Tag: Cody Ross

So the John Lannan glass is kinda maybe half fullish and, if that’s not enough for you ingrates, there’s the chance we might, just might, be in the mix to acquire Vernon Wells

That there could solve everything.

One way to look at John Lannan’s career is that he’s had four seasons in which he’s made at least ten starts and three of them have been pretty good.

Lannan has spent parts of six different seasons in the majors from 2007 through 2012. Of those, in two, 2007 and 2012, he threw less than 40 innings. If you remove those two, that leaves you with the four years from 2008 to 2011. In each of those four years, Lannan made at least 25 starts and over those years combined he threw to a 4.00 ERA with a 1.42 ratio.

Only one of the four seasons was really bad, though, his 2010 effort in which he threw to a 4.65 ERA with a 1.56 ratio. Opponents hit .302 against him. Removing 2010, in the three other years in which he’s made ten or more starts he has a 3.83 ERA with a 1.38 ratio.

Here are the four years of his career in which he’s thrown more than 40 innings.

Year GS IP ERA Ratio
2008 31 182.0 3.91 1.34
2009 33 206.3 3.88 1.35
2010 25 143.3 4.65 1.56
2011 33 184.7 3.70 1.46
’08 to ’11 122 716.3 4.00 1.42
’08, ’09 and ’11 97 573 3.83 1.38

Remember, that’s pretty much his whole career, removing only a total of 67 1/3 innings thrown in 2008 and 2012 combined. And if you take out 2010, things look pretty okay, at least judging by his 3.83 ERA and 1.38 ratio.

So what went wrong in 2010? Not his walk rate. He walked just 7.6% of the batters that he faced, which is the lowest mark for his career and well below his career walk rate of 8.7%. It wasn’t home runs — he allowed home runs to 2.2% of the hitters he faced, which was a decrease from his mark from the two previous years and is below his career home run rate of 2.3%.

What he did do was allow a lot more hits.

IP AB H Opp Avg H/9 % of PA H
2010 143 1/3 580 175 .302 11.0 27.2
Career 783 2/3 3,018 820 .272 9.4 24.1
Not 2010 640 1/3 2,438 645 .265 9.1 23.4
’08, ’09 and ’11 573 2,184 576 .264 9.0 23.4

So his hit rate skyrocketed in 2010. But so did his batting average for balls in play. Coming into 2010, Lannan had thrown 423 innings over three seasons. His Baseball-Reference calculated BABIP for those three years is .275 with a range of .272 to .277 (.277 in 2007, .272 in 2008 and .277 again in 2009). In 2010 it was .322.

The other thing about Lannan’s BABIP is that after it took off in 2010, it stayed up. .301 in 2011 and .314 in 2012. From 2007 to 2009, opponents hit .261 against Lannan with a BABIP of .275. From 2010 through 2012, opponents hit .284 against him with a BABIP of .311.

Also important to remember is that Lannan’s best year by ERA, 2011, when he put up a 3.70, is far from his best year in the majors. He’s going to have trouble keeping his ERA at that level with a 1.46 ratio and we should all be hoping he can bring his ratio down to 2008 and ’09 levels. Opponents hit .272 against him in ’11 and his walk rate of 3.7 batters per nine was above his career mark of 3.4.

Another thing that odd about Lannan is his recent history around giving up home runs. He hasn’t allowed one in his last 11 starts. Between August 13, 2011 and August 31, 2011, Lannan allowed five home runs in 21 innings for the Nationals. Since then he’s made 11 starts, throwing 57 1/3 innings without allowing a home run.

This article suggests that the Phillies have Cody Ross and Vernon Wells on their shopping list. Let’s hold out hope that either 1) it’s a really, really long list or 2) it’s a list from the 2010 off-season that somebody just recently uncovered. Wells is owed $21 million in 2013 and $21 million in 2014 and has hit 222/258/409 in 791 plate appearances over the last two years.

This article from yesterday’s Boston Globe says, “Ross has drawn considerable interest from the Braves, Phillies, Mets, Yankees, and Orioles, but nothing is close, according to a major league source.” The article also speculates on the possibility that Boston wants to trade Ellsbury, move Victorino to center and then sign Ross.

This suggests that the Phillies may be interested in acquiring left-handed reliever JP Howell. I’d be pretty surprised if the Phillies added a left-handed relief pitcher without trading away one of the six they currently have on their 40-man roster (Bastardo, Horst, Valdes, Diekman, Savery and Robles, in that order, in my opinion). Maybe they could add another fourth outfielder who can’t play center? Oh wait, they’re working on that.


Top ten reasons the Phillies should get some new outfielders

Here are the best seasons for Phillie outfielders by total WAR as measured Baseball-Reference over the past ten years (2003-2012) as well as their NL rank for bWAR for hitters in that season:

Player Year bWAR bWAR rank NL batters
1 Abreu 2004 6.3 8
2 Victorino 2011 5.2 9
3 Abreu 2003 5.2 10
4 Rowand 2007 4.8 12
5 Werth 2010 4.3 17
6 Werth 2009 4.2 15
6 Victorino 2008 4.2 T-17
8 Werth 2008 3.6 T-23
9 Victorino 2009 3.5 T-23
10 Burrell 2005 3.4 T-26
10 Lofton 2005 3.4 T-26
10 Abreu 2005 3.4 T-26

Thanks to a three-way tie for the tenth spot, 12 different seasons appear on the list. Werth, Abreu and Victorino all appear three times each and Rowand, Burrell and Lofton each appear once.

Two of the top three seasons in which a Phillie outfielder has posted a bWAR better than 4.8 came a long time ago — two of the top three spots belong to Bobby Abreu and his ’03 and ’04 seasons.

Comparing that list to Friday’s post about potentially available center fielders, you’ll see there are a number of players whose 2012 season would have had them on the list had they been playing for the Phillies and put up the same bWAR. They include:

  • Michael Bourn’s 6.0 would have been second-best of any Phillie outfielder in the past ten seasons
  • Torii Hunter’s 5.2 would have also been second-best
  • Melky Cabrera’s 4.7 would have been fifth-best
  • Curtis Granderson’s 4.1 would have been eighth-best
  • Angel Pagan’s 4.0 would also have been eighth-best
  • Josh Hamilton’s 3.4 would have tied him for tenth-best

It seems like there may be a case to be made that the Phillies really haven’t had their share of monster bWAR seasons from their outfielders over the past ten years. For example, over the last ten years, the Phillies have had three seasons in which an outfield posted a bWAR better than 4.8. The Braves had three outfielders do it last year in Bourn (6.0), Heyward (5.5) and Prado (5.4).

This suggests that the Phillies are in talks with Cody Ross and that Ross is looking for $25 million over three years. This should work out great if the Phils can just convince everyone to replay the 2010 NLCS and get Ross to put up a 1.385 OPS for them instead of the Giants.

This suggests that issues between the Phillies and Scott Boras stemming from last year’s negotiations around Ryan Madson could impact a potential deal for Michael Bourn, a Boras client.

The article linked above suggests that Amaro said the backup catcher’s job is Erik Kratz’s to lose.

This article mentions the Phillies as a possible fit for Torri Hunter. This suggests the Dodgers are no longer pursuing Hunter.

This suggests the Phillies might be willing to pay Josh Hamilton the amount of money he wants, but not for the number of years he wants.


Cain and the unable

The Phils have lost game three of the NLCS, shut down by Matt Cain in a game where they looked old, hurt and a little helpless. Only the Phillies know how hurt they are, but they’re not that old and they’re sure not helpless. The team seems to be wound up about as tight as a team can be, like they come into every at-bat intent to demonstrate once and for all that they haven’t lost a thing since 2008. That’s not going to work because it’s not true, but it’s also unnecessary. They are going to be fine if they can just be as good as they are right now.

Hamels pitched well yesterday, but if you know of any pitchers who can get your team a win when they don’t score any runs you need to get in touch with the Phillies as soon as possible. Cody Ross got the scoring started again as his two-out single in the fourth scored Renteria to put the Giants up 1-0. Aubrey Huff followed that with another single that plated Burrell and extended the lead to 2-0. Aaron Rowand led off the fifth with a double and scored with two outs when Freddy Sanchez hit a ball to second that Utley should have handled, making it 3-0. That was all the San Francisco pitchers needed. Matt Cain was awesome, holding the Phils to two singles and three walks over seven innings. Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson backed him up with scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth.

I’m trying hard not to like Cody Ross, but I just can’t do it. That guy is having quite a series.

The Phils trail the Giants two games to one in the NLCS after losing 3-0 yesterday.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out eight.

He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Edgar Renteria (SS/R) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Buster Posey (C/R) (4) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (5) Cody Ross (RF/R) (6) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (7) Uribe (3B/R) (8) Rowand (CF/R). Fontenot and Torres to the bench. Renteria at short and leads off with Uribe back in the lineup after missing game two, but now at third. Rowand makes his first start of the series in center with Torres on the bench. Posey moves up to third, with Huff dropped to fifth and Burrell moved up to the cleanup spot.

The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz, switch-hitters Andre Torres and Pablo Sandoval and righty Eli Whiteside.

He threw a 1-2-3 first, getting Renteria to fly to center for the first out, Sanchez on a ground ball to short for the second and Posey on a ground ball to third for the third.

Burrell struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out in the second. Ross grounded to short with the count full for the second. Huff flew to Werth on an 0-1 pitch for the third.

Uribe swung at his first pitch of the third and grounded to short. Rowand struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. The pitcher Cain struck out swinging 2-2 as well to end the inning.

Hamels got ahead of Renteria to start the fourth, but Renteria lined a 1-2 pitch over the head of Utley and into right for a single. Sanchez bunted Renteria to second with the first out. Posey went down swinging at a 3-2 fastball for the second out. Burrell got a close call on a 2-1 pitch that must have been off the corner, and then walked on the 3-1 offering. It put men on first and second for Ross and Ross did it again, lining a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Renteria scored easily and Burrell took third with the Giants up 1-0. Huff was next and he hit a ball that went off the tip of the glove of a diving Utley and into right for a single. Burrell scored to make it 2-0 with Ross moving to third. Uribe popped to Utley in short right field to leave the runners stranded.

Rowand led off the fifth and ripped a double into the left field corner. Cain tried to bunt him to third, but struck off bunting a 1-2 pitch foul for the first out. Renteria flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second. Sanchez was next and hit a soft liner on a 1-2 pitch right in front of Utley. Utley tried to short hop the ball, but it went off his right arm and rolled away from him. Rowand scored to make it 3-0. The play was originally called an error, but was changed to a hit, giving Sanchez a single and an RBI. Posey struck out swinging at a high 2-2 pitch for the third out.

That’s an error on Utley. Not an easy play, but it would have been a nice one to have. Rowand was running with two outs, but if Utley had even kept the ball in front of him he probably would have had a chance to keep Rowand from scoring.

Hamels struck out Burrell and Ross to start the sixth. Huff popped up to the mound for the third out.

Contreras pitched the seventh after the Giants hit for Hamels in the top of the inning. He got Uribe on a popup in front of the plate that Ruiz handled for the first out and then struck Rowand out swinging 1-2 for the second. The switch-hitter Torres hit for Cain, who had thrown 119 pitches in the game, and grounded back to the mound for the third out.

Contreras was back for the eighth. He got Renteria to pop to short, Sanchez to fly to center and Posey on a pop to Utley taken in shallow right.

Two perfect innings for Contreras, who threw 24 pitches in the game. He has now thrown three perfect innings in the series. I do think it’s a minor victory of sorts that Manuel didn’t use Madson in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Cain went (1) Victorino (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. That’s the same lineup they used in game two against the lefty Sanchez. Rollins stays in the six-hole after the big game two. Utley continues to hit ahead of Polanco with Polanco the unlikely three-hitter.

The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Domonic Brown and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.

Victorino led off the game and lined to short on a 3-1 pitch. Utley flew to center 2-2 and Polanco struck out looking at a 1-2 fastball.

Howard hit the first pitch of the second inning hard, but Rowand took it on the warning track for the first out. Werth struck out looking 3-2 after he thought he had drawn a walk for the second. Rollins got behind 0-2 and then popped to third 2-2 to set the Phils down.

Ibanez struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out of the third. Ruiz lined a 2-1 pitch into center for the Phils first hit of the game. Hamels took strike one, then bunted foul before striking out swinging 1-2. Victorino was hit by a 1-0 pitch, putting runners on first and second for Utley. Utley got behind 1-2 and grounded to short to end the frame.

The Phils didn’t get a lot of chances to hit with men on in the game, but Utley got one there. Hamels was unable to move Ruiz to second after the one-out single.

Polanco grounded back to the pitcher to start the fourth. Howard blooped a single into left and Werth walked behind him, bringing Rollins to the plate with one out and men on first and second. Rollins flew to left for the second out and Ibanez struck out swinging 0-2 for the third.

Next to last real opportunity for the Phils to do some damage with runners on base. I think there’s a good chance we’ll see Francisco get a start in left tonight with Ibanez 0-for-11 in the series and looking awful.

The Phillies were trailing 2-0 when they hit in the fifth. Ruiz flew to left for the first out and Hamels hit a 2-0 pitch well, but Huff handled it at first for the second. Victorino drew a four pitch walk and stole second as Utley took ball one to make the count 1-1. Utley grounded the next pitch to second for the third out.

Again Utley with a man in scoring position. Not sure what it was about the Phils and hitting ground balls to second in the game, but if you’re reading this you might want to get used to it. The Phils didn’t ground to second at all in the first four innings, but had six ground outs to second and a popup to Sanchez at second in the last five frames.

Polanco and Howard both grounded to second for the first two outs in the sixth with the Phils now down 3-0. Werth flew to Ross in right on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.

Burrell was taken out of the game after striking out in the sixth. Ross moved to left and Schierholtz came in to play right. Cain got Rollins to ground to second for the first out. Ibanez lined to first on a 1-0 pitch for the second. Ruiz was hit on the arm with a 1-2 breaking ball, putting a man on for Hamels. Gload hit for Hamels and drew a walk. It put two men on for Victorino, but Victorino grounded to second on a 3-2 pitch to turn the Phillies away.

Ibanez hit the ball hard that time, just into bad luck.

Lefty Javier Lopez was on the mound for the Giants when the Phillies hit in the eighth. He got Utley to pop to Sanchez, the righty Polanco to ground to third and Howard swinging 1-2.

That’s the second time in the series that Lopez went through Howard and Utley without a peep. In game one he got Utley on a ground ball to second and struck Howard out to start the eighth with the Giants holding on to a 4-3 lead.

Wilson pitched the ninth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2. Rollins blasted a 1-1 pitch off the wall in right for a long single, but Ibanez grounded into a double-play to end the game.

Wilson threw ten pitches in the game and Lopez nine.

Victorino was 0-for-2 in the game with a walk and a stolen base. He’s 2-for-11 in the series.

Utley was 0-for-4, left three men on base and made a critical misplay at second that wasn’t called an error. 1-for-10 in the series with three walks.

Polanco 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-11 in the series.

Howard 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 4-for-11 with two doubles.

Werth 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. 2-for-9 with three walks and a home run in the series. 0-for-6 in games two and three of the series after going 2-for-3 with a home run in game one.

Rollins 1-for-4. 3-for-11 with a double in the series.

Ibanez was 0-for-4 in the game and struck out twice. 0-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts in the series. We’ll see what the Phillies do today against the lefty.

Ruiz 1-for-2 with a hit by pitch. 2-for-9 with a home run in the series.

Werth, Howard and Ruiz have solid offensive numbers through the first three games. The other five starters all have an OPS under .700 for the series with Polanco, Utley and Ibanez all under .500. The numbers are pretty miserable for the Giants, too. Ross is 4-for-9 with three home runs and four RBI. By OPS, among the players with more than three plate appearances, their next best player has been Burrell and Burrell has gone 2-for-9 with a double and a walk.

Joe Blanton (9-6, 4.82) faces lefty Madison Bumgarner (7-6, 3.00) tonight in game four. Bumgarner turned 21 in August and was the tenth pick in the 2007 draft. He threw to a 1.18 ERA with a 1.13 ratio over his last starts in the regular season. He made one start against the Braves in the NLDS, allowing two runs in six innings and getting the win at San Francisco topped Atlanta 3-2 in game four. He struggled at home for the season, going 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA at home and 6-3 with a 1.91 ERA on the road. He has never faced the Phillies and no current Phillie has faced him. Blanton will be making his first start since September 29 when he was fantastic, holding the Nats to an unearned run on three hits and three walks over seven innings. He made one start against the Giants this year, which came on August 18. The Phils won that game 8-2 as Blanton allowed a pair of runs over 6 1/3 innings. Both of the runs the Giants scored in the game came on solo homers, one by Torres and one by Burrell. It was Burrell’s third career home run off of Blanton — he’s 3-for-12 with three home runs. Huff 4-for-20 with two doubles. Uribe 1-for-11. Ross 3-for-11 with a double and a home run. Sanchez 2-for-7 with two doubles. Fontenot 2-for-9. Rowand 2-for-4 with two doubles. Torres 1-for-3 with a home run. Posey 1-for-3. Renteria 0-for-3. Sandoval 0-for-6.


Oswalt and Rollins order up some redemption to go

The Phils head to California with a split and a spring in their step, thanks largely to the efforts of Roy Oswalt and Jimmy Rollins. Both players came into last night’s game in a funk. Oswalt’s funk was just a one-game event, but the game was big. The injury-slowed Rollins has been struggling for a long time. Oswalt gave the Phils eight strong innings and Rollins drove in four runs as the Phils topped the Giants 6-1 to even up the NLCS after two games.

The Phils were all over Jonathan Sanchez early. Sanchez walked three and had to work around an error in the first, but the Phils managed just one run on a bases loaded walk by Rollins. Cody Ross homered yet again in the fifth, a solo shot that tied the game at 1-1. Victorino started the bottom of the fifth with a double and came around to score on fly balls by Utley and Polanco, putting the Phillies back on top 2-1. The Phils broke it open in the bottom of the seventh. Oswalt led off with a single and came around to score. Later in the inning, Rollins delivered the swing of the game, blasting a double high off the wall in right center with the bases loaded to plate three runs and put the Phils up to stay at 6-1.

The swing was huge for Rollins because of the situation, but also because it came against a right-handed pitcher. Rollins had looked awful against righties in the series after hitting .218 against them in the regular season. The Giants put the righty Werth on base in front of him to get a chance to go at Rollins with a righty and Rollins made them pay.

The Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 6-1 last night to even the NLCS at a game apiece as the teams head to San Francisco.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on three hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run by the cursed Cody Ross. He struck out nine.

He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Andres Torres (CF/S) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (4) Buster Posey (C/R) (5) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (6) Cody Ross (RF/R) (7) Mike Fontenot (3B/L) (8) Edgar Renteria (SS/R). Uribe did not start the game due to a problem with his left wrist. Renteria takes his spot at short with Ross moving up from eighth in the order to sixth.

The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz, switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and righties Eli Whiteside, Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand.

Torres led off the game and struck out swinging 1-2. Sanchez hit a one-hopper to short 2-0 for the second out. Oswalt got ahead of Huff and Huff flew to Ibanez near the left field line on an 0-2 pitch to set the Giants down.

The Phils were up 1-0 when Oswalt started the second. Posey led off and got ahead 3-0 before he flew to Victorino 3-1 for the first out. Burrell fouled out to Polanco in foul territory on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Oswalt walked Ross on a 3-1 pitch that was outside after going way up and in to him earlier in the count, but struck Fontenot out looking at a 1-2 fastball on the inside part of the plate to leave Ross at first.

Oswalt had thrown 27 pitches through two innings.

He set the Giants down in order in the third. Renteria flew to shallow right on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. The pitcher Jonathan Sanchez struck out swinging 1-2 for the second. Torres got ahead 2-0, but Oswalt struck him out swinging 2-2 to end the frame.

Oswalt had thrown 38 pitches through three innings.

Freddy Sanchez led off the fourth and struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Huff flew to Ibanez in left on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Posey flew to Victorino 0-1 to set the Giants down.

Oswalt had thrown 47 pitches through four innings, striking out five and allowing one batter to reach (the walk to Ross).

Burrell fouled out to Ruiz to start the fifth. Ross was next and Oswalt threw him a 1-0 fastball on the inside part of the plate. Ross knocked it out to left for his third home run of the series, tying the game at 1-1. Oswalt walked Fontenot on four pitches, which seemed somehow appropriate given the recent developments. Renteria smoked a 2-2 pitch, but right at Rollins for the second out. Sanchez, who had thrown 77 pitches in the game, hit for himself and struck out swinging 0-2 to leave Fontenot on first.

Cody Ross?

Oswalt led again when he started the sixth, this time 2-1. He struck Torres out on three pitches for the first out. Freddy Sanchez was next and he singled to left on a 2-0 pitch for San Francisco’s second hit of the game. Huff swung at the first pitch and fouled out to Polanco for the second out. Posey grounded to short 2-2 for the third.

Oswalt had thrown 78 pitches in the game.

Burrell struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the seventh. Ross was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch hard, but Victorino took the ball on the warning track for the second out. Fontenot grounded back to the mound to set the Giants down.

Oswalt was at 88 pitches for the game.

He pitched the eighth with a 6-1 lead. Renteria led off and popped to first for the first out. Sandoval, who had been doubled-switched into the game in the bottom of the seventh, was next and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Oswalt struck Torres out swinging 0-2 for the second out and Torres was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the game. Sanchez followed that with a single into center that moved Sandoval to second and brought the lefty Huff to the plate. Manuel visited the mound, but left Oswalt in the game. Huff flew to Victorino on a 1-2 pitch to leave both runners stranded.

Madson started the ninth after throwing nine pitches in game one and walked Posey on four pitches. Burrell was next and hammered a 2-1 pitch deep to left, but Ibanez made the play falling down on the warning track for the first out. Ross was next and Madson struck him out looking at a 3-2 fastball down the middle and a little high for the second out. Lefty Travis Ishikawa hit for the pitcher Sergio Romo and lined an 0-1 pitch into right for a single that moved Posey to third. Renteria was next and grounded to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Madson threw 22 pitches in the game, but should be fine for game three with the off-day today.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jonathan Sanchez went (1) Victorino (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. Utley and Polanco switch places in the two-three spots against the lefties. Polanco isn’t a three-hitter. One way you can tell is that he slugged .283 over his last 185 plate appearances in the regular season. The struggling Rollins says in the lineup against the lefty and stays in the six hole. Letting Rollins hit sixth and ahead of Ibanez is a little better than against a righty — he hit 297/368/405 against lefties this year and 218/297/360 against righties.

The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Domonic Brown and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.

Victorino led off and struck out looking 0-2 for the first out. Utley got ahead 3-0 and walked on a 3-1 pitch that was low. He was running as Polanco took strike one and slid in safe to second with a stolen base. Polanco grounded a 1-2 pitch to third. It took a weird hop on Fontenot. Fontenot fielded, but his throw to first was low and pulled Huff off the bag at first. Huff didn’t come up with the ball. Fontenot was charged with an error and Utley moved to third. Howard walked on a 3-2 pitch that was low to load the bases for Werth. Werth got behind 0-2 and struck out looking at a 1-2 breaking ball that was high but called a strike. Rollins was next and walked on a 3-1 pitch that was probably a strike, but was called ball four. Utley was forced in from third and the Phils led 1-0. Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Long inning for Sanchez, who threw 35 pitches and walked three. Big error by Fontenot sure didn’t help him. Guillermo Mota was warming in the pen after the walk to Rollins forced in Utley. Nice to see the Phillies running early. Nice to see Rollins not make an out. Werth and Rollins both had their plate appearance end on a missed call by the home plate ump.

Sanchez came back and needed just seven pitches to set the Phils down in order in the second. Ruiz grounded to third on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Oswalt grounded to second 1-1 for the second. Victorino lined to Burrell in left 0-1 for the third.

Utley started the third and struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball that was high. Polanco flew to left on a 1-0 pitch for the second out. Howard was next and he smoked a 2-0 pitch into left center. The ball landed on the warning track and bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double. Werth was next and he struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning with Howard stranded.

Nice to see Howard on base twice in his first two times to the plate. Less nice to see Werth strike out twice. Sanchez was up to 57 pitches for the game.

Rollins swung at the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth and popped a ball up to the mound that dropped with Fontenot, Huff, Sanchez and Posey all looking at it. Ibanez flew to right 1-1 for the first out. Ruiz had a long at-bat and finally dribbled a 3-2 pitch out in front of the mound. Sanchez fielded and threw to first to get Ruiz for the second out with Rollins moving to second. Oswalt had a long at-bat at well. His ended when he went out of the strike zone to fly to center on a 3-2 pitch to set the Phillies down.

That’s going to look like a hit for Rollins in the box score forevermore. It wasn’t. Phils couldn’t do anything with the second gift from Fontenot in two innings. What must Sandoval look like defensively? Sanchez was up to 77 pitches for the game.

The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. Victorino led off and doubled into the left field corner. Utley showed bunt but took ball one and then flew to right for the first out with Victorino tagging and going to third. Polanco swung at the first pitch and flew to center, deep enough for Victorino to tag and score, putting the Phils up 2-1. Howard lined an 0-1 pitch into center for a single, but Werth swung at the first pitch and grounded to third to end the inning.

Howard 2-for-2 with a double. Werth 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when the Phillies getting a run on a double and two fly balls in the fifth inning wasn’t really that big a deal.

Rollins started the bottom of the sixth and popped an 0-1 pitch into shallow left center. Renteria made a great catch with his back to the infield, bobbling the ball but holding on for the first out. Sanchez made Ibanez and Ruiz look bad after that, striking Ibanez out waving at an 0-2 pitch that was outside and low and getting Ruiz looking at an 0-2 fastball in the middle of the plate.

Great play by Renteria before the Phils even got anything started. Sanchez was up to 95 pitches.

Oswalt hit for himself to start the seventh. He had thrown 88 pitches in the game. He got ahead 2-0 and then lined a 2-2 pitch just in front of the sliding Torres for a single. Righty Ramon Ramirez came in to pitch to Victorino and Victorino put down a nice bunt for the first out, moving Oswalt to second. Ramirez walked Utley intentionally, putting men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco lined a 1-0 pitch into center for a single. Oswalt got the stop sign at third. He hesitated, then ran through it. He would have been out by ten feet if Huff hadn’t cut off the throw from Torres, but Huff did, then relayed home. Oswalt slide in safely and the Phils led 3-1. Lefty Jeremy Affeldt came in to pitch to Howard with one down and men on first and second. Utley and Polanco pulled off a double-steal as Howard swung and miss to make the count 2-2. Affeldt struck him out swinging at an inside fastball 2-2 for the second out. Werth was next and the lefty Affeldt stayed in to walk Werth intentionally, loading the bases for Rollins. Righty Santiago Casilla came into the game to pitch to Rollins, with Pablo Sandoval double-switching into the game to play third. Rollins took two balls and then blasted a pitch high off the wall in right center, scoring all three runners to put the Phillies up 6-1. Casilla stayed in to pitch to the lefty Ibanez. He got ahead of him 0-2 before Ibanez ripped a ball to third that Sandoval handled for the third out.

Just an enormous hit for Rollins, hopefully that’s the one we’ve been waiting for. The Giants could have just brought Casilla in to pitch to Werth, but they wanted Rollins and with good reason. J-Roll made them pay.

Not a fan of the Victorino bunt, but it sure worked out great. Huge hit for Polanco. Howard can’t bring in the runner from third with less than two outs after reaching each of his first three times to the plate in the game.

Righty Sergio Romo started the eighth for the Giants. He struck Ruiz out swinging for the first out. Gload hit for Oswalt and grounded to second hard for the second. Victorino dumped a single into left center, but Utley chopped a ball to Huff at first for the third out.

Victorino was 2-for-4 in the game with a double, a run scored and a big bunt in the seventh. He’s 2-for-9 in the series.

Utley was 0-for-3 with two walks and an important sac fly to move Victorino to third in the fifth. 1-for-6 with three walks in the series.

Polanco was 1-for-3 with a single and two RBI. He drove in Oswalt in the seventh after bringing Victorino in from third with a fly ball in the fifth. 2-for-7 in the series.

Howard was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. 3-for-7 with two doubles in the series.

Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk and five men left on base. He’s 2-for-6 with a home run and two walks so far.

Rollins had the hit of the series so far. He was 2-for-3 in the game with a walk, a double and four RBI. 2-for-7 in the series.

Ibanez was 0-for-4, struck out twice and left five men on base. 0-for-7 in the series.

Ruiz was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts last night and is 1-for-7 with a home run in the series.

Game three is Tuesday afternoon.


Evidently where Joe is goin’ with that gun in his hand is to the showers after five innings

If Joe Blanton was supposed to be the force that stabilized the Phillies’ rotation he certainly hasn’t done that so far. The Phils won the game last night, but without much help from Blanton. The Phils gave him a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first and Blanton gave back both runs in the top of the second. The Phillies scored three more times in the bottom of the second, but ended the top of the third clinging to a 5-4 lead.

Blanton exited after five innings, leaving four frames for the bullpen to throw. Werth looked like he had blown the game open with a three-run homer in the seventh that put the Phils up four. Things got close when Romero yielded a two-run homer in the eighth — Lidge bent but didn’t break in the ninth.

Blanton hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh inning in any of his last six starts. He has gone six innings in just one of those starts while allowing 19 earned runs in 30 2/3 innings (5.58 ERA).

The Phillies beat the Florida Marlins last night, winning 8-6 to improve to 79-65 on the season. They have won three of their last four and trail the Mets by a game and a half in the NL East.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He struck out one.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second up 2-0. He walked Mike Jacobs and Dan Uggla back-to-back to start the inning. Josh Willingham was next and blooped a single to left, loading the bases with nobody out. John Baker flew to center for the first out. Jacobs scored to make it 2-1 and Uggla went to third. Alfredo Amezaga was next and he grounded to first, scoring Uggla to tie the game at 2-2. The pitcher Anibal Sanchez flew to right for the third out.

He walked Hanley Ramirez to start the third after the Phillies scored three in the bottom of the second to give him a 5-2 lead. He got the next two before Jacobs lined a 2-1 pitch out to right-center, cutting the lead to 5-4. Uggla flew to right for the third out.

Just an awful job by Blanton to walk the leadoff man two innings in a row.

Amezaga singled with two outs in the fourth, but Blanton got pitcher Mark Hendrickson to ground out behind him.

Ramirez started the fifth with a single, but Hermida hit into a double-play behind him. Jorge Cantu was next and singled to right, but Blanton got Jacobs to ground to first to end the frame.

Durbin started the sixth with the Phils up 5-4. He hit Willingham with a 2-2 pitch with one out. Baker was next and he hit a hard ground ball between first and second, but Howard made a nice play to field and throw to second to start a nifty double-play and set the Marlins down.

More good defense from Howard, who has been outstanding over the past couple of days.

Durbin threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Romero started the eighth with an 8-4 lead. He walked Cantu on four pitches with one out and Cody Ross hit for Mike Jacobs. Ross got ahead 2-0 and then hit a 2-1 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 8-6. Madson came in and struck out Uggla before Willingham doubled to left. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Baker and got him on a fly ball to left, leaving Willingham stranded.

With a four-run lead, Romero stays in to pitch to a righty and the righty hurts him and the Phils have to bring Madson in one batter later anyway.

Lidge started the ninth up 8-6. Amezaga led off and hit a ground ball to second. Utley fielded and tossed softly to first, nearly too softly as the throw just beat the speedy Amezaga. Lefty Dallas McPherson hit for the pitcher Joe Nelson and doubled to right. Ramirez was next and he hit a ground ball in the hole between short and third. Rollins tried to backhand the ball and didn’t field it cleanly. McPherson was going for third, so Rollins picked up the ball and threw to third. Feliz caught it, but way too far off the bag, and the tag was late. With one out and men on first and third, Wes Helms came to the plate as the go-ahead run. Lidge struck him out on three pitches. Cantu was next and Lidge struck him out in three pitches to end the game.

The pen went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Romero got one out, walked a hitter and gave up a two-run homer.

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Stairs (8) Ruiz. Slumping Burrell on the bench. Werth in left and Stairs in right. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Feliz on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the first with a single. Victorino flew to right for the first out before Rollins stole second and took third on a throwing error by the catcher Baker. Utley singled to right and Rollins scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard was next and split the gap in right-center with a double. Utley scored from first and it was 2-0. Werth struck out and Dobbs grounded to third to leave him stranded.

With the game tied at 2-2, Stairs walked to start the second and went to third when Ruiz followed with a double. Blanton hit a fly ball to left for the first out. The throw home wasn’t cut off, and Ruiz did a nice job of going to third as Stairs scored to make it 3-2. Rollins singled into right and Ruiz scored (4-2). Rollins stole second before Victorino struck out for the second out. Utley drew a walk and it put men on first and second with two down for Howard. Howard singled into center and Rollins scored, extending the lead to 5-2. Werth flew to center for the third out.

1-2-3 in the third.

Rollins singled with one out in the fourth and went to second when Victorino grounded out for the second out. Rollins stole third before Utley struck out to end the inning.

Three stolen bases in the first four innings of the game for Rollins.

Howard and Werth struck out in a 1-2-3 fifth.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth. With lefty Mark Hendrickson on the mound for Florida, Bruntlett hit for Stairs. The Fish brought in righty Logan Kensing and Kensing got Bruntlett to pop to first.

With one out in the seventh, Victorino walked and Utley was hit by a pitch. Howard was next and hit a double-play ball to second. Uggla fielded and threw to Ramirez at second for the force. His throw was low and outside, though, and Utley went hard into the bag. The Fish couldn’t double up Howard and it proved to be critical. It brought Werth to the plate with two outs and he blasted the first pitch of his at-bat out to center, putting the Phils up 8-4. Andy Tracy hit for Durbin and struck out to end the inning.

Feliz walked with two outs in the eighth, but Rollins flew to left for the third out.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with an RBI and three stolen bases.

Victorino 0-for-3 with a walk.

Utley was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Werth 1-for-4 with three RBI.

Dobbs 0-for-3.

Stairs 0-for-1 with a walk.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a double.

Kyle Kendrick (11-8, 5.06) faces righty Chris Volstad (4-3, 3.32) tonight. The 21-year-old Volstad has appeared in 11 games for the Marlins this season, ten of which have been starts. He’s allowed just two home runs in 62 1/3 innings, both of which have been hit by righties. He started against the Phils on August 7 and allowed three hits and three walks over six shutout innings. Kendrick hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last five starts. Over those five starts he’s struck out seven in 21 2/3 innings and allowed 22 earned runs.


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