Tag: Cubs

And down the stretch they come

The Phillies still have forty games left to play, almost a quarter of the season, but it sure looks like they’re going to the playoffs again in 2009. A look at the standings shows there are eight teams in the National League within eight games of a spot in the playoffs. The Phils, Cardinals and Dodgers lead the three divisions. The Rockies would be the Wild Card team if the season ended today and Atlanta, Florida, Chicago and San Francisco are all less than eight games behind in the chase for the playoffs.

The table below shows what those eight teams did in the first half of the season. Their record, winning percentage, the number of runs they scored per game, the number of runs they allowed per game and the difference between the number of runs they scored per game and the number of runs they allowed per game.

Team W L PCT R/G RA/G RD/G
PHI 48 38 .558 5.35 4.79 0.56
ATL 43 45 .489 4.24 4.31 -0.07
FLA 46 44 .511 4.61 4.76 -0.14
             
STL 49 42 .538 4.43 4.12 0.31
CHI 43 43 .500 4.13 4.10 0.02
             
LAD 56 32 .636 5.03 3.84 1.19
COL 47 41 .534 5.02 4.60 0.42
SF 49 39 .557 4.18 3.68 0.50

The Dodgers were the best team in the NL in the first half of the season by a wide margin. Their pitching was almost as good as the Giants and their offense was better than any team except for the Phillies. They scored 1.19 runs more per game on average than they allowed. The Phillies were second-best in the NL in that differential and the Dodgers were more than twice as good as the Phillies.

Atlanta, Florida and Chicago all had weak first halves of the season compared to the rest of the group. The Giants had fantastic pitching, the best in the league, but a weak offense. The Cards were in the middle of the pack in both scoring and preventing runs while the Rockies put a lot of runs on the board but allowed more per game than any teams other than the Phils and Marlins. The Phils scored the most runs per game of the eight teams but also allowed the most.

Here’s what the eight teams have done since the All-Star break:

Team W L PCT R/G RA/G RD/G
PHI 24 12 .667 5.19 3.56 1.64
ATL 23 13 .639 5.28 3.44 1.83
FLA 19 15 .559 5.09 4.71 0.38
             
STL 23 12 .657 4.63 3.60 1.03
CHI 19 17 .528 4.94 4.47 0.47
             
LAD 18 19 .486 4.32 3.78 0.54
COL 24 13 .649 5.30 4.00 1.30
SF 18 19 .486 3.70 3.95 -0.24

The Cards, Phillies, Braves and Rockies have all been fantastic in the second half. Each of the four teams has played to a winning percentage of .639 or higher. Of the four teams, the Braves have a 23-13 record to give them the worst winning percentage of the group. By run differential per game, though, Atlanta has been the best of the eight teams since the break. They have been the best of the eight teams at preventing runs while only the Rockies have scored more. The Braves have played 36 games since the break and won 23, scoring 190 runs and allowing 124. Pythagoras has them expecting to have won more games — 25-11 rather than their actual 23-13.

While those four teams have taken off, the Dodgers and the Giants have tanked out West with each team under .500 in the second half. The Giants still can’t score runs, but their pitching is no longer outstanding compared to the rest of the group. After being the best team at preventing runs in the first half of the year, the Phils, Braves, Cards and Dodgers have all done a better job keeping teams from scoring in the second half.

The Dodgers were second-best of the eight in preventing runs in the first half, but have been passed by the Phils, Braves and Cards in the second. They have a monster offense in the first half of the year, scoring more runs per game than any team other than the Phillies. The hitting has been meager since the break and the 4.32 runs per game the Dodgers have scored is worse than every team in the group other than the Giants.

The Cubs are just two games over .500 for the year at 62-60. The Fish have played to a .559 winning percentage in the second half, but their ability to prevent runs was seventh-best in the first half of the year and last in the group in the second. Not sure they have enough offense to make up for that.

Here’s what the numbers for the eight teams look like when you combine the first and second halves of the year:

Team W L PCT R/G RA/G RD/G
PHI 72 50 .590 5.30 4.43 0.88
ATL 66 58 .532 4.54 4.06 0.48
FLA 65 59 .524 4.74 4.74 0.00
             
STL 72 54 .571 4.48 3.98 0.51
CHI 62 60 .508 4.37 4.21 0.16
             
LAD 74 51 .592 4.82 3.82 1.00
COL 71 54 .568 5.10 4.42 0.68
SF 67 58 .536 4.04 3.76 0.28

It’s hard to argue that anyone but the Dodgers have been the best team in the NL this season. Despite their struggles since the break, LA has the best winning percentage on the season and the best differential per game in the number of runs they’ve scored and allowed. The Phils are aren’t far behind, though.

So who’s going to the playoffs in the NL this season? We’re going to have to wait and see. If I had to guess, though, the guess that things will stay the same seems like the best by a wide margin — the Phils, Cards and Dodgers win the divisions with the Rockies as the Wild Card team. I’m going to be real surprised if the Fish, Cubs or Giants make the playoffs. Neither are likely, but I think the other two scenarios that are more possible are 1) The Rockies win the West with the Dodgers as the Wild Card or, a lot less likely than that, 2) The Braves pass either the Rockies or the Dodgers to win the Wild Card.

This article makes it sound like we shouldn’t be expecting Condrey or Romero to return from the DL any day now.

Brett Myers threw a scoreless inning for Lakewood yesterday and says he is throwing 93-94 miles per hour in this article.


My kind of rebound, Chicago

After three miserable losses in a row, the Phils finally got the rebound they needed in Chicago as they took the last two games of the four-game set.

A huge stand in the bottom of the eighth of Saturday’s game may have turned things around for the Phils. After disheartening failures by the pen three days in a row, Romero entered the eighth with nobody out and the Phils clinging to a 5-2 lead with men on first and second. Romero came up huge, striking out the side, and the Phils went on to win the game and the last two games of the series.

Jayson Werth has carried the sluggish Phillies’ offense, going 5-for-8 with a double and three home runs in the last two games. Over the last two games he has seven RBI — the Phillies have scored ten runs.

The Phils scored just 16 runs in the four-game set with the Cubs — that’s a bit odd considering how hot Werth has been and that Rollins, Utley and Howard all had nice series with the bat.

Despite the bullpen blowups in games one and two of the set, Phillies’ pitching has been pretty good overall of late. They allowed 14 runs over their last four games. The Cubs had one extra-base hit in the last three games of the series, the game-winning home run by Soriano in game two of the four-game set.

Still, the bullpen has to be the worry spot for the Phils fan. It’s not a coincidence that in their last two games the pen has allowed a run over six innings and the Phils have won both.

The Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs yesterday afternoon, winning 5-3 to improve to 75-62 on the year. They start September in second place in the NL East, one game behind the Mets.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks. All eight hits were singles and he struck out four.

He started the first up 3-0. Reed Johnson singled with one out, but Moyer got the next two.

Mark DeRosa and Geovany Soto started the second with back-to-back singles. Fukudome hit a ground ball to first that should have been two, but the Phils didn’t turn it. Howard threw to second for the force, but Rollins couldn’t make the relay to first and Fukudome was safe as DeRosa went to third. Ronny Cedeno was next and he hit a fly ball to center that Victorino lost in the sun. The ball went off his leg for a single. DeRosa scored to cut the Phillies’ lead to 3-1 as Fukudome went to second. The pitcher Sean Marshall showed bunt and then swung away, singling up the middle. Fukudome scored (3-2) and Cedeno went to third. Soriano flew to center for the second out and Cedeno had to hold. Johnson flew to right to end the inning.

Moyer walked Derrek Lee to start the third. He got the next two before Soto moved Lee to third with a single. Fukudome struck out swinging to leave them both stranded.

Soriano singled with two outs in the fourth, but Moyer struck Johnson out behind him.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He started the sixth up 5-2. Fukudome singled with one out and moved to second when Cedeno followed with a walk. Righty Ryan Theriot hit for the pitcher and Durbin relieved Moyer. Durbin struck out Theriot and got Soriano to pop to second.

Durbin threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Durbin started the eighth. Soto singled with one out. Romero came in to pitch to Fukudome and a wild pitch moved Soto to second. Fukudome grounded to second and Soto went to third with two down. Righty Henry Blanco hit for the pitcher and singled. Soto scored and it was 5-3. Madson came in and gave up a single to pinch-hitter Darlye Ward. It brought up Soriano as the tying run, but Madson struck him out to end the inning.

Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth, throwing for his second straight day.

Romero was also throwing for the second straight day. Overall, the pen went four innings in the game, allowing a run on three hits while striking out five. Durbin threw 33 pitches. Everyone else was under ten.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Sean Marshall went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth hits sixth against the lefty with not-a-good-five-hitter Victorino fifth. Ruiz catches. Carlos Zambrano was scheduled to start the game for the Cubs, but was scratched with a tired arm.

Utley walked with one out and stole second. Burrell struck out for the second out, but Howard singled into right and Utley scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Victorino send Howard to second with a single before Werth delivered a two-run double to right. 3-0. Feliz popped to third for the third out.

Big two-out hits from Howard, Victorino and Werth help get the Phils three runs.

With two outs in the second, Rollins singled and stole second. An infield single by Utley moved him to third, but Burrell struck out to leave both runners stranded.

Howard led off the third with a double and went to third when Victorino reached on an infield single in front of the plate. Werth moved Victorino to second with a ground ball and Feliz was walked intentionally to load the bases for Ruiz with one down. Ruiz flew to right with the runners holding and Moyer grounded back to the pitcher.

Ruiz can’t bring the runner in from third with one out.

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

Werth homered with two outs in the fifth, putting the Phils up 4-2. Feliz grounded to the pitcher for the third out.

Ruiz led off the sixth with a double and Moyer bunted him to third. Rollins hit a fly ball to left deep enough to score Ruiz and the Phils led 5-2. Utley struck out for the third out.

Howard singled with one out in the seventh, but Victorino and Werth went down behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the eighth. With two outs, nobody on and the Phils up 5-2, Durbin hit for himself and struck out.

Utley and Burrell singled back-to-back with one out in the ninth. It put men on first and second and Bruntlett ran for Burrell at first. Howard struck out and Victorino flew to right.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with stolen base and an RBI in the game. 5-for-17 with a double and two stolen bases in the four-game series. He stole 12 bases in August and is hitting 270/335/433 for the season.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game. 8-for-17 with a double in the set. 293/381/551 for the year.

Burrell was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts in the game. 3-for-18 in the series. After hitting 181/275/343 in August he’s at 257/375/525 for the year.

Howard was 3-for-5 with a double and a walk. 7-for-17 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 234/324/490 for the season.

Victorino 2-for-5. 3-for-16 with three singles in the series. Shouldn’t be hitting fifth. 283/347/434 for the year. Had some big hits in August, but hit only 262/319/411 for the month.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a double and his 21st home run. 7-for-13 with three doubles and three home runs in the series. 282/378/529 for the year.

Feliz was 0-for-3 with a walk. 0-for-11 with two walks in the series. 1-for-his-last-17. 251/298/412 for the season.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a double. 2-for-9 with two walks in the series. 221/320/292 for the year. Nice to see his on-base percentage nearly a hundred points higher than his batting average, but that’s still a hide-your-eyes ugly line. Coste was 1-for-6 in the series. He’s hitting 280/330/455 for the year.

Dobbs was 1-for-6 in the series and is hitting 296/332/452 for the year. Should play more — hopefully the addition of another left-handed bat to the bench in Stairs will make Manuel more willing to put Dobbs in the lineup.

On Saturday the Phils beat the Cubs 5-2 to improve to 74-62 on the season.

Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on 11 hits. All of the hits were singles and he struck out eight. He didn’t walk a batter.

Lee singled to center with two outs in the second, but Myers struck out Ramirez for the third out.

DeRosa and Fukudome singled back-to-back with one out in the second. It put men on first and second for Soto and Soto singled into center. DeRosa scored to put the Cubs up 1-0 and Fukudome went to third. Myers struck out the pitcher Ted Lilly and got Soriano to fly to center to end the inning.

Theriot led off the third with a single and stole second before Lee moved him to third with a single. With men on first and third and nobody out, Ramirez fouled out to Howard and Edmonds hit into a double-play.

DeRosa singled to start the fourth. Fukudome grounded out and DeRosa was forced at second for the first out before a single by Soto put Fukudome on third. Lilly bunted Soto to second, but Myers got Soriano on a ball hit hard to short to leave both runners stranded.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 fifth with the game tied at 1-1.

And a 1-2-3 sixth up 3-1.

Two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Theriot and Lee singled to start the eighth. Ramirez was next and he singled, scoring Theriot from third and moving Lee to second with the Phils’ lead cut to 5-2. With the lefty Edmonds due to hit, Romero came in to pitch and the righty Johnson hit for Edmonds. Romero struck him out for the first out and followed that up by striking out Ronny Cedeno, hitting for the pitcher Neal Cotts, for the second. Fukudome drew a walk to load the bases, but Romero got Soto looking 1-2 to end the inning.

Finally, the bullpen gets a stop.

Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Ted Lilly went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Burrell third and Victorino fifth against the lefty. Still would hit Werth fifth against the lefty.

Rollins singled to start the first and Utley was hit by a pitch, but the Phils went in order behind them.

1-2-3 in the second, third and fourth.

Werth led off the fifth with a home run that tied the game at 1-1. The Phils went in order behind him.

Utley singled with one out in the sixth. Burrell flew out behind him for the second out before Howard moved Utley to third with a single to right. Victorino was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. It brought up Werth and Werth singled to right, scoring Utley and Howard and moving Victorino to third with the Phils up 3-1. Feliz flew to center for the third out.

Huge two out hit for Werth.

Rollins doubled with two outs in the seventh and went to third on a wild pitch, but Utley struck out to leave him stranded.

Howard homered with one out in the eighth to put the Phils up 4-1. Werth homered with two outs to put them up 5-1. Feliz reached on an error before Coste grounded to short for the third out.

Rollins and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the ninth. Bruntlett popped out before Rollins stole third. Howard struck out swinging to end the frame.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with a double.

Utley 2-for-4.

Burrell 0-for-4.

Howard 2-for-5 with his 37th home run.

Victorino 0-for-3.

Werth was 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI.

Feliz 0-for-4.

Coste 0-for-4.

Kyle Kendrick (11-7, 4.83) faces righty Tim Redding (9-8, 4.54) this afternoon in Washington. Redding has made four starts against the Phils this season, going 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.20 ratio. Kendrick hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last four starts. Lefties are hitting .336 against him for the season.


Day three of the Phils’ big bullpen blowout keeps the magic alive better than organizers had dared to dream

For the third straight game the story was the same for the Phillies. Only the names have changed — this time is was Clay Condrey who gave up the big blow in a close game. Condrey surrendered a solo shot to Alfonso Soriano in the bottom of the seventh in a 2-2 game and it proved to be the difference in the contest.

Over the last three games, Seanez, Lidge, Madson, Durbin and now Condrey have had miserable moments out of the Phils’ pen. That doesn’t even count Scott Eyre, who walked in a run with the bases loaded yesterday.

A ninth-inning grand slam by Beltran helped earn the Mets a dramatic win in Florida last night, putting the Phils two games back in the NL East. The Phils clearly understand the urgency of the situation — you can see it in their play. But that’s both the good news and the bad news. While the struggling offense is sure to come around sooner or later, you have to wonder if the same is true about the bullpen that has been so good, and maybe a little better than anyone had a right to expect, all year long.

The Phillies also didn’t get a critical call in yesterday’s game. With two outs and men on first and third in the seventh, Howard hit a ground ball to first and was called out on a play where he was probably safe. The runner from third didn’t score, the game stayed tied, and the Phils went on to lose by a run.

The Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs yesterday afternoon, falling 3-2 to drop to 73-62 on the season. They have lost three in a row.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and five walks. Both of the hits were singles and he struck out four.

He started the first with a 1-0 lead and got ahead of Alfonso Soriano 0-2 before Soriano drew a walk. Ryan Theriot flew to center before Soriano stole second. Derrek Lee flew to right and Aramis Ramirez grounded back to the pitcher for the third out.

Blanton threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.

He struck out Theriot to start the fourth. Lee was next and hit a ball hard, but Utley took it at second for the second out. Ramirez followed with a single into center, the first hit of game for the Cubs, but Blanton got Edmonds to pop to Rollins for the third out.

Blanton walked DeRosa to start the fifth. DeRosa stole second as Fukudome struck out for the first out. Henry Blanco was next and he reached on an infield single to Dobbs, moving DeRosa to third. Darlye Ward hit for the pitcher Harden and hit a ground ball to second. Utley threw to second to force Blanco, but Ward was safe and DeRosa scored to cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Soriano popped to second for the third out.

Blanton walked Theriot and Lee back-to-back to start the sixth. Ramirez flew to center before Edmonds moved the runners to second and third with a ground out to third. A walk to DeRosa loaded the bases for the lefty Fukudome and Eyre came in to pitch to him. Eyre got ahead of Fukudome 0-1 before he delivered four straight balls to force in Theriot and tie the game at 2-2. Blanco struck out looking for the third out.

Condrey started the seventh with the game tied at 2-2. With one out, Soriano blasted a 2-0 pitch out to left-center, putting the Cubs up 3-2. Condrey got the next two.

Soriano’s home run off of Condrey was the only extra-base hit of the game for either team.

Seanez pitched the eighth. Ramirez led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Edmonds. DeRosa bunted the runners to second and third, but Seanez got out of the jam by striking Ronny Cedeno out and getting Blanco on a ground ball to third.

The pen goes 2 1/3, allowing a run on two hits and two walks while striking out two. Seanez threw 20 pitches, Eyre and Condrey were both under ten.

Eyre walking in a run in the sixth proved to be critical in the game as well.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Rich Harden went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Victorino returns to the two-spot with Burrell back hitting fifth. Werth in right. Dobbs plays third against the righty. Ruiz catches. I wonder if the Phils might at some point go with this against righties and Rollins-Utley-Burrell-Howard-Werth at the top against lefties. I think it would be a good idea.

With two outs in the first, Utley was hit by a pitch and Howard followed and drew a walk. Burrell was next and he singled into left on a 3-2 pitch. Utley scored to put the Phils up 1-0 and Howard went to second. Werth struck out to leave both runners stranded.

Ruiz walked with one out in the second and Blanton bunted him to second for the second out. Rollins drew a walk, but Victorino struck out to leave both runners stranded.

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

Werth walked to start the fourth, but the Phils went in order behind him.

Utley blooped a single into center with two outs in the fifth. Howard singled into right and the ball bounced around the Phillies’ pen. Nice hustle had Utley at third, but Fukudome’s throw in from right hit Howard and Utley came in to score to put the Phils up 2-0. Burrell lined to third for the third out.

Dobbs singled with one out in the sixth, but Ruiz hit into a double-play behind him.

Coste led off the seventh with a single. Rollins followed with a ground ball to first. Coste was forced at second for the first out. Victorino walked, pushing Rollins to second, before Utley grounded to second. Victorino was forced as second with Rollins moving to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Howard hit a hard ground ball to first. It went off of Lee’s body and rolled towards second base. Howard busted it down the line, but Lee scurried to the ball and tossed to the pitcher Jeff Samardzija covering. Howard was called out, ending the frame with no run for the Phils. It was a huge play in the game and Howard appeared to have been safe.

Down 3-2 in the eighth, Burrell led off with a single and Taguchi ran for him at first. Werth moved Taguchi to second with a walk. Dobbs got to hit against the righty Samardzija, but flew to left for the first out. Righty Carlos Marmol came in to pitch with Condrey’s spot due to hit. Feliz hit for Condrey and struck out. Coste struck out to set the Phillies down with both runners stranded.

Miserable inning for the Phils, failing to score in a one-run game after putting their first two men on. Dobbs unable to move the runners up against the righty hurt a lot. Having to call on Feliz against the righty in a huge situation says a lot about the state of the Phillies’ bench.

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

Rollins 0-for-4 with a walk.

Victorino 0-for-4 with a walk. 2-for-19 over the last four games.

Utley 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk.

Burrell 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Werth 0-for-2 with two walks.

Dobbs 1-for-4.

Ruiz 0-for-2 with a walk.

Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49) faces lefty Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23) this afternoon. Lefties have hit .314 with a 1.82 ratio against Lilly this season, righties just .230 with a 1.17 ratio. Over his career, righties and lefties have done about the same against Lilly. Lilly faced the Phils on April 12 and allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings. Myers hasn’t allowed a run in either of his last two starts, allowing 18 hits and four walks over 16 scoreless innings. The Phillies have won five of the last six games that he has started.


Kinda makes you wonder how bad it could be if they weren’t rested

For the second game in a row the eighth inning didn’t go real well for the Phillies. After the pen entered the eighth on Wednesday with a 3-2 lead and gave up four, last night the Phils led 4-1 going into the eighth and gave up five. There was a big difference between the two games, though: On Wednesday, the Phils tried to piece their pen together a day after the bullpen had tossed ten innings. Last night they got to use the guys they wanted to use and Madson and Durbin didn’t get the job done.

Madson threw seven pitches in the game, didn’t get an out and was charged with three runs. Durbin faced four hitters. They went walk, grand slam, fly out, single. The duo of Madson and Durbin, along with Romero and Lidge, who was hit hard on Wednesday, are the guys in the pen the Phils aren’t going to be able to do without down the stretch.

Four runs from the offense. The hitters do have a legitimate gripe, getting Santana, Dempster, Harden and Zambrano over a five-game stretch. They can gripe if they want, but what they need to do is hit. Not to be forgotten is that despite recent signs of life from the offense, they haven’t done much this month against even weaker pitchers. The Phils are tenth in the NL in runs scored for August.

One guy they especially need to hit is new three-hitter Pat Burrell. 1-for-his-last-21 and hitting 174/280/359 for the month.

The Phillies lost to the Chicago Cubs last night, falling 6-4 to drop to 73-61 on the year. They have lost two in a row and drop to a full game behind the Mets in the NL East.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.

Derrek Lee singled with two outs in the first, but Hamels got Aramis Ramirez to pop to second for the third out.

He threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.

Lee singled again with one out in the fourth with the game still tied at zero. Ramirez flew to right for the second out. Hamels struck Geovany Soto for the third out.

Hamels started the fifth up 1-0. Kosuke Fukudomo reached on an infield single with one out. Mark DeRosa hit a ball into the right field corner. Werth wrestled with the ivy and DeRosa wound up with a triple. Fukudome scored to tie the game at 1-1. With a man on third and one out, Hamels struck the pitcher Ryan Dempster out on three pitches. Alfonso Soriano popped to Rollins for the third out.

Up 4-1 in the sixth he set the Cubs down on three fly balls.

Soto led off the seventh with a single, but Hamels got the next three hitters behind him.

Madson started the eighth up 4-1. Lefty Mike Fontentot hit for pitcher Bob Howry and hit a 1-0 pitch out to center. 4-2. Soriano followed with a double to center and moved to third when Theriot followed with a single to right. Durbin relieved Madson and walked Lee on five pitches to load the bases. Ramirez blasted a 1-0 pitch way out to center, Victorino didn’t even watch, for a grand slam that put Chicago up to stay at 6-4. Soto flew to center for the first out before Reed Johnson singled to left. Romero relieved Johnson and walked Fukudome. It put men on first and second for DeRosa, but Johnson was caught off second and Romero threw to Feliz to apply the tag for the second out. DeRosa struck out to end the inning.

One inning, five runs for the bullpen. Five hits and two walks. Madson and Durbin were both terrible, Romero okay. None of them threw more than 11 pitches.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Ryan Dempster went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth in right with Jenkins on the DL. Feliz at third against the righty with Dobbs on the bench.

Utley doubled with one out in the second and went to third on a ground out by Burrell. Howard walked to put men on first and third and Victorino delivered a two-out hit, a single into center. Utley scored to put the Phillies up 1-0. Werth followed with a walk before Feliz struck out to end the frame.

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

Utley started the third with a ground ball to third that DeRosa didn’t handle for an error, but Burrell hit into a double-play behind him. Howard went down swinging.

Werth doubled with one out in the fourth. Feliz popped to second for the second out before Ruiz walked. Hamels struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Utley singled with one out in the fifth. Burrell struck out behind him. Howard followed with a double to right, but a strikeout by Victorino left both men stranded.

Werth doubled again to start the sixth. Feliz followed with a walk. Ruiz was next and he pulled a 1-1 pitch into left. Werth scored from second to put the Phillies up 2-1 with Feliz holding at second. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third for the first out. Rollins hit a fly ball to left deep enough to advance each of the runners a base. Feliz scored and it was 3-1 with two down and Ruiz on third. Utley singled to left and Ruiz scored. 4-1. Burrell flew to left to end the frame.

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

And 1-2-3 in the eighth. Dobbs hit for Hamels with two outs and nobody on and grounded to first.

Down 6-4 in the ninth, Rollins led off with a single to left. It brought the tying run to the plate three times, but Utley and Burrell both flew to center and Howard popped to third.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Utley 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Burrell 0-for-5 with a strikeout and left five men on base. He’s 1-for-his-last-21 over the last four games.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk.

Victorino 1-for-4 with an RBI. Among the 69 NL players with 25 plate appearances as a five-hitter, Victorino’s .591 OPS (233/258/333) is 62nd-best.

Werth 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk. He’s 7-for-his-last-14 and hitting 288/413/521 in August.

Feliz 0-for-3 with a walk.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.75) faces righty Rich Harden (9-2, 2.00) this afternoon. Harden is 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA and an 0.86 ratio in eight starts since joining the Cubs. Overall, opponents are hitting .189 against him on the season. He faced the Phillies on June 26 of this year while with Oakland and held the Phils to two hits in eight shutout innings while striking out 11. The game was well worth it for inspiring a gem of a Manuel quote: “We need to be more focused or something.” Blanton is 1-0 with a 4.03 ERA in seven starts for the Phillies. Righties are still hitting him hard for the season (.310).

The Phils appear to have acquired Matt Stairs. The 40-year-old left-handed batter Stairs hit 250/342/394 in 320 at-bats for the Blue Jays this season. His .394 slugging percentage is his worst mark for any season in which he’s had more than 30 at-bats. He has not played the outfield a lot this season, making just nine appearances in left and six in right. Against righties, his 251/350/394 line for the season is worse than Werth’s 266/379/427.

I will be curious to see how the Phils use Stairs — if they put him in the outfield or just use him as a bat off the bench. I would guess he’s a really miserable defensive outfielder at this point. He’s still a good guy to have around, especially given how weak the Phillies’ bench has been of late. Werth has been fantastic of late, but he’s about to pass his career high in plate appearances and I think you have to be careful about the possibility of him wearing down if he’s used everyday the rest of the way. I would love to see the Phils use Dobbs in right sometimes against righties — we’ll see if the addition of Stairs to the bench might make them more willing to do that. Assuming Jenkins does come back and gets regular starts in right, the Stairs addition still strengthens the bench.


  • Calender

    August 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Apr    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • Online Marketing
    Add blog to our blog directory.



    Web Directory

    Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Philliesflow.com. All rights reserved.
    iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress