Tag: Jose Reyes

Phils desperate to find Myers a travel guide to New York that includes the strike zone

It was reasonable to expect that the return of Brett Myers was going to be a wild ride for the Phils and it was. Just not the wild ride the Phils were looking for. Myers walked four Mets in a miserable first inning. He pitched okay after that, but the Phils’ hitters didn’t do much. The Phils and Mets went into the bottom of the sixth tied at 3-3 before Jose Reyes broke the game open with a three-run homer off of Ryan Madson.

It wasn’t a good start for Myers, but the Phillies’ sleepy offense continues to be a big part of the story in July. In the last eight games that the Phillies’ starting pitcher has allowed three runs the Phils are 1-7. In 2007 the Phils went 21-11 in games where their starters allowed three runs in a start. 28-15 in 2006. After last night’s game they are 10-11 in 2008 and that’s with a hugely improved bullpen.

The Phillies lost to the New York Mets last night, falling 6-3 to drop to 54-47 on the season. Game three of the set is this afternoon after the teams split the first two of the series.

Myers got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing three runs on three hits and five walks. All three of the hits went for singles and he struck out two. His ERA is 5.82 and the Phils are now 4-14 in games he’s started this season. Using game score as the measure, in 15 of his 18 starts on the season the other team’s starting pitcher pitched better than Myers did.

Jose Reyes grounded to second for the first out in the first. Myers then walked four batters in a row. The fourth walk was to Carlos Beltran and forced in Endy Chavez to put the Mets up 1-0. Marlon Anderson was next and hit a double-play ball to first that Howard didn’t handle. It fortunately went off his glove and right to Utley. Utley threw to Myers covering first to get the second out. David Wright scored from third to put New York up 2-0. Damion Easley grounded to third for the third out, leaving two men stranded.

Myers threw a 1-2-3 second with the score tied at 2-2.

With one out in the third the Mets again loaded the bases when Wright singled, Carlos Delgado was hit by a pitch and Beltran singled into center. Myers struck Anderson out for the second out, Damion Easley was next hit a ball in the hole between third and short that went off the glove of Rollins for a single. Rollins may not have had a play anywhere even if he had fielded it cleanly. Wright scored and the run put the Mets up 3-2. Brian Schneider hit the first pitch of his at-bat to first for a ground out that ended the inning.

In the fourth, Myers thought he had leadoff hitter pitcher John Maine struck out on an 0-2 curveball but didn’t get the call. Maine singled into left, but Myers got the next three behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Madson started the sixth with the game tied at 3-3. Easley led off with a slowly hit ground ball up the middle. Rollins tried to barehand it in front of second base but didn’t handle it and Easley had an infield single. Schneider followed with a single that moved Easley to second. Maine tried to bunt but fouled off strike three for the first out. Reyes was next and he blasted Madson’s first pitch out to right-center for a three-run homer that changed the game and put the Mets up 6-3. Reyes circled the bases with a fist and then a single finger in the air, a gesture that was apparently an expression of exuberance about the possibility the Mets might be tied for first with 61 games to go if the pen didn’t blow it again or perhaps a reference to either the Mets winning the NL East in 2006 or something he had done as a small child while growing up in the Dominican Republic. Madson struck out Chavez for the second out before Wright singled and stole second. Delgado followed with a walk before Beltran grounded to second for the third out.

Terrible inning for Madson.

Condrey pitched the seventh. Easley singled with one out and moved to third when Schneider followed with a double. Fernando Tatis hit for the pitcher Maine and grounded to third for the second out with the runners holding. Reyes was walked intentionally to load the bases and Chavez grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.

Condrey returned for the eighth. Wright led off with a ground ball to third that new third baseman Feliz didn’t handle for an error. Delgado singled to left and Wright moved to second. Beltran bunted the runners to second and third for the first out. Righty Robinson Cancel hit for the pitcher Joe Smith and grounded to short with the runners holding. Easley grounded to second to leave them both stranded.

The Mets hit the pen hard. In three innings Madson and Condrey combined to allow three runs on seven hits and two walks. Condrey threw 31 pitches and Madson 24.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty John Maine went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Dobbs (6) Victorino (7) Jenkins (8) Ruiz. That’s a new one. I like it. Burrell hits third, breaking up Utley and Howard as the Phils put four lefties in their lineup. Victorino drops down to sixth even against the righty with Jenkins hitting seventh to split Dobbs and Jenkins. I like Utley hitting two instead of Victorino.

1-2-3 in the first.

Down 2-0 in the second, Victorino and Jenkins homered back-to-back with two outs, tying the game at 2-2. Ruiz drew a walk before Myers struck out to end the frame.

Utley walked with one out in the third, but Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

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

Ruiz led off the fifth with a single and Myers bunted him to second. Rollins doubled into right center and Ruiz scored, tying the game at 3-3. Utley popped to second and Burrell struck out to set the Phillies down.

Howard led off the sixth with a single. Dobbs flew to left for the first out before Victorino hit a slow ground ball to second. Easley tagged Howard as he went by and threw to first to complete the double-play. Replays showed that Easley missed the tag on Howard.

With two outs in the seventh, Taguchi hit for Madson and singled. Rollins flew to right for the third out.

Down 6-3 in the eighth, Burrell drew a one out walk. Howard lined to Reyes for the second out and with lefty Scott Schoeneweis on the mound Feliz hit for Dobbs. Righty Joe Smith entered the game for the Mets and got Feliz to ground back to the mound for the third out.

Feliz is now 1-for-17 since the All-Star break.

Billy Wagner threw a 1-2-3 ninth. Bruntlett hit for Jenkins and grounded to third for the second out.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Utley 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-16.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Howard 1-for-4. He’s hitting 320/378/693 in July.

Dobbs 0-for-3. He’s 1-for-his-last-10.

Victorino 1-for-4 with his second home run in two days. He’s slugging .592 in July with 11 extra-base hits, including five home runs.

Jenkins 1-for-3 with a home run and two strikeouts.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-his-last-15 with two walks.

Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.90) faces lefty Oliver Perez (6-6, 4.36) this afternoon. Perez hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last four starts. In those outings he has struck out 27 in 26 innings. Opponents are hitting just .233 against him, but he’s walked 63 in 109 1/3 innings (that’s too many). He’s made three starts against the Phillies this season and hasn’t been charged with a run in 18 1/3 innings. Moyer has allowed three or fewer runs in eight straight starts and hasn’t allowed a home run in 19 2/3 innings over his last three. He has a 3.12 ERA in his ten starts away from Citizens Bank Park.

Secret to beating the Mets all but four-gotten by the Phils

Jimmy Rollins hurt his ankle in New York on April 8, returning to second base on a pickoff play where the throw never came. The Phils beat the Mets that night, their ninth in a row against their rivals from New York. Rollins has mostly been sidelined since and, after losing again last night, the Phils have suddenly dropped four straight to the Mets.

While the fans may be at least a little sympathetic about the Phillies’ struggles without Rollins, the standings most certainly won’t. After a better start this year, the Phils are in danger of ending the month with a miserable record similar to what the fans remember from the past couple of Aprils.

The Phils need Rollins back for a lot of reasons, one of which is to get the bat of struggling Eric Bruntlett out of the lineup. Bruntlett is 1-for-his-last-13 with a single and on-basing .256 for the season (update: Phils can need Rollins back all they want, but they put Rollins and Snelling on the DL today and called up Brad Harman and TJ Bohn. That there is a non-trivial problem).

The Phillies lost to the Mets on Saturday, falling 4-2 to drop to 8-10 on the season.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out one and lowered his ERA to 4.79 on the year.

Jose Reyes hit Moyer’s first pitch of the game down the left field line for a double. Ryan Church was next and singled on a line drive off the glove of Taguchi in right, but Reyes held second. Reyes stole third with David Wright at the plate before Wright split the gap in right-center with a double that scored both runners and put the Mets up 2-0. Carlos Beltran popped to Utley for the first out before Carlos Delgado moved Wright to third with a ground out to first base. Angel Pagan grounded to third to end the frame.

Brian Schneider started the second with a single, but Luis Castillo followed and hit into a double-play. Pitcher Oliver Perez singled to left before Reyes flew to left for the third out.

Wright singled with one out in the third. With Beltran batting, Moyer picked Wright off and Howard threw to Bruntlett who applied the tag. Beltran grounded back to the pitcher to set the Mets down.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He walked Perez on four pitches with one out in the fifth. Reyes flew to center for the second out before Church moved Perez to second with a single. Wright looped a ball into center. Werth was playing really deep, but charged and made a diving catch to end the inning. Werth is playing really deep in center field — that’s a longer run for him than you would expect on a ball hit like that.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Madson started the seventh with the Phils down 2-0. He got Brian Schneider to ground to first for the first out before Luis Castillo drew a walk. Lefty Endy Chavez hit for the pitcher and grounded to first for the second out, with Reyes moving to second. Reyes homered to right-center to put the Mets up 4-0 before Church grounded to second to end the frame.

Madson returned to throw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Durbin started the ninth with the Phils down 4-2. He walked Schneider with one out and Castillo moved him to second with a single. Lefty Marlon Anderson hit for the pitcher and hit into a double-play to set the Mets down. Durbin’s ERA dropped to 0.69 with the scoreless inning.

Madson threw 22 pitches and Durbin 17.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Oliver Perez went (1) Taguchi (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Feliz (7) Coste (8) Bruntlett. Coste catches Bruntlett. Taguchi plays right against the lefty. Werth in center. I’d rather see Werth leading off that Taguchi.

Down 2-0 in the first, the Phils went 1-2-3.

Howard and Burrell struck out to start the second before Feliz walked. Coste moved Feliz to second with a single to left, but Bruntlett popped to first for the third out.

Taguchi singled with one out in the third, but Werth followed and flew to right for the second out. Utley walked, moving Taguchi to second, but Howard struck out to end the inning.

Coste walked with two outs in the fourth. Bruntlett was next and hit a ball hard in between third and short. Wright dove to his right to spear the ball and threw to second to force Coste to end the inning.

Taguchi singled with one out in the fifth. Werth struck out before Utley singled into center, putting men on first and third for Howard with two outs. Howard flew to left.

Feliz walked with one out in the sixth. Coste hit a ground ball to short and the Mets forced Feliz at second, but did not get the double-play. Coste went to second on a wild pitch before Bruntlett walked, putting men on first and second with two down for the pitcher’s spot. Rollins hit for Moyer and grounded to first to end the inning.

Utley homered to right with two outs in the seventh, his third home run in three days. It made the score 4-1. Howard struck out for the third out.

The Phils finally got their chance in the eighth. Burrell led off with a walk and Feliz followed with a ball hit slowly to third. Wright threw to first for the first out with Burrell moving to second. With righty Joe Smith on the mound, Dobbs hit for Coste. The Mets brought in lefty Pedro Feliciano, but Dobbs stayed in the game and blooped a single into center. Burrell went to third, but when Bruntlett followed with a walk it loaded the bases with one out for the pitcher’s spot. Ruiz hit for Madson and the Mets pulled Feliciano for righty Aaron Heilman. Ruiz stayed in the game and blooped one into left. It looked like Pagan started late and the ball fell in front of him. Everyone moved up a base with Burrell scoring to make it 4-2. Jenkins hit for Taguchi against the righty Heilman and struck out swinging 3-2. Werth struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Jenkins strikeout hurt the most with bases loaded and one out. The Phils had a chance there and just didn’t get it done. Dobbs hitting for Coste in the inning strikes me a little odd — I’d rather have Coste against the righty with Dobbs still available than Dobbs against the lefty. Probably doesn’t matter if you can’t hit for Bruntlett because there’s nobody else to play short. If there is someone else on the team that can play short I think you have to hit for Bruntlett there. Even if you have to leave Bruntlett in the game, and I think you do, I still think you have to let Coste hit for himself. Manuel also could have hit Jenkins for Ruiz after Heilman left the game and let Taguchi hit for himself instead of having Jenkins hit for him. Manuel got guys up with a chance to put the Phils ahead and they just couldn’t do it, but partly they got the opportunity they did cause Dobbs got a hit off a lefty and Ruiz got a hit off a righty.

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

Taguchi was 2-for-4.

Werth was 0-for-5, struck out three times and left five men on base.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run.

Howard was 0-for-5 and struck out three times.

Burrell was 0-for-4 with a walk and struck out three times.

Feliz 0-for-2 and walked twice.

Coste 1-for-2 with a walk.

Bruntlett was 0-for-2 and walked twice.

Adam Eaton (0-0, 4.12) faces righty Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 1.50) tonight. Pelfrey has made two starts on the season, both of them good, and one against the Phillies. He faced the Phils on April 9 and allowed two runs over five innings.

Eaton firing on all cylinders, Phils’ hitters happy just to watch

After ten games the Phils have been through their rotation twice and Adam Eaton has just about inarguably been their second best starting pitcher behind Cole Hamels. Apparently the Phils are so surprised their hitters can’t think of much to do but stare. In Eaton’s two starts the Phillies have scored six runs.

Last night the Phils found themselves down 3-0 in the sixth, but scored one in the seventh and two in the eighth to tie the game up and send it to extra-innings. Despite a valiant effort from the pen, the Phils’ hitters couldn’t do much more. With two outs in the twelfth, Jose Reyes ripped a double and roared around to score on a close play when Angel Pagan followed with a single up the middle. The Phils had just two hits after the eighth, an infield single and a bunt where the catcher fell down after fielding the ball.

A big part of the problem for the Phils is the top of the order. With Rollins shelved with an ankle injury, Victorino and Bruntlett have combined to go 2-for-18 with two walks in the last two games.

The Phillies lost to the New York Mets last night, falling 4-3 in twelve innings to drop to 4-6 on the season.

Eaton got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out five.

Eaton had a pretty 1-2-3 first, getting two fly balls to left before striking out David Wright for the third out. Nine pitches.

He walked Carlos Delgado on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the second and Ryan Church followed with a single into right that moved Delgado to second. Damion Easley was next and hit a double-play ball to second that ended the inning. Nicely done by Bruntlett after a rough game the night before.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third.

Pagan led off the fourth with a single. Eaton struck Wright out behind him, but walked Delgado to put men on first and second. Delgado grounded to second for the second out, moving the runners to second and third. Ryan Church was next and delivered a two-run single into center to put the Mets up 2-0. Damion Easley grounded to short to end the frame. Big two-out hit for Church.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Pagan started the sixth with a double and moved to third when Wright followed and grounded out to second. Beltran was next and he singled into right, putting New York up 3-0. Delgado struck out for the second out. With Church at the plate, Beltran tried to steal second — Coste threw him out with the help of a nice pick from Bruntlett.

Ryan Madson started the seventh, seeing his first action since Friday after being sidelined with a sore arm. Jayson Werth, who had pinch-hit in the seventh, entered the game to play center field. Seeing Werth in center should be very, very good news to Phillies fans. He’s not as good as Victorino defensively there, but there’s some evidence he can be solid and brings a ton more offense to the position. Madson gave up a one-out double to Easley before he got Brian Schneider to line softly to Utley. Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson grounded to second to end the inning.

Romero started the seventh. Jose Reyes led off with an infield single and Pagan bunted him to second. Romero walked the righty Wright intentionally to put men on first and second for Beltran. Beltran swung and missed the 2-1 pitch as Reyes and Wright pulled off a double-steal, putting men on second and third with one out. The Phils brought the infield in, but only for one pitch as Romero struck Beltran out swinging for the second out. It brought up the lefty Delgado with the lefty Church behind him, and Delgado grounded to third to end the inning.

The Beltran strikeout after the double-steal was huge for Romero. Beltran could have put the Mets ahead with an out.

Lidge came in to pitch the ninth with the game tied at 3-3. He gave up a two-out walk to Schneider, but got pinch-hitter Endy Chavez to line to short for the third out.

Seanez started the tenth. He walked Wright on a close 3-2 pitch with two outs. Wright stole second on the 0-1 pitch in the dirt, but Seanez struck Beltran out swinging at a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Gordon got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eleventh.

He returned for the twelfth and got the first two before Reyes doubled. Pagan was next and singled up the middle. Werth charged and made a strong throw home. Reyes beat the ball to the plate, but Coste blocked it well. Very close play, but Reyes was called safe and the game was over. 4-3 Mets. Good play by both Werth and Coste to make it close.

Gordon was great in the eleventh, but asking him to go more than one inning might be optimistic.

Something is afoot with Werth in center. It’s not just curious that he played center, it’s also curious at the end of the game both he and Taguchi were on the field and he was in center and Taguchi was in left. If the Phils are really going to give Werth serious time in center that’s very good news.

Good day overall for the pen as they hold the Mets to a run over 5 2/3 innings. Nice to see Madson come back. Nobody threw a ton of pitches, Seanez was the high man with 22. We’ll have to see if Madson can go back-to-back days after his first action since Friday. You would think Romero and Lidge would be okay for tonight. Seanez is likely unavailable after throwing back-to-back days. Gordon only threw 19 pitches, but I would guess that after going more than an inning he probably won’t pitch tonight. Kudos to Chad Durbin for his heroic long effort in relief on Thursday — it gave the Phils a rested pen that pitched well and gave the hitters a lot of chances to win the game.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty John Maine went (1) Victorino (2) Bruntlett (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Rollins stays on the bench with his sore ankle. Victorino and Bruntlett stay at the top of the order. Still too high for Bruntlett, wish they’d just go Utley/Howard/Burrell 2-3-4. Coste gets a start behind the plate with Eaton on the mound.

Victorino led off the first with a single. He took off for second with the count 2-1 on Bruntlett and Bruntlett popped it up to first. Victorino couldn’t get back in time and was doubled-up. Utley flew to the warning track in left for the third out.

With two outs in the second, Jenkins hammered a ball of the wall in left-center for a double. Feliz flew to center to set the Phillies down.

Coste walked to start the third and Eaton bunted him to second. Victorino grounded back to the pitcher for the first out and Bruntlett flew to center.

Burrell walked with two outs in the fourth, but Jenkins grounded to first for the third out.

With the Mets up 2-0 in the fifth, the Phils went down 1-2-3.

Victorino led off the sixth with a walk. Bruntlett followed and flew out before Victorino took off for second with Utley at the plate and was thrown out. Utley singled, Howard walked and Burrell walked, loading the bases with two down. Jenkins grounded out to short to end the frame. The caught stealing by Victorino killed the Phils in the inning as the next three hitters reached based. Second time on the bases that Victorino gave away an out after getting doubled-off in the first.

Feliz started the seventh and hit one out to left for his first home run as a Phil, cutting the Mets’ lead to 3-1. Coste followed with a ground-rule double to left and Dobbs hit for Eaton. Lefty Pedro Feliciano came in to pitch for Maine, and Werth hit for Dobbs and drew a walk. It put men on first and second with nobody out and Victorino tried to bunt them along, couldn’t do it and swung away with two strikes and struck out. Bruntlett struck out looking and Utley went down swinging. The Phils get nothing out of first and second with one out. I would have let Victorino hit, but he had a pretty bad at-bat for the first out.

Righty Aaron Heilman started the eighth against the lefty Howard and Howard smoked a 1-1 pitch out to center to cut the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Righty Aaron Heilman is not really the guy you want facing lefty Ryan Howard in a close game. Don’t understand why it wasn’t the lefty Schoeneweis, especially with another lefty Jenkins hitting after Burrell. Burrell walked and Taugchi ran for him at first. Jenkins singled into right and Taguchi went to third. Big hit for Jenkins. I wouldn’t have run for Burrell there, but he wouldn’t have gone first to third. Feliz grounded softly to third and Wright didn’t have a chance to get Taguchi, who was going on contact. Wright threw Feliz out as Taguchi scored to make it 3-3 and Jenkins went to second. Coste struck out swinging at a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Werth grounded softly to first to end the frame.

Not seeing Schoeneweis, who threw 1/3 of an inning on Tuesday, is perplexing. I know the Mets’ fans hate him but if you’re not going to use him to get out lefties it’s hard to understand why he’s on the team. The lefties Howard and Jenkins hurt Heilman in the inning, Howard with the home run and Jenkins with the single. After you get through those guys, though, there’s nobody you need a lefty for for a while. Feliz, Coste, Werth, three righties (and guys Heilman set down 1-2-3 when he finally got to them).

Rollins hit for Romero to start the ninth and struck out swinging. Bruntlett flew to right for the second out before Utley drew a walk. Howard didn’t look like he had a chance against Wagner and struck out swinging to end the frame.

Jenkins walked with one out in the tenth. Feliz was next and flew to center before Coste lined to first base for the third out.

Werth led off the eleventh with an infield single to third. Wright was guarding the line and had to make a nice diving stop near shortstop to keep it in the infield. Cole Hamels hit for Seanez to bunt and deadened the ball right in front of home plate. Schneider picked it up and slipped as he started to throw to first. Hamels was safe at first with a single and Werth went to second. Bruntlett was next and he tried to bunt. He got down 0-2 and bunted foul for the first out. Schoeneweis came in to pitch to Utley and got him to hit into a double-play to turn the Phillies away.

Jenkins reached on an error with two outs in the twelfth, but Feliz followed and grounded to third to end the frame.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with a walk and a caught stealing. Bad day on the bases and couldn’t get the bunt down in the seventh. 3-for-12 with three singles and two walks in the three-game series. 175/233/225 on the season. He needs to start hitting or he’s going to start losing more at-bats.

Bruntlett was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts and left seven men on base. 1-for-10 with a single and a walk in the series. 167/231/167 in 12 at-bats on the year. Just a miserable start all-around for Bruntlett.

Utley was 1-for-5 with a walk and left four men on base. 3-for-11 with a walk and two doubles in the set. 324/447/676 on the year.

Howard was 1-for-5 with a home run and a walk to raise his average to .189. 2-for-13 with two walks and four strikeouts in the series. 189/311/378.

Burrell was 0-for-1 with three walks in the game. I wouldn’t have run for him in the eighth, even though it helped score the run that tied the game. I might have lost, too, but at least I would have lost with my best players on the field. Burrell was 2-for-8 with four walks in the series. He’s hitting 387/513/774 on the year.

Jenkins was 2-for-5 with a walk and a double. 3-for-9 with a walk and a double in the series. 281/343/438.

Feliz was 1-for-6 with a home run and two RBI. 1-for-13 with two walks in the series. He’s hitting 194/256/306.

Coste was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. The Mets stole three bases in the game and he gunned down Beltran once. 2-for-5 with two doubles and a walk in the series. 308/400/692 in 13 at-bats on the season.

Werth was 1-for-2 with a walk. Still hope the Phillies figure out how to get him more time, and it seems like they’re trying. 3-for-6 with three walks in the series. 364/563/455 in 11 at-bats on the season. Got to get him on the field.

Speaking of got to get him on the field, Rollins was 0-for-1 with a strikeout last night. 2-for-6 in the series. 306/342/528.

Taguchi was 0-for-2. 0-for-4 in the series, 143/143/286 in seven at-bats on the year.

Dobbs was wasted for the second straight game, announced as a pinch-hitter and then pinch-hit for. 0-for-1 with a strikeout in the series. 100/100/100 on the year, really he is.

Ruiz did not play in last night’s game but was 2-for-8 with a walk in the series. 185/241/259.

Victorino, Ruiz, Feliz and Howard are all playing regularly and on-basing .311 or lower.

Burrell and Utley continue to lead the Phillies offense. Werth and Coste have been good with the bat in less playing time.

Lefty Steve Kline signed a minor league deal with the Phils.

Brett Myers (0-1, 6.30) faces righty Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 1.32) tonight. Jason Maquis was supposed to make the start but has the flu, so Zambrano was moved up a day. Zambrano has been good in both of his starts this year. He last pitched on Sunday against the Astros and shut Houston out on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. He didn’t face the Phils last season. Myers has made two starts on the season, neither of them inspired. Opponents have hit .310 against him and he’s walked five in ten innings, four of them lefties. He pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief against the Cubs last season over four games, allowing a run on three hits and two walks.

Myers says he’s closing for nine innings tonight, so look for him to blow out his arm around the fourth.

While on web sites dedicated to fantasy baseball, I also wanted to mention Fantasy Dope. Fantasy Dope is a fantastic aggregator that pulls in news about baseball and other major sports from blogs, team sites and other traditional news outlets. Lots of good baseball stuff whether you’re playing fantasy baseball or not.

I am not saying they are overrated; I am just saying that if Hanley Ramirez played in New York they would have to implement some sort of tithing system

I’m generally against anything that makes the Mets better offensively, but it might be worth it if it meant we got to see Mets’ fans have to bring a tenth of their goats, cows and comeliest women and leave them at the door of Hanley’s apartment.

Five teams in the NL East. This is what the player that played the most innings defensively at shortstop and the player that played the most innings defensively at third base did with the bat last year:







FLA Ramirez 639 .332 .386 .562 .948
FLA Cabrera 588 .320 .401 .565 .965
FLA Total 1227 .326 .393 .563 .956
ATL Renteria 494 .332 .390 .470 .860
ATL Chipper 513 .337 .425 .604 1.029
ATL Total 1007 .335 .408 .538 .947
NYM Reyes 681 .280 .354 .421 .775
NYM Wright 604 .325 .416 .546 .963
NYM Total 1285 .301 .384 .480 .864
PHI J-Roll 716 .296 .344 .531 .875
PHI Nunez 252 .234 .318 .282 .600
PHI Total 968 .280 .337 .466 .803
WAS Lopez 603 .245 .308 .352 .659
WAS Zimmerman 653 .266 .330 .458 .788
WAS Total 1256 .256 .319 .407 .726

Reyes and Wright are fantastic. Last year they were just less fantastic than the duo of Chipper and Renteria, though, and less fantastic than Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez. More fantastic than the offerings of the Phillies and the Nats. Reyes was almost inarguably the fourth-best hitting shortstop in the division and, well, there are only five teams in the division.

Hitting isn’t everything, of course. The chart above doesn’t account for the contribution through the stolen base. Or defense. Ramirez and Cabrera in particular pale in comparison defensively to Wright and Reyes.

The Phillies, meanwhile, were not fantastic. Their numbers look bad as they are and they are actually skewed positively for the Phils in the chart above. Because Rollins got so many more at-bats than Nunez his numbers are more heavily weighted, resulting in a higher OPS. At the same time, Lopez was miserable for the Nats at short last year while Guzman hit the ball well. So the Nats numbers are a bit lower than if they were actually reflecting the offense they got from the position rather than just from Lopez. If you use the numbers of all Phils’ third baseman and recalculate, and all the Nats’ shortstops, the Phils still post a .789 OPS, higher than the .769 for the Nats. But closer. And closer still when you consider that the Nationals play in a much worse place to hit.

So it’s nice to see that Reyes and Wright haven’t been dominating the division. Couple of problems, though, and they’re are spearheaded by these: Reyes and Wright are going to get better and the rest of the division is going to get worse. Of the guys who outpaced them in ’07, two of them, Cabrera and Renteria, now play in Detroit where their impact on the NL East is likely to be minimal.

In 2008, Yunel Escobar will replace Renteria at short for the Braves. He has just about zero chance at producing the offense that Renteria did last year (I would also guess he doesn’t have much chance to produce the offense that he produced last year, either). Chipper also arguably comes off his best season in the last eight, so the chances are good his numbers will be down. I think Reyes/Wright hit better than the Braves’ second and third combo in ’08.

The Fish, meanwhile, will replace Miguel Cabrera with a motley cast of characters. It’s kinda ugly but at the moment it looks like a combination of Dallas McPherson, Jose Castillo and Jorge Cantu. Ramirez’s numbers last year were other worldly — chances are good they’ll be down in ’08 as well.

Going into the season you’d have to pick Wright/Reyes to be the best duo of hitters. I’d go Chipper/Escobar behind them, but it’s close with the Marlins. Feliz and Rollins for the Phils and Zimmerman and Guzman for the Nats seems destined to drag up the rear in ’08 as well.

The Phillies played two games yesterday and are 4-4 in spring training after splitting the pair.

In one of the games they beat the Blue Jays 6-1.

Myers got the start for the Phils and pitched very well, allowing three hits over four shutout innings. He didn’t walk a hitter. Shane Youman followed Myers and tossed three scoreless frames, holding Detroit to two singles. Madson pitched the eighth and the ninth and allowed a run on two hits.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a double and drove in two runs. Ruiz was also 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI, he’s hitting .455 (5-for-11). Helms had two hits, going 2-for-3 with a double. Val Pascucci hit a solo home run in his only at-bat. Rollins was 1-for-2 to raise his average to .133.

In the other game the Phils lost to the Tigers 6-2.

JD Durbin got the start for the Phils and allowed three runs over four innings, all on solo home runs. Carlos Guillen got him twice and Magglio Ordonez hit the other one. Happ followed Durbin and allowed a run on two innings on two singles and a double. Condrey pitched the seventh and allowed another run on two singles and a double. Holdzkom pitched the eighth and allowed a run when walked the leadoff man, balked him to second and he came around to score on two sac flies.

Brandon Watson had two hits, including a double, for the Phils. Burrell went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .154. Snelling was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks, he’s hitting .167.

Phils play the Devil Rays today.

Kris Benson will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday.

Rowand doesn’t give an expletive where the Giants hit him.

This says that Lidge is still hopeful he can return by opening day. It also says that Rollins is not worried by his early slump.

The Mets’ Moises Alou will have hernia surgery today and will miss four to six weeks.

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