The Phillies aren’t going to have to show a whole lot of life to win the NL East this year. They are going to have to show some, though, and they came into Chicago a listless 3-8 over their last 11 games.
As the Marlins pulled to within 3 1/2 games in the division, the Phillies roared to life and swept the Cubs in a three-game set. They found a way to win with three hits in game one. By games two and three the offense was finally back and the Phillies scored 18 runs in the last two games. Utley and Howard came into the series hitting a combined .190 in August (11-for-58). The duo went 8-for-14 and drove in six runs in the last two games against the Cubs.
The Phillies are 64-48 on the season after sweeping the Cubs in a three-game set in Chicago. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by 4 1/2 games. The Braves are in third place, five games behind the Phils.
The Phillies got three hits in game one, but managed a 4-3 win thanks to Happ and big home runs from Rollins and Francisco. The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs off of Happ. The Phillies got just two hits in seven innings off of Rich Harden, but one of them came in the sixth inning when Rollins homered two batters after Ruiz had drawn a walk. Rollins’ shot tied the game at 2-2. The Phillies loaded the bases off of Carlos Marmol in the top of the eighth before Howard drew a two-out walk that put the Phils up 3-2. Lidge came on in the bottom of the ninth to protect the one-run lead and couldn’t get the job done. Lidge walked the leadoff man and the Cubs bunted him to second before Milton Bradley delivered an RBI-single that tied the game at 3-3. The Phils didn’t get a hit in the tenth or eleventh. Francisco led off the twelfth with a solo shot off of Kevin Gregg that put the Phillies ahead. Durbin, just off the DL, nailed down the save in the bottom of the inning.
Pedro Martinez’s debut was the story in game two, but it was the offense that stole the show. After looking sleepy for a couple of weeks, the Phils scored twelve runs in the game and rolled to a 12-5 win. The Phils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and extended it to 4-1 when Victorino homered in the third. They blew it open with eight runs in a fourth inning that featured a pair of three-run homers, one from Rollins and one from Ibanez. The eight-run fourth put the Phils up 12-1. The Cubs nipped away at the lead with two more runs off of Pedro in the fifth and got a little closer with two off of Durbin in the ninth.
Cliff Lee gave the Phillies his third strong start in three outings yesterday and the Phillies won 6-1. A three-run homer from Howard and a solo shot from Feliz broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. The Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Jeff Baker led off with a double and scored on a single by Ryan Theriot. The Phils extended their lead to 5-1 with a run in the sixth and to 6-1 with another in the seventh. Lee went eight innings and threw 122 pitches in the game. Madson kept the Cubs off the board in the ninth.
The Phillies pitched very well in the series. Overall they threw 30 innings with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.23 ratio. They allowed just 25 hits but walked too many (12). The Cubs didn’t hit a home run in the set.
Lee’s start was fantastic. Happ allowed two runs over six innings but on eleven hits plus walks. Martinez allowed three runs over five innings. As a group the starters went 19 innings with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.47 ratio. They walked eight in 19 innings — Happ walked four in six innings in his start.
Happ went six innings in game one, allowing two runs on six singles, a double and four walks. He has a 2.81 ERA and a 1.17 ratio in 15 starts for the Phillies this year.
Pedro Martinez made his debut with the Phillies in game two and allowed three runs over five innings on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles.
Lee was fantastic again in game three. He allowed a run on six hits and three walks over eight innings while striking out eight. I think it’s a poor idea to let him start the eighth inning after he had thrown 112 pitches through seven. Walker or Eyre seem like better choices given they did not pitch in game two. Or Madson in the eighth and Lidge in the ninth. Given that he did pitch the eighth it was impressive that he shut the Cubs down 1-2-3 on ten pitches. For Lee it was the third time on the season that he had thrown more than 120 pitches in a game. Too many. He has thrown more than 110 pitches in seven of his last eight starts and in one of the two he didn’t he threw 108. I’d be pretty careful with that. He’s 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and an 0.92 ratio in three starts with the Phillies.
The bullpen pitched well in the series. They allowed three runs, two of which were unearned. Lidge gave up a huge run in game one as the Cubs tied the game, but it was nice work from Park, Madson, Walker, Eyre and Durbin that helped the Phillies win the game with just three hits. Park was great in game two and Madson pitched a scoreless inning in game three. Overall the pen threw 11 innings in the series with an 0.82 ERA and an 0.82 ratio. They allowed just five hits in 11 innings and struck out 12.
Eyre entered game one in the bottom of the tenth with two outs and a man on first to pitch to Aaron Miles. Miles grounded to short for the third out. Eyre came back for the eleventh and set the Cubs down 1-2-3.
He didn’t pitch in game three with Lee throwing 122 pitches.
Moyer did not pitch in game two on Wednesday coming off of a start Sunday. You have to wonder if having Moyer in the pen and unable to pitch hurt the Phils in the series in terms of who pitched and how much. Instead Park pitched for the second day and threw three innings and Durbin also pitched for the second straight day. Lee threw a lot of pitches yesterday.
Park started the seventh inning of game one with the score tied at 2-2. He struck out the first two men he faced before walking Derrek Lee. Park got Jake Fox to ground to third for the third out.
He came back a day later and was awesome pitching with a big lead. He started the sixth with the Phillies up 12-3 and pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth without allowing a base-runner.
Park made his last start on May 17. Since then he has made 28 appearances. In 41 innings he’s thrown to a 2.63 ERA with a 1.15 ratio and 47 strikeouts. His contribution to the team is hidden by his miserable results as a starter, a 7.29 ERA with a 1.74 ratio in seven starts, which have his numbers for the year overall looking ugly.
Durbin started the twelfth inning in game one. Francisco had just given the Phils a 4-3 lead with a homer in the top of the frame. Durbin walked Fox with one out, but struck out Geovany Soto and then got Alfonso Soriano on a fly ball to right to end the game and earn his second save of the season.
Durbin also pitched in game two, entering to pitch the ninth with a 12-3 lead. He allowed two runs in the frame on two singles and an error by Bruntlett. Both of the runs were unearned thanks to the error.
Walker pitched the tenth in game one. He allowed a two-out single to not-Phillie Jeff Baker and Eyre came in to pitch to the switch-hitter Miles.
Madson pitched the bottom of the eighth in game one with a 3-2 lead. He gave up a two-out single to Baker, but struck out Sam Fuld to end the frame.
He also pitched the ninth inning in yesterday’s game with a 6-1 lead. He walked Baker with two outs by got Mike Fontenot looking to end the game. I was a little surprised to see Madson in the game with a five-run lead instead of Walker, Eyre or Lidge.
Lidge started the bottom of the ninth in game one with a 3-2 lead. He walked Kosuke Fukudome on five pitches to start the inning. Fukudome was bunted to second before Milton Bradley tied the game with a single to right. Lidge got the next two.
The Phils sure are being patient with Lidge.
Nobody in the pen has thrown more than one day in a row. Park threw three innings in game two, but needed just 26 pitches to do so.
The Phillies scored 22 runs in the three-game series.
Rollins was 3-for-13 with two walks, a double and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 244/294/415 on the year. After hitting .313 in July he’s hitting .313 (15-for-48) in August.
Victorino was 4-for-14 with a double, a triple and a home run. He’s at 311/376/475 for the year. He has drawn one walk in August while hitting 250/289/500 in 36 at-bats.
Utley was 5-for-10 with a double and three walks in the series. 299/420/531 on the year.
Howard was 4-for-11 with three walks, a triple and a home run. 266/348/529.
Ibanez did not start yesterday with Francisco in left. He was 1-for-10 with a home run in the series. 296/360/606 for the year. He’s hitting 250/289/389 in August. After hitting .359 in April and .312 in May he hasn’t hit .260 or better in any month since.
Werth was on the bench for game one with Francisco starting in right field. I think Manuel has done a good job of getting Francisco in the lineup and rest for the outfielders since Francisco joined the team. Werth was 2-for-10 with a double in the series and is at 260/366/485 for the year. He has two walks in August after walking 24 times in July. After June 28 Werth has hit just .237, but with a .370 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage. Hitting .237 becomes a bigger problem if you stop walking all of the time.
Feliz was 5-for-14 with a home run. 289/333/410 on the year. He hasn’t walked in August. His .743 OPS for the season puts him in danger of not posting and OPS for the year between .705 and .710 for the first time in four seasons.
Ruiz started games one and two of the series against righties. The lefty Bako started game three against another righty. Ruiz was 1-for-7 with three walks and an RBI in the series. 227/330/367 on the year. He drew a critical walk in game one ahead of Rollins’ homer.
Bako started game three and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. 175/230/263 in 57 at-bats for the Phillies this year, which is rather awful.
Francisco started game one in right and game three in left even with the Cubs using three right-handed starters in the series. He was 1-for-9 with a home run in the top of the twelfth in game one. He’s hitting 222/267/519 in 27 at-bats with the Phillies.
Bruntlett got one at-bat in the series and made the only error charged to the Phillies. 0-for-1 in the series. I won’t be reporting his line any more until there is dramatic improvement out of respect for the fact that he scored the run that won the World Series last year. Suffice it to say that his line lacks many of the elements you’ve come to associate with baseball goodness (including, but not limited to, an on-base percentage that’s over .200).
Dobbs and Stairs combined to get no starts in the series with the Cubs throwing three righties while the righty Francisco started twice. Dobbs was 0-for-1 to drop his line on the season to 254/304/410.
Stairs was 0-for-2 in the series and is hitting 215/361/392. He’s 1-for-his-last-25.
Note: The next update to Philliesflow will be around August 24.