Tag: Carlos Pena

It’s not the heat, it’s . . . okay, let’s hope it’s the heat

The Phils got pounded by the Cubs last night, losing 6-1 in a game that was most remarkable for the circumstances surrounding the departure of Roy Halladay. Halladay left in the fifth inning looking very hot and not at all well. Word is that Halladay expects to make his next start.

The bullpen also scuffled in the game. Coming off of a series in which the relievers combined to allow nine runs in 9 1/3 innings, Carpenter and Herndon combined to surrender three runs in four innings in relief of Halladay. Going back to June 23 (when the pen allowed eight runs in six innings to the Cardinals), the bullpen has thrown to a 6.46 ERA and a 1.54 ratio over the last 20 games for the Phillies. In four of those 20 games the pen has allowed at least four runs in a game and in two others they allowed three. In the 75 games before the June 23 game, the bullpen threw to a 2.80 ERA and a 1.29 ratio.

The Phillies are 59-36 on the year after losing to the Chicago Cubs 6-1 last night. They are in first place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves. Atlanta is 44-24 since the end of April while the Phils have gone 41-28.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out one.

He got the first two batters to start the bottom of the first before Aramis Ramirez hit the first pitch he saw out to left center, putting the Cubs on top 1-0. Carlos Pena followed that with a single to center, but Halladay got Marlon Bryd to fly to center to end the inning.

He got three ground balls as he set Chicago down in order in the second.

The pitcher Rodrigo Lopez led off the third with a single to right and Kosuke Fukudome walked behind him. Starlin Castro followed that with a single to left, which loaded the bases for Ramirez. Ramirez flew to right for the first out, deep enough for Lopez to tag and score and Fukudome to take third. 2-0 with men on first and third. Pena singled to right and Fukudome scored. 3-0 with men on first and second. Halladay got Byrd and Alfonso Soriano on a pair of fly balls to prevent further damage.

It was 3-1 when Halladay started the fourth. Darwin Barney singled with one out and Lopez bunted him to second, but Halladay got Fukudome to fly to Brown in right to leave Barney stranded.

Castro started the fifth with a single to center and Halladay didn’t look real good after the at-bat, bent over with his hands on his knees. He left the game and Carpenter took over to pitch to Ramirez. Ramirez flew to center for the first out before Castro stole second. Carpenter walked Pena, putting men on first and second. Castro tried to steal third and thrown out for the second out. Byrd followed that with a ball off the glove of Martinez and into left for a single that moved Castro up to second. Soriano grounded to second to end the inning.

The caught stealing by Castro costs the Cubs a run. Close play at third, but I think he was out. Nice throw by Ruiz.

Carpenter walked Koyie Hill to start the sixth and Hill stole second before Barney doubled off the wall in left. Hill scored and Chicago led 4-1. Lopez bunted Barney to third before Fukudome doubled down the right field line, scoring Barney to make it 5-1. Carpenter got Castro on a line drive to Rollins for the second out and struck out Ramirez to end the inning with Fukudome stranded.

Carpenter goes two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks to raise his ERA on the year to 7.11. He has been charged with at least one run in three of his four appearances on the year.

Herndon started the seventh and Pena homered on a 3-1 pitch to put Chicago up 6-1. Byrd followed that with a double on a ball that was deflected by Brown in right, but Herndon struck out Soriano and Hill and got Barney on a fly ball to center to leave Byrd stranded.

Herndon set the Cubs down in order in the eighth.

Two innings for Herndon, allowing a run on two hits and no walks. He’s had four bad outings in a row going back to June 30. Over those four appearances, he’s gone 6 1/3 innings and been charged with six runs on 13 hits. True to form he hasn’t walked anyone. In three of the four outings he’s allowed a home run and opponents are slugging .781 against him.

Carpenter and Herndon both threw 31 pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Rodrigo Lopez went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Mayberry. Martinez plays third with Polanco on the DL and Mayberry continues to handle center for Victorino.

The Phils went in order in the top of the first.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second. And again in the third.

It was 3-0 when Rollins led off the fourth and hit a 1-0 pitch from Lopez out to right for his ninth home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-1. Martinez and Utley went down behind him before Howard hit a ball that Barney didn’t handle for an error. Ibanez went down on a popup that Barney handled in foul territory to leave Howard at first.

Mayberry doubled to center with two outs in the fifth, but Halladay struck out behind him.

Martinez singled with one out in the sixth and moved to second when Utley was hit by a pitch. Howard got an extra chance when Soriano dropped a foul ball in left for an error, but flew to Byrd for the second out. Ibanez struck out to leave both runners stranded.

Ruiz singled to start the seventh with the Phils down 5-1, but Brown grounded into a double-play behind him. Mayberry followed that with a single into center, putting a man on first for Carpenter with two outs. With the righty Lopez still pitching for the Cubs, Orr hit for Carpenter and Chicago brought lefty James Russell in to pitch to him. Francisco hit for Orr and grounded to second to set the Phils down.

Francisco is 4-for-his-last-14 with three doubles. He’s still doing nothing against lefties for the season, having hit 198/301/309 against them so far. His numbers against right-handed pitching aren’t so far off his career levels — he’s hitting 242/351/395 against righties compare to a career mark of 259/327/434.

Down 6-1, the Phils went in order in the eighth.

Ruiz and Brown walked back-to-back with two outs in the ninth, but Mayberry struck out swinging 3-2 to end the game.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a home run. He’s hitting 362/413/500 in 63 plate appearances in July so far. It wasn’t a factor last night, but he’s been miserable against left-handed pitching this year, hitting 232/267/295.

Martinez was 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s 2-for-his-last-14.

Utley 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch. He’s 1-for-his-last-14 and 4-for-his-last-28. 250/337/341 over his last 102 plate appearances.

Howard 0-for-4 to drop his average to .249. 1-for-his-last-15. 5-for-his-last-33 with five singles. 203/306/297 over his last 85 plate appearances.

Ibanez 0-for-4 and left three men on base. 357/372/667 in 43 plate appearances over his last nine games, raising his line on the year from 231/279/386 to 246/290/421.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 8-for-his-last-19 with a double, a home run and four walks.

Brown 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 0-for-his-last-10.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double. He’s played eight full games since July 6, hitting 286/306/629 (10-for-35 with six doubles, two home runs, a walk and 12 RBI).

Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.82) faces righty Matt Garza (4-7, 3.97) tonight. Two of Garza’s last three starts have been very good. On July 2 he threw a complete game against the White Sox, allowing a run on four hits and two walks. In his most recent start he threw seven shutout innings against the Marlins. In between he was hammered by the Nats, charged with seven runs in two innings. In nine starts at home this year he’s 3-3 with a 2.88 ERA. Lee has had one bad start since the beginning of June, which came on July 3 when he allowed seven runs to the Blue Jays in 7 1/3 innings. In his other six starts since the end of May, Lee has gone 5-0 and allowed two earned runs in 50 innings (0.36 ERA with an 0.68 ratio).

The Phils are expected to activate Victorino for tonight’s game. Orr was sent to Triple-A.

Bud Selig versus the tie game, round two

My money is on the tie game. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to lose home field advantage in the World Series in the bottom of the 15th in a game that otherwise doesn’t count.

This whole thing was just unusual. Still is. I would like to say I think the gravitas of the World Series can be restored with a simple change to the rules that ensures the league whose team wins game five of the World Series gets home field advantage for the All-Star game the next year. It’s simple, really, and at least some good can come out of this.

Game five of the World Series was an adventure, and it’s not over yet.

The Phils and Rays played the game through a cold, steady rain. The cold was to be expected — no doubt an environmental byproduct of hell freezing over as the Phils inched ever closer to winning the World Series. The rain was a problem, though, turning the field into a puddle-strewn, unplayable mess. They played for a while after it was unplayable.

A two-run single by Victorino put the Phillies up 2-0 in the bottom of the first. The Rays cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the fourth when Carlos Pena doubled high off the wall and came in to score on a single by Evan Longoria. The field was a mess by the end of the fifth, with players, Phillies mostly, failing to catch popups, umpires not calling the infield fly-rule cause nothing was routine and pitchers struggling with the slush where the mound ought to be. I think I saw Feliz calling for a rescue-at-sea at one point. In the top of the sixth, BJ Upton reached on an infield single, stole second and came in to score on a Pena single to the opposite field to tie the game at 2-2. And then the game was suspended.

The big issue, of course, is what would have happened if the game had been suspended after five innings (or if the Rays hadn’t scored in the top of the sixth) with the Phillies leading by a run. Pretty clearly you can’t declare the Phillies the winner and say that the season is over. At the same time, though, if there was 100% agreement and clarity that if the game was suspended after five innings it would have still been finished, regardless of whether it was on the same day or not, I don’t think there’s any reason to allow them to play the top of the sixth inning in the conditions that they did.

The whole thing felt a bit like chaos. I was a little worried that Selig might declare that in accordance with rule 293.17.U everyone needed to head over to the Wachovia Center so the players could strap on their skates for the shootout or something.

That said, though, I don’t think the Phillies got screwed or are the victims of a conspiracy. If it’s easier to hit than pitch in conditions like that, they put men on first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth and came away with nothing. Prior to the start of the sixth inning I can guarantee you that there were a huge number of Phillies fans hoping that the game would not be called because 1) the Phillies were 12 outs away from winning the World Series and 2) Cole Hamels was on the mound and whenever the game was suspended there was a good chance it meant that his season was over.

Sooner or later they are going to play again. When they do, the Phillies will play with an advantage. To win the game, they need to get nine outs and score at least one run more than the Rays. The Rays need to get 12 outs and score at least one run more than the Phillies.

The game is going to come down to the bullpens, and the suspension of the game gives Romero and Madson a day of rest after they had both pitched two days in a row. The Rays get an extra day of rest for Edwin Jackson and Dan Wheeler, each of who threw at least 22 pitches in game four. Whether they play tonight or Wednesday could be critical in terms of whether Hamels would be available to pitch game seven if it came to that — if they played Wednesday instead of tonight he almost surely would be.

If you want to worry about something I think the direction to go is clear, however: Pena and Longoria came into the game 0-for-29 and went 3-for-6 with both of the Tampa Bay RBI. The Phillies were doing a great job of keeping those guys down — hopefully they will whenever game five resumes as well.

The Phillies played 5 1/2 innings of a game last night before the game was suspended in the bottom of the sixth due to weather with the score tied at 2-2. The Phillies lead the Rays three games to one in the best-of-seven World Series.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and is officially still in the game, although there is near zero chance he will pitch again if they resume tonight or tomorrow night. He allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

He faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (3) BJ Upton (CF/R) (4) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (5) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) (6) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Rocco Baldelli (RF/R) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). Crawford moves up to second in the order from fifth. Upton drops to third and Pena to fourth. Baldelli starts in right after Zobrist started game one against Hamels.

The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Ben Zobrist (S), Willy Aybar (S), Fernando Perez (S), Eric Hinske (L), Gabe Gross (L).

Iwamura led off the first and flew to left on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Crawford lined the first pitch of his at-bat to short. It popped out of Rollins’ glove, but Rollins picked it up and threw to first to nip Crawford. Upton grounded an 0-1 pitch to short to set the Rays down.

Seven pitches in the inning for Hamels.

He started the second up 2-0. Pena led off and bunted the first pitch, but too hard. Howard took it at first and beat Pena too the bag for the first out. Longoria swung at the first pitch, too, and flew to center. Navarro was next and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Baldelli popped to second to leave him stranded. Ten pitches in the inning had Hamels at 17 for the game.

Bartlett started the third with a long at-bat that ended with him grounding to short. Hamels struck the pitcher Scott Kazmir out on three pitches for the second out, but Iwamura lined a single back through the middle for the first hit for the Rays. Crawford again swung at the first pitch and grounded to second. Sixteen pitches in the inning, 33 for the game.

Upton chopped a 1-1 pitch to deep short to start the fourth. Rollins made a strong throw to get Upton for the first out. Pena was next and he hit a ball high off the wall in right field that Werth nearly caught at the wall. Pena had a double and came in to score when Longoria followed with a single past a diving Rollins and into left-center. Pena’s run cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Navarro got ahead 3-0, but grounded a 3-1 pitch to short and the Phils turned the double-play to end the frame. Hamels threw 13 pitches in the inning and had thrown 46 for the game.

Werth had a good chance to catch Pena’s ball at the wall. He jumped high enough to catch it, just missed it with his glove.

Pena and Longoria finally break through with a pair of hits, and it gets Tampa Bay a run.

Hamels started the fifth after being hit on the hand while trying to bunt in the bottom of the fourth. Baldelli led off and popped a 2-0 pitch high to short. Rollins parked under it, but the wind blew it and Rollins had to come in. The ball went off the heel of his glove for an error. Bartlett was next and hit a broken-bat ground ball to second. Utley made a great play. He charged and made a spinning tag on Baldelli as he went past for the first out, then threw to first to double-up Bartlett. Kazmir again struck out on three pitches to set the Rays down. Nine more pitches for Hamels, 55 for the game.

Iwamura struck out looking 2-2 for the first out in the sixth. Crawford chopped a 1-0 pitch to first for the second out. Upton hit a 2-2 pitch to the left of Rollins. Rollins moved to his left and got a glove on the ball, but Upton had an infield single. It brought up Pena with the field in miserable condition and cold rain continuing to fall. Upton stole second as Hamels delivered strike one to Pena. Pena hit a 2-2 pitch the opposite way, into left field for a single. Upton came around third and slid in safe just ahead of Burrell’s throw, which was on line but a little late. The game was tied at 2-2. Longoria was next and swung at a low 1-0 pitch that Ruiz failed to catch, allowing Pena to move to second. Longoria flew to center on the next pitch, leaving Pena stranded.

Even with the field in good condition, I think Upton’s ground ball to short may have been a hit. The weather was certainly a factor in the inning, but you have to wonder if Hamels’ hand may have been as well after he was hit on the hand trying to bunt in the fourth.

Hamels threw 21 pitches in the inning and had thrown 76 for the game.

And then the game was suspended.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz.

The Phillies started the game with six players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins flew to left for the first out in the first. Werth was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Kazmir’s first pitch to Utley hit Utley in the back. It put two men on for Howard, but Howard struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Burrell walked on a close 3-1 pitch, loading the bases for Victorino. Victorino lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single, scoring Werth and Utley to put the Phils up 2-0 with men on first and second. Feliz was next and he went down and hit a low 0-1 pitch into left for another single. Everyone moved up a base and the Phils had the bases loaded again. Ruiz swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Burrell had no chance to score on Feliz’s hit, which was right at Crawford. He may, however, have had a chance to go to third on Victorino’s single, which forced Crawford to move towards the left field corner. If he had gone to third on Victorino’s single he would have scored on Feliz’s.

Kazmir struck Hamels out on three pitches to start the second. Rollins flew to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Werth followed with a single into left, but Utley popped to third to end the inning.

Howard struck out again, this time on three pitches, for the first out in the third. Burrell flew softly to right on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino struck out on three pitches for the third out.

Quick nine pitch inning for Kazmir, who had thrown 57 through three innings.

Feliz struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fourth. Ruiz was next and singled into left. Hamels came to the plate and showed bunt. Kazmir’s first pitch to him was inside and hit him on a finger of his left (pitching) hand as he held the top part of the bat. Hamels did bunt the next pitch, but too hard back to the mound. Kazmir took it and threw to second to force Ruiz. Kazmir walked Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to put men on second. Werth followed with another long at-bat, walking on the tenth pitch on a 3-2 offering that was low and outside. It loaded the bases for Utley. Utley got ahead 3-1 and took strike two on the inside corner before he grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.

Ninety pitches for Kazmir through four innings.

Howard led off the fifth and walked on four pitches. Burrell was next and he walked as well, getting two calls on pitches that were very close, including the 3-2 pitch. Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino bunted the first pitch foul, then swung away and popped to left for the first out. Feliz popped an 0-2 pitch to Pena for the second out. Ruiz popped up to Pena as well and both runners were left stranded.

No infield fly rule called on the pop-up by Feliz after Rollins was unable to field a pop-up on the infield in the top of the inning.

Nothing for the Phils after putting their first two runners on base.

Balfour has thrown nine pitches in the game.

Update: Game five has been scheduled to resume at 8:37 PM Wednesday night. That’s good news for the Phillies. Hopefully Cole Hamels doesn’t throw another pitch this season, but if they need him for a game seven you would assume he will be available (as long as they don’t cancel the travel day after a short finish Wednesday night).

Update again: They will try to play game five tonight (Wednesday). No off day tomorrow if the Phillies lose. Game six on Thursday, game seven on Friday and no Hamels on regular rest in game seven. Go Phils.

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Everybody, no, seriously, everybody, hits


The Phillies went 13-3 to end the regular season and now, after winning game four of the World Series in a blowout, have gone 10-3 on a memorable playoff run. If they can win one more game there isn’t going to be anyone left to beat. There are so many Phillies playing well it’s hard to keep track of all of them. I’ll give it a try.

Joe Blanton was outstanding last night. He held the Rays to a pair of runs on four hits over six innings and became the first pitcher since 1974 to hit a home run in the World Series. Ryan Howard looked a little lost coming into the World Series. He doesn’t anymore. Howard put the Phils up 5-1 with a three-run blast to the opposite field in the fourth inning and added a titanic shot out to right in the bottom of the eighth to put things out of reach at 10-2.

Lost in the heroics of Howard and Blanton will be the offensive production the Phillies are getting out of the top of the order. After coming into game three of the World Series without a hit, Rollins has gone 5-for-his-last-9. Over the last two days, Rollins and Werth have combined to go 8-for-15 with three walks. Last night they combined for three doubles and a home run.

Just about everything sets up perfectly for the Phillies in game five. The Rays are struggling in so many different areas and the Phils are coming in waves now. Cole Hamels, just about perfect in the playoffs, takes to the mound tonight with a chance to put an end to the season. The Tampa Bay bullpen had a long night in game four. But if there’s any team that should know it’s not over till it’s over, it’s the Phillies. The Rays didn’t win 97 games and the AL East because Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria never get a hit and their bullpen gives up five runs in four innings. In part because everything sets up so well for the Phils, the momentum shift for Tampa Bay if they can find a way to win game five and send the series back to Florida would be huge. So here’s hoping that Hamels and the bats can come up with one more big night. And then they can finally rest.

The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays last night, winning 10-2 to take a three games to one lead in the World Series.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out seven.

Blanton faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) BJ Upton (CF/R) (3) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (4) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (6) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Ben Zobrist (RF/S) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). Zobrist plays right after Baldelli started in right in game two against Myers.

The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Fernando Perez (S), Willy Aybar (S), Gabe Gross (L), Eric Hinske (L) and Rocco Baldelli (R). Cliff Floyd was removed from the roster with a shoulder problem and the lefty Hinske added prior to the game.

Iwamura led off the game and blasted a 3-2 pitch to left, but Burrell took it at the wall for the first out. Not exactly inspiring, but it got better from there. Upton struck out looking at a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner. Pena swung at the first pitch and popped to Ruiz in foul territory to set the Rays down.

Blanton threw 13 pitches in the first inning.

He struck Longoria out swinging 1-2 to start the second with the Phillies up 1-0. Crawford was next and Blanton got him swinging 1-2 as well. Navarro bunted an 0-1 pitch foul before he singled into right with the count full. Zobrist swung at the first pitch and flew to Victorino in shallow center to end the frame. Blanton threw 15 pitches in the second to put him at 28 for the game.

Bartlett struck out swinging for the first out in the third. Sonnanstine was next and he lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Iwamura chopped a ball to short, but hit it too slowly for the Phils to turn two. Rollins took it and threw to second to get Sonnanstine for the second out. Upton grounded to short for the third out. Blanton threw 14 pitches in the inning to put him at 42 for the game.

He started the fourth up 2-0. Pena led up and struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Longoria hit a 1-0 pitch in the hole between short and third. Rollins fielded and made a strong throw to nip him for the second out. Nice play by Rollins. Blanton got ahead of Crawford, but Crawford popped a 1-2 pitch just out to right to cut the Phillies lead to 2-1. Navarro swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to Rollins, who fielded behind second and threw to first for the third out. Twelve pitches in the inning had Blanton at 54.

Blanton had a 5-1 lead when he started the fifth. Zobrist got ahead 2-0, but Blanton pumped two strikes over before Zobrist flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Bartlett was next and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. The ball went off of Blanton’s leg and rolled toward third. Feliz made a fantastic play, barehanding the ball and throwing to first to get Bartlett. Great play by Feliz and it saved the Phillies a run, cause Hinske hit for the pitcher Andy Sonnanstine and blasted a 2-1 pitch way out to center. Hinske’s solo shot cut the lead to 5-2. Iwamura grounded back to the pitcher for the third out. After 15 pitches in the inning, Blanton was at 69 for the game.

He started the sixth up 6-2, thanks to his own fifth-inning home run off of Edwin Jackson. Upton got ahead 2-0, but flew to right on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Blanton walked Pena on a 3-2 pitch, but struck Longoria out looking at a 1-2 pitch on the outside corner for the second out. Crawford was next and Blanton hit him in the foot with an 0-1 pitch, putting men on first and second for Navarro. Blanton got behind 1-0, but then got the call on a pitch that looked outside for strike one. With the count 2-1, Blanton got another call with Navarro again looking at a ball that may have been outside. Navarro swung out swinging at a high 2-2 pitch to leave both runners stranded.

Long inning for Blanton — 24 pitches had him at 93 for the game.

He came back to start the seventh still up 6-2 and walked Zobrist on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Durbin came in to pitch to Bartlett and got him to fly to center on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Willy Aybar hit for the pitcher Edwin Jackson and singled to right, moving Zobrist to second. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Iwamura. He almost lost him, getting behind 3-1 before Iwamura lined to Bruntlett, now the left fielder, for the second out. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Upton. Upton got ahead 3-1, but fouled off the next pitch and swung and missed at a 3-2 changeup to end the frame with both runners stranded.

Huge out for Madson to get Upton — otherwise he likely would have been facing the lefty Pena as the tying run. Romero was the other choice, but I don’t think Manuel would take Madson out of the game still needing to get seven outs to win. Eyre getting Iwamura was a big out as well.

Madson came back to start the eighth. Pena went down swinging hard at a 2-2 fastball for the first out. Longoria blasted the first pitch he saw from Madson way out but foul. Madson struck him out swinging two pitches later. Crawford grounded an 0-1 pitch softly to second for the third out.

Nice job by Madson against the 3-4-5 hitters of the Rays, which looked more important before the Phils blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth.

Romero started the ninth with the Phils up 10-2. Navarro led off and grounded a ball back to the mound. Romero fielded, but his throw to first was in the dirt and Howard couldn’t handle it. Navarro was safe and Romero was charged with an error. Zobrist was next and he hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley threw to Rollins to force Navarro for the first out without a relay to first to try to get Zobrist. Bartlett was next and struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball on the inside corner. Baldelli hit for the pitcher Trever Miller with two outs and a man on first. Romero struck him out with a high 2-2 fastball to end the game.

The Phillies pen went three scoreless innings in the game, allowing one hit, the single by Aybar off of Durbin in the seventh. They struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. They have been charged with one run in 8 2/3 innings in the series. Romero threw 19 pitches, Madson 16. All four of the relievers that the Phillies used in game four were also used in game three, so all four of them would be pitching for the third straight game if they pitch tonight. Romero and Madson both threw 15 pitches in game three while Eyre and Durbin both threw six.

The Tampa Bay pen went four innings in the game and allowed five runs. In the set they have now allowed eight runs in 12 1/3 innings. Jackson threw 32 pitches, Wheeler 22 and Miller 10.

After combining to go 0-for-7 in game four, Longoria and Pena have now combined to go 0-for-29 with 15 strikeouts in the series.

The Phillies lineup against righty Andy Sonnanstine went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz.

The Phillies started the game with six players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins led off the first and pulled a 3-1 pitch past a diving Pena and into right field for a double. Werth followed and hit a 3-1 pitch to right deep enough for Rollins to tag and go to third. Utley walked on four pitches, putting men on first and third for Howard. Howard hit a ground ball back to the mound. Sonnanstine probably would have had an inning-ending double-play if he had gone to second, but he had Rollins caught off third and ran at him. Sonnanstine chased Rollins back to third but threw late and Rollins was called safe sliding into the bag. Replays showed that Longoria tagged him and he should have been out, but the Phils had the bases loaded with one out. Burrell was next and drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch outside, forcing in Rollins to put the Phils up 1-0. Victorino dribbled an 0-1 pitch out in front of the mound. Sonnanstine made a nice play, charging, fielding and making a glove-hand flip home to force Utley for the second out. Feliz flew softly to center to leave the bases loaded.

Just one run for the Phils after loading the bases with one out.

Ruiz flew to right for the first out in the second. Blanton struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Rollins lined a 2-2 pitch into right center for another hit, this one a single. Rollins was 4-for-his-last-6. Werth popped a 1-1 pitch into shallow right for the third out.

Utley led off the third with a ground ball that Iwamura booted, having the ball go off the heel of his glove, for an error. Howard was next and ripped an 0-1 pitch into right for a single, sending Utley to third. Burrell got ahead 3-1 and watched a hugely hittable breaking pitch over the heart of the plate for strike two. He popped the 3-2 pitch to Bartlett in shallow left-center for the first out. Victorino popped a 1-2 pitch up to Bartlett as well, this time closer to third base, for the second out. Victorino had left five men on base through 2 2/3 innings. Feliz picked both of them up, though, lining a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Utley scored to put the Phils up 2-0. Ruiz chopped a ball back through the middle, but Iwamura moved to his right and fielded it behind second base. Iwamura didn’t make a throw, but kept the ball in the infield and kept Utley from scoring. With the bases loaded and two outs, Blanton fouled out to Pena to end the inning.

Burrell still hitless as he fails to bring Utley in from third with nobody out. Victorino can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs for the second time in the game.

Sonnanstine had thrown 69 pitches through three innings and had just one strikeout — Blanton in the second.

Rollins led off the fourth with a ground ball under the glove of Iwamura and into right. Rollins was given a hit initially, but the call was changed and Iwamura given an error (either way, Iwamura should have made the play). Werth followed and walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Utley. Utley struck out on three pitches, swinging at an 0-2 slider inside for the first out. Howard got ahead 2-1 and blasted a pitch out to left for a three-run homer that put the Phils up 5-1. Howard finally hits the ball to the opposite field and he knew it was gone, watching the ball for a little longer than he usually does. Burrell fouled out to the catcher for the second out. Victorino popped to third to end the inning.

Righty Edwin Jackson started the fifth with the Phillies leading 5-2. Feliz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and fouled out to Navarro. Ruiz grounded to third for the second out. Blanton was next and laced a 2-1 fastball out to left to make it 6-2. Rollins grounded to second for the third out.

First career extra-base hit for Blanton. First time since 1974 that a pitcher has homered in the World Series. In game four of the 1974 World Series, Oakland’s Ken Holtzman homered off of the Dodgers’ Andy Messersmith to put the A’s up 1-0 in the third. Oakland won the game 5-2 and won the series four games to one.

Blanton was 2-for-26 with two singles in his career coming into the game. 0-for-5 in the post-season and 0-for-2 in this game. That’s 2-for-33 (.061).

Werth led off the sixth with Jackson still on the mound and doubled off the wall in left. Jackson struck Utley out looking at an inside fastball 2-2 for the first out. Howard was walked intentionally, putting men on first and second for Burrell. Burrell hit a slow ground ball to short. Bartlett charged, fielded and threw back to second. The relay got Burrell to complete the inning-ending double-play.

No run for the Phils after the leadoff double.

Righty Dan Wheeler started the seventh for Tampa Bay. Victorino led off and blooped a ball into right. Zobrist charged and made a sliding catch for the first out. Feliz hit a ground ball to third that was stopped by a diving Longoria, but the ball came out of his glove and Feliz had an infield single. Ruiz was next and lined to second on a nice catch by Iwamura, picking the ball near the ground. Iwamura threw to first and Pena made a fantastic catch as his body tangled up with Feliz as Feliz scurried back to the bag.

With Wheeler still on the mound, Stairs hit for Madson to start the eighth and struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball. Rollins jumped on Wheeler’s first pitch and blasted it high off the wall in right, missing a home run by less than a foot. He settled for a double. Werth was next, and with the count full he lined a ball out to left field for a two-run homer, putting the Phils up 8-2. Trever Miller came in to pitch to Utley and walked him. Howard was next and crushed a 1-0 pitch way out to right. 10-2. Bruntlett grounded to short for the second out. Miller got Victorino to fly to left-center for the third out.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with two doubles. He’s 5-for-19 (.263) in the series.

Werth 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a home. 6-for-15 (.400) with three doubles, a home run and four walks.

Utley was 0-for-2 with two walks. 3-for-15 (.200) with two home runs in the series.

Howard was 3-for-5 with two home runs, a walk and five RBI. 6-for-17 (.353) in the series. Three home runs in the last two games.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series. Phils could use him tonight against Kazmir.

Victorino 0-for-5 and left five men on base. 4-for-16 ( .250) with four singles in the series.

Feliz was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Big two-out hit in the third inning after it looked like the Phils were going to fail to bring a runner in from third yet again. Big defensive play ahead of the Hinske homer saved the Phils a run. 4-for-14 (.286) in the series.

Ruiz 1-for-4 in the game and 5-for-12 (.417) in the series.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces lefty Scott Kazmir (12-8, 3.49) tonight in game five. These pitches met in game one of the series in Tampa Bay and the Phillies won the game 3-2. Hamels was fantastic, holding the Rays to two runs over seven innings while improving to a perfect 4-0 in the post-season. Kazmir struggled badly early, but kept the Phillies from breaking the game open.

Utley hit a two-run shot off of Kazmir in the first inning of game one. Crawford homered off of Hamels in the fourth to cut the Philadelphia lead to 3-1.

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Phils counting on Philadelphia World Series crowd to perform coming off 5,483 days of rest

Although rain could give the crowd that much-needed 5,484th day, allowing them to go on their regular schedule. Could be critical.

Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71) faces righty Matt Garza (11-9, 3.70) in game three.

The 24-year-old Garza came to the Rays in a trade from the Twins in November of last year and has pitched very well for Tampa Bay this post-season, going 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.32 ratio. He was the MVP of the ALCS, holding the Red Sox to a run on two hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out nine in game seven.

Opponents hit .245 against Garza this season, and he fared well against both righties (.245) and lefties (.244). Lefties walked at a slightly higher rate and slugged .410 against him compared to just .347 for righties. He didn’t strike out a huge number of hitters, just 128 in 184 2/3 innings, but yielded just 19 home runs on the season. He struck lefties out at a higher rate than righties, striking out about 15% of the righties he faced and about 19% of the lefties.

He was much better at home this season than away from it. In 15 starts at home he went 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. In 15 starts away from home he was 4-6 with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.30 ratio.

Matt Stairs is the only Phillie to have faced Garza. He’s 1-for-10 with two walks against him.

Moyer comes off of miserable starts back-to-back in the post-season. After going just four innings and allowing a pair of runs against Milwaukee in the NLDS, Moyer got bombed by the Dodgers in game three of the NLCS. He was charged with six runs in 1 2/3 innings to puff his post-season ERA for the year to 13.50. The Phillies have lost three games in the post-season and Moyer has started two of them.

Moyer was far better away from Citizens Bank Park this year than he was at it. 4.61 ERA with a 1.47 ratio at home and 2.92 ERA and a 1.20 ratio away.

Some of the Rays have seen him a lot with good results. Pena 10-for-20 (500/545/950) with three doubles and two home runs. Crawford 9-for-19 (474/474/632) with a double and a triple. Upton 3-for-5 with three singles. Baldelli 1-for-10. In case you forget that Moyer’s old, Wade Boggs was 21-for-55 (382/414/527) with two doubles and two home runs against him. There’s a chance that Boggs won’t even be a factor in game three.

It’s not really what you’d call a dream matchup on paper for the Phils. Moyer had a fantastic year in 2008, though, and despite the miserable results in the post-season has come up huge for the Phillies in several big games over the last two years. In game three of the playoffs last year he was fantastic, holding the red-hot Rockies to a run on five hits over six innings. Twice in the last two seasons he’s come up with a huge start against the Nationals at the end of the regular season to pitch the Phillies into the playoffs — in those two starts he allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings.

Citizens Bank Park is going to be a tough place for the young Rays to hit (or pitch, think, throw or hear) in game three. You hear people say over and over that the key to hitting against Moyer is to be patient. For better or worse, the Rays have more than their share of hitters who love to be aggressive early in the count. Here’s a look at some of the key Tampa Bay hitters, how many plate appearances they’ve had this season that ended in one pitch, how many total plate appearances they had and the percentage of those plate appearances that ended in one pitch (some key Phillies are included below the Rays):

Player 1-pitch PA Total PA % 1-pitch
Iwamura 66 707 9.3
Upton 77 639 12.0
Pena 84 607 13.8
Longoria 44 508 8.7
Crawford 88 482 18.3
Navarro 43 470 9.1
Bartlett 74 494 15.0
Rollins 51 625 8.2
Werth 17 482 3.5
Utley 51 707 7.2
Howard 81 700 11.6
Burrell 70 645 10.9
Victorino 73 627 11.6
Feliz 88 463 19.0
Ruiz 33 373 8.8

Feliz is the king of the group at putting the ball into play on the first pitch, but Bartlett, Crawford, Pena and Upton all went after the first pitch aggressively this season.

And if it’s true that you have to be patient to get to Moyer, that’s a problem for Tampa Bay.

Sadly, though, there’s this: When opponents’ hitters had their plate appearance end on one pitch this year, they hit .293 and slugged .480 against Moyer. When they didn’t, they hit .257 and slugged .393. That trend has been even more dramatic if you look at his numbers over his entire career (or at least the part of his career for which Baseball Reference has splits on first pitch plate appearances) — on plate appearances that ended after one pitch, opponents have hit .331 and slugged .523 against Moyer.

In 2008, after Moyer got ahead 0-1 opposing hitters hit .214 with a .321 slugging percentage.

What I think Moyer’s career numbers suggest is that what you can’t do against the wily veteran is not swing at the first pitch but take strike one. So hopefully nobody tells the Rays hitters that what they need to do is go up there and be impatient.

No matter what they do, though, Jamie Moyer didn’t win 246 games because he doesn’t know how to pitch. Whether the Rays go after him early in the count or not, there’s a Moyer that carves up hitters regardless of their approach. Despite his recent absence, Phillies fans have seen a lot of him in big situations over the past two seasons. Just because he’s shown up more often than not when the Phillies have needed him so far, I think there’s a good chance he’s in the building whenever game three gets played.

Matt Garza ended the 2008 regular season with 19 career wins. If he wins 15 games a season forevermore, he would pass Jamie Moyer in career wins in 2024 (assuming Moyer does not get any more wins).

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Hello, my name is subject to change

After beating the Red Sox 3-1 in game seven of the ALCS, it’s the Tampa Bay don’t-call-me-Devil Rays that will face the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

I kinda miss the flying manta ray, although it did seem a little random.

Here’s a look at the offense that Tampa Bay has gotten by position this year in comparison to other teams in the AL and in MLB and at some of the players we should expect to see in the World Series:

C .729 5 12

Switch-hitter Dioner Navarro seems likely to see most of the time behind the plate for the Rays in the World Series. Navarro hit 295/349/407 for Tampa Bay in the regular season. He is 11-for-41 (268/318/341) in the post-season, with three doubles and a pair of triples.

He was a better hitter against righties than lefties in the regular season, hitting 312/365/412 against righties and 257/314/413 against lefties.

1B .855 5 10

Lefty Carlos Pena played just over 80% of the innings at first base for Tampa Bay in 2008. Willy Aybar played the position about 11% of the time.

Pena hit 247/377/494 in the regular season. He is 12-for-36 (333/442/611) with a double, two home runs and seven walks in the post-season.

He struggles badly against left-handed pitching. He hit 280/418/576 against righties this year and just 190/302/352 against lefties.

2B .741 7 16

Akinori Iwamura is a fixture at second base for Tampa Bay. He played about 92% of the innings there this season. The lefty hit 274/349/380 in 627 at-bats for the season. Among the 83 AL players with at least 450 plate appearances, his .380 slugging percentage was 73rd.

He is 13-for-47 (277/358/447) in the post-season with three doubles, a triple, a home run and six walks.

The lefty Iwamura is much better against righties than lefties. In 2008 he hit 280/356/400 against righties and 260/335/333 against lefties.

3B .863 2 5

Evan Longoria gives the Rays tremendous offense out of the third base position. Aybar has also seen some time at third this year, but the position belongs to Longoria.

Longoria is a right-handed hitter who hit 272/343/531 this season. The 22-year-old rookie pumped out 27 home runs in just 448 at-bats. He has kept his power stroke up through the post-season, going 11-for-42 (262/340/762) with three doubles and six home runs.

He hit righties better than lefties this season. 284/350/540 against righties and 242/321/508 against left-handed pitching.

SS .712 6 16

Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist have shared time at short this season, with Bartlett getting the vast majority of the playing time (75% of the innings for Bartlett, 20% for Zobrist). Bartlett will almost surely get just about all the time in the World Series.

Bartlett hit 286/329/361 in 454 at-bats this season. Among the 83 AL players with at least 450 plate appearances, his .361 slugging percentage is 77th.

In the post-season he is 9-for-32 (243/317/405).

Bartlett is a right-handed hitter who is awful (248/296/301) against right-handed pitching. He fared much better against lefties, hitting 379/411/508. The switch-hitter Zobrist had just 198 at-bats for the season and hit just .239 against righties, but while batting left against right-handed pitching had 15 extra-base hits (including nine home runs) in just 134 plate appearances. He slugged .538 against righties as a left-handed hitter.

LF .719 11 24

Carl Crawford will see just about all the time in left for Tampa Bay. Crawford had his worst offensive year since 2003, hitting 273/319/400 in 443 at-bats. Eric Hinske, who also saw time in the Rays outfield and in left, was not on the roster for the ALCS.

Crawford is 13-for-43 (302/348/395) with two doubles, a triple and six stolen bases in the post-season.

A left-handed batter, Crawford was much better this season against righties than lefties. He hit 285/330/424 against righties and just 248/293/348 against lefties. Among 62 AL players with at least 150 plate appearances against lefties, Crawford’s .641 OPS was 59th.

CF .748 7 16

Red hot BJ Upton will be in center field for the Rays. Upton hit just 273/383/401 with nine home runs in 531 regular season at-bats, but has gone 14-for-46 (304/365/826) with a double, a triple, a walk and seven home runs in the post-season.

Upton and Longoria are a combined 25-for-88 (.284) with 13 home runs since the end of the regular season. At that rate they would hit about 74 home runs over 500 at-bats.

Upton is a right-handed hitter who hit about the same against lefties and righties this year. 275/369/400 against righties and 271/418/406 against lefties. He got on base a lot more against lefties, but hit to about the same average and slugging percentage.

25-year-old rookie Fernando Perez also saw some time in the outfield and in center in September for Tampa. Perez got just 60 at-bats on the year, hitting 250/348/433. The switch-hitter is 1-for-9 with a single in the post-season (111/111/111). If we see him in the World Series it’s a lot more likely it will be in right than in center.

RF .771 10 18

Gabe Gross got about 52% of the innings in right for Tampa Bay this season, with Hinske and Jonny Gomes there also factors for the Rays. Hinske and Gomes probably won’t be a factor in the series, but Rocco Baldelli started in right in game seven of the ALCS and Perez is a possibility.

Gross is a left-handed hitter who can’t hit lefties and has been terrible in the post-season. He hit 238/336/414 in 345 at-bats between Milwaukee and Tampa Bay this year. He’s just 1-for-16 (063/211/063) with a single and three walks in the post-season.

He’s miserable against lefties, just 191/247/338 on the year. Much better against right-handed pitching, 249/356/433.

Baldelli could be the answer for Tampa Bay in right against lefties. Baldelli is a right-handed hitter who missed most of ’08 and hit 263/344/475 in 80 at-bats.

Baldelli is 3-for-14 (214/313/429) with a home run in the post-season. Over his career he’s hit 296/347/494 against lefties and 276/316/427 against righties.

Zobrist also made an appearance in right in the ALCS despite playing just seven innings there during the regular season.

DH .760 8 13

Lefty Cliff Floyd likely will be getting the call when the Rays need a DH in the series. Floyd is a left-handed hitter that doesn’t do well against lefties, so Aybar or Baldelli may see time in the DH games that are started by Hamels or Moyer.

Floyd hit 268/349/455 this season. He’s 3-for-15 with a double and a home run (200/200/467) in the post-season.

He doesn’t even get a chance to hit against lefties — he had just 12 plate appearances against them this season.

Aybar is a switch-hitter who appeared most often at third for Tampa Bay this season, but also saw time at first, second and made two appearances at shortstop. He has gotten a ton of at-bats in the post-season, going 11-for-30 (367/355/633) with two doubles and two home runs (and no walks).

Aybar was better against lefties this season, hitting 266/350/444 against them and an unimpressive 245/312/390 against righties.

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A tale of one city and a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the western coast of Florida

After coming back to win despite trailing 7-0 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh last night, the Boston Red Sox remain alive in the ALCS. Boston trails three games to two as the series heads to Florida where the Phillies’ opponent in the World Series will be determined.

Here’s a look at what the offenses for the two teams have done this season:

  R AL Rank R/G
Boston 845 2 5.22
Tampa Bay 774 9 4.78

Led by the big bats of Ortiz, Drew, Bay and Youkilis, the Red Sox can just hit. The DHless Phillies scored 799 runs this year, about 4.93 per game. Tampa Bay has had more trouble scoring runs and some trouble hitting lefties. Here’s what the teams have done against left and right-handed pitching this season:

  OPS vs
AL Rank OPS vs
AL Rank
Boston 849 1 792 2
Tampa Bay 726 12 778 4

Akinori Iwamura (260/335/333 in 192 at-bats), Carlos Pena (190/302/352 in 179 AB) and Carl Crawford (248/293/348 in 141 AB) have all had problems against lefties this season for Tampa Bay.

I think Jamie Moyer is close to a sure thing to start game three regardless of who the Phillies play. It seems even a little more likely against the Devil Rays. The problems of some of the big hitters for Tampa with lefties also speaks to the importance of Romero, Eyre and Happ pitching out of the pen if the Phils wind up facing Tampa Bay.

Both teams have been very good at preventing runs, with the Rays a little better:

AL Rank
Boston 694 4
Tampa Bay 671 2

Using ERA as the measure, the starting pitching for both teams has been fantastic with Tampa Bay pitching a little better out of the pen:

AL Rank Pen ERA AL Rank
Boston 4.02 3 4.00 7
Tampa Bay 3.95 2 3.55 3

Overall, the Devil Rays have been a little better than the Red Sox at preventing runs. The Red Sox did however, play in a better place to hit (and a worse place to pitch).

One area where there is a difference is in the number of home runs that they have allowed to right-handed hitters. Both teams were good against righties. Right-handed hitters hit 245/312/405 (.717 OPS) against the Devil Rays and 249/319/385 (.705) against the Sox. Using OPS as the measure, the Red Sox pitchers were the second-best in the AL against righties and the Devil Rays pitchers were fourth-best.

With an assist to the Green Monster, no doubt, the Red Sox allowed just 78 home runs to righties this season (4th-best in the AL) while the Devil Rays, after leading the AL in home runs allowed to right-handed hitters in 2007, allowed 101 (3rd-worst in the AL).

The Phillies didn’t play Tampa Bay this year, but went 1-2 against the Red Sox in a June series in Philadelphia. The Phils won the first game of the series 8-2 on June 16, but dropped the June 17 game 3-0 and the June 18 game 7-4. A red-hot Ryan Howard hit two home runs and drove in four to lead the Phillies to a win in the opener. Lester dominated the Phils in game two and Kyle Kendrick was awful in game three.

The Phillies were 4-11 in inter-league play this season.

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