Tag: Chad Qualls

Phils thrilled with Utley’s home run, wonder if 12 a game is too much to ask

They could probably cut it down to six a game if Pierre promises to stop getting caught stealing ahead of him if that would help.

For all of the energy Chase Utley’s return generated last night, the take home message is simple: scoring seven runs isn’t good enough if you’re going to allow 11. And what’s wrong with the Phillies has a lot more to do with preventing runs than it does with scoring them.

Bullpen game last night and that was sure to be a problem for the Phillies because their bullpen is wretched. Things looked good early for the Phils as back-to-back homers from Utley and Ruiz put the Phils up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but the Pirates responding by scoring eight unanswered runs. Down 8-2, the Phils scored five times in the sixth and seventh innings combined, cutting the lead to 8-7. Chad Qualls took the air out of the Phillies comeback, though, allowing three runs in the top of the eighth and the Pirates went on to win 11-7.

The bullpen ERA for the Phillies for the year is up to 4.67 with the game, which is 14th among the 16 NL teams.

Through the first 40 games of the season, the starting pitchers for the Phillies threw to a 2.93 ERA with a 1.09 ratio. Over the last 37 games, the starters have thrown to a 5.01 ERA and a 1.36 ratio. The Phillies are 15-22 in those games.

I truly do not understand why the Phillies chose to let the bullpen pitch last night instead of calling up a starter from Double-A or Triple-A. I’m sure there was a reason, I just don’t know what it is. Whatever it was, they’ve lost the game and shredded their bullpen for the next couple of days and their bullpen was bad before they shredded it. This afternoon they start Kyle Kendrick, who has gone about 5.58 innings per start in his 11 starts on the year, the lowest mark for anyone who’s started a game for the Phils other than Valdes. Kendrick has gone six innings in a start once in his last five tries.

The Phillies are 36-41 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-7 last night.

Raul Valdes got the start for the Phillies and went two innings, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a three-run homer by Michael McKenry. He struck out two.

Valdes set Josh Harrison, Drew Stubbs and Andrew McCutchen down in order in the top of the first.

He started the second up 2-0 and walked Casey McGehee on a 3-2 pitch. With Neil Walker at the plate, McGehee took off for second. Ruiz’s throw beat him there easily, McGehee might have thought the hit and run was on, and Utley chased him back to first and applied the tag for the first out. Valdes walked Walker 3-2, putting a runner on first for Pedro Alvarez and Alvarez struck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Jose Tabata was next and lined a single to left, moving Walker up to second. Michael McKenry was next and he hit a 3-2 fastball out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Pirates up 3-2. Pitcher James McDonald flew to left for the third out.

Two walks for Valdes in the inning and then he grooves a 3-2 fastball to McKenry in front of the pitcher spot. That was a truly terrible pitch. Pirates gave him an out on the bases and still score three in the frame. That could have been better.

Savery started the third. Harrison led off and hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Sutton flew to left for the first out before Savery picked Harrison off of first with Wigginton throwing to Rollins for the second out. McCutchen flew to center to set the Pirates down.

McGehee homered off of Savery to start the fourth. 4-2. Walker followed with a double and moved to third on an Alvarez ground out. Tabata struck out swinging and Savery walked the righty McKenry intentionally to pitch to McDonald with two outs and runners on the corners. McDonald singled to left, scoring Walker to make it 5-2 with runners on first and third. Harrison grounded to third for the third out.

Savery walked Sutton to start the fifth and McCutchen moved him to second with a single. McGehee flew to right for the first out before a Walker singled, scoring Sutton (6-2) and moving McCutchen to third. Savery struck Alvarez out swinging 0-2 for the second out and Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Tabata. Tabata singled to center. McCutchen scored, 7-2, and Walker went to third. McKenry was next and singled to left on a ball deflected by Fontenot. Walker scored. Tabata to third. 8-2. Schwimer struck McDonald out looking to finally set the Pirates down.

Back-to-back two out singles get the Pirates two more runs. Valdes and Savery were both awful in the game, combining to allow eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. Savery’s line is worse thanks to two-out hits allowed by Schwimer that bring in two runs charged to Savery.

Schwimer was back to start the sixth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Harrison and Sutton to start the inning, but got the next three to leave the runners at first and second.

Diekman started the seventh with the Phils down 8-4. He struck out Alvarez and McKenry while setting the Pirates down in order.

Qualls started the eighth with the lead cut to 8-7. Lefty Alex Presley hit for the pitcher Brad Lincoln and walked. Barmes grounded to third for the first out with Presley moving up to second. Sutton doubled to center, scoring Presley. 9-7. McCutchen was next and hit a 2-2 pitch out to right center. 11-7. McGehee flew to left before Walker singled into center. Alvarez grounded to first for the third out.

Just a miserable job by Qualls after the Phillies had fought to get back in the game. In his defense, he has been overused of late. He got Tuesday off, but through Monday had thrown five of six days including pitching the ninth with a five-run lead on Monday.

Bastardo pitched the ninth. He allowed a two-out walk to Presley, but got Barmes on a fly ball to center to end the frame.

Awful night for the bullpen. Savery (53 pitches) and Valdes (43) surely can’t pitch for a while. Qualls threw 35 pitches. He’s only thrown one day in a row, but has been pitching way too much. He also has a 4.60 ERA for the year and opponents are hitting .302 against him. Schwimer has thrown back-to-back days and threw 26 pitches last night. Bastardo has thrown back-to-back days, four of the last five days and threw 14 pitches last night. Diekman threw 13 pitches last night.

So who can pitch tonight? Savery and Valdes look like they are not candidates. Papelbon and Diekman look like they should be fine. Qualls, Bastardo and Schwimer seem to be in a gray area with Schwimer having thrown less of late than the other two.

The Phillies lineup against righty James McDonald went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Utley (4) Ruiz (5) Pence (6) Victorino (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Utley makes his 2012 debut with the Phillies and hits third. Wigginton at first against the righty. Fontenot at third with Polanco on the bench. Polanco was 6-for-his-last-10 with two walks.

Rollins walked to start the bottom of the first. Pierre grounded to short with Rollins forced at second for the first out, but was caught trying to steal second before Utley hit a 2-2 pitch out to right, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Ruiz followed and homered to left on a 3-1 pitch, extending the lead to 2-0. Pence drew a walk, but Victorino flew to left to leave him at first.

Chase arrives with a bang and Ruiz follows it up with another. The caught stealing by Pierre during Utley’s at-bat costs the Phils a run.

Down 3-2, the Phils went in order in the second. Lee hit for Valdes and struck out for the third out.

Rollins singled to left to start the bottom of the third. Pierre was next and grounded back to the pitcher with Rollins forced at second for the first out. Utley was next and again hit the ball hard, but this time to straight away center. McCutchen handled it on the warning track for the second out. Ruiz lined to third to leave Pierre stranded.

Down 5-2, the Phillies went in order in the fourth.

Down 8-2, they went in order in the fifth.

Utley reached on an infield single on a ball Alvarez could have handled with one out in the sixth. Could have made a better throw, too. Ruiz was next and grounded to second with Utley forced at second for the second out. Pence was next and doubled to left center, scoring Ruiz from first to make it 8-3. Victorino followed that with a single to left, scoring Pence. 8-4. Polanco hit for Schwimer and righty Jared Hughes took over for McDonald to pitch to him. Victorino stole second before Polanco walked. Fontenot grounded back to the mound to leave both runners stranded.

Luna led off the seventh and hit a ground ball to third that Alvarez didn’t handle for an error. Rollins was next and tripled to center, scoring Luna to make it 8-5. Pierre was next and lefty Tony Watson came in to face him. Pierre singled to left, scoring Rollins. 8-6. Utley followed and hit a ground ball between first and second, closer to first. McGehee, who had been holding Pierre on first, didn’t go after the ball and it found right field for a single that moved Utley up to second. Ruiz was next and lined a ball to right. Tabata lost it in the lights or something, but he sure didn’t catch it. Ruiz had a single, Pierre scored (8-7) and Utley moved up to second. Righty Brad Lincoln took over for Watson. He struck Pence out swinging 3-2 and got Victorino on a fly ball to left for the second out. Thome hit for Diekman and struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Awful defense by the Pirates in the frame. Alvarez starts with an error and McGehee and Tabata both don’t make plays that are called singles. Lincoln squashes the rally for the Phils, entering with two men on and nobody out and getting Pence, Victorino and Thome.

Righty Jason Grilli set the Phils down in order in the eighth with the Pirate lead extended to 11-7. McCutchen made a great diving catch on a ball Luna hit to right-center for the second out, taking a double away from Luna.

Righty Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth. Ruiz walked with two outs, but Pence grounded to third to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple. 381/435/730 over his last 69 plate appearances.

Pierre 1-for-5 with an RBI and a caught stealing ahead of the Utley homer in the first. He also stole a base in the game. For the year he has 17 steals and been caught three times (and picked off once). 1-for-his-last-12 at the plate.

Utley was 3-for-5 in with a home run on the year. One of the hits looked a lot like a ground ball to short that Alvarez turned into an adventure, both in fielding and throwing the ball. The other single looked a lot like a ground ball to first the McGehee decided not to field for whatever reason.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run. He’s on pace to hit .364 with 23 home runs, so that’s something. 8-for-his-last-13.

Pence 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. 10-for-his-last-44 (.227). Great against righties for the year (292/355/489) and oddly can’t hit lefties (217/308/391).

Victorino 1-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-his-last-21 with five singles. One extra-base hit, a double, in his last 71 plate appearances. Pence can’t hit lefties and Victorino can’t hit righties. Victorino 324/400/620 against lefties and 228/298/317 against righties. No other real choice to play center against right-handed pitching. Pierre and Mayberry seem like possible candidates. Mayberry’s as bad as Victorino against righties and Pierre couldn’t do it defensively.

Wigginton 0-for-2. 2-for-his-last-10. Also can’t hit righties — 257/302/365 for the year.

Fontenot was 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-his-last-13 with three singles and five strikeouts.

Kendrick (2-7, 5.54) faces righty AJ Burnett (8-2, 3.24) this afternoon. The Phillies have lost three of the last four games that Kendrick has started and he’s thrown to an 8.10 ERA in those outings. Opponents have hit .324 against him in his five June starts and he’s walked 15 in 25 1/3 innings. Lefties are on-basing .401 against him for the year. That’s too much. The Pirates have won the last nine games that Burnett has started and he’s thrown to a 1.97 ERA in those appearances. Righties are slugging .298 against him for the season with five extra-base hits in 135 plate appearances.

Update: Sanches up, Savery down.


Sloppy, but Joe’s

The Phillies and Pirates combined to make six errors last night, but it was the Phillies who came out on top with an 8-3 win in the series opener. Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly at the top of their game, making three errors in the first inning and walking three straight hitters in the seventh with the third walk forcing in a run.

Joe Blanton hasn’t pitched well at all of late, but was better last night, allowing three runs, only two of which were earned, over seven innings. There’s a whole lot not going well for the Phillies these days, but one thing that is going well is that they are finding a way to win Blanton’s starts no matter how he pitches. They’ve won five of the last eight games he’s started — during those outings, Blanton has thrown to a 6.75 ERA and allowed 16 home runs in 49 1/3 innings. In three of the five wins, Blanton has allowed five or more runs in the game.

For the season, Blanton has allowed 3.25 times as many home runs to right-handed batters as he has allowed walks to right-handed batters (four walks and 13 home runs).

Jimmy Rollins continues to pound the ball at the top of the order for the Phillies. He was 2-for-5 with a double and a home run in last night’s game, providing the only extra-base hits the Phillies would get in the contest. He’s hitting 393/433/750 over his last 60 plate appearances (22-for-56 with eight doubles and four home runs).

The Phillies are 35-40 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 last night. They are tied for fourth-place in the NL East with the Marlins, eight games behind the Nationals.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight. It was the second time in his last eight starts that he allowed less than five runs in a start.

Blanton has walked 13 batters on the year and allowed 18 home runs. His walk rate is about half of what it has been for his career and the results overall are atrocious. He needs to get his home run rate down really soon, even if it means a lot more walks.

Blanton got the first two in the top of the first before Andrew McCutchen hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Garrett Jones followed that with a walk that put two men on for Neil Walker, but Blanton got Walker to ground to second to turn the Pirates away.

Pedro Alvarez singled to center to start the top of the second with the Phils up 4-0. Righty Mike McKenry was next, hitting for Rod Barajas, and moved Alvarez up to second with a single to left. Blanton got Clint Barmes to hit into a double-play before striking pitcher Jeff Karstens out to set Pittsburgh down.

With one out in the third, Jose Tabata hit a 1-0 pitch out to right-center, cutting the lead to 4-1. Blanton got the next three.

Another home run for Blanton, who came into the game having allowed 15 home runs in 42 1/3 innings over his last seven starts.

The Phillies were up 5-1 when Blanton started the fourth. Walker led off and doubled to left, but Blanton struck the next two hitters out behind him. Barmes was next, though, and singled to center. Pence charged, fielded and threw home. The plate at the plate was close, but Pence’s throw was a little on the first base side of the plate and Walker slid in safe to make it 5-2. Barmes took second on the play at the plate, but Blanton struck Karstens out to leave him there.

Blanton got Alex Presley on a fly ball to right for the first out of the fifth with the Phils up 7-2. Tabata was next and hit a ball down the third base line. Polanco fielded, but his throw to first was way high for an error that allowed Tabata to take second. McCutchen followed with a single into center that scored Tabata. 7-3. Jones was the next hitter and grounded back to the mound. Blanton fielded and threw to second for the second out. Blanton struck Walker out swinging to leave Jones at first.

Blanton allowed a leadoff single to Alvarez to start the seventh, but got the next three. Righty Matt Hague hit for Karstens and flew to right for the third out.

Diekman started the eighth with the Phillies up 8-3. He walked the leadoff man Jones to start the frame, but got Walker to ground into a double-play behind him. Diekman struck Alvarez out for the third out.

Diekman dropped his ERA to 3.86 with his 16th appearance. He’s walking way too many hitters, having allowed ten walks in 14 innings.

Qualls started the ninth with a five-run lead. He allowed a leadoff single to McKenry, but got Barmes to hit into a double-play behind him. Pinch-hitter Casey McGehee grounded to third for the third out.

Qualls was pitching for the third straight day. The Phillies don’t have someone else who can pitch the ninth with a five-run lead? Savery has thrown two-thirds of an inning since June 12. Valdes has made one appearance since being recalled on June 20. Schwimer has thrown 1 2/3 innings since June 16. Qualls needs to pitch for the third day in a row and for the fifth time in six days? Assuming all three of Savery, Valdes and Schwimer are available, that’s a mistake, even against three righties in the ninth.

Qualls hasn’t been charged with a run over 8 1/3 innings in his last nine appearances. The Phillies do need another right-handed reliever in the pen. Papelbon is the closer, Qualls can’t ever pitch against lefties and Schwimer has had some problems getting people out.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeff Karstens went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Pierre in left and Fontenot at second against the righty. Wigginton plays first against the righty with Mayberry on the bench.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a double to right and Pierre bunted him to third with the first out. Pence followed with a single to right that scored Rollins and put the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz was next and singled to right. Tabata fielded and threw to third, not in time to get Pence. Ruiz headed for second when the throw went to third. Alvarez took Tabata’s throw and threw to second, throwing the ball into right field for the first error of the play. Tabata got to the ball and threw home as Pence tried to score, but his throw was not handled at the plate for another error, allowing Pence to score and make it 2-0 with Ruiz on third. Victorino was next and singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 3-0. Polanco was next and singled to right. Victorino headed to third and Tabata threw there. Again his throw was on line and again it was not handled for another error. This one allowed Victorino to score and extend the lead to 4-0 with Polanco on second. Wigginton and Fontenot both struck out swinging to leave Polanco on second.

Wild play on the Ruiz single. Tabata’s throw from right after the Alvarez error should have been handled at the plate, but they still wouldn’t have gotten Pence. Three errors in the frame for the Pirates. Tabata should be wary of throwing the ball anywhere.

The Phillies went in order in the second.

It was 4-1 when they hit in the third. Ruiz singled with one out, stole second and went to third on a ground out by Victorino. Polanco was next and singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 5-1. Wigginton grounded to third for the third out.

It was 5-2 when the Phillies hit in the fourth. Fontenot led off with a single. Blanton tried to bunt him to second, but popped up to Alvarez for the first out. Fontenot stole second before Rollins hit a 3-0 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 7-2. Pierre flew to center for the second out before Pence reached on an infield single. Ruiz struck out swinging for the third out.

Rollins swinging 3-0 and hits the ball out of the yard. It’s his sixth home run in June. Through May 12, Rollins had 147 plate appearances for the season in which he hit 230/276/267 with five doubles and no home runs. Since May 12 he has gotten 180 plate appearances in which he has hit 299/350/539 with 12 doubles and eight home runs.

It was 7-3 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. With two outs and nobody on, Wigginton hit a ball to short that Barmes didn’t handle for the fourth Pirates error of the game. Fontenot moved Wigginton to third with a single, but Blanton grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Lefty Doug Slaten set the Phillies down in order in the sixth.

A single by Ruiz and walks to Victorino and Polanco, all issued by Slaten, loaded the bases for Wigginton to start the seventh. He got to hit against the lefty, too, and walked as well to force in Ruiz and extend the lead to 8-3 with the bases still loaded. Fontenot struck out swinging for the first out. Luna hit for Blanton and struck out for the second. Rollins struck out for the third.

Just one run for the Phils in the inning after their first four hitters reach on a single and three walks. After the first run, they can’t get any more with nobody out and the bases loaded as Fontenot and Luna both strike out with less than two outs.

Righty Jared Hughes set the Phils down in order in the eighth.

Rollins was 2-for-5 in the game with a double and a home run.

Pierre was 0-for-3. He’s 5-for-his-last-21 (.238).

Pence 2-for-5 with an RBI. 8-for-his-last-37 (.216).

Ruiz 3-for-5 with three singles. .313 in April, .418 in May and .319 in June.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-his-last-14 (.214).

Polanco 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-6 with two walks and two doubles. He has walked six times in his last 31 plate appearances and six times in his first 190 plate appearances for the season.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 8-for-his-last-49 (.163). 207/274/350 over his last 157 plate appearances.

Fontenot was 2-for-4 and struck out twice, including once with the bases loaded and nobody out. He’s hitting .345 for the year.

Worley (3-4, 2.78) faces lefty Eric Bedard (4-7, 4.13) tonight. Worley has thrown to a 1.35 ERA over his last three games and the Phillies have lost all three. Bedard threw to a 2.57 ERA in his first seven starts on the year. Over his last seven appearances he has thrown to a 5.59 ERA and allowed 18 walks in 37 innings.


Vance’s trance over the Rockies not enough to advance the cause of the Phillies

The Phils got the pitching performance they needed from Vance Worley last night, but the bats went silent as the Rockies topped the Phillies 4-1.

Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a home run for the Phils, but that was all the offense they would get in the game. They were unable to score despite leadoff doubles in the second and again in the eighth.

Worley kept the Rockies off the board until the seventh, when a two-run homer by Chris Nelson put Colorado on top to stay. Wilin Rosario hit a two-run homer off of Michael Schwimer in the top of the ninth to account for the rest of the Colorado scoring.

Worley has thrown to a 1.35 ERA over his last three starts, allowing three earned runs over 20 innings. The Phils have lost all three games.

The Phillies are 33-38 on the year after losing to the Colorado Rockies 4-1 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one. They are in last place in the NL East, nine games behind the first place Nationals.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second up 1-0. Tyler Colvin walked with one out. Jordan Pacheco was next and moved Colvin to third with a single to right. Worley got Chris Nelson to ground back to the mound into a double-play to turn the Rockies away.

Worley struck out pitcher Jeff Francis and Dexter Fowler in a 1-2-3 third.

Marco Scutaro walked to start the fourth. Carlos Gonzalez was next and grounded to second with Scutaro forced at second for the first out. Cuddyer popped to short for the second out before Colvin reached on catcher’s interference, putting men on first and second. Gonzalez was thrown out trying to steal third to end the frame.

Worley threw a 1-2-3 fifth. Pence made a nice sliding catch in right on a ball hit by Nelson for the second out.

Switch-hitter Eric Young hit for Francis to start the sixth and flew to center for the first out. Worley got Fowler to pop to short behind him for the second out before Scutaro singled to right. Gonzalez grounded to second for the third out.

Colvin doubled to left with one out in the seventh. Pacheco grounded to short for the second out, but Nelson followed and hit a 2-1 pitch out to left center, putting the Rockies up 2-1. Wilin Rosario grounded to third to set Colorado down.

Qualls started the eighth with the Phillies still down a run. Fowler and Scutaro singled back-to-back with one out, putting runners on the corners. Diekman came in to pitch to the lefty Gonzalez and a wild pitch moved Scutaro up to second before Gonzalez hit a ground ball to short. With the infield in, Rollins took the grounder and threw home where Fowler was tagged out by Ruiz for the second out. Diekman struck the righty Cuddyer out swinging to leave the runners on first and second.

Great job by Manuel to get Qualls out of the game and let Diekman pitch to the lefty Gonzalez. After he gets the lefty Gonzalez, Diekman stays in the game to face the righty Cuddyer and strikes him out to leave two men on base. Would have been nice to put a righty on Cuddyer there, but the Phils have three righties in the pen. Papelbon is probably not an option behind in the eighth, Qualls had already pitched and Schwimer doesn’t make you feel a whole lot better than letting the lefty Diekman face Cuddyer. Worked out well for the Phils.

Qualls allows hits to two of the three batters he faces, but no runs thanks to Diekman and Rollins’s play to nail Fowler at the plate. He hasn’t been charged with a run in six innings over his last six appearances, dropping his ERA on the season from 5.32 to 4.18.

Diekman got the lefty Colvin to pop to third for the first out. Lefty Todd Helton hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle and Diekman walked him after getting ahead 0-2. Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Nelson and got him on a fly ball to right for the second out. Rosario was next, though, and he hit the first pitch from Schwimer out to left, extending the Colorado lead to 4-1. Schwimer struck out DJ LeMahieu for the third out.

Diekman goes one inning in the game and is charged with a run on one walk as Helton scores on the Rosario homer allowed by Schwimer. He has a 1.86 ERA over his last 12 appearances but has allowed 11 hits and six walks over 9 2/3 innings (that’s a 1.76 ratio).

Three righties in pen, one of which is the closer and one of which can’t face lefties ever means that right number three is going to have to pitch. Righty number three is Schwimer and he has a 5.14 ERA for the year after allowing a run on one hit over two-thirds of an inning last night.

Overall the pen went two innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Diekman threw 17 pitches, Schwimer 12 and Qualls eight. Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jeff Francis went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Martinez. Pierre in left against the lefty. Mayberry at first after Wigginton delivers a big two-out hit to start the rally in the ninth in game two. Martinez at second.

Rollins was the first batter of the bottom of the first and hit a 2-2 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 1-0. Pence singled to left with one out, but Ruiz struck out behind him for the second before Victorino reached on an infield single that moved Pence up to second. Polanco struck out looking to leave both runners stranded.

Mayberry doubled to center to start the second. Martinez popped to Nelson for the first out. Worley was next and reached on a throwing error by Pacheco at third, leaving the Phils with runners on the corners with one down. Rollins fouled out to Cuddyer for the second out with the runners holding. Pierre flew to center to leave them stranded.

No run for the Phils after the leadoff double. Martinez can’t move the runner out. Rollins can’t bring the runner home from third with one out.

The Phils went in order in the third.

Mayberry singled with one out in the fourth. Martinez struck out behind him and Worley popped to short.

Pierre bunted for a single with one out in the fifth and moved up to second on a ground out by Pence. Ruiz grounded to second to leave Pierre at second.

Righty Josh Roenicke set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. Mayberry hit the ball well, but Scutaro made a nice diving play to field the ball and throw to first in time to get Mayberry for the third out.

Roenicke struck Martinez out for the first out in the seventh with the Phillies down 2-1. Fontenot hit for Worley and singled to left, but lefty Rex Brothers came in to pitch to Rollins and got him to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Wigginton doubled off of righty Matt Belisle to start the eighth. Pence struck out for the first out and Ruiz flew to center for the second with Wigginton tagging and moving up to third. Victorino popped to Scutaro to leave him at third.

Again, like in the second, the Phillies don’t score after the leadoff double. Pence can’t move Wigginton up to third with the first out.

Trailing 4-1, Polanco and Mayberry went down against righty Rafael Betancourt to start the ninth. Thome hit for Martinez and struck out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Thome now 0-for-12 as a pinch-hitter with eight strikeouts.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a home run in the game. 4-for-11 with two walks, two doubles and a home run in the three-game series. He’s hitting 260/309/382 for the year. 294/344/483 over his last 154 plate appearances. 15-for-his-last-39 (.385) with eight extra-base hits.

Pierre starts against the lefty and goes 1-for-3. He was 2-for-7 with a triple in the series. 323/360/379 for the year.

Pence 1-for-4 last night and 2-for-13 with a double in the series. Two home runs so far in June after hitting eight in May. 275/339/464 for the year.

Ruiz 0-for-4 last night and 2-for-10 with a double and a home run in the series. 347/414/568 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-4. 4-for-12 with four singles in the series. 252/319/399 for the season.

Polanco 0-for-4. 2-for-10 with two walks and a double in the series. 274/309/356.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double. 5-for-11 with a walk, three doubles and a home run in the series. 11-for-his-last-28 with two walks and eight extra-base hits. 249/284/422 for the year.

Martinez was 0-for-3 and struck out twice in the game. 1-for-11 with a three-run homer in the series. He’s on the field way, way too much for the Phillies after being on the field way, way too much for the Phillies in 2011. 6-for-36 on the year with five singles and a home run.

Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48) faces righty James Shields (7-4, 3.72) tonight. The Phillies really need Lee to help them stabilize the rotation with Halladay out. He hasn’t done it so far, winless for the year and having thrown to a 4.79 ERA in his three June starts and a 4.87 ERA over his last six. The Phillies are 3-8 in his starts for the year and have lost three games in a row. Shields has allowed one earned run in 14 innings over his last two starts (four runs if you count the three unearned runs he surrendered). He started game two of the 2008 World Series against the Phils, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings as the Rays won 4-2.


Home town scoring takes away error number four, but the most astute of observers suspect some issues with the Phillies anyway

After losing their fifth straight on Wednesday night, Charlie Manuel suggested that the Phillies might have bottomed out. Thursday afternoon demonstrated loud and clear that was not the case as the Dodgers pounded the Phils 8-3 to complete a four-game sweep.

The defense was hide-your-eyes bad for the Phillies in the game. Wigginton made a pair of errors in the fourth and some nice pitching by Hamels kept the damage to a single run. It got just about unbearable in the ninth, though, as Chad Qualls got one out and was charged with four runs, turning a one-run game into an 8-3 laugher. There were two big defensive miscues in that inning, a muff by Fontenot that was called an error and a muff by Mayberry that wasn’t. Mayberry couldn’t handle a hard ground ball hit by Andre Ethier with the infield in. The play was initially scored an error, but later changed to give Ethier a two-run double.

The Phillies are 28-31 on the year after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 yesterday. The Dodgers sweep the four-game series. The Phillies have lost six in a row for the first time this season.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Only three of the runs were earned and all six hits were singles. He struck out six and his ERA for the year rose to 2.93. He has a 5.23 ERA over his last three outings. Yesterday was the second straight start he had made in which the Phillies had a 3-0 lead but lost the game.

Dee Gordon was the first batter of the game and Hamels struck him out swinging for the first out in the top of the first. Elian Herrera grounded to third for the second out before Juan Rivera singled to left. Hamels got Jerry Hairston on a fly ball to center to leave Rivera at first.

Hamels set LA down in order in the second, getting James Loney on a ball he handled himself, Alex Castellanos on a fly ball to center and Tony Gwynn on a fly ball to left.

In the third he got Matt Treanor on a line drive to second, struck out pitcher Aaron Harang for the second out and Gordon behind him.

He started the fourth up 3-0. Herrera led off and hit a ground ball to third that Wigginton didn’t handle for an error. Rivera was next and also hit a ball to third the Wigginton booted for another error, leaving the Dodgers with men on first and third and nobody out for Hairston. Hairston flew to left for the first out, deep enough for Herrera to tag and score, cutting the lead to 3-1. Castellanos was next and grounded to third. Wigginton handled it and threw to second to force Rivera for the second out of the frame, but Castellanos beat the relay to first. Hamels struck Gwynn out swinging to leave the runners at first and third.

That could have been a lot worse. Just one run for LA after Wigginton starts the frame with errors on back-to-back batters.

Hamels set the Dodgers down in order in the fifth. Hamels made a fantastic play to get the third out. Gordon hit a ball to Mayberry. Mayberry fielded and flipped to first, but the flip was behind Hamels and Hamels had to reach back to barehand the ball, nipping the superfast Gordon to set LA down.

He walked Herrera to start the sixth and Herrera moved up to second when Rivera followed with a single. Hairston popped to Rollins for the first out before Loney singled into center, scoring Herrera (3-2) and moving Rivera to third. With men on first and third and one down, Hamels struck out Castellanos for the second out. Gwynn was next and he singled into left, scoring Rivera (3-3) and moving Loney up to second. Treanor followed and lofted a ball into left that eluded Pierre’s dive, scoring Loney moving Gwynn to third with LA up 4-3. With Harang at the plate, Treanor took off for second. Schneider faked a throw to second and caught Gwynn off of third, throwing to Wigginton who ran Gwynn towards the plate and then tagged him out.

Pierre probably should have caught the ball hit by Treanor, although it would have been a nice play. It looked like he combination mistimed and stumbled in his dive for the ball.

Savery pitched the seventh, walking Herrera with two outs but getting Rivera to hit into a ground ball behind him.

He was back to pitch the eighth with the Phils still down a run. He gave up leadoff single to Hairston, but got the next three.

More good work from Savery, who has dropped his ERA from 4.50 to 3.12 with 5 1/3 scoreless innings over his last three outings. The lefty has been very good against right-hander hitters so far — righties are hitting just 206/289/353 against him.

Qualls started the ninth. Treanor led off and reached on an infield single. Lefty Bobby Abreu hit for the pitcher Jamey Wright and he singled to left. Gordon followed that with a single that loaded the bases. With the infield in, Herrera hit a ball that Fontenot didn’t handle for an error, which allowed everyone to move up a base with Treanor scoring to make it 5-3. Ethier was next and hit a ball to first that Mayberry didn’t handle. Originally called an error, it was changed later to give Ethier a double, but Mayberry should have made the play. Abreu and Gordon both scored (7-3) and Herrera was thrown out by Pence at home by a wide margin. Herrera was out by about ten feet, but Ruiz kinda punched him in the head with the ball in his glove hand for reasons unknown. It left Ethier at third with one down for Hairston and Hairston singled into left, scoring Ethier to make it 8-3. Valdes took over for Qualls. He struck out Loney for the second out and got Castellanos to fly to left for the third.

Wow. Fontenot was charging his ball, which wasn’t hit hard, presumably to throw home where he would have forced Treanor. The ball Ethier hit that Mayberry didn’t handle was hit hard with the infield in. Would have been a nice one to handle.

Qualls winds up charged with four runs, three earned in a third of an inning. He got a tough scoring decision on Ethier’s ball to hurt his line, but four of the five non-Ethier batters he faced in the inning got hits.

Qualls was pitching on one day’s rest, but has appeared in five of the seven games the Phillies have played in June. After four appearances in a row in which he hadn’t been charged with a run, his ERA went from 4.15 to 5.32 on the day.

Valdes was pitching for the second straight day and has a 2.13 ERA and an 0.63 ratio for the season.

Again, Qualls can’t get left-handed hitters out and for that reason he’s a poor choice to start an inning late in a close game when he’s going to face them. Again again, bad scoring on the Ethier ball, but he faced three lefties in the frame and allowed two singles and a double. He would have gotten the switch-hitter Herrera on Fontenot’s error were it not for Fontenot’s error. The only out he got in the appearance came on an outfield assist.

Lefties are now hitting 357/413/702 against Qualls for the season. Really they are. That’s reason #2 why you can’t let Qualls face lefties late in a close game. Reason #1 why you can’t let Chad Qualls face lefties late in a close game is that you can’t let Chad Qualls face lefties late in a close game.

Overall the pen went three innings in the game, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

Savery threw 28 pitches in the game, Qualls 18 and Valdes 11. Valdes has thrown two days in a row. Qualls has pitched five of the last seven days, but only one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Aaron Harang went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Wigginton (5) Victorino (6) Fontenot (7) Mayberry (8) Schneider. Polanco on the bench again after getting spiked in game two of the set. Wigginton at third and Mayberry at first. Fontenot plays second with Galvis on the DL. Schneider catches the day game after a night game.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a single into center. Pierre was next and bunted with Rollins thrown out at second for the first out and Pierre safe at first. Pierre stole second and then moved up to third on a ground out by Pence. Wigginton struck out swinging 2-2 to leave him stranded.

Victorino reached on an infield single to start the second. Fontenot was next and moved Victorino up to third with a single into center, putting runners on the corners for Mayberry with nobody out. Mayberry struck out for the first out. Schneider struck out swinging with Fontenot caught trying to steal second to set the Phillies down.

No run for the Phillies after putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Mayberry and Schneider both strike out and Fontenot is caught stealing.

Hamels singled to center to start the third and moved to third when Rollins followed with a single. A throwing error by Castellanos in center allowed Rollins to take second, putting runners on second and third with nobody out for Pierre. Pierre grounded to the pitcher with the runners holding for the first out. Pence was next and chopped a ball to third. Herrera fielded and threw home, but throw was awful for an error. Hamels scored (1-0), Rollins took third and Pence was safe at first. Wigginton followed with a fly ball to center, deep enough for Rollins to tag and score, putting the Phillies up 2-0. A walk to Victorino put men on first and second for Fontenot and he singled to left, scoring Pence to make it 3-0 with men on first and third for Mayberry. Mayberry flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

The lead was cut to 3-1 when the Phils went in order in the fourth.

Pence and Wigginton singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth, putting men on first and second for Victorino. Victorino grounded to second with Wigginton forced at second for the second out. With men on the corners, Fontenot popped out to Gordon in foul territory to leave them stranded.

The Phillies were down 4-3 when they went in order in the sixth. Thome hit for Hamels, who had thrown 107 pitches, and flew to left for the third out.

Pence singled with two outs in the seventh, but Wigginton grounded to short for the third out.

Fontenot singled off of righty Jamey Wright with one out in the eighth, but Mayberry struck out behind him. Against the righty, the right-handed Ruiz hit for the left-handed Schneider and flew to right.

The Phillies were down 8-3 when the hit against righty Shawn Tolleson in the ninth. Tolleson was making his major league debut. Luna hit for Valdes and walked. Rollins walked behind him. Righty Ronald Belisario took over for Tolleson. Pierre grounded to first and Pence hit into a double-play to end the game.

The Phillies didn’t have an extra-base hit in the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk. He was 7-for-16 with a walk, a double, a triple and a home run in the four-game series. 251/301/346 for the season. 292/344/449 over his last 96 plate appearances. He end the day with an on-base percentage for the year of .300 or better for the first time since April 18.

Pierre was 0-for-5 with a stolen base and left five men on base. 1-for-13 in the series. 319/356/361 for the year. 278/293/333 over his last 78 plate appearances.

Pence 2-for-5 with an RBI. 4-for-17 in the series with four singles and two RBI. He’s grounded into four double-plays in his last 32 at-bats. 266/331/485 on the year after going 4-for-his-last-21.

Wigginton 1-for-3 with an RBI and two errors at third. 6-for-14 with a double and a homer in the series. 272/346/424 on the year.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-14 with two walks and a home run in the series. 249/319/406 on the year. 159/255/250 over his last 51 plate appearances.

Fontenot was 3-for-4 with an error and an RBI. 3-for-7 with two walks in the series. 414/500/448 in 34 plate appearances for the year.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and five men left on base. 1-for-11 with a double and four strikeouts in the series. 225/260/326 for the season. 198/261/235 against right-handed pitching for the year, which means you might want to look for someone else to start at first against righties for the time being. Now would be good.

Schneider was 0-for-3 in the game and 0-for-4 in the series. 258/281/403 for the year. He’s 3-for-his-last-20.

Blanton (4-6, 5.27) faces righty Jake Arrieta (2-7, 5.53) tonight in Baltimore. Blanton has allowed at least five earned runs in each of his last four starts, throwing to a 10.98 ERA in those outings while allowing ten home runs in 19 2/3 innings. Arrieta has gone 0-5 with a 7.96 ERA over his last six starts.


Pence and Diekman work overtime to correct the team’s nearly fatal Qualls

The Phillies got more great starting pitching in yesterday’s game against the Astros, but it took some late heroics from Hunter Pence and a fantastic debut by Jake Diekman to get them a 4-3 win in ten innings.

Lee started the game for the Phils and was great, holding Houston to a run over eight innings and striking out ten. With Papelbon having thrown three days in a row, Qualls came on with a 3-1 lead in the ninth and couldn’t get the job done. The Astros tied the game up with a pair of runs and Diekman was forced into his major league debut with two outs and men on second and third. Diekman struck out Marwin Gonzalez to get the Phils out of the jam, came back to set the Astros down in order in the tenth and got the win when Pence hit a walkoff homer in the bottom of the inning.

The Phillies need a whole lot of help in their pen. But Diekman’s debut in which he struck out three over 1 1/3 perfect innings raises hopes that he may be part of the solution.

The 5.19 ERA for the Phillie bullpen is the worst in all of baseball. In yesterday’s game, they allowed two runs in two innings and cost Lee the win, but were arguably better than they had been during Lee’s other starts for the year. Coming into the game, the bullpen had thrown to a 9.00 ERA and a 2.22 ratio in Lee’s starts for the season. They were a little better than that in yesterday’s game, allowing two runs in two innings (9.00 ERA), but allowing just four hits plus walks over two frames (2.00 ratio).

Chad Qualls continues to struggle against lefties. Trying to nail down the save in the top of the ninth he faced two left-handed hitters and both of them doubled. Lefties are hitting 346/414/567 against him for the season.

On the plus side, the starting pitching continues to shine. The Phillies have gotten six quality starts in a row. Over those six games their starters have thrown to a 2.20 ERA with a 1.05 ratio.

The Phillies are 18-19 after beating the Houston Astros 4-3 yesterday afternoon. They sweep the two-game set and have won three in a row and four of their last five.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out ten and dropped his ERA on the year to 1.95. The Phillies are 1-4 in the games he’s started this season.

He walked Justin Maxwell with one out in the top of the first. Matt Downs went down on a fly ball to right for the second out before Schneider threw Maxwell out trying to steal second to end the frame.

Carlos Lee singled to center to start the second. Chris Johnson was next and he grounded to Lee. Lee went to second to force the other Lee for the first out. Our Lee struck JD Martinez out for the second out and got Jason Castro on a ground ball to second for the third.

Lee had a 2-0 lead when he started the third. Marwin Gonzalez led off with a single to center. The pitcher Jordan Lyles was next and tried to bunt, but failed twice then struck out looking for the first out. Jose Altuve was next and hit a ground ball that was deflected off Polanco to Rollins. Rollins went to second to for Gonzalez for the second out. Lee struck Maxwell out swinging 1-2 to set the Astros down.

Big no bunt for Lyles changes the inning and the Phils get a big play from Rollins to get an out on the ball hit by Altuve.

Lee struck out Downs and Johnson as he set the Astros down in order in the fourth.

Martinez singled to center to start the fifth, but Lee got Jason Castro to ground into a double-play behind him. Lee struck Gonzalez out swinging for the third out.

He struck out Altuve and Maxwell in a 1-2-3 sixth.

He started the seventh up 3-0. Matt Downs led off and hit a 3-1 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 3-1. Lee got the next three Astros behind Downs.

Lee started the eighth having thrown 95 pitches in the game. Castro led off and struck out on a wild pitch that got away from Schneider, allowing Castro to take first. Gonzalez was next and hit a ball that Lee handled. Lee went to second for the first out Galvis relayed to first to complete the bases-clearing double-play. Lefty Travis Buck hit for the pitcher Fernando Rodriguez and singled to right. Lee got Altuve on a fly ball to right to leave Buck at second.

Big double-play for the Phils after Castro reaches on the strikeout. The lefty Buck hits against the lefty Lee and reaches base on a single.

Manuel was ejected for arguing with the home plate umpire after the Castro strikeout on a wild pitch for reasons not clear to me.

Qualls started the ninth with a two-run lead, pitching for the second day in a row. Lefty Jordan Schafer hit for the righty Maxwell and hammered a double to center on a 3-2 pitch. Downs was next and he went downs on a ground ball to second, which moved Schafer up to third with one out. Lee was next and singled into center, just passed a diving Rollins. Schafer scored and it was 3-2. Brian Bogusevic ran for Lee and stole second before Johnson grounded softly to third for the second out. Righty JD Martinez was next and singled to right. Bogusevic was held up at third, but Pence lost the handle trying to transfer the ball out of his glove for an error that allowed Bogusevic to come home and tie the game at 3-3. The lefty Castro was next and he doubled off the wall in right, putting runners on second and third for the switch-hitter Gonzalez. Lefty Jake Diekman came on to pitch to him. Diekman struck Gonzalez out swinging 1-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Qualls can’t pitch to lefties. Shafer doubles off of him to start the mess. Castro, the other lefty that Qualls faced in the inning, doubled as well. Qualls faced six batters in the innings. Two were lefties and both of them doubled. Of the four righties, he allowed two singles and got two ground outs. His ERA is up to 4.05 for the year after being charged with two runs in 2/3 of an inning in the game.

Lee had thrown 110 pitches through eight innings, so he wasn’t a good choice to start the ninth.

Huge debut for Diekman, coming into the game with two outs in the ninth and men on second and third in a tie game.

He was back to pitch the tenth. Switch-hitter Jed Lowrie hit for the pitcher Brandon Lyon and flew to right for the first out. Diekman struck out Altuve and Schafer behind him.

Three strikeouts in 1 1/3 perfect innings for Diekman.

Qualls and Diekman each threw 21 pitches in the game. Diekman’s 21 were better. Qualls has pitched two days in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jordan Lyles went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Polanco (6) Mayberry (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Polanco hits fifth after a two-run homer in game one of the set. Schneider catches the day game after a night game with a righty on the mound. Galvis plays second with Orr on the bench. Mayberry hits sixth, hitting 224/269/265 against righties for the season coming into the game.

Rollins was the first batter in the bottom of the first and doubled to right on a ball deflected by Lee at first. Pierre bunted him to third with the first out, but Victorino struck out for the second and Pence grounded to second.

No RBI for Victorino after the Phillies put Rollins on third with one out.

Mayberry reached on a throwing error by Altuve with one out in the second. Galvis flew to center for the second out, but Schneider was next and he hit the first pitch from Lyles out to right-center, putting the Phils on top 2-0. Lee grounded to second for the third out.

Nice start to the game for Schneider, who threw Maxwell out to end the top of the first and hit his first homer of the year in the bottom of the second.

The Phils went in order in the bottom of the fourth.

They went in order in the fifth, too. Rollins tried to bunt for a hit, but popped it up to the catcher in foul territory for the second out.

Pence homered to right off of Lyles with one out in the sixth, extending the lead to 3-0. Polanco followed that with a single, but Mayberry and Galvis both went down behind him.

Rollins singled off of lefty Fernando Abad with two outs in the seventh and the lead cut to 3-1. Wigginton hit for Pierre and the righty Fernando Rodriguez took over for Abad. Wigginton drew a walk, putting two men on for Victorino, but Victorino popped out to the catcher to leave both runners stranded.

Pence singled to right off of righty Brandon Lyon to start the bottom of the eighth. He took second on a wild pitch before Polanco moved him up to third with a single to right. Mayberry was next and hit a ground ball to third. Pence was caught up between third and home and eventually tagged out for the first out. It brought Galvis to the plate with men on first and second and he flew to center. Schneider was next and hit a ball to first that Lee handled, throwing to Lyon covering first who made an ugly slide into the bag in time to beat Schneider and end the inning.

No runs for the Phils after putting me on first and third with nobody out.

The game was tied at 3-3 when the Phillies hit in the bottom of the ninth. Lyon was back for the Astros and set Ruiz, Rollins and Wigginton down in order.

Righty Brett Myers got Victorino to foul out to third for the first out of the tenth. Pence was next and hit a ball just out to left, giving the Phils a 4-3 win.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double in the game. 2-for-8 with a walk in the two-game set. He’s hitting 231/278/293 for the season. He doesn’t have a walk against a left-handed pitcher yet this year.

Pierre 0-for-2 with a strikeout. 0-for-6 in the series. 3-for-his-last-12. 330/380/360 for the year.

Victorino was 0-for-5 with a strikeout and three men left on base yesterday. 1-for-9 with a triple in the series. 250/301/408 on the season. 2-for-his-last-13.

Pence was 2-for-5 with two solo homers. 4-for-9 with two homers in the series. He came into the series 1-for-his-last-15. 255/301/497 for the year. The Phillies have a team on-base percentage of .307 for the year, which is 13th among the 16 NL teams. Victorino, Pence, Mayberry, Rollins and Galvis all have at least 93 plate appearances for the year and an on-base percentage of .301 or worse.

Polanco was 2-for-4. 3-for-7 with a walk and a home run in the series. 288/321/368 for the season. 356/390/479 over his last 80 plate appearances. His .321 on-base percentage for the season is fourth-best on the team among players with 100 plate appearances.

Mayberry 1-for-4 to up his average to .247. 3-for-8 with a double in the series. 247/269/337 on the year. After not walking in his first 51 plate appearances on the season he has walked three times in his last 42. 333/364/500 over his last 33 plate appearances. Slugging .264 for the season against right-handed pitching.

Galvis 0-for-3 with a walk. 3-for-7 with a walk in the series. 225/265/351 for the year. 8-for-his-last-21 with three walks, three doubles and a triple. His isolated power with the Phillies is .121. Over 2,179 minor league plate appearances it is .076.

Schneider 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in his only action of the series. He’s now hitting 303/324/404 for the season. First home run since April 21, 2011.

Vance Worley (3-2, 3.07) faces righty Matt Garza (2-1, 2.56) tonight in Chicago. Worley threw to a 1.97 ERA over his first five starts of the season, but has pitched to a 6.00 ERA over his last two starts. Garza flummoxed the Phils the last time he saw them, holding them to a hit and and a walk while throwing seven shutout innings on April 29.

Er, not so much on Worley starting tonight. This article says that Worley will miss the start with a sore elbow and Kendrick will take the start in his place. Kendrick has thrown to a 6.43 ERA in his three starts on the season, although only one of the three has been terrible. In his first start of the year he allowed seven runs in three innings against the Diamondbacks. In his two starts since, he’s allowed four runs over 11 innings, throwing to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.36 ratio.


Wait till last year?

The ugliness continued for the Phillies last night as bad defense and awful work from their pen got together late and the Mets topped them 7-4.

Joe Blanton was charged with four runs over 6 2/3 innings in the game, but pitched a whole lot better than his line. He left with a 4-2 lead with two men on in the seventh. Qualls and Bastardo took over after that, facing three batters and getting just one out as the other two delivered RBI-singles. The Phils also put together just about the ugliest rundown you’ve ever seen in the frame.

The miserable performance of the bullpen continues as the Phils remain, by ERA, the worst bullpen in either league. The team’s bullpen ERA for the season is up to 4.95.

Over the last five games, the bullpen has been charged with more than one run in every game, allowing 13 runs (12 earned) in 13 innings and throwing to an 8.31 ERA with a 2.30 ratio. In 13 innings they’ve allowed 20 hits and ten walks. Those numbers don’t include the game they lost 15-13 on May 2 — in that game the bullpen was charged with seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The pen has also allowed more than one run in eight of the last ten games. In one of those games they didn’t appear at all (Blanton’s complete game on May 3). There’s only one game in the last ten where the bullpen got at least one out and allowed less than two runs (May 1 against the Braves).

The Phillies are 14-17 on the year after losing to the New York Mets 7-4 last night. The Mets have won the first two games of the series. The Phillies have lost four of their last five games.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out seven.

Blanton walked Kirk Nieuwenhuis with one out in the first, but got David Wright on a fly ball to right and Lucas Duda swinging to leave him at first.

Up 2-0, he set the Mets down in order in the second.

Up 4-0, he threw a 1-2-3 third.

Nieuwenhuis doubled to center to start the fourth and moved to third when Wright flew to right for the first out. Duda followed with a walk, putting runners on first and third for Daniel Murphy. Murphy singled into left, scoring Nieuwenhuis to make it 4-1 with men on first and second. Blanton got Ike Davis and Jordany Valdespin, both on fly balls to center, to end the frame.

Blanton hit Mike Nickeas to start the fifth. Pitcher Miguel Batista bunted Nickeas to second with the first out and Nickeas took third when Andres Torres grounded to second for the second. Blanton struck out Nieuwenhuis to leave Nickeas at third.

Wright led off the sixth with a double. Blanton struck out Duda before Murphy moved Wright up to third with a ground out. He got behind Davis 2-0 before striking him out swinging 3-2 to end leave Wright at third.

Blanton walked Valdespin to start the seventh. He struck Nickeas out for the first out and righty Scott Hairston hit for the pitcher Manny Acosta. Hairston popped to second for the second out, but Torres followed and singled softly to right, moving Valdespin up to third. Nieuwenhuis followed with a single to right that scored Valdespin (4-2) and moved Torres to second. Qualls came in to pitch to Wright. Wright singled to right. Hunter fielded and threw home, but his throw wasn’t close to getting Torres, who scored to make it 4-3. Ruiz moved out in front of the plate to take the throw and Wright was caught up between first and second. Rollins threw to Orr covering first and Orr ran Wright towards second, but there was nobody covering second. Orr threw to third to try and Nieuwenhuis there, but his throw was in the dirt and got away for an error, allowing Nieuwenhuis to score and tie the game at 4-4 with two outs and Wright on third. Bastardo came in to pitch to the left Duda and Duda singled to right, scoring Wright to put New York on top 5-4. Murphy flew to center for the third out.

The Wright single play was really ugly. Don’t know why Pence threw home in the first place, cause there was no chance to get Torres. Don’t know why his throw wasn’t cut before making it home. Don’t know why nobody was covering second when Orr was running towards second. The thing that bothers me least about the play was the throw to third, which was in the dirt but could easily have been handled there to prevent the second run.

Qualls and Bastardo face three batters in the inning, allowing two singles and getting one out. Two runs score on the first single, with the help of ugly defense, and one on the second.

Qualls has with at least one run in four of his last six appearances, although the run he was charged with last night was unearned due to Orr’s throwing error. Over his last 4 1/3 innings, he has allowed nine hits and three walks.

Bastardo started the eighth. Davis led off and hit a ball to second that Orr didn’t handle for an error, his second in four batters. The lefty Valdespin flew to left for the second out. Contreras took over for Bastardo, pitching to the righty Nickeas. Ruiz threw Davis out trying to steal second before Nickeas fouled out to Mayberry to end the frame.

Bastardo allows the RBI-single to Duda in the seventh with the run charged to Qualls, then comes back to work around the Orr error in the eighth. He has allowed one hit and two walks over 4 2/3 innings without being charged with a run over his last five appearances. He has thrown two days in a row.

Schwimer started the ninth. Lefty Mike Baxter hit for the pitcher Tim Byrdak and walked on six pitches. Torres moved Baxter to third with a single. Nieuwenhuis flew to left with both runners moving up a base. Baxter scored to make it 6-4 with one out and a man on second. Schwimer struck Wright out swinging for the second out. Savery came in to pitch to the lefty Duda. Duda singled to center on a ball deflected by Savery, scoring Torres to make it 7-4. Murphy grounded back to the pitcher to end the frame.

Second time in three innings that the Phillies bring in a lefty to face the lefty Duda and Duda delivers an RBI-single.

Schwimer has made five appearances on the season and been charged with runs in four of them. He has an 8.53 ERA for the year and opponents have on-based .400 against him. He’s allowed way too many hits and way too many walks in his short time with the Phillies this year. On the plus side, six of the seven hit he’s allowed have been singles.

Savery dropped his ERA to 4.50. It was the only outing of his last three in which he was not charged with a run.

Overall the pen goes 2 1/3 innings in the game, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk. It was worse than that, though, cause two of the runs that scored after Blanton left were charged to Blanton.

Bastardo has thrown two days in a row and threw 18 pitches in the game. Schwimer 17 and everybody else was under ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Miguel Batista went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Orr. Mayberry starts at first against the righty with Nix on the bench with a sore calf. Pierre in left and hitting second. Ruiz hits fifth. The lefty Orr at second with the righty Galvis on the bench.

Pierre singled with one out and stole second before Victorino popped out for the second. Pence was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to center for his seventh home run of the year, putting the Phils up 2-0. Ruiz followed that with a double to center, put Polanco grounded to the pitcher to end the inning.

Mayberry led off the second and reached on a throwing error by Valdespin at short that left Mayberry on second. Mayberry took third on another error, a bad pickoff attempt by Batista. Orr singled into center and Mayberry scored, putting the Phils up 3-0. Blanton struck out trying to bunt before Orr stole second. Rollins followed that with a walk, putting men on first and second for Pierre. Pierre flew to center for the second out, but Victorino was next and lined a ball over short and into the gap in left center for a double that scored Orr (4-0) and moved Rollins to third. Pence flew to center for the third out.

Mayberry singled with two outs in the third, but Orr flew to left behind him.

Blanton started the fourth with a walk with the lead cut to 4-1. Rollins grounded into a double-play behind him. Pierre grounded to second to end the inning.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Mayberry singled to center with one out in the sixth and moved to third when Orr followed with a double. Righty Manny Acosta came in to pitch to Blanton and Blanton went down on a ground ball to second with the runners holding for the second out. Rollins struck out swinging to leave the runners stranded.

No runs for the Phils after putting men on second and third with one out.

The Phillies were down 5-4 when they hit in the seventh. Righty Ramon Ramirez walked Victorino with one out. Pence was next and grounded to third with Victorino forced at second for the second out. Ruiz grounded to second to end the inning.

Polanco reached on an infield single off of Ramirez to start the eighth. He took second on a wild pitch before Mayberry lined hard to second for the first out. He took third on another wild pitch before Orr struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch that was off of the plate. Nix hit for Contreras. Lefty Tim Byrdak came in to pitch to Nix. Wigginton hit for Nix and flew to center to set the Phillies down.

No run for the Phillies after putting a runner on third with one out. Awful at-bat by Orr, striking out on a pitch out of the strike zone when the Mets were looking like they might be happy to let the righty Ramirez walk the lefty Orr.

Down 7-4, Pierre singled off of righty Jon Rauch with one out in the ninth. Victorino flew to left and Pence grounded to third to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk in the game. 3-for-his-last-21.

Pierre 2-for-4. 337/396/361 for the season. Among the 115 NL players with 75 plate appearances, his .396 on-base percentage is 12th.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a walk and a double. 10-for-his-last-30 with four walks and four extra-base hits.

Pence 1-for-5 with a two-run homer. 1-for-8 so far in the series.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a double.

Polanco 1-for-4. 5-for-his-last-12.

Mayberry 2-for-4. 296/310/370 over his last 29 plate appearances.

Orr was 2-for-4 with a double, two errors and an ugly strikeout in the eighth. His .455 slugging percentage is fourth-best on the team.

Lee (0-1, 1.96) returns from the DL to face righty Dillon Gee (2-2, 4.50) tonight. Lee threw ten shutout innings against the Giants on April 18, which was his last start before hitting the DL. Gee has walked just one right-handed batter in his five starts on the season. He’s made four appearances against the Phils in his career (three starts) in which he’s thrown to a 7.85 ERA and a 1.85 ratio.


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