Tag: Chipper Jones

Chance-to-see-stuff-that’s-stastically-improbable giveaway night in Atlanta largely a hit

Overall I’d say people feel like they got their money’s worth with Halladay being unable to hold a six-run lead and Ruiz driving in seven runs in a game his team lost. My impression is people might have felt Contreras, Schwimer and Sanches not pitching so well fell a little flat.

Wild one last night in Atlanta, which the Braves won 15-13 on a walkoff two-run homer by Chipper Jones in the bottom of the eleventh.

Staked to a 6-0 lead, Roy Halladay allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings in the game. The Phils failed to hold leads of 6-0 and 12-8 in the contest.

Carlos Ruiz went nuts, driving in seven runs, including three in the seventh on a three-run homer and three in the eighth on a three-run double.

Neither team got a lot of outstanding work from their pen, but the Braves got the last laugh in that department. After Savery and Bastardo went 1 2/3 scoreless frames, Contreras, Schwimer and Sanches combined to allow seven runs in three innings. With Qualls and Papelbon both in the pen having been used heavily over the past four days, the Phils brought Sanches out to start his third inning of the game in the eleventh. He didn’t get an out before Chipper won the game with a walkoff home run.

The Phillies are 12-13 on the year after losing to the Atlanta Braves 15-13 in 11 innings last night. The teams have split the first two games of the series.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on 12 hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a grand slam. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.

Martin Prado and Freddie Freeman singled back-to-back with one out in the bottom of the first, putting runners on first and second for Brian McCann. McCann hit a ball to first. Wigginton fielded, went to second for the first out and Rollins threw to Halladay covering first to complete the double-play and end the inning.

Great play by the Phils. Rollins did a great job at second, holding the ball long enough for Halladay to get to first while Freeman slid in hard.

Halladay set the Braves down in order in the second.

He started the third with a 4-0 lead and set Atlanta down in order.

McCann singled with two outs in the fourth, but Halladay struck Dan Uggla out behind him.

Halladay started the fifth with a 6-0 lead. Chipper Jones, Eric Hinske and Taylor Pastornicky all singled to start the frame, loading the bases with nobody out. Lefty Juan Francisco hit for the pitcher Cristhian Martinez and Halladay got him to pop to third for the first out. Michael Bourn was next and he singled into right, moving everyone up a base. Chipper scored and it was 6-1. Prado followed with an infield single, again moving everyone up a base. 6-2. Freeman popped to Galvis for the second out. McCann was next and he hit a 2-1 pitch well out to right, tying the game at 6-6. Halladay struck Uggla out looking to end the inning.

First home run allowed by Halladay since September 19, 2011. At least he made it memorable.

Hinske singled with one out in the sixth and a double by Pastornicky moved Hinske up to third. Lefty Jason Heyward hit for the pitcher Livan Hernandez and singled into right, scoring both runners to put Atlanta up 8-6. Savery took over for Halladay. He got Bourn swinging as Ruiz threw Heyward out trying to steal second, setting the Braves down.

Savery dropped his ERA on the year to 1.42 with the outing. In 6 1/3 innings, he has allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk.

The Phillies were up 9-8 when Bastardo started the seventh. Pitching for the third day in a row, he set Atlanta down in order on three fly balls. Two of the outs came on nice plays by Mayberry in left. He made a diving play to take a hit away from Prado for the first out and retired Freeman as he crashed into the wall for the second.

After not going a full inning in any of his first six outings on the year, Bastardo has now done so twice in the last two days. Over the last two days he’s thrown two perfect innings in two times out.

Contreras started the eighth with the Phillies on top 12-8. Uggla led off with a single. Chipper was next and hit a ball back up the middle that the Phillies might have gotten two on, but Rollins didn’t handle it for an error and the Phils didn’t get any. Righty Matt Diaz hit for the pitcher Kris Medlen and Contreras struck him out swinging for the first out. Pastornicky singled to center, scoring Uggla (12-9) and moving Chipper up to second. Contreras walked Heyward on a 3-2 pitch, loading the bases. The righty Schwimer took over for the righty Contreras, coming in to pitch to the lefty Bourn. Schwimer walked Bourn on four pitches, forcing in Chipper to make it 12-10. Prado followed with a single into center, scoring Pastornicky and Heyward, making it 12-12 with men on first and third. Freeman was next and flew to left for the second out. Bourn tagged and scored, putting Atlanta on top 13-12. McCann flew to center for the third out.

Schwimer comes in to face Bourn with Bastardo and Savery having already pitched in the game.

Contreras and Schwimer were both awful in the inning. Far from a sure thing, but if the Phillies had turned a double-play on the Rollins error ball, Conteras would have faced three hitters in the inning and put up a zero. Instead, the next two hitters he faced reached base. So a little bit of tough luck for Contreras in the frame, but that doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t look like he can offer much help out of the pen at this point and hasn’t for a while.

Schwimer faced four batters in the inning, allowing a walk, a single and a sac fly. It was his third appearance of the year for the Phils. Two of them have been bad.

It was 13-13 when Sanches started the ninth, making his first appearance for the Phils since 2007. He allowed back-to-back singles to Chipper and Jack Wilson with one out, putting men on first and second. Righty David Ross hit for the pitcher Craig Kimbrel and Sanches struck him out swinging for the second out. Sanches walked the lefty Heyward on four pitches, loading the bases for another lefty Bourn. Bourn flew to center for the third out.

Sanches came back to throw a 1-2-3 tenth.

He started the eleventh, but didn’t get an out. Uggla led off with a single to left. He got ahead of Chipper 0-2, but Chipper hit Sanches’s 41st pitch of the game, a 3-2 offering, out to right-center. Braves win 15-13.

You really want to try to avoid bringing Sanches back for a third inning if you can help it at all.

In the game, the pen goes 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and three walks.

Sanches threw 41 pitches. Contreras 21. Bastardo has thrown three days in a row and threw 11 pitches in the game. Schwimer 15 and Savery six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Wigginton (6) Nix (7) Ruiz (8) Galvis. Galvis stays in the lineup despite miserable offensive results with the lefty Orr on the bench.

Polanco singled to center with one out in the top of the first. Victorino struck out behind him for the second out and Pence flew to center for the third.

Wigginton walked to start the second and moved to second when Nix followed with a single into center. Ruiz was next and grounded into a double-play, leaving a runner on third for Galvis with two down. Galvis struck out swinging at a high 2-2 pitch that was way out of the strike zone.

Rollins and Polanco singled back-to-back with one out in the third, putting runners on the corners for Victorino. Victorino singled into right, scoring Rollins to make it 1-0 and moving Polanco up to third. Victorino stole second before Pence walked to load the bases. Wigginton fouled out to Chipper at third for the second out, but Nix blasted a ball to right that went over Hinske’s head in right for a three-run double, putting the Phils up 4-0. Hanson hit Ruiz with an 0-2 pitch before Galvis flew to center for the third out.

Hinkse probably should have caught the ball that Nix hit to right, although Nix hit it well. Wigginton can’t bring the runner in from third, popping out with the bases loaded for the second out.

Polanco and Victorino singled back-to-back with two outs in the fourth. Righty Cristhian Martinez took over for Hanson and get Pence to ground to short for the third out.

Wigginton started the fifth with a single and scored on a one-out double by Ruiz, putting the Phils up 5-0. Galvis followed that with a double, plating Ruiz to make it 6-0. Halladay moved Galvis up to third with a ground out to second for the second out. Rollins grounded to third to leave him there.

It was 6-6 when the Phils hit in the sixth. Livan Hernandez set the Phils down in order.

The Phillies were losing 8-6 when lefty Eric O’Flaherty started the seventh. Wigginton led off with a walk. Mayberry hit for Nix and singled softly to right, putting men on first and second for Ruiz. Ruiz pounded a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 9-8. Kratz hit for Savery and grounded to third. Rollins flew to center for the third out.

Righty Kris Medlen started the eighth for the Braves. He got Polanco and Victorino before Pence and Wigginton singled back-to-back, putting men on first and second for Mayberry. Mayberry walked to load the bases. Ruiz ripped a double into right field, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 12-8. Galvis flew to center for the third out.

Six RBI in two at-bats for Ruiz. Three-run homer in the seventh and a three-run double with the bases loaded in the eighth.

First walk of the year for Mayberry. One walk in 54 plate appearances.

The Phillies were down 13-12 when the hit in the ninth. Righty Craig Kimbrel walked Pierre on four pitches. Pierre stole second before Rollins struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch that surprised many observers cause it was so far off the plate. Polanco grounded to short for the second out with Pierre moving up to third. Victorino was next and hit a ball up the middle. Wilson nearly made an incredible play to end the game, fielding, spinning and making a strong throw to first, but Victorino just beat it out for an infield single. Pierre scored and it was 13-13. Pence struck out swinging to leave Victorino at first.

Fantastic job by Pierre to draw the walk and steal the base, helping to create a huge run for the Phils that kept the game alive.

Jonny Venters struck out Wigginton and Mayberry in a 1-2-3 tenth.

Chad Durbin got Galvis, Sanches and Rollins in the top of the eleventh.

Galvis tried to bunt for a hit, but Durbin threw him out at first. Sanches hits for himself in a tie game having already thrown two innings. The Phils had Schneider and Orr on the bench and Qualls and Papelbon in the pen. Qualls had thrown two days in a row and three of the last four. Papelbon had also thrown two days in a row and three of the last four.

Rollins was 1-for-7 in the game. He’s 7-for-his-last-22.

Polanco 3-for-6 to raise his average to .268. After going 0-for-1 against Arizona on April 24, he was hitting .196 for the year. He’s gone 11-for-26 since.

Victorino 3-for-6 with two RBI, including a huge one to bring Pierre home with two outs in the top of the ninth. He came into the game 5-for-his-last-42 (.119).

Pence was 1-for-5 with a walk. He only has one walk in his last 48 plate appearances.

Wigginton 2-for-4 with two walks. 362/424/517 over his last 66 plate appearances. Started a nice double-play early.

Nix 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. 8-for-his-last-18 with three walks and five extra-base hits. Mayberry was 1-for-2 with a walk in the game.

Ruiz 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. He leads the Phils with a .575 slugging percentage for the year. He drove in more runs in last night’s game than Galvis, Rollins, Polanco, Pierre or Mayberry have for the season.

Galvis 1-for-6 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts. His on-base percentage for the year is down to .222.

Blanton (2-3, 3.81) faces righty Randall Delgado (2-2, 6.30) this afternoon. Blanton has walked just three hitters in 26 innings for the season and allowed just one home run. The bad news is that opponents are hitting .318 against him. Delgado hasn’t gone more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his four starts and has walked 12 so far in 20 innings. Lefties have hit 357/417/449 against him so far and righties 211/362/277. So lefties have pounded him and righties haven’t done much in the way of getting a hit, but Delgado has walked about 14.9% of the right-handed hitters he has faced.


Phils starting to suspect something is afoot after waking up to the same Sonny and Cher song for the sixteenth day in a row

At least in Groundhog Day they had cake. And Andie MacDowell.

The Phillies games are apparently stuck in a loop. They lost again yesterday. No terrible defense this time and Kendrick pitched well, but the Phils scored one run and it wasn’t enough. In the very limited good news category, Werth hit the ball well and looks like he’s either back or just about back. We’ve already got Ruiz, so that makes two with eleven hitters left to go.

It should leave us plenty of time to learn to ice sculpt.

The Phillies are 28-24 on the year after a 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves sweep the three-game set despite scoring four runs in the last two games and lead the Phils in the NL East by 2 1/2 games. The Phillies have won two of their last 11 and have scored 14 runs in those 11 games.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four. That’s two good starts in a row for Kendrick, who has allowed one earned run in 13 innings his last two times out and dropped his ERA from 5.66 to 4.62.

Martin Prado and Jayson Heyward singled back-to-back to start the bottom of the first. It put men on first and third with nobody out for Chipper Jones and Kendrick got Chipper to bounce into a double-play with Prado scoring to put Atlanta up 1-0. Brian McCann flew to center for the third out.

Troy Glaus doubled to left to start the second. Kendrick struck lefty Eric Hinske out for the first out. Yunel Escobar was next and he lined a ball back to the mound that Kendrick caught. Kendrick threw to second and Glaus was doubled-up to end the inning.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Kendrick started the third. He walked the pitcher Derek Lowe on five pitches with one man out. He struck Prado out and got Heyward on a fly ball to right to end the inning and leave Lowe stranded.

He threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

In the fifth he walked Nate McLouth with two men out, but got Lowe to fly to right for the third out.

Prado reached on an infield singled to start the sixth, but Kendrick got Heyward to hit into a double-play behind him. Infante singled to center before McCann flew to right to end the inning.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Contreras started the eighth with the score still knotted at 1-1 and walked McLouth on five pitches. Switch-hitter Melky Cabrera hit for Lowe and bunted McLouth to second. Contreras struck out the righty Prado and then walked the lefty Heyward intentionally. He got ahead of Infante 0-2, but Infante singled to right on a 3-2 pitch and McLouth scored to put Atlanta ahead 2-1. With two outs and men on first and third, Romero came in to pitch to the lefty McCann and got him to fly to right to end the inning.

Contreras has now allowed two runs on the year and both of them have been scored by McLouth. That’s just weird.

Contreras threw 23 pitches in the game and Romero three. Contreras was pitching back-to-back days after six pitches on Tuesday.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Werth (2) Valdez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Dobbs (8) Schneider. Victorino on the bench with Werth in center and Francisco in right. Dobbs at third against the righty with Castro on the bench. Werth leads off and Valdez hits second, which is way too high for him. Schneider behind the plate in day game after a night game, which is unfortunate given Ruiz’s nice game on Tuesday night.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Down 1-0, they went in order in the second.

Schneider singled with one out in the third. Kendrick bunted one foul and then, with the infielders in looking for a bunt, swung away and singled to left. It put men on first and third for Werth and Werth singled to center, scoring Schneider to tie the game at 1-1 and moving Kendrick to second. Valdez bunted for a single to load the bases for Utley, but Utley grounded into a double-play to keep the Phillies from getting any more.

Big hit for Werth is nice to see. Double-play by Utley is more of the same. Nice job by Manuel to let Kendrick swing away and get a big hit.

Howard started the fourth with a single. Francisco popped to second for the first out before Ibanez hit into a double-play.

Dobbs, Schneider and Kendrick went down quietly in the fifth.

Werth hit the ball hard to start the sixth, but it went off of Lowe and right to Prado at second. Prado took it and threw to first to get Werth for the first out. Valdez and Utley went down behind him, with Utley hitting the ball hard on the ground to third for the third out.

Again Werth hits the ball well, but no hit this time.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

Dobbs singled to start the eighth and Schneider bunted him to second. With Lowe still on the mound, Gload hit for Kendrick and grounded to short. Dobbs moved to third with two down. Lowe walked Werth intentionally to put men on first and third. Valdez flew to center to end the frame.

Score one for not hitting Valdez second. No reason to pitch to Werth there and it works out great for Atlanta.

Francisco walked with two outs in the ninth and the Phils down 2-1. With lefty Billy Wagner on the mound for Atlanta, Victorino hit for Ibanez and struck out swinging to end the game.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI and hit the ball well. He’s 2-for-his-last-23 and hitting 296/374/575 for the season.

Valdez was 1-for-4 in the game and 4-for-13 with a double in the series. He’s hitting 259/268/370 for the year.

Utley was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. He was 2-for-12 with a double and no walks in the series. He’s 3-for-his-last-19 and hitting 270/387/503 for the year.

Howard was 1-for-4 in the game and 2-for-13 with a home run and no walks in the series. He’s hitting 280/336/450.

Francisco was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. 2-for-6 with a double and a walk in the series. 214/283/286 for the year. Victorino didn’t start yesterday and went 0-for-1 in the game. He was 0-for-9 with a walk and three strikeouts in the series. He’s hitting 251/308/442 for the year.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 in the game and 2-for-10 with a double in the series. 242/340/394.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 yesterday and 2-for-8 in the series. 148/220/259. Castro was 0-for-3 in the series and is hitting 244/271/300 for the year.

Schneider 1-for-2 yesterday in his only action for the series. 5-for-25 with five singles for the year. Ruiz was 3-for-5 with a double and three walks in the series. He’s hitting 311/443/412 for the season.

Roy Halladay (5-1, 1.99) faces righty Mat Latos (5-3, 3.08) tomorrow. Halladay has been just about perfect all season long and literally perfect in his last start against the Marlins. Opponents are hitting .207 against Latos for the year. He’s 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA over his last six starts — over those six appearances he has allowed 23 hits in 41 innings and struck out 37.


Run differential makes you wonder how long third place is going to be the home of the Braves

I’m starting to wonder if our time spent worrying about the Phillies third base situation could be better spent worrying about the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves went 86-76 in 2009, the seventh-best record in the NL and the third best in the NL East behind the Phils and the Fish.

Their run differential tells a different if less important story. In 2009 the Phillies scored 111 more runs than they allowed. The second-place Marlins scored six more runs than they allowed. The Braves scored 94 more than they allowed.

Do this. Don’t really, cause I already did it. I mean, read what I did and then do it if you think it’s important. Find the average runs scored per game and the average runs allowed per game for each team. For each team, divide each of those numbers by the average number of runs scored and allowed by the teams in their league and combine the two numbers.

For example, the Diamondbacks play in the NL. The average NL team scored 4.43 runs per game and allowed 4.49 runs per game in ’09. The Snakes scored 4.44 and allowed 4.83. 4.44/4.43 is 1.00226 (a tiny bit better than average) and 4.49/4.83 is 1.07572 (worse than the average for the league). Then you combine those numbers by adding .00226 and -.07572 and you get a total for the Diamondbacks that you can compare to all the other teams you’ve done it for. If you do it for all 30 teams and put them in a list it looks like this:

  1. LAD
  2. NYY
  3. PHI
  4. BOS
  5. ATL
  6. LAA
  7. STL
  8. COL
  9. SFG
  10. CHC
  11. MIN
  12. TBR
  13. TEX
  14. FLA
  15. TOR
  16. DET
  17. OAK
  18. CHW
  19. MIL
  20. CIN
  21. ARI
  22. SEA
  23. NYM
  24. CLE
  25. HOU
  26. SDP
  27. PIT
  28. BAL
  29. WSN
  30. KCR

I don’t think there’s much argument that the Dodgers were better than the Yankees in 2009, but they did out run differential them. 169 for LA and 162 for the Yankees. Dodgers put up a Pythagorean record of 99-63 compared to 95-67 for the Yankees.

Anyway, it’s the Braves that are the focus of this post and the point here is that show up in that list higher than I would have expected. A lot higher. They come in ahead of all the teams in the NL except the Phils and Dodgers, including the playoff teams Colorado and St Louis.

After the Dodgers, Phils, Braves, Cardinals and Rockies, there is a huge drop off to the team with the sixth-best run differential in the league. The Rockies had the fifth-best run differential and they scored 89 more runs than they allowed. The Giants were sixth-best and scored 46 more than they allowed.

It hasn’t been so long since the Braves were dominating the NL East. Over the past ten years the Phillies have won it three times, the Mets once and the Braves six times. Four times in those ten seasons a team won the division with a run differential that was worse than or about the same as the 94 for the ’09 Braves — in 2006 the Phillies won it with a run differential of 71, in ’05 the Braves won the NL East with a run differential of 95 and in ’00 and ’01 they the scored 86 and 96 more runs than they allowed while winning the division.

I think the biggest thing to worry about when it comes to the Braves is if they start to get consistent pitching.

Offensively the Braves have been in the top six in the NL in runs scored in each of the past seven seasons. Their pitching, on the other hand, has been all over the place but was very strong in 2009. Here’s a look at their rank among NL teams in runs scored and runs allowed for each of the past six seasons:

Year NL Rank R NL Rank RA
2009 6 4
2008 6 12
2007 3 6
2006 2 11
2005 4 5
2004 T-5 3

Atlanta’s pitching was dramatically better in 2009 than it had been in 2008. After allowing 778 in ’08 they allowed just 641, 137 fewer, in 2009. Only the Giants improved more at preventing runs between ’08 and ’09 in the NL.

So what else do the Braves need to do? Not a lot. It’s a big if, but If they can keep pitching like they did in 2009 they’re just going to need a little more offense. And that’s scary news given that Chipper hit .264 last year and the team got miserable production from both corner outfield positions.

This suggests that the Phillies may consider trading Joe Blanton. That sure seems like a bad idea. It also mentions pitchers John Smoltz and Brandon Lyon and outfielder Brian Giles as players the Phillies might be interested in. I would be thrilled if the Phillies added Brandon Lyon and a lot less thrilled if they added either of the other two.

Lyon declined arbitration from the Tigers and this suggests he may have made around $6 million if he had not. I am going to be very surprised if the Phillies pay Lyon more than $6 million this year.

This says that Lidge and Romero may not be ready for opening day and suggests that bringing back Park is a high priority for the Phils.


Lowed down

The Phils faced Derek Lowe for the third time since the end of the 2008 regular season last night. For the third time Lowe pitched well, but this time there was no throwing error from Furcal to fuel a Phillies rally and no late drama from Matt Stairs. Lowe and the Braves got the win as the Phillies lost on opening day for the fourth year in a row.

There will be two big topics of conversation among Phillies fans regarding last night’s game. One is a miserable first two innings from Myers and another will be the Phillies lineup that featured three straight lefties and didn’t come through in the ninth against Atlanta lefty Mike Gonzalez. Myers allowed four runs in the first two innings, but pitched well after allowing a double to Yunel Escobar to start the third. The Phillies don’t have enough right-handed bats and that problem isn’t going to go away. The problem that can and likely will go away is Utley, Howard and Ibanez hitting all in a row.

Lowe was really the story of the last night, though. He was simply outstanding. He held the Phils to two hits over eight innings, one of which was a double that may have been foul and came in an at-bat where the batter should have been retired on a foul ball that went off the glove of the right fielder. The three through seven hitters in the Phillies lineup combined to go 0-for-17 in the game.

The Phillies lost their opener last night, falling to the Braves 4-1.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and one walk, which was intentional. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and three home runs. He struck out six.

He got the first two in the first before Chipper Jones flipped a single into left. Brian McCann was next and he got ahead 2-0 and blasted a ball out to right, putting Atlanta up 2-0. Myers got Garrett Anderson to ground to first for the third out.

Jeff Francoeur hit Myers’ first pitch of the second inning out to left to put Atlanta up 3-0. Myers struck out Casey Kotchman for the first out, bringing Jordan Schafer to the plate. Schafer was making his major league debut, but Myers quickly got behind 2-0 before throwing a 3-1 pitch in a terrible spot in the middle of the plate. Schafer crushed it out to center and it was 4-0. Myers got the next two.

Yunel Escobar led off the third and bombed a 1-0 pitch high off the wall in center for a double. Myers did a nice job to leave him stranded, though. He struck out Chipper for the first out and got McCann to foul out to Feliz for the second. Anderson grounded to third to set the Braves down.

Impressive job by Myers to keep Atlanta off the board, especially with Chipper and McCann looking to drive Escobar in. Those guys have killed Myers over his career and got him in the first.

Myers got the first two in the fourth before Schafer singled up the middle. Lowe was next and he lined a ball into the gap in right-center, but Werth tracked it down to end the frame.

Myers got the first two in the fifth before Chipper drove a ball to the left of Victorino. Victorino made a long run, but the ball went just over the end of his glove and bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Myers struck McCann out on three pitches to turn Atlanta away.

Anderson led off the sixth and chopped a ball off the glove of Myers that bounded away from Utley for a single. Francoeur was next and hit a ball hard to third. Feliz didn’t field it cleanly and had to go to first for the first out with Anderson moving to second. Kotchman was next and hit a soft ground ball to second for the second out. It moved Anderson to third with two down and Myers walked Schafer intentionally to bring up the pitcher Derek Lowe. Lowe tried to bunt Myers’ first pitch but popped it up foul. Myers got ahead 0-2 and struck Lowe out looking 3-2 to leave the runners stranded.

Jack Taschner made his Phillies debut in the seventh against the top of the Atlanta order. He got the first two, with Escobar grounding hard to Utley for the second out, before striking Chipper out looking to end the frame.

Scott Eyre started the eighth with the Phils still down 4-0. McCann led off the inning and Eyre got behind him 3-0, but came back to strike him out for the first out. McCann’s fellow lefty Anderson was next and flew to left for the second out. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Francoeur and struck him out looking 1-2 for the third out.

Lidge started the ninth in a non-save situation with the Phils not scheduled to play today and set the Braves down 1-2-3. After Lidge got the first two, Greg Norton hit for Lowe. Lowe had allowed two hits through eight innings and hadn’t walked a batter. He had thrown 97 pitches.

Great game for the Phillies bullpen. They went three innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Taschner threw 17 pitches and everyone else was ten or less the day before an off-day.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Three lefties in a row in Manuel’s lineup three through five. I think we’ll likely see Werth moving down to break up the lefties and Victorino hitting second before too long. Victorino had a weak spring and I wonder if that was a factor. Coste almost always catches Myers, or at least he did in 2008 (Coste caught about 77% of the hitters Myers faced last season).

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first. Utley flew to the warning track in right for the third out.

Howard struck out to start the second. Ibanez was next, getting his first at-bat as a Phillie, and grounded to short. Victorino grounded to short to end the inning.

Feliz popped to Johnson in shallow center for the first out of the third. Ruiz was next and popped the first pitch of his at-bat down the first base line. Francoeur and Johnson both went after it near the foul line, but Francoeur had the ball go off his glove in foul territory. It gave Ruiz new life and he took advantage of it, doubling down the third base line for the first hit of the year for the Phils (looked foul to me). The Phils couldn’t bring him in, though, Myers grounded to short and Rollins flew softly to left.

Lowe got Werth, Utley and Howard on three ground balls in the fourth.

Ibanez slapped another ground ball to short for the first out in the fifth. Lowe struck out Victorino and Feliz to end the inning.

Ruiz grounded to short for the first out in the sixth. Dobbs hit for Myers and drove a ball to the warning track in right, but Francoeur took it for the second out. Rollins was next and he singled up the middle for just the Phils’ second hit of the night. Werth lined a 2-2 pitch back up the middle, but Lowe snared it for the third out.

Dobbs, Rollins and Werth all hit the ball well in that frame, with three big lefties due to hit behind them. Just one hit, though, with Dobbs flying out and Lowe putting Werth away.

Lowe set Utley, Howard and Ibanez down on six pitches in the seventh.

He needed just eight pitches to set the Phils down in order in the eighth. Victorino and Ruiz both swung at the first pitch and grounded out.

Lefty Mike Gonzalez started the ninth with a four-run lead. Bruntlett hit for Lidge and hit a 1-2 pitch into the left-field corner for a double. Rollins flew to right for the first out, deep enough to move Bruntlett to third. Werth was next and he smashed a single into left, scoring Bruntlett to cut the Atlanta lead to 4-1. Utley walked on a 3-1 pitch that was way outside and it brought Howard to the plate as the tying run. Howard took a 2-2 pitch just low to run the count full, but struck out looking at a 3-2 fastball that had a lot of the plate for the second out. Ibanez waived at a 3-1 slider that was out of the zone and then struck out swinging at a fastball to end the game.

Had Bruntlett not ripped a double, there would be much lamenting the right-handed pinch-hitting options for the Phils. Bruntlett, Cairo and Coste just isn’t an especially impressive group offensively and that’s going to be a problem all season long (even if it wasn’t last night).

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Werth 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice.

Ibanez 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Victorino 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Feliz 0-for-3 and struck out twice.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a double.

No game today. The Phils and Braves play again tomorrow night.

Update: The Start Log is now updated for last night’s game. By the game score of the opposing pitcher, I believe that Lowe’s outing last night was the best against the Phillies since the end of the 2006 season with the exception of Rich Harden’s start against them on June 26, 2008. Oakland beat the Phils 5-0 that day and Harden had a game score of 88 (Lowe 82 last night). Harden allowed two singles, both to Victorino, and struck out 11 (he walked one).


Papa don’t preach, but try to get Howard up late with somebody on base

On June 16, 1986, Jamie Moyer made his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs. Pitching against the Phillies and Steve Carlton, Moyer was hit hard but got the win. He allowed five runs over 6 1/3, taking a 7-2 lead into the seventh before the Phils scored three times in the inning to make the game close. James Parr was four months old.

Twenty-two years later Moyer is still on the mound and Parr has learned to walk. They pitched against each other last night. Neither of them pitched well, but Moyer had an advantage that Parr didn’t: All of the sudden his team refuses to lose.

The Phils went into the seventh in Atlanta down 7-4 and cut the lead to 7-6 with a pair of runs. In the eighth a two-run blast by Howard put them on top to stay.

Not without some drama, though. After Madson cruised through the bottom of the eighth, Lidge took the mound in the bottom of the ninth clinging to a one-run lead. If Lidge doesn’t get another out this season he’s already done more than enough for the Phils, but he brought to this game a look in his eye that we haven’t seen a whole lot of this season. I’m pretty sure it was holy-crap-how-am-I-gonna-get-anybody-out-with-this-slop. Lidge tried throwing a whole bunch of sliders out of the strike zone for a while and it didn’t work real well. He walked the bases loaded before striking out Gregor Blanco to end the game.

Despite the fantastic outcome for the Phils, it’s hard to ignore Burrell’s night. 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. Seemed worse than that somehow, though. It was a little tough not to notice with Burrell hitting fifth and Werth and Howard in the three and four spots combining to go 7-for-9 with a walk, a triple, two home runs and five RBI.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 8-7 to improve to 84-67 on the season. Seventeen games above .500 is the best mark of the season for the Phils. They have won five in a row. They lead the NL East by a half game.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks. All of the hits were singles and he struck out six.

Moyer walked Chipper Jones with two outs in the first, but Brian McCann grounded out to Rollins on the right side of second base with the big shift to end the inning.

Omar Infante started the second with a single. Casey Kotchman was next and grounded to second with Infante forced at second for the first out. Jeff Francoeur flew to center for the second out before Moyer got Brent Lillibridge swinging for the third out.

He started the third up 3-0. He struck out the pitcher Parr to start the inning, but hit Josh Anderson. With Martin Prado at the plate, Anderson took off for second on a pitch in the dirt. Ruiz threw to second and they may have had Anderson, but Rollins dropped the ball. Moyer walked Prado and Chipper singled into left, loading the bases. McCann was next and he singled into center and everyone moved up a base. Anderson scored to cut the lead to 3-1. Moyer struck out Infante for the second out. With the bases still loaded, Kotchman laced the first pitch of his at-bat into center for a single. Prado and Jones both scored, with Chipper sliding in just safe ahead of the tag from Ruiz, to tie the game at 3-3. Francoeur flew to right to leave the runners stranded at first and third.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fourth with the Phils up 4-3.

With two outs in the fifth, McCann bunted for a single against the big shift. Moyer struck out Infante again to end the inning.

Francoeur singled with one out in the sixth. Moyer then walked Lillibridge and pinch-hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch-hitting for the pitcher Buddy Carlyle. Anderson was next and got ahead 3-1 and hit a ball hard to first, but Howard took it and went to first for the second out as Francoeur scored to tie the game at 4-4. Nice play by Howard. Durbin came in to pitch to Prado and lefty Kelly Johnson hit for Prado with two outs and men on second and third. Johnson hit an 0-1 pitch back through the middle just out of the reach of Rollins for a two-run single. 6-4. Johnson went to second as the throw came home, but it hit the mound and there was no play at the plate. Durbin walked Chipper intentionally. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty McCann and McCann singled into center. Johnson scored without a throw to make it 7-4. Infante grounded to short for the third out.

Miserable inning for all three Phillies pitchers. Moyer lost his control and Durbin and Eyre both gave up big hits. The Braves scored four runs in the frame without an extra-base hit (they didn’t have one in the game).

Madson threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth with the Phillies down 7-6.

Lidge entered in the ninth to protect an 8-7 lead and walked Chipper on four pitches to start the inning. McCann was next and popped a 3-2 pitch up to Utley for the first out. With Jones on the move, Infante smashed a ball to third but right at Feliz. Feliz threw to first for the second out with Jones going to second. Kotchman walked on five pitches to put men on first and second. Francoeur was next and worked the count full, then fouled off four pitches in a row before drawing a walk that loaded the bases and brought up Gregor Blanco. Lidge quickly got ahead of Blanco 0-2 before delivering a pitch in the dirt. Blanco tried to hold up and the third base ump ruled he checked his swing (looked like he went around to me). Lidge delivered another ball to make it 2-2 before Blanco went down swinging to end the game.

Lidge labored badly, needing 33 pitches to get through the inning. He seemed to use his slider almost exclusively at the start of the inning. He tried to throw fastballs past Francoeur and just couldn’t do it as Francoeur fouled off four straight before drawing the walk. McCann just missed the pitch he popped up to Utley and Infante smashed the ball to third but right at Feliz.

Great to see him get through the inning and it’s a big win for the Phils. But there’s a lot of reason for concern when it comes to the pen. Durbin and Eyre were both ineffective again. Madson pitched great, giving the Phils a 1-2-3 seventh down three runs and a 1-2-3 eighth up by one. Madson hasn’t been charged with a run over his last eight appearances.

Overall the pen went 3 1/3 innings and was charged with a run on two hits and four walks. Durbin allowed a two-run single to Johnson in the sixth and the runs were charged to Moyer. Lidge threw 33 pitches, Madson 22, Durbin and Eyre six each. Phils should try to let someone besides Lidge close tonight.

Romero didn’t appear in the game. Manuel may have thought the sixth was too early to bring him in to pitch to McCann. Romero has pitched just two innings in September — I’d be surprised if the reason for that is that he’s feeling fine and Manuel doesn’t want to use him.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty James Parr went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth drops to third in the lineup with Utley up to second. Feliz at third with Dobbs on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the first with a single, but the Phillies went in order behind him.

Victorino singled to right with one out in the second, but Feliz and Ruiz both flew out behind him.

Rollins and Utley doubled back-to-back with one out in the third. Rollins scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Werth was next and hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, scoring Utley to put the Phils up 3-0. Howard followed with a single before Burrell struck out for the second out. Victorino followed with a double to right, but Howard was thrown out at the plate (by a lot) to end the frame.

Ruiz hit a 2-1 pitch out to left with one out in the fourth, putting the Phillies up 4-3. Moyer and Rollins went down behind him.

Werth and Howard singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth. It put men on first and second for Burrell, who struck out for his third time in three at-bats. Victorino grounded to first for the third out.

Ruiz walked with one out in the sixth and Moyer bunted him to second. Rollins struck out swinging to leave him stranded with the Phils up 4-3.

The Phils started the seventh down 7-4. Werth singled with one out and scored when Howard followed and drove a ball to left that Infante played badly, turning it into a triple. 7-5. Burrell struck out again for the second out, but Victorino picked him up with a single into right. Howard scored and it was 7-6. Feliz followed with a ground ball to short. Lillibridge fielded but mis-flipped to second and everyone was safe. Dobbs hit for Ruiz with righty Jeff Bennett on the mound and walked to load the bases. Stairs hit for Eyre and ripped a ball down the left field line but just foul before he grounded to first to end the frame.

Awful, awful game for the struggling Burrell. But that was the worst of it, striking out with a man on third in the seventh with one out. Huge hit for Victorino. Howard overshadowed himself with the home run in the eighth, but the RBI-triple in the seventh and the defensive play he made on Anderson in the sixth were also both critical in the game.

Still down a run, Werth walked with two outs in the eighth. Lefty Mike Gonzalez came in to pitch to Howard and Howard hit a 3-2 pitch out to left to put the Phils up 8-7. Burrell struck out for the third out.

Feliz walked with one out in the ninth. Coste struck out for the second out before Jenkins hit for Madson and struck out to leave Feliz stranded.

Rollins 2-for-5 with a double.

Utley 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He’s hitting 255/328/353 in September.

Werth had a huge game that nobody will remember cause of Howard and Lidge. 3-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 4-for-5 with a triple, his 45th home run and three RBI. Two big hits late in the game and a nice play at first in the sixth.

Burrell 0-for-5 and struck out five times. Slumping terribly, but had shown some signs of breaking out of it against the Brewers.

Victorino 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Picked up Burrell with a huge hit in the seventh.

Feliz 0-for-4. 2-for-his-last-13. After slugging .290 in August, Feliz is slugging .290 in September. He has two extra-base hits since July 19 (75 at-bats).

Ruiz 1-for-2 with his fourth home run of the year and a walk.

JA Happ (0-0, 5.71) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62) tonight. Jurrjens has thrown to a 4.68 ERA with a 1.47 ratio in his 11 starts since the All-Star break. He has allowed just 11 home runs in 176 1/3 innings on the season. Feliz is 3-for-3 with a home run against him this season. Happ gets the nod over Kendrick for the Phils. He’ll be making his third start of the season. Among the 53 NL players who have thrown at least 140 innings this season, Kendrick’s 5.44 ERA is 51st (doesn’t count last night’s games). Since the end of July, Kendrick has made seven starts and allowed 29 earned runs in 29 innings (9.00 ERA). He hasn’t gone five innings in either of his last two starts and hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last six.


Funk shrunk

Evidently the collective funk the Phils found themselves in earlier this month was as easy to fall out of as it was to fall into. All it took was a National League team to play.

A lot of things have gone right for the Phillies in Atlanta. Last night they got an early three-run bomb from Howard that put them up 4-0 in the third. Adam Eaton wasn’t great, but he was good enough. The bats have come alive and twice in two games they got huge outs from their pen. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-8 with two walks in the first two games against the Braves after going 3-for-26 in six games against the A’s and Rangers.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 last night. With the win they improve to 46-39 on the year and ensure they will win their first series out of their last seven. The Phillies have won five in a row against the Braves.

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

Yunel Escobar singled with one out in the first. Chipper Jones followed with a ground out to second that moved Escobar to second. Eaton got Mark Teixeira on a popup to short for the third out.

Eaton walked Kelly Johnson with one out in the second. He struck Jeff Francoeur out swinging for the second out and got Mark Kotsay on a pop to third.

Gregor Blanco singled to center with one out in the third. Escobar flew to right for the first out before Eaton walked Chipper and Teixeira back-to-back to load the bases for the lefty Brian McCann. McCann flew to center for the third out to leave the bases loaded.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Eaton started the fifth up 5-0. Ruben Gotay hit for the pitcher Jorge Campillo to lead off the frame and lined a 2-2 pitch just out to right over the glove of Werth. Blanco followed with a walk. Escobar was next and he smashed a ball back up the middle, but Rollins made a fantastic play to start a double-play. Chipper grounded to third for the third out.

Great play by Rollins changed the inning.

Teixeira led off the sixth with a double. Eaton walked McCann on five pitches to put men on first and second before Johnson loaded the bases with a single to right. With the righty Francoeur at the plate Manuel called on Durbin. Durbin got Francoeur to hit a double-play ball to short. Teixeira scored to make it 5-2. Durbin got Kotsay looking at a 2-2 pitch to leave McCann stranded at third.

Great job by Durbin, who came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Romero started the eighth. Chipper was the first to face him and hit a 1-1 pitch just out to center. 5-3. Teixeira walked on four pitches before Romero struck McCann out swinging for the first out. Johnson was next and chopped a ball high to first. Howard fielded and tagged out Johnson for the second out as Teixeira went to second. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Francoeur and struck him out swinging to end the inning.

Lidge started the ninth, pitching for the second straight day in a non-save situation. He struck out Kotsay for the first out before Greg Norton hit for Royce Ring and singled to center. Blanco was next and hit a ball to Howard that Howard didn’t handle for an error. With runners on first and second, Lidge struck out Escobar for the second out. Chipper was next and hit a ground ball between first and second. Howard cut in front of Utley and didn’t make the play. He was charged with another error, his second in three batters and ninth on the season. It loaded the bases and brought Teixeira to the plate as the tying run, but Lidge struck him out swinging at a 3-2 pitch out of the strike zone to end the game.

Lidge strikes out the side, allowing a hit and working around two errors to post a scoreless frame. The pen allowed one run in four innings while striking out six. Durbin was fantastic. He threw 22 pitches, Lidge 28 with an assist to Howard, Romero 19 and Madson six.

Lidge and Romero were pitching for the second straight day.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jorge Campillo went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Werth again in right despite the righty and a couple of hits from Jenkins the night before. Coste catches Eaton. Howard stays at four and Burrell at five. With two switch-hitters and two lefties in the lineup the Phils have four righties in a row five through eight.

Utley doubled to right with two outs in the first. Howard grounded to first for the third out.

Feliz doubled to left with two outs in the second. Coste was next and hammered a double to left center. Feliz scored and the Phils led 1-0. Eaton followed with a single to left and Coste tried to score from second. Blanco’s throw was strong but a little up the third base line. McCann took it and made a nice tag to nail Coste to end the inning.

Rollins started the third with a single. Victorino flew to right before Rollins stole second. Utley walked and it brought Howard up with two men on. Howard got up 2-1 and then hit one out to left-center for a three-run shot that put the Phils up 4-0. Burrell flew to right and Werth grounded to short.

Coste singled with one out in the fourth and Eaton bunted him to second. Rollins walked to put men on first and second with two down, but Victorino popped to short to end the frame.

With two outs in the fifth, Burrell got ahead 3-1 and then pulled a ball on the outside of the plate out to left to put the Phillies up 5-0. Werth popped to first for the third out.

Feliz started the sixth with a single but Coste hit into a double-play behind him. Eaton struck out for the third out.

Rollins started the seventh with an infield single but Victorino, Utley and Howard went down in order behind him.

Werth singled with one out in the eighth. Feliz flew to left for the second out before Werth stole second. Coste grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

Bruntlett, who had entered the game in left in the bottom of the eighth, started the eighth with a walk. Rollins followed with a triple to right-center that scored Bruntlett and put the Phils up 6-3. Victorino struck out for the first out before Utley singled to left, scoring Rollins to make it 7-3. Utley stole second before Howard walked. It put men on first and second with one down. Taguchi hit for Madson and hit into a double-play.

Bad strikeout by Victorino with nobody out and a man on first. Utley picked him up.

Rollins was 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Victorino 0-for-5 and left five men on base. He’s 3-for-his-last-21.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

Howard 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and a walk.

Burrell 1-for-4 with his 21st home run.

Werth 1-for-4.

Feliz 2-for-4 with a double.

Coste 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Cole Hamels (8-5, 3.38) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (8-3, 2.94) tonight. Over his last three starts Jurrjens has not allowed an earned run in 21 2/3 innings. He’s allowed just five home runs in 98 innings on the year. Opponents are hitting just .248 against him, but he’s walked too many, 37 in 98 innings. He’s just 22 so you might as well get used to him. Hamels has allowed six home runs in his last four starts but has gone at least seven innings in all of them.

This suggests that JA Happ or Brian Mazone will get a start this weekend against the Mets.


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