The Phils were 39-37 after losing on July 2, which was three weeks ago today. At the end of the day they were tied with the Florida Marlins for first place in the NL East, a game ahead of the Mets and two games ahead of the Braves, who had just swept them in Atlanta.
That feels like it shouldn’t be possible. But it is. The Phillies have played 16 games since then. A 14-2 run has them in commanding position in the division with the second place Braves 5 1/2 games out.
Most recently they took two out of three against the Cubs at home. The Phillies rolled to a blowout win in game one, won a dramatic game two with a walkoff homer before dropping an ugly game three yesterday.
The Phillies are have had a fantastic month. Yesterday was a bit worrisome, though, a virtual who’s-who of things to worry about on a pitching staff that has been awesome of late. Moyer, Durbin and Lidge all struggled, which was especially frustrating to see with Moyer and Durbin each coming off of outstanding performances.
Still, the Phils have enough things going right to overcome the struggles of Moyer and Lidge and, to a lesser degree, Durbin. Joe Blanton has a 2.32 ERA and a 1.11 ratio in his last ten starts. Rodrigo Lopez has made three good starts in three chances to help fortify the back of the rotation. Rollins and Victorino are both hitting at least .350 for the month at the top of the order. Chan Ho Park has just been awesome out of the pen. In his last 16 appearances he’s gone 24 2/3 innings with a 1.82 ERA and an 0.89 ratio while striking out 28. Eyre hasn’t been charged with an earned run in his last 22 appearances.
The Phillies are 53-39 on the season after taking two of three from the Cubs. After winning game two they were 15 games over .500 on the year, which was their best mark of the season. The are in first place in the NL East, 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Braves. The Marlins are six back and the Mets ten games out.
The Phils blew the Cubs out in game one, winning 10-1. Ibanez, Ruiz and Howard all hit home runs, which accounted for five of the ten runs. Lopez made another good start. He allowed a run over six innings. Durbin followed him and closed the game out with three scoreless innings to earn a save.
The Phillies won the second game 4-1 on a three-run homer from Werth in the bottom of the thirteenth. Rollins put the Phillies up 1-0 with a home run in the third. Blanton gave up a leadoff single to Ryan Theriot to start the fourth and Theriot came around to score on a two-out double by Kosuke Fukudome to tie the game at 1-1. Blanton departed after seven and the bullpen was brilliant after he left. They went six innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Lidge hit a batter in the ninth, but the runner was quickly erased by a double-play. Park was especially fantastic, striking out five in three perfect innings. In the bottom of the thirteenth the first two Phils went in order before Howard and Ibanez drew back-to-back walks. It put men on first and second for Werth and Werth hit a 1-1 pitch out to left.
The Cubs won 10-5 yesterday. Moyer gave up four in the fourth and another run in the top of the fifth. The Phils had gotten it to 5-3 by the time the seventh started, but Durbin had a miserable outing. He allowed two hits and walked three without getting an out, leading to three more runs that put Chicago up 8-3. The Phils scored two more in the bottom of the seventh to make it 8-5. They loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but Howard grounded out to leave the runners stranded. Lidge had another weak outing in the ninth and the Cubs tacked on two more runs — Lidge couldn’t make it out of the frame and Madson had to come in and get the last out.
The Phillies pitchers went 31 innings in the series, throwing to a 3.19 ERA and a 1.16 ratio. They allowed two runs in 22 innings in the first two games and then allowed ten runs yesterday. They didn’t allow a home run in the three games.
They got two great starts, one from Lopez and one from Blanton, and a weak outing from Moyer. The starters combined to go 18 innings with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.33 ratio. They allowed seven runs over three games, five of which were allowed by Moyer.
Lopez went six innings in game one, allowing a run on five hits and three walks. He has a 2.60 ERA and a 1.21 ratio in three starts for the Phillies.
Blanton was also great in game two. He went seven innings and allowed a run on five hits and didn’t walk a batter. He started June with a 6.86 ERA. It’s now down to 4.24. He’s allowed two runs in 21 2/3 innings over his last three starts and given up just 13 hits.
Moyer made a weak start yesterday. He allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks. Only four of the runs were earned. Two of his last three starts have been real bad with a brilliant start against the Marlins in the middle.
Like the starters, the pen was great in the first two games and not in the third. Overall they threw 13 innings with a 3.46 ERA and an 0.92 ratio. They allowed five runs that were charged to Lidge and Durbin in game three. As a group they gave up just six hits in 13 innings but walked six.
Romero did not pitch in the series. He’s gotten one out since July 16.
Eyre entered game three with the bases loaded, nobody out and the Phils down 7-3. He got Jake Fox to hit a sac fly for the first out, then got Koylie Hill on a line drive to third and struck out the pitcher Carlos Zambrano to end the frame. He came back to pitch the eighth and allowed a single and a walk but kept the Cubs off the board.
Eyre still has allowed runs in just two of 30 appearances on the season. He’s given up one run in 22 appearances since the end of April.
Durbin went three innings in game one and was fantastic. He allowed one single and didn’t walk a batter.
After throwing 33 pitches in game one, Durbin came back in game three and was not fantastic. He started the seventh with the Phillies down 5-3. He faced five batters: walk, walk, double, walk, single. He left with the bases loaded, nobody out and the Phils down 7-3. Thanks to a nice job by Eyre Durbin was only charged with three runs in the inning.
Park pitched a 1-2-3 tenth in game two with the score tied at 1-1. Ibanez made a great diving catch for the third out to take a double away from Koylie Hill. He came back to pitch the eleventh and struck out two as he set the Cubs down in order. He struck out two more in the twelfth.
Just an outstanding outing for Park. He went three innings and struck out five without allowing a hit or a walk. Over his last eight appearances he’s allowed two runs in 13 1/3 innings (1.35 ERA and a an 0.75 ratio).
Condrey got the win in game two. He threw three ground balls in a 1-2-3 thirteenth before Werth’s homer won it in the bottom of the inning.
He also pitched the sixth inning yesterday in game three. He entered with the Phils down 5-1 and set the Cubs down in order.
He’s allowed one hit and no walks in three scoreless innings this month.
Madson pitched the eighth inning of game two with the score tied at 1-1 and set Chicago down in order.
He also got the final out in the top of the ninth yesterday. He took over for Lidge with two outs, the bases loaded and the Phils down 10-5 and got Aramis Ramirez on a popup.
He hasn’t been charged with a run in nine of his last ten appearances.
Lidge started the ninth inning in game two with the score knotted at 1-1. He hit Aramis Ramirez with one out. Fukudome was next and he hit a ball hard back through the middle, but it hit Lidge’s foot and went right to Rollins who was covering second with Ramirez running. Rollins turned the double-play to end the frame.
Lidge started the ninth with the Phillies down 8-5. With one out the Cubs loaded the bases on a hit batter, a walk and a single before a single by Reed Johnson moved everyone up a base and made it 9-5. Lidge got a strikeout for the second out before walking Derrek Lee to force in another run. Madson took over with two down and the bases loaded.
July has been the best month of the year for Lidge by ERA this season. He has a 5.87 ERA in nine July appearances.
The Phillies scored 19 runs in the three-game set.
Rollins was 3-for-13 with a home run in the series. He’s hitting 235/290/370 on the year. 351/437/568 in July.
Victorino went 5-for-14 with a double to improve his line to 307/375/455. He’s hitting .360 this month.
Utley was 1-for-13 with a walk. 302/417/554.
Howard went 2-for-12 with seven strikeouts, a home run and three walks. 259/347/531.
Ibanez made a great diving catch with two outs in the top of the tenth in game two, taking a double away from Koylie Hill. Dobbs started in left yesterday in game three. Ibanez was 1-for-9 with a home run and two walks in the set. 309/372/662. If he slugs .662 all season long it will be a career high.
Werth won game two with a three-run homer in the bottom of the thirteenth. 4-for-10 with a home run and five walks. 266/378/508. He’s hitting just .266 this month, but with a .444 on-base percentage and a .603 slugging percentage.
Feliz was 4-for-12 with a walk and two RBI. 289/337/407.
Ruiz caught the first two games of the series and was 2-for-7 with a double and a home run. 228/330/375 on the year.
Bako started yesterday. He was 1-for-6 in the series and is hitting just 206/270/235 for the year. One extra-base hit, a double, in 34 at-bats.
Bruntlett was 0-for-2 in the series to drop his line on the year to 128/202/192.
Mayberry was 1-for-1 with a single. 192/236/462 on the year. He’s one of three players on the Phillies bench with an on-base percentage for the year of .270 or worse. I’m just saying.
Dobbs started in left yesterday in game three. 2-for-7 with two RBI in the series. 274/313/453 on the year. He’s hitting .341 in July after hitting .342 in June. One of four players on the Phillies bench with and on-base percentage of .313 or worse.
Stairs was 0-for-2 in the series. 270/425/492. 1-for-9 with five strikeouts and four walks in July.