The Phillies won a game yesterday on a sad day for their baseball family. Sad for so many of us who grew up screaming “Outta here!” when we hit a wiffle ball over the next door neighbor’s hedge. Sad for the adults who remember sitting on their grandparent’s porch listening to Harry Kalas call a Phillies game on the radio. Sad for all of us who have used his voice to mark time in our lives.
There are a whole lot of people who are going to miss Harry Kalas. I don’t seem to have much control over what I hear, and even less control over which of the things I hear that are almost immediately lost forever and which stay with me. It’s Kalas’ lasting gift to all of us that we’re sure to have that majestic voice bounce around our brains forevermore, letting us know that Michael Jack Schmidt has just hit his five hundredth career home run and that Brad Lidge just struck out Eric Hinske to win the World Series.
The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals yesterday, winning 9-8 to improve to 4-3 on the season. The Phillies have won three in a row for the first time on the season and are one game above .500 for the first time on the season.
Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies 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 home run. He struck out five.
After seven games, the Phillies still don’t have a quality start this season.
Lastings Milledge flew to center for the first out in the bottom of the first. Cristian Guzman was next and hit a ball back to Moyer that went out off his glove and rolled away from Moyer for a single. Ryan Zimmerman flew to right for the second out with Guzman holding first. Guzman stole second with Adam Dunn at the plate before Dunn drew a walk. It put two men on for Elijah Dukes and Dukes doubled to left. Guzman scored to put the Nats up 1-0, but Dunn held third. Nick Johnson drew a walk to load the bases, but Moyer got Jesus Flores on a ground ball to third to end the inning.
With the Phils up 2-1, Anderson Hernandez led off the second with a single to left. The pitcher Daniel Cabrera bunted Hernandez to second for the first out. Moyer got Milledge on a fly ball to left for the second out, but Guzman lined a single into center to tie the game at 2-2. Zimmerman flew to center for the third out.
The Phils gave Moyer another lead to start the bottom of the third, this time at 3-2. Dunn led off with a double to right, but Moyer struck out first for the second out and got Johnson on a ground ball to Utley that moved Dunn to third for the second. Flores flew to left to leave him stranded at third.
The Phils led 4-2 when Moyer started the bottom of the fourth. Moyer struck out Hernandez and Cabrera to start the inning, but Milledge singled to left and stole second with Guzman at the plate. Guzman delivered a single into left and Milledge scored to cut the lead to 4-3. Zimmerman flew to center for the third out.
Dunn popped to third for the first out of the fifth, but Dukes was next and reached down to golf a 2-2 pitch out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Moyer got the next two.
He threw a 1-2-3 sixth.
Condrey started the seventh with an 8-4 lead. He was pitching for the second straight day after throwing 17 pitches against the Rockies on Sunday. Guzman led off with an infield single, the first hit or walk Condrey had allowed on the year. Zimmerman flew to left for the first out, but Dunn was next and hit a ball out to center to cut the lead to 8-6. Condrey got the righty Dukes to ground out for the second out and Manuel called on Eyre to pitch to the lefty Johnson. Johnson grounded to Feliz to end the inning.
Madson started the eighth up 9-6. He was pitching for the third straight day. He struck Flores out for the first out of the inning. Hernandez was next and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded, but his throw to first was wild and Hernandez was safe at second on Rollins’ first error of the season. Righty Austin Kearns hit for the pitcher Wil Ledezma and hit a bullet to left that Ibanez made a diving catch on for the second out of the inning. Fantastic play by Ibanez and it saved the Phillies a run in what would wind up a one-run game. Madson struck out Milledge to end the inning.
Great outing for Madson pitching for the third straight day. He still has not allowed a hit or a walk this season.
Lidge entered in the ninth with a three-run lead. He was also pitching for the third straight day and had thrown 25 pitches on Sunday in Colorado. Guzman led off an hit a ball into right that probably would have been a double, but Guzman looked like he hurt his left ankle on the play and had to hold first. Alberto Gonzalez, not the Attorney General, but another one, ran for him at first base. He didn’t have to do much running, though, cause Zimmerman was next and hit a 1-0 pitch out to center to bring the Nats within one at 9-8. Lidge still didn’t have an out, but he struck out Dunn and Dukes back-to-back and then got Johnson to ground softly to first to end the game.
Lidge can sure use the off day today. In his five appearances so far this season he’s allowed as many home runs, two, as he did in his 72 appearances in 2008.
Not a great day for the pen, but they hung on and that’s the most important thing. They went three innings and allowed four runs on four his, two of which were home runs. No game today so everyone will likely be available for tomorrow’s game.
I really think three lefties in the pen is going to be a problem. The Phillies will have had three off-days by the time they play their eighth game. That helps a lot early, but it’s not something they should be counting on. While all four of the righties have been pitching a lot, especially Madson and Lidge, Happ and Taschner haven’t seen much action at all. Happ threw 35 pitches on Friday so you wouldn’t expect him to have pitched on Saturday. He didn’t pitch on Sunday or Monday, either. Taschner has made two appearances without allowing a hit or a walk, but hasn’t pitched since going two innings against the Braves a week ago today. They need to use those guys.
The Phillies lineup against righty Daniel Cabrera went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Coste continues to start at catcher with Ruiz out, even in the day game after a night game. Feliz at third against the righty with Dobbs on the bench.
Rollins, Victorino and Utley all grounded out in the top of the first.
The Phils started the second down 1-0. Howard got ahead 3-1 but struck out swinging. Werth was next and he got ahead 3-0 before reaching on an infield single to short on a 3-1 pitch. Ibanez hit a double-play ball to second, but the Nationals didn’t get a double-play. Hernandez bobbled the ball and couldn’t get an out anywhere. He was charged with an error and it put men on first and second with one out for Feliz and Feliz drew a walk to load the bases. Coste followed with a walk of his own, scoring Werth to tie the game at 1-1. Moyer was next and hit a fly ball. It wasn’t hit very well to left-center, but Ibanez waited for Dunn to make the play and took off for home where he slid in just ahead of the tag from Flores to put the Phils up 2-1. Rollins struck out to end the frame.
Ibanez had a great game, contributing at the plate, on the bases and defensively in the outfield.
The game was tied 2-2 when Victorino led off the third. Victorino lined a 2-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 3-2. Utley was next and hit another ball to second that Hernandez didn’t handle for his second error of the game. Howard moved Utley to third with a single to right and it brought Werth up with men on first and third with nobody out. Werth flew to right for the first out, not deep enough to score Utley. Ibanez was next and he hit into a double-play to set the Phillies down.
Phillies can’t get another run after putting men on first and third with nobody out.
Feliz singled to left to start the fourth and took second on the third Washington error of the day as Dunn mishandled the ball. Coste hit a ball hard, but right at Zimmerman at third for the first out. Moyer hit a ground ball to short for the second out and Feliz moved to third. Rollins followed with a double to right, scoring Feliz and putting the Phils up 4-2. Victorino hit a ground ball to second, a good place to hit one, but Hernandez made the play to end the frame.
Werth singled with two outs in the fifth, but Ibanez flew to center for the third out.
The game was tied at 4-4 when Julian Tavarez walked Feliz to start the sixth. Coste struck out, though, and Moyer tried to bunt and failed and struck out as well for the second out. Lefty Mike Hinckley came in to pitch to Rollins and got him looking 3-2 to end the frame.
Moyer pretty much had to hit for himself in the sixth because the bullpen, or at least the guys Manuel wanted to use, were badly worn down. It would have been less of an issue if the Phils were more willing to put Happ and Taschner into games, though.
Righty Saul Rivera started the seventh and needed just three pitches to hit Victorino and Utley. The Nats didn’t have their pitcher come to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, so it’s not clear to me why you bring in a lefty to pitch to Rollins and then a righty with Utley, Howard and Ibanez coming to the plate, but that’s what Washington did. It didn’t work. Howard came to the dish against Rivera with nobody out and two men on and blasted an 0-1 pitch out to center field for his first homer of the year. The Phillies led 7-4. Werth struck out swinging for the first out, but Ibanez got to hit against the righty Rivera too and he took Rivera out of the yard to center as well. 8-4. Feliz flew to right and Coste grounded to third.
Letting Rivera pitch to Utley, Howard and Ibanez is absurd. The Nationals would use two other left-handed pitchers in the game after Rivera exited (Ledezma and Beimel). Rivera faced seven men in the inning. He got out the three righties (Werth, Feliz and Coste). The switch-hitter was hit by a pitch. He faced three lefties and got none of them out — Utley was hit by a pitch and Howard and Ibanez both homered.
Second time in two days the Phillies change the game because of a decision to let a relief pitcher pitch to a hitter that’s just perplexing (on Sunday righty Houston Street had Stairs take him out of the year in the top of the ninth to put the Phils ahead to stay when walking Stairs to set up the double-play looked like the obvious thing to do).
Lefty Wil Ledezma started the eighth for Washington. Bruntlett hit for Eyre and doubled to left. Rollins moved Bruntlett to third with a ground ball to second and Victorino hit a ball to left deep enough to bring him in and put the Phils up 9-6. Utley grounded to first for the third out.
Pretty execution for the Phils to produce the run after the leadoff double. The run was the difference in the game.
Again, Bruntlett is the Phillies’ first choice off the bench against a left-handed pitcher. That’s not a good sign. In his defense he’s 2-for-6 with two doubles on the year, but I’m still hoping there’s a plan B.
Ibanez doubled with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Ibanez grounded to short to leave him stranded.
Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two strikeouts.
Victorino 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.
Howard 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.
Ibanez 2-for-5 with a double and a home run and a great catch in left.
Feliz 1-for-3 with two walks.
Coste 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 1-for-his-last-13.
No game today.