Tag: Roy Oswalt

Wait ’til this year

Remember this? In 2010, the Phillies walked just 416 batters for the season, which was the fewest number of walks issued by an NL team since the Mets walked 401 in 1995. So far in 2011, the Phils have walked 226 batters in 91 games — that puts them on a pace to better their 2010 mark with just 402 walks.

The bullpen hasn’t been good at preventing walks at all. The pen has walked about 4.06 batters per nine innings pitched. Only two NL teams are allowing walks at a higher rate — the Chicago pen has walked 4.35 hitters per nine innings and the Reds relievers have walked 4.29. The NL average for relievers this year is 3.63.

So the relievers aren’t good at preventing walks. You know who have been, though? Halladay, Hamels and Lee.

IP BB BB/9
Halladay,
Hamels and Lee
412 2/3 70 1.53
Rest of team 418 2/3 156 3.35

Two things are important there. One is that Halladay, Hamels and Lee don’t walk anyone, but the other is that they have thrown a huge number of innings for the Phils this year, about 49.6% of the innings that the team has pitched.

The rest of the team hasn’t been particularly outstanding at preventing walks, allowing 3.35 walks per nine. That’s higher than the average rate for the NL overall, which is 3.16 for the year so far in 2011. That’s misleading in this case, though, cause the walk rate is much better for starters overall than it is for relievers and most of the starting inning for the Phils in this example are taken up by Halladay, Hamels and Lee. So far in 2011, the average starter is walking 2.93 batters per nine. As mentioned above, the average reliever is walking 3.63 batters per nine.

Halladay has been the star of the team in both years in terms of preventing walks, leading the NL in fewest walks per nine innings in 2010 and so far in 2011. Hamels had a much higher walk rate in 2010 than he did in 2010, so he wasn’t a whole lot of help. Moyer was, however, walking just 20 batters in 111 2/3 innings in 2010.

IP BB BB/9
Halladay and Hamels ’10 459 1/3 91 1.78
Not Halladay/Hamels ’10 997 325 2.93
Halladay and Moyer ’10 362 1/3 50 1.24
Not Halladay/Moyer ’10 1094 366 3.01

The Phillies have added another elite non-walker in 2011 in Lee — he’s seventh so far in the NL in BB/9 behind Halladay (1st) and Hamels (3rd). That’s why the Phils are on pace to walk even fewer in 2011 than they did in 2010, but they are not getting the kind of support up and down the pitching staff that they did in 2010 in terms of preventing walks in 2011.

Madson pitched a scoreless inning for Clearwater last night.


Well, well, well

Everything looks better when you win, but the numbers for the runs you’ve scored and allowed look a whole lot better. The Phillies have scored about 4.22 runs per game this year, but about 5.53 in games they’ve won and just 2.03 in the games they’ve lost.

It’s true of preventing runs, too. The Phils have allowed about 3.24 runs per game on average — about 2.09 in the games they won and about 5.18 in the games they lost.

Here’s what the starters and pen have done in the games the Phils won and lost so far this year:

In wins In losses
IP per Game ERA Ratio IP per Game ERA Ratio
Starters 7.12 2.02 0.96 5.66 4.87 1.43
Relievers 2.12 1.79 0.98 3.29 4.82 1.65

As good as those numbers are, the Phillies won some games in the first half without great or even good starting pitching. For example, on April 6, Blanton allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in his start, but the Phils won anyway, topping the Mets 10-7. In the same way, good starting pitching didn’t guarantee a win for the Phils in the first half. On May 10 and May 15, Halladay threw two complete games, allowing four earned runs in sixteen innings between the starts and the Phils lost both of them. And, of course, you can win with bad relief or lose with good relief. Opening day the pen allowed three runs in three innings in relief of Halladay and the Phils hung on to win 5-4 anyway. Three days later, the bullpen allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings and the Phils lost by six runs thanks to a miserable start by Hamels.

But, as the numbers above show, if you look at enough games the numbers for the games you won are a whole lot better than the numbers for the games you lost.

It did make me wonder, though, about the Phillies record so far this year based on how well their starters and relievers have pitched.

The Phils have played 91 games so far this year. The bullpen has pitched in 80 of them — all but the 11 complete games. The Phils went 9-2 in the 11 games where they got complete games, losing Halladay’s starts mentioned above on May 10 and May 15.

For starting pitchers, we have the quality start stat and know that the Phillies have gone 48-13 in their 61 quality starts so far this year. The table below also shows the Phillies record so far in games where either their starter or relievers have pitched well — pitching well in this case defined as throwing to both an ERA under 4.00 and a ratio of under 1.30 for that game.

G QS W-L Games pitched
well (ERA < 4.00 and ratio < 1.30)
W-L in those
games
Starters 91 61 48-13 55 43-12
Relievers 80 - - 41 32-9

Again defining pitching well as an outing where the starter threw to both an ERA under 4.00 and a ratio of under 1.30 or all the relievers who pitched in the game combined to do the same, here are the records for the Phillies for this year:

Record WPCT
SP pitched well 43-12 .782
SP didn’t pitch well 14-22 .389
Bullpen didn’t pitch 9-2 .819
Bullpen pitched well 32-9 .780
Pen didn’t pitch well 16-23 .410
Pen and SP both not good 2-14 .125
Pen and SP both good 20-1 .952
SP good but pen not 23-11 .676
Pen good but SP not 12-8 .600

Defining pitching well as throwing to an ERA under 4.00 and a ratio under 1.30 is far from ideal. For example, looking at the 2-14 record when both the starters and relievers pitched badly, one of the two wins came on May 27 against the Mets. On that day, Oswalt allowed just one earned run in his six innings, but because he allowed nine hits his ratio is above 1.30 and he doesn’t go into the pitched well category.

Finally, using that definition of pitching well, things worked out well for the Phils in the first half in games where both the starters and relievers pitched well. They went 20-1, with the only loss coming against Seattle on June 19 — in that game Hamels allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings and the pen added 1 2/3 scoreless, but the Phils didn’t score and lost 2-0.

Halladay will start tonight’s All-Star game.


Picking favorites

Using the Start Log, we can track how the bullpen is doing this year based on the game’s starting pitcher. Here’s how things look so far (the starters are ordered by the average number of innings the bullpen has thrown in their starts):

Starts Total IP by
Pen in starts
IP per start Pen ERA Pen Ratio H/9 BB/9 SO/9
Kendrick
Blanton
Worley
Oswalt
Lee
Hamels
Halladay
4
6
4
11
14
13
14
21.0
22.7
15.0
33.3
32.0
29.0
28.7
5.25
3.78
3.75
3.03
2.29
2.23
2.05
2.14
3.18
6.00
2.97
2.25
1.55
4.40
1.43
1.46
1.40
1.26
1.22
1.31
1.26
9.43
6.35
9.60
7.56
7.88
6.52
7.22
3.43
6.75
3.00
3.78
3.09
5.28
4.08
7.71
5.96
6.60
4.86
9.00
7.76
7.53
Total 66 181.7 2.75 3.02 1.32 7.63 4.21 7.08

So, for example, Kendrick has made four starts on the year. In those starts the bullpen has thrown 21 innings, which is about 5.25 innings per start. In those 21 innings they’ve thrown to a 2.14 ERA and a 1.43 ratio while allowing 9.43 hits per nine innings, 3.43 walks per nine innings and struck out about 7.71 batters per nine innings.

Important to remember is that some elements of how many innings the bullpen pitches in a start by a particular starter is out of that starter’s control. For example, the bullpen has thrown 28 2/3 innings in the 14 starts that Halladay made, but 12 of those innings came in a May 25 game against the Reds that went 19 innings. Despite that, the pen has still thrown the fewest number of innings per game when Halladay was on the mound. Excluding the May 25 game, they have pitched 16 2/3 innings in his 13 starts or about 1.28 innings per game.

Overall, the pen has thrown an average of 2.75 innings per game for the year. They have thrown less than that in the starts by Halladay, Hamels and Lee and more than that in the starts by Oswalt, Worley, Blanton and Kendrick.

In the games where Lee or Hamels was on the mound, the pen has 1) thrown to a better than average ERA 2) thrown to a better than average ratio and 3) struck out batters at a rate that’s higher than average for the year.

In the games started by Blanton or Worley, the pen has been worse in all three of those categories.

That leaves Kendrick, Oswalt and Halladay. With Halladay on the mound, the pen has thrown to a slightly higher than average ERA but was better in the ratio and strikeout categories. With Oswalt on the hill they’ve struck batters out at a lower rate, but pitched to a better than average ERA and ratio. In Kendrick’s starts they’ve struck out more batters than they have on average and thrown to a better ERA, but with a higher ratio.

Finally, if you look at the runs allowed per inning pitched for the year based on the starter who started the game, it’s easily to see who has gotten the best performance from the pen:

Starter Runs allowed per inning by pen
Hamels
Lee
Oswalt
Kendrick
Blanton
Halladay
Worley
0.172
0.281
0.330
0.381
0.441
0.488
0.667

Remember there that we’re looking at runs allowed per inning by the pen and not earned runs. So the pen has a 2.14 ERA in games started by Kendrick, but three of the eight runs the pen has allowed in his starts are unearned. So the pen has a nifty ERA in his starts, but the runs allowed per inning pitched is much worse compared to the rest of the group.

Anyway, it’s clear that Hamels is the big winner of the best bullpen performance so far award. Relievers have allowed just five runs in 29 innings in his 13 starts for the year.


18 and life for the offense

The bats roared to life over the past three games as the Phils plated 18 runs against the Cubs and won all three. Utley had a fantastic series for the Phils, going 4-for-8 with two doubles and a home run in the last two games, and Howard was huge with the bat yesterday, going 3-for-3 and driving in three of the four runs scored by the Phils.

Friday the Phils won 7-5. After a two-run homer by Brown in the second and a seventh-inning grand slam by Polanco helped give the Phils a 7-0 lead, the Phils managed to hold off Contreras and the Cubs in the last two innings. Chicago scored four times in the top of the eighth, with four runs charged to Contreras, who got just one out in the game. Bastardo struck Carlos Pena out as the tying run to end the game and earn his second save of the season.

Lee held the Cubs to a run over eight innings on Saturday as the Phils won 7-1. Utley had a monster day, going 2-for-5 with a double, a two-run homer and four RBI. Victorino chipped in with three hits of his own, including a double.

Yesterday the Phils won 4-3 behind Oswalt, who pitched great after a miserable first inning, and Howard’s big day with the bat.

The Phillies are 40-26 on the year after beating the Chicago Cubs 4-3 yesterday afternoon. The Phils take the four-game set three games to one. The remain in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Braves by two games. The third-place Marlins have fallen seven games behind the Phils.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five. After allowing three runs in the first inning on four hits, he allowed a single, two walks and no runs over the next six innings.

He struck Kosuke Fukudome out to start the game, but Darwin Barney followed that with a single to right. Starlin Castro was next and hit a ball that landed just fair down the left field line for a double. Barney scored and Chicago led 1-0. Carlos Pena popped to Rollins for the second out, but Aramis Ramirez hit a 1-0 pitch out left. 3-0. Blake DeWitt singled into center and was left there when Tyler Colvin popped to short.

It was 3-1 when Oswalt set the Cubs down in order in the second. He got Koyie Hill on a ground ball to first, pitcher Doug Davis on a grounder to short and Fukudome on a fly ball to center.

Pena singled to right with two outs in the third, but Oswalt got Ramirez on a fly ball to right for the third out.

DeWitt started the fourth with the lead cut to 3-2 and hit a ball to Rollins that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. Colvin flew to center for the first out before Hill walked on a 3-2 pitch. Davis tried to bunt the runners along, but Oswalt handled it and threw to third to force the lead runner DeWitt for the second out. With two outs and men on first and second, Fukudome flew to right, leaving both runners stranded.

Oswalt walked Pena with two outs in the fifth, but got Ramirez on a pop to Utley for the third out.

He set the Cubs down in order in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Up 4-3, Stutes pitched the eighth. He struck out Pena and Ramirez while setting Chicago down in order.

Stutes lowered his ERA on the year to 2.41 after 21 appearances.

Madson started the ninth and got the first two before Hill singled to right. It brought pitcher John Grabow to the plate as the tying run. Righty Geovany Soto, who tied game one of the series with a ninth-inning home run off of Madson, hit for Grabow. DJ LeMahieu ran for Hill at first. Soto popped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right field. Brown didn’t have a chance to get there, but Utley made a great running catch to snare it and end the game.

Neither Madson nor Stutes have pitched more than one day in a row. Both should be fine for Tuesday with the off-day today. Madson threw 17 pitches and Stutes ten.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Doug Davis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Francisco in right with Brown on the bench. Polanco gets the day off with Valdez at third and Victorino hitting second. Ibanez stays in the lineup against the lefty.

Down 3-0, Rollins singled to center to start the bottom of the first and was forced at second for the first out when Victorino followed with a ground ball to short. Utley moved Victorino to third with a single before Howard blasted a double off of the wall in straight away center. Victorino scored to cut the lead to 3-1 with Utley held at third. Francisco walked to load the bases, but Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out and Ruiz lined to third.

No more runs for the Phils after loading the bases with one out. Ibanez can’t put the ball in play and the Phils can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs.

Howard still doesn’t have a home run against lefties on the year. He came close there. He’s hitting 259/315/365 against them for the year. He’s on pace to hit about 32 home runs against righties this year and none against lefties.

The Phils went in order in the second.

Utley walked with one out in the third and moved to third on a single by Howard. Francisco followed that with his second walk of the game, loading the bases for Ibanez. Ibanez singled into right and everyone moved up a base with Utley scoring. 3-2. Ruiz struck out swinging for the second out. Valdez grounded to second for the third.

Second time in three innings the Phils leave the bases loaded. Second time in three innings they strike out with one out and a man on third.

Before walking twice in the first three innings, Francisco came in the game having walked in 11.9% of his plate appearances for the year. That’s the best mark of his career and way better than his career mark of 8.3%. If only he could get a hit.

Victorino walked with two outs in the fourth, but Utley flew to left behind him.

Howard walked to start the fifth and moved to second on a ground out by Francisco, but Ibanez and Ruiz both struck out to leave him at second.

The Phils went in order in the sixth. Manuel was ejected for arguing balls and strikes as Oswalt struck out looking.

Victorino was hit by a pitch to start the seventh and went to third when Utley followed and ripped a double. Howard dribbled a single to the right of second and into center, scoring both runners and putting the Phils up 4-3. With lefty Sean Marshall pitching, Polanco hit for Francisco and popped to Pena for the first out. Ibanez grounded to second with Howard forced at second for the second out. Ruiz struck out to leave Ibanez at first.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Brown, who took over for Francisco in right after Polanco hit for Francisco in the seventh, grounded to second for the second out.

Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game and 2-for-18 with four walks in the four-game set. He’s hitting 256/331/356 on the season.

Victorino 0-for-2 with a walk yesterday. 6-for-15 with a double and two walks in the series. 280/353/472 for the season.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk and a double. 6-for-17 with two doubles and a home run in the series. He also walked three times and drove in four runs. He came into the series with three extra-base hits for the season and doubled that in the four-game set. 261/370/420 on the year in 81 plate appearances.

Howard was 3-for-3 with a double and drove in three of the four runs the Phillies scored in the game. 4-for-13 with a double and five RBI in the series. He also walked five times. He came in to last night’s game 2-for-his-last-18. 247/336/474 for the year.

Francisco 0-for-1 with two walks. 0-for-3 with two walks in the series. 220/338/372 for the year. 172/304/310 against lefties for the season. Brown 0-for-1 yesterday and 1-for-11 with two walks and a homer in the series. He’s 1-for-his-last-18 and hitting 235/312/397 in 77 plate appearances for the season.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with an RBI. 6-for-16 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 250/300/419 for the year. 302/331/537 since the end of April.

Ruiz was 0-for-4, struck out three times and left eight men on base. He lined to third with the bases loaded in the first (3), struck out with the bases loaded in the third (6), struck out with Howard on second in the fifth (7) and struck out with Ibanez on first in the seventh (8). 3-for-12 with two walks in the series. He’s hitting 243/360/340 for the year.

Valdez 0-for-4 yesterday in his only action in the series. He’s hitting 240/279/295 for the year. Polanco was 0-for-1 yesterday and 3-for-14 with a walk and a grand slam in the series.

No game today. Marlins tomorrow for the first of four. Then the Mariners (of course).


Too ugly for LA

There wasn’t a whole to jump up and down about last night as the Phils didn’t pitch, hit or throw very well, falling to the Dodgers 6-2. They struggled to take advantage of early wildness by Rubby De La Rosa, scoring just two runs in the game despite walking five times in the first two innings.

After scoring two runs last night, the Phils now scored 17 in six games in June. Seven of the runs came on Sunday against the Pirates, so they’ve scored ten runs in the other five games.

Oswalt didn’t pitch very well, but the defense and pen didn’t exactly shine, either. Utley threw two balls away, but was charged with one error. Oswalt himself had the most memorable play of the night, throwing a pickoff throw to first when the Phillies weren’t holding the runner. Stutes allowed a two-run homer to Matt Kemp in the eighth that broke the game open for the Dodgers.

On the plus side, Chase Utley delivered a big extra-base hit, driving in a run with a triple in the seventh. It wasn’t exactly a blast to the gap or a bomb over the wall, but Utley has three extra-base hits on the season to this point. So it’s not the time to quibble.

The Phillies are 36-25 on the year after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 last night. They lead the NL East, three games ahead of the second-place Braves.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out one.

Dee Gordon was the first batter of the game and singled to left for his first major league hit. Casey Blake hit into a double-play behind him before Oswalt struck Andre Ethier out swinging 1-2.

Matt Kemp led off the second with a double to center. Juan Uribe was and hit a line drive that Utley caught at second. James Loney was next and he walked. It brought Dioner Navarro to the plate with men on first and second and one out. He singled to left, scoring Kemp to put the Dodgers up 1-0 and moving Loney to second. Jerry Sands was next and he hit into a double-play to end the frame.

The game was tied at 1-1 when Oswalt started the third. He walked the pitcher Rubby De La Rosa on five pitches, which isn’t the way to start the inning. Gordon was next and singled again, this time to right, moving De La Rosa to third. Blake singled to left, scoring De La Rosa (2-1) and moving Gordon to second. With Ethier at the plate, Oswalt made a baffling mistake, throwing to first base. Howard wasn’t covering first base, so nobody caught it and the ball rolled and rolled. Gordon scored all the way from second to make it 3-1 with Blake going to third. Ethier singled to center, scoring Blake to make it 4-1. It brought Kemp to the plate with a runner on first and still nobody out. He hit a ground ball to short. Valdez went to Utley for the first out, but his throw to first was wild for an error that allowed Kemp to take second. Uribe flew to center for the second out, with Kemp tagging and moving up to third. Loney popped to Utley to finally end the frame.

First four batters of the inning reach on a walk and three singles. Walking the pitcher to start the inning often doesn’t work out that well. Awful for Oswalt to throw to first when there was nobody covering first.

Oswalt came back to throw a 1-2-3 fourth.

Gordon chopped a ball over Oswalt’s head for a single to start the fifth. He stole second before Blake bunted him to third with the first out. Ethier hit a ground ball to Utley, who looked Gordon back and threw to first for the second out. Kemp grounded to Utley to turn the Dodgers away.

Oswalt wins that duel with Ethier as LA can’t score with a runner on third and one out.

Uribe started the sixth with a double to left. Loney moved him to third with a ground out to second for the first out. Oswalt got Navarro to pop to Howard for the second with Uribe holding third. Sands grounded to second leave Uribe at
third.

Again Oswalt wiggles away as the Dodgers can’t score with a man on third and one out.

Romero started the seventh and got the first two before walking Blake. With Ethier at the plate, Romero picked Blake off of first with Howard making the throw to second where Valdez applied the tag for the third out.

Stutes started the eighth after the Phils hit for Romero in the seventh. He walked the lefty Ethier before Kemp belted a 1-0 pitch out the opposite way to right, extending the Los Angeles lead to 6-2. Stutes got the next three.

Picking off Blake in the seventh means the righty Stutes faces the lefty Ethier to start the seventh. Bastardo had thrown for two straight days.

Romero has now walked 11 batters in 15 innings, giving him a walk rate of 6.6 batters per nine innings. That’s really high, but actually lower than it’s been over the past two seasons. In 2009 and 2010, Romero walked 42 in 53 1/3 innings, which is about 7.1 batters per nine innings.

Herndon started the ninth and got Sands on a ground out to third for the first out. Lefty Tony Gwynn hit for the pitcher Scott Elbert and singled to right. Gordon was next and hit a ball to third. Polanco charged, gloved and threw to first for the out. Gwynn rounded second and took off for third, but Valdez moved over to cover third, took the throw from Howard and made a nifty sliding tag to tag out Gwynn and set the Dodgers down.

Herndon was making his first appearance with the team since being called back up on June 6. He threw to a 9.28 ERA in 11 appearances in April, but has appeared four times for the Phils since the end of April and thrown six shutout innings.

Stutes and Romero both threw 15 pitches in the game. Herndon 11. Nobody has pitched more than one day in a row.

The Phillies lineup against righty Rubby De La Rosa went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Brown (8) Valdez. Valdez plays short with Rollins sidelined. Ibanez back in left against the righty. Ruiz again hits sixth with Brown still seventh against the righty.

Victorino led off the bottom of the first with a walk and stole second. Polanco hit a ball back to the pitcher and De La Rosa threw back to Uribe, who had Victorino between second and third. Victorino was tagged out at third with Polanco safe at first. Utley moved him to second with a walk before Howard hit a ground ball to second. Utley was forced at second for the second out with Howard and Polanco safe at the corners. Ibanez grounded back to the mound to end the inning.

The Phils were down 1-0 when the hit in the bottom of the second. Ruiz and Brown both walked before Valdez singled into center, loading the bases. Oswalt struck out swinging for the first out. Victorino hit a ball back to the pitcher that would have been a double-play if De La Rosa had fielded it cleanly, but he didn’t. He knocked it down and threw home to force Ruiz for the second out. Polanco walked on four pitches, forcing in Brown to tie the game at 1-1. Utley flew to center to leave the bases loaded.

One run for the Phils. They walked three times in the frame and loaded the bases with nobody out. Oswalt can’t put the ball in play with nobody out and the bases loaded.

De La Rosa had walked five in the first two innings.

Down 4-1 in the third, Ibanez and Ruiz singled back-to-back with one out. It put men on first and second for Brown, who struck out swinging for the second out. Valdez lined a single to right, but Ethier made a fantastic throw to nail the sliding Ibanez at the plate and end the inning.

Oswalt, Victorino and Polanco went in order in the fourth.

De La Rosa had thrown 81 pitches through four innings.

The Phils went in order again in the fifth.

Righty Blake Hawksworth set Ruiz, Brown and Valdez down in order in the sixth.

Romero was due to lead off the seventh with righty Matt Guerrier on the mound for LA and the Phils still down 4-2. Gload hit for Romero and walked. Victorino grounded to second with Gload forced at second for the first out and Polanco flew to right for the second. Lefty Scott Elbert came in to pitch to Utley and Utley ripped a ball down the first base line and into the right field corner for a triple. Victorino scored to make it 4-2. Howard lined to Uribe to end the inning.

Update: It escaped me at the time, but the walk ruins Gload’s no walks, no extra-base hits thing for the season. I’m feeling kind of nostalgic. So whoever had June 7 in the pool is the big winner.

Down 6-2, Ibanez, Ruiz and Brown went in order in the eighth.

The Phils went in order in the ninth, too. Rollins hit for Herndon with righty Javy Guerra on the mound and flew to right for the second out.

Victorino was 0-for-4 in the game with a walk. He’s 3-for-20 with three walks since returning from the DL.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He has no extra-base hits in his last 65 plate appearances and one over his last 106.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a triple, a walk, an RBI and two bad throws, only one of which was an error. Nice to see him deliver and extra-base hit, even if it was ripped on the ground down the line rather than something he drove out of the park. He now has three extra-base hits in 61 plate appearances for the year.

Howard was 0-for-4, struck out twice and looked terrible at the plate. He made two nice throws defensively, one to second and another to third. He’s hitting 243/326/470 for the year. All three of those would be career lows if he ended the season with that line. He’s 5-for-his-last-28 with a double.

Ibanez 1-for-4. He’s 3-for-his-last-17 with two walks.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk.

Brown 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out twice. 4-for-his-last-19 with five strikeouts.

Valdez was 2-for-4. He’s 5-for-his-last-13 with two walks and a double.

Cole Hamels (7-2, 2.83) faces righty Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 3.46) tonight. Kuroda has been hit hard in two of his last three starts, throwing to a 5.82 ERA as opponents have hit .352 against him. His last outing was the best of the three as he held the Reds to two runs over six innings. Hamels has lowered his walk rate a bit this year, but mostly he’s not allowing hits and not allowing home runs. He’s allowing 6.8 hits per nine innings this year compared to a career rate of 8.1 per nine and just 0.5 home runs per nine. Over his career he’s allowed about 1.1 home runs per nine innings. After 12 starts he’s allowed five home runs, which would put him on a pace to allow about 14 home runs over 33 starts. Over the last three years, Hamels has made an average of about 32.7 starts per year and allowed an average of 26 home runs.

Chase Utley and his wife dedicated a “Kindness to Animals” mural in partnership with Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.


Nats nix the Phils’ chances to win, score an earned run

The Phils put together five hits and no earned runs yesterday and it wasn’t enough as the Nats topped them 2-1 to take the three-game set two games to one. Laynce Nix changed the game with a spectacular diving catch on a ball hit by Domonic Brown that ended the top of the sixth with the bases loaded for the Phils.

The game was also memorable because of the early exit of Roy Oswalt. Oswalt was pulled so Brown could hit for him in the sixth, having gone just five innings and thrown 79 pitches. Oswalt doesn’t sound particularly thrilled about the decision.

The Phillies are 34-22 on the year after losing to the Washington Nationals 2-1 yesterday afternoon. They have lost three of four and scored three runs in their last two games.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out three. In his nine starts on the year he’s thrown to a 2.70 ERA and a 1.26 ratio, but the Phillies are 4-5.

Roger Bernadina led off the bottom of the first and blooped a single to left. Ian Desmond bunted him to second with the first out before Jayson Werth singled into left, scoring Bernadina to put Washington up 1-0. Laynce Nix flew to left for the second out and Michael Morse flew to right for the third.

It was 1-1 when he started the second. He got Danny Espinosa on a ground ball to second for the first out before Wilson Ramos doubled to right. Alex Cora followed that with a walk. The pitcher John Lannan tried to bunt the runners up a base, but struck out fouling off strike three for the second out. Oswalt struck Bernadina out swinging to leave the runners stranded at first and second.

Oswalt retired Desmond and Werth on a pair of fly balls to right to start the third. Nix was next, though, and he hit an 0-1 pitch out to right-center, putting the Nats back on top at 2-1. Oswalt walked Morse on four pitches and then hit Espinosa with the first pitch of his at-bat, putting men on first and second for Ramos. Ramos grounded to second to end the inning.

Espinosa went 4-for-8 with three home runs in the first two games of the series.

Oswalt got Cora and Lannan to start the fourth before reached on a single on a ball out in front of the plate. Desmond grounded to short for the third out.

Morse doubled to right with two outs in the fifth. Oswalt got Espinosa on a fly ball to right for the third out.

Stutes started the sixth after the Phils hit for Oswalt in the top of the inning. He set Washington down in order, getting Ramos swinging for the first out and Jerry Hairston, who took over for Cora at third in the fifth, on a fly ball to left for the second. Pitcher Jason Marquis hit for pitcher Doug Slaten and flew to center for the third out.

Stutes was back for the seventh and threw another 1-2-3 frame, getting Bernadina looking for the first out, Desmond on a ground ball to short for the second and Werth on a fly ball to center for the third.

Stutes threw two perfect innings and was throwing for the second straight day, lowering his ERA on the year to 2.02. He also threw three days in a row May 23-25.

Bastardo came in to pitch the ninth and got the first two men he faced before walking Espinosa. Ramos grounded to short for the third out.

Three scoreless innings for the pen. Stutes was throwing for the second straight day and threw 29 pitches. Bastardo threw 18 pitches. Both should be available on Friday with the off-day today.

The Phillies lineup against lefty John Lannan went (1) Polanco (2) Mayberry (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Polanco hits leadoff with Rollins on the bench and Valdez at short. Mayberry plays center and hits second for the first time in his career. Francisco in right against the lefty with Brown on the bench, despite Brown being 10-for-his-last-19. Ruiz catches the day game after catching the night game the night before. After hitting sixth against the righty the day before, he’s dropped to seventh against the lefty.

Polanco led off the game with a single to right, but was erased when Mayberry followed and hit into a double-play. Utley flew to right for the third out.

Down 1-0, Howard led off the second with a double and Francisco walked behind him. Ibanez struck out for the first out, but Ruiz was next and hit a ball to third that Cora didn’t handle for an error. Howard scored to tie the game at 1-1 with Ruiz safe at first and Francisco safe at second. Valdez flew to center and Oswalt grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.

Mayberry was hit by a pitch with one out in the third. Utley flew to right for the second out. Howard was next and he hit a ground ball that Espinosa fielded in shallow right field with the Howard shift on. Mayberry tried to score from second, but Espinosa threw home and Ramos applied the tag to Mayberry to end the inning.

Francisco, Ibanez and Ruiz went down on three ground balls in the fourth. The Phillies were trailing 2-1.

Valdez reached on an error by Hairston at third to start the fifth. Oswalt bunted him to first with the first out before Polanco drew a walk, putting men on first and second for Mayberry. Mayberry hit a ground ball to third with Valdez forced at third for the second out. Utley flew to right to leave the runners at first and second.

Francisco walked with one out in the sixth and the Phils still down a run. Ibanez moved him to second with a single and righty Todd Coffey took over for Lannan. Ruiz flew to right for the first out, with Francisco tagging and moving up to third. Rollins hit for Valdez and walked, loading the bases for Oswalt. Brown hit for Oswalt against the righty Coffey and lined a ball to left-center, with Nix making an unbelievable diving catch to snare the ball and retire the side.

Fantastic catch by Nix changed the game.

The Phils went in order in the seventh and the eighth.

Ruiz flew to center for the first out of the ninth. Rollins was next and put down a pretty bunt that Espinosa tried to bare-hand, but didn’t get cleanly. Rollins had a single. With righty Drew Storen on the mound for Washington, Ross Gload hit for Bastrado and flew to left. Polanco was next and ripped a ball just foul that would have scored Rollins easily, but struck out looking 1-2 to end the game.

Polanco was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 5-for-12 with two walks in the three-game set. He’s hitting 319/367/403 for the year.

Mayberry was 0-for-3 and left three men on base. 3-for-11 with a double and a homer in the set. 231/316/365 on the year.

Utley was 0-for-4 in the game and 1-for-10 with three walks in the series. 194/324/323 on the season in 37 plate appearances.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit in the game for the Phils. 4-for-12 with a double and a home run in the set. 252/336/500 for the year. 311/404/622 with three home runs in 52 plate appearances over his last 11 games.

Francisco was 0-for-2 and walked twice. 0-for-3 with two walks in the series. He’s 5-for-his-last-16 with three walks, two doubles and a home run, but hitting just 224/337/385 for the year.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 in the game and 3-for-11 with a walk and a home run in the series. 246/296/427 on the season. 324/348/611 over his last 115 plate appearances.

Ruiz was 0-for-4. 4-for-13 with a double in the series. 250/348/362 on the season. 344/432/469 in 37 plate appearances over his last eight games.

Valdez 0-for-2 in the game and in the series. 242/277/298 on the year. Of the 149 NL players with at least 100 plate appearances this season, Valdez’s .575 OPS is 141st. On the plus side, he’s out-OPSing Dan Uggla (175/241/316).

Rollins was 1-for-1 with a walk in the game and 1-for-10 with a walk in the series. He’s hitting 263/337/357 for the year.

No game today. At Pittsburgh Friday night.


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