Tag: Manny Ramirez

If you want to see what God thinks of money, just look at all the people He gave it to (Dorothy Parker)

Pat Burrell had a big contract in 2008 and he’s going to have a big contract in 2009. He’s not much of a defensive player, but does he produce offense at levels similar to other highly paid hitters? In 2008, Burrell made $14.25 million and posted an OPS+ of 125. Using the salary data that you can access here, I compared his OPS+ to 40 non-pitchers who made $12 million or more in ’08.

Some problems with this, including: 1) it ignores defense 2) even if Burrell is as good an offensive player as the other guys making a lot of money they could all be overpaid. Nate McLouth, for example, made $425,000 in 2008 and was arguably a more productive offensive player than at least 30 of the 41 players on the lists below and 3) I’m comparing the OPS+ of National League players to the OPS+ of American League players. That’s a problem as the formula for OPS+ compares a player’s on-base percentage and slugging to the on-base and slugging percentages for their league rather than for both leagues combined. I have put the OPS+ for AL players in red.

All that said, here it is:

  Made at least $12M in ’08 but
OPS+ lower than Burrell

Player

Salary

AB

OPS+
Carlos Guillen 12.0 420 114
Jose Guillen 12.0 598 96
Paul Konerko 12.0 438 102
Ivan Rodriguez 12.379 398 87
Mike Lowell 12.5 419 103
Troy Glaus 12.5 544 124
Garrett Anderson 12.6 557 97
David Ortiz 13.0 416 123
Hideki Matsui 13.0 337 108
Johnny Damon 13.0 555 118
Jorge Posada 13.1 168 103
Derrek Lee 13.25 623 110
Gary Sheffield 13.326 418 90
Adrian Beltre 13.4 556 109
Alfonso Soriano 14.0 453 121

Unlike OPS+, sOPS+ allows us to compare a hitter’s right/left splits to all hitters in the major leagues rather than just other hitters in his league. Burrell’s sOPS+ against righties in ’08 was 132, against lefties it was 144.

Looking at some of the players who were close to Burrell, Carlos Guillen’s sOPS+ right/left splits were 110/111.

David Ortiz’s were 136/110, suggesting that Ortiz was slightly better against righties and worse against lefties. Baseball Reference calculates Ortiz’s runs created at 79 for 2008 compared to 106 for Burrell.

Mike Lowell’s sOPS+ for ’08 were 108/146. A little better than Burrell against lefties. More than a hundred fewer at-bats and fewer runs created.

Damon 128/104. Runs created of 104.

Glaus killed righties but not lefties, 147/97. Soriano was the opposite, 114/182. Both had lower runs created than Burrell.

  Made at least $12M in ’08 and had an
OPS+ better than Burrell
Player Salary AB OPS+
Chipper Jones 12.33 439 174
Mark
Teixeira
12.5 574 151
Carlos Lee 12.5 436 144
Adam Dunn 13.0 517 129
Albert Pujols 13.87 524 190
JD Drew 14.0 368 137

Burrell did have a better runs created than either JD Drew or Carlos Lee, though, because those players had significantly fewer at-bats in ’08 than Burrell. Chipper also had many fewer at-bats but created more runs.

Dunn’s sOPS+ right/left were 143/121.

Here’s the players that made as much or more than the $14.25 million Burrell made in ’08:

  Made as much or more  in ’08 but
OPS+ lower than or equal to Burrell

Player

Salary

AB

OPS+

Pat Burrell

14.25

536
125

Andruw Jones

14.726

209
34

Miguel Tejada

14.811

362
92

Richie Sexson

15.5

280
89

Jim Thome

15.66

503
123

Bobby Abreu

16.0

609
120

Torii Hunter

16.5

551
110

Todd Helton

16.6

299
100

Ichiro Suzuki

17.102

686
102

Derek Jeter

21.6

596
102

Thome’s sOPS+ was 123/142, again worse than Burrell’s 132/144. Created fewer runs than Burrell.

Torii Hunter 118/122.

The lefty Abreu was better against lefties than righties in ’08, 114/146. His runs created were very similar to Burrell’s — the same using the formula that Baseball-Reference is using and better using the formula used by ESPN‘s baseball stats.

These guys made more money than Burrell and put up a better OPS+:

  Made more money than Burrell and had a
better OPS+

Player

Salary

AB

OPS+

Lance Berkman

14.5

554
159

Aramis Ramirez

15.0

554
128

Vlad Guerrero

15.5

541
130

Rafael Furcal

15.73

143
164

Magglio Ordonez

15.768

561
127

Carlos Delgado

16.0

598

127

Carlos Beltran

16.0

598
127

Manny Ramirez

18.929

552
164

Jason Giambi

23.428

458
128

Alex Rodriguez

28.0

510
150

Aramis Ramirez comes out on top of Burrell because he pounded right-handed pitching. 163/87. Like Ramirez, Carlos Delgado was better than Burrell, but it was close. Delgado did have a better runs created, but Burrell’s sOPS+ right/left splits are a little better than Delgado’s 133/122. Delgado hit for a higher average, .271 to .250, and outslugged Burrell .518 to .507. He also hit five more home runs (38 for Delgado and 33 for Burrell) and drove in 115 runs to Burrell’s 86.

Burrell created more runs than Furcal, who had just 143 at-bats on the season. He also, however, had a better runs created than Vlad Guerrero (whose sOPS+ right/left were 150/112), Jason Giambi (127/140) or Magglio Ordonez (140/125).

This article points out that Jermaine Dye has a no-trade clause and that the Phillies are one of the teams on his no-trade list.

The Braves are expected to finalize their trade for Javier Vazquez today. This article suggests that the Braves may also offer AJ Burntett a five-year deal and that the Phillies have made an offer to Derek Lowe.


And if someone can just tell Fonzie we’re keeping the Liberty Bell, too, I think we can call that a wrap

Henry Winkler, best known from his years on Happy Days, read the Dodgers lineup on FOX to kick off game five of the NLCS. The diehard Dodger fan ended his reading by suggesting that Philadelphia could keep the Liberty Bell, but LA was taking the game. The Fonz is a pretty cool cat, but there was nobody in the stadium cooler than Cole Hamels last night. Hamels gave the Phils his third fantastic start of the post-season, holding LA to a run over seven innings. All Police Officer Kirk could manage off of him was a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth. And Kirk never could play short.

After the heart-breaking blast that Matt Stairs delivered the Dodgers in the eighth-inning of game three, there were a lot of people who saw the Phillies finishing off the series as a formality. Jimmy Rollins got it going pretty quickly, leading off the game, like he did when the Phillies won game four of the NLDS to beat the Brewers, with a home run. The Phillies scored two more in the third and another pair of runs in a fifth inning that featured three errors by Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Five runs was more than Hamels would need. And when he departed after seven strong innings, Madson and Lidge looked just as fantastic as they have all post-season. After two shutdown frames last night, they’ve combined to throw 16 1/3 playoff innings in which they allowed two earned runs (1.10 ERA) on twelve hits and four walks (0.98 ratio) while striking out 16.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning 5-1 to take the NLCS four games to one. The Phils will play either the Red Sox or the Devil Rays in the World Series, which starts on Wednesday.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and three walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run by Ramirez. Hamels struck out five.

Hamels has made three playoff starts for the Phillies in 2008, going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and an 0.82 ratio. In 22 innings he has struck out 22.

The Dodger lineup against Hamels went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Blake (3B/R) (7) Kemp (CF/R) (8) DeWitt (2B/L). That’s the same lineup that faced Hamels in game one with Blake and Kemp switched in the six and seven holes.

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

Hamels started the first with a 1-0 lead and got Furcal to ground a 1-1 pitch to short for the first out. Ethier popped a fly ball into right for the second out before Ramirez walked on a 3-1 pitch outside. Martin grounded to third on a 2-2 pitch for the third out.

Fifteen pitches for Hamels in the first.

Loney singled into center on a 1-2 pitch to start the second. Blake flew to right for the first out before Kemp moved Loney to second with a single to right. DeWitt swung at the first pitch and hit into a double-play ball to second to end the inning. Ten pitches in the inning had Hamels at 25.

Pablo Ozuna hit for pitcher Chan Ho Park and tried to bunt for a hit, but Hamels took the ball and threw to first for the first out with the Phils up 3-0. Furcal popped to second and Ethier struck out swinging. Ten more pitches for Hamels. Thirty-five for the game.

Manny struck out the first pitch in the fourth and grounded to third. Martin grounded back to Hamels for the second out. Hamels struck Loney out on three pitches to end the inning. Just eight pitches in the inning for Hamels. 43.

Blake started the fifth with a single into center and moved to second when Kemp hit a 2-2 pitch into left field for another single. DeWitt was next and hit a 2-1 pitch hard, but right at Utley at second. Utley and Rollins turned the double-play, leaving Blake at third with two down. Kent hit for Greg Maddux and struck out swinging 0-2 to end the inning. Fifteen pitches in the inning and 58 for the game for Hamels.

Second time in the game Hamels got out of a jam by getting DeWitt to hit into a big double-play.

Furcal grounded to second for the first out of the sixth. Ethier was next and drove a 2-2 pitch to left field, but Burrell made a nice running catch near the corner for the second out. It left the bases empty for Manny and saved the Phils a run, cause Ramirez hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to cut the lead to 5-1. Martin was infuriated when he went down looking at a 3-2 pitch that may have been low. Twenty pitches for Hamels in the inning. 78.

Ramirez was 8-for-15 (533/682/1.067) in the series with two doubles, two home runs and seven walks.

Loney led off the seventh and hit an 0-1 pitch into center that Victorino took for the first out. Blake drove a ball into right center that Victorino caught just before he bumped into the wall. Hamels got ahead of Kemp 0-2, but walked him on a 3-2 pitch way low and outside. Nomar Garciaparra hit for the pitcher James McDonald and Hamels again got ahead of him 0-2 and couldn’t put him away, walking him on a high 3-2 pitch. Manuel came out to talk to Hamels and left him in the game to pitch to the righty Kent with the pitcher’s spot due to lead off the eighth for the Phils. Kent struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outside corner. Twenty-six pitches in the inning for Hamels, 104 for he game.

Manuel almost never comes out to the mound without taking out the pitcher.

Madson started the eighth up 5-1. Furcal led off and shattered his bat hitting a soft liner that Utley made a diving catch on for the first out. Ethier popped a 1-0 pitch into right for the second out. Ramirez again hit with the bases empty. Madson threw a 1-0 fastball past a swinging Ramirez and then a high 1-1 fastball that Ramirez swung under. Ramirez hit a 2-2 pitch on the ground to the left of Rollins. The ball went off of Rollins’ glove and into center field for a single. Ramirez took second on defensive indifference as the count went 1-1 on Martin. Martin hit a slow check-swing roller to first. Howard took it to the bag to end the inning.

Fantastic inning for Madson, who was throwing unusually hard. Fox’s radar gun had him at 97 several times, which is way high for a guy usually topping out in the low 90′s.

Lidge started the ninth with a 5-1 lead. He got ahead of Loney 0-2 before Loney blooped a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Blake flailed at a 1-1 slider and then flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Kemp crushed a 2-0 pitch to straight away center, but Victorino took it just in front of the wall for the second out. Loney took second as Lidge delivered ball one to Garciaparra. Garciaparra popped a 3-2 pitch up foul down the third base line where Ruiz took it to send the Phillies to the World Series.

Two more scoreless innings for the Phillies pen. Both Madson and Lidge have a long time to rest.

Fantastic series for Phillies relievers as they allow three runs in 18 2/3 innings. One of the runs was unearned — two earned runs in 18 2/3 innings is an 0.96 ERA. They struck out 17.

Lidge and Madson carried the bulk of the weight. Madson threw five scoreless innings and Lidge didn’t allow a run in 4 1/3. Both of them looked just fantastic doing it, too. Romero, Eyre and Condrey combined to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings as well. Romero made three appearances in which he didn’t allow a hit but walked three. Eyre made two appearances without allowing a hit but walking one while Condrey allowed a walk in 2/3 of an inning in the only game he pitched in. Happ pitched three innings in relief of Moyer in game three and allowed a run on four hits and two walks. Durbin was the guy who was hit hard. He made three appearances, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks over two innings.

The Dodger pen pitched well again last night, holding the Phils to two unearned runs over 6 1/3 innings. They were fantastic in the series with the notable exception of game four.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chad Billingsley went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz gets the start at third with Dobbs on the bench this time, and Victorino hits sixth with Werth hitting second. Otherwise it’s the same lineup the Phillies used against Billingsley in game two.

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

Rollins led off the game and quickly got behind 0-2. Billingsley couldn’t put him away, though, and on the eighth pitch of the at-bat Rollins drove a 3-2 offering out to right-center to put the Phillies up 1-0. Werth followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch that was high and outside, but Utley was next and hit a ground ball to first. Loney took it and tagged first, then threw to second. Werth went into Furcal hard, but Furcal tagged him out to complete the double-play. Furcal limped around after Werth’s slide, apparently with an injured left ankle, but stayed in the game. Howard grounded to first for the third out.

Burrell waived at an inside 1-2 pitch to start the second. Victorino followed with a strikeout of his own before Feliz lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Ruiz flew to center to leave him stranded.

Hamels struck out swinging for the first out of the third. Rollins was next and he drew a walk on five pitches. Rollins stole second, just barely sliding in safely, as the count went 1-2 on Werth. Werth struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt for the second out. Utley walked on an inside 3-2 pitch to put men on first and second for Howard. Billingsley blew a 1-1 fastball past a swinging Howard, but delivered a 2-2 curveball that Howard drilled past Loney and into right field. Rollins scored from second to put the Phils up 2-0 with Utley going to third. Burrell followed and singled into right-center. Utley scored and Howard went to third with the Phils up 3-0. Billingsley’s 1-0 pitch to Victorino was in the dirt and under Martin’s glove. Howard held third and Burrell went to second. With first base now open and Victorino ahead 2-0, LA walked Victorino intentionally to load the bases for Feliz. Chan Ho Park came in to pitch to Feliz. Park got Feliz to ground to third to end the frame.

Greg Maddux started the fourth. Ruiz flew to right for the first out. Hamels struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch. Rollins struck out looking 2-2 as well to set the Phillies down.

Werth singled to left to start the fifth. Utley was next and he hit a ground ball to Loney at first. Loney would have had the double-play, but had trouble getting the ball out of his glove and his throw to second was a little slow. Werth was out at second, but Utley beat the relay and was safe at first. Howard moved Utley to second with a single to right and brought up Burrell with two men on and one out. Burrell hit a 1-2 pitch to short, where Furcal tried to backhand the ball but didn’t field it cleanly. It dropped out of his glove and onto his shoe and rolled away. Utley scored from second to make it 4-0. Furcal tracked the ball down and threw home, but his throw to the plate was wild. Two errors on the play by Furcal. Howard wound up on third and Burrell on second. Victorino was again walked intentionally, loading the bases for Feliz with one out. Feliz struck out swinging at a high 1-2 fastball for the second out. Ruiz hit a routine ground ball to short. This time Furcal fielded it fine but his throw to first was terrible, in the dirt for another error. Howard scored and it was 5-0. Just for giggles, Loney picked the ball up and threw it wildly in the direction of, well, I don’t know. It was sort of like he was torn between throwing it wildly to home and wildly into the Dodgers’ dugout and went with a tweener. Burrell had turned back to third thinking the play was over. Hamels grounded to first for the third out.

Two is too many times in a game to walk Victorino intentionally. Feliz had left six men stranded through five innings. Not a good inning for Furcal.

James McDonald started the sixth for the Dodgers. Rollins led off and tried to bunt for a hit and was thrown out by the pitcher. Werth grounded out to second for the second out. Utley struck out swinging 2-2 to end the frame.

McDonald walked Howard to start the seventh. Burrell swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and popped to third. Victorino singled into right and Howard moved to second. Just two men on for Feliz this time and he struck out. Martin threw to first after the strikeout and the ball hit Victorino in the ribs as the dove back to the base. Ruiz chopped to third to end the frame.

Eight men left on base for Feliz.

James McDonald threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phils in the series, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Lefty Joe Beimel started the eighth. Taguchi hit for Hamels and grounded to Blake, now playing second, for the first out. Cory Wade came in to pitch to Rollins. Rollins grounded to second as well. Werth grounded to third for the third out.

The Phillies do not have a good option when it comes to a right-handed pinch-hitter off the bench, as evidenced by Taguchi leading off the eighth.

Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo started the ninth for LA. Utley struck out trying to check his swing on a 2-2 pitch that was very high. Howard singled into right on a 3-1 pitch. Bruntlett was next, having entered in the seventh to play left, and hit into a double-play to end the frame.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and a home run. The home run was the only extra-base hit in the game for the Phillies. 3-for-21 (.143) with a home run, two walks and eight strikeouts in the series. He on-based .217 at the top of the Phillies lineup.

Werth was 1-for-4 last night. 4-for-21 (190/227/238) with a double and a walk in the series. Struck out seven times.

Utley 0-for-4 with a walk. 6-for-17 (353/522/647) with two doubles, a home run and six walks in the series.

Howard 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 6-for-20 (300/391/350) with a double and three walks in the series. Struck out just twice.

Burrell 1-for-4 with an RBI and a ground ball to Furcal in the game. 6-for-18 (333/368/500) with a home run, one walk and seven strikeouts in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-2 with two walks last night. 4-for-18 (222/300/500) with a triple, a home run and a team-high six RBI.

Feliz was 1-for-4 in the game and left eight men on base. 2-for-13 (154/214/154) with two singles in the series. He went 2-for-10 with San Francisco in the post-seasons of 2002 and 2003 and now has a career post-season line of 194/216/278 in 36 at-bats. Dobbs did not play last night but was 3-for-6 (500/571/667) with a double in the series.

Ruiz was 0-for-4 last night. 5-for-16 (313/353/375) with a double in the series. Coste was 1-for-1 in the series.

No game today. Game one of the World Series will be away for the Phillies, either in Boston or Florida.


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.


Maybe it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, but we’re not in Philadelphia any more

Last night’s broadcast of game three of the NLCS in Los Angeles started out with Danny DeVito explaining that he was a Dodgers fan while he read the Phillies lineup. Things got stranger from there. Jamie Moyer got mauled, giving up five runs in the first inning. The Phils never bounced back and the Dodgers went on to win the game 7-2.

The game will most be remembered for a bench-clearing incident after the top of the third inning. After Brett Myers had come way up and in on Russell Martin and thrown a pitch behind Manny Ramirez in game two in Philadelphia, Martin was infuriated when Clay Condrey knocked him to the ground with another knockdown pitch last night in the bottom of the second. When Shane Victorino came to the plate with two outs in top of the third, Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda delivered a fastball just over the head of the center fielder. When Victorino grounded to first to end the frame, he and Kuroda exchanged words and the benches cleared for further discussion.

Pretty ugly game all around for the Phils. Not much offense — the Phillies have now been outscored 14-13 in the series. Moyer’s start, his second weak outing in two post-season appearances, certainly raises some questions about what the Phillies would do if the series went to a game seven in Philadelphia. The one thing they probably wouldn’t do is feel confident about sending Moyer to the mound.

As a bright spot, the bullpen shined again for the Phillies. JA Happ showed why he is on the roster, giving the Phils three innings and holding the Dodgers to a run. Romero and Durbin, core components of the pen that have been shaky or just plain absent recently, both pitched well in the blowout. The Phillies bullpen has allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings in the series.

The Phillies lost game three of the NLCS last night, falling 7-2. They lead the Dodgers two games to one in the best-of-seven series. The Phillies are 5-2 in the post-season after going 13-3 to end the regular season. The last time they lost a game that wasn’t started by Moyer was September 24.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 1 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple and a home run. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. He’s been hit hard in both of his post-season starts this season, allowing eight runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Dodger lineup against Moyer went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Garciaparra (1B/R) (6) Blake (3B/R) (7) Kemp (CF/R) (8) DeWitt (2B/L). Garciaparra starts at first after Loney played first against the lefty Hamels in game one. Blake moves up to sixth and Kemp down to seventh after Blake hit sixth and Kemp seventh in game one. Nomar came into the game 15-for-36 (417/432/722) against Moyer in his career.

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

Furcal started the first with a single into left. Ethier singled past a diving Utley and into right, moving Furcal to second. Manny ripped the first pitch of his at-bat into left for a single. Burrell had no chance to get Furcal, but threw home. Furcal was safe, the ball bounced before the plate and over Ruiz’s head where it was backed up nicely by Moyer. The throw home allowed Manny to wind up at second with Ethier at third. Burrell also threw to the wrong base in game three of the NLDS. Moyer hit Martin in the knee with a 1-2 pitch, loading the bases with nobody out. Garciaparra struck out for the first out, looking at a 2-2 pitch on the outside corner. Moyer got ahead of Blake, but Blake hit a soft liner into right on an 0-2 pitch for another single. Everyone moved up a base and it was 2-0 with the bases still loaded and one out for Kemp. Kemp got ahead 3-0 but went down looking at a 3-2 pitch on the inside of the plate. Moyer got ahead of DeWitt 2-0 before DeWitt hit a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner for a triple that cleared the bases and put the Dodgers up 5-0. Kuroda chopped to third to end the inning.

Moyer threw 35 pitches in the first inning.

He started the second down 5-1. Furcal swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and hit the ball out to left-center, putting LA up 6-1. Ethier swung at the first pitch as well, popping it into shallow center for the first out. Manny was next and Clay Condrey came in to pitch to him. Condrey walked Ramirez on a 3-2 pitch, putting him on first for Martin with one out. Condrey’s first pitch to Martin was up and in, knocking him to the ground. Martin was not pleased, glaring out at the mound. He swung really hard at the next pitch and grounded it to short. Rollins took it there and started the double-play to end the inning.

Happ started the third after a bench-clearing incident between the top and bottom of the inning. Nomar hit his first pitch into center for a single. Blake also swung at the first pitch and flew into shallow center for the first out. Kemp got ahead 2-0 and singled into right field past a diving Utley, moving Nomar to second. Happ struck the lefty DeWitt out swinging 2-2 for the second out. The pitcher Kuroda went down swinging for the third out.

Furcal popped a 2-2 pitch to second for the first out of the fourth. Ethier flew to center on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Ramirez walked on four pitches and Martin walked on four pitches behind him. Nomar lined an 0-1 pitch into left for a single. Burrell threw home, but Feliz wisely cut his throw and the Phils got Martin in-between second and third to end the inning. Ramirez scored before Rollins tagged out Martin, extending the lead to 7-1.

Happ walked two righties and gave up a hit to another and it cost him a run. He had thrown 37 pitches in the game.

Blake grounded to third for the first out in the fifth. Kemp was next and he singled into center. With DeWitt at the plate and the count 1-1, Kemp took off for second but left too early. Happ threw to first and Howard made an accurate throw to second where Rollins tagged Kemp out for the second out (he looked safe to me). DeWitt grounded to short for the third out.

The Phils hit for Happ in the top of the sixth. Happ allowed four hits and two walks in three innings in the game, with all of the damage done by righties. Two hits for Kemp, two for Garciaparra and walks to Ramirez and Martin. Nice job to pitch well enough to give the pen a break, though.

Eyre started the sixth. He got the pitcher Kuroda to ground to second for the first out. Furcal hit a ball between short and third and Feliz made a nice play, moving to his left to glove the ball and making a strong throw to first to get Furcal for the second out. Ethier flew to left for the third out.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phillies down 7-2. He got Ramirez to fly to right before he hit Martin with a first pitch breaking ball that didn’t break enough. The lefty Loney hit for the righty Garciaparra and struck out swinging on three pitches for the second out. Martin stole second with Blake at the plate, Coste made a miserable throw from his knees that nearly hit Durbin in the head before bouncing feet in front of second base. Blake walked to put men on first and second with two down, but Condrey got Kemp looking at a 1-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.

Romero pitched the eighth. Berroa, who replaced DeWitt at second in the top of the inning, led off and grounded to third for the first out. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Cory Wade and struck out swinging. Furcal walked on four pitches before Romero got the lefty Ethier looking at an 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Nice to see both Durbin and Romero have nice outings. The Phils are going to need both of them.

The Phillies pen went 6 2/3 innings in the game, allowing a run on four hits and five walks. Happ allowed all four of the hits in his three innings, and two of the walks. Happ threw 44 pitches and is surely unavailable tonight. Durbin threw 21, Romero 16, Eyre 9 and Condrey eight.

Overall, the Phils have allowed 14 runs in the first three games of the series, six of which were allowed my Moyer. They have walked way too many over the past two games, though. After walking seven in game two they walked five last night.

The LA pen went two more scoreless innings. Wade needed 33 pitches to throw two innings, which is good news for the Phillies. Dodgers’ relievers have not been charged with a run in the series — they have thrown 11 1/3 innings.

The Phillies lineup against righty Hiroki Kuroda went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz back at third after Dobbs started against Billingsley and made an error in game two. Ruiz continues to catch with Victorino hitting second and Werth sixth. Ruiz caught about 60% of the batters that Moyer faced this season, with Coste catching for the other 40%.

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

Rollins got behind 0-2 and then grounded to second for the first out. Victorino popped to short on an 0-1 pitch for the second out. Kuroda got ahead of Utley 1-0 before he finally delivered his first ball of the game. The 1-1 pitch was way high. Not close to hitting Utley, but up near his head and perhaps not an accident after Myers threw way up and in on Martin and then behind Ramirez in the first inning of game two. Utley took two more ball and drew a walk. Howard got behind 1-2 and Utley took off for second as Kuroda threw ball three. Martin’s throw to second bounced before it got to the bag, but Furcal made a nice play to pick it and block Utley’s slide with his left foot as he tagged Utley out to end the frame.

I’d try hard not to get caught stealing with Howard at the plate.

Down 5-0, Howard led off the second and doubled into right field. Burrell was next and hit a 3-1 pitch well to left, but Ramirez took it at the warning track for the first out. Werth flew to center on a 1-1 pitch for the second out, with Howard moving up to third. Feliz was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Howard scored to get the Phillies on the board at 5-1. Ruiz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and flew to center.

Jenkins hit for Condrey to start the third and grounded a 3-1 pitch to short for the first out. Rollins went down looking at a 1-2 pitch on the inside corner. Kuroda threw the first pitch to Victorino behind his head, drawing an angry reaction from Victorino, who gestured at his head and then his body. Victorino grounded a 1-1 pitch to first for the third out. Garciaparra took the ball to the base himself, but Kuroda had come over towards the bag in case he needed to cover. Victorino again gestured to Kuroda and the benches cleared. No punches or ejections. Manny looked pretty enthusiastic, but was restrained.

Utley ripped the first pitch of the fourth to first, where it was picked by Garciaparra who took it to first for the first out. Howard grounded a 2-0 pitch to second for the second out. Burrell struck out swinging 2-2 to set the Phillies down.

Werth struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the fifth. Feliz grounded to short for the second. Ruiz flew to right on a 2-2 pitch for the third out.

Through five innings, Kuroda had allowed a run on two hits and a walk and thrown 67 pitches.

Iguchi hit for Happ to start the sixth and grounded to short. Rollins flew to center on a 1-0 pitch for the second out. Victorino grounded a 2-2 pitch to second for the second out.

Utley led off the seventh and hit a 2-1 pitch down the left field line for a double. Howard lined the first pitch of his at-bat into right for a single that fell at the feet of Ethier. Burrell was next and he dumped a 1-1 pitch into center field for a single that scored Utley and moved Howard to second with the Phils down 7-2. Cory Wade came in to pitch to Werth and quickly got ahead 0-2. Werth tried to check his swing at a 1-2 pitch outside and in the dirt. Looked like he checked to me, but he didn’t get the call and was down on strikes for the first out. Feliz hit for himself with the righty Wade on the mound and flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Howard tagged and took third, sliding in safely ahead of a strong throw from Kemp. Dobbs hit for Ruiz and Wade stayed in to face him with two outs and men on first and third. Dobbs hit it back up the middle, but Furcal took it just to the left of second and threw Dobbs out at first to set the Phils down.

Coste was on deck to hit for the pitcher Eyre. Phillies could have hit Stairs for Feliz (or Dobbs for Feliz and Stairs for Ruiz), but didn’t. Don’t know why if they weren’t going to hit Stairs for the pitcher’s spot.

Coste led off the eighth with a single into left with Wade still on the mound for LA. First career post-season hit for Coste. Rollins struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Victorino popped to third on a 1-0 pitch. Utley grounded to short to leave Coste stranded.

Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for LA with a 7-2 lead. Howard grounded to first for the first out. Burrell struck out swinging on three pitches for the second. Werth got ahead 2-1 and singled to right, but was left at first when Feliz popped to second to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the game. He’s 1-for-13 with six strikeouts in the series.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game and 2-for-13 with a triple and four RBI in the series.

Utley 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in the game. 3-for-8 with a double, a home run and five walks in the series.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double. 2-for-12 with a walk in the series.

Burrell 1-for-4 with an RBI. 4-for-11 with a home run and six strikeouts in the series.

Werth 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. 2-for-12 with a double in the series.

Feliz 1-for-4 with an RBI. 1-for-7 in the series.

Ruiz 0-for-2 in the game and 3-for-9 with a double in the series.

Joe Blanton (9-12, 4.69) faces Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24) tonight in game four. Lowe started game one for the Dodgers and took a 2-0 shutout into the sixth inning before giving up three runs on homers to Utley and Burrell. He’ll be pitching on three days rest. He made one start on three days rest this season, on May 18 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk over five innings (12.60 ERA).

The Phillies have won the last five games that Blanton started, most notably game four of the NLDS. Blanton allowed three hit and took a shutout into the seventh before Fielder hit a monster home run to start the seventh and Hardy followed him with a single. Blanton ended the day with the win, having allowed a run on five hits and no walks over six while striking out seven.

Righties hit Blanton better than lefties this season. They hit .286 against him with a 1.56 ratio, lefties .256 with a 1.25 ratio.

Blanton made two starts against the Dodgers this season, throwing to a 4.09 ERA but a 1.91 ratio (he allowed 15 hits and six walks in 11 innings). On August 13 the Phillies gave him a 6-1 lead in the second, but allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks over five innings and the Dodgers came back to win 7-6. Blanton was much better on August 24. He held LA to a run on six hits and three walks over six innings and the Phils won the game on a game-winning three-run homer by Feliz in the eleventh.

Ramirez is an amazing 14-for-25 against Blanton in his career (560/600/720). Another former ALer, Casey Blake, is just 1-for-21. Berroa is the only other player on the roster who has more than ten at-bats against Blanton, he’s 3-for-11.


Maybe what they’ve been trying to say about Burrell is he’s good for 30 good swings a post-season

That would make a little more sense.

Pat Burrell may have a one-path swing, but the path apparently goes right through the playoffs. Burrell blasted his third home run in two games last night, a game-winner for the Phils. Over the last two games the Phillies have scored nine runs and Burrell has driven in five of them. After ending the regular season in a long slump, Burrell sure chose a splendid time to pick things up again. He’s 5-for-his-last-7 with a walk.

The Phillies won game one of the NLCS last night, a game that was similar to the first game of the Division Series against the Brewers. Again Cole Hamels pitched very well, again the Phils scored three runs with all of the runs coming in one inning and again the inning they scored in was aided by a defensive miscue by their opponent.

Derek Lowe and his sinker kept the Phils in check through five innings and Lowe started the sixth up 2-0. Victorino led off the sixth with a ground ball to short and his speed made Rafael Furcal hurry a little too much. Furcal’s throw to first was wild and Victorino wound up on second on the error. That opened the door for the Phils. Utley popped one out to right to tie the game. Two batters later Burrell homered to left to put them up to stay.

Hamels was fantastic for his second straight start of the playoffs, holding the Dodgers to a pair of runs over seven innings. One of the runs scored with the help of a check-swing double down the right-field line to start the fourth. Madson and Lidge again were both fantastic, protecting a one-run lead in the eighth and the ninth.

The Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, winning game one of the best-of-seven NLCS 3-2. Game two is this afternoon.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out eight.

The Dodger lineup against Hamels went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3) Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Martin (C/R) (5) Loney (1B/L) (6) Kemp (CF/R) (7) Blake (3B/R) (8) DeWitt (2B/L). Lefties Loney and DeWitt in the lineup with Garciaparra and Kent on the bench for the Dodgers. Ethier, hitting second, is likely to drop against righties.

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

Hamels got Furcal to ground a 1-1 pitch to short for the first out in the first. Ethier was next and he lined a 1-1 pitch into left-center. Burrell cut it off before it got to the track, but Ethier had a double. Manny tried to check his swing on a high fastball to start his at-bat, but couldn’t hold up. He hammered the next pitch to center. It hit high off the wall in center and missed going out by about a foot. Ramirez had a double with Ethier scoring easily to put LA up 1-0. Martin went down swinging at a high fastball for the second out before Hamels walked Loney on a 3-2 pitch low and away. The first pitch to Kemp was up and away and off of Ruiz’s glove for a passed ball that moved the runners to second and third with two down. Kemp flew to right on a 2-1 pitch to set the Dodgers down.

First chance for the Phils not to pitch to Manny with one out and a man on second. They pitch to him and it costs them. I would have pitched to him, too.

Twenty-three pitches in the first inning for Hamels.

He came back with a quick 1-2-3 second. He struck Blake out on three pitches, got DeWitt to fly to left on a 2-1 pitch and got Lowe looking at a 2-2 breaking ball. Twelve more pitches put Hamels at 35.

Furcal grounded to short to start the third. Ethier was next and hit a 1-1 pitch hard to first where Howard tried to backhand the ball but misplayed it. The ball went off of Howard’s body and Ethier had a single, his second hit of the game. Hamels got Ramirez to pop to short for the second out, but walked Martin on five pitches to put men on first and second with two down. Loney was next and got ahead 2-0, but Hamels came back with three straight strikes to get him swinging to leave both runners stranded. Twenty pitches in the inning for Hamels. 55.

Kemp led off the fourth and swung at the first pitch. He got jammed badly, popping a ball down the right field line. It landed just inside the line and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Blake grounded a 2-2 pitch to short for the first out with Kemp taking third. Kemp taking third on the ground out proved to be critical in the inning for LA, because DeWitt was next and flew to center deep enough to score him and put LA up 2-0. Lowe grounded to first to end the frame. Twelve more pitches for Hamels had him at 67 through four innings.

Great base-running by Kemp to go to third on the ground ball to short and it got the Dodgers a run. Unfortunate way to give up a run with the silly double by Kemp to start the inning.

Furcal tried to bunt early in the count to start the fifth before he grounded to short for the third time in the game for the first out. Hamels got Ethier for the first time next, striking him out swinging at a pretty 2-2 changeup. Manny followed with a single into center, but Hamels left him stranded by getting Martin looking 1-2 for the third out. Seventeen pitches for Hamel in the inning and 84 for the game.

Loney led off the sixth and lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Kemp was next and grounded an 0-1 pitch to short, where Rollins started a double-play to clear the bases. Blake grounded an 0-1 pitch to short for the third out. Just eight pitches in the sixth for Hamels. He was at 92 for the game.

Hamels started the seventh with a 3-2 lead. He got behind DeWitt 3-1, but came back to strike him out swinging. Jeff Kent hit for the pitcher Chan Ho Park and swung out swinging at a 1-2 fastball for the second out. Furcal was next and hit a ground ball back up the middle that went off of Hamels but right to Rollins. Rollins threw Furcal out for the third out. Thirteen pitches for Hamels in the inning had Hamels at 105.

Madson started the eighth with a one-run lead. Ethier led off and Madson struck him out swinging at a 1-2 changeup that was low and away. Manny lined the first pitch of his at-bat to third for the second out. Martin smashed a 1-0 pitch down the third base line, under the glove of Feliz and off his toe. Burrell, who was probably only in the game because he was due to hit fourth in the bottom of the inning, got to it quickly, holding Martin to a single. It brought up the lefty Loney and Madson stayed in to pitch to him with lefties Eyre and Romero in the pen. Loney chopped a grounder to second to set the Dodgers down.

Worked out great for the Phillies, but I think you need to bring a lefty in to pitch to Loney as the go-ahead run there. After being a critical component of the pen all season, Romero has thrown one pitch in the post-season and Eyre was the Phillie lefty warming late in the game.

Huge inning for Madson against the heart of the order with a one-run lead.

Lidge started the ninth for the Phils. Kemp drove a ball into right-center, but Victorino took it in front of the warning track for the first out. Lidge bounced a 2-2 pitch to Blake in front of the plate. Blake fouled off a 3-2 pitch before he flew to Victorino in center at the track for the second out. The lefty DeWitt was next and took ball one before he flailed at two sliders. The 1-2 pitch was in the dirt. DeWitt swung and missed and the ball got away from Ruiz, but Ruiz pounced on it and threw DeWitt out at first to end the game.

Lidge has looked fantastic since game one of the NLDS and looked to be in complete control again last night.

Two scoreless innings for the Phillies pen. They allowed one hit, the single by Martin off of Madson, and struck out two. Lidge threw 13 pitches and Madson threw ten.

The LA pen went 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, the infield single by Ruiz off of Maddux. They didn’t strike anyone out or walk anyone. None of Kuo, Maddux or Park threw more than ten pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz at third with the lefty Dobbs on the bench — Dobbs would help a Phillies offense struggling to put up runs. Ruiz behind the plate — the Phillies have now played eight playoff games in the past two years and Ruiz has started all eight of them. Ruiz caught Hamels most of the time during the regular season, he was behind the plate for about 79% of the batters he faced.

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

Rollins led off the first and took strike one before he popped to first. Victorino took strike one before he grounded a 1-1 pitch to second. Utley took strike one before he singled into center. It brought up Howard with a man on first and the Phils down 1-0. Howard got ahead 2-0 and then hit a 3-2 pitch hard on the ground towards right field, but DeWitt made a nice sliding play to field the ball and threw Howard out to end the inning.

Burrell led off the second and fouled off two 3-2 pitches before he singled into left. Ramirez made a nice play to cut the ball off before it got to the wall, but he would have had to fall down to allow Burrell to go to second. Werth got ahead 3-0, but took strike one and then grounded a double-play ball to second that cleared the bases. Feliz walked looking at a 3-2 pitch low and away to put a man on for Ruiz with two outs, but Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.

Tough result for Werth after getting ahead 3-0. The double-play killed the inning.

Lowe got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 third. Hamels grounded to first, Rollins grounded to second for the first two outs. Victorino hit a ground ball to first and Loney tossed to Lowe covering the ball — Victorino and Lowe both went down in a mini-collision, but both got up looking okay.

Utley went down swinging 2-2 for the first out in the fourth with the Phils down 2-0. Howard was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch slowly to second. DeWitt was playing deep on the shift and had to come way in, barehand the ball and throw to first to get Howard for the second out. Second time DeWitt had made a nice play at second to keep Howard off base. Burrell struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Werth hit a ball down the third base line to start the fifth, but Blake fielded and made the long throw across the infield for the first out. Feliz grounded an 0-1 pitch to short for the second out. Ruiz got behind 0-2, but hit a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Hamels was next with two outs and a man on first, and he lined a single into right-center. Ruiz went to second and it brought up Rollins with two outs and two men on. Lowe seemed bothered by Ruiz on second and worried about Ruiz relaying signals to the batter. Rollins got ahead 2-1, but hit a 3-2 pitch into left that Manny took in front of the warning track to leave both runners stranded.

Lowe had thrown 75 pitches through five innings.

Victorino led off the sixth with a ground ball to short. Furcal hurried his throw to try and beat the speedy Victorino, but his throw was high and off the glove of Loney for an error. Victorino took second. Utley hit the first pitch of his at-bat just out to right, tying the game at 2-2. Howard grounded to first for the first out. Burrell took three straight balls before Lowe got one over. The 3-1 pitch had way too much of the plate and Burrell hammered it out to left, putting the Phillies up 3-2. For Burrell it was his third home run (and fifth hit) in his last seven at-bats. That was the end of the night for Lowe and the righty Chan Ho Park came in to pitch to Werth. Park got Werth to pop a 1-2 pitch into center for the second out. Feliz was next and chopped a 2-1 pitch to third. Blake made a fantastic play, bare-handing the ball and throwing him out to set the Phils down.

After the runner on second was clearly a factor for Lowe in the fifth, you have you wonder if Victorino on second was in Lowe’s head when he served up the home run to Utley.

Greg Maddux started the seventh for LA. Ruiz led off and hit a 2-2 pitch in the hole between short and third. Furcal fielded and threw to first, but Ruiz hustled down the line and beat it out for a single. Dobbs was in the on-deck circle, but after Ruiz got on Taguchi hit for Hamels. He bunted at the first pitch and popped it up to Loney for the first out. Rollins was next and hit a ball back up the middle and under the glove of Maddux. DeWitt made another nice play at second, fielding the ball with his momentum taking him to the shortstop side of second, then tagging the base and throwing to first to double-up Rollins and end the inning. Rollins was safe, but it’s was a nice play by DeWitt anyway.

Terrible decision by Manuel to play for one run and hit Taguchi for Hamels with nobody out and a man on first if it worked. It didn’t. Three good left-handed hitters on the bench for the Phils in Dobbs, Stairs and Jenkins. Yuck.

Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo started the eighth for the Dodgers. Victorino led off and looped a soft liner to DeWitt at second for the first out. Utley grounded a 2-0 pitch to first for the second out. Howard flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the third out.

Kuo gets the job done in round one of the LA pen against Utley and Howard. Interesting that he was the first choice for the duty ahead of Beimel.

Rollins was 0-for-4, hit into a double-play and left three men on base.

Victorino was 0-for-4, but his ground ball to short in the sixth and the Furcal error sparked a Phillies rally.

Utley was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Howard 0-for-4, a victim of some nice defense by DeWitt.

Burrell was 2-for-3 with a home run.

Werth 0-for-3.

Feliz 0-for-2 with a walk.

Ruiz 2-for-3.

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) faces righty Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14) this afternoon. Billingsley was seventh in the NL in ERA this season and fifth in strikeouts. He allowed just 14 home runs in 200 2/3 innings on the season. The 24-year-old was much better against righties than lefties, though. Righties hit 225/283/338 against him while lefties hit 274/369/391. He gave up 80 walks this season, which was eighth in the NL. Fifty of the walks were issued to left-handed hitters, only Ubaldo Jimenez and Ian Snell walked more lefties in the NL this season.

He started game two of the NLDS against the Cubs in Chicago and pitched very well, allowing a run on five hits over 6 2/3 while striking out seven. The Dodgers have won six of the last seven games that he has started.

Billingsley faced the Phils once this season, on August 25, and allowed three runs over six innings. Rollins was 3-for-3 with a double and a triple against him in that game as the Phils rolled to a 5-0 win behind Myers. Billingsley walked five in the game, which tied his season-high.

Burrell has ten at-bats against him for his career, he’s 3-for-10 (.300) with two doubles. Feliz is 4-for-12 (.333). Rollins had been 0-for-6 against him before three hits in the game in August.

Myers came of miserable starts back-to-back to throw a gem in game two of the NLDS against the Brewers. After a rocky first inning in which he walked in a run, Myers was awesome. He ended the game having allowed two runs on a pair of hits and three walks over seven innings.

He faced the Dodgers in the August 25 game, getting the start against Billingsley and earning the win by throwing seven shutout innings in which he struck out eight. He also faced LA on August 14, allowing three runs over seven but striking out eight as the Phillies fell 3-1. Matt Kemp homered off of him in that game.

Furcal, Kent and Pierre have all seen Myers a lot over their careers. Furcal is 6-for-28 (.214) with a double. Pierre 13-for-40 with a double (.325). Kent has hit him the hardest, 7-for-19 (.368) with a double, a triple and a home run. Manny is 3-for-19 (.158) with two doubles and a home run — Ramirez hit a grand slam off of Myers on June 26, 2005.

Update: No matter what the Phillies do this afternoon, the worst news of the day is that Chalie Manuel’s mother died this morning.


Who says nobody walks in LA?

Here’s a look at eight key Dodgers hitters, what they did in the NLDS and what they did at the end of the regular season:

Player NLDS 9/15/08 to
end of regular season
   
Manny Ramirez 5-for-10 (.500) 4 BB, 2 HR 17-for-39 (436/551/769)
1.320 OPS 3 HR, 2 2B, 10 BB
Russell Martin 4-for-13 (.308) 3 2B, 1 HR 5
RBI
12-for-34 (353/511/500)
1.011 OPS 2 2B, 1 HR, 11 BB
     
   
Matt Kemp 2-for-13 (.154) 2 2B, 5 K 17-for-49 (347/396/531) 
.927 OPS 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 BB
Blake DeWitt 3-for-11 (.273) 2 2B 11-for-40 (275/415/425) .840
OPS 2 HR, 10 BB
Andre Ethier 1-for-10 (.100) 4 BB 14-for-41 (341/451/390) .841
OPS 2 2B, 9 BB
Rafael Furcal 4-for-12 (.333) 3 BB 2-for-9 (222/300/222) .522
OPS
     
   
Casey Blake 3-for-11 (.273) 2 RBI 9-for-41 (220/304/390) .694
OPS 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR
James Loney 3-for-14 (.214) 1 2B, 1 HR,
6 RBI
9-for-47  (191/220/277) 
.497 OPS

I think there are two big things to remember when you consider the LA offense these days. Neither are real encouraging for the Phillies.

The first bad news for the Phillies is that the players who have hurt the LA offense this season, generally speaking, aren’t playing any more. Berroa and Pierre were both on the bench for the NLDS and both had one at-bat. Andruw Jones is on the DL. Kent wasn’t nearly as bad as the rest of that group, but he also had just one at-bat against the Cubs.

The other bad news is maybe even a little worse: all of the sudden the Dodgers are walking at a tremendous rate. LA led both leagues in walks in September. They drew 124 in 25 games, about 4.96 per game. In their first 137 games through the end of August, they drew 419 walks in 137 games, about 3.06 walks per game. Looking at the numbers from September 15 to the end of the regular season, Ethier, Ramirez, DeWitt and Martin all drew at least nine walks.

I feel pretty comfortable saying that if the Phillies walk five batters per game in the series they are going to lose.

Looking at the eight position players for the Dodgers, Ramirez and Martin both came into the series with the Cubs hot and stayed hot. Blake and Loney came in cold. Loney had just two hits in the series but drove in six runs. Blake managed three singles in 11 at-bats. Ethier and Kemp both came into the series playing well but cooled down against Chicago, combining to go 3-for-23. Furcal is 6-for-21 since coming off the DL. DeWitt was hitting well coming into the series and went 3-for-11 with a pair of doubles.

Here’s what the Phillies likely to see the most time on the field in the NLCS did against the Brewers and at the end of the regular season:


NLDS

9/15/08 to end of regular season

Shane Victorino
5-for-14 (.357)
3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB
19-for-45
(422/435/689) 1.124 OPS 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI 3 SB

Greg Dobbs
3-for-5 (.600)
6-for-14
(429/467/857) 1.324 OPS 3 2B, 1 HR

Jayson Werth
5-for-16 (.313)
3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 K
12-for-48
(250/280/417) .697 OPS 2 2B, 2 HR, 15 K

Jimmy Rollins
6-for-16 (.375)
2 2B, 1 HR
11-for-44
(250/365/364) .729 OPS 5 2B, 7 BB
Pat
Burrell
3-for-12 (.250)
2 BB, 2 HR
8-for-37
(216/333/459) .792 OPS 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 BB

Ryan Howard
2-for-11 (.182)
1 2B, 5 BB
14-for-40
(350/429/775) 1.204 OPS 1 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR

Chase Utley
2-for-15 (.133)
1 2B
13-for-42
(310/400/548) .948 OPS 4 2B, 2 HR

Carlos Ruiz
1-for-14 (.071) 4-for-28
(143/306/286) .592 OPS 1 2B, 1 HR

Pedro Feliz
3-for-13 (.231)
1 2B
5-for-27
(186/313/333) .646 OPS 1 2B, 1 HR

Howard and Utley, curiously, both didn’t do much after coming into the NLDS hitting well. Dobbs seems likely to see more time at third base as Feliz continues to struggle. Ruiz is a mess at the plate. Burrell came into the series with the Brewers in a slump that continued until he had three hits and four RBI in game four. Rollins and Werth both scuffled their way into the NLDS, but hit well in it. Werth struck out six times, though, and has stuck out 21 times since September 15. Strikeout king Ryan Howard, by comparison, has struck out 13 times since September 15.


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