Tag: JA Happ

Who’s still on third?

The Phils got two extra-innings to try to beat the Atlanta Braves last night. The problem isn’t just that the Braves were better than the Phils in those innings, it’s that they have been playing better than the Phillies for a long time now. Since the start of August, 2009, the Braves are 83-60 in the regular season and the Phillies are 77-66. During those games the Braves have scored 133 more runs than they have allowed and the Phillies have scored 78 more runs than they have allowed.

The offense managed three hits last night as they tried to back a solid start from Hamels. Ibanez homered early, Howard tripled in the seventh and Victorino singled with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh with the Phils down by three runs. With the game tied at 3-3 in the seventh, the Phils couldn’t bring Howard in from third with nobody out. Atlanta pulled ahead 4-3 with a single and a double off of Herndon to start the eleventh and extended the lead when Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer off of Zagurski three batters later.

The Phillies are 43-39 on the season after losing to the Braves 6-3 in eleven innings last night. They have lost four of six to start July. In six of their last nine games they have scored three runs or less.

Hamels got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out eight.

Martin Prado led off the top of the first with a single. Omar Infante was next and he bunted for a single, putting men on first and second for Chipper Jones. Chipper walked to load the bases. Hamels got Troy Glaus to hit into a double-play with Prado scoring to put Atlanta up 1-0. Yunel Escobar flew to right for the third out.

Hamels started the second up 2-1. Matt Diaz led off with a single. Hamels struck David Ross out behind him and got Gregor Blanco to hit into a double-play to set the Braves down.

Prado walked with one out in the third. Hamels got Infante and Chipper behind him.

Diaz doubled with two outs in the fourth. Ross followed him and singled into left center. Diaz scored to tie the game at 2-2. Blanco flew to left for the third out.

Infante singled with two outs in the fifth. Hamels struck Chipper out behind him for the third out.

Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Diaz followed him with a ground ball to short and Escobar was forced at second. Ross flew to right for the third out.

He struck out Blanco and the pitcher Jair Jurrjens to start the seventh. Prado was next and Hamels got ahead of him, but Prado lined a 1-2 offering out to left to put Atlanta up 3-2. Hamels struck Infante out to end the frame.

Contreras started the eighth with the game tied at 3-3. Chipper and Glaus singled back-to-back to start the inning, putting men on first and third with nobody out. Brandon Hicks ran for Glaus at first. Escobar chopped a ball to third. Castro fielded and threw home and the Phils were able to get Chipper for a critical first out. With men on first and second, Diaz popped out to Valdez for the second out. Lefty Brian McCann hit for Ross and Romero came in to pitch to him. Romero got McCann on a ground ball to Valdez to end the frame.

Big play on the ball hit by Escobar helps the Phils escape men on first and third and nobody out. Contreras wasn’t charged with a run in the game but got lucky. Over his last six appearances he has been charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings.

Lidge set the Braves down in order in the ninth, striking out Blanco and Hinske.

Herndon needed six pitches to throw a 1-2-3 tenth.

He was back to start the eleventh and gave up a leadoff single to Escobar. Diaz was next and fouled off a bunt attempt before ripping a double into right center that scored Escobar and put Atlanta up 4-3. Zagurski took over for Herndon and struck out the lefties McCann and Blanco for the first two outs of the inning before Hinske hit a 2-2 pitch out to right to make it 6-3. Zagurski struck Prado out for the third out.

Herndon has a 4.08 ERA for the season, which makes it easy to overlook his 1.60 ratio. Opponents are hitting .345 against him for the year. The Phils have a bunch of problems in the pen with injuries they can’t control. Trying to keep Herndon on the roster isn’t one of them.

Zagurski threw 19 pitches in the game. Everyone else was 12 or fewer. Nobody was pitching for the second day in a row thanks to the complete game by Halladay in the first game of the set.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jair Jurrjens went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Sardinha catches his fifth straight game in brutal weather. Ibanez continues to hit third with Utley on the DL. Dobbs at third against the righty. Valdez plays second.

The Phils were down 1-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Rollins led off with walk and stole second as Victorino struck out. Ibanez was next and hit a 1-2 pitch out down the line in right, putting the Phillies on top at 2-1. Howard and Werth went down behind him to end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the second and third.

The game was tied at 2-2 when they went in order in the fourth.

Dobbs started the fifth with a walk, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him and Sardinha struck out.

They went in order in the sixth.

Ibanez started the seventh with a walk. Howard was next and hit a ball high off the wall in left that Diaz nearly caught but didn’t get. Diaz couldn’t find the ball right away and it allowed Howard to wind up on third with a triple. Peter Moylan took over for Jurrjens and struck out Werth for the first out. Lefty Jonny Venters came in to pitch to Dobbs and Francisco hit for Dobbs. Francisco flew to Blanco for the second out with Howard holding. Valdez grounded to third to end the inning with the game still tied.

Phils can’t get another run with a man on third and nobody out. Werth saw five pitches in the at-bat, taking three called strikes without swinging the bat.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Romero and flew to left for the second out.

They went 1-2-3 in the ninth, too.

Castro walked with one out in the tenth and moved to second when Valdez followed and hit a ground ball fielded by the pitcher. Sardinha flew out to left to leave Castro stranded.

They were down 6-3 when they hit in the eleventh. Victorino singled off of Billy Wagner with two outs and took second without a throw, but Ibanez struck out to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 0-for-his-last-12.

Victorino 1-for-5 and struck out twice.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.

Howard 1-for-4 with a triple.

Werth was 0-for-4 with a huge strikeout in the seventh.

Dobbs 0-for-1 with another walk. He’s hitting 313/353/563 in 16 July at-bats after a miserable first three months.

Valdez 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-15 and has a .269 on-base percentage for the year in a career-high 165 plate appearances. Utley getting hurt is almost completely out of the Phillies control — who they give 165 plate appearances isn’t.

Sardinha 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Jamie Moyer (9-7, 4.13) faces righty Kris Medlen (5-1, 3.01) tonight. Moyer has allowed more than two runs in one of his last seven starts. Medlen is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA and an 0.95 ratio over his last four starts.

Happ was activated and sent to Triple-A. Madson could be back as soon as today.


Halfway display

The Phils hit the halfway mark of what has been a mostly disappointing season last night. Coming off an ugly series in which they lost three of four to the Pirates, the Phils relied on a two-run shot from Greg Dobbs and another fantastic start from Roy Halladay to get a 3-1 win over the first place Braves.

The Phillies are 43-38 on the year and in third place in the NL East, four games behind the Braves and two behind the Mets.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing one run on five hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out seven and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.33.

He got the first two in the first before Chipper Jones homered to left center, putting Atlanta on top 1-0. Brian McCann followed that with a single before Eric Hinske popped to short for the third out.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third.

McCann doubled with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Hinske hit a ball that Victorino caught deep in center. Halladay struck out Melky Cabrera looking to leave McCann stranded at third.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Chipper doubled to right with two outs in the sixth, but Halladay struck McCann out looking 2-2 to end the frame.

Halladay had a 2-1 lead when he started the seventh. Hinske led off and walked on a 3-2 pitch, but Halladay got Cabrera to hit into a double-play behind him. Yunel Escobar flew to center for the third out.

Gregor Blanco started the eighth with a bunt single. Switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Derek Lowe and Sardinha made a very nice throw to nail Blanco trying to steal before Conrad struck out for the second out. Martin Prado struck out behind him for the third out.

Halladay set Atlanta down in order in the ninth. He threw 93 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Ransom on the bench. Ibanez hits third with Rollins back leading off and Utley on the DL. Valdez plays second base. Sardinha catches with Ruiz on the DL. The five guys the Phillies need to hit right now go 1-2-3-4-5 in the order.

Ibanez singled with two outs in the first and the Phils down 1-0. Howard grounded to short for the third out.

Werth and Dobbs singled back-to-back to start the second. It put men on first and second with nobody for Valdez and Valdez hit a slow ground ball to third. Chipper fielded and threw Valdez out at first as the runners moved to second and third. Sardinha struck out swinging for the second out and Halladay struck out to leave both men stranded.

No RBI for Sardinha with one out and a man on third

The Phils went in order in the third.

Howard started the fourth with a single, but Werth lined to center behind him for the first out. Dobbs was next and hit a ground ball to second. Howard was forced at second for the second out with Dobbs safe at first. Valdez hit a ball to third. Chipper fielded and threw to second, but Prado didn’t handle the throw for an error. Sardinha walked to load the bases for Halladay, but Halladay struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Five runners stranded by Halladay in the first four innings.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

They started the sixth still down a run. Werth singled with one out. Dobbs was next and he popped the first pitch he saw out to right center to put the Phils up 2-1. Valdez and Sardinha both struck out behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Ibanez and Howard singled back-to-back to start the eighth. Werth was next and hit a ball back to the pitcher. Howard was forced at second for the first out with the runners safe at first and third. With Castro at the plate the Phils tried to execute the squeeze, but Castro missed the bunt completely. Ibanez was tagged out after a brief rundown and Werth went to second with two outs. Werth was running when Castro chopped a ball to third, but Chipper had moved to cover the bag and ball dribbled through to left for an RBI-single. 3-1. Valdez flew to right for the third out.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 0-for-his-last-8 and 4-for-19 in July. 10-for-49 (.204) since coming off the DL.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game. He was 5-for-15 with a triple in the series with the Pirates, making him 5-for-his-last-19.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. He’s 5-for-his-last-16. No walks in his last 29 at-bats.

Howard 2-for-4. After hitting 320/373/650 in June he’s started July by going 6-for-19 with six singles.

Werth 2-for-4 yesterday. He’s 3-for-16 with a double and seven strikeouts to start the month.

Dobbs 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. He’s 6-for-his-last-18.

Valdez 0-for-4 and 1-for-his-last-11.

Sardinha caught the full game for the fourth day in a row yesterday. He was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s 4-for-14 with a walk, a double and a home run in those four games (286/333/571).

Cole Hamels (6-7, 4.07) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (1-3, 5.59) tonight. Hamels has allowed more than three earned runs in a start once in his last 11 outings. Jurrjens struggled to start the season and hit the DL with a hamstring issue. Since his return he’s made one start, which came on June 30 against the Nats. In that game he allowed a run on six hits and two walks over five innings. He had a terrible start against the Padres on April 12 in which he allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings — excluding that outing he has a 3.51 ERA and a 1.21 ratio for the season.

This suggests that Schneider could play today and that Madson could be back this week. It also says that Happ thinks he’s ready to return but may not be back till after the break.


And you thought it was tiring just to watch

Things were looking really good through most of the first two games of this weekend’s series between the Phillies and the Twins. The Phils scored nine runs in game one as they rolled to a 9-5 win. They were on the brink of another victory in game two when things took a dramatic turn for the worse, though, and the Twins wound up taking two of three as the Phils fell 5 1/2 games out of first in the NL East.

The Phils led game two 9-4 going into the ninth inning. Contreras started the ninth and allowed a two-run homer to Jim Thome and then walked Nick Punto before Brad Lidge came on to try to close it out for the Phils with a 9-6 lead and a man on first. Punto took second on defensive indifference and third on a wild pitch before Denard Span delivered an RBI-single with one out that cut the lead to 9-7. Lidge struck out Orlando Hudson for the second out and was one out away from ending the game before Joe Mauer tied it up at 9-9 with a home run to center.

For Lidge it was another big hit he allowed with two outs. Lidge has been a whole lot better earlier in the innings than he has near the end of innings this year. Here’s what opponents are hitting against him for the season with zero or one outs and what they are hitting against him with two outs:

  PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
0 or 1 out 25 .167 .200 .292 .492
2 outs 19 .353 .421 .647 1.068

Not a lot of plate appearances, but batters have fared a lot better against him this year with two outs than they did earlier in the inning.

Here’s how batters have fared against him for his career with zero or one outs compared to what they have done against him with two outs:

  PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
0 or 1 out 1520 .223 .305 .357 .662
2 outs 783 .221 .332 .368 .700

Batters have been a little better against Lidge with two outs over his career, but there isn’t nearly the same gap as there has been this season.

Whether Lidge is getting tired or not, despite the tiny number of batters that he’s faced this season I think it is good news that he’s actually been better against hitters with less than two outs this year than he has over his career.

It’s important to note, too, that getting hammered with two outs wasn’t Lidge’s problem in 2009. If you look at his splits from ’09, he was miserable all around, but by OPS allowed he was actually better with two outs than he was with zero or one. In ’09, opposing hitters put up an .894 OPS against him for the year with two down compared to a .933 OPS with nobody out and a .907 OPS with one out.

This article suggests that Rollins will be back sometime in the series with the Indians, Ruiz should be back sometime this week and that Happ will make his fourth rehab start on Wednesday.


Halladay mixes things up by not pitching well in latest loss for the Phils

Coming off several recent starts in which he pitched well and the Phillies lost anyway, Halladay flipped the script a bit last night by not pitching well in a loss. The Yankees were all over him in New York, hitting three home runs as they scored six times in six innings. The Phils are 2-5 in the last seven games that Halladay has started.

The offense was still terrible, mind you. The Phillies have scored 51 runs over their last 21 games, or about 2.43 runs per game. That makes it just about impossible to win and the Phils aren’t winning.

The starting pitching has also been atrocious of late. Over the last four games, the starting pitching has thrown just 18 innings and been charged with 22 earned runs. That includes a fantastic start from Hamels in Boston in which he allowed a run over seven innings. In the other three starts, Moyer, Blanton and Halladay combined to allowed 21 earned runs in 11 innings.

The Phillies are 32-30 on the season after an 8-3 loss to the Yankees last night. The Phils have lost four of their last five and are 4-8 in June. They remain in third place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, a double, a triple and three home runs. He struck out five.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Nick Swisher singled to center with one out in the second. Jorge Posada was next and drew a walk, putting men on first and second for Brett Gardner. Gardner cleared the bases by lining a triple to center, putting New York up 2-0. Halladay struck out Francisco Cervelli for the second out before hitting Ramiro Pena with a pitch to put men on first and third. Derek Jeter grounded to third to end the inning and leave both men stranded.

Big strikeout of Cervelli with one out and Gardner on third for the second out.

Curtis Granderson started the third with a home run to right that put New York up 3-0. Halladay got Mark Teixeira to fly to right for the first out before Robinson Cano doubled to center. Swisher was next and he hit a 2-0 pitch out to right. 5-0. Halladay got the next two.

The Phillies had cut the lead to 5-3 when Halladay set the Yankees down in order in the fourth.

Teixeira homered down the right field line with one out in the fifth to put New York up 6-3. Cano was next and hit a ball hard to third, but Polanco made a nice diving play to field the ball and threw to Howard for the second out. Halladay struck out Swisher to end the inning.

Posada and Gardner singled back-to-back to start the sixth. It put men on first and second for Cervelli, who bunted them to second and third with the first out. Pena was next and he lined to Howard for the second out. Jeter walked on a close 3-2 pitch that was outside to load the bases for Granderson, but Halladay got Granderson to fly to Ibanez to leave the bases loaded.

Halladay got a break on the ball Pena hit that would have broken the game open. Pena hit it hard, but right at Howard to give the Phillies an out instead of giving the Yankees two more runs.

Bastardo started the seventh and hit Teixeira with a 2-2 pitch. Cano was next and hit a double-play ball, but the Phillies didn’t get a double-play because Utley didn’t handle it cleanly. Utley did recover in time to get Cano at first, with Teixeira safe at second and one out. Swisher flew to center for the second out. Bastardo hit Posada on the foot with a pitch to put men on first and second. Bastardo got behind the lefty Gardner 3-0 and walked him on a 3-1 pitch to load the bases. David Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Cervelli. Cervelli hit a ball in between short and third that went under the glove of Castro and into left for a two-run single. 8-3. Pena again hit the ball well, but Ibanez made a diving catch moving towards center to end the inning.

Castro should have made the play on Cervelli’s ball. It’s not a sure thing he would have been able to get Cervelli at first, but even if he didn’t it would have saved the Phils a run by keeping it in the infield. Bastardo was miserable in the inning, hitting two switch hitters and walking the lefty. Opponents are now hitting .358 against Herndon for the year.

Baez pitched the eighth. Jeter led off with a walk and moved to second when Granderson followed with a single. Baez struck Teixeira out for the first out before Cano hit a ground ball to first. Howard threw to second for the second out with Jeter going to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Baez got Swisher to ground to second on a nice play by Utley to end the inning.

For Baez it was the only time in his last five appearances that he hasn’t been charged with a run.

Baez threw 20 pitches in the game, Bastardo 18 and Herndon three.

The Phillies lineup against lefty CC Sabathia went (1) Victorino (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Francisco (8) Castro (9) Ruiz. Flipping Utley and Polanco is Manuel’s latest effort to get the offense going. Francisco is the DH with Castro playing short and hitting ahead of Ruiz.

The Phillies went in order in the first.

Ibanez walked with two outs in the second. Francisco flew to center to leave him stranded.

The Phils were down 2-0 when they hit in the third. Sabathia struck out Castro and Victorino as he set the Phils down in order.

It was 5-0 when they hit in the fourth. Utley led off and hit a ball back up the middle that went off of Sabathia’s pitching hand for an infield single. Polanco followed with a single that moved Utley to third and Howard was hit on the arm by a pitch to load the bases. Werth singled to left and everyone moved up a base. 5-1. Ibanez singled to right. 5-2 with the bases still loaded. Francisco hit a ground ball to Teixeira between first and second. Teixeira fielded and threw to second for the first out, but Sabathia didn’t cover first so there was nobody there to take the relay (that never came). Howard scored on the play, so it was 5-3 with one out and men on first and third for Castro. Francisco stole second before Castro struck out for the second out. Ruiz grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Lots of hits for the Phillies, but not the extra-base hit they need. Castro strikes out with a man on third and less than two outs.

Utley singled with one out in the fifth. Polanco was next and hit a ground ball to short. Utley was forced at second for the second out with Polanco safe at first. Howard walked to put men on first and second and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch with Werth at the plate. The lefty Sabathia walked the righty Werth intentionally to load the bases and got Ibanez to ground to second to end the frame and leave all three runners stranded.

Down 6-3, the Phillies went in order in the sixth.

Sabathia set them down in order again in the seventh.

Righty David Robertson pitched the eighth for New York. He walked Ibanez with two outs, but got Francisco to fly to left to leave him stranded.

Victorino was 0-for-5 and struck out twice. He’s 1-for-his-last-17 and on-basing .312 for the season.

Utley was 2-for-4 hitting second in the lineup. He’s hitting 159/253/188 over his last 59 plate appearances.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a single. Again the Phillies didn’t have an extra-base hit in the game. He’s hitting .378 in June. He’s not a good three hitter, but Polanco hitting third isn’t near the top of the list of Phillies problems.

Howard was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s hitting 289/360/511 this month.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and two strikeouts. Over his last 96 plate appearances he’s hitting 198/281/372 with 30 strikeouts.

Ibanez 1-for-2 with two walks. 10-for-his-last-25 with a double and a homer.

Francisco 0-for-4 with a strikeout and four men left on base. He’s 6-for-his-last-20.

Castro was 0-for-3, struck out twice and really should have at least kept the ball that Cervelli hit in the infield. He’s on-basing .246 for the season and .185 over his last 55 plate appearances.

Ruiz was 0-for-3, dropping his average on the year to .267. He’s 0-for-his-last-20.

Jamie Moyer (6-6, 5.03) faces righty AJ Burnett (6-4, 3.86) tonight. Jamie allowed nine earned runs in an inning against Boston his last time out. Burnett was rolling on this year until running into some trouble in his last two starts. He had a 3.28 ERA for the year going into his May 30 start against Baltimore, but has allowed ten runs in 12 2/3 innings his last two times out. He’s been better against lefties than righties this season, holding lefties to a 244/321/384 line while righties have hit 289/356/458 against him.

Happ says he didn’t throw well in a bullpen session last night in this article. I believe him.

Rollins was 0-for-3 in rehab with the Single-A Clearwater last night.


Rolling old school

The fantastic run of starting pitching continued for the Phils last night. This time it was Jamie Moyer making his first good start of the season. Moyer held the Braves to two unearned runs on four hits and two walks over six strong innings to earn his second win of the season and the 260th of his career. The Phillies have five quality starts in their last six games.

What they also got last night was some runs. Eight, to be exact. They came into last night’s game having scored six runs over their past four games. The battered left side of the infield proved not to be the problem, but a big part of the solution. With Rollins and Polanco both out of the lineup, their replacements, Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs, combined to go 5-for-8 and scored four of the team’s eight runs.

The Phillies are 10-5 on the season after beating the Braves 8-3 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Both of the runs were unearned, thanks for some defensive floundering by Utley in the fifth. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four and dropped his ERA for the season to 5.00.

Matt Diaz lined to right for the first out of the first with the Phillies up 2-0. Martin Prado was next and he hit it hard, too, but Dobbs snared his line drive for the second out. Chipper Jones followed with a single to left, but Moyer got Brian McCann on a soft ground ball to first to end the inning.

He struck out Troy Glaus and Yunel Escobar to start the second before he hit Jason Heyward with a pitch. Melky Cabrera lined to short to end the inning.

That’s a lot of line outs in two innings.

He was up 5-0 when he started the third. The pitcher Derek Lowe and Diaz both grounded out to start the inning, but Prado doubled to left. Chipper grounded to third to leave him stranded.

He set the Braves down in order in the fourth.

Cabrera walked with one out in the fifth. Righty Omar Infante hit for Lowe and walked, putting men on first and second with one down. Diaz was next and hit a ball to short. Castro fielded and threw to second, but Utley didn’t handle his throw. Cabrera scored to make it 5-1. Utley was charged with an error and it was still first and second with one out. Prado was next and he hit a ball to Castro as well. This time Utley caught the throw at second for the second out, but then threw the ball away from another error. Infante scored and it was 5-2 with two outs and a man on first. Jones hit yet another line drive, but Dobbs caught it at third for the third out.

Miserable inning defensively for Utley. Two walks issued by Moyer made it possible.

The Phillies were up 6-2 when Moyer started the sixth. McCann led off with a single. Moyer struck out Glaus for the first out before Escobar doubled to center, sending McCann to third. Moyer struck out Heyward for the second out and got Cabrera on a pop up to short to end the inning.

Huge strikeout by Moyer to get Heyward with one out and men on second and third.

Durbin started the seventh with an 8-2 lead. McLouth led off and doubled to right. Durbin struck Diaz out for the first out, but Prado singled to right. It put men on first and third with one out for Chipper and Chipper walked on four pitches to load the bases. McCann got ahead 3-0 and then hit a fly ball deep to left that Ibanez took in front of the warning track for the second out. McLouth tagged and scored. 8-3 with men on first and second. Durbin struck Glaus out swinging at a 3-2 slider.

Nice job to come back by Durbin and hold them to one run. Things looked a little worrisome when he walked Chipper on four pitches and then got way behind McCann.

Baez threw a 1-2-3 eighth with an 8-3 lead.

Herndon entered in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Hinske led off with a single, but Diaz grounded into a double-play behind him to clear the bases. Prado reached on an infield single and moved to third when Chipper followed that with a double. Herndon got McCann to fly to left to end the game.

Herndon keeps Atlanta off the board, but has allowed eight hits over 1 1/3 innings in his last two appearances.

Durbin threw 33 pitches in the game and seems unlikely for tonight. Herndon 12 and Baez nine.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Dobbs plays third with Polanco on the bench after getting hit on the elbow with a pitch on Wednesday. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL. Second is a little high for Dobbs. Seven is a little high for Castro. Three lefties in a row 2-3-4 for the Phils.

Dobbs and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first. It put men on first and third for Howard and Howard singled to center. 1-0 with men on first and third. Werth flew to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez lined to second for the third out.

Ruiz singled with one out in the second and Moyer bunted him to second. Victorino grounded to second to leave him stranded.

Dobbs banged a double off the wall in right to start the third. Utley walked. Howard flew to left for the first out before Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez hit a double-play ball, but the Braves didn’t get a double-play. They didn’t even get a single play. Prado fielded, but his throw wasn’t handled by Escobar. Dobbs and Utley both scored with Werth moving to third with the Phils up 4-0. Castro singled to right. Werth scored and Ibanez went to second. 5-0. Ruiz struck out and Moyer grounded back to the pitcher to leave both men stranded.

Not turning the double-play to end the inning costs the Braves three runs.

The Phils went in order in the fourth and the fifth.

Castro started the sixth with a single off of righty Kris Medlan. Ruiz moved him to second with a single. Moyer would have bunted, but Medlan couldn’t find the strike zone and Moyer walked to load the bases with nobody out. Victorino flew to left for the first out. Castro tagged and scored to put the Phils up 6-2. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty came in to pitch to Dobbs and Wilson Valdez hit for Dobbs. Valdez hit a ground ball to short and Ruiz was forced at second for the second out. Utley walked and the bases were loaded for Howard. Howard struck out.

So the Phillies get one run after loading the bases with nobody out. The righty Valdez hits for Dobbs against the lefty. I think you have to let Francisco hit there because there are two men on base even though Valdez is going to come into the game and play third. Assuming Francisco isn’t hurt I think Manuel thinks the sixth is too early to use the best hitter on your bench. I don’t agree.

The single by Castro got the sixth started after he delivered a big two-out hit in the third.

Ibanez walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second when Castro followed with another single. Ruiz flew to right for the second out, sending Ibanez to third. With righty Peter Moylan on the mound, Gload hit for Moyer and singled to center. Ibanez scored to make it 7-2 and Castro went to third. Victorino was next and he singled to right. 8-2 with men on first and second. Valdez struck out swinging to leave them stranded.

Utley, Howard and Werth went in order in the eighth.

Ibanez singled to start the ninth, but Castro struck out behind him for the first out. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out with Ibanez moving to second. With righty Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Braves, Francisco hit for Baez and flew to center.

Francisco winds up getting an at-bat in the game, but against a righty with one man on base instead of two.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with two RBI in the game. He was 2-for-14 with two singles and no walks in the three-game set. He’s hitting 212/254/379 for the season. He’s 3-for-his-last-21 and doesn’t have an extra-base hit in the last six games.

Polanco started games one and two and did not play yesterday after being hit on the elbow with a pitch in game two. 2-for-7 with a double in the series. 383/400/567 for the season. He’s walked once for the year, putting him on pace to walk 11 times. That’s not going to matter if he hits .383, but he’s not. On the other hand, he’s not going to walk 11 times either.

Utley was 1-for-3 with two walks and two errors last night. 4-for-12 with two doubles and two walks in the series. 339/479/739 on the year.

Howard was 1-for-5 with an RBI and five men left on base. 3-for-13 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 294/324/529. He hasn’t homered in ten games and isn’t walking either. He’s on pace to walk 32 times this season.

Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-11 with three doubles and a walk. 327/413/558.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 3-for-9 with a double and four walks in the series. 200/344/280 for the year.

Castro was 3-for-5 with an RBI yesterday and 5-for-13 in the set. He’s hitting 353/361/382 in 34 at-bats for the year.

Ruiz was 2-for-5 and left five men on base yesterday. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 275/420/325.

Dobbs started at third last night. He was 2-for-3 with a double in the game and 2-for-4 in the series. His double last night was the only extra-base hit for the Phils in the game. He’s 3-for-12 with two walks for the season.

Valdez was 0-for-2 last night and 0-for-3 in the series.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.86) faces righty Kris Benson (0-1, 3.00) tonight in Arizona as the Phils play the first of three against the 6-9 Snakes. Hamels was brilliant against the Marlins in his last start after a rocky start to the season. Benson has made one start for Arizona, allowing two runs over six innings against the Padres last Saturday.

JA Happ was put on the DL. JC Romero took his spot on the roster. Nelson Figueroa will start on Saturday against Ian Kennedy.

The article linked above says Polanco thinks he should be back in the lineup tonight.


And if you want to, you can lean on me — but maybe not all day, every day if you can help it

It was bound to happen sooner or later, probably sooner, and now it has. After a fantastic start, the bullpen finally came up empty yesterday and with an exclamation point. The starting pitching has been a problem for the Phils. Roy Halladay has been magnificent early, but pretty much everyone else in the rotation has either been not good enough or not long enough or both. Yesterday their starter couldn’t go six innings yet again and the Phils took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning. The pen surrendered six runs in the last three innings.

The problem is that impressive as the 7-1 start was for the Phillies, their formula for winning was flawed. It was mediocre starting pitching, strong work from the bullpen and scoring about eight runs a game. The issue with that is their starting pitching is better than mediocre, their bullpen is weak and as good as their offense is they aren’t going to score eight runs a game. They also aren’t going to play the Nationals and Astros every game.

So while that may have worked to start the season, and may work for short sprints, they’re going to need to come up with something else. I feel pretty good about their chances.

The Phillies are 7-2 on the season after losing to the Washington Nationals 7-5 yesterday.

Happ got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and six walks. The run was unearned. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He walked six and didn’t strike out anyone. He keeps his 0.00 ERA for the season, but with a 1.65 ratio in just 10 1/3 innings pitched over two starts. The Phillies need him to pitch deeper into games, starting really soon.

He walked Nyjer Morgan on five pitches to start the game. Ian Desmond was next and he hit a ball slowly to Utley. Utley made a great play, flipping to Castro to start the double-play that cleared the bases. Just for a minute, though, cause Cristian Guzman followed and he walked, too. Adam Dunn hammered the ball, but Howard picked it nicely and beat Dunn to the bag to end the frame.

Happ was up 1-0 when he started the second. Josh Willingham led off and flew to right for the first out. Rodriguez was next and he doubled to left. Justin Maxwell followed and walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second with one out. Alberto Gonzalez grounded to Howard for the second out, moving the runners up a base. It brought up the pitcher Scott Olsen with two outs and men on second and third. Happ got him on a popup to third to leave the runners stranded.

Happ walked Morgan again to start the third. He picked him off, too, with the throw going to Howard, but Howard threw the ball away for an error. Desmond bunted Morgan to third with the first out. Guzman brought Morgan home from third with a ground out to short, tying the game at 1-1. Dunn singled to left before Happ got Willingham to pop to second for the third out.

This gig probably involves a lot more backing up throws to second base than Ibanez had anticipated. Howard is really awful at throwing the ball to second. Anywhere else, too, probably, but you don’t get to see that quite as often. Four walks in three innings for Happ, two to lead off an inning.

Happ walked Maxwell with one out in the fourth, but got Gonzalez and the pitcher behind him to leave him stranded at first.

Morgan led off the fifth with a single to center, but Desmond popped to second for the first out and Guzman hit into a double-play.

At least he didn’t walk that time.

Dunn led off the sixth and Polanco made a fantastic catch near the stands with his back to home plate for the first out. Willingham was next and Happ walked him. Happ had thrown 97 pitches in the game and Manuel called on Contreras to pitch to the righty Rodriguez with one out and a man on first. Willingham stole second as the count went 0-2 on Rodriguez. Contreras struck out Rodriguez and Maxwell behind him to leave Willingham stranded.

Golly. Contreras has had an amazing start to the season. One hit in 3 2/3 innings while striking out six.

That was pretty much the end of the good day for the pen, though.

Bastardo started the seventh with a 4-1 lead. Gonzalez led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out by Harris. Morgan flew to left for the second out, but Desmond followed with a single that scored Gonzalez. 4-2. Guzman flew to left for the third out.

Bastardo was pitching having thrown 19 pitches the day before. On April 7 he threw one pitch and came back the next day to throw eight, which was the first time in his career he had thrown on back-to-back days.

On the other hand, Baez has thrown back-to-back days and it didn’t help him any. Dunn started the seventh with a homer. 4-3. Baez struck out Willingham, but then walked Rodriguez. Righty Ryan Zimmerman hit for the pitcher Tyler Clippard and homered to right. 5-4 Nats. Baez struck out Gonzalez for the second out and walked Harris. Harris stole second before Morgan grounded to second.

Madson pitched the ninth. Desmond led off with a single and stole second. Guzman struck out for the first out and Dunn moved Desmond to third with a ground out for the second. Willingham walked and Willy Tavares ran for him and stole second. Rodriguez hit a two-run single that put Washington up 7-4 before Madson struck out Capps to end the frame.

Baez threw 31 pitches and Madson 26. Bastardo 17 after 19 the day before and Contreras nine. Plus a long day in long relief for Figueroa in Wednesday’s game in which he threw 54 pitches.

Thank goodness for Roy Halladay. But while you can count on him to be very, very good, we shouldn’t be counting on him to be perfect every time.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Olsen went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Werth returns to the lineup after missing a game with his hip.

Victorino pounded a ball to left to start the bottom of the first, but Willingham took it on the track for the first out. Polanco grounded to third for the second, but Utley was next and delivered yet another home run to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard grounded to Guzman at second to end the inning.

The Phillies went in order in the second on ground outs by Werth and Ibanez and a strikeout by Castro.

The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phillies hit in the third. Ruiz led off and ripped a double to left. Happ was next and bunted the ball to first. Dunn fielded and threw to third where Ruiz was tagged out for the first out. Victorino flew to left and Polanco grounded to short.

Phils can’t execute the sacrifice and it means they don’t score after the leadoff double.

Werth walked with two outs in the fourth, but Ibanez struck out behind him.

Castro started the bottom of the fifth with a single. Ruiz struck out behind him. Happ bunted successfully this time, moving Castro to second with two down, but Victorino flew to right to end the inning.

Polanco singled to start the sixth. Utley struck out for the first out. Howard flew out to Morgan in left center field for the second out. Werth walked, putting men on first and second for Ibanez. Ibanez walked too and the bases were loaded for Castro. Castro delivered a single into right, scoring Polanco and Werth to put the Phillies up 3-1. Castro took second when the ball dribbled away from Rodriguez, giving the Phillies men on second and third. Righty Tyler Clippard took over for Olsen and walked Ruiz intentionally. Dobbs hit for Contreras and walked, forcing in Ibanez. 4-1. Victorino grounded to second to end the inning.

I was surprised to see Olsen stay in to pitch to the righty Castro. Surprised to see Castro stay in to hit after he did, too.

Howard doubled with two outs in the seventh and the Phils up 4-2. Werth struck out swinging to leave him at second.

The Phillies were down 5-4 when they hit in the eighth. Lefty Sean Burnett got Ibanez to ground out for the first out. Righty Matt Capps came in to pitch to the righty Castro and Castro popped up a ball that landed right behind Guzman and in front of Willie Harris for a single. Ruiz grounded to third for the second out, with Castro moving to second. Wilson Valdez ran for Castro at second as the tying run. Gload hit for Baez and flew to right to leave Valdez stranded.

Victorino led off the ninth with a homer off of Capps that cut the Washington lead to 7-5. Polanco followed with a single. Utley struck out, Howard flew softly to left and Werth flew softly to center to end the game.

If you’re going to have three chances to tie the game you can’t do much better than Utley and Howard against a righty with Werth behind them.

Victorino was 1-for-5 with a home run in the game and left five men on base. 5-for-14 with a triple and a home run in the series. 244/279/512 for the season after nine games.

Polanco was 2-for-5 yesterday and 6-for-13 with a double in the series. 475/477/650.

Utley 1-for-5 with his fifth home run of the year yesterday. 4-for-12 with four home runs and seven RBI in the series. 343/477/829 on the year. He’s on pace to hit 90 home runs and drive in 198 runs.

Howard was 1-for-5 yesterday. 5-for-14 with two doubles in the series. 357/386/738. His strikeouts are way down so far this year and so are his walks. After nine games he’s on pace to walk 36 times and strike out 90. Not likely. If he’s going to hit 357/386/738 it will be just peachy if he never walks. He’s not, though.

Werth was 0-for-3 yesterday. 1-for-6 with three walks in the set. 323/421/452 on the year.

Ibanez was 0-for-3 yesterday and 1-for-10 with two walks in the series. 206/310/294 for the year. He had a 3-for-4 day on April 9 against the Astros. Eliminating that game he’s 4-for-30 (.133) with a double on the year.

Castro was 3-for-4 with huge hit and two RBI yesterday. He’s 4-for-12 with a double on the season.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with a double yesterday and 2-for-8 with a double and four more walks in the series. 273/467/318 on the season with one extra-base hit, yesterday’s double. He’s on pace to walk 144 times this year. Only one player on the team has more walks than his eight — Utley has walked nine times but has gotten 14 more plate appearances than Ruiz.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in the series. 1-for-6 with two walks so far.

Francisco was 0-for-3 in the series and is 0-for-4 on the year.

Roy Halladay (2-0, 0.56) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 6.00) tonight as the Phils play the first of three against the Fish at home. Halladay has been fantastic to start the year. Sanchez gave up four runs in six innings against the Dodgers in his only start of the season.

The Start Log is updated. Phils still looking for a quality start from someone other than Halladay. Also, each of the five pitchers who have started a game for the Phillies have gotten an average of at least 6.5 runs scored per game from the Phillie offense in their starts. The Phillies are on pace to score 1,242 runs this season. That might not even happen.

Next update to Philliesflow will be next week.


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