Tag: Scott Kazmir

Yes we did

I heard Sal Paolantonio on the radio earlier this week saying he got a ticket for game five and sat through the cold and rain because he wanted to see how it feels in Philadelphia when the Phillies win the World Series. It feels good. It feels like a lot of things. In this case, especially, it feels like relief.

The difference between this Phillies team and so many of the teams of the past is that for this team, even if you wouldn’t quite let yourself believe it until you saw it, instead of waiting to see them lose we’ve been waiting to see them win.

It was a magnificent run for the best Phillies team in a long time — 13-3 to end the regular season followed by an 11-3 drive through the playoffs. After a loss to the Marlins on September 10, the Phils were 79-67 and 3 1/2 games back in the NL East with 16 games left to play in the regular season. They started a four-game set with Milwaukee just about needing to take three of four or be done for the season. They are 24-6 since.

It’s a fantastic and fitting ending for a group of players who are just about as selfless as a team can be. Time after time this year, we saw players do what was right for the organization with hardly a word of protest. From Brett Myers going to the minors, from Pat Burrell taking a quiet seat in the seventh inning time after time to Geoff Jenkins losing his job in right field without a peep except to say that he was going to keep working and playing hard. For a long time now there has been a team-first approach that defined this group of players.

The most impressive thing is not that Jenkins and the rest of his teammates said those things, it’s that they did them. Last night’s finish was a telling testament to that. Jenkins has had as miserable a season as you can imagine, but his double to the gap in right center to start the bottom of the sixth is about as big a hit as you can have. It was his third hit since August 22. Pat Burrell put up yet another solid year for the Phils, but was an ugly 0-for-13 in the World Series before he doubled high off the wall in center to start the seventh. Unlikely hero Pedro Feliz poked the game-winning single through in the seventh. Likely hero Brad Lidge was lights out yet again in the ninth, culminating a team effort that saw the Phils win their final game of 2008 in the way they played the rest of them.

The Phillies won the World Series last night, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. The Phillies win the series four games to one.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

He faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (3) BJ Upton (CF/R) (4) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (5) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) (6) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Rocco Baldelli (RF/R) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). Crawford moves up to second in the order from fifth. Upton drops to third and Pena to fourth. Baldelli starts in right after Zobrist started game one against Hamels.

The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Ben Zobrist (S), Willy Aybar (S), Fernando Perez (S), Eric Hinske (L), Gabe Gross (L).

Iwamura led off the first and flew to left on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Crawford lined the first pitch of his at-bat to short. It popped out of Rollins’ glove, but Rollins picked it up and threw to first to nip Crawford. Upton grounded an 0-1 pitch to short to set the Rays down.

Seven pitches in the inning for Hamels.

He started the second up 2-0. Pena led off and bunted the first pitch, but too hard. Howard took it at first and beat Pena too the bag for the first out. Longoria swung at the first pitch, too, and flew to center. Navarro was next and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Baldelli popped to second to leave him stranded. Ten pitches in the inning had Hamels at 17 for the game.

Bartlett started the third with a long at-bat that ended with him grounding to short. Hamels struck the pitcher Scott Kazmir out on three pitches for the second out, but Iwamura lined a single back through the middle for the first hit for the Rays. Crawford again swung at the first pitch and grounded to second. Sixteen pitches in the inning, 33 for the game.

Upton chopped a 1-1 pitch to deep short to start the fourth. Rollins made a strong throw to get Upton for the first out. Pena was next and he hit a ball high off the wall in right field that Werth nearly caught at the wall. Pena had a double and came in to score when Longoria followed with a single past a diving Rollins and into left-center. Pena’s run cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Navarro got ahead 3-0, but grounded a 3-1 pitch to short and the Phils turned the double-play to end the frame. Hamels threw 13 pitches in the inning and had thrown 46 for the game.

Werth had a good chance to catch Pena’s ball at the wall. He jumped high enough to catch it, just missed it with his glove.

Pena and Longoria finally break through with a pair of hits, and it gets Tampa Bay a run.

Hamels started the fifth after being hit on the hand while trying to bunt in the bottom of the fourth. Baldelli led off and popped a 2-0 pitch high to short. Rollins parked under it, but the wind blew it and Rollins had to come in. The ball went off the heel of his glove for an error. Bartlett was next and hit a broken-bat ground ball to second. Utley made a great play. He charged and made a spinning tag on Baldelli as he went past for the first out, then threw to first to double-up Bartlett. Kazmir again struck out on three pitches to set the Rays down. Nine more pitches for Hamels, 55 for the game.

Iwamura struck out looking 2-2 for the first out in the sixth. Crawford chopped a 1-0 pitch to first for the second out. Upton hit a 2-2 pitch to the left of Rollins. Rollins moved to his left and got a glove on the ball, but Upton had an infield single. It brought up Pena with the field in miserable condition and cold rain continuing to fall. Upton stole second as Hamels delivered strike one to Pena. Pena hit a 2-2 pitch the opposite way, into left field for a single. Upton came around third and slid in safe just ahead of Burrell’s throw, which was on line but a little late. The game was tied at 2-2. Longoria was next and swung at a low 1-0 pitch that Ruiz failed to catch, allowing Pena to move to second. Longoria flew to center on the next pitch, leaving Pena stranded.

Even with the field in good condition, I think Upton’s ground ball to short may have been a hit. The weather was certainly a factor in the inning, but you have to wonder if Hamels’ hand may have been as well after he was hit on the hand trying to bunt in the fourth.

Hamels threw 21 pitches in the inning and had thrown 76 for the game.

And then the game was suspended. It started again two days later. Really.

Madson came out to pitch the seventh with a 3-2 lead. He got ahead of Navarro 0-2 and struck him out looking at a 1-2 fastball on the inside corner for the first out. Baldelli was swinging at the first pitch and lined it out to left field, tying the game at 3-3. Bartlett was next and he singled into left on an 0-1 pitch. With one out and a man on first, the Rays let Howell hit for himself. Howell bunted back to the mound and Madson threw to first for the second out as Bartlett went to second. Iwamura was next and Romero came in to pitch to him. Romero got Iwamura to hit a ground ball to the right of Utley. Utley fielded the ball with his momentum taking him behind second and had no chance to get Iwamura at first. Bartlett stormed around third and tried to score. Utley made an awkward throw, a little up the third base line, but Ruiz took it and tagged out the sliding Bartlett to end the inning. Very aggressive by Bartlett, who would have been out by a lot if Utley had time to set and make a better throw.

Bunting with Howell, who faced one batter in the bottom of the seventh, who doubled, before leaving the game was a gift. That’s a bad decision.

Romero came back for the eighth with the Phils again ahead, this time 4-3. Crawford led off with a single into center. Romero stayed in to face the righty Upton with the lefty Pena on deck. Upton swung at the first pitch and hit a double-play ball to short. The Phillies turned it easily, even with Upton running this time. Pena got ahead 3-0 before he lined a 3-1 pitch to Bruntlett, who ran for Burrell in the bottom of the seventh and stayed in to play left, in left for the third out.

Romero stays in to face the righty Upton and gets a huge double-play. Other choices included bringing in Lidge to get six outs and bringing in Condrey or Durbin to face Upton and then Eyre to face Pena. Worked out pretty well.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils still up a run. He got ahead of Longoria 0-2 before Longoria popped a 2-2 pitch to Utley for the first out. Navarro got behind 0-2 as well, but he shattered his bat singling into right on the next pitch. Fernando Perez ran for Navarro at first and switch-hitter Ben Zobrist hit for Baldelli. Perez stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position, but Zobrist lined a 1-2 pitch to right for the second out. Perez held second and Hinske hit for Bartlett. Hinske fouled Lidge’s first pitch off and tried to check his swing at the second pitch, but couldn’t. The 0-2 pitch was a slider away. Hinske swung and missed and the game was over.

The Phillies pen went three innings in the game allowing a run on five hits. The run scored on the Baldelli homer off of Madson in the seventh. In the series they allowed two runs in 11 2/3 innings. Both runs were earned, so their ERA as a group was 1.54.

Phillies starters allowed 13 runs in 32 1/3 innings. Twelve of the runs were earned (3.34 ERA).

Tampa Bay relievers threw four innings and allowed two runs. They allowed ten runs in 16 1/3 innings in the series. Nine of the runs were earned, which puts their ERA as a group at 4.96. The three lefties out of their pen combined to allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Tampa Bay starters allowed 14 runs in 25 2/3 innings, 12 of which were earned (4.21 ERA).

Upton was 5-for-20 (.250) in the series with five singles.

Longoria 1-for-20 (.050) and struck out nine times.

Crawford 5-for-19 (.263) with two home runs.

Iwamura 5-for-19 (.263) with a double.

Navarro 6-for-17 (.353) with a double.

Pena 2-for-17 (.118) with a double.

Bartlett 3-for-14 (.214).

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz.

The Phillies started the game with six players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins flew to left for the first out in the first. Werth was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Kazmir’s first pitch to Utley hit Utley in the back. It put two men on for Howard, but Howard struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Burrell walked on a close 3-1 pitch, loading the bases for Victorino. Victorino lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single, scoring Werth and Utley to put the Phils up 2-0 with men on first and second. Feliz was next and he went down and hit a low 0-1 pitch into left for another single. Everyone moved up a base and the Phils had the bases loaded again. Ruiz swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Burrell had no chance to score on Feliz’s hit, which was right at Crawford. He may, however, have had a chance to go to third on Victorino’s single, which forced Crawford to move towards the left field corner. If he had gone to third on Victorino’s single he would have scored on Feliz’s.

Kazmir struck Hamels out on three pitches to start the second. Rollins flew to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Werth followed with a single into left, but Utley popped to third to end the inning.

Howard struck out again, this time on three pitches, for the first out in the third. Burrell flew softly to right on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino struck out on three pitches for the third out.

Quick nine pitch inning for Kazmir, who had thrown 57 through three innings.

Feliz struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fourth. Ruiz was next and singled into left. Hamels came to the plate and showed bunt. Kazmir’s first pitch to him was inside and hit him on a finger of his left (pitching) hand as he held the top part of the bat. Hamels did bunt the next pitch, but too hard back to the mound. Kazmir took it and threw to second to force Ruiz. Kazmir walked Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to put men on second. Werth followed with another long at-bat, walking on the tenth pitch on a 3-2 offering that was low and outside. It loaded the bases for Utley. Utley got ahead 3-1 and took strike two on the inside corner before he grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.

Ninety pitches for Kazmir through four innings.

Howard led off the fifth and walked on four pitches. Burrell was next and he walked as well, getting two calls on pitches that were very close, including the 3-2 pitch. Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino bunted the first pitch foul, then swung away and popped to left for the first out. Feliz popped an 0-2 pitch to Pena for the second out. Ruiz popped up to Pena as well and both runners were left stranded.

No infield fly rule called on the pop-up by Feliz after Rollins was unable to field a pop-up on the infield in the top of the inning.

Nothing for the Phils after putting their first two runners on base.

After the top of the sixth inning, the game was suspended.

Play resumed on Wednesday night, two days later. Really it did.

Jenkins left off the bottom of the sixth and Balfour stayed in to pitch to him. He got behind 1-2, but battled back and blasted a 3-2 pitch to right-center for a double. Rollins bunted him to third for the first out. Werth was next and he popped a 2-2 pitch behind second. Iwamura went back and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center, but dropped the ball. Werth had a single, Jenkins scored and the Phillies led 3-2. Jenkins probably would have scored even if Iwamura had caught the ball. Howell came in to pitch to Utley and struck him out for the second out. Werth took off for second with Howard at the plate, but left too early. Howell threw to first, but Werth beat Pena’s throw to second. Howard popped to third to leave him stranded.

Everyone knew that Rollins was going to bunt. There is little chance he would bunt in that situation in a regular game. Presumably the Phils are trying to win both.

The lefty Howell was still in the game when Burrell came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied at 3-3. Burrell blasted a 1-1 pitch deep to center and off the top of the wall, just missing a home run by about a foot. The ball bounced off the wall and rolled a while towards right field, but Burrell could only get two. The ball looked like it was gone, and Burrell might have thought it was as well. He may have been at third if he had been running hard all the way. Bruntlett ran for Burrell at second. Chad Bradford came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino tried to bunt twice and failed, missing one pitch and fouling off another. He swung away 1-2 and grounded to first for the first out, moving Bruntlett to third. The Rays brought the infield in, and Feliz hit an 0-1 pitch back through the middle. Bruntlett scored and the Phils were up 4-3. Ruiz was next and he hit a ball hard back up the middle, but Iwamura made a nice diving play to take a hit away from him and force Feliz at second for the second out. Romero hit for himself and grounded to second to end the inning.

Bunting for Howell in the top of the seventh so he can come back to pitch to the righty Burrell is just baffling to me.

Romero appeared in 81 games for the Phillies this season and did not have an at-bat. No objection to letting him hit with two outs and a man on first, but that isn’t the way the Phillies would have done it in a regular game.

David Price started the eighth with the Phils still up 4-3. Rollins flew to left for the first out. Werth went down looking at a 2-2 fastball on the outside part of the plate. Utley drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch and stole second. Again Howard came up with a man on second and two down. This time he struck out swinging 3-2.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. 5-for-22 (.227) with two doubles and a walk in the series.

Werth 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI in the game. He drove in Jenkins in the sixth with his bloop to center that Iwamura didn’t handle. 8-for-18 (.444) with three doubles, a home run and six walks in the series.

Utley was 0-for-3 with a walk and five men left on base in the game. Kazmir got him to ground to second with the bases loaded and two down in the fourth. 3-for-18 (.167) with two home runs and five walks in the series.

Howard was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk in the game. 6-for-21 (.286) with a double, three home runs and six RBI in the series. He struck out nine times and led the Phils in both strikeouts and RBI.

Burrell 1-for-2 with a double and two walks in the game. 1-for-14 (.071) with five walks in the series.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a two-run single in the first. 5-for-20 (.250) with five singles and two RBI in the series.

Feliz was 2-for-4 with a huge RBI in the seventh. 6-for-18 (.333) with six singles in the series.

Ruiz 1-for-4 and left six men on base, most notably flying out to left with the bases loaded and two down in the first. 6-for-16 (.375) with two doubles and a home run in the series.

Phillies hitters drew 27 walks in the series. The Rays drew ten.

No game today. Nobody left to play. Cole Hamels faces TBD in April, 2009.


Bud Selig versus the tie game, round two

My money is on the tie game. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to lose home field advantage in the World Series in the bottom of the 15th in a game that otherwise doesn’t count.

This whole thing was just unusual. Still is. I would like to say I think the gravitas of the World Series can be restored with a simple change to the rules that ensures the league whose team wins game five of the World Series gets home field advantage for the All-Star game the next year. It’s simple, really, and at least some good can come out of this.

Game five of the World Series was an adventure, and it’s not over yet.

The Phils and Rays played the game through a cold, steady rain. The cold was to be expected — no doubt an environmental byproduct of hell freezing over as the Phils inched ever closer to winning the World Series. The rain was a problem, though, turning the field into a puddle-strewn, unplayable mess. They played for a while after it was unplayable.

A two-run single by Victorino put the Phillies up 2-0 in the bottom of the first. The Rays cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the fourth when Carlos Pena doubled high off the wall and came in to score on a single by Evan Longoria. The field was a mess by the end of the fifth, with players, Phillies mostly, failing to catch popups, umpires not calling the infield fly-rule cause nothing was routine and pitchers struggling with the slush where the mound ought to be. I think I saw Feliz calling for a rescue-at-sea at one point. In the top of the sixth, BJ Upton reached on an infield single, stole second and came in to score on a Pena single to the opposite field to tie the game at 2-2. And then the game was suspended.

The big issue, of course, is what would have happened if the game had been suspended after five innings (or if the Rays hadn’t scored in the top of the sixth) with the Phillies leading by a run. Pretty clearly you can’t declare the Phillies the winner and say that the season is over. At the same time, though, if there was 100% agreement and clarity that if the game was suspended after five innings it would have still been finished, regardless of whether it was on the same day or not, I don’t think there’s any reason to allow them to play the top of the sixth inning in the conditions that they did.

The whole thing felt a bit like chaos. I was a little worried that Selig might declare that in accordance with rule 293.17.U everyone needed to head over to the Wachovia Center so the players could strap on their skates for the shootout or something.

That said, though, I don’t think the Phillies got screwed or are the victims of a conspiracy. If it’s easier to hit than pitch in conditions like that, they put men on first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth and came away with nothing. Prior to the start of the sixth inning I can guarantee you that there were a huge number of Phillies fans hoping that the game would not be called because 1) the Phillies were 12 outs away from winning the World Series and 2) Cole Hamels was on the mound and whenever the game was suspended there was a good chance it meant that his season was over.

Sooner or later they are going to play again. When they do, the Phillies will play with an advantage. To win the game, they need to get nine outs and score at least one run more than the Rays. The Rays need to get 12 outs and score at least one run more than the Phillies.

The game is going to come down to the bullpens, and the suspension of the game gives Romero and Madson a day of rest after they had both pitched two days in a row. The Rays get an extra day of rest for Edwin Jackson and Dan Wheeler, each of who threw at least 22 pitches in game four. Whether they play tonight or Wednesday could be critical in terms of whether Hamels would be available to pitch game seven if it came to that — if they played Wednesday instead of tonight he almost surely would be.

If you want to worry about something I think the direction to go is clear, however: Pena and Longoria came into the game 0-for-29 and went 3-for-6 with both of the Tampa Bay RBI. The Phillies were doing a great job of keeping those guys down — hopefully they will whenever game five resumes as well.

The Phillies played 5 1/2 innings of a game last night before the game was suspended in the bottom of the sixth due to weather with the score tied at 2-2. The Phillies lead the Rays three games to one in the best-of-seven World Series.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and is officially still in the game, although there is near zero chance he will pitch again if they resume tonight or tomorrow night. He allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

He faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (3) BJ Upton (CF/R) (4) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (5) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) (6) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Rocco Baldelli (RF/R) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). Crawford moves up to second in the order from fifth. Upton drops to third and Pena to fourth. Baldelli starts in right after Zobrist started game one against Hamels.

The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Ben Zobrist (S), Willy Aybar (S), Fernando Perez (S), Eric Hinske (L), Gabe Gross (L).

Iwamura led off the first and flew to left on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Crawford lined the first pitch of his at-bat to short. It popped out of Rollins’ glove, but Rollins picked it up and threw to first to nip Crawford. Upton grounded an 0-1 pitch to short to set the Rays down.

Seven pitches in the inning for Hamels.

He started the second up 2-0. Pena led off and bunted the first pitch, but too hard. Howard took it at first and beat Pena too the bag for the first out. Longoria swung at the first pitch, too, and flew to center. Navarro was next and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Baldelli popped to second to leave him stranded. Ten pitches in the inning had Hamels at 17 for the game.

Bartlett started the third with a long at-bat that ended with him grounding to short. Hamels struck the pitcher Scott Kazmir out on three pitches for the second out, but Iwamura lined a single back through the middle for the first hit for the Rays. Crawford again swung at the first pitch and grounded to second. Sixteen pitches in the inning, 33 for the game.

Upton chopped a 1-1 pitch to deep short to start the fourth. Rollins made a strong throw to get Upton for the first out. Pena was next and he hit a ball high off the wall in right field that Werth nearly caught at the wall. Pena had a double and came in to score when Longoria followed with a single past a diving Rollins and into left-center. Pena’s run cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Navarro got ahead 3-0, but grounded a 3-1 pitch to short and the Phils turned the double-play to end the frame. Hamels threw 13 pitches in the inning and had thrown 46 for the game.

Werth had a good chance to catch Pena’s ball at the wall. He jumped high enough to catch it, just missed it with his glove.

Pena and Longoria finally break through with a pair of hits, and it gets Tampa Bay a run.

Hamels started the fifth after being hit on the hand while trying to bunt in the bottom of the fourth. Baldelli led off and popped a 2-0 pitch high to short. Rollins parked under it, but the wind blew it and Rollins had to come in. The ball went off the heel of his glove for an error. Bartlett was next and hit a broken-bat ground ball to second. Utley made a great play. He charged and made a spinning tag on Baldelli as he went past for the first out, then threw to first to double-up Bartlett. Kazmir again struck out on three pitches to set the Rays down. Nine more pitches for Hamels, 55 for the game.

Iwamura struck out looking 2-2 for the first out in the sixth. Crawford chopped a 1-0 pitch to first for the second out. Upton hit a 2-2 pitch to the left of Rollins. Rollins moved to his left and got a glove on the ball, but Upton had an infield single. It brought up Pena with the field in miserable condition and cold rain continuing to fall. Upton stole second as Hamels delivered strike one to Pena. Pena hit a 2-2 pitch the opposite way, into left field for a single. Upton came around third and slid in safe just ahead of Burrell’s throw, which was on line but a little late. The game was tied at 2-2. Longoria was next and swung at a low 1-0 pitch that Ruiz failed to catch, allowing Pena to move to second. Longoria flew to center on the next pitch, leaving Pena stranded.

Even with the field in good condition, I think Upton’s ground ball to short may have been a hit. The weather was certainly a factor in the inning, but you have to wonder if Hamels’ hand may have been as well after he was hit on the hand trying to bunt in the fourth.

Hamels threw 21 pitches in the inning and had thrown 76 for the game.

And then the game was suspended.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz.

The Phillies started the game with six players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins flew to left for the first out in the first. Werth was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Kazmir’s first pitch to Utley hit Utley in the back. It put two men on for Howard, but Howard struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Burrell walked on a close 3-1 pitch, loading the bases for Victorino. Victorino lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single, scoring Werth and Utley to put the Phils up 2-0 with men on first and second. Feliz was next and he went down and hit a low 0-1 pitch into left for another single. Everyone moved up a base and the Phils had the bases loaded again. Ruiz swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Burrell had no chance to score on Feliz’s hit, which was right at Crawford. He may, however, have had a chance to go to third on Victorino’s single, which forced Crawford to move towards the left field corner. If he had gone to third on Victorino’s single he would have scored on Feliz’s.

Kazmir struck Hamels out on three pitches to start the second. Rollins flew to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Werth followed with a single into left, but Utley popped to third to end the inning.

Howard struck out again, this time on three pitches, for the first out in the third. Burrell flew softly to right on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino struck out on three pitches for the third out.

Quick nine pitch inning for Kazmir, who had thrown 57 through three innings.

Feliz struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fourth. Ruiz was next and singled into left. Hamels came to the plate and showed bunt. Kazmir’s first pitch to him was inside and hit him on a finger of his left (pitching) hand as he held the top part of the bat. Hamels did bunt the next pitch, but too hard back to the mound. Kazmir took it and threw to second to force Ruiz. Kazmir walked Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to put men on second. Werth followed with another long at-bat, walking on the tenth pitch on a 3-2 offering that was low and outside. It loaded the bases for Utley. Utley got ahead 3-1 and took strike two on the inside corner before he grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.

Ninety pitches for Kazmir through four innings.

Howard led off the fifth and walked on four pitches. Burrell was next and he walked as well, getting two calls on pitches that were very close, including the 3-2 pitch. Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino bunted the first pitch foul, then swung away and popped to left for the first out. Feliz popped an 0-2 pitch to Pena for the second out. Ruiz popped up to Pena as well and both runners were left stranded.

No infield fly rule called on the pop-up by Feliz after Rollins was unable to field a pop-up on the infield in the top of the inning.

Nothing for the Phils after putting their first two runners on base.

Balfour has thrown nine pitches in the game.

Update: Game five has been scheduled to resume at 8:37 PM Wednesday night. That’s good news for the Phillies. Hopefully Cole Hamels doesn’t throw another pitch this season, but if they need him for a game seven you would assume he will be available (as long as they don’t cancel the travel day after a short finish Wednesday night).

Update again: They will try to play game five tonight (Wednesday). No off day tomorrow if the Phillies lose. Game six on Thursday, game seven on Friday and no Hamels on regular rest in game seven. Go Phils.

Ad: TicketCity has Phillies World Series tickets.


Hamels hoping they send him to the Galaxy Series next after Earth people prove to be amusing but a bit weak and ineffectual

I guess there’s not much to do but wait to hear from the mother ship. The waiting is the hardest part.

It sure seems like if Cole Hamels pitched enough games in the post-season one of them would have to be bad. That’s probably the case, but it hasn’t happened yet. With another brilliant start last night, Hamels pitched the Phillies to an early lead in the World Series. He’s thrown to a 1.55 ERA while going 4-0 in four starts against some of baseball’s best teams this post-season.

The Phillies needed him to be just about perfect. Their offense failed time and time again build on the slim lead Chase Utley gave them with his first inning home run. Ryan Howard had a game at the plate that stuck out like a sore thumb, and that’s saying something given that Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-5 and left five men on base.

Hamels exited after seven strong innings with the Phils clinging to a one-run lead, but they handed that lead off to the steadiest of hands. If there’s anyone on the Phillies who have been as good as Hamels this post-season, it’s the late-inning combo of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. After two more perfect innings last night, the pair has now been charged with two earned runs in 18 1/3 innings (0.98 ERA) in the playoffs while striking out 19.

The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays last night, winning 3-2. They lead the World Series one game to none.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two 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.

He faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) BJ Upton (CF/R) (3) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (4) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (6) Willy Aybar (DH/S) (7) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (8) Ben Zobrist (RF/S) (9) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). The Rays lineup pretty much stays the same one through five for righties and lefties, which means against left-handed starters they have three hitters in the first five that are weak against lefties plus Upton and Longoria. Bartlett is very good against lefties and hits ninth. Zobrist starts in right after appearing there in just two games in the regular season.

The Rays started the game with five players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Rocco Baldelli (R), Fernando Perez (S), Cliff Floyd (L), Gabe Gross (L).

Hamels started the first with a 2-0 lead. Iwamura led off and hit a 3-2 pitch to first. Howard fielded it deep and Iwamura beat him to the bag for an infield single. Hamels was a little slow to cover first and Howard ran to the bag himself. Howard probably should have tossed the ball, but they may not have gotten Iwamura anyway. Upton was next and checked his swing 1-1 and hit a ground ball to second. Utley took and the Phils turned two easily to clear the bases. Pena grounded to Rollins to end the inning.

Eleven pitches in the first for Hamels.

Longoria struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the second. Crawford flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Hamels struck out Aybar swinging 1-2 for the third. Fourteen pitches had Hamels at 25 for the game.

Navarro popped to first for the first out of the third. Zobrist was next and hit a 2-1 pitch past a diving Feliz for a single. Bartlett was next and he drew a five-pitch walk that put men on first and second. Iwamura singled into right on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Upton smashed a 1-2 pitch, but Feliz took it at third and started the double-play to end the inning. Nineteen pitches for Hamels, 44 for the game.

Very nice play by Feliz at a big time on a ball hit hard by Upton.

Second double-play in two at-bats for Upton.

Hamels started the fourth up 3-0. Pena swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to first. Longoria grounded an 0-2 pitch to third for the second out. Crawford was next and he jumped on Hamels first pitch to him, hitting it out to right to cut the lead to 3-1. Aybar flew to center for the third out. Nine pitches in the inning had Hamels at 53.

Navarro led off the fifth and struck out trying to check his swing on a ball in the dirt. Zobrist grounded to third on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Hamels then walked Bartlett for the second time in the game and Bartlett stole second as the count went 3-1 on a high fastball to Iwamura. Iwamura delivered a double into left-center that rolled to the wall, scoring Bartlett to make it 3-2. Upton was next and he popped a 1-2 pitch foul that Howard caught reaching into the stands to end the inning. I’m guessing you probably won’t see Carlos Pena reaching into the second row to catch the ball in any of the games in Philadelphia. Nice play by Howard, though. Thirty pitches in the inning for Hamels put him at 83 for the game.

Two RBI in the game for the Rays come from two left-handed hitters, Crawford and Iwamura, hitting off of the lefty Hamels. The Phillies handled the big righties in the Rays lineup as Longoria and Upton combined to go 0-for-8, strike out four times and hit into two double-plays.

Pena was again swinging at the first pitch to start the sixth. He hit a ground ball to first that Howard booted. He recovered and threw to Hamels covering, but not in time. Pena was safe and Howard was charged with an error. With Longoria at the plate, Pena took off for second but left too early. Hamels threw to first and Howard delivered a strong throw to second. Pena would have been safe at second, but Rollins put down a fantastic tag, sweeping Pena’s leg off the base for a big first out. Huge play in the game. Hamels’ move to first was very close to a balk (it was a balk, but the Phils got the call). Howard made a great throw to second, a play he’s had an awful time with this year. Great tag by Rollins got the Phils an out. Longoria struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the inside corner for the second out. Crawford grounded softly to second for the third out. Just eight pitches for Hamels in the inning. Ninety-one for the game.

Aybar popped to short on a 1-2 pitch to start the seventh. Navarro waived at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Zobrist grounded back to the mound to end the inning. With 11 pitches in the inning, Hamels was at 102 for the game.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils still up 3-2. Bartlett was first and popped a 2-1 pitch up to Howard in foul territory for the first out. Madson got ahead of Iwamura 1-2 and then delivered two straight changeups in just about the same place outside. Iwamura fouled off a pitch and then flew softly to right for the second out. Madson threw an 0-1 fastball past a swinging Upton before striking him out 2-2. Upton is right on top of the plate and is going to have to be moved if he proves unwilling to continue to strike out and hit into double-plays.

Madson fantastic again.

Lidge started the ninth up a run. Pena struck out trying to check his swing 0-2. The Phillies got the call on the appeal to third. Longoria struck out trying to check his swing 1-2 for the second out. Lidge got ahead of Crawford 1-2, but delivered two balls to run the count full. Crawford fouled off two pitches before he hit a high foul ball down the third base line. Feliz chased and took it by the Phillies bullpen, nearly falling near the warm-up home plate, to end the game.

Lidge and Madson combine to go two perfect innings for the Phils, striking out three. Madson threw 18 pitches, Lidge 15.

The Tampa Bay pen threw three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five. Balfour threw 27 pitches and Howell 19. Wheeler and Miller were both under six.

Kazmir did well to stay in the game after being on the ropes time after time. The Phils did have a bunch of bloop hits against him, but threatened to chase him early several times and failed to do so. They still force the cream of the Rays’ pen to throw three innings in a game Tampa Bay was trailing.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Coste (9) Ruiz. Burrell stays in left with Coste getting the nod at DH over Bruntlett or Taguchi. Victorino hits sixth with Werth in the two-hole. The switch-hitter Victorino breaks up what would have been five righties in a row for the Phils if Werth was hitting sixth.

The Phillies started the game with five players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins took the first pitch of the game for a strike on the outside corner before lining the next offering to right for the first out. Werth got ahead 3-0, then took two called strikes before Kazmir delivered ball four. Utley was next with the Rays playing a huge shift that had nobody at third. Utley tried to bunt the first pitch of his at-bat and popped it up foul. He swung at strike two before Kazmir delivered two straight balls. Utley hit the 2-2 pitch just out to right, putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard grounded to second for the second out and Burrell went down looking at an 0-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate.

Big home run for Utley in his first World Series at-bat — Kazmir had allowed just seven extra-base hits (and just one home run) to lefties during the regular season.

Victorino started the second and hit a 2-1 pitch back through the middle. Iwamura got a glove on it behind second base, but didn’t field it cleanly and wouldn’t have gotten Victorino if he had. Feliz walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second with nobody out for Coste. Victorino was nearly picked off second on a very close play before Kazmir delivered his first pitch to Coste. Coste flew softly to right and the runners held. A walk to Ruiz loaded the bases with one out. Rollins was next and he hit a fly ball into shallow center. Upton caught it and Victorino tagged and came home. Upton’s throw was good, it reached home plate on one hop a little up the third base line. Navarro tagged out a sliding Victorino to complete the double-play.

No problem with sending Victorino there, it took a strong throw from Upton and a nice tag from Navarro to get him. Coste being unable to move the runners up with nobody out hurt the inning. Kazmir had thrown 40 pitches through two innings.

Werth led off the third and dumped a ball over Pena’s head and down the right field line for a double. Utley moved Werth to third with a ground out to second. He was stranded there, though. Howard struck out trying to check his swing 1-2 for the second out. Burrell struck out swinging 1-2.

Howard can’t bring the man in from third with one out. After failing to score with men on first and second with nobody out in the second, no run for the Phils in the third after putting a man on third with one out.

Victorino started the fourth and blooped a single into center. Upton charged but failed to glove the ball, but he was backed up nicely by Zobrist. Feliz swung at an awful 1-2 pitch before he singled into center, sending Victorino to second. Coste tried to bunt but fouled the pitch off. Victorino was running as Coste hit a slow grounder to first. Both runners moved up and the Phils had men on second and third with one out for Ruiz. Ruiz grounded a 1-1 pitch to short. Victorino scored to put the Phils up 3-0 as Feliz held second with two down. Kazmir struck Rollins out on three pitches to end the frame.

Coste did move the runners up that time and it helped the Phillies score a run. Good no-strikeout by Ruiz.

Another long inning for Kazmir, who was up to 71 for the game.

Werth flew to center to start the fifth. Utley popped a 1-2 pitch to short for the second out. Howard was next and drew a walk in a nine-pitch at-bat. Burrell was next and he had a long at-bat of his own, dribbling a 3-2 pitch towards first base. Kazmir hopped off the mound to field it with Burrell storming down the inside part of the first base line. Kazmir tossed to first, but the ball went off the heel of Pena’s glove for an error on the first baseman that put men on first and second with two outs. Victorino swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to second to leave both men stranded.

Feliz started the sixth with another bloop hit, this one into right-center. Coste popped up a 2-2 pitch to second for the first out. Five men left on base for Coste through 5 1/3 innings. Ruiz flew softly to left on a 1-0 pitch for the second out. Rollins got ahead 2-1 and lined to center, giving him five men left stranded as well.

Lefty JP Howell started the seventh for Tampa Bay and struck Werth out on four pitches for the first out with the Phils up 3-2. Utley singled back through the middle and stole second. Howell’s 1-2 delivery to Howard was wild, allowing Utley to go to third. Howell struck Howard out swinging 3-2 for the second out. The lefty Howell stayed in to pitch to the righty Burrell with two outs and a man on third. Burrell drew a walk, looking at a 3-2 pitch that was just outside. Bruntlett ran for Burrell at first. Righty Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino and overpowered him, striking him out swinging 2-2.

More offensive misery from the Phils as Howard can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. Fortunately for him, strikeouts don’t matter.

Running for Burrell as the run that puts you up 5-2 in the seventh is awful. Howell is great against righties, but I still think it’s a mistake to let Howell pitch to Burrell. Especially if you’re bringing a righty for the next batter anyway.

Balfour returned for the eighth and set the Phils down in order. Feliz flew to right. Coste shattered his bat grounding back to the mound. Ruiz lined an 0-2 pitch to right, but Zobrist took it there to set the Phillies down.

Balfour was back at it to start the ninth and struck out Rollins on three pitches, with Rollins going down swinging at a very high fastball. Werth was next and looked sure to strike out as well, getting behind 1-2 but then lining a 3-2 pitch into right. The ball landed near the line and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. The righty Balfour stayed in to walk the lefty Utley intentionally with lefty Trever Miller warming in the pen. Miller came in to pitch to Howard with one down and men on first and second. Howard saw four pitches, trying to check his swing on first offering but failing and then looking at a ball followed by a pair of strikes. Dan Wheeler came in to pitch to Bruntlett. Wheeler got ahead 0-2 and delivered a ball in the dirt as Utley and Werth pulled off a double-steal. Bruntlett popped to second for the third out.

It’s almost indefensible not to pinch-hit Dobbs or Stairs for Bruntlett against Wheeler. Don’t know what you’re saving them for. Taguchi can play left in the ninth or Jenkins can play right with Werth moving to left. Bruntlett is a career 221/286/310 hitter against righties and you’re winning by one run with a runner in scoring position. The only argument for keeping him in the game is that he is vastly superior to the other options in left, which I don’t believe is the case.

Curious that it was Miller and not lefty wunderkind David Price to pitch to Howard.

Rollins was 0-for-5, struck out twice and left five men on base. The tag he put on Pena in the sixth after Pena got picked off was a big defensive play for the Phils.

Werth was 2-for-4 with two doubles to the opposite field and a walk.

Utley 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a walk. Stole two bases.

Howard was terrible. 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and four men left on base, failing multiple times to bring a runner in from third with less than two outs. Made an error in the field, but also made two nice defensive plays. He reached into the stands to get the Upton foul ball and made a nice throw to second after Hamels’ non-balk picked off Pena.

Burrell was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Looked worse than that against the lefty starter.

Victorino was 2-for-4 and left four men on base.

Feliz 2-for-3 with a walk. First World Series hits for Feliz, who went 0-for-5 in the ’02 series when his Giants played the Angels.

Coste 0-for-4 with five men left on base. Coste looked awful, but was given a tough task after getting just one at-bat this month coming into the game. Hopefully he can find his swing and give the Phils the right-handed bat off the bench they need.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Nice job to make contact and bring in Victorino with a ground ball in the fourth.

The Phillies drew nine walks in the game. Four in the six innings that Kazmir pitched and five in the three innings thrown by the pen.

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) faces righty James Shields (14-8, 3.56) tonight in game two.

Shields doesn’t walk many hitters, surrendering just 40 walks in 215 innings on the season. Righties and lefties hit about the same against him, .253 for righties and .255 for lefties. He allowed 24 home runs on the year, 12 that were hit by righties and 12 that were hit by lefties. He both struck out and walked lefties at a slightly higher rate than righties in 2008.

His strikeout rate shrunk as the season progressed. He struck out about 7.2 batters per nine innings through June and about 6.1 batters per nine innings in his starts in July, August and September.

He has made three post-season starts for the Rays and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of them. In 19 1/3 innings he’s thrown to a 3.72 ERA with a 1.40 ratio. His most recent start was the worst of the three. In game six of the ALCS he allowed four runs, only three of them earned, on nine hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. The Red Sox hit a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs off of him.

Matt Stairs has faced Shields a lot without good results. Stairs is 3-for-20 with a home run and two walks against him. Nobody else on the Phillies has more than three at-bats against Shields.

Myers has made two starts in the post-season, pitching well against the Brewers but getting hit hard by the Dodgers. Overall he’s thrown to a 5.25 ERA with a 1.25 ratio. He’s walked seven in 12 innings.

Righties hit him hard than lefties this season. Lefties hit just 235/317/423 against Myers, righties 293/341/494. Despite the fact that righties hit him harder than lefties, Myers walked lefties at a higher rate than righties. Myers walked about 10% of the left-handed batters he faced and about 6% of the right-handed batters he faced.

Cliff Floyd has seen him a ton, going 12-for-33 (364/400/697) with two doubles and three home runs. Willy Aybar is 2-for-6 against him.

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They say you gotta stay hungry, hey baby, I’m just about starving tonight

(Bruce Springsteen).

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces lefty Scott Kazmir (12-8, 3.49) tonight in Tampa Bay in game one of the World Series.

Kazmir struggled at the end of the regular season. He took a 3.04 ERA and a 1.17 ratio into the All-Star break, but went 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.38 ratio in 13 starts in the second half. September was his worst month of the year, he threw to a 5.19 ERA and a 1.46 ratio in five starts. He missed about a month of the season with an elbow problem before making his first start of the year on May 4.

Opponents hit just .220 against Kazmir on the year, righties .227 and lefties .198. Righties walked at a much hitter rate, posting a .329 on-base percentage compared to .239 for lefties. He walked 63 of the 501 right-handed batters he faced this year (about 12.6%) and just seven of the 140 left-handed batters (5%). Righties slugged .461 against him, hitting 22 of the 23 home runs he allowed. Kazmir threw just 152 1/3 innings on the year, but only one American League pitcher allowed more home runs to right-handed batters than him (Glen Perkins allowed 23 for the Twins). The flip side of that is that lefties slugged just .275 against him, with just seven extra-bases hits (five doubles) all season.

Kazmir’s vulnerability to righties accentuates the Phillies flaw that has them going into the World Series without a big right-handed bat on the bench. That problem suddenly gets an upgrade to no right-handed DH. Pat Burrell was born to DH, but the options for right-handed corner outfielder are miserable as well and Manuel was curiously unwilling to DH Burrell during inter-league games in the regular season. Coste, Taguchi or Bruntlett are the extra bat the Phils will likely be choosing from in game one. Hope it’s Coste with Burrell in left, but it could be Taguchi or Bruntlett, which would be just about the worst bat you could imagine adding to your lineup in a DH game. If it is Taguchi or Bruntlett, though, I think they should be in left with Burrell as the DH. Seems like a no-brainer, but that may not be the way that Manuel goes. The options improve with the righty Shields on the mound in game two and the chance to put Stairs or Dobbs (or, less likely, Jenkins) in the lineup.

Kazmir has made three starts in the post-season, going 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.53 ratio while striking out 13 in 15 2/3 innings. His best outing of the three was his most recent. In game five of the ALCS he held the Red Sox to a pair of singles over six shutout innings and took a 7-0 lead into the seventh. He was much worse in his first two post-season starts, throwing to a 6.52 ERA and a 1.97 ratio and not going six innings in either outing.

The Phillies and the Rays did not play each other this season. He made one start against the Phils in 2006 and allowed two runs over five innings. Sal Fasano and Abraham Nunez homered off of him in that game. No current Phillie has more than four career at-bats against him.

Cole Hamels, MVP of the NLCS, has been brilliant for the Phillies in the post-season. In three post-season starts he’s 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and an 0.86 ratio. He has struck out 22 in 22 innings.

The long layoff and all the innings for Hamels this year are the things to worry about for the Phils. The 24-year-old Hamels was second in the NL in innings pitched this season with 227 1/3. He last started on October 15, a week ago today.

He doesn’t give up a lot of walks and doesn’t surrender walks in bunches. Including three starts in the post-season he has not walked more than three batters in a game all year. He did give up 28 home runs this season, which tied him for tenth in the NL. He gave up his share of homers to both lefties and righties. Lefties curiously slugged .471 against him, hitting 12 home runs in 228 plate appearances. Hamels was simply better overall this season against righties than against lefties — righties hit .215 against him compared to .262 for lefties. They walked and struck out at a similar rate with lefties hitting for more power.

No current Ray has ever faced him, which could be a huge advantage if Hamels and his wicked changeup are on against Tampa Bay’s young hitters.

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