Tag: Prince Fielder

Phils/Playoff Victory Reunion Show finally comes together

That playoff victory was just making some unreasonable demands. Glad they got it worked out, though. It was a little tough to watch, but the ending was good.

The Phillies won their first playoff game in 15 years yesterday, but the way Cole Hamels threw makes you think they may not need to wait 15 days before he pitches them to another. Hamels looked exactly like one of the elite pitchers in baseball in the first game of the series against the Brewers, holding Milwaukee to a pair of singles and a walk over eight shutout innings as the Phils pulled out a 3-1 win.

Hamels was arguably the only Phillie that played well. The Phils had four hits in the game and managed to score in just one inning. They needed a whole lot of help from the Brewers to do that — three defensive misplays and three walks back-to-back-to-back helped the Phils put up the only three runs they would score in the contest in the bottom of the third.

Brad Lidge made the ninth inning memorable. Coming in to game with a three-run lead, Lidge struggled yet again and needed 35 pitches to get through a frame that turned out to be a lot more exciting than one might hope. Despite the struggles, he made it through to extend his streak to 42 saves in 42 tries for the Phils. Still, it’s a little worrisome to see him bend but not break so often these days after we didn’t see him even bend at all for most of the season.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, winning 3-1 in the first game of the best-of-five series.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing two singles and a walk. He struck out nine.

He faced a Milwaukee lineup that went (1) Cameron (CF/R) (2) Hall (3B/R) (3) Braun (LF/R) (4) Fielder (1B/L) (5) Hardy (SS/R) (6) Hart (RF/R) (7) Weeks (2B/R) (8) Kendall (C/R).

There were five position players on the bench for Milwaukee to start the game: Mike Rivera (R), Tony Gwynn, Jr (L), Brad Nelson (L), Craig Counsell (L) and Ray Durham (Switch).

Cameron led off the first. Hamels didn’t get the call on a close 2-1 pitch, running the count to 3-1. Cameron watched strike two and then went down swinging 3-2 for the first out. Hall was next and popped up an 0-1 pitch into shallow center, where Rollins took it for the second out. Hamels struck Braun out swinging 1-2 to end the frame.

Fourteen pitches in the first inning for Hamels.

He struck Fielder out swinging 1-2 to start the second. Hardy hit a 2-1 pitch into right-center field that Victorino took for the second out. Hart hit an 0-1 pitch back up the middle, but Utley moved to his right, back-handed and threw to first to set the Brewers down.

Hamels had thrown 25 pitches through two innings.

Rickie Weeks went down swinging at a 2-2 pitch to start the third. Kendall started his at-bat and hit a long foul ball to left before hitting a lazy fly ball into right-center that Victorino took for the second out. Gallardo flew to Burrell on a 1-0 pitch for the third out. Gallardo hit the ball well and Burrell had to make a run towards to corner to get to it — he looked like he was running about the way that he usually does despite the back issue. Hamels had thrown 36 pitches through three.

Hamels started the fourth up 3-0. Cameron grounded to second on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Hall got behind 1-2 and then grounded to Howard. Braun hit a lazy fly ball to left on an 0-1 pitch to end the frame.

Perfect through four, having thrown 44 pitches and struck out four.

Fielder struck out swinging 3-2 to start the fifth. Hardy grounded to short on a 2-2 pitch. Hart hit a foul ball hard 0-1 and then singled into right on an 0-2 pitch for the first Milwaukee base-runner of the game. Hamels struck Weeks out looking 1-2 to leave Hart stranded.

60 pitches.

Kendall started the sixth and struck out swinging 3-2. Craig Counsell was next, he had entered with Carlos Villanueva as part of a double-switch. Counsell lined a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Hamels got behind Cameron 3-0 before walking him 3-1. It put men on first and second with one down for Hall. Hamels struck Hall out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Braun swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and popped to short to leave both men stranded.

Twenty-one pitches in the sixth for Hamels, putting him at 85 for the game.

Fielder hit Hamels’ first pitch of the seventh down the first base line. Howard played it oddly — the ball wasn’t hit exceptionally hard, but Howard didn’t get in front of it and then made a backhand stab. It worked and Fielder was down for the first out. Hardy was next and hit a 1-1 pitch to third. Feliz did a weird half-dive thing, going to the ground too early, but recovered in time to make the play and throw Hardy out for the second out. Hart flew to center on the first pitch of his at-bat.

It was a five-pitch inning for Hamels. He had thrown 90 through seven.

Hamels hit for himself to start the seventh and returned for the eighth still up 3-0. Lefty Tony Gwynn hit for the pitcher Carlos Villanueva and put down a beautiful bunt on the first pitch he saw. The ball made it passed the mound on the first base side, but Utley made a fantastic play, charging, gloving and making a glove-hand flip to first to beat Gwynn for the first out. Hamels struck Kendall out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Counsell grounded an 0-1 pitch to third to set the Brewers down.

Eleven pitches in the inning, seven of which Hamels threw to strike out Kendall, put him at 101 for the day.

Lidge started the ninth with a three-run lead. He got ahead of Cameron 0-2, but had trouble putting him away. He finally threw a 3-2 slider past him. Cameron must have been looking for something else, cause it hung right where you wouldn’t want it to hang. Switch-hitter Ray Durham hit for the righty Hall. Lidge got ahead of him as well, but Durham lined a 1-2 pitch into right for a single. Braun was next and Lidge got up on him 1-2 as well, but couldn’t put him away. Braun lined a high 3-2 pitch down the right-field line and into the corner for a double. Utley went out to catch the relay and slipped, failing to catch the ball, which allowed Durham to score from first and cut the lead to 3-1 with Braun on second and one out. Utley was charged with an error. Fielder was next and Lidge got ahead of him 1-2, too. Fielder worked the count full before Lidge got him with a fastball outside of the zone for a huge second out. Fielder swung at ball four. Hardy walked on five pitches, bringing Hart and a terrible slump to the plate as the go-ahead run with two down. Lidge looked comfortable against him, throwing a 2-2 fastball past him to end the game.

Fielder was the big at-bat of the inning, and he helped Lidge by swinging at ball four.

Tough inning for Lidge, who needed 35 pitches to get through. Interesting decision by Manuel not to bring Hamels back for the ninth. Righties Cameron and Hall scheduled to start the inning may have contributed to the decision. I would have brought him in, too. It’s pretty hard to feel real good about Lidge right now despite the 42-for-42.

I think the approach to using relievers and pitch counts needs to be dramatically altered in the post-season, moving away from what’s in the best long-term interests of the team and the player to how do we win this game today. So if the Phils think Brad Lidge gives them the best chance to win tonight’s game, they should use him. I’d be surprised, though, if they don’t think someone else (like Madson) can help them more a day after Lidge threw 35 pitches.

While the Phillies pen largely got another day off, Milwaukee’s was called on to throw four innings, which they did without allowing a run. They allowed just one hit and one walk, both of which were surrendered by Parra. Villanueva threw 25 pitches, Parra 15, Stetter 12 and Mota 7.

The Phillies lineup against righty Yovani Gallardo went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth moves up to second in the order with Utley dropped to third. Burrell in the lineup after having problems with his back the day before. The righty Feliz plays third with the lefty Dobbs on the bench against the righty Gallardo. Coste on the bench with Ruiz catching. Ruiz was behind the plate for 722 of the 914 batters that Hamels faced this season, about 79%.

The hitters on the bench to start the game for the Phils were Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Bruntlett (R), Dobbs (L), Jenkins (L) and Stairs (L).

Rollins led off the first and hit a 2-2 pitch well to second, but Weeks made a nifty play to backhand the ball and throw to first for the first out. Gallardo struck Werth out swinging at a 1-2 fastball for the second. Like Rollins, Utley hit the ball hard as well, but his line drive was caught by Fielder at first to end the inning.

The Phillies started to hit in the second in a light rain with the wind blowing wildly. Howard drew a five-pitch walk to start the inning. Burrell hit the first pitch of his at-bat to short, where Hardy took it, stepped on second and threw to first to complete the double-play. Gallardo threw four straight balls to Victorino, putting him on first with two down for Feliz. Feliz hit a 2-1 pitch hard to short, but it was taken on one hop and Feliz was thrown out to leave Victorino stranded.

Tough to see Burrell hitting into a double-play first pitch when Gallardo couldn’t throw a strike.

Ruiz started the third and hit a 2-1 pitch back up the middle for a single, the first hit of the game. Hamels bunted the first pitch of his at-bat to third. Hall fielded, looked to second where he would have had Ruiz, but bobbled the ball, picked it up and threw to Weeks covering first. Weeks dropped the ball for an error. Ruiz moved to second with Hamels safe at first. Rollins swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and flew to shallow left for the first out. Werth was next and swung at a bad pitch to start his at-bat, then took two balls before taking strike two and finally going down swinging at a bad pitch for his second strikeout of the game. Bad at-bat for Werth. Utley and Cameron picked him up, though. After a loud foul ball, Utley lined a 2-2 pitch into center that Cameron misplayed. He came in on the ball, then had to go back and finally had the ball go off his glove. Utley had a bases-clearing double and the Phils were up 2-0. The righty Gallardo intentionally walked Howard, putting men on first and second with two down for Burrell. Second time in less than three innings that Gallardo appeared to want no part of Howard. Gallardo walked Burrell on a low 3-2 curveball, loading the bases for Victorino. Victorino took two balls before Gallardo got strike one over. He checked his swing at a 2-1 pitch in the dirt and got the call on the appeal at third. Close. Ball four was close, but ball four nonetheless. Utley came in to score and it was 3-0. Feliz hit a 1-1 pitch to center for the third out, leaving the bases loaded.

Three bad defensive plays in the frame by the Brewers, including the error by Weeks and Cameron’s misplay of Utley’s double. Hall would have had Ruiz at second without the bobble. The intentional walk to Howard with Gallardo struggling to find Dana DeMuth’s strike zone hurt as well when Burrell and Victorino followed with walks.

Gallardo had thrown 57 pitches through three innings.

Ruiz tried to bunt for a hit to start the fourth. He popped a 1-0 pitch back to Gallardo for the first out. Hamels struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Rollins lined a 3-2 pitch into right for a single. Werth was next, bringing his 0-for-2 with two strikeouts with him to the plate. He hit a high popout that Fielder took in foul territory to end the inning.

Lefty Mitch Stetter started the fifth with Utley and Howard due to hit and the Phils up 3-0. Utley grounded a 2-2 pitch to third for the first out. Howard struck out swinging at a 3-2 breaking pitch that was low and away for the second out. Round one of Utley and Howard versus the Brewer’s lefties goes to the Brewers. Villanueva came in to pitch to Burrell. Burrell flew to left on a 1-1 pitch for the third out.

Villanueva came back for the sixth. Victorino led off and tried to bunt, but missed, before flying to right on an 0-2 pitch. Feliz flew to center before Ruiz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to third. Eight pitch inning for Villanueva.

Villanueva came back for the seventh and struck out Hamels, Rollins and Werth in order.

Lefty Manny Parra came in to pitch the eighth. Utley grounded a 3-2 pitch to second for the first out before Howard walked on five pitches. Bruntlett was next, having entered defensively for Burrell in the top of the inning. Bruntlett hit the first pitch he saw from Parra back up the middle. Hardy made a diving stop to keep it in the infield, but Howard was safe at second. Victorino grounded an 0-1 pitch to second and Bruntlett was forced at second for the second out, but the ball was hit too slowly for Victorino to be doubled-up. It brought up Feliz with one out and men on first and third and Guillermo Mota came in to pitch to him. Manuel did not to hit Dobbs for Feliz, choosing to keep Feliz’s glove in the game with a three-run lead. Victorino stole second without a throw before Feliz popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right-center field. Counsell made a nice play to catch the ball, chasing it and making an inning-ending catch with glove extended to set the Phils down.

Don’t quite understand why the lefty Parra stayed in to face both Bruntlett and Victorino. Bruntlett probably doesn’t scare you, but Victorino was better against lefties this year and the Phils did have a man on base with just one out.

Feliz was not involved in a play defensively in the top of the ninth.

Rollins was 1-for-4. Weeks robbed him of a hit in the first.

Werth had a terrible game. 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and three men left on base.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI. The double was well-hit, but Cameron should have made the play. He made two very nice defensive plays in the game, one on a ground ball up the middle and one on a drag bunt past the mound.

Howard was 0-for-1 with three walks. The Brewers seemed happy to pitch around him with the righty Burrell and his bad back behind Howard.

Burrell 0-for-2 with a walk. It’s possible that today could be the last day we see him in a Phillies uniform at home.

Victorino 0-for-2 with a stolen base and two walks.

Feliz 0-for-4 and left six men on base. That hardly seems possible given the Phils had four hits in the game. Here goes: grounded to short to end the second with Victorino on first (one), flew to center with the bases loaded to end the third (three more, four total), popped out to Counsell with men on second and third and two down in the eighth (six).

Ruiz 1-for-3. The way Lidge was pitching, I felt a lot more comfortable with him behind the plate in the ninth than I would have with Coste back there. Would be nice to get Coste’s bat in, but I think we may see a lot of Ruiz in the post-season.

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) faces lefty CC Sabathia (17-10, 2.70) tonight. The Brewers acquired the 28-year-old Sabathia from Cleveland on July 7. The 2007 AL Cy Young winner had made 18 starts for the Indians and thrown to a 3.83 ERA with a 1.23 ratio. He made 17 starts for the Brewers since — 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.00 ratio. Lefties have hit just .205 against him this season. Righties .247. He’s allowed just 19 home runs in 253 innings. Sabathia led all of baseball in innings pitched this season — there were only three players in either league who threw more than 230. The 35 starts he made are also the high for either league. His last three starts have all come on three days rest and he’s been brilliant — in those three starts he went 21 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs (0.84 ERA) on 15 hits and four walks without giving up a home run.

Sabathia has pitched in the post-season for the Indians in 2001 and 2007. In four post-season starts he’s 1-2 with a 7.17 ERA and a 2.13 ratio.

He’s made two career starts against the Phillies. On June 10, 2002, he pitched into the seventh inning and held the Phils to three runs over seven innings. Terry Adams was a little better and the Phils won 3-1. On June 20, 2007, he allowed four runs over six innings in Cleveland, but the Indians scored eight runs in the sixth inning and rolled to a 10-6 win. The Phillies hitters don’t have a lot of at-bats against him. Rollins is 3-for-7 with a double and a triple. Utley and Howard a combined 1-for-6 with a double by Howard. You would think Stairs would have faced him in the AL, but he hasn’t, no doubt cause of lefty-lefty. Stairs is 0-for-1 against him. Victorino, Jenkins and Feliz are all 0-for-3 against him. The Phils may be able to get some info out of Tad Iguchi — Iguchi isn’t on the roster but has 29 career at-bats against Sabathia (7-for-29 (.241) with a double and a home run).

Myers had an absolutely miserable first half of the season, going 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA and a 1.56 ratio in his first 17 starts. Opponents hit .284 against him and he allowed 24 homers in 101 2/3 innings. Baffled, the Phils sent him to the minors and he came back a new pitcher. In his first 11 starts after returning, Myers went 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 ratio. And then, at the end of the year, in his last two starts it all few apart for him again. He comes into game two of the NLDS off of a pair of miserable starts in which he didn’t go five innings either outing and allowed 16 runs over 8 1/3 innings. The Fish blasted him for ten runs in four innings on September 19 and the Braves scored six runs against him in 4 1/3 on September 24.

In the 11 game stretch (from July 23 through his start on September 14) after his return from the minors, Myers allowed four home runs in 80 innings. Opponents hit 216/268/308 against him. In his 19 other starts he allowed 24 home runs in 110 innings.

Myers made one start against the Brewers this season. It came in the window where he was pitching great and he pitched great. On September 14, pitching on three days rest, Myers dominated the Brewers. He held them to a run on two hits and needed just 95 pitches to throw a complete game. Maybe throwing a complete game on three days rest hurt him and maybe it didn’t, but he’s been awful in his two starts since.

Fielder 1-for-5 with a home run against him in his career. Braun 0-for-3. Hardy 0-for-10, Hart 1-for-5, Kendall 1-for-6. Cameron 3-for-13 with two home runs.


Cole versus the undershirt, round two

Ding, ding.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces 22-year-old righty Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 1.88) this afternoon. Gallardo made just four starts for the Brewers this season, allowing three runs in one start, one run in two starts and throwing seven shutout innings against the Marlins on April 25. Three of the starts came in April or early May. On May 1 he faced the Cubs and fell at first base, injuring his right knee. He had what was thought at the time to be season-ending knee surgery for a torn ACL. He was back throwing off a mound by mid-August, though, and was activated from the DL on September 23. On September 25 he started against the Pirates and went four innings, allowing a run on three hits and two walks while striking out seven. He has faced the Phillies once before. On August 3, 2007 in Milwaukee, Gallardo held the Phils to a run on four hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings. The Brewers won the game 2-1 and Gallardo got the win. Fielder singled in a run in the first off of Kendrick and Braun put Milwaukee up 2-0 with an RBI single in the fifth. Burrell homered off of Gallardo in the seventh to cut the lead to 2-1, but that was how it ended.

Gallardo is a highly-touted, highly-talented super prosepct. But if he can put up a good performance in a playoff game in Philadelphia against the Phillies’ offense after throwing four innings since May 1 he’s going to go from highly-touted to legend pretty quick.

In 2007, he threw 110 1/3 innings, pitching to a 3.67 ERA with a 1.27 ratio. He struck out 101. Righties hit just .244 against him with a 1.17 ratio. Lefties didn’t hit much better, but drew a lot more walks. They ended ’07 at .247 with a 1.42 ratio. He doesn’t allow a lot of home runs — just 11 in 134 1/3 innings for his career.

Hamels has thrown 227 1/3 innings this season, second in the NL to only Johan Santana. The 24-year-old has been very good, though, throwing to a 2.98 ERA with a 1.18 ratio in his 13 starts since the All-Star break (9-6 with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.02 ratio before the break). Manuel did a far better job limiting pitch counts for Hamels in the second half of the season. Hamels threw 115 pitches or more four times through July 3 and just once after July 3. He threw 116 pitches on Tuesday as he went seven innings against the Braves.

Over his last three starts, Hamels has allowed six earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (2.79 ERA) with a 1.34 ratio. He’s still striking people out late in the season — 16 over his last 19 1/3 innings.

Hamels hasn’t walked more than three hitters in a game this season.

He faced the Brewers twice this season, on April 23 and September 13. On April 23 he allowed a pair of two-run homers to Fielder and the Phils lost 5-4. Earlier this month the Phils gave him a 5-0 lead in the second and Hamels got the win, holding Milwaukee to two runs on six hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings. He’s made five career starts against the Brewers, going 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.10 ratio.

Fielder is 4-for-15 (.267) with two home runs against him. Hardy 4-for-11 (.364) with two doubles and a home run. Braun 3-for-10 with a double and a home run. That’s about as bad as it gets, though. Hart 1-for-13 (.077), Durham 1-for-7, Cameron 1-for-7, Hall 3-for-15 with five strikeouts.

He’s made one post-season start in his career, going 6 2/3 innings against the Rockies in game one last year. He allowed three runs on three hits and four walks. Hopefully he’s gotten everything worked out with his shirt since then (in his playoff start last year, Hamels wore a long-sleeve shirt under his jersey on a hot day and allowed three runs early in the game — there was speculation by some, including Hamels, that the shirt was a factor).

If you feel any need to relive last year’s playoff runs for the Phils, here’s game one, two and three.


Nothing like a cold Brewer

Here’s a look at 20 offensive players who could impact the upcoming series between the Phils and Brewers, what they’ve done for the year and what they’ve done since (and including) September 20:

     

Hot
Chase Utley
292/380/353
10-for-27 (.370, 3 2B, 2 HR, 2
BB) 1.137 OPS
Rickie Weeks
234/342/398
5-for-18, (.278, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4
BB) 1.131 OPS
Ryan Howard

251/339/543
8-for-26 (.308; 1 2B, 1 3B, 2
HR, 2 BB) 1.054 OPS
Shane Victorino
293/352/447
11-for-28 (.393, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1
HR) 1.036 OPS
Prince Fielder
276/372/507
10-for-32 (.313, 3 2B, 2 HR, 3
BB) .965 OPS
Tweener    
Pat Burrell
250/367/507
5-for-20 (.250, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5
BB) .957 OPS
Ryan Braun
285/335/553
8-for-32 (.250, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2
HR, 3 BB) .896 OPS
Pedro Feliz
249/302/402
4-for-15 (.267, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2
BB) .886 OPS
Greg Dobbs
301/333/491
4-for-12 (.333, 2 2B, 0 BB) .833
OPS
Craig Counsell
226/355/302
3-for-13 (.231, 1 2B, 6 BB, 2
HBP) .832 OPS
Ray Durham
289/380/432
3-for-12 (.250, 2 2B, 2 BB) .774
OPS
     
     

Not
   
Jimmy Rollins
277/349/437
6-for-27 (.222, 4 2B, 5 BB) .714
OPS
JJ Hardy
283/343/478
7-for-27 (.259, 2 2B, 1 3B) .707
OPS
Mike Cameron
243/331/477
8-for-32 (.250, 2 2B, 3 BB) .646
OPS
Jason Kendall
246/327/324
7-for-28 (.250, 2 2B, 1 BB) .597
OPS
Bill Hall
225/293/396
3-for-13 (.231, 1 2B, 1 BB) .594
OPS
Chris Coste
263/325/423
0-for-6 (.000, 1 BB)  .541
OPS
Jayson Werth
273/363/498
5-for-31 (.161, 1 HR, 10 K) .419
OPS
Carlos Ruiz
219/320/300
1-for-19 (.053, 5 BB) .293 OPS
Corey Hart
268/300/459
4-for-28 (.143, 0 XBH, 0 BB)
.272 OPS

All those guys should be healthy for the Brewers, Durham has a minor issue with his hamstring and Hardy a minor issue with his thumb.

Corey Hart isn’t just cold over the last few days. He hit 173/192/245 in September. Hall a little better, 182/250/250 this month. Cameron has also struggled, 176/257/253 in September. Kendall (202/295/298) and Hardy (255/300/451) haven’t been as bad.

The Phils sent Fabio Castro to the Jays to complete the deal for Stairs. I still think Castro has a chance to be really good. Nice to have Stairs, too, though — it’s unfortunate that Jenkins struggled so badly this season (and was injured) and the Phils had to bring in Stairs.


Strange brew

Cole Hamels pitched well this afternoon — the Phils jumped all over Manny Parra and cruised to a mostly easy victory. The Phillies seems to have picked things up, but perhaps just as important to their post-season hopes is that the Brewers look just miserable. Milwaukee lost for the fifth time in six games and the Phils moved to within two in the hunt for the wild card.

Rollins and Utley hit one-two atop the Phillies order today and got the job done. They combined to go 5-for-9 with five runs scored and three driven in.

Everything went pretty well for the Phils today, but I think you have to wonder about the way Charlie Manuel used his bullpen. The day before a double-header, Manuel called on three of his key guys, Durbin, Romero and Lidge to pitch. All three pitched with either a four-run lead or a five-run lead.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon, winning 7-3 to improve to 81-67 on the year. Fourteen games above .500 ties their best mark for the season.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs, both of which scored on a fly ball to left that Burrell should have caught but went for a double. He allowed six hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out four.

JJ Hardy doubled to right with one out in the first. Ryan Braun flew out with Hardy holding before Prince Fielder drew a walk. Corey Hart grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

He started the second with a 3-0 lead and set the Brewers down in order.

With the Phils up 5-0, Hamels walked Rickie Weeks with one out in the third. Weeks stole second before Hamels struck out Hardy for the second out. Braun grounded to second to end the frame.

Fielder led off the fourth with a single to left, but Hart hit into a double-play behind him. Mike Cameron walked and Bill Hall followed with a single that moved him to second. Jason Kendall was next and Hamels got ahead of him 0-2 before Kendall hit a 1-2 pitch to left. Burrell misplayed it badly and the ball went over his head for a double that scored both runners and cut the Phillies’ lead to 5-2. Hamels pouted mid-play on his way to cover home. Joe Dillon hit for the pitcher and grounded out to leave Kendall stranded.

Weeks doubled to start the fifth, but Hamels got the next three Brewers in order.

He threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

With the Phils up 7-2 in the seventh, Alcides Escobar hit for the pitcher Carlos Villanueva with one out and singled. Durbin came in to pitch to Weeks and struck him out. Hardy grounded to short for the third out.

Durbin pitching with a five-run lead in the seventh makes very little sense to me.

Durbin started the eighth. Braun led off and hit a 1-2 pitch out to center to make it 7-3. Fielder followed with a double, but Durbin got Cameron and Hart on a pair of fly balls for the first two outs with Fielder holding second. Switch-hitter Ray Durham hit for Hall and Romero came in to pitch to him. Durham walked, putting men on first and second, but Kendall flew to right to leave both runners stranded.

Durbin coming back to start a second inning with a five-run lead also makes very little sense to me.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phillies up 7-3. He walked Weeks with one out and Weeks took second without a throw. Hardy grounded to short and Rollins looked briefly to third for reasons unknown, but threw to first for the second out as Weeks moved up a base. Braun flew to left to end the game.

Not a fan of the way Manuel used his bullpen in this game. The Phils had a rested pen coming off a day when they didn’t play due to the rainout. They play a double-header tomorrow. I don’t think they needed to pitch Durbin with a five-run lead at all and they certainly didn’t need to bring him back to do it for a second inning. Also not a fan of using Lidge with a four-run lead with so many other options and two games coming up the next day.

Hopefully they don’t pay for it tomorrow.

The pen went 2 1/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits and two walks. They struck out one. Durbin threw 22 pitches, Lidge 15 and Romero seven.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Manny Parra went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth hitting third against the lefty with Utley moving up to two. Victorino sixth. Feliz at third against the lefty. Ruiz catches.

Rollins led off the first with a single and scored when Utley followed with a double. Fielder didn’t handle the relay from Weeks and Weeks was charged with an error that allowed Rollins to go to third with the Phils up 1-0. Werth followed with a single to right. Utley scored and it was 2-0. Werth went to second on a wild pitch before Howard walked. Burrell struck out for the first out, but Victorino singled into left and Werth scored to put the Phils up 3-0. Another wild pitch by Parra moved the runners to second and third, but Feliz struck out for the second out. Ruiz was walked intentionally, but Hamels struck out to end the inning.

I would never walk Ruiz intentionally in the first inning. Feliz can’t bring the runner in from third with one out. Burrell is playing terribly.

Rollins led off the second with a double and Utley followed and reached on an infield single. A walk to Werth loaded the bases for Howard and Howard singled into center. Rollins and Utley both scored, making it 5-0, but Werth was thrown out at third for the first out. Burrell hit into a double-play to end the inning.

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

Burrell walked with two outs in the fifth. Victorino grounded to second for the third out.

Feliz singled to start the sixth. Ruiz struck out before Hamels bunted him to second. Rollins hit a 3-2 pitch out to right for his 11th home run of the year, putting the Phils up 7-2. Utley grounded to first to end the inning.

Werth walked to start the seventh. Howard grounded out behind him with Werth forced at second. Burrell flew to right for the second out before Victorino drew a walk. Feliz popped to first to leave both men stranded.

Ruiz started the eighth with a ground ball to short that Hardy didn’t handle for an error. Dobbs hit for Romero and grounded into a double-play. Rollins grounded to short for the third out.

Rollins was 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and two RBI.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.

Werth 1-for-2 with an RBI and two walks.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Feliz 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk.

Joe Blanton (7-12, 4.86) faces righty Dave Bush (9-10, 4.23) tomorrow in the first game of the day-night double-header. Bush has been tough on righties this year — after hitting .324 against him in 2007 they are hitting .234 with a 1.06 ratio this season. He has given up a lot of home runs, though, surrendering 26 in 166 innings. Blanton is 2-0 with a 4.61 ERA in ten starts with the Phillies. Over his last six starts he’s gone six innings just once while throwing to a 5.58 ERA. Righties are hitting .305 against him for the season.

Brett Myers (9-11, 4.22) faces righty Jeff Suppan (10-8, 4.63) in the other game. Suppan has allowed 26 homers in 167 innings this season. Righties are hitting .307 against him. Myers is 6-2 with a 1.90 ERA and a 1.08 ratio in his last ten starts.


Phils consult village elders for wisdom on how to win when you score three runs

Jamie Moyer and Tom Gordon are old. Really old. Someday soon they’re going to be too old to play or at least too old to help a major league team. It might even be today. I don’t know. But I do know it wasn’t yesterday.

Moyer gave the Phils his second strong start in his last two outings. Gordon came on in the seventh with runners on first and third and nobody out and worked a near miracle to keep the Brewers off the board. It kept the game close enough that Burrell’s latest heroics, a two-run double in the eighth, made the Phillies winners for the fourth time in their last five games.

It’s tempting to say that everything is going well for the Phils. But the impressive thing is that it isn’t. The team misses Jimmy Rollins. Ryan Howard looks terrible at the plate and the results are just as bad. Every day the Phils put a whole crew of hitters on the field that just can’t get on base. Somehow the Phils are fighting through, though, with a list of things that are going well that’s a lot shorter than the list of things going wrong. The pen, Utley and Burrell are just out of this world. In addition to what Utley is doing with the bat, after a start to the season where he struggled to make the routine plays at second base it now seems like not a day passes without a brilliant defensive contribution.

Jayson Werth also deserves mention on the short list of Phillies’ hitters that are playing well. Werth bounced back from a wretched game on Wednesday yesterday, hammering ball out to center for one of his two hits. He also made a fantastic play in center, backing up Burrell and helping the Phils throw out a runner trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple.

The Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, winning 3-1 to improve to 12-11 on the year. The teams split the two-game set.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on eight hits and three walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out four. He’s allowed three runs over 12 innings over his last two starts and his ERA is down to 4.05.

Rickie Weeks led off the first and drew a walk, but Moyer picked him off and he was tagged out after a throw down to Bruntlett for the first out. Moyer struck out Gabe Kapler for the first out before Ryan Braun hit a long fly ball to left that went off the glove of Burrell for a double. Braun stole third, but Moyer got Prince Fielder to fly to center for the third out.

Bill Hall singled with one out in the second, but Moyer got the next two.

Weeks walked with one out in the third. Kapler followed with a ground out to third that moved Weeks to second and Braun followed and singled into center. Weeks scored to put the Brewers up 1-0. Fielder popped to third for the third out.

Corey Hart led off the fourth and ripped a double into left field. Burrell misplayed it and it rolled to the wall, but Werth backed it up brilliantly. Hart tried to go to third but was nailed for the first out of the inning. Bad idea by Hart and it cost the Brewers a run cause Hall followed with a single into center. Hall was picked off of first by Moyer with Dobbs again throwing to Bruntlett to apply the tag. Moyer had gotten 11 outs at this point, two on pickoffs and one on Hart trying to stretch a double into a triple. JJ Hardy walked with two outs, turning over the lineup, but Suppan struck out to end the inning.

Jason Kendall led off the fifth with a line drive snared by a diving Utley for the first out. Moyer got Weeks and Kapler behind him to end the inning.

Moyer started the sixth with the score tied at 1-1. Ryan Braun led off with a single. Fielder hit a high foul ball near the third base dugout and Feliz made a nice play leaning over the railing for the first out. Hart hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Hall started the seventh with a double and moved to third when Hardy followed with a single to left. It put men on first and third with nobody out for the pitcher’s spot and, with a short bench, it looked like the Brewers were going to let Suppan hit for himself. Gordon relieved Moyer and lefty Tony Gwynn Jr hit for Suppan. Gordon struck him out on three pitches for the first out. Kendall was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Weeks was caught looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Kapler grounded to short to end the inning.

Just a fantastic job by Gordon to work out of first and third with nobody out.

JC Romero started the eighth with a 3-1 lead. He got Braun and Fielder to start the inning before Madson came in to pitch to the righty Hart. Hart has killed lefties this season, but I was still surprised to see Manuel make the change mid-inning with a two-run lead. All that said, I think it was a good move. Hart grounded to second to end the inning.

Lidge came on in the ninth to protect the two-run lead. He got Hall and Hardy on popups before lefty Craig Counsell hit for the pitcher’s spot and singled. It brought Kendall to the plate as the tying run. Kendall got ahead 2-0 before he flew to Bohn in shallow left to end the game.

Three more scoreless innings for the pen as they allow one hit and one walk. That makes it 15 innings in a row without being charged a run. Fifth save for Lidge, who keeps his ERA at 0.00.

Gordon and Lidge both threw 15 pitches. Romero eight and Madson six.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jeff Suppan went (1) Werth (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Burrell (5) Jenkins (6) Feliz (7) Bruntlett (8) Ruiz. Howard on the bench after 0-for-his-last-8 is the story here. Dobbs plays first with Feliz at third. Werth plays center and leads off while Bruntlett moves ahead of Ruiz and into the seven spot. Coste still can’t get into the game. Burrell moves into the cleanup spot with Howard out of the game. This says that Howard won’t be in the lineup tonight against lefty Zach Duke in Pittsburgh.

Werth singled to start the first, but Dobbs grounded into a double-play behind him. Utley flew to right for the third out.

Burrell walked to start the second. Jenkins struck out behind him before Feliz hit into a double-play.

Bruntlett led off the third and singled into center. Ruiz followed and hit into a double-play, the third the Phils had hit into in 2 2/3 innings. Moyer struck out looking for the third out.

Dobbs walked with one out in the fourth and Utley moved him to second with an infield single with an assist to Weeks. Burrell flew to right and Jenkins grounded to second.

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

Werth hit an 0-1 pitch out to center with one out in the sixth, tying the game at 1-1. Dobbs grounded to second for the second out before Utley singled. Burrell moved Utley to second with a walk, but Jenkins flew to left to end the frame with both runners stranded. Four men left on base in three innings for Jenkins.

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

Howard hit for Gordon to start the eighth with righty David Riske on the mound. Howard struck out and Werth followed with another strikeout before Dobbs drew a walk. Utley was next and he singled to left, moving Dobbs to second. Burrell followed and doubled to left, both runners scored to put the Phils up 3-1. It gave Burrell 24 RBI in April, which is a new team record. Bohn ran for Burrell at second. Jenkins grounded to second for the third out with lefty Brian Shouse on the mound for Milwaukee. The Brewers let lefties Dobbs and Utley hit against the righty Riske and they hurt him. They did bring in Shouse to pitch to Jenkins, but it was a little late. Interesting that they left him in with Burrell hitting fourth — if Howard had been in the four hole they almost certainly would have brought Shouse in earlier with three lefties in a row.

Bruntlett singled with one out in the ninth. Ruiz followed and was hit by a pitch, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard had a miserable at-bat, striking out again, this time on four pitches. Werth grounded to third for the third out.

Werth was 2-for-5 with his fourth home run yesterday. 3-for-10 with a double in the series and 8-for-his-last-24 with two doubles and three home runs. 300/391/567 on the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-2 and walked twice after coming into the game without a walk on the season. 2-for-5 with a home run in the series. He has raised his average from .200 to .355 by going 8-for-his-last-16. 355/412/581.

Utley was 3-for-4. 5-for-7 with a home run in the series. 385/453/835 on the year.

Burrell was 1-for-2 with two walks and a double. 2-for-6 with a home run in the series. 355/474/750 on the year.

Jenkins was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and left six men on base. 0-for-7 in the series and 225/276/324 on the year. He could really give the Phils a boost with Rollins out, but he’s been struggling. 1-for-his-last-10 with a single and four strikeouts.

Ditto Feliz, who was 0-for-4 yesterday. 0-for-6 in the series. 213/280/373.

Bruntlett was 2-for-4 yesterday. 3-for-8 in the set and 207/258/276 for the season.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 yesterday and 1-for-7 in the series. 194/242/242 on the year. Coste did not get an at-bat in the series and is hitting 370/469/704 on the year.

Howard was 0-for-2 and struck out twice. 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in the series. 176/297/341.

Taguchi walked in his only plate appearance of the series and is hitting 241/290/310 for the year.

Five Phillies regulars are on-basing under .300 for the season: Jenkins, Howard, Bruntlett, Ruiz and Feliz. So is Taguchi.

Given the large numbers of Phillies struggling to hit, I think they need to find a way to keep Dobbs’ bat in the lineup despite the weak defense. I don’t think giving Howard another night off tonight against the lefty is a bad idea. Howard is sure to get hot and when he does he isn’t going to carry the team for a few days, he can carry it for a month. But right now he looks awful. I’m surprised how much time Coste is spending on the bench with so few Phils hitting.

Adam Eaton (0-0, 4.74) faces lefty Zach Duke (0-1, 4.37) tonight in Pittsburgh. Duke was hit hard by the Cubs in his last outing, which came in Chicago on Sunday. In that start he allowed five runs on eight hits over four innings. Opponents are hitting .347 against him, although he hasn’t walked many, just six in 22 2/3 innings. He has struck out only seven batters on the year but hasn’t allowed a home run. He didn’t face the Phils last year. Eaton has been really good this season coming off a miserable 2007. Opponents are hitting just .267 against him after hitting .301 last season. In ’07 he good killed by the long ball, giving up 30 in 161 2/3 innings — he comes into tonight’s start having allowed just one in his first 24 2/3 innings. Eaton didn’t face the Pirates last year.


Hamels strikes out 11, but Prince parties like it’s 1999

Team W-L R R/G NL Rank R OPS (NL) SB CS
               
MIL 12-8 99 4.95 T-5 706 (12) 14 4
PHI 11-10 102 4.86 4 800 (5) 8 3

Team W-L RA RA/G NL Rank RA Starter ERA Pen ERA
             
MIL 12-8 86 4.30 6 4.00 (7) 4.34 (11)
PHI 11-10 94 4.48 8 4.23 (9) 2.76 (1)

Cole Hamels gave the Phils six fantastic innings last night. The problem was that he didn’t pitch six innings. Hefty lefty Prince Fielder jumped on his first inning cheese like it was, well, cheese, belting out a two-run homer on a 1-2 fastball. In the eighth, on another 1-2 pitch, Fielder hit another two-run shot, this one on a changeup. Fielder’s blasts led the Brewers to a 5-4 win.

Chase Utley hit his seventh home run in seven days for the Phils. Ho hum.

You know who didn’t have a good game? Jayson Werth. With the Phils up a run in the seventh, Werth was picked off of second base for the first out of the inning. Utley singled two batters last and Werth almost assuredly would have scored on the play if he wasn’t on the bench. With the Phils down a run in the bottom of the ninth, Werth struck out with one down and a runner on third.

Charlie Manuel might like to have last night’s game back as well. Manuel let Hamels come out to start the eighth inning having thrown 110 pitches with the Phils up a run. Hamels faced two batters in the frame — righty Ryan Braun doubled before Fielder hit the homer that won the game. Hamels is 24-years-old and you really want to try to limit the number of innings he starts after throwing 110 pitches in games where he’s already allowed three runs.

The Phillies lost to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, 5-4. The Phils are 11-11 on the season.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out 11.

Rickie Weeks led off the first with a double to left. Gabe Kapler was next and he singled into left. Burrell didn’t have a chance to get Weeks, but he threw home anyway. His throw was terrible, off line and over everyone. It allowed Kapler to go to second and Weeks scored to make it 1-0. No error on Burrell, but not a good play. With Ryan Braun at the plate Hamels tried to pick Kapler off of second and threw the ball into center field. Kapler went to third on the error. Two terrible plays defensively for the Phils back-to-back, but neither of them mattered cause after Braun popped to Howard in front of the mound, Fielder homered to right, putting Milwaukee up 3-0. Corey Hart was next and he singled to right. Hart was on the move as Hall grounded to second for the second out, Utley had to take the out at first. Hamels got behind the righty JJ Hardy 3-1 and put him on intentionally to pitch to the pitcher David Bush. Bush struck out for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 second, getting a nice diving play from Jenkins for the second out.

He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third and another in a 1-2-3 fourth.

Hamels started the fifth with the scored tied at 3-3. Jason Kendall led off the inning and reached on a single. Weeks followed with a walk, putting men on first and second with nobody out, but Hamels got Kapler on a popup and struck out Braun and Fielder to end the inning.

Hamels got the first two in the sixth with the Phils up 4-3 before Hardy singled to center. Bush, who would face one batter in the top of the seventh (Werth doubled), hit for himself and struck out.

He struck out Kendall and Weeks in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Hamels returned for the eighth and Braun led off with a double to right. Fielder was next and hit a 1-2 changeup out for his second home run of the day, putting the Brewers ahead at 5-4. Durbin came in to pitch and got the next two before Hardy singled to left. Tony Gwynn Jr hit for the pitch and walked, putting men on first and second, but Kendall grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Romero had last pitched on Sunday. It would have been nice to see him against Fielder.

Durbin’s ERA is down to 0.60 on the year after another scoreless inning. He threw 20 pitches. That’s 12 scoreless innings in a row for the pen.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty David Bush went (1) Werth (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Ruiz (8) Bruntlett. Dobbs at third against the righty. I was surprised not to see Feliz after the three hit day on Tuesday. Ruiz catches Hamels.

Dobbs singled with one out in the first and Utley followed with a walk. Howard grounded to second and Utley was forced at second for the first out with Howard safe at first and Dobbs safe at third. Burrell lined out to third for the third out.

Bruntlett singled with two outs in the second, but Hamels struck out behind him.

With two outs in the third, Utley hit Bush’s first pitch of his at-bat out to center. Tenth homer of the season for Utley and it cut the Brewers’ lead to 3-1. Howard grounded out to first to end the frame.

Ruiz singled with two outs in the fourth, but Bruntlett grounded out behind him.

Hamels started the fifth with a single. Werth followed and grounded to short. Hamels was forced at second for the first out with Werth safe at first. Dobbs was next and he hammered a 3-2 pitch out to right, trying the game at 3-3. Utley and Howard went down behind him.

Score one for Manuel for playing Dobbs after the big day for Feliz.

Burrell started the sixth and hit a 3-1 pitch out to left for his eighth home run of the year. It put the Phils up 4-3. Jenkins walked and stole second as Ruiz struck out for the first out. Bruntlett grounded to second for the second out and Jenkins moved to third. Hamels flew to left to leave Jenkins stranded at third.

Werth started the seventh with a double to left-center and lefty Mitch Stetter relieved Bush. Feliz hit for Dobbs against the lefty and Werth took off for third, but too early. Stetter stepped off the rubber and Werth was thrown out after a short rundown. Feliz struck out looking for the second out. Utley, perhaps on a one-man mission to demo why not to get picked off of second base, got ahead 3-1 and singled into right. Howard struck out swinging to end the frame.

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

Bruntlett struck out to start the ninth and Taguchi hit for Durbin and drew a five-pitch walk. Taguchi stole second and would have been out except that Kendall’s throw went into center field for an error. Taguchi took third. It brought up Werth, who got ahead 2-1 before he swung at a bad 2-2 pitch and then went down swinging for the second out. Feliz grounded to short to end the game. It worked out great for the Phils, but I don’t think I would have hit Taguchi, won’t just about can’t hit a home run, for Durbin, instead of Coste, who can, with the Phils down a run in the ninth. Assuming Coste is not hurt, I’m sure Manuel did it to get Taguchi’s speed on the bases. But even if Coste had singled the Phils could have used Taguchi to run for him. The only reason to save Coste’s bat was because Bohn was in the five-hole and you probably don’t want him to hit with the game on the line. But after Feliz the Phils still had Utley and Howard to hit before they got to Bohn.

Werth was 1-for-5 with a double.

Dobbs was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. He’s 8-for-his-last-14 with two home runs and doesn’t have a walk on the season in 29 at-bats.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run. He is slugging .839.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice to drop his average to .181. 0-for-his-last-8.

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a home run.

Jenkins 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to Milwaukee.

Ruiz 1-for-4 to raise his average to .203. Coste did not play in the game and is hitting .370.

Bruntlett 1-for-4 to raise his average to .185.

Jamie Moyer (1-1, 4.79) faces righty Jeff Suppan (1-0, 4.13) this afternoon as the Phils try to split the two-game set. Suppan has made three starts on the season, three of which have been very good. His last outing came on Saturday against the Reds and he held them to two runs on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. Lefties have been much better against him than righties so far, they are hitting .304 with a 1.76 ratio against him while righties are hitting .227 with an 0.87 ratio. He faced the Phils twice last season and threw to a 3.55 ERA in two starts, which came on May 16 and August 5. Opponents are hitting .326 against Moyer so far and he’s yet to get an out in the seventh inning. Two of his four starts have been good, including his last time out on Saturday against the Mets. He made one start against the Brewers last year, on May 14, and was hit hard.


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