Tag: Collin Balester

Balester can’t deter Phils

Coming off back-to-back losses, Phillies fans were hoping to see the team come out strong last night. They got their wish. The Phils jumped all over Collin Balester as Utley and Howard combined to drive in seven runs in the first two innings. Joe Blanton pitched well and the pen was even better as the Phils rolled to an 8-4 win.

With the Marlins beating the Mets last night, the Phils lead the division by two games with two games left to play.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 8-4 to improve to 90-70 on the season. They will clinch the division today if they beat the Nats or the Mets lose.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. He got some terrible defense behind him, hurt most by plays by Ruiz and Howard, and only one of the runs was earned. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second with a 3-0 lead. Elijah Dukes led off and Blanton walked him. Willie Harris flew to center for the first out. With Kory Castro at the plate, Dukes went to second on a passed ball. Ruiz just didn’t catch the ball, which wasn’t even in the dirt. It cost the Phils a run, cause Castro grounded to second for the second out with Dukes going to third and Luke Montz singled into left to bring Dukes in and cut the lead to 3-1. Orr grounded to Utley to end the frame.

The Phils probably would have had a double-play on the ball that Casto hit if Dukes had been on first instead of second.

Blanton started the third up 7-1. Emilio Bonifacio doubled with one out, but Blanton got the next two to leave him stranded.

He got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Orr hit a ground ball to Howard that Howard booted for his 19th error of the season. Robert Bernandina hit for the pitcher Jason Bergmann and doubled to left, moving Orr to third. Bonifacio was next and he hit a fly ball to center for the second out. It was deep enough to score Orr and cut the lead to 7-2. Cristian Guzman was next and he singled into right, scoring Bernandina to make it 7-3. Lastings Milledge flew to center for the third out.

More bad defense costs the Phillies runs.

With two outs in the sixth, Casto hit a 1-0 pitch to deep right. A fan reached over the fence and tried to catch the ball but dropped it. Casto was given a home run and the play was reviewed. The play stood. 7-4. Looked like the right call to me. Blanton struck out Montz for the third out.

Eyre started the seventh after the Phils hit for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth. Righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the lefty Pete Orr and Eyre struck him out for the first out. Switch-hitter Anderson Hernandez hit for the pitcher hit for the pitcher Garrett Mock and Eyre struck him out too. Bonifacio was next and he hit a ball slowly to short. Rollins charged, bare-handed and made a strong throw to first to nip Bonifacio.

Nice inning for Eyre and a great play by Rollins.

Madson started the eighth up 8-4. Cristian Guzman led off with a single to right. Madson struck out Milledge and got Dukes on a pop to third before Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Harris. Righty Aaron Boone hit for Harris and grounded to Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to end the frame.

Lidge started the ninth up 8-4. Casto swung at a 1-2 pitch and the home plate umpire called him out, but Casto argued that he had fouled the pitch off. The home plate ump checked with the third base ump who said Casto had fouled the ball off. Manuel came out to argue and was ejected. I don’t think that Casto actually fouled the ball off. Lidge struck him out swinging on the next pitch for the first out. Montz was next and Lidge struck him out swinging 1-2. Gonzalez was next and grounded to short to end the game.

I was surprised that nobody on the Phillies’ bench came out to get Manuel before he finally walked away. He was about as mad as Phillies fans have seen him.

The bullpen goes three scoreless innings for the Phils, allowing one base-runner on Guzman’s single off of Madson. They struck out five. Nobody threw more than 13 pitches. After the off-day on Thursday, everyone likely seems available for this afternoon’s game as the Phillies try to clinch the division.

The Phillies lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. The slumping Werth stays in the lineup and moves up to second in the order with Utley dropped to third. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Feliz on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Werth lined a single into center with one out in the first and went to third when Utley followed and singled into right. Howard was next and blasted an 0-1 pitch out to right-center to put the Phils up 3-0. Burrell and Victorino both popped out to end the inning.

Dobbs started the second with an opposite field double with the Phils up 3-1. Ruiz flew to right and Blanton struck out, but Rollins drew a walk to put men on first and second. Werth reached on an infield single to third that loaded the bases. It brought Utley up and he hit a 3-1 pitch off the top of the wall in left. It cleared the bases and put the Phils up 6-1. Howard followed with a double of his own. 7-1. Burrell grounded to third for the third out.

Rollins, Werth, Utley and Howard all get aboard with two outs and it gets the Phils four runs.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.

With one out in the fourth, Rollins blooped a 1-0 pitch in between second and center. It dropped in and good hustle by Rollins got him to second. Werth flew to left and Utley flew to center to leave Rollins stranded.

The Phils started the fifth up 7-3. Victorino doubled with two outs and stole third, but Dobbs grounded to second to leave him stranded.

They were leading 7-4 when they started the sixth. Ruiz flew to center for the first out. With the righty Garrett Mock on the mound, Jenkins hit for Blanton and popped to short. Rollins drew a walk, but Werth struck out for the third out.

If you hadn’t already, I think you have to conclude that Manuel has more confidence in Stairs than Jenkins as a left-handed hitter off the bench. In that case he chose to save Stairs for later in the game.

Utley started the seventh with a single. Howard struck out before Utley stole second. Burrell drew a walk and Bruntlett ran for him at first. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to short. Bruntlett was forced at second for the second out. With two outs and men on first and third, Feliz hit for Dobbs with lefty Mike Hinckley on the mound. Jesus Colome came in to pitch for Feliz. Victorino stole second before a passed ball brought in Utley and moved Victorino to third with the Phils up 8-4. Feliz flew to center for the third out.

Wouldn’t have run for Burrell there.

Ruiz led off the eighth with a walk. Stairs hit for Romero and Ruiz was caught stealing as the count went 2-2 on Stairs. The Phils ran all over the Washington catcher Montz, who was making his fifth career start, but that’s a terrible time to run with Stairs hitting towering foul balls off of the righty Jesus Colome. Ruiz was safe and didn’t get the call, but it’s terrible anyway. Stairs struck out for the second out. Rollins drew a walk, his third of the game, and stole second. Werth struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch.

Rollins was 1-for-2 with a double, three walks and his 47th stolen base.

Werth was 2-for-5. Nice to see him have a good game.

Utley 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with a double.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk and a bad miscue on the passed ball. Shouldn’t have been allowed to be caught stealing in the eighth.

Jamie Moyer (15-7, 3.78) faces lefty John Lannan (9-14, 3.86) this afternoon. Lannan has faced the Phillies twice this season, allowing ten runs in 11 2/3 innings. The Phillies’ lefties have hit him pretty well over their careers. Howard is 3-for-8 with a double and a home run. Utley 4-for-8 with a walk in the plate appearances where Lannan didn’t break his hand. Moyer has been just fantastic for the Phils in big starts over the past two years. Here comes one now. The Phillies have won six games in a row that Moyer has started. He’s 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA in four starts against the Nats this season.

If you care about the music that players use for their at-bats, you might find this thing kinda cool.

Myers’ turnaround may have Phillies wondering if the IronPigs have room for all the Phils’ hitters

The Phillies sent Brett Myers down to the minors and the guy they got back isn’t pitching anything like the Myers that threw to a 5.84 ERA in his first 23 starts of the year. Since returning from the minor leagues, Myers has made six starts in which he’s gone 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA and an 0.96 ratio.

Myers dominated the Nationals last night, throwing a complete game shutout as the Phils pulled out a 4-0 win.

The offense is still not firing on all cylinders. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell are all struggling through a miserable August. Here’s what they’ve done this month:

Rollins 72 222 305 333 638
Utley 67 224 325 463 787
Howard 63 175 293 349 643
Burrell 56 161 304 375 679
Total 258 198 307 380 687




Yikes. Sure seems like you would want those guys to be hitting better than the rest of the team. The worse news is this: they are. The Phillies’ hitters other than Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell have hit 219/298/347 in August (a .647 OPS).

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 4-0 to improve to 68-58 on the season. They have won three in a row.

Myers got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout. He allowed nine hits, eight singles and a double. He struck out nine and walked one.

Emilio Bonifacio led off the first with an infield single, but Willie Harris hit into a double-play behind him. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he hit a ground ball to third, but Dobbs threw it away for his third error of the season. Lastings Milledge drew a walk that moved Zimmerman to second. Ronnie Belliard was next and he singled into left, but Burrell threw Zimmerman out at the plate to end the frame.

Jesus Flores led off the second with a fly ball lined to left that Burrell charged and had go off his glove for another Phillies’ error. Myers got Austin Kearns to fly to center for the first out before Anderson Hernandez moved Flores to second with a single. The pitcher Collin Balester bunted, but popped it up to Myers for the second out of the inning. Myers struck out Bonifacio for the third out.

Another big out for the Phils with the Nats’ pitcher trying to bunt after Bergmann bunted back to Durbin and Durbin forced a runner at third on Tuesday night.

Milledge doubled off the wall in left with two outs in the third, but Myers struck out Belliard behind him.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Bonifacio singled with one out in the fifth and the Phils up 1-0. He stole second before Harris moved him to third with a ground out to second. Myers struck Zimmerman out on three pitches to set the Nats down.

Myers started the sixth up 4-0. Belliard singled with one out, but Myers got the next two.

Hernandez led off the seventh with a single. Lefty Ryan Langerhans hit for the pitcher and popped to third for the first out. Bonifacio grounded to second for the second out and Harris flew to center for the third.

Zimmerman led off the eighth with a single. Milledge was next and got ahead 2-0 and then hit a rocket back up the middle. Rollins took it sliding towards second and flipped to Utley. Utley made a nice relay to first to complete a pretty double-play. Great play by Rollins on a ball hit hard by Milledge. Utley made a nice turn and throw. Myers struck out Belliard for the third out.

He had thrown 101 pitches through eight innings.

He came back for the ninth and got the first two before Hernandez dribbled a ball to second for an infield single. Aaron Boone hit for pitcher Marco Estrada. Myers got behind him 2-0 but came back to strike him out swinging 2-2.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Same lineup as game one for the Phils, with Werth hitting second against the righty and Dobbs at third. Feliz was on the bench having been activated from the DL prior to the game (Les Walrond sent back to Triple-A).

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

1-2-3 in the second, too, but Burrell and Victorino both hit the ball hard in the air. Kearns made a nice on Victorino’s ball at the wall in right.

Dobbs walked to start the third and Coste was hit by a pitch. Myers bunted and the ball was fielded by the pitcher, who threw to third to force Dobbs. Myers has been terrible at bunting this season, but Balester just made a nice play this time. With one out and men on first and second, Rollins hit a double-play ball to Bonifacio at second, but Hernandez sailed the relay over Belliard’s head at first for an error that allowed Coste to score and put the Phils up 1-0 without a hit. With two outs and Rollins on first, Werth grounded weakly to third for the third out.

Utley led off the fourth with a single, but Howard struck out and Burrell hit into a double-play.

Victorino led off the fifth with an infield single in front of the plate. Dobbs was next and he popped a 2-2 pitch out to right for just his sixth homer of the year. 3-0. Coste followed with a single, but Myers struck out trying to bunt for the first out. Rollins singled to right and Coste moved to third. With Werth at the plate Rollins was thrown out trying to steal second. It may have cost the Phillies a run cause Werth reached out and blooped a 1-2 pitch into right field that scored Coste and made it 4-0. Utley grounded to first for the third out.

Victorino singled with two outs in the sixth, but Dobbs flew to center behind him.

Coste led off the seventh with a single. Myers showed bunt and with the count 1-1 and Coste took off for second. The pitch was outside and Myers didn’t bunt it. Coste was thrown out easily for the second out. Rollins grounded to second for the third out.

Utley blooped a double to left with one out in the eighth. Howard fouled out to Zimmerman on a nice play with his back to the plate for the first out. Burrell hammered a ball back up the middle, but Hernandez made an excellent play to take a hit away from him.

Rollins was 1-for-4. 3-for-his-last-29. One walk in his last 46 at-bats.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double. He has one walk in his last 34 at-bats. In August he has been hit by a pitch as many times as he has walked (5).

Howard 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Burrell 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Victorino 2-for-3. When hitting sixth or seventh in the lineup this season he’s 20-for-56 (.357)

Dobbs was 1-for-2 with a walk and a two-run homer. I think the Phils should try Dobbs in right against some right-handed pitching if they aren’t going to start Jenkins.

Coste 2-for-2.

Jamie Moyer (11-7, 3.64) faces righty Tim Redding (8-8, 4.66) tonight. Redding has pitched well in three starts against the Phils this season, going 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.38 ratio. Jenkins is 3-for-6 with two walks against him, Utley 4-for-8 with a homer and Victorino 4-for-9. He’s been hit hard of late — in his six starts since the All-Star break he’s thrown to a 7.59 ERA with a 1.75 ratio. Opponents are hitting .331 against him since the break. In five of his last six starts he’s allowed at least four runs. Moyer is 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.14 ratio since the break. He’s made three starts against the Nats this year and is 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA but a 1.72 ratio. The Nats bombed him in the third game of the season, on April 3, but he was good in his other two starts.

Brett all that against the Nats

Before this season is over the Phillies are going to need Brett Myers to pitch great against great offensive teams. Last night he didn’t get a chance as he faced the Washington Nationals, the worst offensive team in either league.

Meek offense or not, though, Myers gave the Phils his best start in a long time. He held the Nats to four singles and a walk over seven innings and needed just 88 pitches to pitch well into the eighth inning. He probably would have gotten through the eighth, but Utley booted a double-play ball in front of a left-handed hitter in a close game.

We’ll have to forgive Utley, what with winning the game and all. Bad hip or not, he gave the Phils all the runs they would need in the game with a two-run homer in the third. It was his first extra-base hit in 31 at-bats.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 2-1 to improve to 57-49 on the year. The Phillies have won three in a row.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits and a walk. The run was unearned. All four hits were singles and he struck out two.

He set down the first six hitters he faced before he grazed Paul Lo Duca with an 0-1 pitch to leadoff the third. Felipe Lopez was next and a ground ball to first. Howard stepped on the bag and Lo Duca stopped in-between first and second and was eventually tagged out. Pitcher Collin Balester singled up the middle for the first hit of the game for the Nats before Willie Harris popped out to end the inning.

He hit Ronnie Belliard with another 0-1 pitch to start the fourth, drilling him in the middle of the back. Ryan Zimmerman hit into a double-play before Austin Kearns grounded to short.

Jesus Flores led off the fifth with a single, but Myers got the next three. Third straight inning the Nats put their leadoff man on base and he never made it to second.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Zimmerman walked to start the seventh. Myers got Kearns and Flores on fly balls before Lastings Milledge smashed a ground ball to third. Bruntlett, who had just entered the game defensively, didn’t field it cleanly. Rollins tried to pick it up but dropped the ball. Zimmerman rounded second and Bruntlett picked it up and threw to second where Zimmerman was tagged out. Awful base-running by Zimmerman gets Myers out of the worst situation he had faced all night.

The mistake on the bases also kept Myers’ pitch count down — he had already thrown 18 pitches in the inning.

Lo Duca led off the eighth with a single. Lopez was next and hit a double-play ball to Utley that Utley booted. With men on first and second nobody out, lefty Ryan Langerhans hit for the pitcher Charlie Manning and Cristian Guzman ran for Lo Duca at second. Romero came in to pitch to Langerhans and Langerhans put down a pretty bunt. Romero got on it quickly and nipped Langerhans at first for the first out as the runners moved to second and third. The lefty Harris was next and chopped a ball to third. Bruntlett threw to first for the second out, but Guzman scored and Lopez moved to third with the Phils’ lead cut to 2-1. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Belliard and got him to ground to second for the third out.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils up 2-1 and set the Nats down in order.

Two perfect innings for the pen coming off of a miserable series and then a day off, accentuating how critical rest (and pitching against terrible offensive teams) can be. Lidge threw 15 pitches and Durbin and Romero five each.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Dobbs (8) Coste. Prior to the game the Phillies put Feliz on the DL and called right-handed hitter Mike Cervenak back up. Dobbs plays third against the righty. Jenkins in right against the righty. Coste catches.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

Burrell singled with one out in the second. Jenkins was next and hit a ball back up the middle that Lopez fielded and flipped to Belliard at second. Belliard tried to barehand the ball and dropped it. Both runners were safe. Dobbs fouled out to first and Coste flew to left.

Rollins singled to left with one out in the third. Victorino flew to center for the second out before Utley hit a 1-0 pitch out to right to put the Phils up 2-0. It was Utley’s first home run since July 7 against the Mets. Howard followed with a single before Burrell went down swinging for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

In the fifth, Victorino singled with two outs and was thrown out stealing second with Utley at the dish.

Burrell singled with two outs in the sixth, but Jenkins struck out to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Myers hit for himself and struck out for the third out. He was up 2-0 and had allowed two singles in seven innings. He had only thrown 65 pitches.

Utley singled with two outs in the eighth but Howard flew to left for the third out.

Bruntlett singled with two outs in the ninth. Coste grounded to third for the third out.

Rollins was 1-for-4.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Utley 2-for-4 with his 26th home run, which was the Phillies’ only extra-base hit in the game.

Howard 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Burrell 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Jenkins 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Just a brutal season for Jenkins and it’s hurting the Phils. Even forgetting the possibility of a trade, though, you’d think the Phils would have a left-handed hitter in their organization that could hit better than 237/290/394 playing almost exclusively against righties. If they don’t they should. Think you need to think about Dobbs in right against righties when Feliz comes back off the DL.

Dobbs 0-for-3.

Coste 0-for-4.

The Phillies didn’t have a walk in the game.

Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.76) faces righty Tim Redding (7-5, 3.98) tonight. In two starts against the Phils this season Redding is 2-0 and has thrown 13 scoreless innings. Burrell, Howard and Rollins are a combined 0-for-17 against him this year. Righties have hit for a higher average against him (.270) this season than lefties (.252). The Phillies have lost five of the last seven games that Moyer has started and Moyer hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of them. He also hasn’t allowed a home run over 26 2/3 innings in his last four starts. Lefties are hitting .203 against him this season after hitting .309 against him in ’07. In 11 starts away from home he’s 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.18 ratio.

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