Tag: michael martinez

Bullpen conflicted about whether they’re better off trying to improve or just convince the front office they’re all Rule V picks

The Phils were unable to finish off the sweep of the Marlins last night, getting miserable pitching as they failed to hold leads of 4-0 and 6-3. They made three errors in the game and Domonic Brown had two big miscues, having a ball go through his legs in the outfield to help Florida score two runs in the third and missing second base on a would-be triple ahead of a home run by Mayberry in the sixth.

As bad as that was, it was hard not to notice the bullpen. The Phils used four relievers in the game and three of them ended the day with an ERA over five for the year. Danys Baez gave up a walkoff homer to Mike Stanton with one out in the bottom of the tenth. That pushes his ERA on the year to 5.40. In his two seasons with the Phils he’s now thrown to a 5.44 ERA with a 1.56 ratio in 82 2/3 innings.

For the Phils, it’s the fourth time in the last 13 games the bullpen has had a bad day. In three of those games they’ve been terrible. Through the end of May, the bullpen threw to a 2.80 ERA and a 1.28 ratio in 151 innings. Since June 9 they’ve thrown to a 4.40 ERA with a 1.41 ratio in 57 1/3 innings. Over the last 13 games they’ve thrown 27 innings with a 6.33 ERA and a 1.59 ratio.

The Phillies are 55-33 on the year after losing to the Florida Marlins 7-6 in ten innings last night. The Phils take the series two games to one. They remain in first place in the NL East, but are just three games ahead of the second-place Braves.

Kendrick got the start for the Phils and went five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. Only one of the runs was earned. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out two and his ERA on the year actually dropped to 3.64. But he didn’t pitch very well.

Emilio Bonifacio bunted for a single to start the bottom of the first. Omar Infante moved him to second with a single and it brought Gaby Sanchez to the plate with nobody out and men on first and second. Sanchez tried to bunt, of course, and popped it up to Ruiz in foul territory for the first out. Hanley Ramirez hit into a double-play behind him.

Not sure why you would bunt with your three hitter when every batter you’ve sent to the plate in the game has reached base, but it sure helped the Phils.

Up 2-0, Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 second.

The pitcher Anibal Sanchez singled to right with one out in the third and the Phils up 4-0. Kendrick walked Bonifacio before getting Infante on a fly ball to center for the second out. Sanchez was next and singled to right, but the ball went through Brown’s legs and rolled to the wall. Both runners scored, Brown was charged with an error and the lead was cut to 4-2 with Sanchez at third. Ramirez followed that and hit a ball slowly to short. Rollins charged and threw wildly to first. Ramirez had a single, but held first, and Sanchez scored. 4-3. Morrison grounded to second to end the inning.

I guess it was too much to hope for Sanchez to bunt with two outs.

Up 5-3, Kendrick allowed a one-out double to Bryan Petersen in the fourth, but got the next two hitters behind him.

Bonifacio walked to start the fifth, but Ruiz threw him out trying to steal second for the first out. Infante singled to left, but Kendrick got Sanchez to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Herndon started the sixth up 6-3 after the Phils hit for Kendrick in the top of the inning. Ramirez led off with a single before Logan Morrison hit a 3-1 pitch out to center, cutting the lead to 6-5. Herndon struck out Mike Stanton for the first out before Petersen singled to right. John Buck flew to center for the second out and lefty Dewayne Wise hit for the pitcher Michael Dunn. The righty Carpenter came in to pitch to Wise and got him on a ground ball to second to end the inning.

Carpenter struck Bonifacio out to start the seventh before Infante tripled down the first base line. Sanchez walked before Ramirez singled into center, scoring Infante to tie the game at 6-6 with one out and men on first and second. Morrison was next and he hit a fly ball right at Mayberry. Mayberry didn’t play it right, then dove forward and had it go off of his glove for an error that loaded the bases. It brought Stanton to the plate and he shattered his bat hitting a grounder to third. Martinez made a great play as the head of the bat whizzed past, throwing to second for the first out. Utley made a hop and a strong enough throw to first to double-up Stanton and end the inning.

Great play by Martinez and Utley to get the double-play. The ball wasn’t hit hard. I bet the play where you ignore the huge shards of wood flying past is hard to practice. Two is too many errors for your outfielders to make in one game.

Stutes pitched the eighth with the game still tied at 6-6. Buck singled with one out and Brett Hayes ran for him at first. Mike Cameron hit for the pitcher and Stutes threw wildly to first trying to pick off Hayes for an error that allowed Hayes to take second before Cameron popped up to Howard for the second out of the inning. Stutes struck Bonifacio out swinging 2-2 to leave Hayes at third.

Third error of the game for the Phillies.

Baez set the Marlins down in order in the ninth.

He was back to start the tenth and got Morrison on a ground ball to second for the first out. Stanton was next and he rocketed a 2-1 pitch out to left to give Florida a 7-6 win.

Not a good day for the pen in long relief of Kendrick. They went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk.

Carpenter threw 26 pitches in the game, Stutes 23 and Baez 22. Herndon 16. Off day today, so those guys should be available for the Braves.

The Phillies lineup against righty Anibal Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Mayberry. Martinez makes his first appearance of the year at third. Mayberry plays center with Victorino still sidelined with thumb problems. Martinez shouldn’t be hitting second in any lineup, regardless of injuries.

Rollins led off the game with a single. Martinez struck out behind him for the first out before Utley singled to right. Rollins rounded second for third and Stanton’s throw went to third, but was cut off by Ramirez and Utley was caught up between first and second and tagged out for the second out. Howard struck out to leave Rollins at third.

Brown walked with two outs in the second. Mayberry was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 2-0. Kendrick struck out swinging for the third out.

Utley doubled with two outs in the third and Howard was walked intentionally behind him. Ibanez was next and he laced a double to left-center, just out of the reach of Petersen. It cleared the bases and the Phils led 4-0. Ruiz was hit by a pitch behind him before Brown struck out swinging to end the frame.

It was 4-3 when the Phillies hit in the fourth. Mayberry and Kendrick both struck out swinging before Rollins laced a 3-2 pitch out to right, putting the Phils up 5-3. Martinez walked behind him before Utley flew to center.

Rollins continues to show power against righties with the home run off of Sanchez. He’s slugging .292 against lefties for the year compared to .417 against righties. Nice to see Martinez draw a walk.

Howard singled to start the fifth, but Ibanez hit into a double-play behind him. Ruiz was next and hit the ball hard, but Ramirez handled it at short and threw to first for the third out.

Brown led off the sixth and lined a ball to left-center just past a sliding and flailing Petersen. He raced all the way around to third, but it was ruled that he failed to touch second and was the first out of the inning. Mayberry was next and homered again to left, putting the Phils up 6-3. Valdez hit for Kendrick, who had thrown just 81 pitches and allowed one earned run in five innings, and lined to left. Rollins popped to second for the third out.

Early hook for Kendrick. He wasn’t pitching well, but that was early. I’d feel better about it if the Phils had a better hitter to stick up there than Valdez. Brown costs the Phils a run with the base-running mistake ahead of the home run.

The Phils went in order in the seventh.

In the eighth they went in order with the score tied at 6-6.

Mayberry grounded to second for the first out in the ninth. With righty Leo Nunez on the mound for the Fish, Gload hit for Stutes and popped to short for the second. Rollins walked and stole second on a pitchout (with help of a terrible throw from Hayes) before Martinez walked. It put men on first and second for Utley and Utley flew to left to leave them both stranded.

The Phils went in order in the tenth.

Rollins 2-for-4 with a walk and a homer in the series. 7-for-13 with two walks, a double, a home run and two stolen bases in the three-game series. 264/338/384 for the year.

Martinez was 0-for-3 and walked twice. He made a great play to avoid a flying bat and start a double-play in the seventh. He also made a very nice catch in center early in game two of the series. If only he could hit. 2-for-13 with a triple, two walks and four RBI in the set. 182/229/247 for the year.

Utley 2-for-5 with a double. 4-for-13 with a double and two strikeouts in the series. 287/380/462 for the year. 324/412/529 in his last 120 plate appearances.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk. 5-for-13 with a double, a home run and two walks in the series, both of which were intentional. 258/356/486 for the year.

Ibanez 1-for-5 with a double and two RBI. 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and six RBI in the series. 236/285/400 for the year.

Ruiz 0-for-4. 1-for-9 in the series and he was twice hit by pitch.

Brown 1-for-3 in the game with two big mistakes — missing second the would-be triple and having the ball go through his legs in the third. 5-for-10 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 239/322/410 for the year.

Mayberry was 2-for-4 with three RBI in the first multi-homer game of his career. 2-for-5 with a walk in the series in his first action with the team since June. 239/325/422 in 123 plate appearances for the season. He and Brown have very similar lines for the year.

No game today. Atlanta tomorrow night.


Something special

On August 7, 2008, Chris Volstad made his first career start against the Phils and threw six shutout innings, prompting Jimmy Rollins to proclaim him “nothing special.” That seemed a little ridiculous at the time, but seems a lot less so today as the Phils have had a whole lot of success against Volstad since.

They certainly did last night, pounding Volstad and the Marlins as they won 14-2. Rollins had four hits in the game, which wasn’t close to the best offensive performance of the game for the Phils. Howard and Ibanez combined to go 7-for-10 with two walks and eight RBI.

Volstad came into the game having thrown to a 1.31 ERA over his last three starts. After allowing seven runs in four innings last night, he has a career 5.88 ERA and a 1.59 ratio in 12 starts against the Phils.

The Phillies are 55-32 on the year after hammering the Florida Marlins 14-2 last night. They are 7-2 in their last nine and lead the NL East by four games over the second-place Braves. Fourteen run is a season-high for the Phils are they are 23 games over .500 for the first time this year.

The Marlins are 7-26 since the end of May.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles, a triple and a home run. He struck out five and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.40. Hamels now has a better ERA, ERA+ and ratio for the season than Halladay. Halladay has struck hitters out at a higher rate and gone deeper into games, but Hamels has thrown an average of 6.89 innings per start. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start in any of his last eight outings.

Gaby Sanchez doubled to right on a ball deflected by Brown with two outs in the first. Hamels walked Hanley Ramirez on a 3-2 pitch behind him, putting men on first and second for Logan Morrison. Morrison hit the ball hard, but Howard took it at first and flipped to Hamels to end the inning.

Mike Stanton started the bottom of the second with a single, but Hamels got the next three to leave him stranded. Martinez made a nice diving play in center on a line drive hit by Bryan Petersen for the second out.

Hamels pitched the third with a 5-0 lead. Omar Infante singled to left with one out, but Hamels got Gaby Sanchez on a fly ball to left for the second out and Ramirez looking for the third.

It was 7-0 when he started the fourth. Stanton tripled to center with one out. Catcher John Buck was next and Buck hit a 2-0 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 7-2. Petersen followed that with a single into center, but Hamels got the next two hitters to prevent further damage.

That’s just the seventh home run of the year allowed by Hamels and the second since May 23. Righties came into the game slugging .263 against him for the season.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He struck out Buck and Morrison in a 1-2-3 sixth with an 8-2 lead.

With two outs in the seventh, Emilio Bonifacio hit a slow ground ball to third. Valdez wasn’t going to get Bonifacio anyway, but threw to first and his throw was bad for an error that allowed Bonifacio to take second. Infante grounded to second to leave Bonifacio stranded.

Ramirez doubled to right with one out in the eighth. Morrison followed that and hit a foul ball that Martinez, playing second, took after a run. Ramirez tagged up and took third with two outs. Stanton struck out swinging 1-2 to leave Ramirez at third.

Mathieson started the ninth with a 14-2 lead. Greg Dobbs led off with a single and move to third when Petersen doubled behind him. Mathieson struck out Brett Hayes and Bonifacio, though, before hitting Infante to load the bases. Sanchez popped to Rollins to leave them loaded and end the game.

Five innings for Mathieson on the year now without being charged with a run. He’s allowed nine hits and three walks in five innings for a 2.40 ratio. Opponents are hitting .409 against him. He threw 22 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Chris Volstad went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Valdez. Martinez in center again with Victorino sidelined with thumb issues. Polanco on the bench with a sore back. Valdez starts at third. Ruiz hits sixth, breaking up the lefties Ibanez and Brown.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Ibanez singled to center with one out in the second and moved up to second when Ruiz was hit by a pitch behind him. Brown was next and grounded to second with Ruiz forced at second for the second out. With men on first and third, Valdez grounded to second to end the frame.

Rollins singled to center with one out in the third. Martinez struck out swinging behind him for the second out, but Utley moved Rollins to third with a single to right. Volstad walked Howard intentionally, loading the bases for Ibanez. Ibanez singled to center. Rollins and Utley both scored, making it 2-0 with two down and men on first and second. Ruiz singled to left and the bases were loaded. Brown singled to left and everyone moved up a base. 3-0 with the bases loaded. Valdez singled to center and Ibanez and Ruiz scored. 5-0 with men on first and second. Hamels struck out looking 3-2 for the third out.

Lots of hits for the Phils there, but Ibanez makes Volstad pay for walking Howard intentionally.

Rollins started the fourth with a single. Martinez and Utley went down on ground balls behind him, leaving Martinez on second with two down for Howard. Howard hit an 0-1 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 7-0. Ibanez grounded to third for the third out.

Howard has absurd numbers against Volstad for his career — 13-for-26 with five walks and eight homers for a 500/581/1.462 line. It was home run number 18 on the year for Howard. All 18 have come against right-handed pitchers.

Up 7-2, Brown walked with one out in the fifth. Valdez and Hamels went down behind him.

Rollins led off the sixth with a double and scored on a two-out single by Howard to make it 8-2. Ibanez followed Howard with a walk, but Ruiz struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.

Hamels walked with two outs in the seventh and moved to second on a single by Rollins. The runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, but Martinez grounded to first to leave them both stranded.

Mayberry, who just took Worley’s spot on the roster, started the eighth with a walk. He moved to second when Howard followed with a single on a ball that was originally called a catch in right field but clearly was not. Ibanez was next and hit into a double-play, leaving Mayberry to third with two down. Ruiz grounded to short for the third out.

Brown started the ninth with a single and went to third on a one-out, pinch-hit double by Francisco. Rollins was walked intentionally to load the bases for Martinez, who delivered a bases clearing triple to center that put the Phils up 11-2. Mayberry struck out for the second out before Howard brought Martinez home with a double. 12-2. Ibanez hit a 2-2 pitch out to right. 14-2. Ruiz grounded to third to end the frame.

Francisco is 4-for-8 with three doubles in July.

Rollins was 4-for-5 with a double in the game. It was his second four-hit game of the last nine.

Martinez was 1-for-6 with a three-run triple. He also made a nice diving catch in center in the second. He’s hitting .189 and on-basing .218 for the year. In 25 plate appearances against lefties for the year he has a .250 OPS (3-for-24 with three singles and no walks).

Utley 1-for-4. 340/407/468 over his last 55 plate appearances.

Howard was 4-for-5 with a walk, a double, a home run and four RBI. That’s probably his best offensive day of the season with the possible exception of his April 29 game against the Mets where he went 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI.

Ibanez 3-for-4 with a walk, a home run and four RBI in what’s probably the best offense day of the season for him so far as well. From May 31 to June 28, Ibanez drove in just three runs in 94 plate appearances.

Ruiz 1-for-5 and struck out twice. Despite the two strikeouts, his strikeout rate for the season isn’t bad compared to his career numbers. His power is way down, though. Using slugging percentage minus batting average to calculate isolated power, he was at .145 last year is at .131 for his career and just .093 this season.

Brown 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 7-for-19 with three walks and a double so far in July.

Valdez 1-for-5 with two RBI. He’s 1-for-his-last-17. Among 131 NL players with 175 plate appearances, his .277 on-base percentage is 120th. He also made his sixth error of the season — coming into the year he had made six errors in his career.

Kyle Kendrick (4-4, 3.81) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (6-2, 3.30) tonight. Sanchez has been very good this year, but was hit hard by the Rangers in his most recent start, allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He’s allowing both walks and hits at well being his career levels so far in 2011. Kendrick didn’t fare well in his last start, either, allowing six runs to the Blue Jays over seven innings on Friday. He’s thrown to a 4.80 ERA in his six starts on the season.


Worley may be wondering if the majors are a lot like baseball except that nobody on either team can hit at all

The Phillies are 3-0 in the last three games that Vance Worley has started — that’s pretty impressive in itself, but it’s even more impressive given that they’ve scored a total of four runs in those games.

In last night’s game, Worley allowed two singles and two walks over seven shutout innings and Michael Martinez drove in the only run of the contest, scoring Brown from second with a seventh-inning single.

Over his last four starts, Worley has thrown to an 0.72 ERA and an 0.92 ratio over 25 innings.

The Phillies are 54-32 on the year after beating the Florida Marlins 1-0 last night. They have won six of their last eight and three of four to start July.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went seven shutout innings, allowing two singles and two walks. He struck out six and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.20. The Phils are 6-2 in the eight games he’s started this season.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Hanley Ramirez singled to start the second and Logan Morrison popped to third behind him for the first out . Mike Stanton was next and hit a ground ball to third. Polanco went to Utley to force Ramirez for the second out. Utley didn’t have much of a chance to double-up Stanton, but threw to first anyway and his throw was bad. Howard didn’t handle it, but luckily it did not get far enough away from him to allow Stanton to take second. Stanton stole second before Bryan Petersen flew to left to leave him stranded.

Emilio Bonifacio singled with two outs in the third and stole second before Omar Infante grounded to third to end the inning.

Worley had thrown 46 pitches through three innings.

He walked Gaby Sanchez on a 3-2 pitch to start the bottom of the fourth, but struck Ramirez and Morrison both out looking for the first two outs. Stanton flew to center to leave Sanchez at first.

John Buck walked with one out in the fifth and the pitcher Ricky Nolasco bunted him to second with the second out. Bonifacio was next and hit a ground ball to first. Howard flipped to Worley covering first and Bonifacio was called out to end the inning. Bonifacio was ejected after pointing out that Worley didn’t really tag him and throwing his helmet.

Worley set Florida down in order in the sixth.

He had thrown 89 pitches through six innings.

Up 1-0, Worley set Florida down in order in the seventh.

Stutes threw a 1-2-3 eighth with the Phils still up a run. Lefty Dewayne Wise hit for Choate and grounded to second for the second out.

Bastardo started the ninth. Infante led off and hit a foul ball down the first base line. Utley, Brown and Howard all converged and Utley and Brown both tried to catch the ball. It was knocked out of Utley’s glove and Infante got another chance, but flew to right for the first out. Bastardo walked Sanchez on a 3-2 pitch that bounced, but got Ramirez swinging 0-2 for the second out and Morrison on a fly ball to right to end the game.

Bastardo threw 19 pitches in the game and Stutes nine. Stutes has pitched two days in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Ricky Nolasco went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Brown (7) Schneider (8) Martinez. Martinez plays center with Victorino sidelined with a sore thumb. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the bench.

Utley singled with two outs in the first, but Howard grounded to first behind him.

Brown reached on an infield single with one out in the second, but Schneider and Martinez went down behind him.

Worley led off the third and hit a ball that was deflected by a diving Ramirez and right to Infante — Infante threw to first in time to get Worley for the first out. Rollins singled and stole second on a pitchout before Polanco walked. It put men on first and second with one out for Utley. Utley grounded to third with Polanco forced at second for the second out. Howard struck out looking to leave men stranded on the corners.

Schneider singled with two outs in the fourth. Martinez grounded to the pitcher behind him for the third out, dropping his average on the year to .182.

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

Brown singled to start the seventh and moved to second when Schneider followed with a walk. It brought Martinez to the plate and he singled into center on the first pitch of his at-bat. Peterson charged and made a nice throw home, but Brown slid in and was called safe as Buck applied a high tag. It looked like Brown might have missed the plate with his lead foot, but the Phils got the call and led 1-0 with nobody out and men on first and second. Worley struck out trying to bunt for the first out. Rollins grounded out for the second with Martinez forced at second. Polanco grounded to second to leave the runners stranded at the corners.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Brown walked to start the ninth on a close 3-2 pitch. The catcher Buck didn’t like the call and was ejected. Ruiz, who had taken over for Schneider behind the plate in the eighth, bunted Brown to second with the first out. Martinez flew to right for the second. With lefty Michael Dunn on the mound, Francisco hit for Stutes. Righty Edward Mujica came in to pitch and Gload hit for Francisco and flew to the warning track in left to set the Phillies down.

Couple of close calls in the game that the Marlins didn’t get, but the pitch Brown walked on looked like a ball to me.

Rollins was 1-for-4. He’s 5-for-his-last-28.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk. 0-for-his-last-15.

Utley 1-for-4. After hitting 222/364/370 in May, Utley hit 297/387/473 in June and is hitting 313/389/563 in the first four games of July.

Howard 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 3-for-his-last-17.

Ibanez 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. 1-for-his-last-14.

Brown 2-for-3. 9-for-his-last-27.

Schneider 1-for-2 to raise his average to .164 on the year after 61 at-bats.

Martinez 1-for-4 with the game’s only RBI. He’s hitting 191/222/235 on the year in 68 at-bats.

Cole Hamels (9-4, 2.41) faces righty Chris Volstad (4-7, 5.01) tonight. Volstad has had three good starts in a row, throwing to a 1.31 ERA in 20 2/3 innings over his last three outings. Lefties have pounded him this year, 311/381/592, while righties have hit just 256/271/351. Hamels left his last start after four innings after Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez smashed a line drive off of the palm of his non-pitching hand. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last seven starts, throwing to a 1.49 ERA over 48 1/3 innings.


Hooray for Hollywood

Cole Hamels was fantastic last night, which is what it’s going to take to get a win for the Phils these days. The Phillies took two of three in their series against the Dodgers, but scored just seven runs in the set. In the two games they won, Lee and Hamels combined to throw 15 shutout innings and strike out 19.

Quick — who’s been the best starting pitcher for the Phillies this year? Okay, you said Halladay and you’re right. But it’s closer than you might think. In their first 13 starts on the year, Halladay and Hamels have almost the same ERA, 2.58 for Hamels and 2.56 for Halladay, while Hamels has thrown to an 0.95 ratio compared to Halladay’s 1.07. Hamels is second in the NL in innings pitched, but Halladay has gone deeper in his starts, averaging more than 7 1/2 innings per start while Hamels is just under seven.

Since an ugly outing his first start of the year, Hamels has thrown to a 2.05 ERA with an 0.88 ratio over his last 12 outings.

The Phillies are 37-25 on the year after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one. They are in first place in the NL East, three games ahead of the Braves.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing six five singles and a double. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine.

Dee Gordon was the first batter of the game and he flew to left for the first out. Hamels struck Casey Blake out swinging 2-2 for the second before Andre Ethier reached on an infield single. Hamels struck Matt Kemp out swinging 2-2 to leave Ethier at first.

He threw a 1-2-3 second, getting Juan Uribe to pop to Howard in foul territory for the first out, Marcus Thames on a ground ball to third for the second and striking Rod Barajas out swinging for the third.

In the third he struck Jamey Carroll out swinging for the first out and got pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on a ground ball he handled himself for the second. Gordon flew to center to end the frame.

He struck out Blake and got two ground outs in the fourth.

Barajas singled to center with two outs in the fifth, but Hamels got Carroll on a ball that Howard handled in foul territory to leave him stranded.

Hamels struck out Kuroda and Gordon as he set the Dodgers down in order in the sixth.

He started the seventh up 1-0. Ethier led off with a double to right and moved to third when Kemp followed with a single to right. Hamels got out of it, though, getting Uribe on a pop that Martinez handled in shallow right, striking Thames out swinging 1-2 and then getting Barajas to pop to short.

It was 2-0 when he started the eighth. Carroll flew to right for the first out and switch-hitter Aaron Miles hit for the pitcher Matt Guerrier. Miles singled to center. Gordon was due to hit next and James Loney hit for him, flying to left for the second out. Blake was next and hit a ball to short. Valdez fielded and threw to first, but his throw was wide on the home plate side. Howard came off the bag and looked like he could have handled it, but didn’t. Blake had a single and Valdez was charged with an error that let Miles move up to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Hamels got Ethier on a ground ball to first base with Howard flipping to Hamels covering.

Twice in two innings Hamels gets out of a jam to keep the shutout intact. Howard could have handled the throw from Valdez.

Madson started the ninth. Kemp thought he had walked on a close 3-1 pitch that might have been low, but then singled to right. Uribe was next and hit a ball back up the middle, but it went off the tip of Madson’s glove and right to Martinez. Martinez tagged second and threw to first to complete the double-play. Switch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit for Thames and flew to Victorino to end the game.

Madson has pitched just one day in a row, but three of the last four days. He threw 16 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Hiroki Kuroda went (1) Victorino (2) Brown (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Valdez (8) Martinez. Utley on the bench with a righty on the mound after an ugly game with the glove the night before. Martinez at second. Valdez plays short with Rollins sidelined with the bruised knee. Brown moves up to second in the order with Polanco dropping to third. Martinez and Valdez is a really bad middle infield.

Victorino, Brown and Polanco all hit the ball well in the bottom of the first, but all three flew to right.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the second. Valdez struck out looking behind him to leave him stranded.

Kuroda struck out Martinez, Hamels and Victorino, all swinging, in the third.

Polanco singled with one out in the fourth and stole second as Howard struck out for the second out. Ibanez flew to left to leave him there.

Martinez ripped a triple into right field with two outs in the fifth and Hamels walked behind him. Kuroda’s 2-1 pitch to Victorino was behind the batter and went all the way to the wall. Martinez started to go home, then returned to third base. He probably would have scored, because Barajas’s throw to the covering Kuroda hit Victorino. Hamels took second on the wild pitch, so the Dodgers walked Victorino intentionally, loading the bases. Brown flew to Ethier in right-center to leave the bases loaded.

Polanco struck out to start the sixth. Howard was next and hit the first pitch he saw out to right, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ibanez followed that with a double to center and that was it for Kuroda. LA brought right Mike MacDougal in to pitch to Ruiz and Ruiz walked. Valdez struck out for the second out and Martinez went down on a ball handled by the pitcher, leaving the runners stranded.

Two extra-base hits in the same inning for the Phils. I would have brought in another pitcher, too.

Victorino tripled to center with one out in the seventh. Brown was next and hit a ball to Carroll at second. Victorino came home and Carroll threw home, but the throw was on the first base side of home plate and Victorino slid in safely. 2-0. Brown stole second, went to third on a ground out by Polanco and was left at third when Howard flew to right.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Victorino was 1-for-3 with a triple in the game and 1-for-9 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 270/340/472 for the year. 4-for-23 since returning from the DL.

Brown was 0-for-4 with an RBI. 1-for-11 with a walk and an RBI in the series. He’s 4-for-his-last-24 and hitting 263/317/404 in 63 plate appearances for the season.

Polanco was 1-for-4. 2-for-11 with a walk in the series. 314/362/388 for the year. 252/299/288 since the end of April.

Howard 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts. 2-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series. 244/325/479 for the year. He’s 6-for-his-last-32.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a double. 2-for-9 with a double in the series. 241/292/414 on the year. Of the 70 NL players with at least 200 plate appearances, Ibanez’s .705 OPS is 50th (Rollins’ .701 is 52nd).

Ruiz was 0-for-2 and walked twice. 3-for-9 with a double and three walks in the series. 242/361/348 for the year. 292/433/396 over his last 60 plate appearances.

Valdez was 0-for-4 with a throwing error and struck out twice. It took a nice bare-handed play by Kuroda coming off the mound to get him for the second out in the fifth. 3-for-11 with a double and three strikeouts in the series. 246/287/303 on the year.

Martinez was 1-for-3 with his first career triple in his only action of the series. He’s hitting 189/214/245 in 57 plate appearances for the season. Among the 202 NL players with at least 50 plate appearances, his .214 on-base percentage is 199th. Rollins didn’t play yesterday and was 0-for-1 in the series. He’s hitting 267/338/362 for the year and 237/276/330 over his last 105 plate appearances.

Kendrick (3-4, 3.78) faces righty Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74) and the Cubs tonight. Wells has made just three starts on the season. He pitched well against the Diamondbacks in his first start of the year on April 4, but went on the DL two days later with a strained forearm. He’s made two starts since returning from the DL and neither have been that impressive as he’s allowed nine runs in 9 2/3 innings. Kendrick has made three starts on the year and two of them have been bad. He hasn’t gotten an out in the sixth inning in any of his three starts. He has a 6.23 ERA in his three starts and a 2.21 ERA in his 13 relief appearances.


Phils whip up a little something for the how-are-they-ever-going-to-go-on-a-losing-streak-with-that-rotation crowd

Seven runs in four games should do it. Four runs in three games is even better.

Still no sign of the offense as the Phils dropped their fourth straight last night. Oswalt made his return to the rotation and looked pretty good in the five innings he was able to go. The Phils went into the eighth down 1-0 and got a gift run with the help of a dropped popup to tie things up, but Baez started the ninth and allowed hits to the first three men he faced and St Louis pushed a run across on a walkoff single to win 2-1.

The Phils are 25-16 on the year after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 2-1 last night. They have lost four games in a row for the first time on the season and are 7-8 in May.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing a run on seven hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

He got Ryan Theriot to line to Rollins for the first out in the bottom of the first. Then he struck Jon Jay out swinging 2-2 for the second out and Albert Pujols out looking 3-2 to end the inning.

Matt Holliday fouled out to Howard for the first out in the second. Lance Berkman was next and he singled to center but was forced at second for the second out when Allen Craig followed and grounded to short. Yadier Molina moved Craig to second with a single to right, but Oswalt got Daniel Descalso to pop to Rollins in foul territory to leave both men stranded.

Pitcher Jaime Garcia led off the St Louis third and grounded to Oswalt. Theriot and Jay followed with back-to-back singles, with Jay’s sending Theriot to third. Oswalt got Pujols to hit a double-play ball to Rollins to keep St Louis off the board.

Oswalt walked Berkman with one out in the fourth and Craig moved him to second with a single to center. Molina was next and he singled to left. Berkman tried to score and looked like he didn’t have much of a chance, but the throw from Mayberry came in on a hop and a little up the third base line. The ball and Berkman arrived about the same time with Berkman sliding in to avoid Sardinha’s tag and the Cards led 1-0. It brought Descalso to the plate with men on first and second and he grounded to Valdez with Molina forced at second for the second out. Oswalt struck Garcia out for the third out, leaving runners at the corners.

Mayberry didn’t make a great throw, but Sardinha still had a chance to get Berkman and missed the tag.

Pujols doubled to right with two outs in the fifth, but Oswalt got Holliday on a ground ball to second for the third out.

Stutes started the sixth and made just three pitches before hurting his back and exited for Kendrick. Kendrick walked Berkman and Berkman moved up to second on a ground out by Craig and then third when Molina was retired on a ball handled by Kendrick. Kendrick walked Descalso intentionally, putting men on first and third for the pitcher Garcia. Garcia grounded to third to end the inning.

Another intentional walk for Kendrick, who has walked five intentionally in 21 2/3 innings.

Kendrick allowed a two-out single to Pujols in the seventh, but Holliday lined to Francisco to leave Pujols stranded.

Two scoreless frames in the game for Kendrick. He has a 1.15 ERA and a 1.09 ratio over 15 2/3 innings in his last eight appearances (one of which was a start).

Bastardo started the eighth with the game tied at 1-1. He got Berkman and Tyler Greene to start the inning before Molina doubled. Bastardo walked Descalso behind Molina and switch-hitter Nick Punto hit for the pitcher Garcia with two men on base. Bastardo struck him out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.

Baez started the ninth. Theriot led off with an infield single. Jay moved him to second with a real single and Pujols blooped a ball that fell in right for another single, loading the bases. Holliday was next and he hit a ground ball to short. Rollins fielded and threw home to force Theriot for the first out. Berkman was next and Romero came in to face him, forcing the switch-hitter Berkman to hit right-handed. Berkman hit the ball over the head of Martinez, who was playing shallow in center, to plate Jay and give St Louis a 2-1 win.

Berkman is hammering both lefties and righties this season. Over his career he’s been better against righties (308/424/590 against righties and 261/365/418 against lefties). So no argument with Romero.

I think you can have an argument about no Madson in the ninth. Baez’s line looks awful, but one of the singles he allowed was an infield hit and another a softly hit ball by Pujols.

Over his last four appearances, Baez has allowed six runs on ten hits and two walks over four innings (13.50 ERA and a 3.00 ratio). Last year with the Phils he threw to a 5.48 ERA and a 1.64 ratio.

Stutes and Romero were both pitching for the second day in a row, but I’m going to be surprised if we see Stutes any time soon. Kendrick threw 24 pitches in the game, Bastardo 21, Baez 13, Stutes three and Romero one.

Stutes will see a doctor today.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jaime Garcia went (1) Rollins (2) Martinez (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Mayberry (6) Francisco (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Polanco returns to the lineup and the three-hole. Martinez in center with Mayberry in left, Francisco in right and Ibanez on the bench against the lefty. Valdez plays second against the lefty with the lefty Orr on the bench. Sardinha catches with Ruiz on the bench.

Martinez singled to center with one out in the first and moved to second on a ground out by Polanco. Howard flew to center to leave him at second.

Descalso made a very nice play at third and a strong throw to first on a ball hit down the line by Polanco for the second out.

Mayberry led off the second with a single and stole second, but was left there when Francisco flew to center, Valdez popped to Theriot and Sardinha lined to third.

The Phils went in order in the third and again in the fourth.

With the Phils down 1-0, Valdez hit a ball just over Descalso and down the line for a double with one out in the fifth. Sardinha followed that with a walk and Oswalt bunted the runners to second and third with the second out. Rollins flew to Jay in left-center to leave both runners stranded.

Polanco singled with one out in the sixth. Howard struck out behind him and Mayberry grounded to third.

The Phillies went in order in the seventh.

With one out in the eighth, Rollins popped a ball up on the infield that Tyler Greene just dropped for an error. Martinez moved him to third with a single before Polanco flew to center for the second out, deep enough for Rollins to tag and score, tying the game at 1-1 with two outs and Martinez at first. Howard struck out swinging to leave Martinez stranded.

The Phillies went in order in the ninth. With righty Fernando Salas on the mound for St Louis, Orr hit for Valdez and struck out looking for the third out.

Rollins was 0-for-4.

Martinez had a nice game, going 2-for-4 with a big single in the eighth to help the Phils score their run. He’s 7-for-29 on the year with seven singles and two walks. Glad to see him have a nice game, but it seems pretty hard to argue that he’s a good use of a roster spot.

Polanco was 1-for-3 with an RBI. 222/258/259 in May.

Howard was 0-for-4 and struck out three times. If you want to make a ranked list of the problems with the Phillies offense, you need to put the fact that Howard has hit 208/300/431 over his last 150 plate appearances way higher than who the offensive players filling out the roster are.

Mayberry was 1-for-4. He’s 4-for-his-last-23.

Francisco 0-for-4. 218/327/346 for the season. Having a starting right fielder who has hit 218/327/346 on the year should go pretty high on the list, too.

Valdez was 1-for-3 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit in the game for the Phillies. The Phils are slugging .345 as a team in May. Valdez is on-basing .265 this season and .297 over the 463 plate appearances the Phillies have given him over the last two years.

Sardinha 0-for-2 with a walk. Unfortunate he wasn’t able to tag Berkman out and prevent the first St Louis run of the game. 3-for-17 on the year.

Ibanez didn’t play in the game, but it feels like he needs to be included in order to help fill out the list of things that are more important to the offense than the players filling out the roster. He’s hitting 223/280/338 for the year.

Cole Hamels (4-2, 3.19) faces lefty Jorge De La Rosa (5-1, 3.70) tonight. De la Rosa had his worst start of the year his last time out, allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Padres. In his eight starts, lefties have hit .107 against him with no extra-base hits. Hamels has thrown to a 2.29 ERA and an 0.92 ratio since his first start of the season.


Luis, Luis, oh, baby, me gotta go

The roster for opening day appears to be set, Luis Castillo is gone and the Phils will start their quest for a championship with an offense that includes Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and John Mayberry.

Castillo was released yesterday.

It’s hard not to be at least a little discouraged about the offense and the surprising, to me at least, release of Castillo. Castillo sure seems to have bigger upside for 2011 than any of Valdez, Orr or Martinez. Valdez, who looks to be the everyday second baseman for the Phils for long time, has a career line of 240/289/326, turns 33 in May and never had 150 plate appearances in a season coming into last year.

Yesterday the Phils lost to the Pirates, falling 4-1 to end their spring with a 21-14 mark.

Hamels started and allowed two runs on four hits over three innings. He ends the spring with a 6.67 ERA and a 1.41 ratio in seven starts. Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer off of him — Hamels allowed six in 27 innings, which is a lot too many. Allowing home runs at that rate, you would allow about 44.4 over 200 innings.

Blanton also pitched in the game, allowing a run on four hits over three innings. 3.19 ERA and a 1.19 ratio for Blanton, who walked just four in 31 innings.

Kendrick threw a scoreless inning and Juan Perez and Bastardo combined to pitch the ninth, with Perez charged with a run on three hits before Bastardo got the last out of the frame.

The Phils had two hits in the game, a triple by Orr and a single by Rollins. It’s the fifth triple of the spring for Orr.

Martinez went 0-for-2 to drop his line to 233/250/356 in 73 at-bats. I don’t understand what he did to make the team. He must be one electric defensive player.

Mayberry 0-for-1 and Delwyn Young 0-for-2.

Halladay faces Brett Myers tomorrow in a game that counts.

The opening day roster for the Phillies looks like it will include 13 hitters and 12 pitchers.

Hitters: Ruiz, Howard, Valdez, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, Schneider, Gload, Martinez, Mayberry and Orr.

Pitchers: Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Madson, Contreras, Baez, Herndon, Kendrick, Romero and Bastardo.

Young is the guy who looked like he had a real chance but didn’t make the team. He started strong, but ended spring with a 258/303/389 line in 62 at-bats.

Rollins will bat third for the Phillies with Victorino hitting leadoff. Over the last two seasons, Rollins has hit 248/304/406 in 1,119 plate appearances.


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