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.