Tag: Derek Lowe

Lowe price tag may be a little highe for Phils

Having trouble getting too excited about Derek Lowe, just cause I think the chances the Phillies will bring him in are pretty slim. I think Moyer’s not going to have a whole lot of bargaining power unless he does a better job of demonstrating 1) he’s interested in playing for a team other than the Phillies and 2) there is interest from other teams in him. Whether the discussions of other starting pitchers are an effort to put pressure on Moyer or not, Lowe did have a better 2008 than Moyer:

  IP ERA Ratio ERA+
Moyer 196.1 3.71 1.33 118
Lowe 211.0 3.24 1.13 131

There’s not much of a case to be made for Moyer being better than Lowe. He was, however, way better away from home than Lowe was in ’08. Moyer went 10-3 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.20 ratio away from Citizens Bank Park. Lowe threw to a 2.30 ERA at Dodger Stadium, but was less impressive away from it, going 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.39 ERA away. Opponents hit just 206/242/300 against Lowe in LA, but 292/334/413 against him outside of LA.

Here’s what Lowe has done away from Dodger Stadium over the past three seasons:

 
IP

ER

ERA

H

BB

Ratio
2008 93.2 46 4.42 106 24 1.39
2007 109.2 51 4.19 105 39 1.31
2006 104.2 48 4.13 115 26 1.35
Total 308 145 4.24 326 89 1.35

Lowe has made three starts at Citizens Bank Park and they’ve been good. He’s 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and an 0.95 ratio.

This article from November suggested that Lowe was looking for $16 million a season. I would be surprised if the Phillies were interested in paying Lowe anything near that.

Question of the day: In each of the past four seasons, Pedro Feliz has 1) gotten at least 450 plate appearances and 2) posted an OPS of .717 or lower. How many other major league players are both those things true of?


StairsMaster

Game four of the NLCS started with the fantastic Dodger bullpen having shut down the Phillies completely. It didn’t end that way. LA took a 5-3 lead into the eighth, but Cory Wade, after throwing 33 pitches a day before, surrendered a two-run homer to Victorino with one out in the inning. Three batters later it was Jonathan Broxton on the mound facing grizzled veteran Matt Stairs and Stairs blasted Broxton’s 3-1 fastball deep into to the night to put the Phillies on top to stay.

Two huge home runs from a Phillies team that not only offers up the standard we’re-going-to-fight-for-27-outs but has been playing that way for a long time now. The Stairs home run was something special, though, something that’s going to be hard to erase from one’s mind if one were inclined to try. The Dodgers get an off-day to think about it and I’m not sure that’s going to make it any easier. It’s not just that the ball Stairs hit went out, it’s who he hit it off of and how far out it went. It left with room to spare, a little more than was necessary to make the point. Definitive and a little mean. While Victorino’s looping liner to right just barely left the yard, nearly scraping the top of the right field fence as it cleared, the one Stairs hit seemed stuck in time and space a little longer than physics should allow. It went out leaving you to wonder if you were ever going to see anyone hit a baseball harder. It’s impossible to win a seven game series by winning three games, but I think you’d also have a hard time getting much closer than the Phillies did last night.

That’s not to say the Dodgers are done. But I do think they’re going to need something momentous of their own if they’re going to get back into the series, something bigger even than what the Phillies got last night. And while that’s not impossible, it’s hard to imagine what it might look like.

Going by ERA, the Phillies bullpen was just a little better than the LA pen this season. Phils’ relievers threw to an NL-best 3.19 ERA while the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA was 3.33, second-best in the league. They were a little better last night, too. Led by Lidge, Madson and a fabulously timed double-play that Romero got Andre Ethier to hit into in front of Manny Ramirez in the eighth, the Phillies bullpen outpitched their counterparts from Los Angeles. Along with two big swings from Victorino and Stairs, it was the difference in the game.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning 7-5. With the win the Phils lead the best-of-seven series three games to one.

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

Blanton faced a Dodgers lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) DeWitt (2B/L) (7) Blake (3B/R) (8) Pierre (CF/L). Pierre gets his first start of the series with Kemp on the bench. Martin hits cleanup after hitting second against Myers in game two.

The Dodgers started the game with six hitters on their bench: Kent (R), Berroa (R), Ardoin (R), Ozuna (R), Garciaparra (R) and Kemp (R).

Blanton started the first with a 2-0 lead. Furcal led off with a bunt that sailed over the head of a drawn in Dobbs for a single. Ethier was next and he grounded a 1-2 pitch to second. Utley tried to tag Furcal as he went by, then looked to flip to second and then threw to first to get DeWitt for the first out with Furcal safe at second. Blanton walked Ramirez intentionally to put men on first and second before he struck Martin out swinging at a 1-2 pitch. He had Loney deep in a hole but Loney drilled an 0-2 pitch off the wall in center. Furcal scored from second to cut the lead to 2-1 with Manny holding third. DeWitt hit a 2-2 pitch hard on a line, but right at Howard who took it to end the inning.

Furcal has been looking to bunt towards Dobbs whenever he has a chance. I would have walked Ramirez, too.

Twenty-one pitches in the inning for Blanton.

Blanton faced Blake to start the second and Blanton bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul. Blake struck out looking at a 1-2 breaking ball. Pierre was next and laced a single into center. Lowe bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul. Pierre took off on the next pitch and Lowe swung through the pitch for strike two. Ruiz’s throw beat Pierre to second and Rollins tagged him out for the second out. Lowe blooped the next pitch to center field. Rollins went out and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but the ball went off the heel of his glove for a single. Furcal flew to center for the third out.

Thirteen more pitches for Blanton had him at 34 for the game.

Ethier grounded to second to start the third. Ramirez followed with a walk. Martin was next and grounded to short, but not hard enough to get the double-play. Rollins threw to second for the second out with Martin safe at first. Loney singled past a diving Utley for his second hit of the game, this one a single that send Martin to third. DeWitt swung at the first pitch and hit a soft fly ball into left that Burrell appeared to lose for a moment, but found and caught to end the inning. Sixteen pitches for Blanton, 50 for the game.

Blake struck out swinging 2-2 to start the fourth. Pierre lined a 2-2 pitch to Dobbs for the second out. Lowe went down looking for the third. Seventeen pitches for Blanton. 67.

Furcal led off the fifth and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Ethier was next and he blooped a 2-2 pitch into left-center for a single that sent Furcal to second. Manny was next and he roped the first pitch he saw into left. Burrell threw home as Furcal ran through the stop sign at third and slid in just safe to tie the game at 2-2. Ethier went to third and Ramirez took second. Martin was next and Blanton got ahead of him 1-2, but Martin grounded to short and Ethier came in to score and make it 3-2 with one out and Ramirez on second. Blanton walked Loney intentionally and stayed in to face the lefty DeWitt. DeWitt hit into a double-play to second to end the inning. After throwing 24 pitches in the inning, Blanton had thrown 91 for the game.

Durbin started the sixth with the game tied at 3-3. Temporarily. Blake led off and hit a 1-2 pitch out to left to put LA up 4-3. Pierre was next and he doubled into left-center. Matt Kemp hit for the pitcher Joe Beimel and wanted to bunt, but Durbin walked him. Eyre came in to pitch to Furcal. Furcal bunted up the first base line. Howard fielded, looked to third and then threw to first but wildly. The ball went off of Utley’s glove and Furcal took second. Pierre scored to make it 5-3. With men on second and third and still nobody out, Ethier lined softly to first for the first out. Eyre walked Ramirez intentionally to load the bases with one down for Martin. Madson came in to pitch to Martin. Martin lined a 1-2 pitch to Utley, who caught the ball and dove to tag second, just beating Kemp to the bag to double him off and end the inning.

Madson came back for the seventh. He got ahead of Loney 0-2 before ball one was way up and in. Loney went down swinging on the next pitch. The lefty DeWitt got ahead 3-0 and then walked on a 3-2 pitch. Blake followed with a single into left that sent DeWitt to second. The pitcher Kuo hit for himself and put a bunt down in front of home plate. Howard fielded and this time his throw to first was good enough to get the second out as the runners moved to second and third. Kemp lined an 0-1 pitch to center for the third out.

Romero started the eighth with a 7-5 lead. Furcal walked on five pitches. Ethier swung at the first pitch and chopped a ball back up the middle where Rollins fielded, tagged second and threw to first to complete the enormous double-play with Manny coming to the plate. Lidge came in to pitch to Ramirez. Lidge threw a 1-1 fastball past Ramirez. The 1-2 pitch was very close, but called a ball, maybe low. Ball three wasn’t close. Ramirez drove the 3-2 pitch into center where it landed in front of the warning track. Ramirez had a double and it brought Martin to the plate as the tying run. Martin struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch in the dirt that Ruiz didn’t block. The ball bounced way away from Ruiz and Martin took first and Ramirez went to third. Loney fouled off two 1-2 pitches before he flew to Bruntlett in left to leave both runners stranded.

Lidge set the Dodgers down in order in the ninth with a two-run lead. Garciaparra flew to center on an 0-1 pitch. Lidge struck Blake out swinging 0-2. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Broxton and got ahead 2-1 before he smashed a ball to third where it was caught by Feliz to end the game.

Four innings for the pen in which they allow two runs, both of which were charged to Durbin. Madson and Lidge were fantastic and Romero got the huge double-play from Ethier in front of Manny in the eighth. Durbin continues to struggle, giving up a home run, a double and a walk without getting anybody out. Lidge threw 24 pitches, Madson 20, Durbin 14, Eyre 14 and Romero six. Everyone should be ready on Wednesday.

The Phillies finally got to the LA pen, Dodgers relievers were charged with six runs in four innings. They gave up six hits, including two home runs, and three walks. Broxton needed 30 pitches to throw 1 1/3 innings, but you have to assume he will be ready for game five.

Overall the Phillies walked eight hitters in the game. They have walked 22 in the first four games of the series.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Dobbs starts at third with Feliz on the bench. Werth and the slumping Victorino flop in the order.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench: Coste (R), Taguchi (R), Bruntlett (R), Feliz (R), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins led off the first and singled into center. Lowe got behind Werth 3-0 before he got strike one over. With Rollins running, Werth singled into left on the 3-1 pitch. Rollins went all the way to third. Utley quickly got behind 0-2, but pulled the next pitch past a diving Loney and down the right field line for a double. Rollins scored to make it 1-0 with Werth going to third. Howard hit a slow ground ball to second with DeWitt playing in shallow right. DeWitt dropped the ball, but picked it up in time to throw out Howard. Werth scored to make it 2-0 and Rollins went to third. Burrell flailed and missed the first two pitches of his at-bat, but Lowe delivered four straight balls to walk him on a close 3-2 pitch that was just a tick outside. It put men on first an third with one down for Victorino. Victorino grounded into a double-play on an 0-1 pitch to set the Phillies down.

Dobbs led off the second with the Phils up 2-1 and plunked a double down the right field line. Ruiz was next and grounded an 0-2 pitch back to Lowe for the first out with Dobbs holding. Lowe struck Blanton out swinging on three pitches for the second out. Rollins swung at a 2-2 pitch that was way down and in before jack-knifing out of the way of strike three on the inside corner.

Werth chopped a ball to short for the first out of the third. Utley was next and singled into right on a 1-2 pitch. Howard lined a ball into center for the second out. Burrell hit a slow ground ball to third to leave Utley stranded.

Victorino flew to center on an 0-2 pitch to start the fourth. Dobbs flew to center on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Ruiz hit a ball back up the middle that Furcal fielded but dropped behind second. Single for Ruiz, but Blanton struck out swinging on three pitches to leave him stranded.

Rollins grounded to second on the first pitch of the fifth inning. Werth grounded to second on a 3-2 pitch. Utley struck out looking 1-2.

Clayton Kershaw started the sixth with LA up 3-2. Howard walked on a low 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Burrell got ahead 3-0 and then hit a 3-2 pitch just under the glove of Furcal and into left for a single that moved Howard to second. Victorino bunted the runners to second and third with one down. Feliz hit for Dobbs and Chan Ho Park came in to pitch to him. Feliz popped a ball into short right field. DeWitt and Ethier nearly collided, but Ethier caught the ball for the second out and both runners had to hold. The first pitch to Ruiz was outside and in the dirt. Martin couldn’t block it and the ball bounced away, allowing Howard to come in and score, tying the game at 3-3. Burrell went to third on the play. Jenkins hit for Blanton and the lefty Beimel came in to pitch to him. Taguchi hit for Jenkins with two outs and men on first and third. Taguchi looped a ball into shallow right-center, but Ethier made a nice sliding catch to take it for the third out and leave both men stranded.

Hate bunting with Victorino, but if you wanted one run it worked. The Phillies have no good right-handed hitter on their bench, as evidenced by the at-bat by Taguchi.

Rollins led off the seventh with Hong-Chih Kuo pitching for LA. He shattered his bat grounding to short for the first out. Kuo did a little dance on the mound after he threw an 0-2 pitch past a swinging Werth for the second out. Utley struck out swinging at a high 0-2 fastball for the third out.

Howard led off the eighth and got ahead of Kuo 2-0 before he singled into center. Cory Wade came in to pitch to Burrell after throwing 33 pitches the night before. Burrell popped to Berroa, the new Dodger second baseman, for the first out. Victorino laced the first pitch of his at-bat out to right for a two-run homer that tied the game at 5-5. At least he didn’t bunt. Feliz hit it well, too, but flew to left for the second out. Ruiz was next and he singled into left. Stairs hit for Madson with the Dodgers out of lefties. Broxton came on to pitch to Stairs. He threw strike one down the middle past Stairs, but followed that up with three straight balls. The 3-1 pitch was right where strike one was, and Stairs absolutely crushed it way, way out to right. 7-5. Rollins was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Rollins stole second as a called strike made the count 2-1 on Werth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2 to leave him stranded.

Broxton returned for the ninth and Utley led off with a single to right. Howard grounded to second, with Utley forced at second for the first out and Howard safe at first. Bruntlett was next after taking over for Burrell in left in the eighth, and he hit a ground ball to short. Howard was forced at second for the second out with Bruntlett safe at first. Victorino got behind and the Dodgers pitched out 0-2 as Bruntlett tried to steal second. Martin threw him out to set the Phillies down.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk. He’s 2-for-17 (.118) with two singles in the series. He has struck out seven times, which leads both teams.

Werth 1-for-5 and struck out twice. 3-for-17 (.176) in the series.

Utley 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 6-for-13 (.462) with five walks in the series. The Phillies have 13 walks in the series and Utley has five of them.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-16 (.188) with a double. Just two strikeouts

Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run in the series.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. 3-for-16 (.188) with a team-high six RBI in the series.

Dobbs 1-for-2 with a double in the game and 3-for-6 in the series. Feliz 0-for-2 in the game and 1-for-9 in the series.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a walk. Big hit in the eighth to extend the inning for Stairs. Ruiz is 5-for-12 (.417) in the series.

No game today.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14) tomorrow night. Billingsley started game two against Myers and took the loss. The Phillies hit him hard, Billingsley was charged with eight runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Phils scored four times in the second inning after Billingsley set down the first two hitters in the inning. Ruiz had an RBI-double, Myers drove in a run with a single and Victorino delivered a two-run single. The Phillies scored four more times in the third, getting a two-run double down the right field line before Park relieved Billingsley and surrendered a two-run triple to Victorino.

Hamels started game one against Lowe and got the win. He allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Ethier and Ramirez hit back-to-back doubles in the first for the first run. The Dodgers scored again when Kemp led off the fourth with a check-swing double down the right field line.


Maybe what they’ve been trying to say about Burrell is he’s good for 30 good swings a post-season

That would make a little more sense.

Pat Burrell may have a one-path swing, but the path apparently goes right through the playoffs. Burrell blasted his third home run in two games last night, a game-winner for the Phils. Over the last two games the Phillies have scored nine runs and Burrell has driven in five of them. After ending the regular season in a long slump, Burrell sure chose a splendid time to pick things up again. He’s 5-for-his-last-7 with a walk.

The Phillies won game one of the NLCS last night, a game that was similar to the first game of the Division Series against the Brewers. Again Cole Hamels pitched very well, again the Phils scored three runs with all of the runs coming in one inning and again the inning they scored in was aided by a defensive miscue by their opponent.

Derek Lowe and his sinker kept the Phils in check through five innings and Lowe started the sixth up 2-0. Victorino led off the sixth with a ground ball to short and his speed made Rafael Furcal hurry a little too much. Furcal’s throw to first was wild and Victorino wound up on second on the error. That opened the door for the Phils. Utley popped one out to right to tie the game. Two batters later Burrell homered to left to put them up to stay.

Hamels was fantastic for his second straight start of the playoffs, holding the Dodgers to a pair of runs over seven innings. One of the runs scored with the help of a check-swing double down the right-field line to start the fourth. Madson and Lidge again were both fantastic, protecting a one-run lead in the eighth and the ninth.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning game one of the best-of-seven NLCS 3-2. Game two is this afternoon.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out eight.

The Dodger lineup against Hamels went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Kemp (CF/R) (7) Blake (3B/R) (8) DeWitt (2B/L). Lefties Loney and DeWitt in the lineup with Garciaparra and Kent on the bench for the Dodgers. Ethier, hitting second, is likely to drop against righties.

The Dodgers started the game with six hitters on their bench: Kent (R), Berroa (R), Ardoin (R), Ozuna (R), Garciaparra (R) and Pierre (L).

Hamels got Furcal to ground a 1-1 pitch to short for the first out in the first. Ethier was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into left-center. Burrell cut it off before it got to the track, but Ethier had a double. Manny tried to check his swing on a high fastball to start his at-bat, but couldn’t hold up. He hammered the next pitch to center. It hit high off the wall in center and missed going out by about a foot. Ramirez had a double with Ethier scoring easily to put LA up 1-0. Martin went down swinging at a high fastball for the second out before Hamels walked Loney on a 3-2 pitch low and away. The first pitch to Kemp was up and away and off of Ruiz’s glove for a passed ball that moved the runners to second and third with two down. Kemp flew to right on a 2-1 pitch to set the Dodgers down.

First chance for the Phils not to pitch to Manny with one out and a man on second. They pitch to him and it costs them. I would have pitched to him, too.

Twenty-three pitches in the first inning for Hamels.

He came back with a quick 1-2-3 second. He struck Blake out on three pitches, got DeWitt to fly to left on a 2-1 pitch and got Lowe looking at a 2-2 breaking ball. Twelve more pitches put Hamels at 35.

Furcal grounded to short to start the third. Ethier was next and hit a 1-1 pitch hard to first where Howard tried to backhand the ball but misplayed it. The ball went off of Howard’s body and Ethier had a single, his second hit of the game. Hamels got Ramirez to pop to short for the second out, but walked Martin on five pitches to put men on first and second with two down. Loney was next and got ahead 2-0, but Hamels came back with three straight strikes to get him swinging to leave both runners stranded. Twenty pitches in the inning for Hamels. 55.

Kemp led off the fourth and swung at the first pitch. He got jammed badly, popping a ball down the right field line. It landed just inside the line and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Blake grounded a 2-2 pitch to short for the first out with Kemp taking third. Kemp taking third on the ground out proved to be critical in the inning for LA, because DeWitt was next and flew to center deep enough to score him and put LA up 2-0. Lowe grounded to first to end the frame. Twelve more pitches for Hamels had him at 67 through four innings.

Great base-running by Kemp to go to third on the ground ball to short and it got the Dodgers a run. Unfortunate way to give up a run with the silly double by Kemp to start the inning.

Furcal tried to bunt early in the count to start the fifth before he grounded to short for the third time in the game for the first out. Hamels got Ethier for the first time next, striking him out swinging at a pretty 2-2 changeup. Manny followed with a single into center, but Hamels left him stranded by getting Martin looking 1-2 for the third out. Seventeen pitches for Hamel in the inning and 84 for the game.

Loney led off the sixth and lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Kemp was next and grounded an 0-1 pitch to short, where Rollins started a double-play to clear the bases. Blake grounded an 0-1 pitch to short for the third out. Just eight pitches in the sixth for Hamels. He was at 92 for the game.

Hamels started the seventh with a 3-2 lead. He got behind DeWitt 3-1, but came back to strike him out swinging. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Chan Ho Park and swung out swinging at a 1-2 fastball for the second out. Furcal was next and hit a ground ball back up the middle that went off of Hamels but right to Rollins. Rollins threw Furcal out for the third out. Thirteen pitches for Hamels in the inning had Hamels at 105.

Madson started the eighth with a one-run lead. Ethier led off and Madson struck him out swinging at a 1-2 changeup that was low and away. Manny lined the first pitch of his at-bat to third for the second out. Martin smashed a 1-0 pitch down the third base line, under the glove of Feliz and off his toe. Burrell, who was probably only in the game because he was due to hit fourth in the bottom of the inning, got to it quickly, holding Martin to a single. It brought up the lefty Loney and Madson stayed in to pitch to him with lefties Eyre and Romero in the pen. Loney chopped a grounder to second to set the Dodgers down.

Worked out great for the Phillies, but I think you need to bring a lefty in to pitch to Loney as the go-ahead run there. After being a critical component of the pen all season, Romero has thrown one pitch in the post-season and Eyre was the Phillie lefty warming late in the game.

Huge inning for Madson against the heart of the order with a one-run lead.

Lidge started the ninth for the Phils. Kemp drove a ball into right-center, but Victorino took it in front of the warning track for the first out. Lidge bounced a 2-2 pitch to Blake in front of the plate. Blake fouled off a 3-2 pitch before he flew to Victorino in center at the track for the second out. The lefty DeWitt was next and took ball one before he flailed at two sliders. The 1-2 pitch was in the dirt. DeWitt swung and missed and the ball got away from Ruiz, but Ruiz pounced on it and threw DeWitt out at first to end the game.

Lidge has looked fantastic since game one of the NLDS and looked to be in complete control again last night.

Two scoreless innings for the Phillies pen. They allowed one hit, the single by Martin off of Madson, and struck out two. Lidge threw 13 pitches and Madson threw ten.

The LA pen went 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, the infield single by Ruiz off of Maddux. They didn’t strike anyone out or walk anyone. None of Kuo, Maddux or Park threw more than ten pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz at third with the lefty Dobbs on the bench — Dobbs would help a Phillies offense struggling to put up runs. Ruiz behind the plate — the Phillies have now played eight playoff games in the past two years and Ruiz has started all eight of them. Ruiz caught Hamels most of the time during the regular season, he was behind the plate for about 79% of the batters he faced.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench: Coste (R), Taguchi (R), Bruntlett (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins led off the first and took strike one before he popped to first. Victorino took strike one before he grounded a 1-1 pitch to second. Utley took strike one before he singled into center. It brought up Howard with a man on first and the Phils down 1-0. Howard got ahead 2-0 and then hit a 3-2 pitch hard on the ground towards right field, but DeWitt made a nice sliding play to field the ball and threw Howard out to end the inning.

Burrell led off the second and fouled off two 3-2 pitches before he singled into left. Ramirez made a nice play to cut the ball off before it got to the wall, but he would have had to fall down to allow Burrell to go to second. Werth got ahead 3-0, but took strike one and then grounded a double-play ball to second that cleared the bases. Feliz walked looking at a 3-2 pitch low and away to put a man on for Ruiz with two outs, but Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.

Tough result for Werth after getting ahead 3-0. The double-play killed the inning.

Lowe got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 third. Hamels grounded to first, Rollins grounded to second for the first two outs. Victorino hit a ground ball to first and Loney tossed to Lowe covering the ball — Victorino and Lowe both went down in a mini-collision, but both got up looking okay.

Utley went down swinging 2-2 for the first out in the fourth with the Phils down 2-0. Howard was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch slowly to second. DeWitt was playing deep on the shift and had to come way in, barehand the ball and throw to first to get Howard for the second out. Second time DeWitt had made a nice play at second to keep Howard off base. Burrell struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Werth hit a ball down the third base line to start the fifth, but Blake fielded and made the long throw across the infield for the first out. Feliz grounded an 0-1 pitch to short for the second out. Ruiz got behind 0-2, but hit a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Hamels was next with two outs and a man on first, and he lined a single into right-center. Ruiz went to second and it brought up Rollins with two outs and two men on. Lowe seemed bothered by Ruiz on second and worried about Ruiz relaying signals to the batter. Rollins got ahead 2-1, but hit a 3-2 pitch into left that Manny took in front of the warning track to leave both runners stranded.

Lowe had thrown 75 pitches through five innings.

Victorino led off the sixth with a ground ball to short. Furcal hurried his throw to try and beat the speedy Victorino, but his throw was high and off the glove of Loney for an error. Victorino took second. Utley hit the first pitch of his at-bat just out to right, tying the game at 2-2. Howard grounded to first for the first out. Burrell took three straight balls before Lowe got one over. The 3-1 pitch had way too much of the plate and Burrell hammered it out to left, putting the Phillies up 3-2. For Burrell it was his third home run (and fifth hit) in his last seven at-bats. That was the end of the night for Lowe and the righty Chan Ho Park came in to pitch to Werth. Park got Werth to pop a 1-2 pitch into center for the second out. Feliz was next and chopped a 2-1 pitch to third. Blake made a fantastic play, bare-handing the ball and throwing him out to set the Phils down.

After the runner on second was clearly a factor for Lowe in the fifth, you have you wonder if Victorino on second was in Lowe’s head when he served up the home run to Utley.

Greg Maddux started the seventh for LA. Ruiz led off and hit a 2-2 pitch in the hole between short and third. Furcal fielded and threw to first, but Ruiz hustled down the line and beat it out for a single. Dobbs was in the on-deck circle, but after Ruiz got on Taguchi hit for Hamels. He bunted at the first pitch and popped it up to Loney for the first out. Rollins was next and hit a ball back up the middle and under the glove of Maddux. DeWitt made another nice play at second, fielding the ball with his momentum taking him to the shortstop side of second, then tagging the base and throwing to first to double-up Rollins and end the inning. Rollins was safe, but it’s was a nice play by DeWitt anyway.

Terrible decision by Manuel to play for one run and hit Taguchi for Hamels with nobody out and a man on first if it worked. It didn’t. Three good left-handed hitters on the bench for the Phils in Dobbs, Stairs and Jenkins. Yuck.

Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo started the eighth for the Dodgers. Victorino led off and looped a soft liner to DeWitt at second for the first out. Utley grounded a 2-0 pitch to first for the second out. Howard flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the third out.

Kuo gets the job done in round one of the LA pen against Utley and Howard. Interesting that he was the first choice for the duty ahead of Beimel.

Rollins was 0-for-4, hit into a double-play and left three men on base.

Victorino was 0-for-4, but his ground ball to short in the sixth and the Furcal error sparked a Phillies rally.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Howard 0-for-4, a victim of some nice defense by DeWitt.

Burrell was 2-for-3 with a home run.

Werth 0-for-3.

Feliz 0-for-2 with a walk.

Ruiz 2-for-3.

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) faces righty Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14) this afternoon. Billingsley was seventh in the NL in ERA this season and fifth in strikeouts. He allowed just 14 home runs in 200 2/3 innings on the season. The 24-year-old was much better against righties than lefties, though. Righties hit 225/283/338 against him while lefties hit 274/369/391. He gave up 80 walks this season, which was eighth in the NL. Fifty of the walks were issued to left-handed hitters, only Ubaldo Jimenez and Ian Snell walked more lefties in the NL this season.

He started game two of the NLDS against the Cubs in Chicago and pitched very well, allowing a run on five hits over 6 2/3 while striking out seven. The Dodgers have won six of the last seven games that he has started.

Billingsley faced the Phils once this season, on August 25, and allowed three runs over six innings. Rollins was 3-for-3 with a double and a triple against him in that game as the Phils rolled to a 5-0 win behind Myers. Billingsley walked five in the game, which tied his season-high.

Burrell has ten at-bats against him for his career, he’s 3-for-10 (.300) with two doubles. Feliz is 4-for-12 (.333). Rollins had been 0-for-6 against him before three hits in the game in August.

Myers came of miserable starts back-to-back to throw a gem in game two of the NLDS against the Brewers. After a rocky first inning in which he walked in a run, Myers was awesome. He ended the game having allowed two runs on a pair of hits and three walks over seven innings.

He faced the Dodgers in the August 25 game, getting the start against Billingsley and earning the win by throwing seven shutout innings in which he struck out eight. He also faced LA on August 14, allowing three runs over seven but striking out eight as the Phillies fell 3-1. Matt Kemp homered off of him in that game.

Furcal, Kent and Pierre have all seen Myers a lot over their careers. Furcal is 6-for-28 (.214) with a double. Pierre 13-for-40 with a double (.325). Kent has hit him the hardest, 7-for-19 (.368) with a double, a triple and a home run. Manny is 3-for-19 (.158) with two doubles and a home run — Ramirez hit a grand slam off of Myers on June 26, 2005.

Update: No matter what the Phillies do this afternoon, the worst news of the day is that Chalie Manuel’s mother died this morning.


Relief in brief

Here’s a look at some of the guys we could be seeing out of the Dodgers bullpen in the NLCS, what they did this season and in September:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Jonathan Broxton R 69.0 3.13 1.17 88 11.1 0.79 1.24 13
Takashi Saito R 47.0 2.49 1.19 60 5.2 4.76 1.76 7
Cory Wade R 71.1 2.27 0.93 51 16.2 1.08 0.54 13
James McDonald R 6.0 0.00 1.00 2 6.0 0.00 1.00 2
Greg Maddux R 194.0 4.22 1.21 98 29.2 4.25 0.94 14
Chan Ho Park R 95.1 3.40 1.40 79 9.2 6.52 1.55 11
Joe Beimel L 49.0 2.02 1.45 32 10.0 0.90 0.90 8
Hong-Chih Kuo L 80.0 2.14 1.01 96 3.2 2.45 1.91 5

In the NLDS, the LA pen threw eight innings. Wade threw 3 2/3 of them and allowed one run. Broxton threw 3 1/3 scoreless frames without allowing a hit (he walked two). Maddux threw one scoreless frame. Saito started the ninth inning of game two with a 10-1 lead and allowed two runs on three hits without getting an out.

I think it’s safe to say that Broxton and Wade are the guys they want to lean on in the NLCS as well.

Against the Phillies, the Dodgers look likely to start righties Lowe, Billingsley and Kuroda. If they go with a fourth starter, lefty Clayton Kershaw looks likely to get the call with another option being veteran righty Greg Maddux.

Who is going to get Utley and Howard out is always an issue for a team facing the Phils. Here’s what the guys who may be primarily tasked with that responsibility in the NLCS have done against lefties this season:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Beimel L 100 278 330 311 17
Kuo L 98 202 216 340 44

The strikeout numbers for Kuo are particularly impressive. Beimel has allowed just three extra-base hits to lefties this season, all doubles.

Kuo was not on the roster for LA in the NLDS. He last pitched on September 14 before being shut down with a sore elbow. He may be be added to the roster for the NLCS, which could cost McDonald his spot of the roster.

Righties Saito and Wade were both really good against lefties as well in ’08:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Saito R 94 244 298 314 24
Wade R 116 211 243 312 25

I don’t think we’ll see much of Saito against lefties given how bad he’s been of late. He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his appearances after coming off the DL in mid-September before one miserable appearance in the NLDS. Wade is fantastic, though.

Broxton will probably close, but along with Park, his numbers against lefties this year are bad:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Broxton R 126 270 400 400 28
Park R 180 301 399 464 33

One thing I think is interesting is the notion that Kershaw may be the game four starter primarily to counter the lefties Utley and Howard. Despite the fact that he’s right-handed, Maddux seems like he may be better suited to handle lefties:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Kershaw L 92 250 337 475 30
Maddux R 371 272 310 391 42

Finally, the 23-year-old rookie James McDonald has faced just 18 left-handed hitters in his career, but he’s been good against them. They are 2-for-17 with two singles and a walk (118/167/118).

Update: Saito is off the LA roster for the NLCS. Kuo has taken his spot. The Phillies roster for the NLCS remains the same, with Happ active and Seanez inactive. Here is the Dodgers roster for the NLCS.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces righty Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24) tonight in game one of the NLCS. Lowe was ninth in the NL in ERA this season. His 1.13 ratio was fourth-best in the league. He allowed just 14 home runs in 211 innings. Opponents hit 246/285/352 against him and righties and lefties put up very similar numbers.

He started game one on the NLDS in Chicago and held the Cubs to two runs over six innings. He hasn’t been charged with more than two runs in a start in any of his last ten outings.

He has been better at home than he has away. In 17 starts at Dodger Stadium this season he went 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA and an 0.93 ERA. In 17 starts away from LA he went 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.39 ratio.

He started against the Phillies on August 11 and allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Utley hit a pair of doubles against him in that game.

Burrell has hit him well over his career, 6-for-19 (.313) with two doubles. Feliz has seen him a lot without much success, 5-for-23 (.217) with two home runs. Dobbs is 0-for-9. Howard 2-for-16 (.125), Utley 5-for-14 (.357) with three doubles.

Hamels was fantastic in game one of the NLDS, holding the Brewers to two singles and a walk over eight shutout innings while striking out nine. He showed no sign of being worn down by the 227 1/3 innings he threw in 2008, second-most in the NL.

Hamels made two starts against the Dodgers this season, throwing to a 2.57 ERA with an 0.86 ratio. He pitched well against them on August 12, leaving with a 3-2 lead after seven innings, but the Dodgers scored one in the eighth off of Durbin and one in the ninth off of Romero to win 4-3. He got the win on August 23, holding LA to two runs over seven innings while the Phils scored nine times. Russell Martin hit a two-run homer off of him in that game to account for both of the runs he allowed.

None of the current Dodgers have ten career at-bats against him. Ramirez 2-for-8 (.250), Martin 1-for-6 (.167), Blake 2-for-8 (.250), Loney 1-for-6 (.167), Ethier 0-for-4.


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