Tag: Ryan Madson

You’ve come a long way in the wrong direction, baby

Phillies fans spend much of their time these days thinking about how to improve the offense. That’s always a good idea. But if you compare what the Phillies did in 2011 to what they did in 2012, it seems clear that pitching accounts for the massive drop.

So shouldn’t the Phillies be focusing on their pitching?

It seems like the answer is almost surely no. If the value of the position players stays about the same, the pitching is going to have to be extraordinary for the Phillies to return to their recent levels of regular season success. And the pitching is never, ever going to be as good as it was in 2011. In both 2011 and 2012, the team’s hitters were far from exceptional — by combined bWAR for all hitters, the Phils were ninth in the NL in 2012 and eighth in 2011. In 2011, the pitching was so enormously fantastic the Phils were able to dominate the regular season anyway. In 2012, the overall contribution of the position players was about the same as it was in 2011 — the pitching just wasn’t elite in a way that allowed the Phillies to overcome it.

Not only is the pitching not going to be as fantastic as it was in 2011, it probably isn’t going to be as fantastic as it was in 2010. The combined WAR for Phillie pitchers in 2010 was 21.2. Over the past 20 years, other than 2011, the closest the Phillies have gotten to the 21.2 mark was 2006 when their pitchers combined to post a bWAR of 14.8.

Of course, for a lot (18) of the past 20 years, the Phillies didn’t have Halladay, Lee and Hamels atop their rotation. In 1997, for example, Mark Leiter, Matt Beach, Tyler Green and Calvin Maduro combined to make 82 starts for the Phillies, throwing to a 5.61 ERA combined as the Phillies put up a combined WAR for their pitchers of 1.6. Those days are mercifully gone, but in 2012 the Phils gave 86 starts to Halladay, Lee and Hamels and that didn’t turn out real well either.

Given that the pitching is never going back to where it was in 2011, the Phillies are going to need to have both their position players and pitchers improve if they want to retake their position among the elite teams in the NL.

Just how far do they have to go? Really, really far. At least if you look at WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference.

The table below shows the WAR for hitters and pitchers for the NL teams that won the most games in each of the last five years (the 2012 Phillies are also included, despite not being close to one of the four best teams in the NL last year):

W bWAR H bWAR P H+P
2012 WAS 98 20.6 20.2 40.8
CIN 97 14.3 26.4 40.7
SF 94 28.9 5.5 34.4
ATL 94 23.2 11.7 34.9
(PHI) 81 15 10.8 25.8
2011 PHI 102 14.2 35.2 49.4
MIL 96 23.7 14.6 38.3
ARI 94 23.6 7.3 30.9
STL 90 24.4 9.4 33.8
2010 PHI 97 21.3 21.2 42.5
SF 92 20.8 19.5 40.3
CIN 91 29.5 8.1 37.6
ATL 91 22.8 15.4 38.2
2009 LAD 95 27.1 17.6 44.7
PHI 93 26.3 10.2 36.5
COL 92 17.8 17.9 35.7
STL 91 22.4 14.9 37.3
2008 CHC 97 18.9 26.9 45.8
PHI 92 27.3 11.1 38.4
MIL 90 24.3 13.6 37.9
NYM 89 23.1 12.6 35.7

So, for example, in 2012, the hitters for the Phillies accumulated a total bWAR of 15.0 and the pitchers accumulated a total bWAR of 10.8. If you add them together they total 25.8 — significantly worse than the total for the NL’s fourth-best team by wins, Atlanta (34.9), the third-best team the Giants (34.4), the second-best team the Reds (40.7) or 98-win Nats (40.8).

The 25.8 mark was also hugely worse than the 2011 Phils (49.4).

Again, if you look at the bWAR H column, Baseball-Reference’s calculation suggests that the total WAR for the Phillie position players in 2012 was better than the total WAR for the Phillie position players in 2011.

Over the last five years, here are the average bWAR for hitters and for pitchers for the teams who have won the most, second-most, third-most and fourth-most games in the NL:

Avg bWAR H Avg bWAR P H+P
#1 20.42 24.22 44.64
#2 22.48 16.36 38.84
#3 24.82 10.48 35.3
#4 23.18 12.8 35.98
Actual bWAR H Actual bWAR P H+P
PHI 2012 15 10.8 25.8
PHI 2011 14.2 35.2 49.4
PHI 2010 21.3 21.2 42.5
PHI 2009 26.3 10.2 36.5
PHI 2008 27.3 11.1 38.4

So that suggests to get to the level of the fourth-best team in the NL over the past five seasons, the Phillies would need to add a little more than ten WAR between their hitters and pitchers to their 2012 marks.

That’s a lot.

Important to note is that in 2010, when the Phillies were great, the total WAR for their pitchers was 21.2, which is the second-highest mark for the team in the past 20 years behind only the 35.2 from 2011. I believe you have to go back to 1983 to find a year (other than 2011) in which the combined bWAR for Phillie pitchers was better than 21.2. In 1983, John Denny won the Cy Young for the Phils, Steve Carlton was very good in 37 starts and Kevin Gross and Charles Hudson were both pretty good. Al Holland finished sixth in Cy Young voting pitching out of the pen.

None of that is the real point, though. The real point is that even in 2010, when the pitching was fantastic, the best it had been since 1983, the Phillies still got 21.3 combined WAR from their position players, which is a whole lot more than they got in either of the last two seasons. It’s also a whole lot more than they’re going to get in 2013 without significant additions among the position players.

This suggests that the Angels are close to signing Ryan Madson and that Madson will close for the Angels.

This suggests there are seven teams interested in Shane Victorino. The Phillies are not on the list. It is surprising to me if the Phillies are not interested in bringing Victorino back.

The Phillies signed right-handed pitcher Brian Erbe to a minor league deal. Erbe made Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects before the 2007 (#76), but has been awful in the minors over the last three years, throwing to a 6.13 ERA over 108 2/3 innings. He missed much of the 2011 season after surgery for a torn labrum and turns 25 next month.

Update: This says Carlos Ruiz has been suspended for 25 games after testing positive for an Amphetamine.


The truth is out there — way, way, way out there

This just in: No timetable for Chase Utley’s return. No, really. And apparently we should all just try and calm down a little.

As if.

Two games for the Phils over the weekend.

Jim Thome played first base in an official Spring Training game for the first time this year yesterday as the Phils and Orioles played to a 3-3 tie.

Halladay started for the Phils and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks. He has a 5.40 ERA and a 1.30 ratio through five starts, but has struck out 24 in 20 innings.

Bastardo took over for Halladay in the seventh, faced two men with runners on the corners and struck both out. Contreras pitched the eighth in his third appearance and allowed a run on a single and a double. He has now been charged with six runs in 2 1/3 innings, but the good news is there may be something magical about the way the ball is coming out of his hand. Papelbon threw a scoreless ninth to drop his ERA to 1.13. Juan Morillo threw a 1-2-3 tenth.

Thome played five innings at first and went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI. No balls were hit to him. Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a double to up his line to 484/515/774 after 31 at-bats. Mayberry went 0-for-5 to drop his line to 217/266/263.

Galvis was 3-for-4 with three singles, upping his line to 271/292/475.

Orr, Galvis and Ruiz all homered for the Phils on Saturday in a 10-5 win over Boston.

Hamels started the game for the Phils and allowed two runs over four innings on four hits and two walks, raising his ERA to 4.00. Qualls and Diekman each threw a scoreless inning in the game, with Diekman keeping his ERA at 0.00. Raul Valdes went two frames and was charged with a run on three singles, pushing his ERA to 2.08. Sanches pitched the eighth and allowed a run on a walk and three singles, which pushed his ERA up to 6.43.

Galvis started at second and went 1-for-4 with his second spring home run and first error. Pierre was 2-for-5 with a double. Podsednik 0-for-2. Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. Orr 2-for-4 with his first homer. Nix had two hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and raising his average to .226.

Polanco played third base on Sunday and went 1-for-2.

Ryan Madson will have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2012 season.


Power purge

In 2011, for the second straight season, Chase Utley’s offensive performance left people worrying if the old Utley was gone forever. Since the start of the 2010 season, he has now hit 267/367/435 over his last 965 plate appearances. Utley made his debut with the Phils in 2003 and got 287 plate appearances with the team in 2004. From 2005 through 2009, Utley hit 301/388/535 over 3,374 plate appearances.

First things first — a .367 on-base percentage over the last two years is better than fine. In 2011, there were 99 NL batters who got at least 400 plate appearances and 16 of them on-based better than .367. Even in his two down years combined, Utley still hit for more power than an average NL second baseman. Over the last two years, his isolated power is .168. Last year in the NL, the average NL second baseman’s isolated power was .123. But a lot better than average or not, it’s not 301/388/535 and the Chase Utley of the last two years hasn’t been the same guy we saw earlier in his career.

Here’s the percentage of plate appearances for Chase Utley that have ended in hits, walks, strikeouts, singles, doubles, triples, home runs or an extra-base hit of any kind for the years 2005 through 2009 and for 2010 and 2011:

Years PA H BB SO 1B 2B 3B HR XBH
’05-’09 3374 25.9 9.9 16.1 15.1 5.8 0.7 4.3 10.8
’10-’11 965 22.8 10.6 11.4 14.9 4.2 0.8 2.8 7.9

The good news is that over the last two years, Utley has been more likely to walk in a plate appearance and less likely to strike out. His triples are up a tiny bit and the percentage of his plate appearances in which he got a single is only down a little. The bad news is pretty much everything else — hits overall are way down and his plate appearances were far less likely to end in a double or a home run.

Not shown on the table above are the overall percentage of his hits that went for extra-bases. From 2005 through 2009 it was 41.7%, in 2010 and 2011 combined it was 34.5%.

Over the last two years, Utley has hit 27 home runs in 965 plate appearances. From 2005 to 2009, he averaged 29.2 home runs a season. If he had hit home runs at his 2005-2009 rate over his 965 plate appearances in ’10 and ’11 combined, he would have hit about 41.8.

When you look at his left-right power over the last two years, it’s up and down. In 2010 he was a monster against lefties and miserable against righties. In 2011, he was up against righties, but still way below his ’05-’09 numbers, and way down against lefties.

When you combine his isolated power numbers for ’05-’09 against lefties and righties, though, and compare them to the same numbers in 2010 and 2011 combined, the numbers are dramatic:

Vs Lefties Vs Righties
Years AB AVG SLG ISO AB AVG SLG ISO
’05-’09 958 285 501 216 1951 309 551 242
’10-’11 243 247 461 214 580 276 424 148

So, against lefties, despite the up and down over the last two years, in 2010 and 2011 his isolated power is almost exactly what it was from 2005 through 2009 (.216 from ’05 to ’09 and .214 from ’10 to ’11).

Against righties it was .242 from 2005 to 2009, but .148 in 2010 and 2011 combined. Utley’s numbers took a dive against righties in 2010 when he hit just 266/371/381 against them. He got better in 2011, while at the same time dropping off dramatically after a huge year against left-handed pitching. Even in 2011, though, he wasn’t hitting with as much power against righties as he had from ’05 to ’09. In 2011, Utley hit 285/362/467 against righties, giving him an isolated power mark of .182. That’s a whole lot better than the .114 he put up in 2010, but still a lot worse than anything he did in the six-year span from 2005 to 2009. During that stretch, his worst mark for isolated power was in 2009 — that season he hit 279/387/489 against righties, giving with an isolated power of .211 (nearly a hundred points better than in 2011).

Final note is that his isolated power against lefties over the last two years matches up with the previous six only because of his huge results against lefties in 2010. In 2011, his isolated power mark against lefties was .121 as he hit just .187 and slugged .308 against lefties. That’s almost as bad as the .114 against righties in 2010. Against lefties, his worst mark in any year 2005 to 2009 was 2006 when he put up and isolated power of .162 against left-handed pitching.

Ryan Madson’s agent and Amaro seem to have differing opinions about what happened before Madson agreed to pitch for the Reds.

The Phils will get two picks for losing Madson.

This says that the Phillies released John Bowker so he could sign a deal to play in Japan.

This suggests the Phils may be trying to sign right-handed reliever Jeremy Accardo to a minor league deal. Accardo was great with the Blue Jays in 2007 and good in limited action with them in 2009. He was bad in 2008 and threw to a 6.09 ERA in 44 1/3 innings in 2010 and 2011 combined.

This says the Phillies are hopeful that Howard will return to the lineup sometime in May.


All about the Louis Bens

It would be all about the Benjamins if Francisco’s first name was actually Benjamin. Mostly at least. It would also be some about Cole Hamels, too. And a little about a great job by Ryan Madson to get out of a huge jam in the bottom of the eighth.

The Phils got an outstanding pitching performance from Cole Hamels last night and one big swing of the bat from Ben Francisco as they topped the Cards 3-2 in game three of the NLDS.

Hamels and St Louis lefty Jaime Garcia locked up in a pitcher’s duel that saw the Phillies come to bat in the seventh with the game scoreless. With two outs, Victorino on first and Ruiz set to hit in front of Hamels, who was clearly going to be removed for a pinch-hitter having thrown 117 pitches in the game, the lefty Garcia walked Ruiz intentionally. Francisco hit for Hamels and blasted a three-run homer to left, putting the Phils on top 3-0. The bullpen struggled for the Phillies after Hamels left. Worley allowed a run on two singles and a walk in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the lead to 3-1. In the eighth, another single off of Worley and two off of Lidge loaded the bases for St Louis with one out. Madson came in to try to lock down a long save and got out of the eighth on a double-play ball smashed to second by Allen Craig. Madson was charged with a run in the bottom of the ninth when Albert Pujols led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Yadier Molina, cutting the lead to 3-2. Ryan Theriot came to the plate 4-for-4 on the day as the winning run with two outs and a man on first, but Madson got him to ground to Utley at second to end the game.

The decision to walk Ruiz, 1-for-11 in the series, ahead of the pitcher’s spot with two outs in the seventh was baffling. It put another runner on base for the righty Francisco to hit against the lefty Garcia. After he homered, the St Louis comeback fell a run short. The foundation may have been Francisco’s 1-for-9 against Garcia for his career, but that was a bad idea and it hurt St Louis.

For Francisco it was a shining moment in a down season. He started for the Phillies in right field on opening day, but disappointed offensively, hitting an ugly 197/324/309 in 184 plate appearances between April 13 and June 30.

His home run last night was a much-needed lift for an offense that has seen its starters knock in zero runs in the last 16 innings.

The St Louis pen continues to befuddle the Phillies. After two scoreless innings in game three, they have thrown eight scoreless frames since being hit hard in game one.

The Phillies pen, on the other handled, struggled like they did in game one. The pen was great in game two, throwing three scoreless innings in relief of Lee. In games one and three they have allowed five runs on 11 hits and two walks over four innings. Eleven hits is more than you want to allow in four innings.

The Phils have won both of the games in which their pen has pitched badly and won the one where it didn’t.

The Phillies lead the NLDS with the St Louis Cardinals two games to one after winning game three 3-2 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six shutout innings, allowing five hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles to Albert Pujols. He struck out eight. He has allowed two earned runs over 21 innings in his last three post-season starts.

He faced a St Louis lineup that went (1) Rafael Furcal (SS/S) (2) Allen Craig (RF/R) (3) Albert Pujols (1B/R) (4) Lance Berkman (LF/S) (5) David Freese (3B/R) (6) Yadier Molina (C/R) (7) Ryan Theriot (2B/R) (8) Jon Jay (CF/L).

St Louis had six hitters on the bench to start the game, righties Matt Holliday and Gerald Laird, lefties Adron Chambers, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso and switch-hitter Nick Punto.

Hamels got Furcal on a ground ball to second for the first out of the bottom of the first. Craig popped to Rollins on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Pujols was next and doubled to center on a 2-2 pitch before Hamels hit Berkman 1-0 to put men on first and second. Berkman and Pujols pulled off a double-steal, but Hamels struck Freese out swinging 0-2 to leave them at second and third.

Molina hit a 2-2 pitch way out but foul before flying to Pence for the first out of the second. Theriot singled to right, but Hamels struck Jay out looking 3-2 for the second out and pitcher Jaime Garcia out swinging to leave Theriot at first.

Furcal went down swinging 1-2 to start the third before Craig walked on a 3-2 pitch up and away. Pujols flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the second out and Berkman grounded to Utley to end the frame.

Don’t want to walk guys ahead of Pujols and Berkman, but it worked out okay for Hamels there.

Hamels struck Freese out trying to check his swing for the first out in the fourth. Molina grounded to short for the second. Theriot was next and he dribbled an 0-2 pitch down the third base line that stayed fair for a single. Theriot stole second as the count went 2-0 on Jay, so Hamels put Jay on intentionally to pitch to Garcia with men on first and second. Garcia grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Furcal popped to Utley to start the fifth and Craig flew to center behind him. Pujols ripped an 0-1 pitch into the gap in right center where the ball rolled all the way to the wall for a double. Berkman grounded to Howard to end the inning.

Hamels got Freese looking 2-2 to start the sixth. Molina got ahead of Hamels 3-0, but Hamels came back and struck him out swinging for the second out. Theriot was next and he singled to left, bringing Jay to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Hamels walked Jay on a 3-2 pitch that was low and his 111th of the game. Hamels struck Garcia out swinging 1-2 with his 117th pitch of the game to leave both runners stranded.

Theriot was 3-for-3 in the game at that point and Freese 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Worley started the seventh with the Phils on top 3-0. Furcal grounded to first for the first out, but Worley walked Craig on a 3-2 pitch behind him. Pujols was next and he blooped a ball into right that fell between Utley and Pence, putting men on first and second for Berkman. Berkman swung at the first pitch and hit a ground ball to second, with Utley going to Rollins at second to force Pujols for the second out with Craig moving up to third. Freese was also swinging at the first pitch and singled into center, scoring Craig to make it 3-1 and moving Berkman to second. Molina flew to right on a 1-0 pitch to end the inning.

I’m pretty sure it’s enough with walking Craig ahead of the great hitters.

Worley was back to start the eighth and got ahead of Theriot 0-2 before Worley looped a single that dropped right in front of Pence. Fourth hit of the game for Theriot. Bastardo took over to pitch to the lefty Jay and Punto hit for Jay. Punto flew to center on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Righty Matt Holliday hit for the pitcher Fernando Salas and Lidge came in to pitch to him. Lidge threw strike one to Holliday before Holliday singled into left, moving Theriot up to second. Adron Chambers ran for Holliday at first. Furcal was next and singled to left on a 1-2 pitch, loading the bases for the Cards. Manuel called on Madson to pitch to Craig and Craig hit an 0-1 pitch hard but right at Utley. Utley ran to second then made a strong throw to first to complete the double-play and end the inning.

Just a huge pitch for Madson to get the double-play and get the Phillies out of the inning. Madson also gets out of the frame with just two pitches — important since he was coming back for the ninth. Getting a double-play also meant the guy behind Craig, Pujols, didn’t get to hit with a bunch of men on bases.

Fantastic decision by Manuel to bring in his best relief option with one out in the eighth inning.

It was good Pujols didn’t get to hit with the bases loaded cause he doubled to left to start the ninth. Madson got Berkman to fly to center on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Madson got ahead of Freese and threw an 0-2 pitch that Freese took that looked real good to me. Might have been a little high. Freese took if for ball one then grounded to second 2-2 for the second out with Pujols moving up to third. Molina was next and he lined a single into center, scoring Pujols and cutting the lead to 3-2. Pitcher Kyle Lohse ran for Molina at first and Theriot came to the plate with a 4-for-4 for the game and hitting .750 in the series. Madson got Theriot to hit a one-hopper to Utley on a 2-2 pitch with Utley going to Howard in plenty of time to end the game.

Either team could have won the game on every pitch of Theriot’s at-bat, but Madson gets the job done for his second career post-season save. The other came in game five of the 2009 World Series. Madson has pitched in every game in the series, including the one that the Phillies won by five runs. Anyone remember Juan Uribe last year or Madson pitching with five-run leads? Just saying. That just saying aside, I thought it was great Manuel brought Madson in with one out in the eighth yesterday. Less fantastic he brought him into the ninth inning of game one, which the Phils won by five runs (the Phils were actually up seven runs, 11-4, with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth when Madson entered game one).

Three ugly innings for the bullpen in which they allow two runs on seven hits and a walk. Madson threw 20 pitches in the game and Worley 18. Bastardo and Lidge were both under ten.

Pujols and Theriot both went 4-for-5 in game three. Theriot had four singles and Pujols three doubles and a single. Pujols is 7-for-13 in the series and Theriot 6-for-9.

Furcal 1-for-5 in the game and 4-for-14 in the series.

Craig 0-for-3 with two walks. He’s 1-for-10 in the series but has walked four times. The Phillies should really try to stop walking him ahead of Pujols and Berkman.

Freese 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. 2-for-12 with six strikeouts in the series.

Molina 1-for-5 in the game and 3-for-12 in the series.

Jay 0-for-1 and walked twice. 2-for-8 with three walks in the series.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Jaime Garcia went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Utley (2B/L) (3) Pence (RF/R) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Victorino (CF/S) (6) Mayberry (LF/R) (7) Polanco (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). Mayberry starts in left against the lefty with Ibanez on the bench. That seems like the right decision, although Ibanez went 3-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in the first two games of the series.

The Phils started the game with six players on their bench, righties Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco, lefties Brian Schneider, Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload and switch-hitter Michael Martinez.

Rollins was the first batter of the game and fouled out to Pujols. Utley grounded to first for the second out. Pence lined to Furcal at short for the third out.

Howard struck out swinging 1-2 to start the second. Victorino flew to center for the second out and Mayberry struck out swinging 0-2 for the third.

Polanco grounded to short for the first out of the third before Ruiz chopped a ball over Freese’s head and into left for a single. Hamels tried to bunt but popped the first pitch from Garcia up to Molina in foul territory for the second out. Rollins was next and he hit a ball into center that Jay may have had trouble seeing in the sun, but it would have fallen anyway. Rollins had a single and Ruiz moved up to second. Utley grounded to Pujols to leave both runners stranded.

Pence flew to Berkman on the edge of the track in right for the first out of the fourth. Howard struck out looking 2-2 for the second. Victorino grounded to third to end the frame.

Mayberry started the fifth with a ground out to short. Polanco grounded to third for the second. Ruiz smashed a 3-2 pitch to Furcal’s right, but Furcal made a nice play to pick the ball and a strong throw to first to get Ruiz and set the Phillies down.

Hamels hammered a 1-0 pitch to left to start the sixth, but Craig took it after a long run for the first out. Rollins was next and flew to left for the second out. Utley was next and singled into center. He took second when Garcia delivered a 1-1 pitch to Pence that looked like it could have been blocked by Molina but wasn’t. With Utley on second, Pence was walked intentionally to put men on first and second. Howard grounded to first 0-2 for the third out to leave both men stranded.

Victorino got ahead 3-0 to start the seventh and singled into center on a 3-2 pitch. The first pitch to Mayberry was a low fastball that Molina again couldn’t block, allowing Victorino to move up to second. Mayberry flew to right for the first out and Berkman nearly picked Victorino off of second, with Victorino scurrying back just ahead of the tag. Polanco was next and grounded to third for the second out with Victorino holding second. For reasons that completely escape me, Garcia walked Ruiz intentionally to put men on first and second. Francisco hit for Hamels and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left for a three-run homer that put the Phils on top 3-0. Rollins doubled over Jay’s head and stole third, but was left there when Utley grounded to second.

Walking Ruiz intentionally is kinda baffling.

Righty Fernando Salas started the eighth with the Phillies up 3-1 and got Pence on a fly ball to right for the first out. Howard was next and he grounded to second for the second out. Victorino grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Righy Jason Motte was on for the Cards to start the ninth. Skip Schumaker was in center for St Louis, where he had played 13 innings in 2011. Mayberry led off and hit a ball into center that Furcal tracked down with an over-the-shoulder catch for the first out. Polanco was next and broke his 0-for-11 with a single to right. Ruiz hit a ball into center that Schumaker made a diving effort at. It was originally ruled a non-catch with Ruiz safe at first with a single, but the umpires huddled and called it a catch (it was). Polanco went back to first with two down. Madson hit for himself and Motte struck him out swinging 0-2 to leave Polanco at first.

Dotel, Motte, Rhodes and Salas have combined to throw eight scoreless innings so far in the series in which they have allowed one hit (Polanco’s game three single off of Motte) and no walks.

Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double in the game. He’s 7-for-12 with a walk and three doubles in the series.

Utley 1-for-4. 4-for-10 with two walks and two doubles.

Pence 0-for-3 with a walk and 3-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Howard 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 2-for-11 with a home run and six RBI in the series. 1-for-8 in the last two games.

Victorino 1-for-4 yesterday and 4-for-12 with four singles in the series.

Mayberry 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the game and in the set.

Polanco 1-for-4 with a single. 1-for-12 in the series. He’s now hitting 254/321/287 in 140 career post-season plate appearances. 7-for-41 (.171) with the Phillies in the playoffs since the start of the 2010 post-season.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a memorable intentional walk. He’s 1-for-11 in the set.

Polanco and Ruiz are a combined 2-for-23 at the bottom of the order for the Phils. Rollins and Utley are a combined 11-for-22 so far at the top.

Roy Oswalt faces righty Edwin Jackson in game four.


Ross takes a Gload off of everyone’s mind

It has been a magical season for the Phillies so far in 2011. But not for everyone. Several key players have struggled overall despite the amazing success of the team. Last night two of the guys who have struggled made enormous contributions as the Phils topped the Braves 3-2 on a walkoff single by Gload to complete a three-game sweep.

Oswalt threw seven strong innings in the game for the Phils, throwing in the low 90′s coming off of two worrisome starts in a row. Coming into the outing, Oswalt had thrown to a 4.79 ERA over his last seven outings. He looked great last night, though, especially early as he started the game tossing five shutout innings in which he struck out six.

The Phils hit in the bottom of the ninth with the game knotted at 2-2. With one man out and men on first and second, Manuel called on Gload to hit against righty Peter Moylan and Gload delivered in a big way, ripping a ball down the right field line for a game-winner. It was a huge hit for Gload in a season where he has been slowed by a hip injury — he came into last night’s game just 5-for-his-last-39.

The Phillies are 91-48 after beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 last night. With the win the Phils complete the three-game sweep of Atlanta and extend their lead over the Braves in the NL East to 10 1/2 games. They are 43 games above .500 for the first time in the history of the organization.

Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out seven. Two of his last four starts have been very good.

Oswalt got Michael Bourn on a ground ball to second for the first out of the game. Martin Prado was next and hit a ball to short that Martinez muffed for an error. It put a man on first for Chipper Jones, but Chipper hit a ball back to the mound and Oswalt went to second as the Phils turned two.

Oswalt walked Brian McCann on a 3-2 pitch to start the second. He struck Dan Uggla out swinging for the first out and got Eric Hinske to fly to left for the second. Jason Heyward walked 3-2, though, and the Braves had runners on first and second for Alex Gonzalez. Oswalt struck him out on three pitches, getting him swinging to leave both runners stranded.

Oswalt started the third with a 1-0 lead. He struck out the pitcher Brandon Beachy for the first out and Michael Bourn for the second. Prado grounded to short to end the frame.

Oswalt struck Uggla and McCann both out swinging in a 1-2-3 fourth.

He walked Heyward with one out in the fifth. Gonzalez flew to right for the second out. Beachy hit a ground ball to short. Martinez fielded and looked to flip to Utley for the force, but Utley was already headed for the dugout. Martinez beat Heyward to second for the force to end the frame.

Bourn doubled to center to start the sixth. Prado tried to bunt him to third, but popped it up to Oswalt for the first out. Chipper was next and he singled into center, scoring Bourn to tie the game at 1-1. Oswalt struck McCann out for the second out before walking Uggla. Hinske popped out to Polanco in foul territory to leave both runners stranded.

Heyward started the seventh with a single to center and Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Freeman was next and he singled into center, scoring Heyward to put Atlanta up 2-1. Bourn and Prado both flew to right to leave Freeman at first.

Bastardo started the eighth and Chipper singled to center to start the inning. McCann walked behind Jones, putting men on first and second for Uggla. Uggla hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded, stepped on third and threw to second to complete a double-play that left the Braves with two down and a man on first. Righty Matt Diaz hit for the pitcher Eric O’Flaherty and flew to right on a ball that Pence took in foul territory for the third out.

Bastardo keeps the Braves off the board with the help of the big double-play by Polanco, but doesn’t look fantastic. This comes off of his most recent outing on Saturday in which he walked the only two hitters he faced, so four of the last six batters he has faced in his last two outings have reached on three walks and a single. On the plus side, he does have a 1.66 ERA for the year and opponents are hitting .114 against him.

Madson pitched the ninth with the game tied at 2-2. Heyward led off with an infield single and Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Freeman popped to short for the second and Bourn grounded to short to end the frame.

Madson has thrown 7 1/3 shutout innings over his last eight appearances. He was pitching for the second straight day and threw 11 pitches in the game. Bastardo threw 16 pitches.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brandon Beachy went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Martinez. Martinez at short with Rollins sidelined.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Howard and Pence both struck out to start the second, but Ibanez was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz flew to right for the third out.

Martinez and Victorino struck out as the Phils went in order in the third.

Beachy set them down 1-2-3 again in the fourth.

Pence struck out for the first out as the Phils went in order again in the fifth.

The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Victorino walked on four pitches with two outs and moved to third when Polanco followed with a single to right. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty took over for Beachy and hit Utley on the helmet with a pitch, loading the bases. Howard struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

The original ruling was that Heyward had caught Polanco’s sinking line drive to right, but that was overruled and Fredi Gonzalez was ejected arguing. Looked like the ball was trapped by Heyward.

Down 2-1, the Phils went in order in the seventh.

With lefty Jonny Venters on the mound for the Braves, Mayberry hit for Martinez to start the eighth and singled to right. Valdez hit for Bastardo and bunted Mayberry to second with the first out. Victorino struck out swinging for the second out, but Polanco lined a single to right. Mayberry raced around third and came in to score as Heyward’s throw was way up the third base line, tying the game at 2-2. Francisco hit for Utley, who had been hit in the head with a pitch in the sixth, and drew a walk. Howard struck out swinging to leave the runners at first and second.

Big strikeout for Victorino after Mayberry gets bunted to second, but Polanco picks him up with the RBI-single.

Ibanez walked with one out in the ninth and moved to second when Ruiz followed with a single. With righty Peter Moylan on the mound for the Braves, Gload hit for Madson. He got behind 0-2, but hit a 1-2 pitch past Freeman and down the right field line. Would have been a double, but Ibanez scored to give the Phils a 3-2 win.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. 2-for-11 with three walks in the three-game series. 300/379/523 for the year. 196/305/314 over his last 59 plate appearances. He’s high on the list of Phillies who look to me like they could use some rest.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a huge RBI. 5-for-12 in the series and twice hit by a pitch. 278/333/336 on the year. 236/293/270 in 329 plate appearances since the end of April.

Utley 0-for-2 and hit by a pitch. This says that Utley will not fly to Milwaukee. 3-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the series. 262/344/441 for the year. 206/264/363 over his last 110 plate appearances.

Howard was 0-for-4, struck out three times and left five men on base. 3-for-10 with three walks and a home run in the series. 262/368/570 over his last 125 plate appearances with ten home runs. He’s hitting 252/345/491 for the season.

Pence 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 4-for-11 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 308/363/484 for the year. 308/383/523 in 149 plate appearances with the Phillies. He’s now hit to the same .308 average with the Astros and the Phillies, but gotten on base more and hit with more power while with the Phils.

Ibanez 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils (Gload was denied a double by winning the thing). 4-for-7 with a double, a walk, a home run and four RBI in the series after sitting against a righty in game one. He’s at 247/293/426 for the year. He’s walking in about 6.2% of his plate appearances this season, which is his worst rate since 1998.

Ruiz 1-for-4. 2-for-8 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 280/373/382 for the year. He’s hitting .250 at home and .309 on the road. He’s on-based .377 over his last 1,214 plate appearances.

Martinez 0-for-2 with a strikeout and an error. 0-for-7 with two walks in the series. 209/259/308 for the year.

Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.63) faces lefty Chris Narveson (10-6, 4.26) tonight in Milwaukee. Narveson has pitched well over his last seven outings, throwing to a 2.70 ERA. He hasn’t gone more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his last three starts. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last seven starts. His home runs are up a little of late — he allowed two in his last start and has given up four over his past 33 innings. He only allowed eight in 152 innings to start the season.


Vance trance

The Phils topped the Braves last night, winning 6-3 behind another solid effort from Vance Worley. The Phils are 14-0 in the last 14 games that Worley has started.

After sitting against a righty in game one of the series, Ibanez was back in the lineup and hammering the ball in game two. He went 3-for-4 with a double and drove in three of the six Phillie runs.

The Phillies are 90-48 on the year after beating the Atlanta Braves 6-3 last night. With the win the Phils extend their lead over Atlanta in the division to 9 1/2 games.

Worley got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out six.

He walked Martin Prado with one out in the first and Prado moved up to second when Brian McCann followed with a single to left. Worley stuck Dan Uggla out swinging and Chipper Jones out looking to leave both runners stranded.

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

Michael Bourn bunted for a single with one out in the third. Prado was next and grounded to second with Bourn forced at second for the second out. Worley struck McCann out looking to set Atlanta down.

Uggla led off the fourth and hit a 2-1 pitch out to right center, cutting the lead to 2-1. Chipper and Freddie Freeman followed that with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Worley escaped further damage, though, striking out Alex Gonzalez and Jose Constanza before getting the pitcher Tim Hudson on a ground ball to first.

Six strikeouts for Worley through four innings — he wouldn’t get any more in his last two innings. Over his last seven starts he has struck out 43 hitters in 39 innings. In his first 13 appearances on the year he struck out 53 in 73 1/3 innings.

Bourn started the fifth with a single into center, but Worley got Prado to hit into a double-play behind him. McCann flew to center for the third out.

He walked Uggla to start the sixth and Chipper followed with a double that moved Uggla up to third. Freeman walked on a 3-2 pitch and the bases were loaded. Gonzalez flew to left for the first out, deep enough for Uggla to tag, score and tie the game at 2-2. Constanza was next and he flew to left with the runners holding first and second. Hudson hit for himself and flew to center.

Worley comes up big against the bottom of the order after walking two to help the Braves load the bases.

Stutes started the seventh with a 4-2 lead. Bourn led off with a double to right. Prado was next and flew to left for the first out before Stutes walked McCann. Bourn stole third and the runners were at the corners for Uggla. Uggla hit a ground ball to third with Bourn scoring (4-3) as Polanco went to second to force McCann for the second out. Chipper flew to right to leave Uggla at first.

Stutes has a 5.18 ERA over his last 19 appearances and has given up five home runs in 24 1/3 innings in those outings.

Lidge started the eighth with a 6-3 lead. Gonzalez singled to left with one out, but Lidge struck Constanza out behind him for the second out. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Cristhian Martinez. Lidge struck him out swinging at a wild 2-2 pitch with Hinske taking first. Bourn struck out swinging 1-2 to leave the runners at first and second.

Lidge strikes out three in the frame and doesn’t walk a batter. In 12 1/3 innings he has now struck out 17 and walked ten.

Madson pitched the ninth up 6-3. He allowed a leadoff single to Prado, but got McCann to hit into a double-play behind him. He struck Uggla out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Madson hasn’t been charged with a run in his last seven appearances since he was charged with six runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Nats on August 19. Over his last seven appearances he has allowed four hits and no walks over 6 1/3 innings while striking out six.

Lee threw a complete game in the series opener, so nobody in the pen has pitched more than one day in a row. Stutes threw 21 pitches, Lidge 20 and Madson 16.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Martinez. Martinez at short with Rollins still on the DL and Valdez on the bench. Ibanez back in left after Mayberry started against the righty Lowe in game one. Schneider catches with Ruiz on the bench.

With two outs in the first, Utley hit a 2-2 pitch out to right center, putting the Phils up 1-0. Howard and Pence followed that with back-to-back singles, which put men on first and second for Ibanez. Ibanez dumped a single in front of a diving Bourn. Howard scored to put the Phils up 2-0 and Pence moved up to third. Schneider grounded to second for the third out.

Victorino walked with two outs in the second, but Polanco grounded to short behind him.

Howard and Pence struck out as the Phils went in order in the third.

Martinez walked with two outs in the fourth and the lead cut to 2-1. Worley was next and smashed a ball to third, but Chipper handled it and threw to second to force Martinez and end the inning.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

The game was tied at 2-2 when Howard walked to start the sixth. Pence doubled to center, putting men on second and third. With Ibanez at the plate, a wild pitch brought Howard home (3-2) and moved Pence to third. Ibanez doubled high off the wall in right center, scoring Pence to extend the lead to 4-2. Schneider fouled out to third for the first out before Martinez walked, putting men on first and second. With the righty Hudson still pitching for Atlanta, Mayberry hit for Worley and grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

No more runs for the Phils after putting Ibanez on second with nobody out. Martinez walks twice in a game for his second time in three starts. Manuel calls on Mayberry to hit against the righty. It’s too early for Gload, but it’s an interesting choice of Mayberry over the lefty Bowker.

It was 4-3 when Victorino led off the seventh with a single to right. Polanco was hit by a pitch behind him, putting men on first and second. Utley grounded to second with Polanco forced at second for the first out and Victorino moving to third. Howard grounded to second with Victorino scoring (5-3) and Utley moving up to second with two outs. Pence followed with a walk, putting men on first and second for Ibanez. Ibanez singled to right, scoring Utley to make it 6-3 with Pence moving up to second. With righty Cristhian Martinez pitching for the Braves, Ruiz hit for Schneider and walked to load the bases. Martinez struck Martinez out swinging 0-2 to leave the bases loaded.

With righty Anthony Varvaro pitching for Atlanta, Gload hit for Lidge and flew to right for the first out of the eighth. Victorino grounded to short for the second out before Polanco singled to right. Utley flew to center to leave Polanco at first.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. He’s 3-for-his-last-18.

Polanco 1-for-4. He has two extra-base hits, both doubles, in his last 159 plate appearances.

Utley 1-for-5 with his tenth home run. He’s 5-for-30 to start September.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 6-for-his-last-12 with a double, a home run and seven walks. 284/411/581 over his last 90 plate appearances.

Pence 2-for-3 with a walk a double. 317/393/540 with the Phils in 145 plate appearances.

Ibanez 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI. He’s 13-for-his-last-34 with four doubles and a home run (382/417/588).

Schneider was 0-for-3 in the game and is 1-for-his-last-13.

Martinez 0-for-2 with two walks and two strikeouts.

Oswalt (7-8, 3.80) faces righty Brandon Beachy (7-2, 3.37) tonight. Righties are on-basing just .283 against Beachy for the year, but the Phils have hit him well in his three starts against them. In three outings against the Phillies, Beachy is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA and has allowed 21 hits in 14 innings. Oswalt has thrown to a 4.70 ERA in his ten starts since the end of May, allowing 78 hits in 59 1/3 innings as opponents have hit .324 against him. He has made one start against Atlanta this year, allowing two runs (only one of which was earned) over six innings on April 9.

Chuck LaMar resigned.


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