There are so many guys playing well for the Phils these days it’s a little tough to single one out. Not impossible, though, at least not for last night’s game. Carlos Ruiz went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI, breaking a 5-5 tie with an RBI-single in the top of the ninth. Ross Gload followed with a pinch-hit three-run homer that blew the game open.
Ruiz has been terrorizing opposing pitchers all year long. He’s hitting 354/481/488 for the season. His .969 OPS is 21st-best among the 183 NL players with 100 or more plate appearances this season.
The Phillies are 20-12 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 9-5 last night. They are 8-2 in May and have won six of their last seven.
Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a triple. He struck out one. Kendrick has made two excellent starts this year, but his numbers overall are not good at all. After seven starts he has a 5.89 ERA. Lefties are hitting 357/432/643 against him — that makes it impossible to be successful if your role requires you to face lefties. His does, and it’s going to more or more regularly until he starts getting them out.
He started the first with a 1-0 lead. Seth Smith led off with a single and Dexter Fowler bunted him to second. He struck out Brad Hawpe for the second out before Jason Giambi singled to right. Smith scored to tie the game at 1-1. Melvin Mora grounded to short for the third out.
The lefties Smith and Giambi got Kendrick in the first.
Clint Barmes singled to center with two outs in the second, but Kendrick got the pitcher Greg Smith to ground back to the mound for the third out.
Smith doubled to start the third and moved to third on a ground out by Fowler. Hawpe walked to put men on first and third before Giambi delivered a sac fly to center. Smith scored to make it 2-1 with Hawpe holding first. Mora popped to Utley for the third out.
Again the lefties Smith and Giambi create a run, this time with a walk to the left Hawpe thrown in.
Stewart, another lefty, doubled to start the fourth. Kendrick got the next three hitters behind him.
In Kendrick’s defense, the Rockies did start four lefties — Smith, Giambi, Hawpe and Stewart in the game. I’d be starting lefties against him, too.
The Phillies were up 3-2 when Kendrick started the fifth. Smith led off with another hit, this one a triple, and Fowler walked behind him. A balk from Kendrick brought in Smith to tie the game at 3-3 with nobody out and a man on second. Hawpe singled to center and Fowler scored. 4-3. Giambi hit into a double-play, clearing the bases with two outs. The righty Mora delivered a single to center before Kendrick got Stewart to ground to second to end the inning.
Kendrick had better luck with the lefties in that inning. Smith still got things started with the triple, but he got Giambi to hit into a double-play and Stewart on a ground out. He walked the switch-hitter Fowler, which helped Colorado score a run, and allowed a single to the righty Mora, which didn’t.
The Phillies gave him another lead to start the sixth, this time at 5-4. This time Kendrick set the Rockies down in order.
The Phils did not hit for Kendrick in the top of the seventh, but they took him out of the game anyway. He had thrown 99 pitches. Romero came in to pitch to the top of the order. He got Smith to ground out before walking Fowler. Hawpe was next and he moved Fowler to third with a single. Giambi broke his bat blooping a single past Utley. Fowler scored to tie the game at 5-5 with one out and men on first and second. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Mora and got him to hit into a double-play to end the inning.
Huge double-play for Herndon. Romero again does not get the job done as the only lefty in the pen. Romero has two good outings in five appearances for the season. He’s walked four in 2 2/3 innings, which is too many. I agree that you can’t leave Kendrick in to face Smith to start the seventh in a close game despite the 1-2-3 sixth given that Smith is 3-for-3 with a double and a triple against him so far.
Baez pitched the eighth. He got the first two before hitting Barmes with a pitch. Ryan Spilborghs hit for the pitcher Randy Flores and singled to right, moving Barmes to third with two down. Smith grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.
Baez has allowed one run in five innings over his last five appearances.
Contreras started the ninth with a 9-5 lead after the Phils scored four in the top of the inning. He allowed a two-out double to Giambi, but got Mora to fly to right to end the game. He was pitching for the third day in a row.
Contreras has been fantastic this year. He’s allowed six hits and one walk in 11 2/3 innings. 0.77 ERA with an 0.60 ratio. Fifteen strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.
Baez threw 18 pitches in the game, Baez 15, Contreras 14 and Herndon three.
The Phillies shouldn’t let Contreras pitch tonight and, with Halladay pitching, hopefully they won’t have to. He pitched last night because Lidge had a stiff elbow.
Contreras’s career high in appearances is 32. He has 13 so far this season.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Greg Smith went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Ruiz hitting seventh ahead of Valdez. As well he should.
Victorino started the game with a triple and came in to score on a sac fly by Polanco, putting the Phils up 1-0. Utley singled to left before Howard struck out for the second out. A walk to Werth moved Utley to second, but Ibanez struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.
Ruiz singled to start the second with the score tied at 1-1. Valdez struck out on three pitches before Kendrick bunted Ruiz to second. Victorino walked before Polanco flew to center to strand both runners.
Werth walked with two outs in the third. Ibanez flew to center for the third out.
The Phils were down 2-1 when Ruiz started the fourth with a single. Valdez hit into a double-play behind him and Kendrick struck out swinging.
Victorino walked to start the fifth and moved to second when Polanco followed with a single. Utley hit a fly ball to center for the first out with Victorino tagging and moving up a base. It put men on first and third with one out for Howard and Howard hit a ground ball to short. Polanco was forced at second with Howard safe at first and Victorino scoring to tie the game at 2-2. Werth was next and he doubled yet again, this time to left. Howard scored from first with the help of a mishandle by Smith, putting the Phillies on top 3-2. Ibanez lined to second for the third out.
The Phillies were losing 4-3 when they hit in the sixth. Ruiz led off with a home run, tying the game at 4-4. Valdez and Kendrick went down behind him before Victorino tripled again. Righty Matt Daley came in to pitch to Polanco and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Victorino to score and put the Phillies up 5-4. Polanco grounded to third to set the Phils down.
Utley and Howard started the seventh with back-to-back singles off of lefty not-a-Phillie Joe Beimel. Beimel struck out Werth for the first out and Ibanez flew to center with Utley moving to third. It put men on first and third with two outs for Ruiz and Matt Belisle came in to pitch to him. Ruiz popped to third to leave both men stranded.
Big at-bat for Werth, getting to hit against a lefty with two men on because Ibanez is behind him. If I thought the Phillies couldn’t hit for Valdez I sure would have been tempted to put Ruiz on. The Phillies answered that question in the ninth, though, when they hit for Valdez. It worked out pretty well for Colorado the way they did it.
The game was tied at 5-5 in the eighth. Victorino walked with two outs and moved to second when Polanco followed with a ball hit to right that Hawpe didn’t handle for an error. Lefty Randy Flores came in to pitch to Utley and got him on a fly ball to left to end the frame.
It was still tied when the Phils hit in the ninth. Howard led off and was hit by a pitch. Werth popped to first for the first out before Howard moved to second on a wild pitch. Righty Manny Corpas walked the lefty Ibanez intentionally, putting men on first and second with one down. Ruiz got ahead 3-1 and then hit a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Howard scored to put the Phillies up 6-5 with Ibanez going to second. Gload hit for Valdez and hit a 3-1 pitch from the righty Corpas out to right center for a three-run homer that put the Phillies up to stay at 9-5. Francisco hit for Baez and struck out. Victorino grounded to third.
So I guess the Phillies can hit for Valdez. Great move by Manuel.
Victorino was 2-for-3 with two triples and three walks. He scored three runs. He’s 4-for-his-last-11 with four walks and is in danger of on-basing .300 if he’s not careful. He’s at .295 after a huge night last night.
Polanco was 1-for-4 with an RBI. He’s hitting 385/370/654 over his last 27 plate appearances. He has one more walk for the season than Jamie Moyer.
Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Werth had an unfortunate strikeout against Beimel in the seventh and was 1-for-3 in the game with a double and two walks. He has 17 doubles in 32 games for the year, which means he would hit 86 doubles over 162 games if he continues to hit them at this rate. That would be noteworthy.
Ibanez was 0-for-4 with a walk and left six men on base. He’s hitting 290/378/500 over his last 74 plate appearances. So try and calm down.
Ruiz was 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBI.
Valdez was 0-for-4. He’s 5-for-33 without a walk on the season and has a career 216/263/285 line. For his career he’s hitting .156 against lefties with a .214 on-base percentage. I’m willing to accentuate the positive, but I’m just not sure where else to look for it.
Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.43) faces righty Aaron Cook (1-3, 6.03) tonight. Only one of Cook’s six starts on the year has been good. Lefties are hitting 286/382/429 against him. Halladay has been superb (or pick whatever adjective you like better that means really, really good).
Update: This article says, “Castro played in the field in the ninth inning of Monday’s 9-5 win. Afterward, he said he had not been ready to play, but manager Charlie Manuel put him into the game.” Huh? No, seriously, huh?