Tag: Miguel Cairo

The ninth wait

The three-game set with the Nationals started with Charlie Manuel insisting that Brad Lidge was his closer and ended with it clear that Lidge was not. Lidge was pulled from a save opportunity in game one, on the bench for another in game two and pitching in the eighth inning with the Phillies down by six runs in the third.

While it sure seems likely that the Phillies closer situation is going to continue to bounce around in the near future, the series did show that Manuel wasn’t going to let blind loyalty to Lidge ruin the year for the Phils. While most probably saw that one coming, it is a sigh of relief for fans who have watched Lidge struggle through an awful season coming off of a brilliant 2008.

The Phillies are 79-59 on the season after taking two of three from the Washington Nationals. They’re in first place in the NL East, but the Florida Marlins have cut the Phillies lead in the division to five games by going 7-3 over their last ten.

The Phillies hit five solo home runs in game one of the series and won 5-3. Pedro got the start and gave up two runs in the first four innings, but Ibanez got the Phils on the board at 2-1 with a homer in the fifth. Ibanez, Werth and Ruiz all homered in the seventh and the Phils led 4-2. A home run by Willie Harris off of Martinez made it 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, but Utley hit one in the eight to put the Phils up 5-3. Lidge came on in the ninth to protect the two-run lead. He got one out, but Washington loaded the bases on a single, a hit batter and a wild pitch and Manuel called on Madson to replace Lidge. Madson struck out Ryan Zimmerman for the second out and got Adam Dunn on a grounder to Rollins to end the game.

The Phils won game two 6-5. Washington went up 1-0 with a run off of Lee in the first, but the Phils put together four hits and a walk in the top of the second to take a 3-1 lead. A two-out double by Ibanez in the fifth knocked in Howard to extend the lead to 4-1, but the Nationals came back with two more against Lee in the bottom of the inning and then tied it at 4-4 with another run in the seventh. Werth and Feliz both hit solo homers in the eighth and the Phils led 6-4. Another error by Howard helped Washington score an unearned run in the eighth, but Madson came on to nail down the save in the ninth.

Last night the Phillies saw their ninth-inning rally fall just short and fell 8-7. A triple from Utley in the first put the Phillies up 2-0 early, but the Nats tied the game up with a pair of runs off of Blanton in the third and pulled ahead 3-2 with another in the fourth. Blanton didn’t make it through the fifth. The Nats scored five times, getting home runs from Dunn and Ian Desmond, and Blanton left with two outs in the fifth and the Phils down 8-2. The score stayed that way till the top of the ninth, when Stairs delivered a one-out grand slam that got the Phillies within two at 8-6. Rollins followed with a single and Victorino doubled him home. 8-7. Utley was next and he singled as well, putting men on first and third with one out. Things looked real good, but Howard hit into a double-play to end the game and leave the Phils a run short.

The Phillies threw to a 5.19 ERA and a 1.42 ratio over 26 innings in the series. Most of the problems in the series can be blamed on the starters — despite all of the drama with the closer the relievers weren’t charged with a run in the series.

The starters were. Pedro made the best start of the series, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 in game one. Lee and Blanton combined to allow 13 runs in 11 2/3 innings in the next two games. As a group the starters posted a 7.36 ERA and a 1.58 ratio over 18 1/3 innings. They allowed 24 hits but walked just five.

Martinez started game one and improved to 4-0 as a Phillie, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings on seven hits and a walk. He has a 3.64 ERA and a 1.11 ratio in six starts with the Phils.

Lee went seven innings in game two, allowing five runs on ten hits. Only four of the runs were earned and he didn’t walk a batter. The worse news is that that was the best of his last three starts. He’s allowed 29 hits in 15 innings over his last three times out.

Blanton got mauled in game three. He allowed eight runs on seven hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since May and the most runs he has allowed in any start all season. Just the second time in his last 19 starts that he has allowed more than three runs in a start.

The relievers weren’t charged with a run over 7 2/3 innings in the series and threw to a 1.04 ratio.

Park entered the eighth inning of game two with nobody out, men on second and third and the Phillies ahead 6-4. He walked Elijah Dukes to load the bases for the Nats before getting a fly ball for the first out with all the runners holding. Pinch-hitter Pete Orr was next and he delivered a sac fly that made it 6-5 with two down and men on first and second, but Park got Wil Nieves on a grounder to first to end the inning.

Durbin pitched the seventh inning of game three. He got the first out before allowing a double and a walk, but got the next two hitters.

The Phillies sure could use Durbin, who has struggled this season. He has been very good in his last three outings, though, throwing five scoreless frames with a 1.20 ratio.

Walker entered for Blanton in the fifth inning of last night’s game with two outs and the Phillies down 8-2. The first man he faced reached on an error and he got the next on a popup to end the inning. He came back and threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Walker hasn’t been charged with a run in his last 11 appearances. In those appearances he’s allowed three hits and three walks over 13 1/3 innings while striking out 12.

Myers took over for Martinez in the seventh inning of game one with two outs, the bases empty and the Phillies up 4-3. He gave up a single to Cristian Guzman before striking out Zimmerman to end the inning. He came back to pitch the eighth and Dunn reached on an error by Howard to start the inning, but Myers got the next three.

He’s now made three appearances since returning from the DL and allowed one hit and two walks over 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Madson entered the ninth inning of game one with one out, the bases loaded and the Phillies up 5-3. He struck out Zimmerman for the first out and got Dunn to ground to Rollins to turn the Nats away.

He started the ninth in a save situation in game two, entering with a 6-5 lead. Justin Maxwell led off with a single and stole second before Madson struck out Guzman for the first out of the inning. Dunn was next and smashed a line drive that Utley snared. Utley threw to Rollins at second in time to double Maxwell off and end the game.

Lidge started the ninth inning of game one with a two-run lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Wil Nieves before getting Alberto Gonzalez on a ground out for the first out. He hit Harris with a pitch, though, before walking Guzman to load the bases. Manuel gave him the hook, calling on Madson to nail down the save.

He threw the eighth inning last night, entering with the Phillies down 8-2. He allowed a one-out triple, but struck Orr out for the first out and Zimmerman out to end the inning.

The Phillies scored 18 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins made two throwing errors in last night’s game. He came into the game having made just three for the season. He was 3-for-14 in the series and is hitting 243/286/409 on the year. He’s on-basing .244 in September and has on-based under .300 in every month this season except for July.

Victorino was 5-for-14 with two doubles. 297/363/450. He’s on-basing .200 in September and is hitting .182 with no walks in his last 66 plate appearances.

Utley was 3-for-13 with a triple and a home run in the series. 293/411/536 on the year. He’s hitting 147/237/294 in September.

Howard made an error in each of the first two games. He also deserved an assist on a throwing error charged to Rollins in last night’s game. I’m thinking a day or two off might be in order. 1-for-11 in the series. 273/350/563 for the year. Just one strikeout in his last five games.

Werth was 4-for-12 with two home runs in the series. 270/373/528.

Ibanez went 5-for-13 with two doubles and two home runs. 278/346/567 for the season.

Feliz was 3-for-11 with a home run in the series. 268/315/383 on the year. 232/276/337 over his last 306 plate appearances.

Ruiz started games one and three. 2-for-5 with a home run and three walks in the set. 254/351/426 on the year. He’s hitting 385/467/577 in September after hitting 305/391/559 in August.

Bako started game two. 0-for-2 with a walk in the series. 203/280/324.

Bruntlett didn’t bat in the series.

Francisco didn’t bat in the series.

Cairo didn’t bat in the series.

Tracy got an at-bat in game two and struck out. 0-for-1 on the year.

Stairs hit a ninth-inning grand slam in last night’s game. 1-for-2 with a home run in the series. 198/360/385 for the season.

This article talks about the Phillies closer situation and mentions Lidge, Madson and Myers as possibilities. Walker should be considered and I think he will be.

The article linked above also suggests we shouldn’t expect to be seeing Eyre over the next several days.

This suggests that Condrey is almost ready to pitch again, either in a minor league or simulated game. It also suggests Dobbs may be able to return in seven or eight days and that there’s no timetable for Romero.


Swept, away

The Phillies still can’t score and now they can’t win. It was bound to happen sooner or later. They’ve scored 31 runs in their last 13 games and scored ten times in four games against the Astros. They lost all four, dropping each of the last three by a single run.

The Phils have scored 13 runs in September, which is 30th of the 30 teams in baseball.

If you’re looking for a bright spot in the series it’s that Brett Myers returned and looks like he’s going to be able to contribute at the back of the Phillies pen. We’ll have to wait and see exactly how that plays out, but it sure looks like the Phillies will be able to use the help. Madson was one of a large group of Phillies regulars that missed at least part of the Astros series with an injury — Victorino, Utley, Happ and Madson all have been battling what we’ll have to hope are minor injuries. Lidge continues to be a huge problem, he allowed a pair of runs to blow the save in game two and has a 7.15 ERA for the season.

The Phillies are 77-58 on the year after being swept by the Astros in a four-game set in Houston. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by six games. The Phils have lost five of six.

Cliff Lee got hit hard for the second straight outing and the Phils lost game one 7-0. Coming off a start where he allowed six runs over five innings to the Braves, the Astros scored four runs off of Lee in the second and two more in the third. Moyer relieved Lee in the fourth and allowed a run on three innings on a solo homer by Carlos Lee. Again the Phillies offense did almost nothing. They had seven singles and a double by Victorino in the game. They didn’t draw a walk.

The Phillies dropped game two 5-4 as Houston scored two runs off of Lidge in the bottom of the ninth. The Astros scored got three early runs off of Blanton and took a 3-0 lead into the seventh, but the Phils pulled ahead with two runs in the seventh and another two in the eighth. Lidge got the leadoff man to start the bottom of the ninth before Houston loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Michael Bourn chopped a ball to first with the infield in and Howard forced the runner at home for the second out, but Kaz Matsui delivered a two-run single that gave Houston the win.

The Phillies lost game three 4-3. Rollins started the game with a home run that put the Phillies up 1-0. Bourn led off the third with a single off of Hamels and came around to score and tie the game at 1-1. A solo shot from Francisco in the fourth put the Phillies up 2-1, but the Astros scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to go back on top at 4-2. Werth hit a solo homer in the eighth to get the Phillies within one, but that was how it ended.

Houston completed the sweep with a 4-3 win yesterday. Moyer got the start despite throwing 38 pitches in game one after Happ was scratched with an oblique strain. Again the Phillies went up with a run in the first inning, this time when Howard knocked in Victorino with an RBI-single. Pence connected for a two-run homer off of Moyer in the bottom of the second to put Houston up 2-1. Howard and Ibanez went back-to-back in the top of the fourth and the Phillies led 3-2. Park took over for Moyer in the seventh and things did not go well. The Astros greeted him with back-to-back doubles that tied the game at 3-3. After getting a fly ball for the first out of the inning, Park walked the lefty Darin Erstad to set up the double play, but then walked the next two batters. The second walk forced in a run to put Houston ahead to stay.

The pitching was terrible for the Phillies in the series. Overall the pitchers threw 32 2/3 innings with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

The starters were worse than the relievers. Moyer allowed two runs over six innings yesterday, but that was the best start for the group. Lee lasted just three innings in game one. Overall they pitched to a 6.43 ERA and a 1.43 ratio in 21 innings, allowing 26 hits including three home runs. They walked just four and none of the four walked more than two in a start.

Lee got hammered in game one. He went three innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks. He’s allowed 12 runs in eight innings over his last two starts.

Blanton went six innings in game one, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He’s been charged with more than three runs in a start once in 17 outings since the end of May.

Hamels took the loss in game three, allowing four runs over six innings on eight hits and two walks. He has thrown at least 114 pitches in each of his last three starts.

Moyer started game four, making the start for Happ. He went six innings and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out four. He has a 3.58 ERA and a 1.24 ratio over his last 70 1/3 innings.

The bullpen threw 11 2/3 innings in the series with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.54 ratio. Lidge struggled badly in game two and Park in game four. The pen issued nine walks in 11 2/3 innings overall, which is too many.

Eyre entered in the bottom of the seventh yesterday with one out, the bases loaded and the Phillies down 4-3. He struck out Kaz Matsui and then got Berkman on a fly ball to leave the bases loaded.

Moyer took over for Lee in the fourth inning of game one, entering with the Phils down 6-0. He threw a 1-2-3 fourth, allowed a solo homer to Lee and a walk in the fifth and hit a batter in a scoreless sixth. In three appearances in long relief he had allowed two runs in 13 1/3 innings on seven hits and one walk. That’s a 1.35 ERA and an 0.60 ratio.

Nice outing in game one for Moyer helped to save the bullpen.

Taschner entered game one with two outs in the eighth, the Phils down 7-0 and a man on first. He allowed a single to Michael Bourn that put men on first and second. Kaz Matsui followed with another single, but Victorino threw Bourn out at home to end the inning.

Durbin took over for Hamels in game three, starting the seventh with the Phillies down 4-2. He threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to pitch the eighth and the first two batters reached on a single and a walk, but Durbin struck out Blum for the first out and got JR Towles to hit into a double-play to end the inning. That’s two good outings in a row for Durbin in which he’s thrown a total of four scoreless innings.

Park pitched the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 3-2. He allowed a two-out single but kept the Astros off the board.

He also started the seventh inning yesterday in game four, entering to start the seventh with the Phillies up 3-2. Tejada and Pence greeted him with back-to-back doubles, tying the game at 3-3. Park got Blum on a fly ball for the first out and then walked the lefty Erstad intentionally to set up the double-play. He didn’t get it. Instead he walked the next two batters he faced, first walking Michaels to load the bases and then Bourn to force in the run that put Houston up 4-3. Eyre came in to pitch to switch-hitter Kaz Matsui.

Walker started the seventh inning in game one with the Phillies down 7-0 and set the Astros down in order. He came back to start the eighth and got the first two batter before hitting Aaron Boone. Taschner came in to pitch to the lefty Bourn.

Madson did not pitch in the series. He has been unavailable and hopefully will be able to pitch soon.

Myers pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies up 4-3. Myers was making his first appearance since May 27 and walked the first batter he faced, Lance Berkman. Myers got Carlos Lee on a fly ball to right for the first out and Berkman was thrown out trying to steal second for the second. Miguel Tejada flew to left to end the inning. That’s a pretty bad time to get caught stealing if you’re the Astros, but it worked out great for the Phils. Myers got three outs in the inning on a caught stealing and two line drives hit well to the outfield.

He also pitched the bottom of the eighth yesterday, entering the game to start the inning with the Phillies down 4-3. He walked Pence with two outs but got Blum to fly to left to leave the runner stranded.

Lidge started the ninth inning of game two with a 4-3 lead. He struck out Hunter Pence to start the inning, then walked Geoff Blum, gave up a single to Chris Coste and walked Jason Michaels to load the bases. The Phillies brought the infield in and Bourn chopped a ball to first. Howard made a nice play to throw home and force the runner at the plate. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Matsui lined a two-run single into center and the Astros won the game 5-4.

Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw 23 pitches yesterday.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the four game series.

Rollins was 4-for-18 with a double and a home run in the series. He’s on-basing .258 in September after on-basing .294 in August.

Victorino was on the bench for game three with a bruised knee. He was 2-for-14 with a double in the series to drop his line on the year to 295/363/449 on the year. He’s 4-for-his-last-30 and has not drawn a walk since August 24.

Utley did not start game two after fouling a ball of his right foot in game one. 2-for-11 in the series. 295/414/533 on the year. He’s 2-for-21 with two singles in September.

Howard 5-for-15 with a triple and a homer. 277/353/573 on the season.

Werth was 3-for-14 with a double and a homer in the series. 269/373/521 for the year. He’s 8-for-his-last-37.

Ibanez was on the bench for game one against the lefty Wandy Rodriguez. Francisco played left. Ibanez was 4-for-11 with a home run in the set. 274/345/554 on the year.

Feliz was 2-for-15 with two singles and is hitting 268/314/379 for the year. He’s 3-for-24 with three singles in September.

Ruiz was 5-for-13 with a double in the series to raise his line on the year to 252/345/416 on the year.

Bako started game two behind the plate and was 1-for-2 in the series. 208/278/333.

Bruntlett didn’t have an at-bat in the series and is hitting 167/224/240 for the year.

Francisco started in left in game one and right in game three. 3-for-10 with a home run in the series. He’s hitting 231/268/481 in 52 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo started at second in game two. 3-for-7 with a double in the series. 192/222/231 for the year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with two walks in the series. 191/357/348.

Charlie Manuel is mad the Phillies never win.

Happ hopes his oblique strain will not force him to miss another start.


Phils offense fights it out with the Giants in a battle of mythological creatures

The Phillies did something against the Giants you’re not going to see very often. They won a three-game series in which they scored three runs. The only way to do that is with the help of some great pitching — in this case the great pitching was provided by Cole Hamels, who tossed a complete-game shutout in the series opener, and Pedro Martinez, who held the Giants to a run on five hits last night as the Phillies took game three of the series.

The Phillies have scored 21 runs in their last nine games and gone a miraculous 5-4. Twenty-one runs in nine games is 2.33 runs per game, which makes it almost impossible to win. The Padres have scored the fewest runs of the 30 MLB teams this year and they’re scoring about 3.91 runs per game. Over the nine games the Phillies have allowed 28 runs, or about 3.11 runs per game. The Giants are the team in baseball that has allowed the fewest runs and they have allowed about 3.72 runs per game. Finally, of the 28 runs that the Phils have given up over their last nine games, nine of them came in a 9-1 loss to the Braves on August 29. So in the other eight games they allowed 19 runs over eight games.

So what I’m trying to say here is that they’re pitching well.

The Phillies are 77-54 after taking two of three from the San Francisco Giants. They are in first place in the NL East. The Marlins and Braves are tied for second-place and both teams trail the Phils by 8 1/2 games. The Phils hit 23 games above .500 with a win in game one of the series, which is their high mark for this season and their best mark since 1993.

Cole Hamels threw a complete game two-hit shutout in game one, which the Phillies won 1-0 on a fourth-inning double from Ryan Howard that drove in Shane Victorino. Hamels started the ninth protecting a one-run lead and gave up a leadoff single to Rich Aurilia. Andres Torres ran for Aurilia and Hamels picked him off of first. Howard made a nice throw to second and Torres was called out. He was safe, but whatever. Big play in the game.

Weary from their explosion in game one, the Phillies bats rested in game two as Brad Penny pitched the Giants to a 4-0 win. Happ allowed a run in the fifth that put San Francisco up 1-0 and Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand hit back-to-back homers off of Happ in the sixth that extended the lead to 4-0. The Phillies offense managed five singles and a walk in the game.

Eugenio Velez hit Pedro Martinez’s first pitch of the game out to right-center last night, but that was all for the Giants’ offense against Pedro and the Phils won the game 2-1. Martinez didn’t allow another run in the game and struck out nine without walking a batter. Werth hit a long home run off of Tim Lincecum in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1-1. Utley was hit by a pitch with two outs in the sixth and came around to put the Phillies up to stay when Howard followed with a double.

Given the lack of offense, the Phillies needed fantastic pitching to win. They got it. The pitchers threw 27 innings with a 1.67 ERA and an 0.78 ratio. They allowed five runs in the series, four of which were scored against Happ in game two.

They got two fantastic starts — Hamels threw a complete game shutout in game one and Pedro held the Giants to a run over seven innings in game three. Happ was hit harder in the middle game. Overall the starters went 22 innings with a 2.05 ERA and an 0.77 ratio. They struck out 25 in 22 innings and walked just two.

Hamels threw shutout in game one. In nine innings he allowed a single, a double and a walk and struck out nine. That’s two fantastic starts in a row for Hamels. He has allowed no runs on nine hits and three walks over 17 innings while striking out 16 in his last two starts. He’s pitching rather well. If you’re looking for something to worry about I’d go with this: over his first 24 starts the most pitches Hamels had thrown in a game this year was 117. Over his last two starts he’s thrown 123 and 118.

Happ went six innings in game two, allowing four runs on eight hits and walk. It was just the second time in his last 14 starts that Happ has allowed more than three runs in an outing. Happ hasn’t had a whole lot of problems this year. To the degree he’s had any one of them has been that he gives up too many walks. His walk rate is down recently, though. Over his last three starts he hasn’t walked more than two batters in a game.

The Phillies are going to need Moyer to start a few double-header games in September, but I think they should (and will) also consider giving some of Happ’s starts to Moyer to keep Happ’s innings down.

Pedro allowed a run on five hits in seven innings in last night’s game. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. He’s issued just three walks in 23 innings over five starts with the Phillies, throwing to a 3.52 ERA and a 1.09 ratio. He has 23 strikeouts in 23 innings and the Phillies are 5-0 in the games he’s started, although twice rain has shortened his start and Moyer helped the Phils get a win with excellent work in long relief.

The bullpen threw just five innings in the series. They didn’t allow a run and threw to an 0.80 ratio, allowing one hit and three walks while striking out six.

Eyre did not pitch in the series.

Moyer did not pitch in the series.

Taschner started the ninth inning of game two with the Phils down 4-0. He faced one batter, lefty Nate Schierholtz, and struck him out with the help of some weird sidearm thing I’d not seen from him before.

Durbin started the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 4-0 and threw two scoreless innings. He allowed two walks. In the seventh he walked Torres with one out but got the next batter to hit into a double-play. In the eighth he walked Uribe with two outs but got Rowand to fly to left. For Durbin it was his first outing in his last three that he had not been charged with a run.

Park did not pitch in the series. He’s gotten two outs since August 24.

Walker entered the ninth inning of game with the Phillies down 4-0. He faced two batters and struck them both out.

Over his last nine appearances Walker has allowed three hits and three walks in 10 1/3 scoreless innings (0.00 ERA and an 0.58 ratio) with ten strikeouts.

Madson pitched the eighth inning in last night’s game with a 2-1 lead and set the Giants down 1-2-3. It broke a string of four appearances in a row in which he had been charged with at least one run.

Lidge came on in the ninth last night with a 2-1 lead. He got the first two hitters and had Randy Winn buried at 0-2 before Winn singled to right. Uribe followed with a walk, but Lidge got Fred Lewis on a ground ball to second to end the game.

Lidge has thrown three scoreless innings in his last three appearances, allowing a hit and a walk over three innings. He’s been charged with one or more earned runs in just one of his last eight times out.

Nobody in the Phillies pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Lidge threw 22 pitches last night.

The Phillies scored three runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 3-for-12 with a double on the series. He’s hitting 244/289/413 for the year. Among the 25 players in either league who have at least 300 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter, Rollins’ .282 on-base percentage hitting first is 24th. Over his last 82 plate appearances overall he has two walks and a .259 on-base percentage.

Victorino was 1-for-12 with a single in the series. 300/368/455 for the year. His last walk came on August 24.

Utley was 0-for-10 with a walk in the series. 298/417/542 for the year.

Howard doubled in the only run the Phillies scored in a 1-0 win in game one. He also made a solid throw in the ninth to get Torres at second when Hamels picked the runner off in the ninth inning of the series opener. He was 4-for-11 with three doubles in the series. He drove in two of the three runs that the Phillies scored and is hitting 275/353/570 on the year. 337/396/831 with six doubles, a triple and 11 home runs over his last 91 plate appearances.

Howard was walked intentionally 37 times in 2006 and then 35 times in 2007. In 2009 he has been walked intentionally three times and just once in his last 254 plate appearances. His OPS in those 254 plate appearances is .977, which is very similar to the .976 OPS he posted in 2007 when he was walked intentionally 35 times.

Werth had a monster home run last night to give him 30 for the season. His career-high coming into the season was 24 (last year). He has had more plate appearances this year than last, but he’s also hitting home runs at a quicker pace. In ’08 he hit 24 in 482 plate appearances, which is one every 20.08 plate appearances. This year he has 30 in 551, which is one every 18.36 plate appearances. He 2-for-8 with a home run and two walks in the set. 270/374/521 on the year.

Ibanez is a mess. 0-for-8 with a walk and four strikeouts in the series. He’s hitting 272/343/551 for the season. He has hit 200/297/338 over his last 195 plate appearances.

Feliz was 1-for-9 in the series. 272/318/387.

Ruiz went 3-for-8 with a double and a walk in the series to raise his line on the year to 245/343/414. He’s hitting 366/438/707 with five doubles and three home runs in his last 50 plate appearances.

Bako did not play in the series.

Bruntlett did not play in the series.

Francisco went 0-for-1 to drop his line with the Phillies to 214/261/452 in 42 at-bats.

Cairo was 0-for-1 in the series and is 2-for-19 with the Phillies this year.

Stairs was 0-for-1 in the series. He’s 1-for-34 since the end of June and hitting 193/349/352 for the year. I wrote yesterday that it’s pretty hard to find things to quibble with in the Amaro era, but if you’re looking to add to the Paulino-for-Taschner list I think Stairs instead of Jenkins belongs on the list as well. I think it’s hard to defend putting a guy on your roster all year who doesn’t play defense and hits .193, especially with Dobbs on the team most of the year. It’s not over yet, though, and the biggest at-bats on the year for Stairs are still to come.

This says that Brett Myers will be activated for tonight’s game against the Astros. It also suggests that Romero thinks he could be activated soon, which comes a surprise.


Utley and Howard committed to hitting as many solo home runs as it takes to get the Phillies some wins

The Phils got enough pitching against the Braves to win the series — Joe Blanton gave them yet another fantastic start last night, Moyer was great in game one when Pedro’s start was cut short by rain and Lidge came up huge twice in two tries. What is a little less impressive was how badly the Phils need great pitching these days if they want to win a game. The Phillies have scored 18 runs in their last six games.

The curious things about scoring 18 runs over the last six games is that Utley and Howard are both on fire. They combined to hit four home runs in the series against the Braves, which drove in five runs (the two-run shot that Howard hit in game one drove in Utley). The Phillies scored three other runs in the three-game series and two of them came on a ball last night that should have been caught.

Howard is 9-for-23 with three home runs and seven RBI over the last six (391/440/870) while Utley has gone 9-for-24 with three home runs (375/423/833) and three RBI. All those home runs aren’t driving a lot of guys in and that’s because there’s not a whole lot of guys on base. Rollins and Victorino combined to go 3-for-24 (.125) with three singles and no walks against the Braves.

Brad Lidge had a fantastic series, which is sure to be noticed by Phillies fans rightfully worried about the back of the pen. Lidge has had some nice stretches before this season, though, so as much as we’d all love to see him back throwing like he did in 2008 it’s going to take a while to make believers out of everyone. As good as Lidge was in the series, it’s also almost just as hard not to notice that Madson, who has been great most of the year, is suddenly not. Madson has been charged with runs in four straight games. And he’s not even trying to close anymore.

The Phillies are 75-53 on the year after taking two of three from the Atlanta Braves at home. They are in first place in the NL East. The Braves and Fish are tied for second-place and both teams trail the Phillies by eight games.

Twenty-two games above .500 ties them for their high mark on the season. If they had won game two of the series they would have been twenty-three games above .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies won game one 4-2. The game was delayed twice by rain, forcing Pedro from the game having thrown two scoreless innings. Howard put the Phils on top 1-0 with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. Moyer came on in relief of Martinez and the Phils took the one-run lead into the bottom of the fourth when Howard again homered, this time a two-run shot that put the Phillies up 3-0. A single, an error by Feliz and an RBI-double by Matt Diaz got the Braves a run in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-1. Ibanez led off the seventh with a triple and came in to score when Feliz followed with a single to make it 4-1. Madson pitched the eighth and had a miserable day, but held Atlanta to a single run in the frame despite allowing a double, two singles and a walk in the inning. Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.

Cliff Lee got lit up in game two and the Braves won 9-1 in eight innings. A first inning run home run from Utley put the Phils up 1-0, but that was all the offense they would get in the game. Lee gave up a five runs in the fourth inning on a three-run homer by Garrett Anderson and a two-run shot by Matt Diaz. Yunel Escobar hit a solo homer off of Lee in the fifth to make it 6-1. Durbin pitched the sixth and he gave up three runs, including a two-run homer by Chipper Jones, putting the game out of reach.

Blanton made a nice start in game three and the Phils held on for a 3-2 win with the help of another save from Lidge. Prado put the Braves up 1-0 with a homer in the first, but Utley tied things up with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the fourth. Ruiz delivered a two-run double off the glove of Anderson in the seventh to put the Phils up 3-1. Madson got into trouble in the eighth, allowing the only three batters he faced to reach base. The Braves put a run on the board to make it 3-2 and had men on first and second when Eyre relieved Madson to pitch to McCann and Eyre got McCann to hit into an odd double-play. McCann hit the ball hard to Utley. Utley went to second for the first out and Rollins threw to third when Prado was eventually tagged out to complete the double-play. Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a one-run lead to earn the save.

The Phillies threw 26 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.31 ratio.

The Phils got a very good start from Blanton in game three and an awful start from Lee in game two. Martinez threw two scoreless innings in his start in game one. Overall the starters threw to a 4.50 ERA with a 1.36 ratio in 14 innings. The Braves hit four home runs against the Phils’ starters, three against Lee in game two and one against Blanton last night.

Martinez started game one and went two scoreless innings before being forced from the game by rain. He allowed a single and a walk and struck out one. He has a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 ratio after four starts with the Phillies.

Lee got blasted in game two, allowing six runs over five innings. All six of the runs he allowed came on the three home runs he surrendered. It was the first time in six starts with the Phillies that he had allowed more than one earned run in a game.

Blanton got the start in game three and managed to get a win despite the fact that the Phils scored just three runs in the game. Blanton went seven innings and allowed a run on three hits and four walks while striking out seven. After throwing to a 1.21 ERA in four starts in July, Blanton has thrown to a 2.81 ERA with a 1.18 ratio in six starts in August.

The bullpen went 12 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. Those numbers are masked by Moyer’s nice outing in game one in which he threw 4 1/3 innings in relief of Pedro and was charged with one run. Madson had bad outings in games one and three and Durbin got lit up in game two.

Eyre played a big role in last night’s game. He entered in the top of the eighth with nobody out, men on first and second and the Phillies down 3-2 to face Brian McCann. McCann smashed a ball to second and the Phillies started a bizarre double-play in which Rollins threw to third to get the second out. Eyre got Anderson on a ground ball to second for the third out.

Eyre has made 38 appearances on the season and been charged with one or more runs in three of them.

Moyer took over from Pedro in game one after Martinez had to leave his start after just two innings. Moyer started the third with a 1-0 lead and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits while striking out five. He didn’t walk a batter and lowered his ERA on the year to 5.12. He left with one out in the top of the seventh with nobody on base and the Phillies up 3-1. In his last two appearances Moyer has allowed one run on six hits and no walks over 10 1/3 innings.

Park took over for Moyer in the seventh inning of game one with one out, the bases empty and the Phillies up 3-1. He got the two men he faced to set Atlanta down.

Durbin started the sixth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-1. He walked the leadoff man and the Braves bunted the runner to second. It looked like Durbin might get away with the leadoff walk when he got Diaz to ground out for the second out. Didn’t happen, though. Martin Prado delivered an RBI-single to make it 7-1 before Chipper hit a two-run homer. Durbin struck out McCann to end the frame.

The outing sent Durbin’s ERA for the season to 5.17.

Walker pitched the seventh and eighth innings of game two with the Phillies down 9-1. He allowed two singles but no runs and dropped his ERA to 1.99 for the year.

Madson started the eighth inning of game one with a 4-1 lead. Matt Diaz led off with a double and moved to third when Martin Prado followed with an infield single. Chipper grounded out and Diaz scored with Prado forced at second, making it 4-2 with one out and a man on first. Madson got Brian McCann on a fly ball for the second out, but Garrett Anderson singled and Yunel Escobar followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Atlanta. Madson got Adam LaRoche on a fly ball to center to end the frame.

He also pitched last night, starting the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead. He hit the first man he faced and then allowed back-to-back singles. The second single drove in a run to make it 3-2 with nobody out and men on first and second. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty McCann.

Madson has now been charged with runs in four appearances in a row. In those four outings he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.50 ratio in four innings.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with a 4-2 lead and set the Braves down in order to earn his 26th save of the season.

He also pitched the ninth inning last night, entering with a 3-2 lead and retiring three in a row to end the game.

Fantastic series by Lidge. I’d love to see the Phillies have him back the rest of the way. He has had some other stretches in the season where he’s pitched well, though. He had back-to-back perfect innings to start June and ended June with an ERA near six for the month. He had five appearances from May 26 through June 1 where he was fantastic. In those five outings he allowed one hit and one walk in 4 2/3 scoreless innings. After that stretch he allowed five runs in two innings over his next three times out.

Nobody in the pen has pitched on back-to-back days. Madson, Eyre and Lidge all threw less than 15 pitches last night and the Phillies are off today.

The Phillies scored eight runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 2-for-12 in the series and is hitting 244/290/415 for the season. He has one walk in his last 41 at-bats.

Victorino was 1-for-12 without a walk in the series. 305/374/464 for the year. He hasn’t walked in his last 26 at-bats.

Utley was 5-for-12 with two home runs in the series, solo shots of course as nobody ever gets on base in front of him. He’s hitting 304/423/554 for the season. 362/470/681 in his last 83 plate appearances.

Howard hit two home runs in game one of the series and drove in three of the four runs that the Phillies scored. He was 6-for-11 with a double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 273/352/569 for the year and 349/415/831 with 11 home runs in his last 94 plate appearances.

Werth went 3-for-11 with a double and a walk in the series. 271/373/520 on the year.

Ibanez was 1-for-9 with a triple and three walks. 278/347/563. He hit .193 in August with one home run.

Feliz was 4-for-8 with a double to raise his line on the year to 275/322/393.

Ruiz had a big double in last night’s game and went 4-for-5 with two doubles in the set. His line is at 242/340/411 for the season. Bako started the middle game of the series with the righty Lowe on the mound for Atlanta.

Bako was 1-for-3 with a double in the series and is hitting 200/273/329 for the year.

Bruntlett did not play in the series and is hitting 167/224/240 for the year.

Francisco didn’t play in the series and is hitting 220/267/463 in 41 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo was 0-for-1 in the series. 2-for-18 with two singles this year.

Stairs was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the series to drop his line on the year to 195/352/356. 1-for-33 since the end of June.


Fans flock to Phillies pen to nail down the blown saves category in their roto leagues

The Phils played three games in Pittsburgh and gave up three huge home runs late. Two of them were too much for the Phillies to overcome and the Pirates took two out of three. The Phils offense managed to score just ten runs in the three-game set, which is going to make it tough for the team to overcome much of anything.

The Phillies are 73-52 on the season after losing two of three to the Pirates. They are in first place in the NL East and lead both the Braves and Marlins by seven games. They came into the series at 22 games above .500 for the year, which was their high mark for the season.

The Phils lost a heart-breaker in game one, falling 6-4. Rollins put them up 1-0 with a solo shot in the first and up again at 2-1 with another in the top of the third. The Pirates scored twice off of Blanton on a two-run homer by Stephen Pearce in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, which held till the Phils hit in the top of the ninth. Ruiz doubled with one out in the ninth and Francisco followed with a double of his own that tied the game at 3-3. With two outs and Francisco on third, Victorino lined a ball to center that Andrew McCutchen misplayed into a triple that put the Phils up 4-3. Lidge came on in the bottom of the inning to protect the one-run lead, pitching for his fourth straight day. Single, wild pitch, single with the ball dropped by Werth in right tied the game at 4-4 with nobody out and a man on second. McCutchen lined a 1-0 pitch out to center.

The Pirates rallied in the ninth again in game two, but this time a big blast from Howard in the tenth got the Phils out with a 4-1 win. Hamels made a brilliant starts in the game. Thanks to his eight shutout innings and an Utley homer in the first the Phils took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. With Lidge having worked for four straight days, Madson tried to nail down the save but gave up a pinch-hit homer to Brandon Moss that tied the game at 1-1. Rollins and Victorino got on to start the tenth before Howard delivered a three-run blast to right that put the Phils up to stay at 4-1.

Happ pitched well in game three as well, but Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer off of him in the bottom of the eighth and the Pirates won 3-2. The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first, but managed to get just one run on a ground out by Howard before Werth popped to second and Ibanez flew out. The Pirates tied things up at 1-1 with a run off of Happ in the bottom of the first, but Bako hit a solo shot in the top of the second to make it 2-1. That’s how the score stayed until the bottom of the eighth when Jones took Happ deep to put Pittsburgh on top.

Overall the Phillies pitched to a 3.46 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 26 innings in the series. They allowed six home runs.

The starters were better than the relievers. Hamels made a brilliant start in game two, throwing eight shutout innings. Blanton and Happ combined to allow six runs in 14 innings in the other two games. As a group the starters threw to a 2.45 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. They allowed four home runs in 22 innings, two by Blanton and two by Happ.

Blanton went six innings in game one, allowing three runs on six hits and a pair of walks. All of the runs he allowed came on home runs by the Pirates, a solo shot and a two-run blast. Blanton has allowed more than three runs in a start once in 15 outings since the end of May. He has a 3.19 ERA and a 1.18 ratio in 20 starts since the end of April. A 2.74 ERA and a 1.14 ratio in 15 starts since the end of May.

Hamels was great in game two. He went eight shutout innings, allowing five singles, two doubles and two walks while striking out seven. He didn’t allow a home run in the start for his first time in four outings. Hamels also made a fantastic start on July 28 against the Diamondbacks, holding the Snakes to a run on four hits over eight innings while striking out nine, but followed that up by going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.78 ratio over his next four outings.

Happ went eight innings in game three, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. All three of the runs that Happ allowed came on home runs — a solo shot by McCutchen and the two-run shot by Jones in the bottom of the eighth. Happ hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start in any of his last six outings. He has a 1.85 ERA and a 1.16 ratio in those appearances.

The relievers struggled. They pitched just four innings but allowed four runs. Walker threw two strong innings in game one, but Lidge got blasted later in the same game. Madson allowed a run over two innings in game two. As a group the pen threw to a 9.00 ERA with a 1.75 ratio in four innings.

Eyre did not pitch in the series. He has not pitched since August 16.

Moyer did not pitch in the series. This says that Moyer will start games in two double-headers in September. The Phils play two against the Mets on September 13 at home and two against the Marlins on September 22 in Florida.

Park did not pitch in the series. He’s pitched three innings since August 12.

Durbin did not pitch in the series. He’s pitched two innings since August 15.

Walker started the seventh inning of game one with the Phillies down 3-2, pitching for the first time since August 11. He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff walk to Garrett Jones, who was bunted to second. Walker walked the next hitter intentionally and got the next two. Two nice innings in the game for Walker kept the Phillies close enough to pull ahead in the top of the ninth.

Madson got a chance to save game two, entering in the ninth with the Phils up 1-0. He struck out the first man he faced before pinch-hitter Brandon Moss homered to center to tie the game at 1-1. Madson got the next two and Howard put the Phils up 4-1 in the top of the tenth. Madson came back to pitch the bottom of the tenth. He gave up a leadoff single to Delwyn Young, but got Garrett Jones on a fly ball and then Andy LaRoche hit into a double-play to end the game.

Madson has made 12 appearances in August in which he’s thrown to a 1.42 with an 0.87 ratio while striking out 14 in 12 2/3 innings. He’s allowed runs in each of his last two appearances — the only two runs he’s allowed for the month.

Lidge entered the ninth inning of game one with a 4-3 lead. Luis Cruz led off with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Brian Bixler ran for Cruz with Brandon Moss at the plate. Moss singled to right. Werth charged and gloved. Bixler stopped at third, but took off for home when Werth dropped the ball. Werth probably would have had Bixler at the plate with a perfect throw, but we’ll never know. The throw was up the first base line and Bixler scored to tie the game at 4-4. McCutchen was next and smashed a 1-0 pitch out to center to end the game.

The pen should be well-rested with no relievers throwing in last night’s game. Madson threw 28 pitches in two innings in game two.

The Phillies scored ten runs in the three-game set and three of them came on a single swing by Howard in game two.

Rollins hit two home runs in game one to give him seven for August. The last time he hit seven homers in a month was July of 2007. He was 5-for-14 with double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 246/292/420 for the season. 304/352/565 in 234 plate appearances since July 2. 205/250/319 in 329 plate appearances through July 1.

Victorino was 3-for-14 with a triple in the series. 310/380/473 for the year.

Utley was 4-for-12 with two doubles and a home run in the series. 301/423/544 for the year.

Howard hit a huge home run in game two and was 3-for-12 with a double and a home run in the series. He drove in four of the ten runs the Phillies scored. 267/347/555 for the year. He has walked just nine times in August, which is the fewest number of walks he has drawn in any month since April (when he also walked nine times). He’s slugging .625 in August and has hit 295/365/807 with nine home runs in 63 plate appearances since August 13.

Ibanez was on the bench for game two with the lefty Paul Maholm on the mound for Pittsburgh. He was 0-for-7 in the series and is hitting 281/348/568 for the year. 188/274/294 with 26 strikeouts in his last 93 plate appearances.

Werth didn’t start game one with Stairs in right. He was 3-for-9 with two doubles in the series. 271/374/523 on the season.

Feliz was 1-for-13 with a double in the series. 272/318/389 for the year. He now has an OPS for the year of .706. If the season ended today it would be the fourth straight year in which he has ended the season with an OPS in the .705 to .709 range. He’s hitting 184/227/320 in his last 110 plate appearances.

Ruiz started games one and two with Bako behind the plate for game three. He was 1-for-6 with a double in the series. 231/332/396 on the season. He has three home runs in August, which is the most he has had in any month of his career (he’s never had three in any other month).

Bako started yesterday’s game and was on-base four times. 2-for-2 with a home run and two walks in the series. 194/270/313 on the year.

Bruntlett was 1-for-1 with a double in the series. He’s 5-for-his-last-10 to raise his line on the year to 167/224/240.

Francisco had a huge hit in the ninth inning of game one to tie the score at 3-3. He started in left in game two with Ibanez on the bench. 1-for-5 with a walk and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 220/267/463 in 41 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo didn’t play in the series and hasn’t seen any action since replacing Dobbs on the roster on Sunday.

Stairs started in right in game one and was 0-for-4 with a walk in the series. He’s 1-for-31 since the end of June.

Charlie Manuel thinks JA Happ should be Rookie of the Year. The linked article also says that Myers will make another rehab appearance tomorrow and Bastardo will make another on Monday.


Better halves

No team in the National League has played to a better winning percentage than the Phillies since the All-Star break. The Phils went 23-12 in their first 35 games since the break. That .657 winning percentage is tied for the third-best in baseball and trails only two AL teams. The Yankees have gone 27-9 since the break (.790) and the Angels are 25-11 (.694). The Cardinals have matched the Phils in the second half, also playing to a 23-12 record in their 35 games since the break.

In the first half of the year the Phils went 48-38 for a .558 winning percentage. That mark was fifth-best in all of baseball. The Yankees, Red Sox and Angels all posted better marks while the Dodgers went 56-32 for a .636 winning percentage that was the best for either league. The Giants were also fantastic before the break. They put up a 49-39 record, which gave them the sixth-best winning percentage in either league just a tick behind the Phillies.

The Dodgers and the Giants have both struggled in the second half. The Dodgers are 18-19 and the Giants 18-18. LA maintains a 3 1/2 game in the NL West while the Giants are three games out in the Wild Card hunt.

The Phillies have improved overall in the second-half because their pitching has been much better. Here’s the rate at which the Phillies have scored runs before and after the All-Star break this season:

  W-L G R R/G NL Rank
R/G
First Half 48-38 86 460 5.35 1
Second Half 23-12 35 181 5.17 4

So in the 35 games after the break the Phillies have played to a .657 winning percentage and in the 86 games before the break they played to a .558 winning percentage, but they scored more runs per game before the break. In the first half there was no NL team that scored more runs per game. In the second-half the Braves, Rockies and Brewers all have scored more runs per game. That probably means they have been a lot better at preventing runs in the second half. They have.

  W-L G RA RA/G NL Rank
RA/G
First Half 48-38 86 412 4.79 13
Second Half 23-12 35 126 3.60 3

The Phillies were thirteenth-best of the 16 NL teams at preventing runs in the first half of the season. They are third-best in the second half of the year and have allowed more than a run less per game in the second-half of the year.

Only the Braves have allowed fewer runs per game in the second-half of the season. The Cardinals and the Phillies are tied behind the Braves — both St Louis and the Phillies have allowed 126 runs in their first 35 games of the second half.

Notably, the Braves have both scored more runs per game than the Phillies and allowed fewer runs per game than the Phillies in the second-half of the season. The Phils have managed the better winning percentage, though, going 23-12 (.657) while the Braves have gone 23-13 (.639).

The Phillies have gone 7-2 in nine games since the last post. They took two of three from the Braves in Atlanta, swept the Diamondbacks at home and won two of the first three games of a four-game set against the Mets in New York.

Dobbs strained his right calf in Friday’s game and was put on the DL. Cairo was called up to take his roster spot and Bastardo was put on the DL to make room for Cairo on the 40-man roster.

Brett Myers was supposed to pitch for the Single-A BlueClaws yesterday but the game was rained out. This suggests that Myers may be ready to return to the Phillies by early September.


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