Tag: JC Romero

Glum for the thumb

No need to argue about whether Chase Utley is injured or not any more. Utley injured his right thumb sliding into second base in the fourth inning of last night’s game. In the ninth he was removed for a pinch-hitter after having trouble gripping the bat.

The article linked above says that Utley will have an MRI today.

Not much else went well in the game for the Phils, either. Kendrick was fantastic early, but the Reds got to him in the fourth and he wound up charged with six runs over 6 1/3 innings. Ibanez hit a two-run homer in the ninth with the Phils way behind to make the game look closer than it really was.

The Phillies are 40-34 on the year after losing to the Reds 7-3 last night in Cincinnati. They’re in third place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves. They have won five of their last seven.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits. Only five of the runs were earned. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.

He didn’t allow a hit or a walk through the first three innings.

The fourth started with the game still scoreless. Brandon Phillips grounded to second for the first out before Orlando Cabrera lined a double to left. Cabrera tried to steal third but was thrown out by a wide margin for the second out. It cost the Reds a run, too, because Joey Votto was next and doubled to right. It brought up Scott Rolen with two down and a man on second and Rolen homered off of the foul pole in left to put the Reds up 2-0. Johnny Gomes lined to right to end the inning.

Kendrick came back with a 1-2-3 fifth.

The pitcher Johnny Cueto led off the sixth and hit a ground ball to second that Utley didn’t handle for an error. Phillips and Cabrera followed that with back-to-back singles that loaded the bases for Votto. Votto singled to right, moving everyone up a base and making it 3-0. Rolen hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Phillips to tag and score. 4-0. Gomes fouled out to Schneider for the third out.

Kendrick started the seventh with the lead cut to 4-1. Drew Stubbs led off with a single and came around to score when Ramon Hernandez followed with a double. 5-1. Cueto bunted Hernandez to third with the first out and Herndon took over for Kendrick to pitch to Phillips at the top of the Cincinnati order. Herndon got Phillips to pop to Utley with Hernandez holding for the second out, but Cabrera followed and lined a single to left to put the Reds up 6-1. Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Votto and Votto moved Cabrera to third with a single. Rolen was next and Romero walked him, loading the bases with two down. Gomes grounded to third to end the inning.

Righties Rolen and Gomes get chances against Romero and the Phils get away with it. Don’t let Romero’s 2.45 ERA fool you — he’s walked 13 batters in 14 2/3 innings. That’s too many. In the don’t-let-their-ERA-fool-you category, opponents are also hitting .352 against Herndon for the season.

Zagurski started the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to lefty Jay Bruce. Stubbs walked behind Bruce and Hernandez bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Righty Chris Heisey hit for the pitcher Cueto and flew to center with Bruce scoring from third to make it 7-1. Stubbs went to third on a wild pitch before Zagurski struck out Phillips to leave both runners stranded.

Third appearance on the year for Zagurski and the first hit he’s allowed. He’s walked three in 3 1/3 innings.

Zagurski threw 26 pitches in the game. Herndon and Romero were each under ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Johnny Cueto went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Polanco on the bench with a sore elbow. Victorino moves up to second in the lineup and Valdez plays third. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the DL.

Victorino singled with one out in the first and moved to second on a ground out by Utley. Howard lined to left to leave him stranded.

Werth started the second with a single. Ibanez was next and hit a ball to second. Werth was forced at second for the first out. Schneider followed and hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Valdez started the third with a walk and Kendrick bunted him to second. Rollins flew to left and Victorino popped to second to leave him stranded.

Second walk on the season for Valdez, who came into the game with 130 plate appearances.

Utley started the fourth with a single into center and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. He injured his right thumb sliding into second, but stayed in the game. Howard followed with a non-RBI double and Werth walked. Ibanez hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

No run for the Phils on a double, a single and a walk.

Down 2-0, the Phillies went in order in the fifth.

And the sixth.

The Phils were down 4-0 when Howard led off the seventh with a triple. Werth grounded to third before Ibanez reached on an infield single on a ball hit slowly to third. Howard scored to cut the lead to 4-1. Schneider flew to center and Valdez grounded to short.

Down 6-1, the Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Romero to start the inning and popped to short.

It was 7-1 when they hit in the ninth. Castro hit for Utley and grounded to short for the first out. Howard went down on a ball fielded by the catcher for the second out before Werth singled to right. Werth took second without a throw before Ibanez homered to right to make it 7-3. With lefty Bill Bray on the mound for the Reds, righty Dane Sardinha hit for Schneider and struck out to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4. He’s 5-for-24 since coming off the DL.

Victorino 1-for-4. He’s 4-for-his-last-9 but hitting just .227 in June.

Utley was 1-for-3.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. 362/392/830 with five home runs over his last 51 plate appearances.

Werth 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s 2-for-his-last-12.

Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer.

Schneider was 0-for-3.

Valdez 0-for-2 with a walk.

Joe Blanton (3-5, 6.53) faces righty Mike Leake (5-1, 2.92) tonight in game two of the series. Blanton still has a 6.53 ERA for the year, but has pitched pretty well in each of his last two starts. He’s allowed 13 home runs in 60 2/3 innings and at least one in eight starts in a row. His only start on the year in which he didn’t allow a home run came May 8 against the Braves. Leake doesn’t turn 23 until November and struggled in back-to-back starts, allowing ten runs on 20 hits and seven walks over 10 1/3 innings, before a better outing against the A’s his last time out. On Monday he held Oakland to a run over six innings.

Update: Utley and Polanco to the DL. Dobbs and Brian Bocock called up. Bocock has hit .179 with a .239 on-base percentage in 212 at-bats for the IronPigs this year.


Phils due for some maintenance work as the spark plugs are getting old

The Phillies got Jimmy Rollins back in the lineup last night, but it was a guy who has been here all along that did the heavy lifting as the Phils topped the Cleveland Indians 2-1. Jamie Moyer was fantastic, holding Cleveland to a run on two hits over eight innings.

The lack of offense from the Phils continues to baffle. Last night they failed to deliver an extra-base hit yet again. After scoring two runs in the bottom of the first they were shut out the rest of the game on two singles and two walks.

The game was also notable in how it ended. Lefty JC Romero pitched to three hitters in the top of the ninth with a one-run lead. Two of them reached before Lidge came in to record back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. After the game, Manuel responded to a question about the closer situation by saying, “Lidge is our closer. In my mind, he’s our closer and that’s what counts.” Maybe so, but what’s happening in Manuel’s mind, while interesting, is a whole lot less important to the Phillies than what happens on the field and last night it was someone other than Lidge facing three batters in the ninth inning of a one-run game.

All that said, I think bringing on Romero to pitch to switch-left-switch to start the inning is a pretty good idea. It’s just not the way it’s always been done with this team.

Not to be forgotten is that Manuel also had been ejected from the game, so he shouldn’t have been involved with the decision on who pitched the ninth inning anyway.

The Phillies are 36-32 on the year after a 2-1 win over the Indians last night. They have won four of their last six but scored just three runs in their last two games. They’re in third place in the NL East, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 4.43. Four of his last five starts has been really good with nine runs allowed in an inning in Boston on June 11. Nine runs in an inning will do a number on your numbers (4.22 ERA over his last five starts in this case), but Moyer is pitching very well.

He got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second inning up 2-0. He got two more ground outs to start the second before lefty Russell Branyan came to the plate and hammered the first pitch he saw way out to right. 2-1. Anderson Hernandez grounded to Utley for the third out.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 third and struck out two while setting Cleveland down in order again in the fourth.

He got two ground outs and a fly ball to right in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Moyer got the first two in the sixth before Trevor Crowe reached on an infield single. The lefty Shin-Soo Choo was next and walked on five pitches. Crowe stole third before Moyer got Carlos Santana on a fly ball to left to leave both runners stranded.

He came back with a 1-2-3 seventh and then set the Indians down in order again in the eighth. Former Phil Jason Donald hit the ball well in the eighth, but Victorino tracked it down on the warning track for the second out of the inning.

Romero started the ninth with a one-run lead and got the switch-hitter Crowe on a ground ball to second for the first out. The lefty Choo was next and hit a ball back up the middle that Rollins fielded behind second, but Choo was safe with an infield single. Switch-hitting Carlos Santana was next and Romero walked him on a 3-2 pitch that was nowhere near the plate. It brought righty Austin Kearns to the plate with one out and men on first and second. Lidge came in to pitch to him and struck him out swinging at a 2-2 slider for the second out. Righty Jhonny Peralta followed Kearns, also coming to the plate as the go-ahead run. Lidge struck him out swinging at a 2-2 slider as well to end the game.

Romero threw 13 pitches in the game and Lidge ten.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mitch Talbot went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Schneider. Rollins returns to the lineup and the leadoff spot. Victorino is dropped all the way to seventh. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the DL.

Polanco singled with one out in the first and moved to second when Utley followed with a walk. Howard was next and hit a 1-0 pitch into left for a single that scored Polanco (1-0) and moved Utley to third. Werth hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez followed and hit a fly ball to center deep enough for Crowe to catch it and end the inning.

Victorino walked to start the second with the lead cut to 2-1. Schneider hit into a double-play behind him and Moyer struck out.

The Phils went in order in the third.

Werth walked with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Ibanez followed with a single to right. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to second. Donald fielded and threw to Hernandez at second for the second out of the inning with Victorino safe at first, but Ibanez was ruled out on interference and the run was taken off the board with the inning over.

Manuel got ejected arguing the call, which cost the Phils a run, but the ump got it right. Ibanez was way off of second.

The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Howard singled with two outs in the sixth, but Werth flew to right behind him to set the Phillies down.

The Phils went in order in the seventh and again in the eighth.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game and is hitting 311/429/578 in 45 at-bats for the season.

Polanco was 1-for-4. He’s 7-for-his-last-22.

Utley 0-for-2 with a walk. 6-for-his-last-16 with a double, a triple and a home run. He walked 20 times in April and has walked 19 times in May and June combined.

Howard was 2-for-3 with an RBI. He’s hitting 329/368/686 in June.

Werth was 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI. He’s hitting .218 in June after going 0-for-17 with ten strikeouts to end May. He’s 12-for-his-last-72 (.167). On the plus side, maybe the Phillies will be able to afford him next year after all.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s 4-for-his-last-20. His slugging percentage dropped to .371 after the June 6 against the Padres. He had gotten it back up over .400 since then, but it’s back going the wrong direction and sitting on .400 at the start of the day today.

Victorino was 0-for-2 with a walk in the seven-hole. He’s 1-for-his-last-14.

Schneider was 0-for-3. He was hitting 303/395/364 after going 3-for-4 against the Red Sox on June 12. He’s gone 1-for-14 since, dropping his line on the year to 234/333/277.

Another game for the Phils without an extra-base hit.

Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 4.48) faces righty Jake Westbrook (4-4, 4.76) tonight. Kendrick has been really good in three of his last four starts with one bad outing against the Marlins. Westbrook allowed five runs in seven innings against the Mets last Thursday. He missed the 2009 season off of Tommy John surgery and his rates of allowing hits, walks and home runs are all up above his career marks since his return.


Ancient art

Jamie Moyer has been a treat to watch over this last couple of starts, tossing two gems in three outings. After allowing 11 hits over 22 1/3 innings in those games, Moyer’s got some nifty numbers for the year as well. His ERA for the season is down to 4.30 and he’s sporting a sparkling 1.05 ratio. Compared to the last couple of years, his walk rate is down and his hit rate is down. Opponents are hitting .231 against him for the season. Righties are slugging .375 against him after slugging .496 against him in 2009.

It didn’t help the Phils much last night. For the second game in a row, the Phillies couldn’t get their offense going and wasted a great performance from a starting pitcher. The Phillies have scored two runs in their last two games and have one extra-base hit.

Charlie Manuel didn’t have a particularly good game, either, and that’s two in a row. With a bullpen full of rested righties, Manuel let Chad Durbin pitch too long and then let Romero pitch to a righty with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth in a 2-1 game. Xavier Nady delivered a two-run single into center off of Romero that turned a 2-1 game into a 4-1 game. The lineup is also funky. Manuel had Ibanez hitting seventh last night with a lefty on the mound for the Cubs, with Rollins sixth. On a team that has four regulars on-basing over .400, the lineup featured a leadoff man with a .315 on-base percentage for the season and a two-hitter who ended the day on-basing .335.

The Phillies are 24-15 after losing to the Chicago Cubs 4-1 last night.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out seven.

He walked Derrek Lee with two outs in the first, but got Marlon Byrd to ground out behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 second.

He struck out Geovany Soto and pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to start the third before Ryan Theriot singled to left. Theriot stole second with Starlin Castro at the plate and came in to score when Castro singled to left on a ball deflected by Polanco. His run put the Cubs up 1-0. Lee grounded to third to leave Castro stranded.

Moyer struck out Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano in a 1-2-3 fourth.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth.

He got the first two in the seventh before Soriano lined a double to left. Jeff Baker was next and he singled into left on another ball deflected by Polanco. Soriano scored to put Chicago up 2-0. Soto grounded to short for the third out.

Durbin pitched the eighth and allowed an infield single to Castro with two outs, but picked him off of first to end the frame.

He was back to start the ninth with the lead cut to 2-1. He walked Lee to start the inning and hit Byrd on the leg with a pitch. It put men on first and second with nobody out and he struck out Ramirez for the first out. Soriano walked, though, and it loaded the bases for lefty Tyler Colvin. Romero came in to pitch to him and struck him out for the second out. Righty Xavier Nady hit for the pitcher Carlos Zambrano and Romero stayed in to pitch to him. Nady singled into center, scoring two runs to make it 4-1 with men on first and second. Romero struck out Koylie Hill to leave both runners stranded.

Nice to see Romero get the strikeout of the lefty with one out and the bases loaded. It sure would have been a swell time to bring a righty in to pitch to the right-handed Nady, though. Baez, Contreras, Figueroa and Herndon were presumably all available in the pen. Given all those righties in the pen, it sure seems like Manuel let Durbin pitch for a while.

Durbin threw 28 pitches in the game, Moyer 12.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Tom Gorzelanny went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. Utley returns to the lineup and the three-hole after battling the flu. With the lefty on the mound, Manuel drops Ibanez to seventh in the order and hits Rollins sixth. I think Rollins will be back hitting leadoff soon against both righties and lefties.

The Phillies went in order in the first.

Howard single to start the second. Werth struck out behind him for the first out before Rollins moved him to second with a single. Ibanez flew to center for the second out with Howard tagging and going to third. Ruiz was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Moyer, but Moyer struck out swinging to end the inning.

They went in order in the third, with Theriot making a nice play on an Utley ground ball to rob him of a hit for the third out.

The didn’t have a base runner in the fourth or fifth.

Victorino walked to start the sixth and stole second after Polanco flew to right for the first out. Utley drew a walk, too, and it put men on first and second for Howard. Howard struck out and Werth flew to right.

Ibanez singled with the one out in the seventh and the Phillies down 2-0. Ruiz was next and he smashed a line drive off the body of Gorzelanny. Gorzelanny made a remarkable play to get the ball and flip to first to get Ruiz as Ibanez went to second, but the pitcher had to leave the game. Lefty John Grabow came in to pitch and Francisco hit for Moyer. Francisco struck out swinging to leave Ibanez stranded at second.

Polanco doubled to left with one out in the eighth. Utley followed and blooped a ball over the first baseman’s head and into right for a single that sent Polanco to third. With one out and men on first and third, Grabow was still on the mound to pitch to Howard. Howard hit a ball slowly down the third base line and Grabow made a great play to get to the ball and throw a laser to first to nip Howard for the second out. Polanco scored to cut the lead to 2-1 with Utley going to first. Righty Carlos Zambrano came in and got Werth to ground to short to end the inning.

Righty Carlos Marmol was on the mound to start the ninth with a 4-1 lead. Ibanez walked with one out and Ruiz was hit by a pitch behind him. Gload hit for Romero, coming to the plate as they tying run, but struck out for the second out. Marmol struck Victorino out swinging to end the game.

Victorino was 0-for-4 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-12 with three singles and a walk.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a double, which is the only extra-base hit for the Phillies in the last two games. He’s 2-for-his-last-12 with a walk.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a single.

Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI. He was almost safe on his dribbler off of Grabow in the seventh.

Werth was 0-for-4 and struck out twice.

Rollins 1-for-4.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-15 with three singles.

Ruiz was 0-for-2. He’s got just one walk in his last five games, which has his pace for the year down to 91.

Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.49) faces righty Ryan Dempster (2-4, 3.49) this afternoon. Blanton has pitched very well early in the game in his three starts and gotten into trouble late in the game. On May 3 he allowed four runs, all of which came in the seventh. On May 8, he allowed three runs, all of which came in the sixth. On May 13 he allowed five — one in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh. Dempster has walked 19 in 56 2/3 innings, but he’s struck out 55 and opponents are hitting .210 against him.


Mostly, though, I’m just excited we’re on pace to get seven more wins on fly balls dropped by Eugenio Velez

The Phillies have scored just 23 runs in their last six games, which is about 3.8 runs per game. Thanks to a monster start by the offense, though, they are still on pace to score more runs than they did last year. Here’s how the numbers for the 2010 pace compare to what they did last year:

  2010 Pace 2009
AVG/OBP/SLG 265/343/427 258/334/447
Runs 879 820
HR 162 224
2B 363 312
SO 1080 1155
BB 663 589
SB 62 119

Overall, the Phillies are scoring more runs. They are hitting fewer home runs, but getting more hits, striking out less and walking more. The combination of the Rollins injury and the fact that Victorino never ever gets on base has their rate of stolen bases down to about half of what it was in 2009.

Ruiz’s walk rate is way up. After walking in about 12.4% of his plate appearances in 2009 he’s walked in 21.2% of them in 2010. That has him on pace to walk 108 times this year. He’s still looking for his first home run and has just three extra-base hits, all doubles. He’s slugging just .327, nearly a hundred points lower than his .425 from ’09.

Howard has walked less and struck out less. He’s on pace to walk 39 times and strike out 139 coming off a year he drew 75 walks and struck out 186 times. He’s on pace for 31 home runs and 131 RBI — Utley and his .429 on-base percentage have contributed to his early RBI total.

Like Ruiz, Utley’s walk rate is up a lot in 2010. 12.8% in ’09 and 19.4% in 2010. He’ll walk 147 times if he keeps getting walks at this rate. He won’t. 46 home runs and just 116 RBI at this pace. He’s actually getting hits at a slightly lower rate in ’10 than he did in ’09, but has the same .282 batting average. He’s slugging .564 this year after slugging .508 in 2009.

Rollins has just 31 plate appearances on the season, but was on a tear before his injury. He has a 391/516/739 line for the season so far. Even given how much time he has missed, he’s still on pace to get more walks overall in 2010 than he did in 2009. Right now he’s on a pace for 54 this year after walking 44 times in 2009. He has as many walks for the year (7) as Howard (5) and Polanco (2) combined. Victorino (5) also has fewer walks than Rollins for the year.

Ibanez is a mess. He’s on pace to hit eight homers and drive in 69 runs with a .219 average. His walks are way up, though, putting him on pace for the same 108 walks as Ruiz. He’s also striking out less, about 18.5% of his plate appearances compared to 21.1% in 2009. His rate of doubles and triples is the same as it was last year, so he could use some singles and homers. He’s actually on pace to hit 39 doubles this year after hitting 32 in 2009 — even though the rate is about the same he’s on pace to get more plate appearances this season.

Victorino isn’t doing a lot better. His hits are way down and his strikeouts are way up. He’s walking less, too, but his walk rate isn’t off as much as his hit rate. He’s on pace to strike out 116 times this year after whiffing just 71 times in ’09. He had 181 hits and 31 doubles last year — he’s on pace for 154 hits and 15 doubles in 2010. Three home runs in the early going has him on pace for 23, which would dwarf his career high of 14. Let’s hope it doesn’t come with a .225 batting average and a .263 on-base percentage. He’s also on pace to drive in 116 runs, but that might not even happen. His career high is 62. Howard is the only player on the team who has driven in more runs than Victorino so far this season.

Werth is on pace for 85 doubles. Really he is. Earl Webb is the single-season leader for doubles — he hit 67 for the Red Sox in 1931. Beyond that, Werth is walking at about the same rate he did last year, a tiny bit higher, but hitting .315 this season after hitting .268 in 2009. He has struck out in six of his last 13 plate appearances, but overall for the year his strikeout rate is down a bit. He’s on pace to strike out 147 times in 679 PA. Last year he whiffed 156 times in 676.

Lidge will be active for tonight’s game with Bastardo sent to Triple-A. That’s a mistake. They shouldn’t be trying to hold on to Herndon all year and should offer him back to the Angels. Yes you can see the potential and yes it looks like he might be really good some day. But the Phillies are trying to win the World Series this year, so it’s not a great time to carry a guy on your roster all season if he’s not ready. Unless he is on the DL for a long time, I’m going to be surprised if that’s possible. I also think you shouldn’t be counting on Romero as the only lefty out of the pen given that he’s thrown 17 2/3 innings since the end of 2008.

Stadium Journey has a review of Citizens Bank Park up here.

Update: Well, Bastardo is back now. Madson to the DL with a broken toe. Bastardo back.


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.


Flash mob of home runs ravages Phils

I hear they use so-called “text” messages and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to organize.

Did you hear the one about the Phillies game last night? Here goes.

Kyle Kendrick pitched great. Not good or better than he has so far this year or better than you would expect. Great. Sixteen ground outs in eight shutout innings. The Phillies were up 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a man on first. Then three of the next four Atlanta hitters homered and the Phillies lost. Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer off of Madson. 3-2. Jason Heyward followed with a solo shot that tied the game at 3-3. Madson got the final out of the ninth on a ground ball and Nate McLouth led off the tenth with a walkoff homer off of Contreras.

It was a hoot.

All the homering when you’re about to win the game is hard to ignore, but you don’t want to forget that the Phillies have stopped scoring runs all of the sudden. They have scored four runs in their last three games, which makes things tough even when you’re not allowing homers to three out of four hitters with the game on the line.

The Phillies are 8-5 on the year after a 4-3 loss to the Braves in ten innings in Atlanta last night. They have lost three in a row for the first time this season. They’re 1-3 against teams that aren’t the Nationals or Astros.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out two.

Just outstanding work from Kendrick, who looked like a totally different pitcher than he had in his first two starts. I think it’s probably the second best start of his career, behind this effort against the A’s on June 25, 2008.

He struck out Matt Diaz to start the bottom of the first. Martin Prado was next and he singled, but Kendrick got Chipper Jones to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Brian McCann grounded to first for the first out of the second. Troy Glaus was next and smashed a 3-2 pitch on the ground, but Castro handled it nicely and threw to first for the second out. Kendrick struck Jason Heyward out looking 3-2 for the third out.

Kendrick got Yunel Escobar, Nate McLouth and the pitcher Tommy Hanson on three ground balls in the third.

He started the fourth with a 1-0 lead and got Diaz for the first out. Prado was next and singled into center. Chipper followed and lined a double to right, sending Prado to third. Kendrick walked the lefty McCann intentionally, loading the bases and setting up the double-play. He got it, too. Glaus grounded to third and the Phillies turned it to end the inning.

Big double-play ball for Kendrick.

Up 2-0, Kendrick set down Heyward, Escobar and McLouth in a 1-2-3 fifth.

Switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Peter Moylan to start the sixth and popped to Utley. Kendrick got Diaz and Prado both on balls lined to Victorino.

It was 3-0 when Kendrick started the bottom of the seventh. Chipper lined to Victorino in left center for the first out. McCann blasted a single to left, but Glaus followed and flew to right for the second out. Heyward grounded to Castro to end the inning.

Kendrick was back to start the eighth and got Escobar on a ground ball to third. McLouth was next and he walked on five pitches. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Kris Medlan. Hinske ripped a ball down the first base line that was called foul but was very close. McLouth was on the move as Hinske hit what would have been a double-play ball to Utley. Utley got the second out at first with McLouth safe at second. Ruiz just didn’t catch Kendrick’s 1-2 pitch to Diaz. The ball went through his legs for a rare passed ball that allowed McLouth to go to third. Diaz hit a slow ground ball to third. Polanco made a nice play, moving to his left, fielding and throwing Diaz out to end the inning.

Madson came in to pitch the ninth after the Phillies hit for Kendrick in the top of the inning. Prado grounded to short for the first out before Madson walked Chipper. McCann lined to left for the second out. Glaus was next and he blasted a 1-1 pitch out to left center. 3-2. Madson got ahead of Heyward 0-1 and Heyward homered to center to tie the game at 3-3. Escobar grounded to short for the third out.

Contreras started the tenth. He got ahead of McLouth 0-2 before McLouth hit a 2-2 pitch out to right to end the game.

First run charged to Contreras on the season in his fifth appearance. He still hasn’t thrown more than 14 pitches in a game.

Madson threw 18 pitches in the game. Contreras five.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Nothing new there with Rollins on the DL and Castro at short.

Victorino flew to right on the tenth pitch of his at-bat to start the game. Polanco struck out looking and Utley flew to center.

Werth doubled softly to right with one out in the second and Ibanez followed with a walk. Castro struck out looking, though, and Ruiz grounded to second.

Kendrick, Victorino and Polanco went in order in the third.

Utley led off the fourth. He tried to check his swing 3-2 and made contact. The ball rolled down the third base line for a double. Howard was next and pulled the ball on the ground between first and second. Glaus deflected the ball but didn’t handle it. Utley scored and the Phillies led 1-0. Werth followed and hit a ball hard to third and Atlanta turned the double-play. Ibanez delivered a solid single up the middle. Castro was next and he delivered a solid base hit, too, lining a 2-2 pitch into left and sending Ibanez to second. Ruiz swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

Gift run for the Phils on a check swing double and a ball that Glaus should have fielded gives them the early lead. The Phillies did have two solid hits in the inning, so you shouldn’t feel too bad.

Kendrick and Victorino went down to start the fifth, but Polanco hit a ball down near the left field line and hustled it into a double. With the big lefties due to hit for the Phils, the Braves pulled Hanson and brought in lefty Eric O’Flaherty to pitch to them. Utley lined a single into center, scoring Polanco to make it 2-0. Howard lined to first for the third out.

Big hit for Polanco gets Hanson out of the game, but Hanson had thrown 102 pitches already and wasn’t going to be around to pitch to the lefties whether it was in the fourth or the fifth. Polanco will have to be content with just starting the two-out rally.

Werth struck out on a wild pitch by new Atlanta pitcher righty Moylan to start the sixth and was safe at first. He was thrown out trying to steal second, though, before Ibanez drew a walk. Castro flew to center and Ruiz struck out swinging to leave Ibanez stranded.

Righty Kris Medlan started the seventh for Atlanta. Kendrick hit for himself with a shutout through six innings and grounded to short. He was pitching great and had thrown just 75 pitches in the game. Victorino was next and he hit a ground ball to short. The ball wasn’t hit very hard and Escobar bare-handed it and threw to first but Victorino beat it out for a single. Polanco was next and he ripped a single into right, moving Victorino to third. Medlan stayed in to pitch to Utley. Utley hit a ground ball back up the middle. Escobar made a diving stop to keep the ball in the infield, flipping to second to force Polanco as Victorino scored to make it 3-0. Howard flew to Heyward on the track in right to leave Utley stranded.

Glad to see Utley and Howard get to hit against the righty there. Howard almost hit the ball out of the yard, which would have broken the game open. Utley should have had a single but Escobar made a great play. The other lefties in the pen for the Braves were Billy Wagner and the 25-year-old Jonny Venters, who has made one career appearance.

Medlan came back and set the Phillies down in order in the eighth.

Righty Jesse Chavez set them down in order in the ninth. Dobbs hit for Kendrick with one out and flew to right.

Kendrick had thrown 108 pitches in the game.

Billy Wagner set down Polanco, Utley and Howard in order in the top of the tenth. Utley hit the ball well, but Heyward took it in deep right.

Victorino was 1-for-5 to drop his average to .228.

Polanco 2-for-5 with a double.

Utley 2-for-5 with a double.

Howard 1-for-5 with an RBI and two strikeouts. He has two walks through 13 games, putting him on pace to walk 25 times this season.

Werth 1-for-4 with a double and struck out twice.

Ibanez was 1-for-2 with two walks to raise his average for the season to .186. He’s 2-for-his-last-19.

Castro 1-for-4.

Ruiz was 0-for-4, struck out twice and left five men on base.

Halladay (3-0, 1.13) faces righty Tim Hudson (1-0, 2.84) tonight in game two of the set. Halladay has been fantastic in three starts for the Phils. He’ll be pitching on normal rest tonight, taking Happ’s turn in the rotation as Happ sits it out with a sore elbow. Hudson has made two starts on the year. He was very good against the Giants in his first start of the year. He walked five Padres in 5 2/3 innings in his start last Thursday.

JC Romero says he’s ready to join the team.

This suggests May 1 is a good target date for Blanton’s return.

Lidge’s velocity is not good enough yet and Amaro is hoping that adrenaline will help him get there at the higher levels of the minors. I keep checking to see if I read that wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it says. Lidge has a 9.64 ERA in five minor league appearances, but has thrown three scoreless innings his last three times out, striking out four while allowing one walk and no hits.


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