Tag: Chan Ho Park

Better late than never

Game three of the NLDS didn’t end until about two o’clock in the morning Philadelphia time, but when it was over the Phillies had a 6-5 win to take a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series with the Colorado Rockies. The Phils won a tight game late thanks to contributions from a pair of players whose seasons didn’t have you expecting a whole lot from them in the playoffs. Jimmy Rollins sparked a ninth-inning rally with a leadoff single and scored the run that won the game for the Phils. Brad Lidge shut out the lights on a game that badly needed its lights shut out, getting Troy Tulowitzki on a soft fly ball to left for the final out of the game with the winning run on first.

It was a close and exciting game, but not a great game. Nobody pitched especially well or looked especially comfortable playing with the temperature in the low 30′s. The most exciting play of the game may have been Utley hitting a ball off his leg that wound up going about ten feet down the first base line. Nobody on the Phillies can get out Carlos Gonzalez, almost literally. He’s 8-for-13 in the series (.615) after going 3-for-4 last night and scoring three of the five Colorado runs.

The Phillies also suffered what could prove to be a big injury in the bottom of the seventh as Scott Eyre sprained his right ankle coming off the mound to try and field a bunt. The Phils already had a lot of problems with left-handers and losing the one guy who has been fantastic probably isn’t going to help. Bastardo looks like he may be the only lefty available tonight out of the pen for the Phils. Other possibilities are Eyre, who hurt his ankle last night, Hamels, who is scheduled to start game five if it’s needed, or Happ, who started yesterday and threw three innings and 76 pitches. So it looks like it may just be Bastardo.

The Phils lead the Rockies two games to one in the best-of-five NLDS after winning last night’s game 6-5.

JA Happ got the start for the Phillies and went three innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double by Garrett Atkins. He struck out four.

He faced a Rockies lineup that went (1) Gonzalez (LF/L) (2) Fowler (CF/S) (3) Helton (1B/L) (4) Tulowitzki (SS/R) (5) Torrealba (C/R) (6) Atkins (3B/R) (7) Spilborghs (RF/L) (8) Barmes (2B/R). That’s the same lineup as game two, but with Torrealba and Atkins switched after Torrealba homered off of Hamels on Thursday.

The Rockies had lefties Jason Giambi, Ian Stewart, Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith on the bench to start the game, along with righty and Chris Iannetta and switch-hitter Eric Young.

Happ started the bottom of the first up 1-0 thanks to an Utley blast in the top of the first. Gonzalez led off and singled into center on a 3-1 pitch. Fowler was next and he got way ahead, too. The 3-1 pitch looked low, but Happ got the strike before Fowler singled into left. It put men on first and third with nobody out for Helton. Helton hit a slow ground ball to second. Utley got the first out at second, but the Phillies could not turn two and Gonzalez scored to make it 1-1 with one out and a man on first. Tulowitzki followed with another hit, a single to center, and Helton went to second. Happ struck Torrealba out swinging for the second out. Atkins was next and it looked like Happ had struck him out, too, but the 2-2 pitch was called low. Atkins singled into left on the next pitch and Helton scored from second. 2-1. Spilborghs was next and smashed a ball to center field, but Victorino took it to end the inning.

Thirty-five pitch first inning for Happ.

Barmes grounded to short to start the second, but the pitcher Hammel was next and Happ walked him on five pitches. Gonzalez popped a 1-0 pitch to short for the second out and Happ struck Fowler out swinging 3-2 to set the side down.

Seventeen more pitches had Happ at 52.

Helton started the bottom of the third for Colorado and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was low. Tulowitzki flew softly to right for the first out and Happ got Torrealba swinging 1-2 for the second. Atkins was next, though, and he smashed a ball over the head of Victorino for a double. Helton scored from first without a throw and the Rockies led 3-1. Happ struck Spilborghs out to leave Atkins stranded.

Twenty-four more pitches in the inning for Happ. 76.

Blanton started the bottom of the fourth after the Phils hit for Happ in the top of the inning. The Phils were up 4-3. Barmes popped to first for the first out. The pitcher Matt Belisle hit for himself and grounded to short for the second. Gonzalez was next and he hammered a 2-1 pitch from Blanton way out to right, tying the game at 4-4. It brought up Fowler and he chopped a ball back to the mound. Blanton fielded and tagged Fowler out to end the inning.

It was still 4-4 when Blanton started the fifth. Helton led off and hit a 2-0 pitch into center for a single, but Tulowitzki was next and Blanton got him to hit into a double-play. Torreabla flew to Werth in right for the third out.

Just seven pitches in the inning for Blanton, who had thrown 22 in the game.

After hitting for himself in the top of the inning, Blanton started the bottom of the sixth with a 5-4 lead. Atkins led off and lined a 2-2 pitch to Ibanez in left. Spilborghs was next and singled into center. Barmes flew to Victorino just in front of the warning track for the second out. Lefty Seth Smith hit for the pitcher Jose Contreras. Eyre came in and got Smith to foul out to Feliz on a 1-1 pitch to set the Rockies down.

Eyre returned to start the seventh. Gonzalez led off and got the Phillies again, splitting the gap in left-center for a double to start the inning. Fowler was next and he bunted, but as Eyre came off the mound he hurt his ankle and fell to the ground. Gonzalez moved to third and Fowler was safe with a single. Manuel brought in his right-handed closer Madson to pitch to the lefty Helton and Madson struck him out for the first out. Tulowitzki was next and he hit a fly ball to deep left. Gonzalez scored to tie the game at 5-5 with Fowler holding first. Madson struck Torrealba out looking 2-2 to end the inning.

Durbin pitched the eighth with the score still tied at 5-5 and set the Rockies down in order. He got Atkins and Spilborghs on a pair of ground balls to third and then got Barmes to ground to short.

Nice inning for Durbin in a critical spot.

Lidge was on in the ninth to protect a 6-5 lead. Brad Hawpe, who was put in right field in the top of the inning by Colorado, led off and grounded to second. Gonzalez was next and Lidge couldn’t get him out either. Gonzalez drew a walk on eight pitches, putting the tying run on first base. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for Dexter Fowler and Giambi got him to foul to Feliz on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. The lefty Helton drew a five-pitch walk, moving Gonzalez to second and bringing up Tulowitzki with two outs and two on. Eric Young ran for Helton at first. Tulowitzki got ahead 1-0 and then lofted a soft fly ball to Francisco, who had just came in to play left with Lidge at the start of the inning, to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Hammel went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R).

The Phillies started the game with a five-man bench that included righties Francisco and Cairo and lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako.

Rollins led off the game and flew to center 3-2 for the first out. Victorino was next and he struck out swinging, but Utley followed and he pounded a 1-0 pitch out to right-center to put the Phillies up 1-0. Howard crushed the first pitch he saw down the right field foul line but foul before he struck out 2-2 trying to check his swing to set the Phillies down.

Down 2-1, the Phillies went in order in the second. Werth flew to right for the first out. Ibanez hit a line drive hard back up the middle, but off of Hammel’s glove. Hammel recovered the ball and threw him out. Feliz waved at a 2-2 pitch outside and in the dirt for the third out.

Hammel had thrown 30 pitches through two innings.

Ruiz led off the third and hit a 2-2 pitch hard to third, but Atkins fielded and threw to first. His throw was in the dirt, but Helton scooped it nicely for the first out. Happ struck out on three pitches for the second out. Rollins went down swinging 2-2 to set the Phillies down. Hammel had struck out five through three innings.

Down 3-1, Victorino led off the top of the fourth with a walk. Utley moved him to second with a single to right. Howard was next and he laced a base hit to right-center, scoring Victorino to make it 3-2 and moving Utley to third. Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez walked to force in Utley and tie the game at 3-3. Feliz was next with the bases still loaded and nobody out. He tapped a 1-1 pitch back to the mound. Hammel gloved and threw home for the first out, Torrealba threw to first to complete the double-play. With men on second and third and two down, Ruiz had a long at-bat before he finally hit a 3-2 pitch and snuck a ground ball into left field for a single. Werth scored and the Phils led 4-3 with men on first and third. Dobbs hit for Happ and the Rockies pulled Hammel from the game. They called on righty Matt Belisle to pitch to Dobbs and Belisle got Dobbs on a ground ball to second to leave both men stranded.

Fantastic inning for the Phils. Great job to get it started by Victorino. Nice at-bat with two outs by Ruiz.

Belisle was back to start the fifth with the score tied at 4-4. Rollins struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Victorino went down on a fly ball to right for the second, but Utley followed with a two-out walk. The Rockies called on lefty Joe Beimel to pitch to Howard and Howard popped Beimel’s first pitch to Tulowitzki in shallow center to end the frame.

Righty Jose Contreras was on to start the sixth for Colorado. He got behind Werth 3-0 but came back to strike him out swinging for the first out. Ibanez and Feliz walked back-to-back after that, putting men on first and second for Ruiz. Ruiz grounded a 3-1 pitch back up the middle and into center for a single. Ibanez scored from second to put the Phils up 5-4. With men on first and second and one out, Blanton hit for himself and struck out trying to bunt. Rollins grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Second big hit in the game for Ruiz. Blanton stays in the game with Pedro presumably available to pitch.

Lefty Franklin Morales set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Victorino led off and hit a ground ball that Tulowitzki made a nice play on behind second, fielding and throwing to first to nip Victorino for the first out. Utley flew to left and Howard flew to center.

Morales is scary out of the pen for Colorado. I feel much better about the Phillies chances against his fellow lefty Beimel.

Righty Rafael Betancourt pitched the eighth for the Rockies with the score tied at 5-5. He struck Werth out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Ibanez was next and he drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch that was outside. Feliz followed and he dumped a ball down the left field line that fell for a double, moving Ibanez to third. Ruiz struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Stairs hit for Madson and struck out swinging 3-2 to leave both men stranded.

Enormous strikeout for Ruiz, who can’t bring the runner on third home with one out.

Righty Huston Street started the ninth for Colorado with the score at 5-5. Rollins led off for the Phils and singled into center on a 3-2 pitch. Victorino bunted him to second. Utley was next and he hit a check-swing dribbler out in front of the plate. Street fielded with his momentum taking him into foul territory and threw to first. Utley was called safe on a close play and Rollins went to third — I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say the Phillies got at least one break on the play. Howard was next and delivered a sac fly to deep left-center, with both runners moving up a base and Rollins scoring to put the Phils up 6-5. Werth drew a walk to put two men on before Ibanez went down on a ball hit out in front of the plate to end the frame.

Rollins starts the rally. The Phils play for one and get one.

Rollins came into the series 2-for-9 with two singles. He was 1-for-5 with a huge single last night.

Victorino was 4-for-9 with a double in games one and two and 0-for-3 with a walk last night.

Utley was 2-for-8 in the set. He went 3-for-4 with a home run and a walk last night.

Howard 4-for-8 with two doubles in the series coming into the game and went 1-for-4 with two RBI last night.

Werth 3-for-7 with a triple and a homer in games one and two. 0-for-3 with two walks last night.

Ibanez 4-for-8 with a double and four RBI in the first two and went 0-for-2 with three walks last night. Werth and Ibanez combined to go 0-for-5 with five walks in the game.

Feliz 3-for-7 in the series coming into the game. 1-for-3 with a double and a walk last night.

Ruiz was 1-for-5 with two walks in the series coming into game three. 2-for-4 with two RBI last night, but a big strikeout in the eighth.

Dobbs and Stairs were both 0-for-1 in last night’s game.

Game four of the series is tonight at 6:07. Cliff Lee faces Ubaldo Jimenez in a rematch of game one.

In his blog, Scott Eyre says that he suffered a mild sprain of his right ankle and that he’ll be able to pitch again. He doesn’t say when, but presumably it’s soon. I’d guess it isn’t tonight.

This says that Chan Ho Park could be available if the Phillies make it to the NLCS.

It’s pretty hard to watch the replay of Utley’s dribbler in the ninth without noticing that the ball hits his leg. It should have been called a foul ball.


West obsessed

Still a few games left to play, but it looks almost just about sure the Phillies will be playing the Rockies of the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs. Here’s how the offenses for the three teams compare for the year, since the All-Star break and for the month that just ended:


Season
Team G R R/G
COL 158 788 4.99
LA 159 767 4.82
PHI 158 805 5.09
       

Second Half
COL 70 346 4.94
LA 71 324 4.56
PHI 72 345 4.79
       

September
COL 27 134 4.96
LA 27 132 4.89
PHI 30 140 4.67

The Rockies have been a little better than the Dodgers offensively.

Ignoring the Phillies offense thinking only about which offense the Phils’ pitchers would fare best against, I still like the Phillies chances against the Rockies a little better than the Dodgers given the Phils seem sure to start lefties Lee and Hamels in the first two games of a short set.

Here’s what the Rockies and Dodgers have done against lefties this season — their average, on-base percentage and slugging against them as a team as well as their rate of getting hits, walks, doubles and triples and hitting home runs per 100 plate appearances:


AVG

OBP

SLG

H/100

BB/100

(2B+3B)/100

HR/100

COL

254

334

436

22.0

9.9

5.7

3.2

LA

271

358

427

23.1

10.5

5.2

2.5

The Rockies did hit for a little more power against lefties this season, but the Dodgers got hits and walks at a higher rate. LA’s .358 on-base percentage against lefties is particularly impressive.

Here are the Rockies hitters that have at least 50 plate appearances this year with an OPS of .850 or better against lefties:


Player

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
Iannetta 299 407 597 1.004
Tulowitzki 268 379 530 .909
Fowler 326 379 492 .872
Smith 259 368 500 .868
Gonzalez 294 356 510 .866

Iannetta hasn’t played nearly as much as Torrealba recently. Smith is a left-handed batter who has only had about 18% of his plate appearances against lefties this season. Fowler and Gonzalez can’t both play center field at the same time — Fowler has appeared only as a center fielder this season while Gonzalez has appeared at all three outfield positions, but mostly center and left.

Tulowitzki is just great.

Lefty Brad Hawpe plays right field just about all the time and has hit 252/348/453 against left-handed pitching this year.

Here’s how the list for the Dodgers looks:


Player

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
Kemp 365 431 620 1.052
Blake 317 441 564 1.005
Ramirez 274 384 521 .904
Hudson 295 363 496 .859

Kemp, Blake and Ramirez are all terrors against lefties. Blake has been out with a sore hamstring, but he should be back this weekend.

Furcal and Pierre have both also been good against lefties this season, but don’t quite have their OPS against them up to .850. Furcal is hitting 298/363/454 against them and Pierre 316/412/398.

Loney and Martin both did a great job of getting on base against lefties this year, but with little power. Loney on-based .373 against them and Martin .411.

On the plus side, Andre Ethier had a fantastic year in which he hit 31 home runs and drove in 105 but was terrible against lefties. In 186 plate appearances against left-handed pitching this season he hit 189/280/341.

Jamie Moyer is out for the season. That is very disappointing — both because it would have been nice to see him help the team in the post-season and because there was a very good chance he was going to be able to given how well he had been pitching. Moyer looking up from his knees, badly injured, to see if Victorino had caught the ball in center wasn’t really the last memory of his season I was hoping for. It is, however, a good reminder of what he has given this team. After a terrible first two months this year he had thrown to a 4.06 ERA with a 1.22 ratio over his last 108 2/3 innings.

This article says that Myers was available last night, that Park will be back “very quickly” and seems to suggest that Myers may be on the post-season roster.


Late and closer

Not including yesterday’s games, here are the standings in the NL East since July 28:

  W L GB PCT
ATL 31 21 - .596
FLA 30 23 1.5 .566
PHI 30 23 1.5 .566
WAS 20 31 10.5 .392
NYM 17 37 15 .315

Given that’s the case, thank goodness for the standings through July 28:

  W L GB PCT
PHI 58 40 - .592
FLA 52 48 7.0 .520
ATL 51 49 8.0 .510
NYM 48 51 10.5 .485
WAS 32 68 27.0 .320

The Phillies haven’t played badly in the second half. They should, however, be glad that the Marlins and Braves combined to go four and two games above .500 respectively in their first hundred games of the season.

And while the Marlins and Braves got better in the recent stretch of games, it’s also important to realize that the Phillies got worse.

In the 98 games to start the season the Phils went 58-40, but the starting pitching and the runs they allowed overall were both terrible compared to the next 53 games in which they went 30-23. Over the first 98 games they allowed about 4.63 runs per game and their starters threw to a 4.63 ERA with a 1.40 ratio. Over the next 53 games they were worse overall, but their starters were much better. The starters pitched to a 3.28 ERA and a 1.22 ratio, helping the Phillies cut their runs allowed per game to about 3.66 — almost a full run lower than they had allowed per game in the first 98 games of the season.

They made up for it in the first 98 with a monster offense, of course. Over the first 98 they scored about 5.48 runs per game. That was down to about 4.25 runs per game over the next 53.

Despite the improvement in the pitching recently, it hasn’t been enough to make up for the fact the Phillies are scoring so many fewer runs. Over the first 98 games the difference between the average number of runs the Phillies scored and allowed per game was about 0.85 (5.48 minus 4.63) For the next 53 games it was a lot lower — 4.25 minus 3.66 is 0.59.

Todd Zolecki’s blog has quotes from Manuel talking about using Happ out of the pen or even in the ninth inning.

And Manuel talks about the possibility of using Walker to close in this article.

The Phils are still hoping to get Myers, Park and Romero back before the end of the regular season.

College football fans might want to check out Sunday Morning Quarterbacks, a newish blog from a couple of guys who literally wrote the book on college football.


Late, close and watching

Question of the day is why doesn’t Tyler Walker pitch to more batters when the game is close. Answer of the day is “I don’t know” — given that’s the answer at least I can demonstrate that he doesn’t pitch to a lot of batters when the game is close.

First things first: Walker has been fantastic for the Phillies this season. He came into yesterday’s games with a 2.35 ERA for the year and a 0.98 ratio. Opponents were hitting .204 against him for the season and on-basing .258.

Still, as the back of the bullpen implodes Walker virtually never is pitching in situations when the game is close. The chart below lists all of the Phillies pitchers who have faced at least one batter this year, how many total batters they have faced, how many batters they have faced when the score was tied or one of the teams was winning by one run and the percent of batters faced when the score was tied or with the Phils up or down one. It is divided into three sections — pitchers who have worked only as starters are at the top, pitchers who have worked only as relievers are at the bottom and pitchers who have pitched both as starters and as relievers are in a group in the middle (the chart does not include yesterday’s games).

  Total PA PA tie or
within one
% tie or
within one
Pedro
Martinez
171 115 67.3
Cole Hamels 740 483 65.3
Joe Blanton 753 488 64.8
Cliff Lee 275 128 46.5
Antonio
Bastardo
102 46 45.1
       
Brett Myers 294 159 54.1
Kyle Kendrick 66 32 48.5
JA Happ 623 300 48.2
Jamie Moyer 648 277 42.7
Chan Ho Park 362 161 44.5
Andrew
Carpenter
32 13 40.6
Rodrigo Lopez 137 52 38.0
       
JC Romero 68 40 58.8
Ryan Madson 298 126 42.3
Clay Condrey 156 64 41.0
Brad Lidge 263 107 40.7
Scott Eyre 119 39 32.8
Chad Durbin 285 93 32.6
Jack Taschner 138 24 17.4
Sergio
Escalona
34 4 11.8
Tyler Walker 125 14 11.2
Steven
Register
11 0 0.0

So the only player who has pitched for the Phillies this season and thrown to a lower percentage of the batters he’s faced with the score tied or the Phils up or down one run is Steven Register, who appeared in one game and faced 11 hitters.

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for the answer to why questions you’ve come to the wrong place. I don’t know. If I had to guess my guess would be that Manuel is terrified of the prospect of Walker facing a left-handed hitter with the game close. Walker has been great against lefties in 2009 — they’ve hit 209/271/302 against him, which is actually better than the 200/250/343 that righties have hit against Walker. In 2008, however, lefties smoked Walker to the tune of 319/372/597. Over his career lefties have hit an ugly 281/352/459 against Walker.

Aside from Walker, I think that the chart shows some other interesting things. First and most obvious is that starting pitchers generally face more batters with the game close and a higher percentage of their batters than relief pitchers do.

I think the difference in the percentage of the hitters that Romero and Eyre faced in tight games is telling. Both would like be used primarily as situational lefties in the post-season if available, but Manuel has given Romero a lot more of his chances in tight games. Eyre has been better.

Condrey has faced a higher percentage of hitters in one run or closer games than Lidge. His percentage is also higher than Durbin. Durbin has a low percentage of hitters faced in tight games compared to other regulars in the group. It’s also down from last year. In 2008, Durbin faced 364 batters and faced 174 of them (47.8%) with the score tied or the Phils up or down a run. I don’t think any of that bodes well for Durbin.

Myers has a strained back. The Phillies hope he will return before the end of the regular season.

The article linked above says that Happ will start on Thursday, Lee on Friday and (hopefully) Pedro on Saturday.

It also says that Dobbs was not ready to play third yesterday with his calf. I still find starting Cairo to be very odd. Even if Dobbs does not go I don’t understand why it would be Cairo and not Bruntlett. I’ve been saying for a while that I think Bruntlett is on the post-season roster because he’s the only choice to back up the middle infield. That’s not literally true, of course. It’s also notable that Bruntlett does not have an at-bat this month. We’ll see.

The same article says that Eyre needs surgery but is cleared to pitch, pitched yesterday and felt good. It also says that Romero threw 50 pitches yesterday and will throw again tomorrow and that Park could pitch next week.


Durbin definitely either getting worse, improving or staying about the same

Chad Durbin was a huge part of the Phillies bullpen in 2008. In 2009 he has struggled, but a lot of his numbers make it look like ’09 has been a better year for Durbin than ’08. Opponents are hitting .230 against him this season after hitting .254 against him last year. He’s struck out a whole lot more hitters this year than he did in ’09 than he did in ’08, too, striking out about 8.2 batters per nine in ’09 after striking out about 6.5 batters per nine in ’08. He’s faring better against lefties this year as well — lefties have hit 240/370/394 against him in ’09 after hitting 311/401/394 against him in 2008.

Something’s wrong, though, maybe more than one something. Here’s the rates he has allowed runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs, walks and struck batters out per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB SO
2009 13.3 18.6 4.2 2.8 14.7 20.0
2008 9.1 22.3 3.3 1.4 9.6 17.3

The extra-base hits and the walks are both way up. He’s allowing home runs at about twice the rate he did last year and walks at about 1 1/2 times the ’08 pace.

As I mentioned above, Durbin has actually been a little better against lefties in ’09 than he was in ’08. Righties have been hitting him a little harder this year, connecting for more extra-base hits, but the bigger problem is that despite the fact that righties are hitting just .222 against Durbin in ’09 they are on-basing .355. A year ago he held them to a .214 average but they on-based just .284 for the year.

When you look at Durbin’s numbers for the year, the thing that’s more worrisome than comparing his numbers for the season to last year’s numbers is comparing his numbers for the season to his career numbers. Durbin has put up a 4.88 ERA and a 1.52 ratio for the season, but both of those numbers are better than his numbers for his career. Over his career Durbin has a 5.25 ERA and a 1.53 ratio. Even given that he spent most of his career in the American League that still shouldn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Here’s how his numbers for the year compare to his career numbers for the categories in the chart above:

  Runs Hits 2B+3B HR BB SO
2009 13.3 18.6 4.2 2.8 14.7 20.0
Career 14.4 24.4 4.8 3.3 9.8 14.0

Again, Durbin was in the AL for most of his career, but still in 2009 he has been better at preventing runs, hits, doubles and triples, home runs and at striking batters out than he has been over his career. The only thing that’s worse for him is the walks.

This article suggests that Myers and Park may pitch again this season, that Romero may face hitters this week and that the Phils hope Romero and Eyre will both return soon.


Feast of the East

It’s not clear how the season is going to end for the Phillies, but one thing I think we can say at this point is that the Phils are better than the other teams in the NL East. The Phils have one more big stop to make in Florida, but they have plowed through the other teams in the division in their recent stretch, going 10-3 against the Nats, Mets and Braves over their last 13 games.

The Phillies are 27-9 on the season against the Mets and Nationals. 60-52 against the other teams in baseball.

The Phillies are 87-61 on the season after taking two of three from the Braves in Atlanta. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by eight games. After winning the first game of the series they were twenty-six games over .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies won the first game of the series 9-4. Martin Prado put the Braves up 1-0 in the bottom of the third with a home run off of Happ. Happ left after three innings for precautionary reasons after a mystery injury that may or may not have been related to his oblique. Howard put the Phils up 2-1 with a two-run homer in the fourth and Kendrick took over for Happ and delivered four scoreless frames. The Phils extended the lead to 3-1 on another home run by Howard, this one a solo shot in the sixth. Werth drove in two runs with a single in the eighth and it was 5-1, but Brian McCann got Atlanta back in the game with a two-run homer off of Walker in the bottom of the eighth. A three-run homer by Rollins and a solo shot from Francisco pushed the Phillies lead to 9-3 and Atlanta scored a run charged to Durbin in the bottom of the ninth.

The Braves won game two 6-4. Again the Phillies saw their starter leave early as Pedro left after three innings with a stiff neck. Martinez did well to get out of the second allowing just one run after the Braves saw their first two hitters reach on a double and a single. Atlanta extended the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the second on four hits and a hit batter. Durbin took over for Martinez after the early exit, allowing three runs over 2 2/3. The Phillies, meanwhile, couldn’t find the answer to Javier Vazquez. Vazquez tossed seven shutout innings and the Braves took a 6-0 lead into the top of the ninth. The Phils scored four times in the top of the ninth, with Howard delivering the big blow, a two-run homer off of Rafael Soriano. With two outs and men on first and second, Francisco flew to right to end the game and snap a six-game winning streak for the Phils.

The Phils played sloppy yesterday. They gave away outs on the bases, got ejected arguing about it, overthrew the cutoff man, executed one of the worst rundowns you’ve ever seen and dropped the ball — and that was all in the first inning. They pitched well enough to win anyway, taking the game 4-2. The Braves went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first with a run off of Cliff Lee. Francisco doubled in Rollins in the third to tie the game at 1-1 and Ibanez and Feliz drove in runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-1. A triple by Utley in the top of the fifth brought in Rollins and it was 4-1 before a long rain delay that forced Lee from the game. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of Lee before Lidge allowed yet another run in the ninth.

The Phils threw 26 innings in the series with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.27 ratio.

All three of the starts were cut short. Happ and Martinez had their starts cut short by injury and Lee exited after four yesterday due to rain. The three combined to throw just ten innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.80 ratio. Happ and Lee both pitched pretty well, but Martinez allowed three runs on seven hits over three innings. They allowed just one home run, which Prado hit off of Happ.

Happ left game one of the series after three innings in which he allowed a run on five hits including the solo homer to Prado.

Pedro went three innings in game two before leaving with neck stiffness. In his three innings he allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk. The loss in game two was the first time the Phillies had lost a game that he had started.

Lee only got to throw four innings in his start as well before he was forced from the game by rain. He went four innings, allowing a run on three singles and a pair of doubles. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. He’s allowed one run in 13 innings over his last two starts. 7-2 with the Phils with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.07 ratio. He’s walked just nine over 68 innings.

The pen had to throw a ton of innings in the set with three early exits from the starters. As a group the pen threw 16 innings in the three games, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with an 0.94 ratio. They allowed just 11 hits in 16 innings. Kendrick was fantastic in game one, throwing four shutout innings in relief of Happ, but Walker and Durbin both got hit hard later in that game. Durbin was hit hard again in game two, with Escalona and Condrey pitching well after that. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to pitch four scoreless innings yesterday before Lidge gave up a run in the ninth.

Escalona entered game two in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies down 6-0 to pitch to lefty Brian McCann. He got McCann on a line drive to third to end the game. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

He also started the seventh inning yesterday with the Phils up 4-1. He hit Nate McClouth with two outs and Condrey came on to face the righty Prado.

Escalona sure seems like he should be getting consideration for the post-season roster given the problems for Eyre and Romero, but Manuel makes it sound like there’s not much of a chance. He has a 2.16 ERA and an 0.84 ratio in 8 1/3 innings on the year.

Kendrick took over for Happ in the fourth inning of game one, entering with a 2-1 lead. He threw four scoreless innings, allowing three singles and not walking a batter. He has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in 16 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season.

Walker started the eighth inning of game one with a 5-1 lead. He allowed a one-out single that was followed by a two-out home run by Brian McCann. Walker was pulled for Madson after getting just two outs.

Walker also pitched in yesterday’s game, entering in the bottom of the fifth after the rain delay with the Phillies up 4-1. He threw a 1-2-3 fifth. He came back to start the sixth and allowed a leadoff single to Chipper. He got the next two hitters before walking Omar Infante, then struck out David Ross to leave both runners stranded.

Walker has been fantastic for the Phils. He deserves to throw important innings in the post-season and I think he will.

Madson entered game one with two outs and nobody on, the Phillies up 5-3. He got Omar Infante on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Madson also pitched the eighth inning yesterday, entering with a 4-1 lead, and struck out the side.

Durbin started the ninth inning of game one with a 9-3 lead. He gave up a leadoff double to Garret Anderson and Anderson came around to score on a one-out single by Adam LaRoche. Durbin got the two hitters after LaRoche to end the game.

Durbin also pitched in game two. He entered in relief of Pedro to start the fourth with the Phillies down 3-0. Nate McLouth led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Bako. A sac fly by Prado brought him in to make it 4-0. Durbin came back for the fifth and got the first two before allowing a walk that was followed by a two-run homer by LaRoche. 6-0. He started the sixth as well. McLouth led off with a single and Durbin got the next two before Escalona came on to pitch to the lefty McCann.

Not a good series for Durbin, who the Phils could sure use. He has walked 42 in 62 2/3 innings on the season after walking 35 in 87 2/3 innings in 2008. His walk rate for the year is the worst for his career.

Condrey pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-0. In his first action since July 22 he set the Braves down in order.

Condrey also pitched yesterday, entering in the seventh with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies up 4-1 to pitch to Prado. Prado grounded to third to end the inning.

These are critical innings for right-handed pitchers for the Phils looking to make the playoff roster. The Phils have a whole lot of righties — Myers and Durbin aren’t pitching well and Park is hurt.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning yesterday, coming into the game with a 4-1 lead. He got the first two batters he faced. He walked Brooks Conrad with two outs and Conrad took second on defensive indifference. McCann was next and delivered a single to right, scoring Conrad to make it 4-2. Lidge struck out McLouth to end the game.

Lidge has allowed runs in three straight appearances. In his last three times out he has given up four runs on five hits and a walk over three innings. He’s really making it tough for the Phils to think about using him in close games in the playoffs.

The pen can surely use the off day today after throwing 16 innings in the series. Condrey and Escalona have both thrown two days in a row.

The Phillies scored 17 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 3-for-13 with a double, two walks and a home run in the series. 247/292/415 for the year.

Francisco started game one in center with Victorino out with stomach problems. 5-for-13 with two doubles and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 270/304/554 with the Phillies.

Utley was 3-for-13 with a triple and a walk in the set. 294/411/533 for the season. He’s hitting .229 in September.

Howard was 4-for-11 with a double and three home runs. 271/354/564 on the year. After hitting three home runs in the series he still has just four for September after hitting eleven in August.

Ibanez was 2-for-11 with a double in the series and is hitting 277/347/559 for the year. In a bizarro coincidence he is also hitting .277 and on-basing .347 in September (but slugging .538).

Werth went 3-for-8 with three walks in the series. 274/377/523 on the year.

Feliz was 3-for-12 in the set and is at 264/310/382 on the year. He’s on-basing .234 in September after on-basing .257 in August.

Ruiz left game one after the top of the sixth with problems with his left wrist. He was 0-for-1 with a walk in the series and is hitting 255/355/426 on the year. 317/411/538 since the start of August.

Bako started games two and three and went 1-for-7 in the series. He’s hitting 190/277/298 on the year.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner in games one and two but did not have an at-bat in the series. He has not gotten an at-bat this month or in any of his last six appearances. 167/224/240 on the season. Need to let him hit if he’s going to be on the post-season roster (he is).

Mayberry was 1-for-2 with a double to improve his line on the year to 200/241/473 over 55 at-bats. Those are the at-bats I’d rather see Bruntlett getting.

Dobbs was 1-for-1 in the series and is hitting 261/309/413 for the season.

Stairs was 1-for-1 with a double and a walk in the series. 208/367/406 on the year.

This suggests that:

  • Carlos Ruiz could be available tomorrow.
  • Eyre felt good throwing yesterday and will throw again tomorrow.
  • Park could pitch again during the regular season.
  • Pedro’s neck isn’t feeling good.

Brett Myers will see a doctor about soreness in his right shoulder. Happ’s status seems to be unclear.


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