They could probably cut it down to six a game if Pierre promises to stop getting caught stealing ahead of him if that would help.
For all of the energy Chase Utley’s return generated last night, the take home message is simple: scoring seven runs isn’t good enough if you’re going to allow 11. And what’s wrong with the Phillies has a lot more to do with preventing runs than it does with scoring them.
Bullpen game last night and that was sure to be a problem for the Phillies because their bullpen is wretched. Things looked good early for the Phils as back-to-back homers from Utley and Ruiz put the Phils up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but the Pirates responding by scoring eight unanswered runs. Down 8-2, the Phils scored five times in the sixth and seventh innings combined, cutting the lead to 8-7. Chad Qualls took the air out of the Phillies comeback, though, allowing three runs in the top of the eighth and the Pirates went on to win 11-7.
The bullpen ERA for the Phillies for the year is up to 4.67 with the game, which is 14th among the 16 NL teams.
Through the first 40 games of the season, the starting pitchers for the Phillies threw to a 2.93 ERA with a 1.09 ratio. Over the last 37 games, the starters have thrown to a 5.01 ERA and a 1.36 ratio. The Phillies are 15-22 in those games.
I truly do not understand why the Phillies chose to let the bullpen pitch last night instead of calling up a starter from Double-A or Triple-A. I’m sure there was a reason, I just don’t know what it is. Whatever it was, they’ve lost the game and shredded their bullpen for the next couple of days and their bullpen was bad before they shredded it. This afternoon they start Kyle Kendrick, who has gone about 5.58 innings per start in his 11 starts on the year, the lowest mark for anyone who’s started a game for the Phils other than Valdes. Kendrick has gone six innings in a start once in his last five tries.
The Phillies are 36-41 on the year after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-7 last night.
Raul Valdes got the start for the Phillies and went two innings, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a three-run homer by Michael McKenry. He struck out two.
Valdes set Josh Harrison, Drew Stubbs and Andrew McCutchen down in order in the top of the first.
He started the second up 2-0 and walked Casey McGehee on a 3-2 pitch. With Neil Walker at the plate, McGehee took off for second. Ruiz’s throw beat him there easily, McGehee might have thought the hit and run was on, and Utley chased him back to first and applied the tag for the first out. Valdes walked Walker 3-2, putting a runner on first for Pedro Alvarez and Alvarez struck out looking 0-2 for the second out. Jose Tabata was next and lined a single to left, moving Walker up to second. Michael McKenry was next and he hit a 3-2 fastball out to left for a three-run homer, putting the Pirates up 3-2. Pitcher James McDonald flew to left for the third out.
Two walks for Valdes in the inning and then he grooves a 3-2 fastball to McKenry in front of the pitcher spot. That was a truly terrible pitch. Pirates gave him an out on the bases and still score three in the frame. That could have been better.
Savery started the third. Harrison led off and hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Sutton flew to left for the first out before Savery picked Harrison off of first with Wigginton throwing to Rollins for the second out. McCutchen flew to center to set the Pirates down.
McGehee homered off of Savery to start the fourth. 4-2. Walker followed with a double and moved to third on an Alvarez ground out. Tabata struck out swinging and Savery walked the righty McKenry intentionally to pitch to McDonald with two outs and runners on the corners. McDonald singled to left, scoring Walker to make it 5-2 with runners on first and third. Harrison grounded to third for the third out.
Savery walked Sutton to start the fifth and McCutchen moved him to second with a single. McGehee flew to right for the first out before a Walker singled, scoring Sutton (6-2) and moving McCutchen to third. Savery struck Alvarez out swinging 0-2 for the second out and Schwimer came in to pitch to the righty Tabata. Tabata singled to center. McCutchen scored, 7-2, and Walker went to third. McKenry was next and singled to left on a ball deflected by Fontenot. Walker scored. Tabata to third. 8-2. Schwimer struck McDonald out looking to finally set the Pirates down.
Back-to-back two out singles get the Pirates two more runs. Valdes and Savery were both awful in the game, combining to allow eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. Savery’s line is worse thanks to two-out hits allowed by Schwimer that bring in two runs charged to Savery.
Schwimer was back to start the sixth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Harrison and Sutton to start the inning, but got the next three to leave the runners at first and second.
Diekman started the seventh with the Phils down 8-4. He struck out Alvarez and McKenry while setting the Pirates down in order.
Qualls started the eighth with the lead cut to 8-7. Lefty Alex Presley hit for the pitcher Brad Lincoln and walked. Barmes grounded to third for the first out with Presley moving up to second. Sutton doubled to center, scoring Presley. 9-7. McCutchen was next and hit a 2-2 pitch out to right center. 11-7. McGehee flew to left before Walker singled into center. Alvarez grounded to first for the third out.
Just a miserable job by Qualls after the Phillies had fought to get back in the game. In his defense, he has been overused of late. He got Tuesday off, but through Monday had thrown five of six days including pitching the ninth with a five-run lead on Monday.
Bastardo pitched the ninth. He allowed a two-out walk to Presley, but got Barmes on a fly ball to center to end the frame.
Awful night for the bullpen. Savery (53 pitches) and Valdes (43) surely can’t pitch for a while. Qualls threw 35 pitches. He’s only thrown one day in a row, but has been pitching way too much. He also has a 4.60 ERA for the year and opponents are hitting .302 against him. Schwimer has thrown back-to-back days and threw 26 pitches last night. Bastardo has thrown back-to-back days, four of the last five days and threw 14 pitches last night. Diekman threw 13 pitches last night.
So who can pitch tonight? Savery and Valdes look like they are not candidates. Papelbon and Diekman look like they should be fine. Qualls, Bastardo and Schwimer seem to be in a gray area with Schwimer having thrown less of late than the other two.
The Phillies lineup against righty James McDonald went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Utley (4) Ruiz (5) Pence (6) Victorino (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Utley makes his 2012 debut with the Phillies and hits third. Wigginton at first against the righty. Fontenot at third with Polanco on the bench. Polanco was 6-for-his-last-10 with two walks.
Rollins walked to start the bottom of the first. Pierre grounded to short with Rollins forced at second for the first out, but was caught trying to steal second before Utley hit a 2-2 pitch out to right, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Ruiz followed and homered to left on a 3-1 pitch, extending the lead to 2-0. Pence drew a walk, but Victorino flew to left to leave him at first.
Chase arrives with a bang and Ruiz follows it up with another. The caught stealing by Pierre during Utley’s at-bat costs the Phils a run.
Down 3-2, the Phils went in order in the second. Lee hit for Valdes and struck out for the third out.
Rollins singled to left to start the bottom of the third. Pierre was next and grounded back to the pitcher with Rollins forced at second for the first out. Utley was next and again hit the ball hard, but this time to straight away center. McCutchen handled it on the warning track for the second out. Ruiz lined to third to leave Pierre stranded.
Down 5-2, the Phillies went in order in the fourth.
Down 8-2, they went in order in the fifth.
Utley reached on an infield single on a ball Alvarez could have handled with one out in the sixth. Could have made a better throw, too. Ruiz was next and grounded to second with Utley forced at second for the second out. Pence was next and doubled to left center, scoring Ruiz from first to make it 8-3. Victorino followed that with a single to left, scoring Pence. 8-4. Polanco hit for Schwimer and righty Jared Hughes took over for McDonald to pitch to him. Victorino stole second before Polanco walked. Fontenot grounded back to the mound to leave both runners stranded.
Luna led off the seventh and hit a ground ball to third that Alvarez didn’t handle for an error. Rollins was next and tripled to center, scoring Luna to make it 8-5. Pierre was next and lefty Tony Watson came in to face him. Pierre singled to left, scoring Rollins. 8-6. Utley followed and hit a ground ball between first and second, closer to first. McGehee, who had been holding Pierre on first, didn’t go after the ball and it found right field for a single that moved Utley up to second. Ruiz was next and lined a ball to right. Tabata lost it in the lights or something, but he sure didn’t catch it. Ruiz had a single, Pierre scored (8-7) and Utley moved up to second. Righty Brad Lincoln took over for Watson. He struck Pence out swinging 3-2 and got Victorino on a fly ball to left for the second out. Thome hit for Diekman and struck out swinging to leave both runners stranded.
Awful defense by the Pirates in the frame. Alvarez starts with an error and McGehee and Tabata both don’t make plays that are called singles. Lincoln squashes the rally for the Phils, entering with two men on and nobody out and getting Pence, Victorino and Thome.
Righty Jason Grilli set the Phils down in order in the eighth with the Pirate lead extended to 11-7. McCutchen made a great diving catch on a ball Luna hit to right-center for the second out, taking a double away from Luna.
Righty Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth. Ruiz walked with two outs, but Pence grounded to third to end the game.
Rollins was 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple. 381/435/730 over his last 69 plate appearances.
Pierre 1-for-5 with an RBI and a caught stealing ahead of the Utley homer in the first. He also stole a base in the game. For the year he has 17 steals and been caught three times (and picked off once). 1-for-his-last-12 at the plate.
Utley was 3-for-5 in with a home run on the year. One of the hits looked a lot like a ground ball to short that Alvarez turned into an adventure, both in fielding and throwing the ball. The other single looked a lot like a ground ball to first the McGehee decided not to field for whatever reason.
Ruiz 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run. He’s on pace to hit .364 with 23 home runs, so that’s something. 8-for-his-last-13.
Pence 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. 10-for-his-last-44 (.227). Great against righties for the year (292/355/489) and oddly can’t hit lefties (217/308/391).
Victorino 1-for-4 with an RBI. 5-for-his-last-21 with five singles. One extra-base hit, a double, in his last 71 plate appearances. Pence can’t hit lefties and Victorino can’t hit righties. Victorino 324/400/620 against lefties and 228/298/317 against righties. No other real choice to play center against right-handed pitching. Pierre and Mayberry seem like possible candidates. Mayberry’s as bad as Victorino against righties and Pierre couldn’t do it defensively.
Wigginton 0-for-2. 2-for-his-last-10. Also can’t hit righties — 257/302/365 for the year.
Fontenot was 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 3-for-his-last-13 with three singles and five strikeouts.
Kendrick (2-7, 5.54) faces righty AJ Burnett (8-2, 3.24) this afternoon. The Phillies have lost three of the last four games that Kendrick has started and he’s thrown to an 8.10 ERA in those outings. Opponents have hit .324 against him in his five June starts and he’s walked 15 in 25 1/3 innings. Lefties are on-basing .401 against him for the year. That’s too much. The Pirates have won the last nine games that Burnett has started and he’s thrown to a 1.97 ERA in those appearances. Righties are slugging .298 against him for the season with five extra-base hits in 135 plate appearances.
Update: Sanches up, Savery down.