The Phils played three games in Pittsburgh and gave up three huge home runs late. Two of them were too much for the Phillies to overcome and the Pirates took two out of three. The Phils offense managed to score just ten runs in the three-game set, which is going to make it tough for the team to overcome much of anything.
The Phillies are 73-52 on the season after losing two of three to the Pirates. They are in first place in the NL East and lead both the Braves and Marlins by seven games. They came into the series at 22 games above .500 for the year, which was their high mark for the season.
The Phils lost a heart-breaker in game one, falling 6-4. Rollins put them up 1-0 with a solo shot in the first and up again at 2-1 with another in the top of the third. The Pirates scored twice off of Blanton on a two-run homer by Stephen Pearce in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, which held till the Phils hit in the top of the ninth. Ruiz doubled with one out in the ninth and Francisco followed with a double of his own that tied the game at 3-3. With two outs and Francisco on third, Victorino lined a ball to center that Andrew McCutchen misplayed into a triple that put the Phils up 4-3. Lidge came on in the bottom of the inning to protect the one-run lead, pitching for his fourth straight day. Single, wild pitch, single with the ball dropped by Werth in right tied the game at 4-4 with nobody out and a man on second. McCutchen lined a 1-0 pitch out to center.
The Pirates rallied in the ninth again in game two, but this time a big blast from Howard in the tenth got the Phils out with a 4-1 win. Hamels made a brilliant starts in the game. Thanks to his eight shutout innings and an Utley homer in the first the Phils took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. With Lidge having worked for four straight days, Madson tried to nail down the save but gave up a pinch-hit homer to Brandon Moss that tied the game at 1-1. Rollins and Victorino got on to start the tenth before Howard delivered a three-run blast to right that put the Phils up to stay at 4-1.
Happ pitched well in game three as well, but Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer off of him in the bottom of the eighth and the Pirates won 3-2. The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first, but managed to get just one run on a ground out by Howard before Werth popped to second and Ibanez flew out. The Pirates tied things up at 1-1 with a run off of Happ in the bottom of the first, but Bako hit a solo shot in the top of the second to make it 2-1. That’s how the score stayed until the bottom of the eighth when Jones took Happ deep to put Pittsburgh on top.
Overall the Phillies pitched to a 3.46 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 26 innings in the series. They allowed six home runs.
The starters were better than the relievers. Hamels made a brilliant start in game two, throwing eight shutout innings. Blanton and Happ combined to allow six runs in 14 innings in the other two games. As a group the starters threw to a 2.45 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. They allowed four home runs in 22 innings, two by Blanton and two by Happ.
Blanton went six innings in game one, allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. All of the runs he allowed came on home runs by the Pirates, a solo shot and a two-run blast. Blanton has allowed more than three runs in a start once in 15 outings since the end of May. He has a 3.19 ERA and a 1.18 ratio in 20 starts since the end of April. A 2.74 ERA and a 1.14 ratio in 15 starts since the end of May.
Hamels was great in game two. He went eight shutout innings, allowing five singles, two doubles and two walks while striking out seven. He didn’t allow a home run in the start for his first time in four outings. Hamels also made a fantastic start on July 28 against the Diamondbacks, holding the Snakes to a run on four hits over eight innings while striking out nine, but followed that up by going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.78 ratio over his next four outings.
Happ went eight innings in game three, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. All three of the runs that Happ allowed came on home runs — a solo shot by McCutchen and the two-run shot by Jones in the bottom of the eighth. Happ hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start in any of his last six outings. He has a 1.85 ERA and a 1.16 ratio in those appearances.
The relievers struggled. They pitched just four innings but allowed four runs. Walker threw two strong innings in game one, but Lidge got blasted later in the same game. Madson allowed a run over two innings in game two. As a group the pen threw to a 9.00 ERA with a 1.75 ratio in four innings.
Eyre did not pitch in the series. He has not pitched since August 16.
Moyer did not pitch in the series. This says that Moyer will start games in two double-headers in September. The Phils play two against the Mets on September 13 at home and two against the Marlins on September 22 in Florida.
Park did not pitch in the series. He’s pitched three innings since August 12.
Durbin did not pitch in the series. He’s pitched two innings since August 15.
Walker started the seventh inning of game one with the Phillies down 3-2, pitching for the first time since August 11. He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff walk to Garrett Jones, who was bunted to second. Walker walked the next hitter intentionally and got the next two. Two nice innings in the game for Walker kept the Phillies close enough to pull ahead in the top of the ninth.
Madson got a chance to save game two, entering in the ninth with the Phils up 1-0. He struck out the first man he faced before pinch-hitter Brandon Moss homered to center to tie the game at 1-1. Madson got the next two and Howard put the Phils up 4-1 in the top of the tenth. Madson came back to pitch the bottom of the tenth. He gave up a leadoff single to Delwyn Young, but got Garrett Jones on a fly ball and then Andy LaRoche hit into a double-play to end the game.
Madson has made 12 appearances in August in which he’s thrown to a 1.42 with an 0.87 ratio while striking out 14 in 12 2/3 innings. He’s allowed runs in each of his last two appearances — the only two runs he’s allowed for the month.
Lidge entered the ninth inning of game one with a 4-3 lead. Luis Cruz led off with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Brian Bixler ran for Cruz with Brandon Moss at the plate. Moss singled to right. Werth charged and gloved. Bixler stopped at third, but took off for home when Werth dropped the ball. Werth probably would have had Bixler at the plate with a perfect throw, but we’ll never know. The throw was up the first base line and Bixler scored to tie the game at 4-4. McCutchen was next and smashed a 1-0 pitch out to center to end the game.
The pen should be well-rested with no relievers throwing in last night’s game. Madson threw 28 pitches in two innings in game two.
The Phillies scored ten runs in the three-game set and three of them came on a single swing by Howard in game two.
Rollins hit two home runs in game one to give him seven for August. The last time he hit seven homers in a month was July of 2007. He was 5-for-14 with double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 246/292/420 for the season. 304/352/565 in 234 plate appearances since July 2. 205/250/319 in 329 plate appearances through July 1.
Victorino was 3-for-14 with a triple in the series. 310/380/473 for the year.
Utley was 4-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 301/423/544 for the year.
Howard hit a huge home run in game two and was 3-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. He drove in four of the ten runs the Phillies scored. 267/347/555 for the year. He has walked just nine times in August, which is the fewest number of walks he has drawn in any month since April (when he also walked nine times). He’s slugging .625 in August and has hit 295/365/807 with nine home runs in 63 plate appearances since August 13.
Ibanez was on the bench for game two with the lefty Paul Maholm on the mound for Pittsburgh. He was 0-for-7 in the series and is hitting 281/348/568 for the year. 188/274/294 with 26 strikeouts in his last 93 plate appearances.
Werth didn’t start game one with Stairs in right. He was 3-for-9 with two doubles in the series. 271/374/523 on the season.
Feliz was 1-for-13 with a double in the series. 272/318/389 for the year. He now has an OPS for the year of .706. If the season ended today it would be the fourth straight year in which he has ended the season with an OPS in the .705 to .709 range. He’s hitting 184/227/320 in his last 110 plate appearances.
Ruiz started games one and two with Bako behind the plate for game three. He was 1-for-6 with a double in the series. 231/332/396 on the season. He has three home runs in August, which is the most he has had in any month of his career (he’s never had three in any other month).
Bako started yesterday’s game and was on-base four times. 2-for-2 with a home run and two walks in the series. 194/270/313 on the year.
Bruntlett was 1-for-1 with a double in the series. He’s 5-for-his-last-10 to raise his line on the year to 167/224/240.
Francisco had a huge hit in the ninth inning of game one to tie the score at 3-3. He started in left in game two with Ibanez on the bench. 1-for-5 with a walk and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 220/267/463 in 41 at-bats with the Phillies.
Cairo didn’t play in the series and hasn’t seen any action since replacing Dobbs on the roster on Sunday.
Stairs started in right in game one and was 0-for-4 with a walk in the series. He’s 1-for-31 since the end of June.
Charlie Manuel thinks JA Happ should be Rookie of the Year. The linked article also says that Myers will make another rehab appearance tomorrow and Bastardo will make another on Monday.