Tag: Joe Blanton

Sloppy, but Joe’s

The Phillies and Pirates combined to make six errors last night, but it was the Phillies who came out on top with an 8-3 win in the series opener. Pittsburgh wasn’t exactly at the top of their game, making three errors in the first inning and walking three straight hitters in the seventh with the third walk forcing in a run.

Joe Blanton hasn’t pitched well at all of late, but was better last night, allowing three runs, only two of which were earned, over seven innings. There’s a whole lot not going well for the Phillies these days, but one thing that is going well is that they are finding a way to win Blanton’s starts no matter how he pitches. They’ve won five of the last eight games he’s started — during those outings, Blanton has thrown to a 6.75 ERA and allowed 16 home runs in 49 1/3 innings. In three of the five wins, Blanton has allowed five or more runs in the game.

For the season, Blanton has allowed 3.25 times as many home runs to right-handed batters as he has allowed walks to right-handed batters (four walks and 13 home runs).

Jimmy Rollins continues to pound the ball at the top of the order for the Phillies. He was 2-for-5 with a double and a home run in last night’s game, providing the only extra-base hits the Phillies would get in the contest. He’s hitting 393/433/750 over his last 60 plate appearances (22-for-56 with eight doubles and four home runs).

The Phillies are 35-40 on the year after beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 last night. They are tied for fourth-place in the NL East with the Marlins, eight games behind the Nationals.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out eight. It was the second time in his last eight starts that he allowed less than five runs in a start.

Blanton has walked 13 batters on the year and allowed 18 home runs. His walk rate is about half of what it has been for his career and the results overall are atrocious. He needs to get his home run rate down really soon, even if it means a lot more walks.

Blanton got the first two in the top of the first before Andrew McCutchen hit a ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Garrett Jones followed that with a walk that put two men on for Neil Walker, but Blanton got Walker to ground to second to turn the Pirates away.

Pedro Alvarez singled to center to start the top of the second with the Phils up 4-0. Righty Mike McKenry was next, hitting for Rod Barajas, and moved Alvarez up to second with a single to left. Blanton got Clint Barmes to hit into a double-play before striking pitcher Jeff Karstens out to set Pittsburgh down.

With one out in the third, Jose Tabata hit a 1-0 pitch out to right-center, cutting the lead to 4-1. Blanton got the next three.

Another home run for Blanton, who came into the game having allowed 15 home runs in 42 1/3 innings over his last seven starts.

The Phillies were up 5-1 when Blanton started the fourth. Walker led off and doubled to left, but Blanton struck the next two hitters out behind him. Barmes was next, though, and singled to center. Pence charged, fielded and threw home. The plate at the plate was close, but Pence’s throw was a little on the first base side of the plate and Walker slid in safe to make it 5-2. Barmes took second on the play at the plate, but Blanton struck Karstens out to leave him there.

Blanton got Alex Presley on a fly ball to right for the first out of the fifth with the Phils up 7-2. Tabata was next and hit a ball down the third base line. Polanco fielded, but his throw to first was way high for an error that allowed Tabata to take second. McCutchen followed with a single into center that scored Tabata. 7-3. Jones was the next hitter and grounded back to the mound. Blanton fielded and threw to second for the second out. Blanton struck Walker out swinging to leave Jones at first.

Blanton allowed a leadoff single to Alvarez to start the seventh, but got the next three. Righty Matt Hague hit for Karstens and flew to right for the third out.

Diekman started the eighth with the Phillies up 8-3. He walked the leadoff man Jones to start the frame, but got Walker to ground into a double-play behind him. Diekman struck Alvarez out for the third out.

Diekman dropped his ERA to 3.86 with his 16th appearance. He’s walking way too many hitters, having allowed ten walks in 14 innings.

Qualls started the ninth with a five-run lead. He allowed a leadoff single to McKenry, but got Barmes to hit into a double-play behind him. Pinch-hitter Casey McGehee grounded to third for the third out.

Qualls was pitching for the third straight day. The Phillies don’t have someone else who can pitch the ninth with a five-run lead? Savery has thrown two-thirds of an inning since June 12. Valdes has made one appearance since being recalled on June 20. Schwimer has thrown 1 2/3 innings since June 16. Qualls needs to pitch for the third day in a row and for the fifth time in six days? Assuming all three of Savery, Valdes and Schwimer are available, that’s a mistake, even against three righties in the ninth.

Qualls hasn’t been charged with a run over 8 1/3 innings in his last nine appearances. The Phillies do need another right-handed reliever in the pen. Papelbon is the closer, Qualls can’t ever pitch against lefties and Schwimer has had some problems getting people out.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeff Karstens went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Wigginton (8) Fontenot. Pierre in left and Fontenot at second against the righty. Wigginton plays first against the righty with Mayberry on the bench.

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a double to right and Pierre bunted him to third with the first out. Pence followed with a single to right that scored Rollins and put the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz was next and singled to right. Tabata fielded and threw to third, not in time to get Pence. Ruiz headed for second when the throw went to third. Alvarez took Tabata’s throw and threw to second, throwing the ball into right field for the first error of the play. Tabata got to the ball and threw home as Pence tried to score, but his throw was not handled at the plate for another error, allowing Pence to score and make it 2-0 with Ruiz on third. Victorino was next and singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 3-0. Polanco was next and singled to right. Victorino headed to third and Tabata threw there. Again his throw was on line and again it was not handled for another error. This one allowed Victorino to score and extend the lead to 4-0 with Polanco on second. Wigginton and Fontenot both struck out swinging to leave Polanco on second.

Wild play on the Ruiz single. Tabata’s throw from right after the Alvarez error should have been handled at the plate, but they still wouldn’t have gotten Pence. Three errors in the frame for the Pirates. Tabata should be wary of throwing the ball anywhere.

The Phillies went in order in the second.

It was 4-1 when they hit in the third. Ruiz singled with one out, stole second and went to third on a ground out by Victorino. Polanco was next and singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 5-1. Wigginton grounded to third for the third out.

It was 5-2 when the Phillies hit in the fourth. Fontenot led off with a single. Blanton tried to bunt him to second, but popped up to Alvarez for the first out. Fontenot stole second before Rollins hit a 3-0 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 7-2. Pierre flew to center for the second out before Pence reached on an infield single. Ruiz struck out swinging for the third out.

Rollins swinging 3-0 and hits the ball out of the yard. It’s his sixth home run in June. Through May 12, Rollins had 147 plate appearances for the season in which he hit 230/276/267 with five doubles and no home runs. Since May 12 he has gotten 180 plate appearances in which he has hit 299/350/539 with 12 doubles and eight home runs.

It was 7-3 when the Phillies hit in the fifth. With two outs and nobody on, Wigginton hit a ball to short that Barmes didn’t handle for the fourth Pirates error of the game. Fontenot moved Wigginton to third with a single, but Blanton grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.

Lefty Doug Slaten set the Phillies down in order in the sixth.

A single by Ruiz and walks to Victorino and Polanco, all issued by Slaten, loaded the bases for Wigginton to start the seventh. He got to hit against the lefty, too, and walked as well to force in Ruiz and extend the lead to 8-3 with the bases still loaded. Fontenot struck out swinging for the first out. Luna hit for Blanton and struck out for the second. Rollins struck out for the third.

Just one run for the Phils in the inning after their first four hitters reach on a single and three walks. After the first run, they can’t get any more with nobody out and the bases loaded as Fontenot and Luna both strike out with less than two outs.

Righty Jared Hughes set the Phils down in order in the eighth.

Rollins was 2-for-5 in the game with a double and a home run.

Pierre was 0-for-3. He’s 5-for-his-last-21 (.238).

Pence 2-for-5 with an RBI. 8-for-his-last-37 (.216).

Ruiz 3-for-5 with three singles. .313 in April, .418 in May and .319 in June.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-his-last-14 (.214).

Polanco 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-6 with two walks and two doubles. He has walked six times in his last 31 plate appearances and six times in his first 190 plate appearances for the season.

Wigginton 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 8-for-his-last-49 (.163). 207/274/350 over his last 157 plate appearances.

Fontenot was 2-for-4 and struck out twice, including once with the bases loaded and nobody out. He’s hitting .345 for the year.

Worley (3-4, 2.78) faces lefty Eric Bedard (4-7, 4.13) tonight. Worley has thrown to a 1.35 ERA over his last three games and the Phillies have lost all three. Bedard threw to a 2.57 ERA in his first seven starts on the year. Over his last seven appearances he has thrown to a 5.59 ERA and allowed 18 walks in 37 innings.


After eight hints

Looking for a sign of life from the Phillies? The Phillies need a spark and the last two games against the miserable Rockies make you wonder if they might have found it. After pounding Colorado in the series opener, the Phillies rallied for two late last night for a 7-6 win.

Trailing by a run with two outs and nobody on in the ninth, five straight Phillies reached base against Colorado closer Rafael Betancourt. Ty Wigginton, who came into his at-bat 3-for-his-last-31, singled to left and came around to tie the game when Pence blasted a double high off the wall in the left field corner. Ruiz was walked intentionally before Victorino hit a ground ball to short that should have sent the game to extra-innings, but a hustling Victorino beat Marco Scutaro’s throw to first to keep the frame alive. Polanco followed and hit another ground ball to short and again wound up just safe, this time on Todd Helton’s error as the Colorado first baseman’s foot couldn’t quite find the bag in time.

It was the first time this season that the Phillies had won a game they were losing after eight innings.

The bad news is that Joe Blanton was awful again, allowing five runs, all five of which scored on the three home runs he allowed in the first four innings of the game. Blanton pitched to a 2.96 ERA in his first eight starts of the year. Since then he has made seven starts in which he has thrown to a 7.44 ERA, allowing 15 home runs in 42 1/3 innings. He has allowed at least five earned runs in six of his last seven outings.

The Phillies are 33-37 on the year after beating the Colorado Rockies 7-6 last night. They have won two in a row, but remain in last place in the NL East, eight games behind the first-place Nationals.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all home runs. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out six.

Carlos Gonzalez singled to center with two outs in the top of the first, but Blanton got Michael Cuddyer on a ground ball to second to end the frame.

The Phillies were up 1-0 when Blanton started the second. Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson singled back-to-back with one out, putting runners on first and second for Wilin Rosario. Rosario hit an 0-1 pitch out to center, putting Colorado up 3-1. Blanton struck pitcher Alex White out swinging for the second out and Tyler Colvin out swinging for the third.

Blanton started the third up 4-3. He got the first before Cuddyer hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, tying the game at 4-4. Todd Helton grounded to first for the third out.

Second time in two innings Blanton gave away the lead by allowing a home run.

With one out in the fourth and the game still tied, Chris Nelson homered to center. 5-4 Colorado. Blanton got the next two.

First time in one inning Blanton gave away the tie by allowing a home run.

With the score tied at 5-5, Blanton set the Rockies down in order in the fifth.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth and struck out Rosario and pitcher Jeremy Guthrie in the seventh.

Bastardo started the eighth. Switch-hitter Dexter Fowler hit for the lefty Tyler Colvin and walked. Scutaro lined to third before Gonzalez moved Fowler up to third with a single to right. Bastardo struck Cuddyer out swinging 1-2 for the second out before Gonzalez stole second. Helton fouled out to Polanco to leave the runners at second and third.

Huge strikeout for Bastardo to get the righty Cuddyer with one out and runners on first and third. He was pitching for the first time since June 13 and has allowed one run on five hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings over his last seven appearances.

Papelbon started the ninth with the game still tied. He got the first two batters before Rosario doubled to right. Lefty Jason Giambi hit for the pitcher Matt Belisle and was walked intentionally. Pitcher Josh Outman ran for Giambi at first. Fowler was the next hitter for Colorado and he singled to right, scoring Rosario to put Colorado up 6-5 with men on first and third. Fowler stole second before Papelbon struck Scutaro out to leave runners on second and third.

Great job by Manuel to bring Papelbon into a non-save situation, but again Papelbon doesn’t pitch well. In 17 innings in save situations this year, Papelbon has yet to allow a run, pitching to an 0.00 ERA and an 0.58 ratio. In 10 1/3 innings in non-save situations, he has thrown to a 6.10 ERA with a 1.65 ratio.

Bastardo threw 31 pitches in the game and Papelbon 23.

The Phillies lineup against righty Alex White went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Ruiz (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Mayberry (8) Martinez. Pierre in left and Mayberry at first. Ruiz hits cleanup. Martinez at second with the lefty Fontenot on the bench.

Pierre tripled to left with one out in the bottom of the first and came in to score on a ground out by Pence, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz lined to right for the third out.

Polanco singled to center with one out in the second and the Phillies down 3-1. Mayberry followed that with a walk, bringing Martinez to the plate with two men on. Martinez hit a 1-0 pitch out to center, putting the Phils up 4-3. Blanton and Rollins both grounded out behind him to end the inning.

Martinez is a really bad hitter, don’t let the homer fool you, but a big swing there puts the Phils back on top after Rosario’s three-run shot in the top of the second puts them behind.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the bottom of the third and the game tied at 4-4. Victorino bunted for a hit, putting men on first and second for Polanco. Polanco grounded to the pitcher for the third out.

Mayberry doubled to right to start the fourth with the Phillies down 5-4. White got Martinez and Blanton on a pair of ground balls before lefty Matt Reynolds took over for White. Rollins blooped a double to right, scoring Mayberry to tie the game at 5-5. Pierre grounded to second for the third out.

Rollins’s double didn’t look like much, dropping just in front of a changing Cuddyer in right, but it got things even again. Mayberry delivers another extra-base hit that helps get the Phillies a run.

Righty Jeremy Guthrie set the Phillies down in order in the fifth.

Polanco led off the sixth and reached on an error by Scutaro at short, but Mayberry, Martinez and Blanton went in order behind him.

Scutaro was awful in the game and his defense would be a big factor on two plays in the ninth-inning rally. Polanco’s ball was hit in the hole between short and third and he didn’t backhand it cleanly.

Guthrie set the Phillies down in order in the seventh.

Righty Matt Belisle hit Ruiz to start the eighth. Victorino bunted him to second with the first out and Polanco was walked intentionally. Mayberry struck out swinging for the second out and Martinez grounded to first to leave the runners stranded.

Walking Polanco intentionally is a poor idea. The hot Mayberry can’t come through that time, striking out for the second out in a tie game with two men on.

The Phillies were down 6-5 when they started the ninth against righty Rafael Betancourt. Thome hit for Papelbon and grounded out hard to Helton at first for the first out. Rollins grounded to third for the second before Wigginton, who entered the game at first in the top of the eighth, singled to left. Pence was next and he ripped a 1-1 pitch down the line and off the top of the wall in left for a double. Wigginton scored to tie the game at 6-6. Ruiz was walked intentionally to pitch to Victorino. Victorino hit a ground ball to first, but beat Scutaro’s throw for an infield single that loaded the bases. Polanco was next and he hit a ball to short. Scutaro fielded moving towards second and threw to first. The throw was a little high and when Helton tried to get his foot down he missed first base. Polanco was safe, Pence scored and the game was over.

Big two-out hit for Wigginton, who has been struggling terribly. Pence hits a rocket off the wall to tie the game. Victorino’s ball wasn’t hit hard, but Scutaro stayed back on it a little bit. Great job by Victorino to run hard and beat it out. Scutaro’s throw on the ball Polanco hit to end the game was good enough, Helton should have made the play to send the game to extra-innings.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the game. 14-for-his-last-35 (.400).

Pierre 1-for-4 with a triple. 9-for-his-last-25 (.360).

Pence was 1-for-5 with a game-tying double with two outs in the ninth and two RBI. He’s 5-for-his-last-25.

Ruiz went 0-for-2 and walked twice.

Victorino 2-for-4. Big infield single in the ninth-inning rally. 8-for-his-last-36 (.222).

Mayberry 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and two strikeouts. 9-for-his-last-24 with seven extra-base hits.

Martinez 1-for-4 with a three-run homer to raise his average on the year to .182 after 33 at-bats.

Worley (3-3, 2.80) faces lefty Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46) tonight. Worley has allowed one earned run in 13 innings over his last two starts. Francis has made just two appearances on the season, both starts and both of which didn’t go well. He’s allowed 18 hits in 8 2/3 innings and opponents are hitting .439 against him.


Blanton sics his better-pitching twin on Minnesota

After five straight terrible starts in a row in which he had thrown to a 9.91 ERA, Joe Blanton was fantastic last night, holding the Twins to a single run over nine innings as the Phils topped Minnesota 6-1.

The Phillies came into the contest having allowed at least five runs in each of their last seven games and an average of 7.14 runs per game over those seven.

Jim Thome delivered another enormous hit for the Phillies in the game, a three-run homer in the top of the third off of lefty starter Scott Diamond. Last night’s game was the sixth-straight DH game the Phillies have played. In those six, Thome has gone 11-for-24 with three homers and 13 RBI, putting up a 458/536/917 line and driving in a third of the 39 runs the Phillies have scored.

The Phillies are 31-34 on the year after beating the Minnesota Twins 6-1 last night. The Phillies take the series two games to one. They are in last place in the NL East, nine games behind the Nationals.

On the season, the Phillies have scored one more run than they have allowed (scored 283 and allowed 282). The Mets have also scored one more run than they have allowed (291 to 290), but the Mets are 35-29 and in second place in the NL East. The Marlins, a game over .500 and two games ahead of the Phils in the standings, have allowed 34 more runs than they have scored.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game, allowing a run over nine innings on seven hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

Ben Revere singled with one out in the bottom of the first and stole second before Blanton struck out Joe Mauer for the second out.

The Phillies led 1-0 when Blanton started the second. He got Justin Morneau for the first out before Trevor Plouffe hit an 0-2 pitch out to left, tying the game at 1-1. Blanton struck Chris Parmelee out swinging for the second out before Alexi Casilla doubled to right. Jamey Carroll lined softly to second to leave Casilla at first.

Plouffe was 5-for-13 with a double and three home runs in the series. Blanton made a terrible pitch to him way ahead in the count.

Up 4-1, Blanton set the Twins down in order in the third.

Morneau singled to center with one out in the fourth, but Blanton got the next two hitters behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Joe Mauer singled to right with one out in the sixth, but Blanton got Willingham on a fly ball to left and Morneau on a fly ball to center to leave him at first.

Casilla singled to right with two outs in the seventh. Carroll flew to center for the third out.

Blanton started the eighth up 5-1. Mauer reached on an infield single with two outs and took second on a wild pitch, but Blanton struck Willingham out looking 3-2 to leave him at second.

Up 6-1, Blanton set the Twins down in order in the ninth. Parmelee flew to center on Blanton’s 111th pitch of the game for the final out.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Diamond went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Thome (5) Victorino (6) Ruiz (7) Wigginton (8) Mayberry (9) Martinez. Mayberry in left with Pierre on the bench against the lefty. Thome continues to DH against the lefty. Wigginton at first and Martinez at second.

Pence singled with two outs in the first and Thome walked behind him, putting two men on for Victorino. Victorino popped to Plouffe in foul territory for the third out.

With one out in the second, Wigginton hit an 0-1 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 1-0. Mayberry and Martinez went down behind him.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Rollins doubled to left to start the third. He moved up to third when Polanco grounded to second for the first out. Minnesota brought the infield in, but Pence drew a walk, putting runners on the corners for Thome. Thome hit a 2-0 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 4-1. Victorino grounded out for the second out before Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Wigginton grounded to second for the third out.

Thome crushed the ball for another home run, this time against a lefty. First home run for Thome for the year against a lefty. He’s just 2-for-9 against them for the season.

Casilla made a great play in the inning to take a hit away from Victorino. Victorino hit the ball back up the middle. It was deflected and slowed by Diamond, but Casilla jumped on it and made a strong throw to first to nip Victorino.

Rollins singled with two outs in the fourth, but Polanco grounded to third to leave him there.

The Phils went in order in the fifth and again in the sixth.

Righty Lester Oliveros set Martinez, Rollins and Polanco down in order in the seventh.

Oliveros walked Victorino with two outs in the eighth. Ruiz was next and doubled to left, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 5-1. Righty Alex Burnett took over for Oliveros and struck out Wigginton to end the frame.

Mayberry led off the ninth and righty Jeff Gray walked him in an 11-pitch at-bat. Martinez hit into a double-play behind him. Rollins reached on an infield single and stole second before Polanco singled into center, scoring Rollins to make it 6-1. Pence flew to center for the third out.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with a double in the game and 8-for-15 with three doubles in the series. 257/304/364 on the year. He has two walks in his last 97 plate appearances.

Polanco 1-for-5 with an RBI last night and 1-for-10 in the series. 280/306/360 for the season.

Pence was 1-for-4 with a walk. 4-for-13 with two walks in the series. 282/349/478. His isolated power of his last 51 plate appearances is zero — 15-for-47 (.319) with 15 singles.

Thome 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run and three RBI in the game. He was 5-for-11 with two walks, three home runs and nine RBI in the series. 295/392/545 for the year. On June 7 he was 2-for-20 on the year after going 0-for-1 against the Dodgers. Since then he’s gone 11-for-24 with two doubles and three home runs.

Victorino 0-for-3 to drop his average to .248. 2-for-13 with a walk and a double in the series. 230/305/400 over his last 224 plate appearances. 248/319/409 for the year.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a double and hit by a pitch. 6-for-10 with three walks and four doubles in the series. 361/420/579 for the year.

Wigginton 1-for-4 with his seventh home run of the year. 1-for-9 in the series. 254/322/409 on the year.

Mayberry was 0-for-3 with a walk last night and 2-for-10 with a walk, a double and a home run in the series. 222/259/340 for the year. Last night’s walk was his only walk in his last 42 plate appearances.

Martinez 0-for-4 last night. 3-for-12 with a walk in the series. 4-for-17 with four singles for the season (.235).

Worley (3-2, 3.00) faces righty Drew Hutchison (5-3, 4.66) tonight in Toronto. The Phillies have lost three of the last four games that Worley has started. In those starts he’s allowed 14 runs in 22 innings with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.55 ratio. The 21-year-old Hutchinson came into his last outing having allowed just one run in 14 innings in his two previous starts, but gave up five runs in 6 1/3 against the Braves. Through ten starts, he has nearly identical numbers against righties and lefties. Righties have hit 259/328/435 against him and lefties 258/328/433. That’s weird.


Last 22 a bust for the Phils

On May 18, the Phillies scored four runs off of Boston starter Daniel Bard in the bottom of the first inning on their way to a 6-4 win. The win was the sixth in a row for the Phils and they were two games above .500 for the year at 21-19.

Since May 18, the Phillies have played 22 games in which they’ve won eight and lost 14. If you compare the first 40 games to the last 22, you’ll find these things are true:

  • Over their last 22 games, in which they Phils went 8-14, they scored more runs per game than they had in the first 40 games of the season during which they went 21-19.
  • Over the last 22 games, the bullpen was dramatically better than it was during the first 40. The relievers pitched more innings with much better results.

Here are the numbers on the runs scored per game and on the bullpen performance through May 18 and after May 18:

W L Runs R/G Pen IP/Game Pen ERA Pen Ratio
Thru 5/18/12 21 19 165 4.13 2.3 5.34 1.49
After 5/18/12 8 14 96 4.36 3.0 2.74 1.04

Over the last 22 games, the Phillies have scored more runs (4.36) than they did over the first 40 (4.13). More dramatic than that, though, is that the bullpen has seen a remarkable turnaround while the Phillies have gone 8-14. After throwing to an ERA over five through the first 40 games, the bullpen has been very good over the last 22 games.

But while the Phillies have scored about a quarter of a run more over the last 22 games (.23 more runs per game), the problem is that they’ve allowed a whole lot more than that. In games through May 18, the Phillies allowed 3.88 runs per game. Since May 18, they’ve allowed almost a full run more at 4.86 runs per game. If you score a quarter of a run more per game and allow nearly a full run more per game and play enough games, you’re results are going to get worse.

The table above shows the problem is not the bullpen. The defense has been awful over the last few games, but not awful enough to be the primary source of the problem. The Phillies allowed about .325 unearned runs per game in games 1-40 and about .318 unearned runs per game in games 41-62. That leaves the starting pitchers. And they have been absolutely terrible.

Here’s what starters have done as a group through May 18 and after May 18 as well as the won-loss record for the team:

W L SP IP SP IP/G ERA Ratio
Thru 5/18 21 19 267.7 6.69 2.93 1.09
After 5/18 8 14 133.7 6.08 5.39 1.41
Total 29 33 401.3 6.47 3.75 1.20

Over the last 22 games, the Phillies have made eight quality starts and their rotation has thrown to a 5.39 ERA.

Here are some numbers on the starters through and after May 18:

Games 1-40 Games 41-62
GS IP ERA Ratio GS IP ERA Ratio
Lee 5 33.7 4.54 1.37 5 37 1.95 0.76
Blanton 5 26.3 9.91 1.86 7 48 2.81 1.04
Kendrick 4 27 3.00 1.26 4 20 4.95 1.50
Hamels 4 28.7 3.77 1.08 8 54.3 2.48 1.03
Halladay 2 8 10.13 1.88 9 64.3 3.22 1.06
Worley 2 10 3.60 1.40 7 44 3.07 1.34
Total 22 133.7 5.39 1.41 40 267.7 2.93 1.09

Lee and Blanton were dramatically better in their starts in games 1-40. Hamels and Worley were better, but not as dramatically. Kendrick has been better in his last four starts than he was in his first four. A major issue, of course, is Halladay. During the first 40 games of the season, Halladay threw 64 1/3 innings. That was about 18% of the total innings thrown by Phillies pitchers in those games. Over the last 22 games, he threw about 4% of the total innings pitched by the Phils, making two starts, both of which were awful. He’s not coming back any time soon, either, so if the Phils are going to stay alive in 2012 they’re going to need to figure out how to stabilize the rotation without him and fast. Now would be good.


Didn’t you used to be Carlos Zambrano?

Game three of the set with the Marlins didn’t have a lot to recommend it, but the guy who played the Carlos Zambrano character sure looked good. Zambrano held the Phils to a run on four hits and two walks over 7 2/3 innings as the Marlins won 5-1 to take the game and the series.

If Zambrano is looking a little out of character these days with his 2.81 ERA for the year, Joe Blanton has become uncomfortably consistent in his recent starts. Blanton was good early yesterday, allowing two runs on a pair of solo homers through six innings, but was charged with three runs in the top of the seventh as the Marlins pulled away.

Over his last four starts, Blanton has thrown to a 10.98 ERA and allowed 38 hits, including ten home runs, over 19 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .389 against him in those games.

The Phillies are 28-27 on the year after falling to the Miami Marlins 5-1 yesterday. The Marlins take the series two games to one. The Phillies have lost three of their last five, but are also 7-4 over their last 11 games. After winning game one of the series, the Phillies were three games over .500 for the first time this season.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out six.

He set the Marlins down in order in top of the first.

Greg Dobbs reached on an infield singled on a ball deflected by Blanton with one out in the second. Blanton struck out Logan Morrison and John Buck to leave him at first.

Pitcher Carlos Zambrano hit the first pitch from Blanton out to left center with one out in the third, putting Miami up 1-0. Blanton got the next two hitters behind him.

Hanley Ramirez hit an 0-2 pitch out to left to start the fourth, making it 2-0. Blanton got Giancarlo Stanton on a ground ball to second before Dobbs singled to left, but Blanton got the next two hitters behind Dobbs to turn the Fish away.

Jose Reyes and Omar Infante singled back-to-back with two outs in the fifth, putting runners on first and third for Ramirez. Blanton struck him out swinging 2-2 to leave both runners stranded.

Blanton set the Marlins down in order in the sixth.

Things went bad in the seventh. He walked the leadoff man Buck on a 3-2 pitch and Chris Coghlan singled behind Buck, putting men on first and second. Zambrano bunted, but the Phils didn’t get an out and the bases were loaded for Reyes. Reyes doubled to the gap in right center, scoring Buck and Coghlan and putting Miami up 4-0 with runners on second and third and nobody out. Qualls came in to pitch to the righty Infante and got him on a ground ball to second with the runners holding for the first out. It brought Ramirez to the plate and Zambrano scored from third on a wild pitch (5-0) and Reyes moved up to third before Ramirez hit a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded and came home where Reyes was tagged out by Schneider for the second out. Stanton moved Ramirez up to second with a single, putting men on first and second with two down. Diekman came in to pitch to the lefty Dobbs. Righty Justin Ruggiano hit for Dobbs and flew to left to leave both runners stranded.

Qualls appeared in all three games in the three-game set, allowing a hit over 1 2/3 scoreless innings to drop his ERA on the year to 4.43. He has thrown three days in a row, but faced a total of just five batters.

Buck and Coghlan singled back-to-back off of Diekman with one out in the eighth, putting runners on first and second for Zambrano. Zambrano hit for himself and bunted again, this time popping up into an out on a ball handled by Schneider in foul territory. Reyes grounded to second for the third out.

Diekman pitched in games one and three of the set, allowing four hits over 1 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out one. He has 13 strikeouts in eight innings for the season.

Schwimer threw a 1-2-3 ninth with the Phillies trailing 5-1. Pence made a nice play to take a hit away from Ramirez for the second out.

Schwimer appeared in games two and three of the set and has thrown two days in a row. Four of his first five appearances with the team were awful. The other two were his two outings in this series and he allowed a walk over 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Overall, the pen went three scoreless innings in the game, allowing three hits without a walk or a strikeout. Diekman threw 19 pitches in the game. Schwimer threw nine pitches and has pitched two days in a row. Qualls has pitched three straight days and threw 14 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Carlos Zambrano went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Pence (4) Luna (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Luna at first and Schneider behind the plate.

Pierre singled to left with one out in the bottom of the first and took second on a wild pitch before Pence grounded to the pitcher Zambrano for the second out. Luna drew a walk, but Victorino grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

Polanco walked to start the second. Galvis bunted, but popped it up for the first out. Schneider hit a ball hard, but Morrison took it at first and flipped to Zambrano for the second. Blanton struck out to end the inning.

Down 1-0, the Phillies went in order in the third.

Down 2-0, they went in order in the fourth.

Schneider and Blanton both struck out as they went in order in the fifth.

Pierre’s bunt found left field for a one-out double in the sixth, but Pence and Luna both struck out to leave him at second.

Down 5-0, the Phillies went in order in the seventh.

Schneider reached on an infield single to start the eighth. Fontenot hit for Diekman with the righty Zambrano still on the mound for the Marlins and Schneider took second on a wild pitch before Fontenot struck out. Rollins flew to center for the second out before Pierre singled into center, scoring Schneider to get the Phils on the board at 5-1. Righty Steve Cishek took over for Zambrano and struck out Pence to leave Pierre at first.

Cishek got Luna on a fly ball to left to start the ninth before Victorino and Polanco singled back-to-back, putting men on first and second for Galvis. Righty Heath Bell came in to pitch to Galvis and Galvis grounded to second with Polanco forced at second for the second out. Galvis took second on defensive indifference before Schneider grounded to first to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 in the game. 3-for-14 with a triple in the three-game set. He’s hitting 237/289/312 for the year.

Pierre was 3-for-4 with a double in the game and 5-for-8 with a double and a walk in the game. He’s hitting 340/378/386 for the year.

Pence was 0-for-4 with a great catch in right. 4-for-10 with a walk and two home runs in the series. 269/338/505 for the year. 280/366/584 in 145 plate appearances since the end of April.

Luna was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. He also started game one of the series in left field, going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. 9-for-27 with the Phils with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI. Mayberry didn’t play yesterday and was 0-for-4 in the series. Wigginton didn’t play yesterday and was 1-for-7 with a walk in the set.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a strikeout yesterday and 2-for-7 with a walk in the series. Mayberry played center for most of game one. Victorino is 4-for-his-last-30 and hitting 251/319/405 for the year.

Polanco 1-for-3 with a walk. 6-for-12 with a walk and a double in the series. 290/319/361 for the season.

Galvis 0-for-4 and left three men on base yesterday and 2-for-11 with two doubles in the series. 227/255/370 for the year.

Schneider was 1-for-4 yesterday and 1-for-5 in the series. He’s hitting 276/300/431 for the year. 333/351/583 in 38 plate appearances since May 9.

Vance Worley (3-2, 3.07) comes off the DL to face lefty Clayton Kershaw (4-3, 2.42) tonight as the Phils start a series with the Dodgers at home. Worley had a 1.97 ERA for the year through his first five starts then allowed eight runs in 12 innings over his next two before hitting the DL. Kershaw allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start, which came at home against the Brewers. He had a 1.16 ERA in his four starts previous to that outing.


And he’s the guy who’s healthy

Joe Blanton’s rough string of starts continued last night as the Phils fell to the Mets 6-3. After allowing six runs in five innings, Blanton has now strung together three miserable starts in a row. He didn’t get an out in the sixth inning in any of those outings, allowing 20 runs on 28 hits and three walks over 13 2/3 innings.

Opponents have hit .412 against him over his last three starts and .328 against him over his last five.

Last night’s start came on a day the Phils got news they’re going to need all the help they can get in the rotation. Roy Halladay was put on the DL with a shoulder strain and early estimates suggest he’ll miss six to eight weeks.

The Phillies are 26-25 on the year after losing 6-3 to the New York Mets last night. Coming off of a four-game win streak, they have lost two of their last three.

Blanton got the start for the Phils and went five innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, four doubles and two home runs. He struck out four.

Blanton leads the NL in total bases allowed with 127.

He started the bottom of the first with a 1-0 lead. He hit the leadoff man Mike Baxter and Baxter moved up to third when Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a single. David Wright was next and he lined a single into center on a ball deflected by a hopping Rollins. Baxter scored to tie the game at 1-1 and Nieuwenhuis moved up to second. Lucas Duda flew to center for the first out before Daniel Murphy grounded to second. Galvis went to Rollins to force Wright at second, leaving the Mets with runners on the corners with two down. Ike Davis singled into right, scoring Nieuwenhuis (2-1) and moving Murphy to second. Blanton uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Murphy to take third before getting Mike Nickeas on a ground ball he handled himself to end the inning.

Rollins usually catches that ball hit by Wright, which went off the top of his glove.

The game was tied at 2-2 when Omar Quintanilla doubled off of Blanton to start the second. Pitcher Jeremy Hefner bunted Quintanilla to third with the first out before a double by Baxter brought Quintanilla home, putting the Mets up 3-2. Nieuwenhuis grounded to first for the second out with Baxter moving up to third. Wright popped to Rollins to leave him stranded.

Blanton struck out Duda and Davis in a 1-2-3 third.

He got the first two in the fourth before Hefner hit a 2-1 pitch out to left, putting the Mets up 4-2. Blanton struck Baxter out looking for the third out.

He got the first two hitters to start the fifth before walking Duda. Murphy was next and hit a ball that Polanco deflected, but the Phils couldn’t get an out. Duda moved up to third and Murphy wound up at second with a double. Blanton walked the lefty Davis intentionally to load the bases and got Nickeas on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Davis ended the day hitting .170 for the season. I wouldn’t walk him intentionally that much. Blanton walks Duda in the inning, but he’s walked just ten hitters for the year. His walk rate is the best of his career. He’s given up as many home runs for the season as he has walks.

Blanton started the sixth with the lead cut to 4-3. Quintanilla led off with another double and righty Scott Hairston hit for Hefner. Hairston hit a 3-2 pitch from Blanton out to left, putting the Mets up 6-3. Valdes took over for Blanton and got the next three hitters to set the Mets down.

Valdes has allowed three hits and a walk over 8 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out 11 for the season.

Diekman struck out Duda and Murphy in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Seventh appearance on the year for Diekman and six of them have been good. In the other he allowed four runs in an inning, which can get you a 5.68 ERA. Over his last six appearances he’s allowed two hits, no walks and struck out nine over 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

Savery started the ninth. Quintanilla singled with one out, but he got the next two to keep the Mets off the board.

Savery dropped his ERA on the year to 4.15 with the outing. After throwing to a 1.42 ERA over his first five appearances on the year he’s thrown to a 6.75 ERA over his last six, allowing ten hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings. Three off his last six appearances have been good and three bad.

Three scoreless innings for the pen in which they allow one hit and no walks and strike out four.

Savery threw 17 pitches in the game, Diekman 14 and Valdes 12. Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeremy Hefner went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Pence (4) Wigginton (5) Victorino (6) Polanco (7) Galvis (8) Schneider. Wigginton plays first and hits cleanup after his six RBI night. Pierre plays left against the righty and hits second. Ruiz continues to sit with his hamstring. Victorino drops to fifth in the order.

Rollins led off the game with a double and Pierre bunted him to third with the first out. He scored on a wild pitch (1-0) before Pence struck out swinging. Wigginton followed with a single, but was left at first when Victorino flew to center.

Down 2-1 to start the second, Schneider tied it up at 2-2 when he hit the first pitch he saw out to right with two men out. Blanton grounded to the pitcher to end the frame.

Down 3-2, the Phillies went in order in the third.

Polanco singled with two outs in the fourth, but Galvis flew to center to leave him stranded.

Down 4-2, The Phillies went in order in the fifth.

Pierre led off the sixth with a single. Pence followed that with a double to left, scoring Pierre to make it 4-3 and taking third when Baxter mishandled the ball for an error. Wigginton grounded to first for the first out. Victorino struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch up near his eyes for the second. Polanco flew to left for the third, leaving Pence stranded.

The Phils can’t bring Pence home from third with nobody out as their four and five hitters both get a chance with less than two outs.

Righty Bobby Parnell started the seventh for New York with the Mets leading 6-3. He got Galvis and Schneider for the first two outs before Orr hit for Valdes. Orr grounded to first to set the Phillies down.

Rollins singled off of righty Jon Rauch to start the eighth, but the Phils went in order behind him.

Righty Frank Francisco started the ninth. Polanco singled with one out, but Galvis struck out looking behind him. He took second and then third on defensive indifference before Schneider struck out looking to end the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double. He has slugged .269 over his last 185 plate appearances.

Pierre 1-for-3. 6-for-his-last-13 with a double. One walk in his last 67 plate appearances.

Pence 1-for-4 with a double. 7-for-his-last-20 with three walks, two doubles and a home run. Not a factor last night, but he’s hitting 189/302/324 against lefties for the season.

Wigginton 1-for-4. Even with the monster day in game one of the series, he’s still hitting just 203/307/297 in May.

Victorino 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-19.

Polanco 2-for-4. 8-for-his-last-24.

Galvis 0-for-4. Among the 60 NL players with 175 plate appearances for the season, his on-base percentage of .257 is 60th.

Schneider was 1-for-4 with his second home run of the year.

Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.82) faces righty Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.92) tonight. The Phillies are just 2-5 in the seven games started by Lee, but 2-1 in his last three outings. Lee faced the Mets on May 9 in a game the Phils lost 10-6. The Phils started the seventh up 4-2 in that game, but Kendrick, Contreras and Sanches combined to allow eight runs over three innings. Gee started that game for the Mets and allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings.

PS: I updated the Start Log. Over the last 11 games, the Phillies have gotten four quality starts. During those 11 games, their starters have thrown to a 5.59 ERA with a 1.42 ratio while the pen has pitched to a 2.08 ERA and an 0.82 ratio over 30 1/3 innings.


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