Tag: freddy galvis

It happens every spring, but I don’t remember it always looking quite this ugly

The Phillies continued what’s been a pretty ugly start to spring training yesterday, making three more errors and allowing 12 runs as the Twins beat them 12-5. Justin De Fratus and BJ Rosenberg, each hoping to start the year in the bullpen for the Phils, combined to throw two innings in which they allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks.

Ben Revere had a nice day for the Phillies, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, stealing a base and scoring two runs. Domonic Brown is now 4-for-9 on the spring with a double, two home runs and two walks after going 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and three runs scored. Ruiz went 2-for-2 and drove in three runs. Mayberry had his first spring hit, a double, as he went 1-for-3 on the day. He’s 1-for-10 so far.

Frandsen was 2-for-4. He’s 5-for-13 with a double, a home run and a 1.077 OPS in the early going. Howard 1-for-2 with a walk. He’s still looking for his first home run, but is now 6-for-12 with two doubles and two walks.

Not as good a day for Galvis, who was 0-for-5, made an error and struck out twice. He also made a misplay late that was originally called an error and then called a hit. Ruf went 0-for-1 in a pinch-hitting opportunity and is still looking for his first official spring hit. He’s 0-for-9.

Ruf has been dealing with a sore throwing arm that has kept him out of the lineup.

Lannan started the game for the Phils, allowing a run on four singles and a walk over two innings. Adam Morgan followed Lannan and allowed a run on three singles in the third. He came back for the fourth and faced five hitters, getting two outs and allowing a double and a single while the other reached on a Galvis error. Morgan left with two down and men on the corners. Kyle Simon came in to pitch to Ryan Doumit and Doumit hit a three-run homer to right.

Bastardo and Mauricio Robles threw scoreless innings later in the game.

The sixth and seventh didn’t go well for the Phils. De Fratus started the sixth and had his second bad outing in two tries, allowing three runs on four hits, including a double, and a walk. He’s now allowed five runs on six hits over three innings in his two appearances.

Rosenberg also got hit hard, allowing three runs in the seventh. The first four men he faced reached base on a pair of walks, a double and an infield single. He allowed a two-run single with one out before getting a double-play to end the inning.

Like De Fratus, Rosenberg has two spring outings, both of which have been bad. He’s allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks over three innings. That’s a 3.67 ratio, which is not what you’re looking for.

You also want to avoid walking two of the first four men you face if it’s at all possible. In 2012 with the Phillies, Rosenberg walked 14 men in 25 innings while pitching to a 6.12 ERA.

The Phillies face the Braves this afternoon with Cole Hamels expected to pitch. Jake Diekman is also expected to throw in relief as he makes his case for a spot in the pen. He’s made one official appearance so far and allowed a run on a hit and a walk over one inning.

Young at hurt

Multiple articles at the end of last week raised doubts that Delmon Young would be able to start the year on the active roster for the Phillies.

This suggests he could miss much or all of April.

That puts a dent in my efforts to guess who the hitters are who will start the year with the Phillies. You can see the post about my most recent guess, from the end of January, here.

Here’s how I thought the guys on the team and other candidates looked at that point:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard H Quintero
3 Utley S Lerud
4 Rollins K Frandsen
5 M Young E Inciarte
6 Nix T Gillies
7 Revere L Collier
8 Brown J Mitchell
9 Mayberry C Hernandez
10 Galvis M Martinez
11 D Young P Orr
12 A Blanco
13 J Fields
J Mather
T Joseph
C Asche

I had guessed that Quintero and Frandsen would fill out the two remaining spots, assuming the Phils go into the year with 13 hitters.

Since then, in addition to the news that there’s a good chance Delmon Young will start the season on the DL, the Phillies have added Yuniesky Betancourt, who will be in camp as a non-roster invitee, and signed second baseman Matt Tolbert to a minor league deal.

Here’s how I think the locked up slots look now on the hitter side:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard F Galvis
3 Utley D Young
4 Rollins Y Betancourt
5 M Young H Quintero
6 Nix S Lerud
7 Revere K Frandsen
8 Brown E Inciarte
9 Mayberry T Gillies
10 L Collier
11 J Mitchell
12 C Hernandez
13 M Martinez
P Orr
A Blanco
J Fields
J Mather
T Joseph
C Asche

I moved Galvis and Delmon Young from the column on the left to the column on the right and added Betancourt to the list of candidates.

If those nine players are truly on the team and the Phils start the year with 13 hitters, that leaves them four open spots.

Of those four, one would have to be filled by a backup catcher and the other by someone who can backup short.

I still think Quintero beats out Lerud to be the backup catcher.

I’d also guess Galvis gets a roster spot to backup short, beating out competition for the job that would presumably include Betancourt, Blanco and Martinez.

I would still guess that one slot goes to Frandsen. Not sure the Phillies need him, but I’m guessing they were impressed with his .338 batting average from last year.

That leaves one slot. Of the 12 slots I’ve filled, four are filled with outfielders — Revere, Brown, Nix and Mayberry. If Delmon Young is healthy it seems clear to me that he’s the final guy. Based on what we read at the end of last week, it sounds like that’s not going to happen. I think that means that Ruf gets the final spot and starts the year with the team.

It seems like the key issue there is whether or not the Phillies truly believe that Mayberry can backup center field. As a Phillie fan, I don’t think you want to see Mayberry spend much more time playing center. I’d guess they will feel okay with that, though, and give the final spot to Ruf. If Revere gets hurt it’s going to be a big problem, but the Phils are, hopefully, going to need to solve it by acquiring or calling up another center fielder, not by giving Mayberry defensive innings there.

Anyway — four slots left based on my table above. My guesses are Galvis, Quintero, Frandsen and Ruf. That would give the Phillies 13 hitters — Kratz, Quintero, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Michael Young, Brown, Mayberry, Revere, Nix, Galvis, Frandsen and Ruf.

Michael Schwimer is still in the mix for the Phils, but I’m going be pretty surprised if we see him pitch a whole lot for the team in 2013.

This article reviews the backup catching options. Humberto Quintero is an elite defensive player — I think that’s why the Phillies acquired him and that’s why I think he’ll win the job. He’s a really bad hitter.

Freddy Galvis doesn’t care what people think of him.

No, you don’t understand: we really, really want a pitcher and not a belly-itcher

Here are the combined WAR, oWAR and dWAR for the non-pitchers for the Phillies over the past ten years as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

2012 15.0 14.0 1.0
2011 14.2 19.9 -5.4
2010 21.3 21.8 -0.6
2009 26.3 24.6 2.0
2008 27.3 20.3 7.0
2007 31.1 27.3 3.7
2006 20.0 21.6 -2.1
2005 27.7 18.8 8.9
2004 22.1 20.8 1.4
2003 25.8 24.0 2.1

So that’s bad, generally, although overall WAR for the non-pitchers actually improved from 2011 to 2012. Coming into the season, it had been down from the previous year for four straight seasons.

It was up in 2012 despite the fact that the oWAR for the team was worse than 2011 (14.0 in ’12 compared to 19.9 in ’11). It was the dWAR that improved dramatically, going from -5.4 in 2011 to 1.0 in 2012.

That’s where the good news ends, though. In both 2011 and 2012, the combined WAR for the non-pitchers was less than half of what it was in 2007. In 2007, the Phils were first in the NL in oWAR and second in dWAR.

In 2008, the team’s dWAR was 7.0, which was best in the NL. By 2010, the defense had slipped a lot and was down to -0.6. Howard put up a -2.3 dWAR that year and ugliness from Ibanez (-2.0) and Werth (-1.2) contributed as well. By 2011 the problem was even more dramatic as the team’s dWAR of -5.4 was third worst among the 16 NL teams. Again, Ibanez (-3.1) and Howard (-2.4) led the anti-charge, joined by Francisco (-1.3) and Brown (-1.2).

This Phils bounced back some in 2012. Ibanez and Francisco left. Brown got a little better. Howard played less and posted a dWAR of just -1, which was his best mark since 2005 (although Wigginton and Nix didn’t help much filling in for him at first). Freddy Galvis was solid defensively when he played.

The oWAR for the last ten seasons peaked in 2007 at 27.3. The Phillies led the NL in runs scored that year with 892. Their oWAR of 27.3 led the league and it wasn’t real close. The Mets were second at 22.7. Utley (5.9), Rollins (5.5), Rowand (4.5), Howard (3.2) and Burrell (3.0) all put up an oWAR of three or better that season.

The oWAR of 14.0 for the Phillies in 2012 was the lowest it has been since 2000, when the team’s oWAR for the year was an NL-worst 6.7. That was remarkable in that the Phillies had two players with an oWAR of 3.6 or better for the season — Abreu at 4.6 and Rolen at 3.6. The Phillies had ten players that year who got at least 100 plate appearances and put up a negative oWAR.

Phils hoping a journey of a thousand miles proves to start with a chance to hit against Colorado pitching

The Phillies are going to need to win and win and win if they’re going to find a way to climb out of the enormous hole they’ve dug for themselves. Last night they took a step in the right direction, pounding the Rockies 7-2 behind a big night from Cole Hamels and big blasts by Mayberry and Ruiz.

The pitching in general and the starting pitching in particular have been a huge part of the recent skid for the Phils. With Halladay out, Hamels and Lee have been unable to stabilize the rotation. Coming into last night’s start, Hamels had thrown to a 6.08 ERA over his last four outings while Lee and Hamels had combined to throw to a 5.72 ERA in their six starts in June.

Hamels was great last night, though, holding the Rockies to a pair of runs over eight strong innings while the offense produced seven runs. Mayberry and Ruiz both doubled and hit a two-run homer. Ruiz has been fantastic all year long. Mayberry hasn’t though, and his recent production with the bat is most welcomed by the Phils. At the end of the day on June 12, Mayberry was 2-for-his-last-22 and hitting 221/255/317 in 153 plate appearances for the year. Since then he has gone 8-for-21 with two doubles and four home runs.

The Phillies are 32-37 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 7-2 last night. They are 4-12 over their last 16 games.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out seven.

Eric Young was the first batter of the game and reached on an infield single. Marco Scutaro flew to center before Young stole second. It put a man on second for Tyler Colvin and Colvin lined a single to right, scoring Young to put Colorado up 1-0. Michael Cuddyer flew to right for the second out before Hamels walked Todd Helton on four pitches, putting two men on for Jordan Pacheco. Pacheco flew to Mayberry to leave both runners stranded.

Hamels retired Chris Nelson on a fly ball to center for the first out in the second before Wilin Rosario lined a single to center. Hamels walked the pitcher Josh Outman on five pitches, putting men on first and second with one out. He struck Young out swinging and Scutaro out looking to leave them both stranded.

Hamels had allowed three hits and two walks through two innings. You want to avoid walking the pitcher on five pitches with men on base whenever possible. It’s always possible.

He struck Colvin, Cuddyer and Helton all out while setting Colorado down in order in the third.

Five strikeouts in a row.

It was 1-1 when Hamels set the Rockies down in order in the fourth.

The Phils led 3-1 when he threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

The Phillies led 4-1 when Hamels started the sixth. He got the first two before walking Helton. Pacheco was next and singled to center, moving Helton up to second. Nelson was next and he singled passed a diving Rollins and into center, scoring Helton to cut the lead to 4-2. Nelson tried to take second and was thrown out by Victorino to end the frame.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh. Switch-hitter Dexter Fowler hit for the pitcher Guillermo Moscoso and struck out for the second out.

The Phillies led 7-2 when Scutaro doubled to left-center off of Hamels to start the eighth. Colvin flew to center for the first out. Cuddyer flew to right for the second out with Scutaro moving up to third. Helton grounded to short to leave him stranded.

Hamels throws 113 pitches in the game, including nine in the eighth with a five-run lead.

Qualls pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Qualls dropped his ERA on the year to 4.23 with the appearance. He’s been charged with one or more runs in just one of his ten appearances in June, but allowed four runs in a third of an inning that time out. Over his last six appearances he’s allowed four hits and no walks over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He threw ten pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Josh Outman went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Wigginton (7) Mayberry (8) Martinez. Martinez at second with the lefty Fontenot on the bench. Wigginton at first and Mayberry in left. Pierre on the bench against the lefty.

Down 1-0, Rollins doubled to left to start the bottom of the first. Polanco grounded to third for the first out before Pence moved Rollins up to third with a ground out to second. Ruiz grounded to third to leave Rollins stranded.

No run for the Phillies after the leadoff double by Rollins.

Victorino, Wigginton and Mayberry went in order in the second.

Rollins walked with two outs in the third and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double down the third base line, tying the game at 1-1. Pence fouled out to Helton to leave Polanco at second.

Young made a fantastic diving play in center to take away a hit from Hamels ahead of the Rollins walk. It probably cost the Phillies a run.

Victorino reached on an infield single with one out in the fourth on a ball deflected by Pacheco at third. Wigginton struck out for the second out, but Mayberry was next and he homered to left on a 2-0 pitch, putting the Phils up 3-1. Martinez flew to right for the third out.

Rollins singled with one out in the fifth and took second on a wild pitch before Polanco walked. It put men on first and second for Pence. Righty Guillermo Moscoso came into pitch to Pence and struck him out swinging for the second out. Ruiz was next and he doubled to left, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 4-1 with men on second and third. Victorino struck out swinging to leave them stranded.

Moscoso set the Phillies down in order in the sixth with the lead cut to 4-2.

Hamels hit for himself to start the seventh and singled to right off of righty Adam Ottavino. Rollins followed that with a walk and Polanco bunted the runners up to second and third with the first out. Pence was next and chopped a ball to short. Hamels did a nice job to come home and score 5-2 with Rollins moving up to third. Ruiz was next and hit laced the first pitch he saw out to left. 7-2. Victorino struck out swinging for the third out.

Not a fan of much of that, but it worked out great for the Phillies. Hamels hits from himself to start the eighth despite having thrown 104 pitches in the game. Also don’t like bunting with your two-hitter with nobody out and a runner on second. Worked well.

Mayberry doubled to left off of lefty Matt Reynolds with one out in the ninth. Martinez flew to right for the second out. Luna hit for Hamels and struck out looking for the third.

Rollins was 2-for-2 in the game with a double and two walks. He’s hitting 344/394/590 over his last 66 plate appearances. 320/363/547 in June after hitting 239/294/308 through the end of May.

Polanco 1-for-2 with a walk, a double and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-24. Polanco and Rollins are both on-basing .312 for the season.

Pence was 0-for-4 with an RBI and five men left on base. 200/284/350 against left-handed pitching for the year. He’s a career 289/348/506 hitter against lefties.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI.

Victorino 1-for-4 and struck out three times. First time that Victorino has struck out three times in a game since September 7, 2011.

Wigginton 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He’s hitting 132/150/237 over his last 40 plate appearances.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI. He’s 8-for-his-last-21 with four home runs and two doubles.

Martinez was 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-20. 193/257/269 for his career.

Joe Blanton (6-6, 4.93) faces righty Alex White (2-5, 5.56) tonight. Blanton broke a string of five atrocious outings in a row with a masterful start his last time out, throwing a complete game and holding the Twins to a run on seven hits and no walks. White has been pretty terrible this year, but dropped his ERA from 6.28 to 5.56 by throwing to a 4.32 ERA over his last three starts.

Freddy Galvis has been suspended for 50 games after a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.

Phils hoping for Hollywood Hamels to help them out against LA after take five doesn’t go much better than the previous four

Kyle Kendrick didn’t get a lot of help from his bullpen last night, but he didn’t pitch very well either, allowing five runs over 5 2/3 innings as the Phils fell to the Dodgers.

The list of things that are wrong with the Phils these days is long, but one of them is the starting pitching. Look at the Start Log. The Phillies have six quality starts in their last 18 games. Over those 18 games, the starters have thrown to a 5.53 ERA with a 1.46 ratio. The team, built to win with starting pitching, has seen its starters throw to a 3.68 ERA for the year. That’s fifth best in the NL.

Kendrick walked five batters in the game, which the most walks allowed by a starting pitcher for the Phillies since Lee walked six Cardinals in his start on May 16, 2011.

Twice in last night’s game, once with Kendrick on the mound and once with Diekman on the mound, the Phillies walked a batter with a base open to load the bases and then walked the hitter behind him to force in a run.

The loss was the fifth in a row for the Phillies. Four of the five losses have been by one run. Over their last seven games, the Phillies have gone 2-5 but been outscored by just 32-30.

The Phillies are 28-30 on the season after losing to the LA Dodgers 6-5 last night. The Dodgers have won the first three games of the series. The Phillies have lost five in a row for the first time this season. They are six games out of first place for the first time since May 13.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on four hits and five walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out six and his ERA for the year rose to 4.44.

Dee Gordon was the first batter of the game and Kendrick got him on a fly ball to center for the first out. Elian Herrera was the next batter and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Ruiz threw Herrera out trying to steal second before Kendrick struck out Bobby Abreu to end the frame.

Kendrick set the Dodgers down in order in the second, getting Andre Ethier on a ground ball to second, AJ Ellis on a popup to second and James Loney on a grounder to second. The play that Galvis made on Ellis’s ball was fantastic. It was a popup into right field, which Galvis chased down and snared with a leaping effort for the second out.

He started the third up 1-0. Adam Kennedy led off with a single. Gwynn was next and he tripled to right despite a tremendous effort from Pence, who crashed into the wall and looked like he hurt his glove hand making the effort. Kennedy came around to score, tying the game at 1-1. The pitcher Chris Capuano was next and hit a ball that Mayberry didn’t handle for an error, allowing Gwynn to score and put LA up 2-1. Kendrick hit Gordon (maybe) with a pitch before Abreu walked, loading the bases with one out. He got Ethier on a fly ball to left for the second out and Ellis on a ground ball to third to leave the runners stranded.

Pence looked hurt after the Gwynn double, but stayed in the game.

Mayberry just booted a ground ball to first for his error.

Kendrick set LA down in order in the fourth.

Herrera walked with two outs in the fifth, but Kendrick got Abreu looking to leave him at first.

The Phils led 4-2 when Kendrick started the sixth. He struck Ethier out for the first out before Ellis singled into center. James Loney followed that with a double to left, moving Ellis up to third. Kendrick struck Kennedy out swinging for the second out and walked the lefty Gwynn intentionally to load the bases for the pitcher Capuano’s spot. Righty Jerry Hairston hit for Capuano and drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch, forcing in Ellis to make it 4-3. The lefty Valdes came in to pitch to the lefty Gordon and Gordon singled into right, scoring Loney and Gwynn (5-4 LA) and moving Hairston up to third. Herrera flew to center for the third out.

Kendrick walks Gwynn intentionally to load the bases, then walks Hairston behind him to force in a run. Valdes gives up a big two-out hit to Gordon, which puts two more runs on Kendrick’s line. Would have been a nice time for Valdes to have gotten the lefty out.

Valdes was back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Tenth appearance on the year for Valdes, who dropped his ERA to 2.25 with the outing. He allowed all three runs he’s given up on the year in one of the ten. Seven hits and a walk over 12 innings while striking out 12 (that’s an 0.67 ratio).

Bastardo started the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Loney. He struck Alex Castellanos out behind Loney for the first out and then got Gwynn swinging for the second. Loney took second on a wild pitch before Bastardo struck Hairston out swinging to leave him there.

Bastardo ended April with a 5.40 ERA through his first seven appearances. Since the end of April he’s made 16 appearances, throwing to a 1.80 ERA and 0.87 ratio while striking out 19 in 15 innings.

Diekman started the ninth with the Phillies still down a run. Herrera doubled to center with one out. Righty Juan Rivera hit for the pitcher Josh Lindblom and struck out swinging, but on a ball not handled by Ruiz. Rivera made it first and Herrera moved up to third, put runners on the corner with one down. Diekman struck Ethier out swinging for the second out. Diekman got behind the righty Ellis 3-1 and then put him on, loading the bases for the lefty Loney. Loney walked on five pitches, forcing in Herrera to made it 6-4. Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Castellanos and got him on a ground ball to third to set the Dodgers down.

Second time in four innings the Phils put a guy on to load the bases and then walk the batter behind him to force in a run. Manuel could have brought in Qualls, Papelbon or Schwimer to face the righty Ellis, but instead let’s Diekman face him with a base available and it costs the Phillies.

The run Diekman allowed was unearned, thanks to the non-strikeout by Rivera, so his ERA for the year drops from 4.50 to 4.15. He didn’t pitch well, though, allowing a double and two walks while getting two outs. Schwimer retired the one batter he faced. He’s now made three appearances since being recalled, allowing one walk over 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

The line for the pen in the game was better than the performance. They went 3 1/3 innings, allowing an unearned run on three hits and two walks. Valdes and Diekman both didn’t pitch well, though, with Valdes allowing a big hit in the sixth with the runs charged to Kendrick and Diekman losing control in the ninth.

Diekman threw 26 pitches in the game, Bastardo 21, Valdes 15 and Schwimer five.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Chris Capuano went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Wigginton (7) Mayberry (8) Galvis. Rollins hits leadoff against the lefty despite a 207/220/276 line against left-handed pitching for the season. Wigginton at third after Polanco was spiked in the eighth inning the night before. Pierre plays left against the lefty with Mayberry at first.

Rollins and Pence struck out as the Phils went in order in the bottom of the first.

Victorino hit a 3-2 pitch out to right with one out in the second, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Wigginton and Mayberry went down behind him.

Down 2-1 in the third, Galvis and Kendrick both struck out as the Phils went in order.

Ruiz singled with two outs in the fourth, but Victorino popped to short for the third out.

Wigginton led off the fifth and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left center, tying the game at 2-2. Mayberry grounded to short for the first out. Galvis was next and he hurt himself running out a ground ball down the first base line. He came back to foul off one pitch, but took himself out of the game and Fontenot hit for him. Fontenot took the 3-2 pitch from Capuano low for a walk. Kendrick bunted Fontenot to second with the first out, bring Rollins to the plate with a man on second and Rollins hit a 2-2 pitch out to left for his third home run of the year. 4-2. Pierre went down on a ball handled by the pitcher for the third out.

First home run of the year for Rollins against a lefty. He ends the game hitting 213/226/328 against them for the year.

Righty Todd Coffey set the Phillies down in order in the sixth with LA leading 5-4.

Wigginton singled to left to start the seventh and Mayberry flew to left behind him. Lefty Scott Elbert came in to pitch to Fontenot and got him on a fly ball to left for the second out. Luna hit for Valdes and flew to center to leave Wigginton at first.

The Phils don’t move Wigginton past first after the leadoff single.

Righty Josh Lindblom started the eighth for LA. Pierre singled with one out, but Pence hit into a double-play behind him.

Righty Kenley Jansen started the ninth for the Dodgers with LA up 6-4, pitching for the third straight day. Ruiz was hit by a pitch in the twelfth pitch of his at-bat, but Victorino flew to center behind him for the first out. Ruiz took second on a wild pitch before Wigginton hammered a double to left, scoring Ruiz to cut the lead to 6-5. The Phils looked like they had Jansen on the ropes at this point, he had thrown 19 pitches in the frame already, thanks to Ruiz, pitching for the third day in a row. Thome hit for Mayberry and struck out looking. Fontenot was next and drew a walk, putting men on first and second with two down. Schneider hit for Schwimer and popped to Loney at first to end the game.

Thome wasn’t close to getting a hit off of the weary Jansen, swinging at and missing badly two of the first three pitches he saw before looking at a pitch with a lot of the plate for strike three.

Second day in a row the Phillies put a runner on base in the bottom of the ninth in a close game and the pinch-hitters go meekly. The pinch-hitters for the Phillies are now hitting 213/289/350 for the season. Thome is 0-for-9 as a pinch-hitter with seven strikeouts.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in the game. He’s hitting 371/371/714 over his last 35 plate appearances.

Pierre was 1-for-4. 6-for-16 so far in June (.375).

Pence 0-for-4. Hopefully his left arm is okay after colliding with the wall in right on Gwynn’s triple. If you think things are bad now, you don’t want to see what happens if Hunter Pence goes down. He’s 2-for-his-last-16 with two singles and no walks.

Ruiz 1-for-3. 2-for-his-last-15 with two singles.

Victorino 1-for-4 with his seventh home run. 146/234/244 over his last 47 plate appearances.

Wigginton 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI. Did his best to help the Phillies tie the game in the ninth, but was left at second. Coming off a 1-for-10, he’s 5-for-his-last-8.

Mayberry 0-for-3 with an error. 5-for-his-last-33 with ten strikeouts (152/200/303 over 35 plate appearances).

Galvis was 0-for-1 and put on the DL with a back problem after the game. 190/203/259 over his last 60 plate appearances. Fontenot was 0-for-1 with two walks in the game. He’s hitting 360/467/400 in 30 plate appearances for the Phillies so far.

Hamels (8-2, 2.81) faces righty Aaron Harang (4-3, 3.90) this afternoon. Hamels has allowed nine earned runs in 14 2/3 innings over his last two starts, raising his ERA on the season from 2.17 to 2.81. Harang ended April with a 5.72 ERA, but five of his last six starts have been good as he’s dropped his ERA under four. He’s walked 24 batters in 64 2/3 innings for the season, which gives him his highest rate of walks per nine innings since 2002 when he walked 45 in 78 1/3 innings for the A’s.

Eat at Joe’s, but don’t even think about trying to hit there

Joe Blanton had yet another strong outing for the Phillies last night, pitching into the eighth inning and holding the Astros to a single run as the Phils topped Houston 5-1.

Over his last four starts, Blanton has thrown to a 2.10 ERA and averaged seven and a half innings per start. Through eight appearances (seven starts) he has walked one right-handed batter this season. His walk rate is the best it has been since 2007. His hit rate is the best it has been since 2005. He has allowed two home runs in 48 2/3 innings for the year, which gives him the best home run rate of his career.

Placido Polanco notched his 2,000th career hit in the game as well and did it in style, popping out a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, providing some much-needed insurance runs for a team that still sports the worst bullpen ERA in baseball.

The Phillies are 17-19 on the year after beating the Houston Astros 5-1 last night. They have won three of their last four games.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run in the top of the eighth. He struck out seven.

On April 12, Blanton walked Hanley Ramirez with one out in the top of the sixth. He hasn’t walked a right-handed batter in his six starts since.

He walked Jed Lowrie with two outs in the top of the first. Carlos Lee was next and blooped a single into center, moving Lowrie up to third. Blanton struck Brian Bogusevic out to leave both runners stranded.

Chris Snyder singled to left with two outs in the second. Blanton got pitcher Lucas Harrell on a ground ball to second to set the Astros down.

Blanton set the Astros down in order in the third. Jordan Schafer tried to bunt for a single, but Blanton threw him out for the second out.

Lee led off the fourth with a single to left, but Blanton set the Astros down in order behind him.

He got three ground outs in the fifth.

The Phillies led 1-0 when Blanton started the sixth. He got the first two before Lee singled again, this time to center. Blanton struck Bogusevic out swinging to leave Lee at first.

It was 3-0 when he set the Astros down in order in the seventh.

Switch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez hit for pitcher Fernando Abad to start the eighth and homered to right, cutting the lead to 3-1. Jose Altuve followed that with a single and Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Schafer. Rigthy Justin Maxwell hit for Schafer. Bastardo struck out Maxwell and Lowrie behind Maxwell before Qualls came in to pitch to the righty Lee. Qualls got Lee on a ball hit well to right to leave Altuve at first.

Bastardo and Qualls get the job done after Blanton has a rough start to the frame, facing three hitters and retiring all three.

Bastardo was pitching for the second day in a row and dropped his ERA on the year to 1.64 with the outing. He has made eight appearances in May in which he has allowed one hit and three walks over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He ended April with a 5.40 ERA through his first seven appearances.

Qualls hasn’t been charged with an earned run over his last four appearances, but has given up three hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings. Lefties are hitting 292/370/464 against him for the season.

Papelbon started the ninth with a 5-1 lead after the Phils scored two in the bottom of the eighth. Chris Johnson singled on a ball that could have been an error on Polanco, but Papelbon struck out the next two batters to end the game.

Papelbon has made 15 appearances on the year and been charged with a run or more in two of them. Three of the four runs he has allowed for the season came on one swing, Jordany Valdespin’s three-run homer on May 7.

Great night for the pen in which they go two scoreless frames, allowing one single and striking out five.

Papelbon has thrown for three days in a row. He threw 14 pitches in the game. Bastardo has thrown two days in a row and threw eleven. Four pitches for Qualls.

The Phillies lineup against righty Lucas Harrell went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Victorino (4) Pence (5) Ruiz (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Galvis. Pierre in left against the righty. Mayberry at first for a Phils team without Thome or Nix, but hitting behind Polanco. Galvis at second with the lefty Orr on the bench.

Rollins, Pierre and Victorino all hit the ball well in the bottom of the first, but all three went down on line drives. Rollins and Pierre lined to left and Victorino lined to third.

Pence reached on an infield single to start the second, but Ruiz hit into a double-play behind him. Polanco drew a walk, but Mayberry struck out swinging to leave him at first.

The Phillies went in order in the third. Galvis led off and tried to bunt for a single, but Johnson handled it and threw him out at first.

The Phils went in order in the fourth.

Ruiz led off the fifth and was hit by a pitch. Polanco was next and hit a ball that Harrell handled, throwing to second to force Ruiz for the first out with Polanco safe at first. Mayberry was next and hit a ball to short that Lowrie didn’t handle for an error, putting men on first and second with one down. Galvis followed with a single into center, scoring Polanco to out the Phils up 1-0 and moving Mayberry up to third. Blanton bunted Galvis to second with the second out. Harrell got behind Rollins 3-0 and then put him on intentionally, loading the bases for Pierre. Pierre grounded to first to end the inning.

Big hit for Galvis helps make the Astros pay for the Lowrie error.

Victorino tripled to center to start the sixth. Pence popped up to second behind him for the first out, but Ruiz followed with a single into center, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 2-0. Polanco grounded to short with Ruiz forced at second for the second out. Mayberry was next and lined a double to left, putting men on second and third for Galvis. Righty Wilton Lopez came in to pitch to Galvis and Galvis singled into left. Polanco scored to extend the lead to 3-0, but Mayberry was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

No RBI for Pence with nobody out and a runner on third. Big hits in the inning from Ruiz and Galvis.

Lefty Fernando Abad set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Blanton hit for himself to start the inning and popped to first.

The lead was cut to 3-1 when the Phillies hit in the bottom of the eighth. Righty David Carpenter struck out Victorino and Pence before Ruiz singled into left. Polanco was next and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left-center for a two-run homer, the 2,000th hit of his career, putting the Phils up 5-1. Mayberry and Galvis followed that with back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second for Qualls. Lefty Mike Fontenot, called up on Friday, hit for Qualls and flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average on the year to .225. He’s 8-for-his-last-42 (190/261/310 over his last 47 plate appearances).

Pierre was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. Of the 104 NL players with at least 100 plate appearances, his .387 on-base percentage is 12th. He’s hitting .387 over his last 34 plate appearances.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a triple. He’s 6-for-his-last-16.

Pence was 1-for-4 and struck out twice. He’s hitting 198/237/429 over his last 97 plate appearances. It wasn’t a factor in last night’s game, but for the season he’s hitting 179/233/357 against left-handed pitching.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with an RBI. He’s 6-for-his-last-12 with a walk. He (.583) and Nix (.587) are the only Phillies slugging better than .450 for the season. He, Nix and Pence (.450) are the only Phillies slugging better than .429 for the season.

Polanco 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer. 354/382/492 over his last 70 plate appearances.

Mayberry 2-for-4 with a double to up his average to .247. 346/379/538 over his last 29 plate appearances — 9-for-26 with two walks, two doubles and a home run. After striking out in 20 of his first 60 plate appearances on the season, he has struck out in just three of his last 29. His power for the year against righties is still virtually non-existent. His double off of Harrell in last night’s game was just his second extra-base hit of the year against a righty. For the season he’s hitting 224/269/265 against righties and about 58.4% of his plate appearances have come against right-handed pitching.

Galvis was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Over his last five starts he’s gone 8-for-18 with two walks, three doubles, a triple and seven RBI, upping his line on the season from 189/215/289 to 231/265/361.

Cliff Lee (0-1, 2.17) pitches this afternoon against a Houston starter TBD. Lee has made just one start since returning from the DL, holding the Mets to two runs over six innings. The team is 0-4 in the games he has started this season, despite Lee’s 2.17 ERA and 0.76 ratio.

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