Coming off a bizarre weekend in which the Phils suffered from a lack of depth in their pen, Cliff Lee was fantastic last night as the Phils hammered the Braves on their way to a 9-0 win. Lee threw a complete game shutout without allowing a walk or an extra-base hit.
Over his last six starts, Lee has allowed two runs in 48 2/3 innings. In those six starts he has surrendered just 28 hits in 48 2/3 innings.
It was a real nice break for the bullpen, which curiously seemed not to have enough bodies against the Marlins this weekend despite the expanded September rosters. With Kendrick away for the birth of a child, the weirdness started on Saturday. Pitching for the third straight day, Bastardo started the eighth with a 4-3 lead and walked the first two batters he faced. Herndon took over for him and allowed home runs to three of the six batters he faced. The Phils lost that game 8-4. The next day, Herndon threw 69 pitches over 3 2/3 innings and the Phils lost in 14. It’s a little tough to understand why the Phillies simply didn’t have more relievers available for those games. Herndon shouldn’t be throwing 69 pitches in a game, he shouldn’t be doing it the day after he throws 20 pitches and he especially shouldn’t be doing it in September.
The Phillies are 89-48 on the year after pounding the Atlanta Braves 9-0 last night. The Phils remain in first place in the NL East, 8 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta.
Lee got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, holding the Braves to five singles. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. He threw 100 pitches in the game.
He got Michael Bourn on a ground ball to second to start the game. Martin Prado was next and he grounded to short for the second out before Brian McCann singled to right. Lee struck Dan Uggla out swinging 1-2 to set the Braves down.
Matt Diaz led off the second with an infield single with the Phils up 2-0. Lee got the next three, striking Freddie Freeman out swinging, getting Alex Gonzalez on a fly ball to left and left-handed hitting left fielder Jose Constanza on a grounder to second.
The strikeout of Freeman for the first out of the inning was Lee’s 200th for the season.
Lee struck pitcher Derek Lowe out to start the third and got Bourn and Prado behind him. Bourn hit a hard ground ball to first off the body of Howard, but Howard picked it up and tagged Bourn as he flew past for the second out.
Lee got McCann, Uggla and Diaz in order in the fourth. Diaz hammered a ball to right center, but Victorino took it on the warning track after a long run for the third out.
Up 5-0, Lee struck out Freeman and Constanza in a 1-2-3 fifth. Howard made a long run and a sliding basket catch near the fence in foul territory to retire Gonzalez for the second out.
Up 7-0, he set the Braves down in order in the sixth.
Uggla reached on an infield single with one out in the seventh, but Lee got Diaz to ground into a double-play behind him.
Freeman started the eighth with a single into center, but Gonzalez grounded back to Lee behind him and Lee threw to Martinez at second to start the double-play. Constanza was next and he reached on an infield single. Righty Jack Wilson hit for the pitcher Peter Moylan and Lee got Wilson to ground to third for the third out.
Up 9-0, Lee set the Braves down in order in the ninth. He struck out Bourn, got Prado on a ground ball to short and McCann on a ground ball to second.
The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Martinez. Martinez plays short with Rollins on the DL and Valdez on the bench. Mayberry in left against the righty with the lefty Ibanez on the bench. Ibanez was 6-for-45 (.133) against Lowe for his career around the time Manuel was figuring out his lineup.
Polanco singled off the glove of Bourn in center with one out in the first and moved to third when Utley followed with a single to right. Howard walked on four pitches and the bases were loaded for Pence. Pence singled to left, scoring Polanco and Utley to put the Phils up 2-0 with men on first and second with one out. Mayberry struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out and Ruiz grounded to third to end the inning.
The Phils went in order in the second.
Howard singled with two outs in the third. Pence grounded to second behind him.
Mayberry walked to start the fourth. Ruiz was next and hit a ball to short that Gonzalez didn’t handle for an error, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Martinez bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Lee grounded to first with the runners holding for the second, but Victorino picked him up, singling to left to bring both runners in (4-0). Victorino took second as the throw came to the plate and Ruiz slid in safely on a close play. With Polanco at the plate, Victorino stole third and tried to come home when the ball wasn’t handled by McCann, but McCann threw to Lowe covering and Ruiz was tagged out to end the inning.
With one out in the fifth, Utley hit a popup that went unhandled for a triple. Lowe walked Howard intentionally, putting men on first and third for Pence. Pence doubled to right, scoring Utley (5-0) and sending Howard to third. Mayberry walked to load the bases. Ruiz hit the first pitch of his at-bat into center, scoring Howard and Pence (7-0) and moving Mayberry to second. Martinez grounded to first for the second out with the runners moving up to second and third. Lee struck out swinging 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.
Second walk for Mayberry in two plate appearances.
Polanco was hit by a Scott Linebrink pitch with one out in the sixth. He took second on one wild pitch by Linebrink and third on another before Utley flew to center. Polanco tagged and tried to score, but Bourn threw him out to end the inning.
Howard led off the seventh and got ahead of Linebrink 3-0 before hitting a 3-1 pitch out to right center. 8-0. Righty Peter Moylan took over for Linebrink and got Pence, Mayberry and Ruiz in order. Pence hit the ball well to left, but was retired on a leaping catch by Constanza for the first out.
Lee singled off of righty Arodys Vizcaino with one out in the eighth and Victorino walked behind him. Polanco followed with a single to left that scored Lee and put the Phils up 9-0 with one out and men on first and second. Utley flew to center for the second out, with Victorino tagging and moving up to third. Howard flew to center to leave both runners stranded.
Victorino was 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBI in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-14 and hitting 205/300/341 over his last 50 plate appearances.
Polanco 2-for-4 with an RBI. He’s 6-for-his-last-28 (.214). Of the 83 NL players with 400 plate appearances for the season, his .335 slugging percentage is 81st.
Utley 2-for-5 with a triple. He’s 4-for-his-last-30 (.133).
Howard 2-for-3 with two walks and a home run. He’s 7-for-16 with seven walks and two home runs in the first five games of September.
Pence 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Constanza made a nice play in left to take another hit away from him. Pence was 2-for-his-last-16 coming into the game.
Mayberry 0-for-2 with two walks. 3-for-his-last-21. He’s on-basing .329 for the year and .322 against righties.
Ruiz 1-for-4 with two RBI. 5-for-his-last-14 and 302/392/403 over his last 299 plate appearances.
Martinez was 0-for-3. Of the 181 NL players with 175 plate appearances for the season, his .257 on-base percentage is 179th.
Worley (10-1, 2.87) faces righty Tim Hudson (14-8, 3.05) tonight. Hudson has a 2.27 ERA over his last 16 starts. In two starts against the Phils this year he’s 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA. The Phillies have won 13 games that Worley has started in a row. He’s been a little less impressive his last few times out, throwing to a 4.64 ERA over his last six starts.
Over the weekend, the Phils lost two of three to the Marlins.
On Friday the Phils won the series opener 5-3 to improve to 42 games over .500 for the first time in team history. Oswalt pitched into the seventh inning, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing three runs while striking out seven. Victorino led off the game with a triple and game in to score when Polanco followed with a sac fly, putting the Phils up 1-0. The Fish got the run back in the bottom of the first thanks to a leadoff double by Emilio Bonifacio, tying the game at 1-1. Omar Infante led off the third with a double and came around to score, too, putting Florida up 2-1. The Phils pulled ahead to stay in the fifth. Pence led off and reached on error by Bonifacio and Mayberry followed that with a two-run shot. 3-2 Phils. The Phils loaded the bases without a hit in the top of the sixth before Mayberry’s sac fly plated Utley to make it 4-2. Oswalt gave up a solo homer to Jose Lopez in the bottom of the inning, cutting the lead to 4-3. Victorino led off the seventh with a single and took second on a misplay by Mike Stanton in right, moved to third on a ground out and came in to score on a wild pitch. 5-3. Oswalt left with one out in the seventh. After his exit, Stutes, Bastardo and Madson closed out the game, combining to allow one hit over 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Phils lost the second game of the series 8-4 on Saturday. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second on a two-run triple by Valdez, which was followed by an infield single by a hustling Hamels. Hamels allowed a two-run homer to Mike Cameron in the bottom of the second, though, and a solo shot to Stanton in the third that tied the game at 3-3. Hamels drove in another run in the fourth when his two-out single brought Ruiz home from second, putting the Phils back on top 4-3. Bastardo took over for Hamels in the eighth and walked the first two men he faced. Herndon took over for him and gave up a long three-run homer to Gaby Sanchez, which was followed by a solo homer by Cameron and another solo homer by Dobbs and put the Marlins up to stay at 8-4. The Phils allowed five home runs in the game. In the eighth, Bastardo faced two batters and walked them both. Herndon faced six batters and allowed a three-run homer and two solo shots.
On Sunday the Phils lost 5-4 in 14 innings. Bonifacio tripled off of Halladay to start the bottom of the first and came in to score on a single by Infante to put Florida up 1-0. The Phils pulled ahead 2-1 in the top of the second with two runs on three hits and a big throwing error by Dobbs. Florida tied the game up again in the bottom of the third when Sanchez doubled ahead of a Logan Morrison ground ball to first in which Halladay couldn’t handle the toss from Howard when covering first. The Marlins took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Bryan Petersen, Buck and Lopez, but the Phils jumped back ahead 4-3 on a two-run single by Howard in the seventh. Schwimer took over for Halladay in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a walk and a double to the first to men he faced. Schwimer managed to limit the damage to one run, with a ground out by Sanchez plating Infante to tie the game at 4-4. It stayed scoreless until the bottom of the 14th, when Herndon walked Cameron with the bases loaded to force in Bonifacio as the winning run.
Herndon threw 69 pitches in relief for the Phillies in the game, walking seven in 3 2/3 innings. The Phillies played the game under protest after a play in the sixth inning in which Pence hit a ball to right field that was originally ruled a double. It appeared a fan reached out to interfere with the ball, the play was reviewed and the call changed to an out. I’d guess the Phils have close to no chance of a successful protest. The Florida fielder (Petersen) was interfered with — the ball wasn’t going to be a home run so they play shouldn’t have been reviewed to start with, but it was close enough to being a home run that it’s reasonable to suggest that was the focus of the review.