The Phils got enough pitching against the Braves to win the series — Joe Blanton gave them yet another fantastic start last night, Moyer was great in game one when Pedro’s start was cut short by rain and Lidge came up huge twice in two tries. What is a little less impressive was how badly the Phils need great pitching these days if they want to win a game. The Phillies have scored 18 runs in their last six games.
The curious things about scoring 18 runs over the last six games is that Utley and Howard are both on fire. They combined to hit four home runs in the series against the Braves, which drove in five runs (the two-run shot that Howard hit in game one drove in Utley). The Phillies scored three other runs in the three-game series and two of them came on a ball last night that should have been caught.
Howard is 9-for-23 with three home runs and seven RBI over the last six (391/440/870) while Utley has gone 9-for-24 with three home runs (375/423/833) and three RBI. All those home runs aren’t driving a lot of guys in and that’s because there’s not a whole lot of guys on base. Rollins and Victorino combined to go 3-for-24 (.125) with three singles and no walks against the Braves.
Brad Lidge had a fantastic series, which is sure to be noticed by Phillies fans rightfully worried about the back of the pen. Lidge has had some nice stretches before this season, though, so as much as we’d all love to see him back throwing like he did in 2008 it’s going to take a while to make believers out of everyone. As good as Lidge was in the series, it’s also almost just as hard not to notice that Madson, who has been great most of the year, is suddenly not. Madson has been charged with runs in four straight games. And he’s not even trying to close anymore.
The Phillies are 75-53 on the year after taking two of three from the Atlanta Braves at home. They are in first place in the NL East. The Braves and Fish are tied for second-place and both teams trail the Phillies by eight games.
Twenty-two games above .500 ties them for their high mark on the season. If they had won game two of the series they would have been twenty-three games above .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.
The Phillies won game one 4-2. The game was delayed twice by rain, forcing Pedro from the game having thrown two scoreless innings. Howard put the Phils on top 1-0 with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. Moyer came on in relief of Martinez and the Phils took the one-run lead into the bottom of the fourth when Howard again homered, this time a two-run shot that put the Phillies up 3-0. A single, an error by Feliz and an RBI-double by Matt Diaz got the Braves a run in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-1. Ibanez led off the seventh with a triple and came in to score when Feliz followed with a single to make it 4-1. Madson pitched the eighth and had a miserable day, but held Atlanta to a single run in the frame despite allowing a double, two singles and a walk in the inning. Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.
Cliff Lee got lit up in game two and the Braves won 9-1 in eight innings. A first inning run home run from Utley put the Phils up 1-0, but that was all the offense they would get in the game. Lee gave up a five runs in the fourth inning on a three-run homer by Garrett Anderson and a two-run shot by Matt Diaz. Yunel Escobar hit a solo homer off of Lee in the fifth to make it 6-1. Durbin pitched the sixth and he gave up three runs, including a two-run homer by Chipper Jones, putting the game out of reach.
Blanton made a nice start in game three and the Phils held on for a 3-2 win with the help of another save from Lidge. Prado put the Braves up 1-0 with a homer in the first, but Utley tied things up with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the fourth. Ruiz delivered a two-run double off the glove of Anderson in the seventh to put the Phils up 3-1. Madson got into trouble in the eighth, allowing the only three batters he faced to reach base. The Braves put a run on the board to make it 3-2 and had men on first and second when Eyre relieved Madson to pitch to McCann and Eyre got McCann to hit into an odd double-play. McCann hit the ball hard to Utley. Utley went to second for the first out and Rollins threw to third when Prado was eventually tagged out to complete the double-play. Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a one-run lead to earn the save.
The Phillies threw 26 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.31 ratio.
The Phils got a very good start from Blanton in game three and an awful start from Lee in game two. Martinez threw two scoreless innings in his start in game one. Overall the starters threw to a 4.50 ERA with a 1.36 ratio in 14 innings. The Braves hit four home runs against the Phils’ starters, three against Lee in game two and one against Blanton last night.
Martinez started game one and went two scoreless innings before being forced from the game by rain. He allowed a single and a walk and struck out one. He has a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 ratio after four starts with the Phillies.
Lee got blasted in game two, allowing six runs over five innings. All six of the runs he allowed came on the three home runs he surrendered. It was the first time in six starts with the Phillies that he had allowed more than one earned run in a game.
Blanton got the start in game three and managed to get a win despite the fact that the Phils scored just three runs in the game. Blanton went seven innings and allowed a run on three hits and four walks while striking out seven. After throwing to a 1.21 ERA in four starts in July, Blanton has thrown to a 2.81 ERA with a 1.18 ratio in six starts in August.
The bullpen went 12 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. Those numbers are masked by Moyer’s nice outing in game one in which he threw 4 1/3 innings in relief of Pedro and was charged with one run. Madson had bad outings in games one and three and Durbin got lit up in game two.
Eyre played a big role in last night’s game. He entered in the top of the eighth with nobody out, men on first and second and the Phillies down 3-2 to face Brian McCann. McCann smashed a ball to second and the Phillies started a bizarre double-play in which Rollins threw to third to get the second out. Eyre got Anderson on a ground ball to second for the third out.
Eyre has made 38 appearances on the season and been charged with one or more runs in three of them.
Moyer took over from Pedro in game one after Martinez had to leave his start after just two innings. Moyer started the third with a 1-0 lead and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits while striking out five. He didn’t walk a batter and lowered his ERA on the year to 5.12. He left with one out in the top of the seventh with nobody on base and the Phillies up 3-1. In his last two appearances Moyer has allowed one run on six hits and no walks over 10 1/3 innings.
Park took over for Moyer in the seventh inning of game one with one out, the bases empty and the Phillies up 3-1. He got the two men he faced to set Atlanta down.
Durbin started the sixth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-1. He walked the leadoff man and the Braves bunted the runner to second. It looked like Durbin might get away with the leadoff walk when he got Diaz to ground out for the second out. Didn’t happen, though. Martin Prado delivered an RBI-single to make it 7-1 before Chipper hit a two-run homer. Durbin struck out McCann to end the frame.
The outing sent Durbin’s ERA for the season to 5.17.
Walker pitched the seventh and eighth innings of game two with the Phillies down 9-1. He allowed two singles but no runs and dropped his ERA to 1.99 for the year.
Madson started the eighth inning of game one with a 4-1 lead. Matt Diaz led off with a double and moved to third when Martin Prado followed with an infield single. Chipper grounded out and Diaz scored with Prado forced at second, making it 4-2 with one out and a man on first. Madson got Brian McCann on a fly ball for the second out, but Garrett Anderson singled and Yunel Escobar followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Atlanta. Madson got Adam LaRoche on a fly ball to center to end the frame.
He also pitched last night, starting the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead. He hit the first man he faced and then allowed back-to-back singles. The second single drove in a run to make it 3-2 with nobody out and men on first and second. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty McCann.
Madson has now been charged with runs in four appearances in a row. In those four outings he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.50 ratio in four innings.
Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with a 4-2 lead and set the Braves down in order to earn his 26th save of the season.
He also pitched the ninth inning last night, entering with a 3-2 lead and retiring three in a row to end the game.
Fantastic series by Lidge. I’d love to see the Phillies have him back the rest of the way. He has had some other stretches in the season where he’s pitched well, though. He had back-to-back perfect innings to start June and ended June with an ERA near six for the month. He had five appearances from May 26 through June 1 where he was fantastic. In those five outings he allowed one hit and one walk in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. After that stretch he allowed five runs in two innings over his next three times out.
Nobody in the pen has pitched on back-to-back days. Madson, Eyre and Lidge all threw less than 15 pitches last night and the Phillies are off today.
The Phillies scored eight runs in the three-game series.
Rollins was 2-for-12 in the series and is hitting 244/290/415 for the season. He has one walk in his last 41 at-bats.
Victorino was 1-for-12 without a walk in the series. 305/374/464 for the year. He hasn’t walked in his last 26 at-bats.
Utley was 5-for-12 with two home runs in the series, solo shots of course as nobody ever gets on base in front of him. He’s hitting 304/423/554 for the season. 362/470/681 in his last 83 plate appearances.
Howard hit two home runs in game one of the series and drove in three of the four runs that the Phillies scored. He was 6-for-11 with a double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 273/352/569 for the year and 349/415/831 with 11 home runs in his last 94 plate appearances.
Werth went 3-for-11 with a double and a walk in the series. 271/373/520 on the year.
Ibanez was 1-for-9 with a triple and three walks. 278/347/563. He hit .193 in August with one home run.
Feliz was 4-for-8 with a double to raise his line on the year to 275/322/393.
Ruiz had a big double in last night’s game and went 4-for-5 with two doubles in the set. His line is at 242/340/411 for the season. Bako started the middle game of the series with the righty Lowe on the mound for Atlanta.
Bako was 1-for-3 with a double in the series and is hitting 200/273/329 for the year.
Bruntlett did not play in the series and is hitting 167/224/240 for the year.
Francisco didn’t play in the series and is hitting 220/267/463 in 41 at-bats with the Phillies.
Cairo was 0-for-1 in the series. 2-for-18 with two singles this year.
Stairs was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the series to drop his line on the year to 195/352/356. 1-for-33 since the end of June.