Tag: Casey Blake


Game four of the NLCS started with the fantastic Dodger bullpen having shut down the Phillies completely. It didn’t end that way. LA took a 5-3 lead into the eighth, but Cory Wade, after throwing 33 pitches a day before, surrendered a two-run homer to Victorino with one out in the inning. Three batters later it was Jonathan Broxton on the mound facing grizzled veteran Matt Stairs and Stairs blasted Broxton’s 3-1 fastball deep into to the night to put the Phillies on top to stay.

Two huge home runs from a Phillies team that not only offers up the standard we’re-going-to-fight-for-27-outs but has been playing that way for a long time now. The Stairs home run was something special, though, something that’s going to be hard to erase from one’s mind if one were inclined to try. The Dodgers get an off-day to think about it and I’m not sure that’s going to make it any easier. It’s not just that the ball Stairs hit went out, it’s who he hit it off of and how far out it went. It left with room to spare, a little more than was necessary to make the point. Definitive and a little mean. While Victorino’s looping liner to right just barely left the yard, nearly scraping the top of the right field fence as it cleared, the one Stairs hit seemed stuck in time and space a little longer than physics should allow. It went out leaving you to wonder if you were ever going to see anyone hit a baseball harder. It’s impossible to win a seven game series by winning three games, but I think you’d also have a hard time getting much closer than the Phillies did last night.

That’s not to say the Dodgers are done. But I do think they’re going to need something momentous of their own if they’re going to get back into the series, something bigger even than what the Phillies got last night. And while that’s not impossible, it’s hard to imagine what it might look like.

Going by ERA, the Phillies bullpen was just a little better than the LA pen this season. Phils’ relievers threw to an NL-best 3.19 ERA while the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA was 3.33, second-best in the league. They were a little better last night, too. Led by Lidge, Madson and a fabulously timed double-play that Romero got Andre Ethier to hit into in front of Manny Ramirez in the eighth, the Phillies bullpen outpitched their counterparts from Los Angeles. Along with two big swings from Victorino and Stairs, it was the difference in the game.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning 7-5. With the win the Phils lead the best-of-seven series three games to one.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four.

Blanton faced a Dodgers lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) DeWitt (2B/L) (7) Blake (3B/R) (8) Pierre (CF/L). Pierre gets his first start of the series with Kemp on the bench. Martin hits cleanup after hitting second against Myers in game two.

The Dodgers started the game with six hitters on their bench: Kent (R), Berroa (R), Ardoin (R), Ozuna (R), Garciaparra (R) and Kemp (R).

Blanton started the first with a 2-0 lead. Furcal led off with a bunt that sailed over the head of a drawn in Dobbs for a single. Ethier was next and he grounded a 1-2 pitch to second. Utley tried to tag Furcal as he went by, then looked to flip to second and then threw to first to get DeWitt for the first out with Furcal safe at second. Blanton walked Ramirez intentionally to put men on first and second before he struck Martin out swinging at a 1-2 pitch. He had Loney deep in a hole but Loney drilled an 0-2 pitch off the wall in center. Furcal scored from second to cut the lead to 2-1 with Manny holding third. DeWitt hit a 2-2 pitch hard on a line, but right at Howard who took it to end the inning.

Furcal has been looking to bunt towards Dobbs whenever he has a chance. I would have walked Ramirez, too.

Twenty-one pitches in the inning for Blanton.

Blanton faced Blake to start the second and Blanton bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul. Blake struck out looking at a 1-2 breaking ball. Pierre was next and laced a single into center. Lowe bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul. Pierre took off on the next pitch and Lowe swung through the pitch for strike two. Ruiz’s throw beat Pierre to second and Rollins tagged him out for the second out. Lowe blooped the next pitch to center field. Rollins went out and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but the ball went off the heel of his glove for a single. Furcal flew to center for the third out.

Thirteen more pitches for Blanton had him at 34 for the game.

Ethier grounded to second to start the third. Ramirez followed with a walk. Martin was next and grounded to short, but not hard enough to get the double-play. Rollins threw to second for the second out with Martin safe at first. Loney singled past a diving Utley for his second hit of the game, this one a single that send Martin to third. DeWitt swung at the first pitch and hit a soft fly ball into left that Burrell appeared to lose for a moment, but found and caught to end the inning. Sixteen pitches for Blanton, 50 for the game.

Blake struck out swinging 2-2 to start the fourth. Pierre lined a 2-2 pitch to Dobbs for the second out. Lowe went down looking for the third. Seventeen pitches for Blanton. 67.

Furcal led off the fifth and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Ethier was next and he blooped a 2-2 pitch into left-center for a single that sent Furcal to second. Manny was next and he roped the first pitch he saw into left. Burrell threw home as Furcal ran through the stop sign at third and slid in just safe to tie the game at 2-2. Ethier went to third and Ramirez took second. Martin was next and Blanton got ahead of him 1-2, but Martin grounded to short and Ethier came in to score and make it 3-2 with one out and Ramirez on second. Blanton walked Loney intentionally and stayed in to face the lefty DeWitt. DeWitt hit into a double-play to second to end the inning. After throwing 24 pitches in the inning, Blanton had thrown 91 for the game.

Durbin started the sixth with the game tied at 3-3. Temporarily. Blake led off and hit a 1-2 pitch out to left to put LA up 4-3. Pierre was next and he doubled into left-center. Matt Kemp hit for the pitcher Joe Beimel and wanted to bunt, but Durbin walked him. Eyre came in to pitch to Furcal. Furcal bunted up the first base line. Howard fielded, looked to third and then threw to first but wildly. The ball went off of Utley’s glove and Furcal took second. Pierre scored to make it 5-3. With men on second and third and still nobody out, Ethier lined softly to first for the first out. Eyre walked Ramirez intentionally to load the bases with one down for Martin. Madson came in to pitch to Martin. Martin lined a 1-2 pitch to Utley, who caught the ball and dove to tag second, just beating Kemp to the bag to double him off and end the inning.

Madson came back for the seventh. He got ahead of Loney 0-2 before ball one was way up and in. Loney went down swinging on the next pitch. The lefty DeWitt got ahead 3-0 and then walked on a 3-2 pitch. Blake followed with a single into left that sent DeWitt to second. The pitcher Kuo hit for himself and put a bunt down in front of home plate. Howard fielded and this time his throw to first was good enough to get the second out as the runners moved to second and third. Kemp lined an 0-1 pitch to center for the third out.

Romero started the eighth with a 7-5 lead. Furcal walked on five pitches. Ethier swung at the first pitch and chopped a ball back up the middle where Rollins fielded, tagged second and threw to first to complete the enormous double-play with Manny coming to the plate. Lidge came in to pitch to Ramirez. Lidge threw a 1-1 fastball past Ramirez. The 1-2 pitch was very close, but called a ball, maybe low. Ball three wasn’t close. Ramirez drove the 3-2 pitch into center where it landed in front of the warning track. Ramirez had a double and it brought Martin to the plate as the tying run. Martin struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch in the dirt that Ruiz didn’t block. The ball bounced way away from Ruiz and Martin took first and Ramirez went to third. Loney fouled off two 1-2 pitches before he flew to Bruntlett in left to leave both runners stranded.

Lidge set the Dodgers down in order in the ninth with a two-run lead. Garciaparra flew to center on an 0-1 pitch. Lidge struck Blake out swinging 0-2. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Broxton and got ahead 2-1 before he smashed a ball to third where it was caught by Feliz to end the game.

Four innings for the pen in which they allow two runs, both of which were charged to Durbin. Madson and Lidge were fantastic and Romero got the huge double-play from Ethier in front of Manny in the eighth. Durbin continues to struggle, giving up a home run, a double and a walk without getting anybody out. Lidge threw 24 pitches, Madson 20, Durbin 14, Eyre 14 and Romero six. Everyone should be ready on Wednesday.

The Phillies finally got to the LA pen, Dodgers relievers were charged with six runs in four innings. They gave up six hits, including two home runs, and three walks. Broxton needed 30 pitches to throw 1 1/3 innings, but you have to assume he will be ready for game five.

Overall the Phillies walked eight hitters in the game. They have walked 22 in the first four games of the series.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Dobbs starts at third with Feliz on the bench. Werth and the slumping Victorino flop in the order.

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

Rollins led off the first and singled into center. Lowe got behind Werth 3-0 before he got strike one over. With Rollins running, Werth singled into left on the 3-1 pitch. Rollins went all the way to third. Utley quickly got behind 0-2, but pulled the next pitch past a diving Loney and down the right field line for a double. Rollins scored to make it 1-0 with Werth going to third. Howard hit a slow ground ball to second with DeWitt playing in shallow right. DeWitt dropped the ball, but picked it up in time to throw out Howard. Werth scored to make it 2-0 and Rollins went to third. Burrell flailed and missed the first two pitches of his at-bat, but Lowe delivered four straight balls to walk him on a close 3-2 pitch that was just a tick outside. It put men on first an third with one down for Victorino. Victorino grounded into a double-play on an 0-1 pitch to set the Phillies down.

Dobbs led off the second with the Phils up 2-1 and plunked a double down the right field line. Ruiz was next and grounded an 0-2 pitch back to Lowe for the first out with Dobbs holding. Lowe struck Blanton out swinging on three pitches for the second out. Rollins swung at a 2-2 pitch that was way down and in before jack-knifing out of the way of strike three on the inside corner.

Werth chopped a ball to short for the first out of the third. Utley was next and singled into right on a 1-2 pitch. Howard lined a ball into center for the second out. Burrell hit a slow ground ball to third to leave Utley stranded.

Victorino flew to center on an 0-2 pitch to start the fourth. Dobbs flew to center on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Ruiz hit a ball back up the middle that Furcal fielded but dropped behind second. Single for Ruiz, but Blanton struck out swinging on three pitches to leave him stranded.

Rollins grounded to second on the first pitch of the fifth inning. Werth grounded to second on a 3-2 pitch. Utley struck out looking 1-2.

Clayton Kershaw started the sixth with LA up 3-2. Howard walked on a low 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Burrell got ahead 3-0 and then hit a 3-2 pitch just under the glove of Furcal and into left for a single that moved Howard to second. Victorino bunted the runners to second and third with one down. Feliz hit for Dobbs and Chan Ho Park came in to pitch to him. Feliz popped a ball into short right field. DeWitt and Ethier nearly collided, but Ethier caught the ball for the second out and both runners had to hold. The first pitch to Ruiz was outside and in the dirt. Martin couldn’t block it and the ball bounced away, allowing Howard to come in and score, tying the game at 3-3. Burrell went to third on the play. Jenkins hit for Blanton and the lefty Beimel came in to pitch to him. Taguchi hit for Jenkins with two outs and men on first and third. Taguchi looped a ball into shallow right-center, but Ethier made a nice sliding catch to take it for the third out and leave both men stranded.

Hate bunting with Victorino, but if you wanted one run it worked. The Phillies have no good right-handed hitter on their bench, as evidenced by the at-bat by Taguchi.

Rollins led off the seventh with Hong-Chih Kuo pitching for LA. He shattered his bat grounding to short for the first out. Kuo did a little dance on the mound after he threw an 0-2 pitch past a swinging Werth for the second out. Utley struck out swinging at a high 0-2 fastball for the third out.

Howard led off the eighth and got ahead of Kuo 2-0 before he singled into center. Cory Wade came in to pitch to Burrell after throwing 33 pitches the night before. Burrell popped to Berroa, the new Dodger second baseman, for the first out. Victorino laced the first pitch of his at-bat out to right for a two-run homer that tied the game at 5-5. At least he didn’t bunt. Feliz hit it well, too, but flew to left for the second out. Ruiz was next and he singled into left. Stairs hit for Madson with the Dodgers out of lefties. Broxton came on to pitch to Stairs. He threw strike one down the middle past Stairs, but followed that up with three straight balls. The 3-1 pitch was right where strike one was, and Stairs absolutely crushed it way, way out to right. 7-5. Rollins was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Rollins stole second as a called strike made the count 2-1 on Werth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2 to leave him stranded.

Broxton returned for the ninth and Utley led off with a single to right. Howard grounded to second, with Utley forced at second for the first out and Howard safe at first. Bruntlett was next after taking over for Burrell in left in the eighth, and he hit a ground ball to short. Howard was forced at second for the second out with Bruntlett safe at first. Victorino got behind and the Dodgers pitched out 0-2 as Bruntlett tried to steal second. Martin threw him out to set the Phillies down.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk. He’s 2-for-17 (.118) with two singles in the series. He has struck out seven times, which leads both teams.

Werth 1-for-5 and struck out twice. 3-for-17 (.176) in the series.

Utley 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 6-for-13 (.462) with five walks in the series. The Phillies have 13 walks in the series and Utley has five of them.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-16 (.188) with a double. Just two strikeouts

Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run in the series.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. 3-for-16 (.188) with a team-high six RBI in the series.

Dobbs 1-for-2 with a double in the game and 3-for-6 in the series. Feliz 0-for-2 in the game and 1-for-9 in the series.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a walk. Big hit in the eighth to extend the inning for Stairs. Ruiz is 5-for-12 (.417) in the series.

No game today.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14) tomorrow night. Billingsley started game two against Myers and took the loss. The Phillies hit him hard, Billingsley was charged with eight runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Phils scored four times in the second inning after Billingsley set down the first two hitters in the inning. Ruiz had an RBI-double, Myers drove in a run with a single and Victorino delivered a two-run single. The Phillies scored four more times in the third, getting a two-run double down the right field line before Park relieved Billingsley and surrendered a two-run triple to Victorino.

Hamels started game one against Lowe and got the win. He allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Ethier and Ramirez hit back-to-back doubles in the first for the first run. The Dodgers scored again when Kemp led off the fourth with a check-swing double down the right field line.

Maybe it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, but we’re not in Philadelphia any more

Last night’s broadcast of game three of the NLCS in Los Angeles started out with Danny DeVito explaining that he was a Dodgers fan while he read the Phillies lineup. Things got stranger from there. Jamie Moyer got mauled, giving up five runs in the first inning. The Phils never bounced back and the Dodgers went on to win the game 7-2.

The game will most be remembered for a bench-clearing incident after the top of the third inning. After Brett Myers had come way up and in on Russell Martin and thrown a pitch behind Manny Ramirez in game two in Philadelphia, Martin was infuriated when Clay Condrey knocked him to the ground with another knockdown pitch last night in the bottom of the second. When Shane Victorino came to the plate with two outs in top of the third, Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda delivered a fastball just over the head of the center fielder. When Victorino grounded to first to end the frame, he and Kuroda exchanged words and the benches cleared for further discussion.

Pretty ugly game all around for the Phils. Not much offense — the Phillies have now been outscored 14-13 in the series. Moyer’s start, his second weak outing in two post-season appearances, certainly raises some questions about what the Phillies would do if the series went to a game seven in Philadelphia. The one thing they probably wouldn’t do is feel confident about sending Moyer to the mound.

As a bright spot, the bullpen shined again for the Phillies. JA Happ showed why he is on the roster, giving the Phils three innings and holding the Dodgers to a run. Romero and Durbin, core components of the pen that have been shaky or just plain absent recently, both pitched well in the blowout. The Phillies bullpen has allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings in the series.

The Phillies lost game three of the NLCS last night, falling 7-2. They lead the Dodgers two games to one in the best-of-seven series. The Phillies are 5-2 in the post-season after going 13-3 to end the regular season. The last time they lost a game that wasn’t started by Moyer was September 24.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 1 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple and a home run. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. He’s been hit hard in both of his post-season starts this season, allowing eight runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Dodger lineup against Moyer went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Garciaparra (1B/R) (6) Blake (3B/R) (7) Kemp (CF/R) (8) DeWitt (2B/L). Garciaparra starts at first after Loney played first against the lefty Hamels in game one. Blake moves up to sixth and Kemp down to seventh after Blake hit sixth and Kemp seventh in game one. Nomar came into the game 15-for-36 (417/432/722) against Moyer in his career.

The Dodgers started the game with six hitters on their bench: Kent (R), Berroa (R), Ardoin (R), Ozuna (R), Loney (L) and Pierre (L).

Furcal started the first with a single into left. Ethier singled past a diving Utley and into right, moving Furcal to second. Manny ripped the first pitch of his at-bat into left for a single. Burrell had no chance to get Furcal, but threw home. Furcal was safe, the ball bounced before the plate and over Ruiz’s head where it was backed up nicely by Moyer. The throw home allowed Manny to wind up at second with Ethier at third. Burrell also threw to the wrong base in game three of the NLDS. Moyer hit Martin in the knee with a 1-2 pitch, loading the bases with nobody out. Garciaparra struck out for the first out, looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outside corner. Moyer got ahead of Blake, but Blake hit a soft liner into right on an 0-2 pitch for another single. Everyone moved up a base and it was 2-0 with the bases still loaded and one out for Kemp. Kemp got ahead 3-0 but went down looking at a 3-2 pitch on the inside of the plate. Moyer got ahead of DeWitt 2-0 before DeWitt hit a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner for a triple that cleared the bases and put the Dodgers up 5-0. Kuroda chopped to third to end the inning.

Moyer threw 35 pitches in the first inning.

He started the second down 5-1. Furcal swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and hit the ball out to left-center, putting LA up 6-1. Ethier swung at the first pitch as well, popping it into shallow center for the first out. Manny was next and Clay Condrey came in to pitch to him. Condrey walked Ramirez on a 3-2 pitch, putting him on first for Martin with one out. Condrey’s first pitch to Martin was up and in, knocking him to the ground. Martin was not pleased, glaring out at the mound. He swung really hard at the next pitch and grounded it to short. Rollins took it there and started the double-play to end the inning.

Happ started the third after a bench-clearing incident between the top and bottom of the inning. Nomar hit his first pitch into center for a single. Blake also swung at the first pitch and flew into shallow center for the first out. Kemp got ahead 2-0 and singled into right field past a diving Utley, moving Nomar to second. Happ struck the lefty DeWitt out swinging 2-2 for the second out. The pitcher Kuroda went down swinging for the third out.

Furcal popped a 2-2 pitch to second for the first out of the fourth. Ethier flew to center on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Ramirez walked on four pitches and Martin walked on four pitches behind him. Nomar lined an 0-1 pitch into left for a single. Burrell threw home, but Feliz wisely cut his throw and the Phils got Martin in-between second and third to end the inning. Ramirez scored before Rollins tagged out Martin, extending the lead to 7-1.

Happ walked two righties and gave up a hit to another and it cost him a run. He had thrown 37 pitches in the game.

Blake grounded to third for the first out in the fifth. Kemp was next and he singled into center. With DeWitt at the plate and the count 1-1, Kemp took off for second but left too early. Happ threw to first and Howard made an accurate throw to second where Rollins tagged Kemp out for the second out (he looked safe to me). DeWitt grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils hit for Happ in the top of the sixth. Happ allowed four hits and two walks in three innings in the game, with all of the damage done by righties. Two hits for Kemp, two for Garciaparra and walks to Ramirez and Martin. Nice job to pitch well enough to give the pen a break, though.

Eyre started the sixth. He got the pitcher Kuroda to ground to second for the first out. Furcal hit a ball between short and third and Feliz made a nice play, moving to his left to glove the ball and making a strong throw to first to get Furcal for the second out. Ethier flew to left for the third out.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phillies down 7-2. He got Ramirez to fly to right before he hit Martin with a first pitch breaking ball that didn’t break enough. The lefty Loney hit for the righty Garciaparra and struck out swinging on three pitches for the second out. Martin stole second with Blake at the plate, Coste made a miserable throw from his knees that nearly hit Durbin in the head before bouncing feet in front of second base. Blake walked to put men on first and second with two down, but Condrey got Kemp looking at a 1-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

Romero pitched the eighth. Berroa, who replaced DeWitt at second in the top of the inning, led off and grounded to third for the first out. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Cory Wade and struck out swinging. Furcal walked on four pitches before Romero got the lefty Ethier looking at an 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Nice to see both Durbin and Romero have nice outings. The Phils are going to need both of them.

The Phillies pen went 6 2/3 innings in the game, allowing a run on four hits and five walks. Happ allowed all four of the hits in his three innings, and two of the walks. Happ threw 44 pitches and is surely unavailable tonight. Durbin threw 21, Romero 16, Eyre 9 and Condrey eight.

Overall, the Phils have allowed 14 runs in the first three games of the series, six of which were allowed my Moyer. They have walked way too many over the past two games, though. After walking seven in game two they walked five last night.

The LA pen went two more scoreless innings. Wade needed 33 pitches to throw two innings, which is good news for the Phillies. Dodgers’ relievers have not been charged with a run in the series — they have thrown 11 1/3 innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Hiroki Kuroda went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz back at third after Dobbs started against Billingsley and made an error in game two. Ruiz continues to catch with Victorino hitting second and Werth sixth. Ruiz caught about 60% of the batters that Moyer faced this season, with Coste catching for the other 40%.

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

Rollins got behind 0-2 and then grounded to second for the first out. Victorino popped to short on an 0-1 pitch for the second out. Kuroda got ahead of Utley 1-0 before he finally delivered his first ball of the game. The 1-1 pitch was way high. Not close to hitting Utley, but up near his head and perhaps not an accident after Myers threw way up and in on Martin and then behind Ramirez in the first inning of game two. Utley took two more ball and drew a walk. Howard got behind 1-2 and Utley took off for second as Kuroda threw ball three. Martin’s throw to second bounced before it got to the bag, but Furcal made a nice play to pick it and block Utley’s slide with his left foot as he tagged Utley out to end the frame.

I’d try hard not to get caught stealing with Howard at the plate.

Down 5-0, Howard led off the second and doubled into right field. Burrell was next and hit a 3-1 pitch well to left, but Ramirez took it at the warning track for the first out. Werth flew to center on a 1-1 pitch for the second out, with Howard moving up to third. Feliz was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Howard scored to get the Phillies on the board at 5-1. Ruiz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and flew to center.

Jenkins hit for Condrey to start the third and grounded a 3-1 pitch to short for the first out. Rollins went down looking at a 1-2 pitch on the inside corner. Kuroda threw the first pitch to Victorino behind his head, drawing an angry reaction from Victorino, who gestured at his head and then his body. Victorino grounded a 1-1 pitch to first for the third out. Garciaparra took the ball to the base himself, but Kuroda had come over towards the bag in case he needed to cover. Victorino again gestured to Kuroda and the benches cleared. No punches or ejections. Manny looked pretty enthusiastic, but was restrained.

Utley ripped the first pitch of the fourth to first, where it was picked by Garciaparra who took it to first for the first out. Howard grounded a 2-0 pitch to second for the second out. Burrell struck out swinging 2-2 to set the Phillies down.

Werth struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the fifth. Feliz grounded to short for the second. Ruiz flew to right on a 2-2 pitch for the third out.

Through five innings, Kuroda had allowed a run on two hits and a walk and thrown 67 pitches.

Iguchi hit for Happ to start the sixth and grounded to short. Rollins flew to center on a 1-0 pitch for the second out. Victorino grounded a 2-2 pitch to second for the second out.

Utley led off the seventh and hit a 2-1 pitch down the left field line for a double. Howard lined the first pitch of his at-bat into right for a single that fell at the feet of Ethier. Burrell was next and he dumped a 1-1 pitch into center field for a single that scored Utley and moved Howard to second with the Phils down 7-2. Cory Wade came in to pitch to Werth and quickly got ahead 0-2. Werth tried to check his swing at a 1-2 pitch outside and in the dirt. Looked like he checked to me, but he didn’t get the call and was down on strikes for the first out. Feliz hit for himself with the righty Wade on the mound and flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Howard tagged and took third, sliding in safely ahead of a strong throw from Kemp. Dobbs hit for Ruiz and Wade stayed in to face him with two outs and men on first and third. Dobbs hit it back up the middle, but Furcal took it just to the left of second and threw Dobbs out at first to set the Phils down.

Coste was on deck to hit for the pitcher Eyre. Phillies could have hit Stairs for Feliz (or Dobbs for Feliz and Stairs for Ruiz), but didn’t. Don’t know why if they weren’t going to hit Stairs for the pitcher’s spot.

Coste led off the eighth with a single into left with Wade still on the mound for LA. First career post-season hit for Coste. Rollins struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Victorino popped to third on a 1-0 pitch. Utley grounded to short to leave Coste stranded.

Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for LA with a 7-2 lead. Howard grounded to first for the first out. Burrell struck out swinging on three pitches for the second. Werth got ahead 2-1 and singled to right, but was left at first when Feliz popped to second to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the game. He’s 1-for-13 with six strikeouts in the series.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game and 2-for-13 with a triple and four RBI in the series.

Utley 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in the game. 3-for-8 with a double, a home run and five walks in the series.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double. 2-for-12 with a walk in the series.

Burrell 1-for-4 with an RBI. 4-for-11 with a home run and six strikeouts in the series.

Werth 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. 2-for-12 with a double in the series.

Feliz 1-for-4 with an RBI. 1-for-7 in the series.

Ruiz 0-for-2 in the game and 3-for-9 with a double in the series.

Joe Blanton (9-12, 4.69) faces Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24) tonight in game four. Lowe started game one for the Dodgers and took a 2-0 shutout into the sixth inning before giving up three runs on homers to Utley and Burrell. He’ll be pitching on three days rest. He made one start on three days rest this season, on May 18 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk over five innings (12.60 ERA).

The Phillies have won the last five games that Blanton started, most notably game four of the NLDS. Blanton allowed three hit and took a shutout into the seventh before Fielder hit a monster home run to start the seventh and Hardy followed him with a single. Blanton ended the day with the win, having allowed a run on five hits and no walks over six while striking out seven.

Righties hit Blanton better than lefties this season. They hit .286 against him with a 1.56 ratio, lefties .256 with a 1.25 ratio.

Blanton made two starts against the Dodgers this season, throwing to a 4.09 ERA but a 1.91 ratio (he allowed 15 hits and six walks in 11 innings). On August 13 the Phillies gave him a 6-1 lead in the second, but allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks over five innings and the Dodgers came back to win 7-6. Blanton was much better on August 24. He held LA to a run on six hits and three walks over six innings and the Phils won the game on a game-winning three-run homer by Feliz in the eleventh.

Ramirez is an amazing 14-for-25 against Blanton in his career (560/600/720). Another former ALer, Casey Blake, is just 1-for-21. Berroa is the only other player on the roster who has more than ten at-bats against Blanton, he’s 3-for-11.

Who says nobody walks in LA?

Here’s a look at eight key Dodgers hitters, what they did in the NLDS and what they did at the end of the regular season:

Player NLDS 9/15/08 to
end of regular season
Manny Ramirez 5-for-10 (.500) 4 BB, 2 HR 17-for-39 (436/551/769)
1.320 OPS 3 HR, 2 2B, 10 BB
Russell Martin 4-for-13 (.308) 3 2B, 1 HR 5
12-for-34 (353/511/500)
1.011 OPS 2 2B, 1 HR, 11 BB
Matt Kemp 2-for-13 (.154) 2 2B, 5 K 17-for-49 (347/396/531) 
.927 OPS 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 BB
Blake DeWitt 3-for-11 (.273) 2 2B 11-for-40 (275/415/425) .840
OPS 2 HR, 10 BB
Andre Ethier 1-for-10 (.100) 4 BB 14-for-41 (341/451/390) .841
OPS 2 2B, 9 BB
Rafael Furcal 4-for-12 (.333) 3 BB 2-for-9 (222/300/222) .522
Casey Blake 3-for-11 (.273) 2 RBI 9-for-41 (220/304/390) .694
OPS 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR
James Loney 3-for-14 (.214) 1 2B, 1 HR,
9-for-47  (191/220/277) 
.497 OPS

I think there are two big things to remember when you consider the LA offense these days. Neither are real encouraging for the Phillies.

The first bad news for the Phillies is that the players who have hurt the LA offense this season, generally speaking, aren’t playing any more. Berroa and Pierre were both on the bench for the NLDS and both had one at-bat. Andruw Jones is on the DL. Kent wasn’t nearly as bad as the rest of that group, but he also had just one at-bat against the Cubs.

The other bad news is maybe even a little worse: all of the sudden the Dodgers are walking at a tremendous rate. LA led both leagues in walks in September. They drew 124 in 25 games, about 4.96 per game. In their first 137 games through the end of August, they drew 419 walks in 137 games, about 3.06 walks per game. Looking at the numbers from September 15 to the end of the regular season, Ethier, Ramirez, DeWitt and Martin all drew at least nine walks.

I feel pretty comfortable saying that if the Phillies walk five batters per game in the series they are going to lose.

Looking at the eight position players for the Dodgers, Ramirez and Martin both came into the series with the Cubs hot and stayed hot. Blake and Loney came in cold. Loney had just two hits in the series but drove in six runs. Blake managed three singles in 11 at-bats. Ethier and Kemp both came into the series playing well but cooled down against Chicago, combining to go 3-for-23. Furcal is 6-for-21 since coming off the DL. DeWitt was hitting well coming into the series and went 3-for-11 with a pair of doubles.

Here’s what the Phillies likely to see the most time on the field in the NLCS did against the Brewers and at the end of the regular season:


9/15/08 to end of regular season

Shane Victorino
5-for-14 (.357)
3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB
(422/435/689) 1.124 OPS 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI 3 SB

Greg Dobbs
3-for-5 (.600)
(429/467/857) 1.324 OPS 3 2B, 1 HR

Jayson Werth
5-for-16 (.313)
3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 K
(250/280/417) .697 OPS 2 2B, 2 HR, 15 K

Jimmy Rollins
6-for-16 (.375)
2 2B, 1 HR
(250/365/364) .729 OPS 5 2B, 7 BB
3-for-12 (.250)
2 BB, 2 HR
(216/333/459) .792 OPS 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 BB

Ryan Howard
2-for-11 (.182)
1 2B, 5 BB
(350/429/775) 1.204 OPS 1 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR

Chase Utley
2-for-15 (.133)
1 2B
(310/400/548) .948 OPS 4 2B, 2 HR

Carlos Ruiz
1-for-14 (.071) 4-for-28
(143/306/286) .592 OPS 1 2B, 1 HR

Pedro Feliz
3-for-13 (.231)
1 2B
(186/313/333) .646 OPS 1 2B, 1 HR

Howard and Utley, curiously, both didn’t do much after coming into the NLDS hitting well. Dobbs seems likely to see more time at third base as Feliz continues to struggle. Ruiz is a mess at the plate. Burrell came into the series with the Brewers in a slump that continued until he had three hits and four RBI in game four. Rollins and Werth both scuffled their way into the NLDS, but hit well in it. Werth struck out six times, though, and has stuck out 21 times since September 15. Strikeout king Ryan Howard, by comparison, has struck out 13 times since September 15.

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