Tag: Jonathan Broxton

LA x’d

The Phils capped their 20-game run with a fantastic win last night, scoring eight times in the last two frames to top the Dodgers 10-9. The Phils got five hits and a walk in the bottom of the eighth to cut the LA lead to 9-6. In the ninth they loaded the bases and Ben Francisco hit a double-play ball that went through Casey Blake’s legs for a critical error that helped the Phils plate two runs. Ruiz ended the game three pitches later when he blasted a bases clearing double off of the top of the wall in center field.

The Phillies have won 16 of their last 20 and are 64-50 on the season after beating the LA Dodgers 10-9 last night. The Phils take two of three in the series and are 14 games above .500 for the first time on the season. They remain in second place in the NL East and are two games behind the first place Braves.

Blanton got the start for the Phils and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks. All eight of the hits were singles and he struck out three.

Scott Podsednik singled to left to start the game and moved to second on a ground out by Ryan Theriot. Andre Ethier grounded to second and Podsednik went to third with two down. James Loney walked and Ronnie Belliard followed that with a single into center. Podsednik scored (1-0) and Loney took second. Matt Kemp was next and he singled to left, scoring Loney to make it 2-0 and sending Belliard to second. Jamey Carroll followed that and blooped a ball into center that fell in front of Werth. Belliard came in to score to put LA up 3-0 with the runners winding up at second and third when the throw came into third. Blanton walked Brad Ausmus intentionally to load the bases so he could pitch to the pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw grounded to second for the third out.

Blanton gets two of the first three batters to start the game, then allows three runs thanks to three singles and a pair of walks.

Podsednik started the second with a single, but Blanton got the next three behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 third with the lead cut to 3-1 and a 1-2-3 fourth.

He started the fifth down 3-2. Theriot and Ethier started the inning with back-to-back singles, which put runners on first and third with nobody out. Blanton struck Loney out for the first out before Belliard hit a fly ball to left for the second. It was deep enough for Theriot to tag and score from third, extending the LA lead to 4-2. Kemp lined softly to second for the third out.

Ausmus singled with one out in the sixth and Kershaw bunted him to second with the second out. Podsednik and Theriot walked back-to-back, loading the bases for Ethier. Durbin came in to pitch to Ethier and got him to ground to second on a 1-1 pitch to end the frame.

Durbin comes in to face the tough lefty with the Phils down to a single lefty in the pen after Bastardo is sent down. Worked out great that time, but it’s not a formula for continued success. The Phillies have a problem with left-handed relief out of the bullpen. I agree there’s a good chance that Bastardo isn’t the answer, but somebody has to be.

Durbin was back for the seventh. Loney led off with a single. Durbin got Belliard on a pop to Rollins for the first out before Kemp homered to left, putting LA up 6-2. Carroll walked and stole second, but Durbin struck out Ausmus and got Kershaw on a ground ball to short for the third out.

Kemp’s homer was the only extra-base hit of the game for LA.

Romero started the eighth. Podsednik led off and hit a ball to first that Sweeney butchered for an error. Theriot flew to right for the first out before Ethier moved Podsednik to second with a single. Romero struck the lefty Loney out swinging for the second out and Contreras came in to pitch to the righty Casey Blake. Blake singled to center, scoring Podsednik (7-2) and moving Ethier to third. Kemp followed that and blooped a ball high down the right field line that fell for another single. Ethier scored (8-2) and Blake went to third. Carroll singled to left and Blake scored. 9-2. Contreras struck out swinging for the third out.

At least Romero didn’t walk anyone. The Sweeney error was pretty big in the inning. Without the Dodgers get a single but go down without any damage. Contreras had a miserable frame, facing four batters and allowing three hits before finally striking out Ausmus. Kemp’s hit was ridiculous.

Baez pitched the ninth with the Phils down 9-6. He allowed a leadoff single to Jay Gibbons, but got Podsednik to hit into a double-play behind him and then got Theriot to ground to second.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Clayton Kershaw went (1) Rollins (2) Ibanez (3) Polanco (4) Sweeney (5) Werth (6) Francisco (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. That one’s not a keeper. Francisco in right against the lefty and Sweeney at first. Ibanez hits second in the order, which is too high, especially against a lefty. Valdez at second.

The Phils were down 3-0 when they hit in the first. Polanco and Sweeney singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and third for Werth. Werth flew to center to leave the runners stranded.

Ruiz singled with one out in the second and moved to third when Valdez followed with a double. Blanton hit a ball softly to third for the second out. Ruiz came in to score to cut the lead to 3-1 with Valdez moving to third. Rollins grounded to third for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the third.

Werth started the fourth with a single. Francisco struck out swinging for the first out before Werth stole second. Ruiz singled into center and Werth scored, cutting the lead to 3-2. Valdez and Blanton both grounded out to end the inning.

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

They went in order again in the sixth.

They were losing 6-2 when they hit in the seventh. Ruiz and Valdez went down to start the inning. With two outs and Kershaw still on the mound for LA, Victorino hit for Durbin and drew a walk. He stole second before Rollins walked, bringing Ibanez to the plate with two outs and men on first and second. Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo took over for Kershaw and got Ibanez on a fly ball to left to leave both men stranded.

They were down 9-2 when they hit in the eighth. Polanco and Sweeney singled back-to-back and moved up to second and third on a wild pitch by righty Ronald Belisario. Werth singled into center and both runners scored. 9-4. Werth took second on a balk before Francisco doubled to left, scoring Werth. 9-5. Righty Kenley Jansen took over for Belisario and got Ruiz on a ground ball to third for the first out. Valdez singled to center and Francisco scored. 9-6. Brown hit for Contreras and lefty George Sherrill came in to pitch to him, getting Brown on a fly ball to left for the second out. Rollins walked, putting men on first and second for Ibanez, but Sherrill got Ibanez to ground to second and end the inning.

Jonathan Broxton started the ninth with a 9-6 lead. He hit Polanco and walked Sweeney and Werth, loading the bases for Francisco. Francisco hit a double-play ball to Blake at third, but instead of getting the double-play the ball went through Blake’s legs and into left field. Polanco and Sweeney scored, making it 9-8, with Werth on second and Francisco on first for Ruiz. Ruiz blasted a 1-1 pitch high off the wall in left-center. Werth and Francisco both scored without a throw. Phils win 10-9.

Broxton set it up by letting the first three runners reach, but the error by Blake changed the game.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with two walks in the game and 3-for-12 in the series. 248/344/372 for the season.

Ibanez was 0-for-5 and left four men on base. He shouldn’t be hitting second against a lefty. 3-for-12 with a double and two walks in the series.

Polanco was 2-for-4 last night. 4-for-11 with four singles in the series. 321/352/431 on the year.

Sweeney 2-for-4 in the game and 3-for-6 with a walk in the series. He’s 5-for-15 with the Phils.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI last night. 4-for-10 with four walks in the series. 304/397/528 for the season.

Francisco 1-for-5 with a double and two RBI. 1-for-6 in the set. 254/327/415 on the year. Brown was 0-for-1 last night and 2-for-8 with a double and a home run in the series. 9-for-39 for the season with a .233 on-base percentage.

Ruiz was 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI last night. 3-for-11 in the series. 294/385/431 on the season.

Valdez was 2-for-4 with a double last night. 5-for-11 with a double and a triple in the series. 254/283/367 for the season. 342/375/421 in August.

Cole Hamels (7-8, 3.45) faces righty RA Dickey (7-5, 2.65) tonight. Hamels has a 2.43 ERA and a 1.08 ratio over his last starts and has struck out 61 in 55 2/3 innings in those games. Dickey’s most recent start came against the Phillies on Sunday and he was charged with six runs in three innings. Prior to that start he had posted a 1.70 ERA in his last seven outings. He’s thrown 102 innings this season and walked nine right-handed batters.

The next update to Philliesflow will be around August 24.


Only the names, and the fact that the Dodgers are much, much better now, have changed

If it seems like you’ve seen the NLCS between the Phils and Dodgers before it’s because you have. A lot has changed over the past year, though, and the most important among them is that the Dodgers have gotten a lot better. After going 84-78 in 2008, the Dodgers posted the best record in the NL in 2009 at 95-67.

The wins aren’t the only thing that improved for LA this year. Here’s a look at the runs scored by the Dodgers and Phils for this year and 2008:


Team

Runs Scored

NL Rank

’09 LA

780
4

’09 PHI

820
1
     

’08 LA

700

13

’08 PHI

799
3

The Phillies hit in both years compared to the other teams in the National League. The Dodgers were third in runs scored this year, but thirteenth in 2008.

LA was fantastic at preventing runs in both ’08 and ’09. The Phillies allowed 29 more runs in ’09 than they did in ’08 and their rank in the NL dropped from third to sixth:


Team

Runs Allowed

NL Rank

’09 LA

611

T-1

’09 PHI

709
6
     

’08 LA

648
1

’08 PHI

680
3

In 2008 the Phillies scored 799 runs and allowed 680. So they scored 119 more runs than they allowed. In ’09 they scored 820 and allowed 709, which is the difference of a pretty similar 111.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, scored 700 and allowed 648 in 2008, for a difference of 52 runs. This year they scored 780 and allowed 611, which is the difference of a pretty dissimilar 169.

I don’t think there’s much of an argument to be made that the Phillies were better than the Dodgers in 2009. They weren’t. The Dodgers were better. What I’m not sure about is how much it matters. A big part of why the Dodgers were better for the year is that they went 35-17 in April and May. That’s pretty awesome, but it’s also a long time ago. The Phillies are World Champs and if you watched game four of the NLDS it’s a little hard to deny that their magic is alive and well.

At the same time, the Dodgers won more games than the Phillies this year. Their offense was a little worse than the Phillies, but still among the best in the league, while their pitching was much better. They come off an impressive sweep of the Cardinals. They went 4-3 against the Phillies this year without a single plate appearance from Manny Ramirez.

I do think the Phillies will win the series, but it is going to be a tight one.

Here’s a look back at the series from last year:

Hamels started game one last year against Derek Lowe. The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, but Victorino led off the bottom of the sixth and hit a ground ball to Furcal and Furcal threw it away. Utley followed with a home run to tie the game at 2-2 and Burrell hit a solo shot two batters later, putting the Phils on top to stay at 3-2.

Brett Myers and Chad Billingsley faced off in game two. Myers threw behind Manny in the first inning and a Loney double in the second helped put LA up 1-0. A Myers single helped the Phillies score four times in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 4-1. Loney had another big hit off of Myers in the third, an RBI-single that made it 4-2. The Phils extended their lead to 8-2 with four more runs in the bottom of the third, which featured Chan Ho Park striking out Rollins for the second out of the inning. That should have been it for the game, but LA got back into it in the top of the fourth. With two outs and nobody on, Furcal struck out for what should have been the third out of the inning. Ruiz didn’t block the ball, though, and Furcal was safe at first. Martin followed with a single before Manny hit a three-run homer to make it 8-5. The lead stood up for the Phils, thanks to Durbin, Romero, Lidge and Madson, who combined to throw four shutout innings.

Game three was the game the Phillies lost, falling 7-2 in LA. Moyer got the start and the Dodgers scored five times against him in the bottom of the first. Five of the first six Dodgers hitters to face Moyer reached base before he struck out Kemp for the second out of the inning with the bases loaded. He looked like he was going to get out of it down 2-0, but Blake DeWitt cleared the bases with a three-run triple that made it 5-0. A leadoff double by Howard helped the Phils cut the lead to 5-1 in the top of the second, but Moyer didn’t make it out of the bottom of the second. Furcal led off the bottom of the second with a homer that made it 6-1. Nomar Garciaparra extended the lead to 7-1 with an RBI-single off of Happ in the bottom of the fourth. Burrell drove in Utley with a single in the seventh for the Phillies other run.

Coming off of Myers throwing behind Ramirez in game one, LA starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a ball near the head of Shane Victorino in game three. It led to a bench-clearing incident after Victorino grounded out to end the inning.

Game four changed the series thanks to a late home run from Matt Stairs. Utley and Howard drove in runs off of Lowe in the top of the first, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. Blake homered off of Blanton in the bottom of the first, cutting the lead to 2-1. Blanton protected the one-run lead until LA hit in the bottom of the fifth. Furcal led off with a walk and moved to second when Ethier followed with a bloop single. Ramirez followed with an RBI-single (2-2) and a ground out by Martin brought in Ethier to make it 3-2. Howard led off the sixth with a walk and came in to score on a wild pitch by Park to tie the game at 3-3. Blake led off the bottom of the sixth with a homer off of Durbin, though, making it 4-3, and a throwing error by Howard on a bunt by Furcal helped the Dodgers score another run to extend the lead to 5-3. That score held till the top of the eighth, when Howard led off with a single. Victorino followed two batters later and lined a ball out to right off of Corey Wade, tying the game at 5-5. Feliz flew out for the second out, but Ruiz delivered a two-out single off of Jonathan Broxton and Stairs followed and connected for a mammoth homer to put the Phils up 7-5. Romero and Lidge kept LA off the board in the eighth and the ninth.

It was hard to imagine LA coming back from Stairs dagger. They didn’t. Hamels outpitched Billingsley in game five with the Phillies winning 5-1. Rollins was the first batter of the game and he put the Phils up 1-0 with a home run to center. Howard and Burrell had RBI-singles in the third, making it 3-0. Furcal had an inning to forget in the fifth, making three errors as the Phils extended the lead to 5-0. Manny Ramirez homered off of Hamels with two outs in the sixth to get LA their only run of the game.

Kendrick and Myers are off the Phillies roster for the NLCS and have been replaced by Chan Ho Park and Eric Bruntlett. Bruntlett and Cairo are a lot of similar guys to have on your roster, especially since it means going with 11 pitchers. I think that’s a bad decision — I would rather have seen them carry 12 pitchers and just one of Bruntlett and Cairo given the bullpen struggles and the fact that I would be pretty worried about Park since he hasn’t pitched for the Phils since September 16.

On the other hand, if they weren’t comfortable with letting Kendrick pitch they shouldn’t have him on the roster. You should try to have 12 pitchers in your organization you feel okay about putting into a game, though. Cairo and Bruntlett both is a lot of Cairos and Bruntletts. Condrey and Walker sure must be wondering what is going on.

My guess is that the thinking here may be to try to put another right-handed bat on the bench out of fear of the lefties in the bullpen for the Dodgers, Kuo and Sherrill. Those guys are scary, but if that’s the reasoning I think the Phils may have overthought this one. If it is about putting another righty on the bench, I wonder if they considered Mayberry instead of Bruntlett. It sure seems like he would provoke a bit more worry in the Dodgers since he can hit the ball out of the yard.

This article suggests Pedro Martinez may start game two. I am hoping for Blanton and Pedro in game four. Blanton was 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 ratio in three post-season starts in the post-season in 2008. Manuel’s seeming reluctance to start him is curious to me. It no doubt has a lot to do with fear of his bullpen, but I’d just let him start.

There have been many technical problems with Philliesflow over the past few days. If the site goes down again for a long period of time, I may post at philliesflow.wordpress.com and would let people know where to find the site via the Philliesflow Twitter page.


StairsMaster

Game four of the NLCS started with the fantastic Dodger bullpen having shut down the Phillies completely. It didn’t end that way. LA took a 5-3 lead into the eighth, but Cory Wade, after throwing 33 pitches a day before, surrendered a two-run homer to Victorino with one out in the inning. Three batters later it was Jonathan Broxton on the mound facing grizzled veteran Matt Stairs and Stairs blasted Broxton’s 3-1 fastball deep into to the night to put the Phillies on top to stay.

Two huge home runs from a Phillies team that not only offers up the standard we’re-going-to-fight-for-27-outs but has been playing that way for a long time now. The Stairs home run was something special, though, something that’s going to be hard to erase from one’s mind if one were inclined to try. The Dodgers get an off-day to think about it and I’m not sure that’s going to make it any easier. It’s not just that the ball Stairs hit went out, it’s who he hit it off of and how far out it went. It left with room to spare, a little more than was necessary to make the point. Definitive and a little mean. While Victorino’s looping liner to right just barely left the yard, nearly scraping the top of the right field fence as it cleared, the one Stairs hit seemed stuck in time and space a little longer than physics should allow. It went out leaving you to wonder if you were ever going to see anyone hit a baseball harder. It’s impossible to win a seven game series by winning three games, but I think you’d also have a hard time getting much closer than the Phillies did last night.

That’s not to say the Dodgers are done. But I do think they’re going to need something momentous of their own if they’re going to get back into the series, something bigger even than what the Phillies got last night. And while that’s not impossible, it’s hard to imagine what it might look like.

Going by ERA, the Phillies bullpen was just a little better than the LA pen this season. Phils’ relievers threw to an NL-best 3.19 ERA while the Dodgers’ bullpen ERA was 3.33, second-best in the league. They were a little better last night, too. Led by Lidge, Madson and a fabulously timed double-play that Romero got Andre Ethier to hit into in front of Manny Ramirez in the eighth, the Phillies bullpen outpitched their counterparts from Los Angeles. Along with two big swings from Victorino and Stairs, it was the difference in the game.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning 7-5. With the win the Phils lead the best-of-seven series three games to one.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out four.

Blanton faced a Dodgers lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) DeWitt (2B/L) (7) Blake (3B/R) (8) Pierre (CF/L). Pierre gets his first start of the series with Kemp on the bench. Martin hits cleanup after hitting second against Myers in game two.

The Dodgers started the game with six hitters on their bench: Kent (R), Berroa (R), Ardoin (R), Ozuna (R), Garciaparra (R) and Kemp (R).

Blanton started the first with a 2-0 lead. Furcal led off with a bunt that sailed over the head of a drawn in Dobbs for a single. Ethier was next and he grounded a 1-2 pitch to second. Utley tried to tag Furcal as he went by, then looked to flip to second and then threw to first to get DeWitt for the first out with Furcal safe at second. Blanton walked Ramirez intentionally to put men on first and second before he struck Martin out swinging at a 1-2 pitch. He had Loney deep in a hole but Loney drilled an 0-2 pitch off the wall in center. Furcal scored from second to cut the lead to 2-1 with Manny holding third. DeWitt hit a 2-2 pitch hard on a line, but right at Howard who took it to end the inning.

Furcal has been looking to bunt towards Dobbs whenever he has a chance. I would have walked Ramirez, too.

Twenty-one pitches in the inning for Blanton.

Blanton faced Blake to start the second and Blanton bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul. Blake struck out looking at a 1-2 breaking ball. Pierre was next and laced a single into center. Lowe bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul. Pierre took off on the next pitch and Lowe swung through the pitch for strike two. Ruiz’s throw beat Pierre to second and Rollins tagged him out for the second out. Lowe blooped the next pitch to center field. Rollins went out and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but the ball went off the heel of his glove for a single. Furcal flew to center for the third out.

Thirteen more pitches for Blanton had him at 34 for the game.

Ethier grounded to second to start the third. Ramirez followed with a walk. Martin was next and grounded to short, but not hard enough to get the double-play. Rollins threw to second for the second out with Martin safe at first. Loney singled past a diving Utley for his second hit of the game, this one a single that send Martin to third. DeWitt swung at the first pitch and hit a soft fly ball into left that Burrell appeared to lose for a moment, but found and caught to end the inning. Sixteen pitches for Blanton, 50 for the game.

Blake struck out swinging 2-2 to start the fourth. Pierre lined a 2-2 pitch to Dobbs for the second out. Lowe went down looking for the third. Seventeen pitches for Blanton. 67.

Furcal led off the fifth and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Ethier was next and he blooped a 2-2 pitch into left-center for a single that sent Furcal to second. Manny was next and he roped the first pitch he saw into left. Burrell threw home as Furcal ran through the stop sign at third and slid in just safe to tie the game at 2-2. Ethier went to third and Ramirez took second. Martin was next and Blanton got ahead of him 1-2, but Martin grounded to short and Ethier came in to score and make it 3-2 with one out and Ramirez on second. Blanton walked Loney intentionally and stayed in to face the lefty DeWitt. DeWitt hit into a double-play to second to end the inning. After throwing 24 pitches in the inning, Blanton had thrown 91 for the game.

Durbin started the sixth with the game tied at 3-3. Temporarily. Blake led off and hit a 1-2 pitch out to left to put LA up 4-3. Pierre was next and he doubled into left-center. Matt Kemp hit for the pitcher Joe Beimel and wanted to bunt, but Durbin walked him. Eyre came in to pitch to Furcal. Furcal bunted up the first base line. Howard fielded, looked to third and then threw to first but wildly. The ball went off of Utley’s glove and Furcal took second. Pierre scored to make it 5-3. With men on second and third and still nobody out, Ethier lined softly to first for the first out. Eyre walked Ramirez intentionally to load the bases with one down for Martin. Madson came in to pitch to Martin. Martin lined a 1-2 pitch to Utley, who caught the ball and dove to tag second, just beating Kemp to the bag to double him off and end the inning.

Madson came back for the seventh. He got ahead of Loney 0-2 before ball one was way up and in. Loney went down swinging on the next pitch. The lefty DeWitt got ahead 3-0 and then walked on a 3-2 pitch. Blake followed with a single into left that sent DeWitt to second. The pitcher Kuo hit for himself and put a bunt down in front of home plate. Howard fielded and this time his throw to first was good enough to get the second out as the runners moved to second and third. Kemp lined an 0-1 pitch to center for the third out.

Romero started the eighth with a 7-5 lead. Furcal walked on five pitches. Ethier swung at the first pitch and chopped a ball back up the middle where Rollins fielded, tagged second and threw to first to complete the enormous double-play with Manny coming to the plate. Lidge came in to pitch to Ramirez. Lidge threw a 1-1 fastball past Ramirez. The 1-2 pitch was very close, but called a ball, maybe low. Ball three wasn’t close. Ramirez drove the 3-2 pitch into center where it landed in front of the warning track. Ramirez had a double and it brought Martin to the plate as the tying run. Martin struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch in the dirt that Ruiz didn’t block. The ball bounced way away from Ruiz and Martin took first and Ramirez went to third. Loney fouled off two 1-2 pitches before he flew to Bruntlett in left to leave both runners stranded.

Lidge set the Dodgers down in order in the ninth with a two-run lead. Garciaparra flew to center on an 0-1 pitch. Lidge struck Blake out swinging 0-2. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Broxton and got ahead 2-1 before he smashed a ball to third where it was caught by Feliz to end the game.

Four innings for the pen in which they allow two runs, both of which were charged to Durbin. Madson and Lidge were fantastic and Romero got the huge double-play from Ethier in front of Manny in the eighth. Durbin continues to struggle, giving up a home run, a double and a walk without getting anybody out. Lidge threw 24 pitches, Madson 20, Durbin 14, Eyre 14 and Romero six. Everyone should be ready on Wednesday.

The Phillies finally got to the LA pen, Dodgers relievers were charged with six runs in four innings. They gave up six hits, including two home runs, and three walks. Broxton needed 30 pitches to throw 1 1/3 innings, but you have to assume he will be ready for game five.

Overall the Phillies walked eight hitters in the game. They have walked 22 in the first four games of the series.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. Dobbs starts at third with Feliz on the bench. Werth and the slumping Victorino flop in the order.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench: Coste (R), Taguchi (R), Bruntlett (R), Feliz (R), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins led off the first and singled into center. Lowe got behind Werth 3-0 before he got strike one over. With Rollins running, Werth singled into left on the 3-1 pitch. Rollins went all the way to third. Utley quickly got behind 0-2, but pulled the next pitch past a diving Loney and down the right field line for a double. Rollins scored to make it 1-0 with Werth going to third. Howard hit a slow ground ball to second with DeWitt playing in shallow right. DeWitt dropped the ball, but picked it up in time to throw out Howard. Werth scored to make it 2-0 and Rollins went to third. Burrell flailed and missed the first two pitches of his at-bat, but Lowe delivered four straight balls to walk him on a close 3-2 pitch that was just a tick outside. It put men on first an third with one down for Victorino. Victorino grounded into a double-play on an 0-1 pitch to set the Phillies down.

Dobbs led off the second with the Phils up 2-1 and plunked a double down the right field line. Ruiz was next and grounded an 0-2 pitch back to Lowe for the first out with Dobbs holding. Lowe struck Blanton out swinging on three pitches for the second out. Rollins swung at a 2-2 pitch that was way down and in before jack-knifing out of the way of strike three on the inside corner.

Werth chopped a ball to short for the first out of the third. Utley was next and singled into right on a 1-2 pitch. Howard lined a ball into center for the second out. Burrell hit a slow ground ball to third to leave Utley stranded.

Victorino flew to center on an 0-2 pitch to start the fourth. Dobbs flew to center on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Ruiz hit a ball back up the middle that Furcal fielded but dropped behind second. Single for Ruiz, but Blanton struck out swinging on three pitches to leave him stranded.

Rollins grounded to second on the first pitch of the fifth inning. Werth grounded to second on a 3-2 pitch. Utley struck out looking 1-2.

Clayton Kershaw started the sixth with LA up 3-2. Howard walked on a low 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Burrell got ahead 3-0 and then hit a 3-2 pitch just under the glove of Furcal and into left for a single that moved Howard to second. Victorino bunted the runners to second and third with one down. Feliz hit for Dobbs and Chan Ho Park came in to pitch to him. Feliz popped a ball into short right field. DeWitt and Ethier nearly collided, but Ethier caught the ball for the second out and both runners had to hold. The first pitch to Ruiz was outside and in the dirt. Martin couldn’t block it and the ball bounced away, allowing Howard to come in and score, tying the game at 3-3. Burrell went to third on the play. Jenkins hit for Blanton and the lefty Beimel came in to pitch to him. Taguchi hit for Jenkins with two outs and men on first and third. Taguchi looped a ball into shallow right-center, but Ethier made a nice sliding catch to take it for the third out and leave both men stranded.

Hate bunting with Victorino, but if you wanted one run it worked. The Phillies have no good right-handed hitter on their bench, as evidenced by the at-bat by Taguchi.

Rollins led off the seventh with Hong-Chih Kuo pitching for LA. He shattered his bat grounding to short for the first out. Kuo did a little dance on the mound after he threw an 0-2 pitch past a swinging Werth for the second out. Utley struck out swinging at a high 0-2 fastball for the third out.

Howard led off the eighth and got ahead of Kuo 2-0 before he singled into center. Cory Wade came in to pitch to Burrell after throwing 33 pitches the night before. Burrell popped to Berroa, the new Dodger second baseman, for the first out. Victorino laced the first pitch of his at-bat out to right for a two-run homer that tied the game at 5-5. At least he didn’t bunt. Feliz hit it well, too, but flew to left for the second out. Ruiz was next and he singled into left. Stairs hit for Madson with the Dodgers out of lefties. Broxton came on to pitch to Stairs. He threw strike one down the middle past Stairs, but followed that up with three straight balls. The 3-1 pitch was right where strike one was, and Stairs absolutely crushed it way, way out to right. 7-5. Rollins was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch. Rollins stole second as a called strike made the count 2-1 on Werth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2 to leave him stranded.

Broxton returned for the ninth and Utley led off with a single to right. Howard grounded to second, with Utley forced at second for the first out and Howard safe at first. Bruntlett was next after taking over for Burrell in left in the eighth, and he hit a ground ball to short. Howard was forced at second for the second out with Bruntlett safe at first. Victorino got behind and the Dodgers pitched out 0-2 as Bruntlett tried to steal second. Martin threw him out to set the Phillies down.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk. He’s 2-for-17 (.118) with two singles in the series. He has struck out seven times, which leads both teams.

Werth 1-for-5 and struck out twice. 3-for-17 (.176) in the series.

Utley 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 6-for-13 (.462) with five walks in the series. The Phillies have 13 walks in the series and Utley has five of them.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-16 (.188) with a double. Just two strikeouts

Burrell 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-14 (.357) with a home run in the series.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. 3-for-16 (.188) with a team-high six RBI in the series.

Dobbs 1-for-2 with a double in the game and 3-for-6 in the series. Feliz 0-for-2 in the game and 1-for-9 in the series.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a walk. Big hit in the eighth to extend the inning for Stairs. Ruiz is 5-for-12 (.417) in the series.

No game today.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14) tomorrow night. Billingsley started game two against Myers and took the loss. The Phillies hit him hard, Billingsley was charged with eight runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Phils scored four times in the second inning after Billingsley set down the first two hitters in the inning. Ruiz had an RBI-double, Myers drove in a run with a single and Victorino delivered a two-run single. The Phillies scored four more times in the third, getting a two-run double down the right field line before Park relieved Billingsley and surrendered a two-run triple to Victorino.

Hamels started game one against Lowe and got the win. He allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Ethier and Ramirez hit back-to-back doubles in the first for the first run. The Dodgers scored again when Kemp led off the fourth with a check-swing double down the right field line.


Relief in brief

Here’s a look at some of the guys we could be seeing out of the Dodgers bullpen in the NLCS, what they did this season and in September:

   
2008

September, 2008

Player
L/R IP ERA Ratio K IP ERA Ratio K
Jonathan Broxton R 69.0 3.13 1.17 88 11.1 0.79 1.24 13
Takashi Saito R 47.0 2.49 1.19 60 5.2 4.76 1.76 7
Cory Wade R 71.1 2.27 0.93 51 16.2 1.08 0.54 13
James McDonald R 6.0 0.00 1.00 2 6.0 0.00 1.00 2
Greg Maddux R 194.0 4.22 1.21 98 29.2 4.25 0.94 14
Chan Ho Park R 95.1 3.40 1.40 79 9.2 6.52 1.55 11
Joe Beimel L 49.0 2.02 1.45 32 10.0 0.90 0.90 8
Hong-Chih Kuo L 80.0 2.14 1.01 96 3.2 2.45 1.91 5

In the NLDS, the LA pen threw eight innings. Wade threw 3 2/3 of them and allowed one run. Broxton threw 3 1/3 scoreless frames without allowing a hit (he walked two). Maddux threw one scoreless frame. Saito started the ninth inning of game two with a 10-1 lead and allowed two runs on three hits without getting an out.

I think it’s safe to say that Broxton and Wade are the guys they want to lean on in the NLCS as well.

Against the Phillies, the Dodgers look likely to start righties Lowe, Billingsley and Kuroda. If they go with a fourth starter, lefty Clayton Kershaw looks likely to get the call with another option being veteran righty Greg Maddux.

Who is going to get Utley and Howard out is always an issue for a team facing the Phils. Here’s what the guys who may be primarily tasked with that responsibility in the NLCS have done against lefties this season:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Beimel L 100 278 330 311 17
Kuo L 98 202 216 340 44

The strikeout numbers for Kuo are particularly impressive. Beimel has allowed just three extra-base hits to lefties this season, all doubles.

Kuo was not on the roster for LA in the NLDS. He last pitched on September 14 before being shut down with a sore elbow. He may be be added to the roster for the NLCS, which could cost McDonald his spot of the roster.

Righties Saito and Wade were both really good against lefties as well in ’08:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Saito R 94 244 298 314 24
Wade R 116 211 243 312 25

I don’t think we’ll see much of Saito against lefties given how bad he’s been of late. He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his appearances after coming off the DL in mid-September before one miserable appearance in the NLDS. Wade is fantastic, though.

Broxton will probably close, but along with Park, his numbers against lefties this year are bad:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Broxton R 126 270 400 400 28
Park R 180 301 399 464 33

One thing I think is interesting is the notion that Kershaw may be the game four starter primarily to counter the lefties Utley and Howard. Despite the fact that he’s right-handed, Maddux seems like he may be better suited to handle lefties:

Player L/R PA AVG OBP SLG K
Kershaw L 92 250 337 475 30
Maddux R 371 272 310 391 42

Finally, the 23-year-old rookie James McDonald has faced just 18 left-handed hitters in his career, but he’s been good against them. They are 2-for-17 with two singles and a walk (118/167/118).

Update: Saito is off the LA roster for the NLCS. Kuo has taken his spot. The Phillies roster for the NLCS remains the same, with Happ active and Seanez inactive. Here is the Dodgers roster for the NLCS.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces righty Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24) tonight in game one of the NLCS. Lowe was ninth in the NL in ERA this season. His 1.13 ratio was fourth-best in the league. He allowed just 14 home runs in 211 innings. Opponents hit 246/285/352 against him and righties and lefties put up very similar numbers.

He started game one on the NLDS in Chicago and held the Cubs to two runs over six innings. He hasn’t been charged with more than two runs in a start in any of his last ten outings.

He has been better at home than he has away. In 17 starts at Dodger Stadium this season he went 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA and an 0.93 ERA. In 17 starts away from LA he went 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.39 ratio.

He started against the Phillies on August 11 and allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings. Utley hit a pair of doubles against him in that game.

Burrell has hit him well over his career, 6-for-19 (.313) with two doubles. Feliz has seen him a lot without much success, 5-for-23 (.217) with two home runs. Dobbs is 0-for-9. Howard 2-for-16 (.125), Utley 5-for-14 (.357) with three doubles.

Hamels was fantastic in game one of the NLDS, holding the Brewers to two singles and a walk over eight shutout innings while striking out nine. He showed no sign of being worn down by the 227 1/3 innings he threw in 2008, second-most in the NL.

Hamels made two starts against the Dodgers this season, throwing to a 2.57 ERA with an 0.86 ratio. He pitched well against them on August 12, leaving with a 3-2 lead after seven innings, but the Dodgers scored one in the eighth off of Durbin and one in the ninth off of Romero to win 4-3. He got the win on August 23, holding LA to two runs over seven innings while the Phils scored nine times. Russell Martin hit a two-run homer off of him in that game to account for both of the runs he allowed.

None of the current Dodgers have ten career at-bats against him. Ramirez 2-for-8 (.250), Martin 1-for-6 (.167), Blake 2-for-8 (.250), Loney 1-for-6 (.167), Ethier 0-for-4.


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