Matt Garza looked rather fantastic yesterday, holding the Phils to a single and walk over seven shutout innings while striking out ten as he led the Cubs to a 5-1 win. As good as he looked, it was a little hard to tell how much of it was Garza being great and how much was the Phillies being feeble offensively.
Given the Phillies’s offense woes of late, a little of both seems like a good guess.
The biggest problem for the Phillies right now is that Rollins, Pence and Victorino, the trio expected to be the core of an offense that’s missing Utley and Howard, aren’t producing. Rollins has struggled all year and is hitting 222/264/259 for the season. Pence is 5-for-his-last-34 (.147) and Victorino 3-for-his-last-33 (.091).
The Phillies are 10-12 on the year after losing to the Chicago Cubs 5-1 yesterday afternoon. The Cubs have won two of the first three games of the four-game set.
Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run.
That’s a whole lot better than in his other start of the season, in which Kendrick allowed seven runs over three innings.
He set the Cubs down in order in the first. Bryan LaHair led off the second and doubled to left-center. Jeff Baker was the next hitter and lined a ball to right that Pence looked like he might catch for a second, but went over his head for a double. LaHair didn’t scored, moving up to third to put men on second and third with nobody out for Ian Stewart. Stewart grounded to second for the first out with both runners moving up a base and LaHair scoring to put the Cubs up 1-0. Kendrick walked Joe Mather and Mather stole second, putting men on second and third with one down. Kendrick struck Wellington Castillo and pitcher Matt Garza out back-to-back to leave the runners on second and third.
Big strikeout for Kendrick to get Castillo for the second out with men on first and second.
Tony Campana led off the third with a single to right and took second when Nix didn’t handle a pickoff throw at first for an error. Darwin Barney grounded to second for the first out, with Campana moving up to third. Starlin Castro was next and hit a ball to right, not too deep. Pence took it for the second out and made a good throw home, but Campana tagged and slid in just safe to make it 2-0. Kendrick struck LaHair out looking to end the frame.
Campana, as he demonstrated throughout the series, is really fast. Kendrick’s pickoff throw to first was a little low, but Nix definitely should have caught it.
Kendrick got the first two in the fourth, before Mather hit a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Cubs up 3-0. Castillo flew to center for the third out.
Kendrick struck out Garza, Campana and Barney in a 1-2-3 fifth.
He allowed a one-out single to LaHair in the sixth, but got Baker and Stewart behind him.
Contreras set the Cubs down in order in the seventh, striking out Mather and Castillo before getting Garza to ground to first.
Contreras does a nice just against the bottom of the order for the Cubs, coming off of back-to-back ugly outings.
Herndon started the eighth. Campana led off with an infield single and stole second on a pitchout. Barney bunted him to third with the first out. Castro was next and hit a ball to second with the infield in. Galvis came home, but his throw was bad first base side and Campana was safe, putting the Cubs up 4-0 with nobody out and a man on first. Castro tried to steal second, but Schneider threw him out for the first out. LaHair doubled to right and came home on a single by Baker (5-0). Baker took second as the throw came home. Stewart lined to left for the third out.
Campana still fast, what with reaching on the infield hit, stealing second on a pitchout and then scoring on a ground ball to second with the infield in and the throw coming home all in the same frame. Schneider throwing out Castro ahead of the double by LaHair saves the Phils a run.
Herndon came back to set the Cubs down in order in the ninth.
Herndon raises his ERA for the year to 4.70, allowing two runs over two innings. He’s only walked one, but allowed ten hits in 7 2/3 innings for the year. Campana made one of the runs he allowed without a lot of help. Herndon threw 24 pitches in the game, Contreras ten.
The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Garza went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Wigginton (5) Victorino (6) Nix (7) Schneider (8) Galvis. Rollins leads off against a righty for the second straight day, but this time with Pierre behind him playing left and hitting second. Wigginton at third with Polanco on the bench. Nix at first. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the bench. Galvis at second with the lefty Orr watching.
Rollins blooped a single into right center to start the bottom of the first. Pierre followed and grounded to short with Rollins forced at second for the first out. With Pence at the plate, a ball in the dirt got away from Castillo. Pierre tried to take second, but Castillo threw him out for the second out. Pence struck out to end the inning.
The out Pierre gave away at second doesn’t officially count as a caught stealing, so I guess we’ll just have to remember.
Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the second.
Down 2-0, Schneider, Galvis and Kendrick all struck out in the third.
Down 3-0, Rollins struck out as the Phils went in order in the fourth.
Nix struck out as the Phils went in order in the fifth.
Garza got Schneider on a fly ball to right for the first out in the sixth. Galvis struck out for the second out. Mayberry hit for Kendrick and struck out swinging to end the inning.
Mayberry’s average dropped to .208 on the year with the strikeout. He’s 1-for-9 as a pinch-hitter with five strikeouts.
Pierre walked with one out in the seventh, but Pence and Wigginton went down behind him.
The Phillies were down 5-0 when righty Rafael Dolis set them down in order in the eighth.
Righty Carlos Marmol started the ninth and got Galvis on a fly ball to center for the first out. Orr hit for Herndon and walked. Rollins followed that with a walk, putting men on first and second for Pierre. Pierre popped to short for the second out, but Pence reached on an infield single that loaded the bases. Wigginton walked on a 3-2 pitch, forcing in Orr to make it 5-1. Victorino grounded to short to end the game.
Three walks in the inning for the Phils. They only walked four times in the game.
Rollins 1-for-3 with a walk. 2-for-7 with a walk, a double and two RBI in the last two days.
Pierre 0-for-3 with a walk and gave away a run with a caught stealing that doesn’t count as a caught stealing. .
Pence 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .253. He’s hitting 171/190/268 in 42 plate appearances over his last ten games. 2-for-12 with four strikeouts so far in the series.
Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 13-for-his-last-37 (351/415/486 over 41 plate appearances).
Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his average to .230. He’s hitting 200/233/400 over his last 73 plate appearances. 3-for-his-last-33 with two home runs and a double. His last single came April 20 in San Diego.
Nix 0-for-3 with a strikeout and an error at first. He’s on-basing .387 and slugging .556 for the season, both of which lead the team.
Schneider 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Threw Castro out trying to steal second in the eighth. He’s 4-for-18 on the year with four singles.
Galvis 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, which dropped his average under .200 to .194. He’s 4-for-his-last-29. He’s hitting .179 against right-handed pitching with a .209 on-base percentage.
On Saturday, the Phillies won game two of the series 5-2. Blanton got the start for the Phils and was very good, pitching into the eighth inning and holding the Cubs to a pair of runs. J-Roll lead off for the first time this season and hit a two-run double in a four-run fourth for the Phils that also featured a two-run single by Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz added a solo homer in the sixth, his third home run of the season.
Friday the Phils lost the opener of the series 5-1. Halladay allowed three runs over seven innings and Schwimer gave up a pair of runs in the ninth. The only run of the game for the Phils came on a solo home run by Wigginton off of Chicago starter Paul Maholm in the seventh.
Worley (2-1, 2.16) faces righty Chris Volstead (0-3, 6.14) tonight. Worley has made three very good starts in four outings for the year. Over his last two starts he has allowed one run in 13 innings and struck out 17. Volstad has allowed at least four runs in each of his last three starts and hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh inning in any of them.