick and struck out for the second before Rollins walked. Righty Juan Cruz came in to pitch to Pierre and walked him, putting two men on for Victorino. Victorino flew to left for the third out.

Pence started the eighth and lined a 1-1 pitch just out to left off of righty Jason Grilli. 5-4. Polanco was hit by a pitch. Wigginton got ahead 3-1, but struck out swinging for the first out. Fontenot followed and singled on a ball knocked down but not handled by Grilli. It put runners on first and second for Kratz and Thome hit for him. He hammered the first pitch he saw out by foul and then struck out swinging 0-2 for the second out. Ruiz hit for Sanches and fouled out to McGehee as the first baseman went into the stands to make a great catch and end the inning.

Rollins singled off of righty Joel Hanrahan to start the ninth. Pierre bunted him to second with the first out and Victorino struck out swinging for the second. It brought Pence to the plate with two down and Rollins on second. Before Hanrahan threw a pitch to Pence, Rollins stole third, but Pence flew to McCutchen in shallow center to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. 5-for-16 with three walks, a double a triple and a home run in the series. 339/385/645 over his last 130 plate appearances. 268/322/419 for the year. He’s hitting .323 at home and .215 on the road.

Pierre 1-for-3 with a walk and another stolen base, which gives him 18 on the year. He’s been caught just three times. 2-for-11 with a walk in the series. 254/299/365 over his last 69 plate appearances and 315/355/380 for the year.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a strikeout and four men left on base. 5-for-15 in the series with two walks and five singles. 253/324/390 for the year. Doesn’t seem like a great choice to hit third against a righty given his 231/300/319 line against them for the season.

Pence 2-for-5 with a home run. 6-for-17 with two walks, a double, a triple and a home run in the series. He came into the series slugging .329 over his last 90 plate appearances without a home run. 277/345/476 for the season.

Polanco 0-for-3 with an RBI thanks to nice hustle to beat out his double-play ball. 4-for-10 with two walks and four singles in the set. 278/324/363. Polanco hitting fifth against a right-handed pitcher is a pretty good sign there are some issues with your lineup.

Wigginton 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-12 with two walks and a home run in the set. 250/317/398 for the year. Playing way too much against righties. 185/228/315 over his last 57 plate appearances. It’s him, Mayberry or Luna at first so far and they’re all right-handed. Mayberry’s hitting 212/246/470 in June. Luna is 1-for-his-last-11 with five strikeouts. If Nix is back in a few weeks, that will help. Till then I really think they should consider giving the lefty Fontenot a try at first against some righties.

Kratz was great. 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and made a great play to start a double-play on the bunt in the seventh. 2-for-7 on the year with two home runs.

Ruiz was 0-for-1 in the game and 8-for-14 with two home runs in the series. 362/429/588 for the year. He’s obviously getting a ton more hits in 2012 than he has over his career, but also hitting for way more power, especially against right-handed pitching. For his career, his isolated power against righties is .133. So far in 2012, his isolated power against righties is .242 (for lefties it is .183 this year compared to .155 for his career).

Cliff Lee (0-4, 3.72) faces righty Josh Johnson (4-5, 3.96) tonight in Florida. Lee has a 5.10 ERA over his last seven starts and the Phillies are 3-9 in his outings for the year. Johnson threw to a 6.61 ERA in his first six starts on the season. Since then he’s made nine starts, throwing to a 2.56 ERA and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of those outings.


Fans unsure if they can get their ticket money back, but some willing to consider more pleasant alternatives to actually watching the games like maybe root canal or doing their taxes over again or something

Things were ugly for the Phils going into last night’s game, but they took it up to another level not many believed existed last night. In a string of games marked by spectacular failures by the bullpen, the Phillies saved their ugliest effort for last night as they fell to the Mets 10-6.

The Phillies again got a good effort from their starter, Cliff Lee this time, and started the top of the seventh with a 4-2 lead. Over the final three innings of the game, Kendrick, Contreras and Sanches allowed eight runs over three innings.

The game seemed to mark the turn of a major corner with the fans. There was a whole lot more booing and a whole lot more empty seats than you had seen at a home game in Philadelphia for a long time.

The Phillies are 14-18 on the year after losing to the Mets 10-6 last night. The Mets sweep the three-game series. The Phillies are four games under .500 for the first time since 2007. They have lost five of six.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out six and his ERA rose to 2.17.

He set the Mets down in order in the first and again in the second.

He started the third up 1-0. Rob Johnson singled with one out. The pitcher Dillon Gee was next and he bunted, but Lee handled the bunt and threw to second to force Johnson for the second out. Lee walked Andres Torres on five pitches, putting men on first and second for Daniel Murphy. Murphy doubled to left, scoring Gee to tie the game at 1-1 and moving Torres up to third. David Wright hit the ball hard, but Polanco took it at third and threw to first to end the frame.

Scott Hairston singled off of Lee to start the fourth, but Lee struck Vinnie Rottino out looking for the first out and got Justin Turner to ground into a double-play behind him.

Lee started the fifth up 2-1 and struck out Johnson and Gee while setting the Mets down in order.

Torres led off the sixth and lined a ball into center field. Victorino made a sliding effort, but didn’t catch the ball as it got passed him and rolled for a while. Torres wound up with a triple. Lee struck Murphy out for the first out before Wright singled, scoring Torres to tie the game at 2-2. Lee got Hairston to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Kendrick started the seventh with the Phils up 4-2. Lefty Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit for the righty Rottino and Kendrick walked him. Turner was next and doubled him home. 4-3. Davis followed that with another double, sending Turner to third. Kendrick walked Johnson on four pitches, loading the bases. Lefty Lucas Duda hit for the pitcher Tim Byrdak and Kendrick hit him, forcing Turner home to tie the game at 4-4. Torres hit a ground ball to second. Duda was forced at second for the first out, but Davis scored and the Mets led 5-4. With men on first and third, Kendrick got Murphy to hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Moral victory alert — Phils don’t bring in a lefty to give up an RBI-single to Duda, hitting him with a righty instead. It’s the little things.

I’m also grateful for this series for the opportunity to learn how to spell Nieuwenhuis. That can’t be a real name, can it? Someone just thought that up in a lab in an underground bunker somewhere, right? Right?

Manuel was so impressed with Kendrick’s work in the seventh that he let him start the eighth. Wright and Hairston doubled back-to-back with Hairston plating Wright to make it 6-4. Sensing there was nothing wrong with this situation that couldn’t be made worse by Jose Contreras, Manuel went with his gut and brought him on. Contreras struck out Nieuwenhuis (thank you people working overtime in the underground bunker!) for the first out before Turner had the devious foresight to hit a routine fly ball to right. Pence dropped it. No, really. He just was about to catch it and then, instead, didn’t. Like you or I might do in the same situation. Anyhow, Hairston was too stunned to move up to third, so it put men on first and second for Ike Davis to crush a ball way, way, really far out to right field, raising his average for the year to .179 and putting the Mets up 9-4. Johnson flew to right for the second out. Mike Baxter hit for the pitcher Manny Acosta and grounded to short.

I think it was at this point the Mets offered to play 16 innings this one time, just as a special treat to the fans, but the offer was rejected to allow us all a little more time to reflect fondly on the Danys Baez years and wonder if someway, somehow we could ever get him back.

Sanches started the ninth with the lead cut, temporarily, to 9-5. Cause why not? Torres homered (10-5), Murphy singled and Sanches got the next three.

Swear I’m not making this up: That was the best performance of any of the three relievers for the Phillies in the game.

Kendrick threw 30 pitches in the game, Contreras 20 and Sanches 13.

Overall, the pen went three innings in the game, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and two walks. Of the three pitchers that appeared in relief for the Phils in the game, Kendrick has the best ERA for the season of the trio at 7.32.

The Phillies lineup against righty Dillon Gee went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Mayberry (7) Schneider (8) Galvis. Nix, Ruiz and Wigginton all on the bench. Mayberry at first against the righty and Pierre in left. Schneider catches. Galvis plays second with the lefty Orr on the bench off a two-error night.

Pierre singled with out in the first, but Victorino and Polanco both went down behind him.

Schneider and Galvis singled back-to-back with two outs in the bottom of the second, putting runners on first and third for Lee. Lee reached on an infield single with everyone moving up a base. Schneider scored to make it 1-0. Rollins flew to center to leave Galvis at second.

The Phils went in order in the third with the score tied at 1-1.

Polanco and Mayberry singled back-to-back to start the fourth. Schneider grounded softly to first for the first out with the runners moving up to second and third. Galvis grounded softly to second for the second out with everyone moving up again. Polanco scored and the Phils led 2-1. Lee grounded to second for the third out.

Rollins singled to start the fifth, but the Phillies went in order behind him.

The game was tied at 2-2 when the Phils hit in the bottom of the sixth. Schneider singled with one out and came around to score when Galvis blasted a double off the wall in left. 3-2. Nix hit for Lee and singled into center, scoring Galvis and putting the Phils on top 4-2. Lefty Tim Byrdak took over for Gee. Ruiz ran for Nix at first. Rollins popped to second to end the inning.

Down 5-4, Pierre singled off of righty Manny Acosta to start the seventh. Victorino hit into a double-play behind him and Pence struck out swinging.

Down 9-4, Polanco singled off of righty Jon Rauch to start the eighth. Mayberry flew to right for the first out before Schneider moved Polanco up to second with a ground out. Galvis was next and tripled to right, scoring Polanco to cut the lead to 9-5. Orr hit for Contreras and struck out swinging to leave Galvis at third.

Down 10-5, Rollins singled off of righty DJ Carrasco to start the ninth. He moved up to second as Pierre struck out on a wild pitch. Victorino popped to short for the second out before Pence blasted a triple off the wall in right center, scoring Rollins to make it 10-6. Polanco grounded to short to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-5 in the game and 4-for-14 with a double and a walk in the series. 230/279/270 for the season.

Pierre 2-for-5 with three strikeouts in the game. 4-for-10 with a walk in the series. 341/396/364 for the year.

Victorino 0-for-5 and left four men on base. 3-for-13 with two walks and a double in the set. 244/298/405 on the year.

Pence 1-for-5 with a triple last night. 2-for-13 with a walk, a triple and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 262/299/492 for the year. He leads the group of Pence, Victorino, Rollins, Thome, Galvis and Mayberry with a .299 on-base percentage for the year. The Phillies have 69 walks for the year, which is 29th of the 30 MLB teams (the Pirates have 66).

Polanco 2-for-5 yesterday and 4-for-12 with a double in the series. 275/307/321 on the year.

Mayberry 1-for-4 yesterday and 4-for-12 in the series. 225/233/268 on the year.

Schneider was 2-for-4. He’s hitting 231/259/231 for the year. 210/294/312 over the last three seasons with the Phils.

Galvis was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and three RBI. The Phillies had three extra-base hits in the game and he had two of them. 3-for-8 in the series. 213/237/340 for the year. His isolated power for the season is now better than Wiggington’s. Galvis has nine extra-base hits in 99 plate appearances and is tied with Ruiz for the team lead in doubles with seven. Wigginton has five extra-base hits in 91 plate appearances.

Mercifully, the Phillies don’t play today. Vance Worley (2-2, 2.84) faces lefty Clayton Richard (1-4, 4.89) tomorrow night. Worley was hit hard by the Nats in his last outing, which was his worst start of the year. He allowed five runs over six innings. Richard has been tough against lefties this year (192/276/241), but righties have already hit five home runs against him while posting a 276/333/482 line.

Next post won’t be until Tuesday, 5/15.


Hamels pitches up a storm and interviews up another

The Nationals won the first two games of the three-game set this weekend, but Cole Hamels made sure people were going to remember game three for a while with last night’s effort. Hamels was great in the game, holding Washington to a run over eight innings as the Phils cruised to a 9-3 with behind Hamels’s arm and a pair of homers from Hunter Pence.

The game was most memorable, though, for the first pitch Hamels delivered to Washington wunderkind Bryce Harper in the bottom of the first — a 93-mile an hour fastball into the small of Harper’s back. Harper stole home later in the inning and Hamels was hit himself in the third. It’s probably not something that will be forgotten, but that might have been the end of things for the time being had it not been for this interview, in which Hamels is quoted as saying, “I was trying to hit him.”

The Phillies are 14-15 on the year after beating the Washington Nationals 9-3 last night. The Nats take the series two games to one. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on five hits and walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out eight and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.45. The Phillies have won five of the six games he has started this season.

He got the first two in the bottom of the first before hitting Bryce Harper with the first pitch of Harper’s at-bat. Jayson Werth was next and moved Harper up to third with a single. Harper stole home as Hamels made a throw to try to pick Werth off of first before Chad Tracy popped to Rollins to end the inning.

Hamels walked Wilson Ramos with two outs in the second, but got pitcher Jordan Zimmerman on a fly ball to center for the third out.

Harper singled to left with two outs in the third, but Hamels struck Werth out to leave Harper at first.

Up 3-1, Hamels set the Nats down in order in the fourth.

Ian Desmond tripled to left with two outs in the fifth. Steve Lombardozzi was the next hitter and Hamels got him on a soft ground ball he handled himself to end the inning.

Chad Tracy singled to center with two outs in the sixth. Hamels got Danny Espinosa on a ground ball to third for the third out.

Through six innings, Hamels had thrown 91 pitches.

Still up two runs, Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

He got the first two in the eighth before Harper doubled to left. Xavier Nady, who took over in right for Werth after Werth injured his wrist, grounded to second for the third out.

Sanches started the ninth with a 9-1 lead. He walked Espinosa with one out. Rick Ankiel was next and he grounded to first, with Espinosa forced at second for the second out. Ramos followed with a single into left that moved Ankiel up to second. Lefty Roger Bernadina hit for the pitcher Tom Gorzelanny and doubled to right, scoring Ankiel (9-2) and moving Ramos up to third. Ian Desmond followed that with an infield single, scoring Ramos (9-3) and moving Bernadina to third. Desmond took second without a throw before Lombardozzi popped to second, ending the game with both runners stranded.

Sanches threw 32 pitches in the game. He has now made two appearances for the Phillies and been bad in both, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks over three innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jordan Zimmerman went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Nix (6) Ruiz (7) Polanco (8) Orr. Pierre in left against the righty. The lefty Orr at second with Galvis on the bench.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Down 1-0, they went in order in the second.

Orr singled to center with one out in the third. Hamels was next and was hit by the first pitch of his at-bat, putting runners on first and second for Rollins. Rollins grounded to first for the second out with the runner moving up to second and third. Pierre grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Victorino walked to start the fourth. Pence was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to center, putting the Phils on top 2-1. Nix singled and moved to second on a ground out by Ruiz. Polanco singled into center, scoring Nix to put the Phils up 3-1. Orr struck out for the second out before Hamels moved Polanco up to second with a single. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

Pierre led off the fifth with a walk, but Victorino grounded into a double-play behind him. Pence grounded to third for the third out.

Nix and Ruiz went down to start the sixth before Polanco lined a ball into right. Werth came in and made a sliding effort but didn’t make the catch, injuring his wrist in the effort. Orr popped to short for the third out.

Zimmerman walked Hamels and Rollins to start the seventh before Pierre bunted for a single that loaded the bases. Righty Craig Stammen came in to pitch to Victorino and Victorino lined to left on a diving play by Harper with the runners holding. Pence was next and hit a ball well to center, but Ankiel took it and Hamels stayed at third (good thing, too, cause Ankiel made an amazing throw to the plate). Stammen stayed in to face the lefty Nix with the bases still loaded and struck Nix out swinging 0-2 to leave the bases loaded.

No run for the Phils after loading the bases with nobody out. I thought it was nutty to let Stammen pitch to Nix, but it worked out great for the Nats. Stammen’s spot was due to hit third in the bottom of the inning.

Lefty Sean Burnett pitched the eighth and set the Phillies down in order. Galvis hit for Orr and flew to left for the third out.

Hamels hit for himself to start the ninth, flying to center off of righty Ryan Perry for the first out. Rollins was next and walked on four pitches. He stole second before Pierre singled into center, scoring Rollins to make it 4-1. Pierre moved up to second as the throw came home. Victorino followed and tripled to right, plating Pierre. 5-1. Pence homered to left. 7-1. Nix flew to center for the second out before Ruiz singled to left. Polanco doubled to left, moving Ruiz up to third. The Nats finally pulled Perry as lefty Tom Gorzelanny took over. Galvis greeted him with a single into center, scoring both runners to make it 9-1. Mayberry hit for Hamels and struck out swinging to end the frame.

Second home run of the game for Pence. First triple of the year for Victorino. He’s got some work to do if he’s going to lead the league in triples. Galvis delivers a two-run single. Hamels hits for himself to start the inning, then doesn’t pitch the bottom of the ninth after the Phils extend the lead to 9-1.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with two walks in yesterday’s game. 1-for-12 with two walks and a double in the series. 223/273/259 for the season with four extra-base hits, all doubles, in 122 plate appearances.

Pierre 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in the game. 3-for-7 with two walks in the series. 333/388/359 for the year. 5-for-his-last-11. He has walked in about 7.1% of his plate appearances for the season. Over his career he has walked in about 5.7%. His .388 on-base percentage leads the team. Mayberry was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts in the series, dropping his line on the year to 203/217/254.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. 3-for-12 with two walks, a double and a triple in the set. 246/294/415 on the year.

Pence was 2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI in the game. 5-for-14 with a double and three home runs in the set. 274/308/487 for the year.

Nix was 1-for-5 in the game and 1-for-7 with two strikeouts in the series. 311/380/578 on the year. Wigginton was 0-for-5 in the series and struck out four times. 0-for-his-last-9. 289/360/408 on the year.

Ruiz was 1-for-5 yesterday and 3-for-12 with a home run in the series. 318/344/565 for the year. Among the 109 NL players with 75 or more plate appearances, his slugging percentage of .565 is eighth.

Polanco 3-for-5 with a double. 4-for-14 with a double in the series. 268/304/309 for the year. 366/395/439 over his last 43 plate appearances. He, Rollins, Galvis and Mayberry all have more than 50 plate appearances for the season and a slugging percentage under .310.

Orr 1-for-3 yesterday and 1-for-5 in the series. 276/300/414 for the year. Galvis was 1-for-2 with two RBI yesterday and 2-for-7 with a double in the series. 198/225/302 on the season.

In Saturday’s game, Worley didn’t pitch well, allowing five runs in six innings, and the Phils didn’t do much against Gio Gonzalez as they fell 7-1. Savery allowed two runs in an inning in relief of Worley. The Phils had just five hits in the game.

Friday the Nats won the opener 4-3. Manuel was ejected early, arguing a checked swing on Harper’s at-bat in the first. Pence put the Phils up with a two-run homer off of Strasburg in the fourth, but Chad Tracy hit a solo shot off of Kendrick in the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1. Ruiz homered in the fifth to extend the lead to 3-1, but the Nats got a run in the sixth charged to Savery and another charged to Qualls in the eighth to tie the game up at 3-3. Schwimmer, back for his third inning after throwing two scoreless frames, allowed a run in the bottom of the eleventh on a pair or singles and a pair of walks.

Schwimer threw 58 pitches in the game. Papelbon did not appear.

Halladay (3-2, 3.40) faces lefty Jon Niese (2-1, 4.08) tonight. Halladay struggled in his last outing, unable to hold a 6-0 lead and allowing eight runs over 5 1/3 innings. Niese was also hit hard in his last start, allowing five runs in three innings in Houston.


Blanton blasted, but hopes remain high the special teams unit can really contribute this season

Spring Training stats don’t matter at all, everyone knows that. Right? Right? Well, let’s hope so. Cause the offense isn’t looking so hot right now any formula for success for the Phillies until they get their big bats back and probably even after they do has a lot to do with dominating starting pitching. Joe Blanton got banged around yesterday, and a look at the numbers for the guys in the rotation this spring shows they haven’t been especially dominating:

IP ERA Ratio K
Halladay 20 5.40 1.30 24
Lee 15 2/3 3.45 1.28 16
Hamels 18 4.00 1.39 10
Blanton 15 4.80 1.20 13
Worley 16 2.81 1.13 18
Total 84 2/3 4.15 1.26 81

Worley has had a nice spring so far and Lee’s numbers are pretty good overall. Halladay’s high ERA has been well documented and Blanton’s is getting up there as well after a rough day yesterday. Hamels doesn’t have the high ERA, but opponents have hit .303 against him and he has struck out just ten in 18 innings.

One thing the guys in the rotation have done is continue to prevent walks. As a group, the five pitchers above has walked just ten in 84 2/3 innings so far, which is a tiny walk rate of 1.06 per nine innings. That helps keep their ratio as a group pretty low, but hidden in that number is the fact that they have allowed 97 hits in 84 2/3 innings. That’s too many.

Three hits for the Phils yesterday as the fell to Boston 6-0.

Blanton started the game for the Phillies and was hit hard, allowing five runs on seven hits over five innings to raise his ERA to 4.80. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. Qualls was the only other pitcher likely to stat the year with the Phils to pitch in the game. He struck out one in a scoreless seventh, dropping his ERA to 4.15. He has now allowed just six hits and two walks in 8 2/3 innings.

Galvis had another extra-base hit, a double. He was 1-for-3, upping his line to 274/294/484. Orr played three innings at short for the Phils and was 1-for-1 at the plate to raise his average to .293. Montanez started in right and got the other hit, going 1-for-3. He’s at 326/362/465.

Wigginton and Mayberry were both 0-for-3 and struck out twice. Wigginton is hitting .230. Mayberry is at an ugly 206/254/270 in a team-high 63 at-bats.

The Phillies sent Brian Sanches, Scott Elarton and Jake Diekman to minor league camp.


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