Tag: Michael Bourn

Phils unsure if they should be hoping for the umps to call people out at first or for Utley and Howard to go back on the DL

The Phillies got a tough break on a bad call last night, but it was their inability to do much offensively that cost them the game. The Phils have scored 12 runs in their last five games and lost three of them. In four of their last five they have scored two runs or less.

Blanton pitched very well in last night’s game and the Phils took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning. With nobody out and a man on first, Michael Bourn put down a pretty bunt. He looked like he was either tagged out or ran out of the basepath trying to avoid Ryan Howard’s tag, but was called safe. After the Astros bunted the runners to second and third, Carlos Lee broke his bat lining a single into left that plated two runs and put Houston on top to stay at 3-2.

The return of Chase Utley and his fellow monster slugger Ryan Howard to the lineup is sure to spur the offense for the Phils if we wait long enough. It hasn’t so far, though. Utley is 5-for-22 since his return and Howard 2-for-12 with five strikeouts.

The Phillies are 70-54 on the season after losing 3-2 to the Houston Astros last night. They are in second place in the NL East and trail the first place Braves by 2 1/2 games. They are in the lead for the Wild Card, a game ahead of both the Cardinals and Giants.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on six hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. Over his last eight starts he has thrown to a 3.63 ERA and a 1.31 ratio, lowering his ERA for the season from 6.41 to 5.32.

Bourn led the game off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on a single by Angel Sanchez and came in to score on a sac fly by Hunter Pence, putting the Astros up 1-0. It brought Carlos Lee to the plate with one out and Sanchez on first. Lee doubled to the gap in right center and the ball rolled to the warning track. Utley took the relay from Victorino and threw home, just in time for Ruiz to tag Sanchez out as he slid into the plate. Chris Johnson flew to right for the third out.

Could have been worse. Sanchez thrown out at the plate was a gift. Would have been better for the Astros to have runners on second and third with one out.

Blanton struck out Humberto Quintero and Anderson Hernandez in a 1-2-3 second.

He threw a 1-2-3 third and started the fourth with a 2-1 lead. He struck out Pence and Johnson as he set Houston down in order.

Quintero singled with one out in the fifth, but Blanton got Hernandez and the pitcher Brett Myers to leave Quintero stranded.

Bourn singled to start the sixth and stole second. Blanton struck Sanchez out for the first out before a fly out by Pence moved Bourn to third. Lee flew to right for the third out.

Quintero bunted for a single with two outs in the seventh. Blanton struck Hernandez out behind him to end the frame.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils still leading 2-1. Jason Michaels led off with a single to right. Bourn was next and he put down a bunt between the mound and first base. Howard fielded the ball and lunged at Bourn as he ran for first. He was very close to tagging Bourn and maybe did. Bourn also looked like he went way out of the baseline in an effort to avoid the tag, but was called safe at first with a single that put men on first and second. Manuel was ejected for arguing. Sanchez bunted the runners to second and third for the first out and Madson struck out Pence for the second. Lee was next and he swung at the first pitch, breaking his bat as he softly lined a two-run single into left field to put Houston up 3-2. Madson got Johnson to ground to short for the third out.

Lidge pitched the ninth with the Phils down a run. Hernandez singled with two outs and stole second, but Lidge struck Michaels out looking for the third out.

I hear you can run on Lidge.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brett Myers went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez plays third against the righty with Polanco on the bench with a sore elbow.

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

Myers struck out Howard, Werth and Ibanez in the second.

Ruiz led off the third and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left, tying the game at 1-1. Valdez grounded out for the first out before Blanton singled into center. Rollins was next and singled into left. Lee bobbled the ball, allowing the runners to go to second and third. Victorino hit a ground ball to first. Brett Wallace fielded and threw home where Blanton was tagged out for the second out. Rollins went to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Utley singled into center, scoring Rollins to put the Phils up 2-1. Howard struck out swinging to leave the runners stranded on first and second and signal the end of the offense for the game for the Phillies.

Ibanez singled with one out in the fourth. Ruiz was next and hit a ground ball to short. Ibanez was forced at second with Ruiz safe at first and two down. Valdez moved Ruiz to second with a single into center, but Blanton struck out to leave both men stranded.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

Bourn doubled to center with one out in the sixth. Ibanez struck out swinging behind him for the second out. Ruiz was next and the Astros walked him intentionally to pitch to Myers. Myers delivered ball four and Werth walked slowly back towards second base with his head down. Quintero took ball four and threw to second. Werth was tagged out to end the inning.

Miserable job by Werth. He’s still on pace to hit 55 doubles.

With one out in the seventh and Myers still pitching for Houston, Brown hit for Blanton and singled to right. Rollins moved Brown to second with a single, but Victorino hit into a double-play to end the inning with the Phils still up 2-1.

They were down 3-2 when they hit in the eighth. Werth singled to left with two outs, but Ibanez flew to center to leave him stranded.

Ruiz drew a walk against righty Brandon Lyon to start the ninth and Francisco ran for him. Valdez was next and tried to bunt Ruiz to second, but popped the bunt up to Wallace at first for the first out. Polanco hit for Lidge and flew to center. With Rollins at the place, Francisco stole second. Rollins lined to left for the third out.

Gutsy and important stolen base for Francisco, who was just safe. Huge no sacrifice for Valdez in the inning when he popped the bunt up for the second out. The Phils sure seemed to miss recently designated Greg Dobbs in the game, starting Valdez at third against the righty, letting Valdez hit for himself against a righty in the ninth. They also hit Polanco against a righty in the ninth, but they probably would have done that anyway even if Dobbs was on the team. Brown and Schneider are the only two lefties on the bench for the Phils these days, and you shouldn’t be looking for Schneider to pinch-hit pretty much ever as long as there are two catchers on the roster.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with two singles in the game. 284/356/395 over his last 90 plate appearances. He slugged .634 through May 21 and then hit the DL. Since returning from the DL at the end of June he has slugged .335 in 247 plate appearances.

Victorino was 0-for-4 in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-15 and on-basing .312 for the season.

Utley 1-for-4 with an RBI. He’s 5-for-22 with a double (227/320/273) since coming off the DL.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out three times. He’s 2-for-his-last-25 with 13 strikeouts. He did get Bourn, though, if that makes you feel any better.

Werth 2-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. He also got picked off of second in a play that was hard to believe. He’s hitting 301/393/522 for the season. It might not seem like he’s having the best offensive year of his career, but he is. Look it up.

Ibanez 1-for-4 and struck out twice. He’s 6-for-his-last-43 with a .196 on-base percentage, which has dropped his line on the year from

4-5-6 in the order for the Phils were 3-for-12 with seven strikeouts and a picked off of second base on an intentional walk.

Ruiz was 1-for-2 with his sixth home run of the year and two walks. He’s hitting 297/389/443 for the season. 11-for-his-last-30 with five walks and four extra-base hits.

Valdez was 1-for-4. If he gets 13 more plate appearances for the Phillies this season he will have twice as many this year as he has had in any other season. 2-for-his-last-17.

Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.51) faces righty Bud Norris (6-7, 5.23) tonight. Hamels allowed five runs in five innings against the Giants in his last start. Three of his last five starts have been bad, but the other two were very good. Norris threw 123 pitches against the Mets in his last start, holding them to a pair of runs over seven innings. In the start before that he struck out 14 Pirates while holding them to two runs over seven innings. He had a 6.84 ERA for the season at the end of June and has gone 4-2 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.14 ratio over eight starts since the start of July.


Bourn yesterday

The Phillies tried to go over .500 on the year for the fourth time this season and the second time in four days last night. Didn’t take. A day after Shawn Chacon shut them down for eight innings, the Phils managed just one run off Roy Oswalt in seven innings.

Former Phil Michael Bourn killed the Phils last night, scoring the only two runs the Astros needed to win the game. In the first he singled and stole second before coming around to score on a single. In the fifth he hit a solo home run off the foul pole in right.

The Phils have played three one-run games in their last three times out, going 1-2. In those three games the bullpen was tremendous, throwing ten innings in which they allowed one run on five hits and seven walks. All five of the hits were singles. The offense, missing the guys at the top of the order, Rollins and Victorino, is the culprit. Cause while the pitching overall has been about as good as you can ask for, holding opponents to 11 runs over three games, the offense has scored ten.

If the Phils are going to snap out of it in the short term it looks like they’re going to have to figure out how to do it without Rollins or Victorino. Victorino won’t be back till the end of the month at the earliest. The way Rollins hobbled off the field after his pinch-hit appearance made it look like it’s going to be a while before we see him at a hundred percent, either.

It’s making for some strange looking batting orders for the Phils. And with Feliz, Howard, Jenkins, Ruiz and Bruntlett all in the lineup just about every day and all hitting under .230, the strange looking batting orders aren’t getting a whole lot done.

The Phillies lost to the Houston Astros last night, falling 2-1 to drop to 7-8 on the season.

Kyle Kendrick got the start and had his best outing of 2008. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five.

Michael Bourn led off the first for the Astros and reached on an infield single with the help of a less than excellent throw from Utley. Mark Loretta flew to right for the first out before Bourn stole second. Kendrick struck out Lance Berkman for the second out, but Carlos Lee doubled off the wall in left and Bourn scored to put Houston up 1-0. Miguel Tejada struck out to end the frame.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 second with the scored tied at 1-1.

Loretta walked with two outs in the third. Berkman was next and dribbled a ball to third that went for a single. Lee grounded to Utley for the third out.

Kendrick set the Astros down 1-2-3 in the fourth.

He got the first two in the fifth and got ahead of Bourn 0-1 before Bourn homered off the foul pole in right. It put the Astros up 2-1. Loretta went down on a ball hit hard back to the pitcher for the third out.

The Astros went 1-2-3 in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Romero came in to pitch the eighth after the Phils hit for Kendrick in the bottom of the seventh. He struck out pinch-hitter Jose Cruz Jr and Bourn before Loretta drew a walk. Romero got Berkman to ground to short to end the frame.

Madson started the ninth with the Phils still down 2-1. He got the Astros 1-2-3, getting the second out on a line drive that Tejada smashed but right at Feliz. Nice inning for Madson, who has settled down after a rough start. Over his last four appearances he’s been charged with one run on three hits over five innings.

Romero threw 22 pitches and Madson just eight. Everyone in the pen should be available this afternoon, but Romero might be a little less available than others. Manuel doesn’t seem to mind using him two days in a row, though, and Romero has been well-rested lately.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Roy Oswalt went (1) Werth (2) Feliz (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Ruiz (8) Bruntlett. Rollins still on the bench, and that messes up just about everything. Feliz, who came into the game 12-for-25 in his career against Oswalt, makes an appearance in the two-hole.

Werth singled to start the first. Feliz grounded to third for the first out and Werth moved to second. Utley flew to deep center and Werth went to third. Howard singled into center to score Werth and tie the game at 1-1. Burrell reached on an infield single to deep short, moving Howard to second, but Jenkins grounded to second to leave both runners stranded.

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

Utley doubled with two outs in the third and Howard followed with a walk. It put men on first and second for Burrell, who struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch.

Ruiz walked with one out in the fourth, but Bruntlett and Kendrick went down behind him.

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

In the sixth Burrell singled with one out and Jenkins moved him to second with a soft ground out to first. Ruiz flew to right to end the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Snelling hit for Kendrick and grounded back to the pitcher for the second out.

Lefty Wesley Wright came on to pitch for the Astros in the eighth and struck out Feliz and Utley to start the inning. He got Howard looking at a 3-2 pitch that looked inside.

Righty Doug Brocail came in to protect the 2-1 Astros lead after Jose Valverde got lit up the night before. He blew Burrell away swinging at an 0-2 pitch before Jenkins grounded softly to second. Rollins hit for Ruiz and lined a single into right-center. Taguchi ran for Rollins, who hobbled a little getting off the field, and Dobbs hit for Bruntlett. Interesting question who plays short in the top of the tenth if Dobbs had doubled Taguchi in, but we’ll never know. Dobbs struck out swinging at a 1-2 pitch to end the game (I’m thinking it would probably be Feliz with Dobbs at third).

Werth was 1-for-4.

Feliz was 0-for-4.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a double, the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, but he got a tough call on the strikeout in the eighth.

Burrell was 2-for-4 and struck out twice.

Jenkins was 0-for-4 and left three men on base. He’s 2-for-his-last-19 and his average is down to .216.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk.

Bruntlett 0-for-3.

The offense is miserable. The Phils need to give a bunch of the guys on the bench, Coste, Dobbs, Snelling and Taguchi, some starts. And I think they will, maybe as soon as this afternoon. Dobbs has had terrible at-bats lately, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see either or both of him and Snelling starting against the righty today.

This afternoon Brett Myers (1-1, 5.00) faces righty Brandon Backe (1-1, 2.25) in the final game of the three-game set. After missing most of 2007 after Tommy John surgery, Backe has allowed just four runs over 16 innings in his three starts this season. Opponents are hitting just .254 against him, but he’s walked 11 in his 16 innings. He’s been much better against lefties early, they are hitting just .174 against him. Myers made the best of his three starts his last time out, holding the Cubs to three runs on five hits over eight innings on Friday. He has been hurt badly by the long ball so far, allowing five in just 18 innings. His home run rate is just to go down — so far he’s allowed 2.5 home runs per nine innings. Coming into the season he allowed home runs at his highest rate in 2004, when he allowed 31 in 176, or about 1.6 home runs per nine innings. Backe did not face the Phillies last season. Myers only got three starts on the year in 2007, but one of them came against Houston on April 13. He got bombed, charged with seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. Carlos Lee hit two home runs off of him in two at-bats in that game.


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