Tag: Sergio Escalona

All sides decry the lack of decency as magic number campaign goes negative

The Phillies are heading to the playoffs as division champs once again. A grand slam from Pedro Feliz in game two helped get things going in the right direction and the Phils clinched the NL East with a decisive 10-3 win in game three of a four-game set with the Astros.

A few guys clearly need some rest for the Phils, but the team is plugging along offensively. The pitching, on the other hand, is a mess. The bullpen pitched well in the series, but the ninth inning has been an adventure and seems guaranteed to be for some time to come. The starting pitching is suddenly awful. The Phillies don’t have a quality start in their last nine games. Over those games their starters have combined to throw to a 6.26 ERA and a 1.61 ratio. In five of their last six and six of their last eight games their starting pitcher has thrown less than six innings.

The Phillies are 92-67 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Houston Astros. The Phils have won the division and currently are second among the four NL playoff teams with 92 wins. All four of the Phils, Cards, Dodgers and Rockies have three games to play. LA has 93 wins and the Rockies and Cards each have 91. The Phils will play the Dodgers or the Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. The Dodgers lead the Rockies by two games with the teams set to play a three-game series this weekend.

The Phillies lost the first game of the series 8-2. Rollins put the Phils up 1-0 in the bottom of the first as he singled, stole second and came in to score on a sac fly by Utley. Hamels kept Houston off the board until the fourth, when the Astros tied the game at 1-1 on three singles and walk. Three of the first four Houston batters reached in the sixth and the Astros scored two more to extend their lead to 3-1. Victorino doubled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, moving to third on a ground out and came in to score on a balk to make it 3-2. Houston blew it open in the seventh. Hamels got the first two batters in the frame before allowing two singles, a stolen base and walking the next hitter intentionally. Walker took over for Hamels and was awful again, allowing a two-run double, a walk and a single before Condrey took over. Condrey allowed a two-run single before striking out JR Towles to end the five-run inning with the Phillies down 8-2. With two outs and nobody on, seven straight Astros reached in the frame.

The Phils got a huge win in game two, topping Houston 7-4. With the help of a loss by the Braves the win helped reduce their magic number to one. Lance Berkman homered off of Happ with two outs in the third to put the Astros up 1-0. Bako led off the bottom of the third with a walk and came in to score on a double by Rollins, tying the game at 1-1. Howard, Ibanez and Werth got on board to start the fourth before Feliz delivered an enormous blow, hitting the first pitch of his at-bat from Wilton Lopez out to left for a grand slam that put the Phils up 5-1. Houston got another run off of Happ in the top of the fifth on two singles and a catcher’s interference to make it 5-2. Werth hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth and it was 7-2. Kaz Matsui got Happ for a two-run shot as well in the top of the sixth. 7-4. Moyer came on in relief of Happ in the top of the sixth. He got the last out and returned for the seventh, injuring his groin as Jeff Keppinger flew to center for the third out. Madson worked the final two innings to earn the save.

The Phils clinched the NL East with a 10-3 win in game three. The Astros loaded the bases in the first on three singles before Pedro walked Pence with two outs to force in a run an put Houston up 1-0. Rollins started the bottom of the first with a double and came in to score on a ground out by Utley to tie the game at 1-1. JR Towles hit a solo shot off of Martinez in the top of the second, putting Houston on top again at 2-1. Towles did it again in the top of the fourth to make it 3-1. Martinez left after four innings, but Kendrick came on next and was fantastic in relief. He struck out four in three scoreless innings while the Phillies broke the game open. Two singles, a walk, a double by Feliz and a costly throwing error by Astros starter Brian Moehler helped the Phils score four runs in the bottom of the fourth, putting them on top at 5-3. Back-to-back triples by Rollins and Victorino to start the fifth helped the Phillies score two more. 7-3. An RBI-double by Ruiz in the sixth brought in Feliz and made it 8-3. Ibanez hit a two-run shot in the seventh and it was 10-3. Eyre got the first two outs in the ninth before Brad Lidge came in and got Berkman to ground to first to end the game.

The Phillies lost last night’s game 5-3. Berkman put the Astros up 2-0 with a two-run double off of Lee in the top of the first. Francisco doubled in the fifth and came in to score on a single by Rollins to cut the lead to 2-1. The Phils couldn’t get any more in the inning, though, as Werth grounded to short with the bases loaded to leave all three runners stranded. Tejada hit a two-run shot off of Lee in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1 and Houston added a run on three singles off of Myers in the seventh. Down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies got a two-out double from Feliz. 5-3. Tracy followed with a single that moved Feliz to third and put the tying run on base, but Cairo flew to center to end the game.

The Phillies threw 36 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

The starting pitching was bad. 6.14 ERA and a 1.68 ratio over 22 innings. Five home runs allowed — two against Happ, two off of Martinez and one off of Lee.

Hamels got the start in game one. He was strong early but ended up with an ugly line, allowing six runs over 6 2/3 innings on nine hits and three walks while striking out five. Six starts in September for Hamels — three were good and three were bad. Two bad ones in a row have him allowing ten runs on 17 hits and three walks over 13 2/3 innings in his last two starts (6.59 ERA and a 1.46 ratio). His line would have look a whole lot better if he had gotten Bourn with two outs and nobody on in the top of the seventh. He’s keeping people in the yard these days, which is a good sign. In six of his last seven starts he hasn’t allowed a home run.

Happ went 5 2/3 innings in game two, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk. Only three of the runs were earned and he struck out six. He has a 3.77 ERA over his last three starts, but hasn’t pitched nearly that well. He’s allowed 20 hits and three walks over 14 1/3 innings (1.60 ratio). After walking lots of hitters for most of the season, he hasn’t walked two or more in a start any of his last six times out. He’s allowed too many hits in those six starts, though, 35 in 28 1/3 innings. Seven of the hits have been home runs. That’s too many, too. Seven home runs over 28 1/3 innings would have him on a pace to give up about 49 homers over 200 innings.

Pedro started game three and went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He gave up a pair of home runs to Towles. He’s allowed more than three runs in a start just once as a Phillie, he allowed four against the Mets on August 23, but has gone five innings or less in five of his nine starts.

Lee went 5 2/3 in game four, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. One of the runs was unearned. He’s allowed 11 runs in 11 2/3 innings over his last two starts. He’s also given up three home runs — he’s allowed just 17 home runs in 231 2/3 innings on the year. The 231 2/3 innings he’s thrown on the year is fourth in all of baseball. That’s not good.

The pen pitched well. They threw 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. Walker was awful in game one, but came back to throw a 1-2-3 inning last night. Madson had a nifty two inning save in game two. Kendrick sparkled in relief of Martinez in game three. Myers had a worrisome outing last night.

Eyre started the ninth inning of game three with the Phillies up 10-3. Making his first appearance since September 7, he faced two batters and retired them both. He has been charged with two runs in 32 appearances since the end of April.

Romero pitched the eighth inning of game one with the Phils down 8-2. He allowed back-to-back singles with one out before getting the next two hitters to leave the runners stranded.

Escalona pitched the ninth inning last night with the Phils down 5-1 and set the Astros down in order. He’s been charged with runs in two of his 12 appearances on the season, but appears to have little chance to be on the post-season roster.

Moyer took over for Happ in the sixth inning of game two with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 7-4. He got Miguel Tejada on a fly ball to center to end the frame. He came back for the seventh, too. He walked Hunter Pence with two outs before getting Jeff Keppinger on a fly ball to deep center field. Moyer fell to the ground after delivering the pitch to Keppinger and left the game with a strained groin.

Kendrick was awesome in game three. Pitching in relief of Pedro, he went three scoreless innings in which he allowed two hits and struck out four. He has a 2.66 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 23 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season. He allowed three runs in two innings to the Red Sox in his first appearance of the year — since then he’s thrown to a 1.66 ERA.

Walker took over for Hamels in the seventh inning of game one with two outs, men on first and second and the Phils down 4-2. He gave up a two-run double to Carlos Lee and then walked Hunter Pence. It put men on first and second with two down for Jeff Keppinger and Keppinger reached on an infield single to load the bases. Condrey took over for Walker to pitch to Kaz Matsui.

Second straight terrible outing in a row for Walker — over his last two appearances he had allowed four runs on four hits and a walk without getting an out. It’s raised his ERA on the year from 2.23 to 3.34. His ratio went from 1.05 to 1.21.

He got another chance in game four and pitched better. He started the eighth with the Phillies down 5-1 and set the Astros down in order.

Durbin pitched the eighth inning of game three with the Phillies up 10-3. He walked Matsui with one out but got the next two. He has a 1.98 ERA in nine appearances in September, but hasn’t pitched nearly that well. In 13 2/3 innings he has walked eleven.

Condrey entered game one in the top of the seventh with two outs, the bases loaded, the Phils down 6-2 and Matsui at the plate. Matsui delivered a two-run single before Condrey struck out JR Towles to end the frame.

Condrey also pitched last night, entering the game in the sixth inning with two outs, men on second and third and the Phillies down 4-1. He hit Humberto Quintero with a pitch before pinch-hitter Aaron Boone flew to center to end the frame.

Condrey hasn’t been charged with an earned run in any of his last ten appearances. In seven innings he’s allowed five hits without walking a batter.

Myers started the seventh inning of game four with the Phillies down 4-1. Bourn led off with a bunt single, went to second on a passed ball and was bunted to third. Tejada followed with a single that scored Bourn and made it 5-1. Berkman was next and he singled as well, putting me on first and second with one out. Pence hit into a double-play to end set Houston down.

It was the first appearance for Myers since September 12.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with the Phils down 8-2. He got the first two before he hit a batter and allowed a single. He got Jason Michaels to ground to third to leave both men stranded.

Lidge also pitched in game three, entering in the ninth inning with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 10-3. He got Berkman to ground to first to end the game and clinch the division for the Phillies.

Madson entered game two in the top of the eighth with the Phillies up 7-4. He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and came back for the ninth. Matsui led off the ninth with a single before Tejada flew to right for the first out. Berkman reached on a single just out of reach of Rollins, moving Matsui to second and bringing Lee to the plate as the tying run. Lee struck out swinging and Madson got Pence swinging to end the game.

The Phillies scored 22 runs in the four-game series.

Rollins had a fantastic series. He was 6-for-15 in the series with two doubles and a triple and is hitting 250/297/424 on the year.

Victorino was 4-for-12 with a double and two triples. He’s hitting 293/360/448 for the year. Hopefully a lot of rest is the answer for Victorino. He’s hitting 243/309/395 over his last 232 plate appearances. He was hitting 319/386/476 after going 3-for-5 on July 28.

Utley was 0-for-9 in the series and got last night off. He’s hitting 285/401/513 on the season. He hit an ugly 204/304/343 in September.

Howard was 3-for-12 with five walks in the series. 276/358/563 on the season.

Werth 5-for-13 with a home run and four walks. 268/374/506.

Ibanez 3-for-14 with two walks, a home run and four RBI. 274/348/556.

Feliz hit a huge grand slam in game two. 5-for-17 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI in the series. 268/311/390 for the year. Feliz has been awful since the end of July, hitting 230/260/376 over 224 plate appearances. He’s shown a lot of life lately, though, hitting 327/327/489 over his last 49 plate appearances. No walks in his last 53 at-bats.

Bako started games one, two and four of the series. 2-for-8 with two walks. He’s up to 230/315/345 on the season. 333/405/455 over 37 plate appearances in his last ten games.

Ruiz started game three of the series and went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 253/351/424 on the year.

Hoover appeared in game one without an at-bat.

Francisco started in center field last night in game four. 3-for-5 with two doubles in the series. 281/316/551 in 89 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo was 1-for-3 in the series and is hitting 235/257/294 for the year.

Bruntlett started at second base last night and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He’s hitting 158/214/228 for the year. He did not have a bat in all of September before starting October with a tough game. Hasn’t been such a good year for him.

Dobbs was 0-for-3 in the series to drop his line on the year to 255/306/400. He’s 5-for-22 with five singles since the end of July.

Tracy went 1-for-2 in the series and is 3-for-6 with the Phillies.

Victorino and Utley are the guys the Phillies really need to snap out. Rollins was a monster in the series and so was Feliz despite recent struggles.

This article breaks down tie scenarios for the best record in the NL.

Chan Ho Park left a simulated game yesterday after facing five batters due to a problem with his hamstring. It also suggests that whether Happ or Martinez is fourth starter behind Lee, Hamels and Blanton will depend on the health of Eyre and Romero.


Tying ugly

The Phillies managed an ugly split in their four-game series against the Brewers, winning and losing ugly both in a series that saw the two teams combine to make nine errors.

The Phils look sloppy and tired — in the field but also at the plate. Victorino has been in a funk with the bat since the end of July. Utley has one RBI since September 15. Werth is 2-for-his-last-28 with 14 strikeouts.

None of those problems are as worrisome as what’s happening in the bullpen, especially in the ninth inning. The starters got bounced early in the series, none of the four got an out in the seventh inning, and that was a lot of innings to pitch for a defense that wasn’t playing well. Tyler Walker got his chance to pitch in the ninth inning of a game that was close in game three. Didn’t go so well as Walker failed to retire a batter before giving up a walkoff homer. If there was a bright spot it was in what happened yesterday. With a 6-5 lead, the pen gave the Phils three scoreless frames including a four-out save from Madson.

The Phillies are 90-65 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Brewers in Milwaukee. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Braves by five games with seven left to play. If the Phillies went 0-7 to end the year the Braves would have to go 5-2 to tie them atop the division.

The Phillies won the first game 9-4. Howard drove in Utley to give them a 1-0 lead in the first, but a one-out triple by Jason Kendall in the bottom of the third off of Happ helped the Brewers tie up the game. Feliz doubled in Francisco in the fourth to put the Phils up 2-1 before they got six runs in a fifth inning that featured a three-run homer by Rollins to make it 8-1. Milwaukee scored another run charged to Happ in the sixth to make it 8-2. The Phils extended the lead to 9-2 in the top of the eighth before Milwaukee scored two off of Condrey in the bottom of the ninth.

Lee got hit hard in game two as the Brewers won 8-4. A three-run homer by Mike Cameron off of Lee helped put Milwaukee up 4-0 after one inning. The Phils managed just nine singles and a walk in the game, but put a pair of runs on the board in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 4-2. Lee gave up another three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, this one to Prince Fielder, and the Brewers led 7-2. Milwaukee extended the lead to 8-2 with a run off of Lidge in the seventh. The Phils got RBIs from Howard and Werth in the top of the eighth to get within four.

Tyler Walker gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Braun in the ninth inning of game three, which the Brewers won 7-5. Bako put the Phils up 2-0 with a two-run shot in the second and RBIs from Feliz and Werth in the third made the lead 4-0. Milwaukee scored two off of Kendrick in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 4-2 and a walk, a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt helped them score another in the fourth to make it 4-3. Howard put the Phillies up 5-3 with a solo homer in the fifth. Pitching in relief of Kendrick, Moyer got the first two hitters to start the sixth before giving up a walk and a ground-rule double that was followed by a two-run single Craig Counsell blooped into center field and off of Rollins’s glove that tied the game at 5-5. Walker came into the game to start the ninth and faced two batters, allowing a leadoff single to Counsell before Braun popped an 0-1 pitch out to right-center.

The Phils almost blew a five-run lead yesterday, but held on for a 6-5 win. Rollins led off the game with a home run and a one-out triple by Utley helped put the Phils up 2-0 after half an inning. Victorino delivered a two-run double in the second to make it 4-0 before Cameron hit a solo shot in the bottom of the inning. A two-run single by Feliz in the sixth gave Blanton a 6-1 lead to work with, but Mat Gamel hit a three-run homer in the bottom of a four-run sixth and the Phils lead was cut to 6-5. Escalona got Fielder to end the sixth with the tying run on base. Durbin threw a scoreless seventh and got the first two outs of the eighth before Madson picked Corey Hart off of first to end the inning. Madson came back for the ninth and gave up a one-out double to Fielder, but got the next two to end the game and earn his ninth save.

The Phillies threw 34 innings overall in the series with a 5.56 ERA and a 1.65 ratio.

The starting pitching in the series wasn’t good. Happ made the best start of the four and he allowed two runs and went just 5 2/3 innings. None of the four starters went more than six innings. As a group they threw to a 5.51 ERA with a 1.78 ratio over 16 1/3 innings.

Happ got the start in game one and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Happ’s results of late haven’t been great, but he does have his walks down. Over his last five starts he’s walked just seven in 29 2/3 innings.

Lee got blasted in game two. Two three-run homers were the big blasts of the game as he allowed seven runs on nine hits over six innings. Lee hasn’t walked a batter in seven of his last eight starts.

Kendrick went four innings in game three, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks. Kendrick has allowed just one home run over 20 2/3 innings on the season after giving up 23 in 155 2/3 innings last year.

Blanton got the start yesterday and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks. Four of the five runs he allowed came on the two homers he gave up. Bad start for Blanton coming off of two in which he was fantastic.

The relievers were called on to throw a ton of innings in the series and didn’t fare well. They pitched more innings than the starters in the series, throwing 17 2/3 innings with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.53 ratio. Condrey gave up two unearned runs in game one. Walker surrendered a critical homer in game three.

Escalona started the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 8-4. He struck out the first two men he faced before allowing a single and a walk. He then struck out Corey Hart to leave both men stranded.

Escalona got a huge out yesterday, entering in the bottom of the sixth with one out, Fielder at the plate and the Phils up 6-5. Fielder grounded to second to end the inning.

Moyer took over for Kendrick in the fifth inning of game three with the Phils up 5-3. He threw a 1-2-3 fifth. In the sixth he got the first two before allowing a walk and a ground rule double. It put men on second and third for Counsell and Counsell popped a ball into shallow center. Rollins had a long run to get to the ball, but got there in time and didn’t make the difficult catch. Both runners scored and the game was tied at 5-5. Moyer got Braun on a ground ball to end the inning. Moyer allowed a two-out single in the seventh that was followed with a ground out and threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Over his last 16 appearances Moyer has thrown 88 1/3 innings with a 3.87 ERA and a 1.22 ratio.

Durbin took over for Happ in the sixth inning of game two with two outs, men on first and second and the Phillies up 8-2. He got a ground out to end the inning. Durbin came back to pitch the seventh and got the first two before issuing back-to-back walks. He struck out Ryan Braun to end the inning.

Yesterday he started the seventh inning with the Phils up 6-5. He gave up a two-out double but kept the Brewers off the board. He came back to start the eighth and again got the first two before walking Hart. Madson came in to pitch to Braun.

Walker pitched the eighth inning of game one with an 8-2 lead. He hit a batter and gave up two singles, but kept Milwaukee off the board.

He also started the ninth inning in game three with the score tied at 5-5. Counsell led off with a single and Braun followed with a two-run homer to right-center that won the game for Milwaukee.

Condrey started the ninth inning of game one with a 9-2 lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Felipe Lopez before Corey Hart reached on an error by Howard. The next two men grounded out, with the second ground out scoring Lopez to make it 9-3. Casey McGehee delivered an RBI-single to plate another unearned run before Condrey got Mike Cameron on a fly ball to right to end the game.

Condrey also pitched yesterday in game four. He took over for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Hart on first and Ryan Braun at the plate with the Phils up 6-4. Hart stole second before Braun singled, cutting the lead to one at 6-5. Escalona came in to pitch to Fielder.

Madson entered game four with two outs in the eighth and Hart on first with the Phils up 6-5. He picked Hart off of first to end the inning. He came back to pitch the ninth. Fielder doubled with one out, but Madson got Felipe Lopez on a ball chopped back to the mound and struck Cameron out looking to end the game.

Lidge started the seventh inning of game two with the Phillies down 7-2. He gave up a leadoff single to Corey Hart, but got the next two hitters before Hart stole second. McGehee delivered an RBI-single before Lidge struck out Cameron to end the inning.

For Lidge it was his fifth outing in a row in which he had been charged with at least one run. Over his last five appearances he had been charged with seven runs in 4 2/3 innings on ten hits and two walks.

The Phillies scored 24 runs in the four-game series.

Rollins was 6-for-19 with a double, two walks and two home runs in the series. He’s hitting 247/292/419 for the season.

Victorino was 4-for-19 with a double and two walks. 292/360/442 for the year. He came into yesterday’s game hitting 242/311/379 in 210 plate appearances since the end of July.

Utley was 3-for-18 with a triple in the series. 290/405/522. He has one RBI since September 15.

Howard was 8-for-18 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI in the series. 277/355/569. Fielder was 5-for-16 with two doubles, a walk, a home run and six RBI in the series.

Werth was 1-for-15 with two walks in the series. 266/370/504 for the year. He’s 2-for-his-last-28 with 14 strikeouts, which could be a sign it’s time for a day off or four.

Ibanez started games one and two on the bench with Francisco in left. 1-for-6 with four walks in the series. He’s hitting 276/350/560 on the year.

Feliz was 7-for-17 in the series with a double. 267/311/384 on the year. He’s on-basing .257 in September after on-basing .257 in August.

Bako started games one, three and four of the series and went 6-for-14 with a double and a home run. He’s hitting 229/308/352.

Hoover caught game two of the series. 2-for-3 with two singles in the first action of the season for the 33-year-old.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner and still does not have an at-bat since August 25.

Francisco started the first two games of the series in left. 2-for-9 with a double in the series. 262/292/524 in 84 at-bats with the Phils. He walked 33 times in 308 at-bats this year with the Indians and has walked three times since joining the Phillies.

Mayberry was 0-for-1 in the series and is at 196/237/464 in 56 at-bats for the year.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 in the series and is hitting 261/312/408.

Stairs 0-for-2. 202/363/394.

Tracy was 1-for-1 and is 2-for-4 on the season.

This says that Romero could be activated today.


Thanks for the memories

Given his unbelievable performance in 2008 and the fact that he’s going to be a Phillie for two more seasons, it’s a little hard to know when to pull the plug on Brad Lidge and his miserable 2009 season. I can help, though. The answer is right now.

The Phillies aren’t playing critical games these days. It would take a huge meltdown in conjunction with miraculous play by some other teams to keep them out of the playoffs. It’s not going to happen. It’s not just about the playoffs, though. Time after time Manuel comes up with “he’s my closer” when asked about Lidge. Really? Well your closer is having a terrible year, it kills your team and he’s only your closer because you say he is. As loyal as you are to Lidge you have a responsibility to your team to do better. At least when the games matter, you do. Lidge has an 8.84 ERA and a 2.02 ratio over his last 22 appearances. Every time Lidge gets the ball with the game on the line now it digs the hole deeper for Manuel — one more time to say he’s my closer and one more chance to get someone else some experience with the role that’s lost.

Lidge has two more years to get his ’08 magic back. It’s gone now, though, and anyone who can’t see that is blinded by something. If it’s loyalty that has Manuel blind I actually think that’s a little impressive. Maybe that loyalty to his players is how he gets so much out of them. But it’s not Brad Lidge’s job to say he doesn’t want to close anymore. Not his job to say he can’t get the job done. He doesn’t believe that and he shouldn’t and it’s never ever going to happen. It is Manuel’s job, though, and he has more than one player he needs to be loyal to.

The Phillies are 88-63 on the season after losing two of three to the Florida Marlins. The Phils are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Braves by 6 1/2 games. Atlanta has gone 8-2 over their last ten games to pull within four of the Rockies for the Wild Card. After winning game one of the series the Phillies were 27 games over .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies rolled to a 9-3 win behind a great start from Blanton in game one. Blanton exited with a 4-0 lead after allowing two singles and two walks over seven innings. The Phils broke it open with a five-run eighth in which Ibanez hit his 32nd homer of the season. Escalona and Walker combined to allow three Marlins runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Anibal Sanchez baffled the Phils in game two, throwing eight shutout innings as the Marlins won 3-0. Dan Uggla put the Fish up 1-0 with a solo homer off of Moyer in the second and Cody Ross extended it to 2-0 with another solo shot in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez doubled in Chris Coghlan in the fifth to make it 3-0. The Phillies had two hits in the game, a single by Utley and a double by Utley.

The Phillies coughed up three runs late last night and lost 7-6. A two-run doubled by Howard put the Phils up 2-0 in the top of the third, but the Fish put a run on the board off of Hamels in the fourth and went up 3-2 in the fifth. Ibanez homered in the sixth to tie the game at 3-3 and Hamels brought Feliz in with a two-out single to put the Phils back up at 4-3. Howard drove in two more runs with a two-run homer in the seventh. 6-3. Gaby Sanchez homered off of Hamels in the bottom of the seventh to get the Marlins back within two runs. Madson gave up a run in the eighth on two singles and a hit batter. 6-5. Lidge started the ninth in defense of the one-run lead and gave up a leadoff double to Ross Gload. He got the next two hitters before Ramirez walked and then Jorge Cantu tied the game with a single. With two outs and men on first, Brett Carroll delivered the game-winning single to center for Florida.

The Phillies threw 25 2/3 innings in the series, pitching to a 4.56 ERA and a 1.36 ratio.

Blanton made a great start in game one. Moyer and Hamels combined to allow seven runs in 14 innings in the next two games. Overall the starters threw to a 3.05 ERA with a 1.05 ratio over 21 innings. They allowed four home runs, Moyer and Hamels each gave up two.

Blanton was fantastic in the opener. He went seven shutout innings, allowing two singles and two walks while striking out nine. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts and has allowed more than three runs in a start in his last 21 starts.

Moyer started game two and allowed three runs over seven innings on nine hits and a walk. He gave up a pair of solo home runs and struck out five. He’s allowed 27 home runs in 156 2/3 innings this year after allowing 20 in 196 1/3 innings in 2008.

Hamels went seven innings in game three, allowing four runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk a batter, but allowed two home runs in a game for the first time in eight starts. He’s walked just five batters in 36 2/3 innings for the month.

The relief pitching was terrible in the series. Escalona and Walker combined to give up three runs with a big lead in game one. Madson and Lidge got hit hard last night. Overall the pen pitched 4 2/3 innings with an 11.57 ERA and a 2.79 ratio. They allowed nine hits and four walks in less than five innings.

Escalona started the eighth inning of game one with the Phillies up 9-0. Coghlan singled with one out and Nick Johnson followed with a walk. Ramirez was next and he lined a double to center, scoring Coghlan to make it 9-1 with men on second and third and one out. Walker came in to pitch to the righty Cantu.

Walker entered game one in the eighth inning with one out, men on second and third and the Phillies up 9-1. He struck Jorge Cantu out for the second out, but Uggla was next and delivered a two-run single to right to make it 9-3. Walker walked Ronny Paulino before getting Cody Ross to pop to third to end the inning.

Condrey pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in game one with the Phils up 9-3.

Durbin pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 3-0. He walked Wes Helms with one out before getting Uggla on a popup for the second. Paulino moved Helms to second with a single before Durbin struck out Ross to end the inning.

Madson started the eighth inning of game three with a 6-4 lead. He gave up a leadoff single to Cantu and then hit Nick Johnson with a pitch. He got Uggla to hit into a double-play, which left Cantu at third with two down. Ross singled to left and Cantu scored, making it 6-5. Madson struck out Paulino to end the inning.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning last night, entering with a 6-5 lead. Gload doubled to start the inning, but Lidge got the next two before walking Ramirez. It put men on first and third with two down for Cantu and Cantu singled to center, scoring Gload to make it 6-6. Ramirez went to third on the single and scored the game-winner when Carroll followed with a single.

The Phillies scored 15 runs in the three-game set.

Rollins was 2-for-13 with a double in the series and is hitting 245/290/411 for the season.

Victorino was 2-for-11 with three walks. 295/363/448 on the year. He’s hitting 240/310/385 over his last 198 plate appearances.

Utley was 3-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. 294/412/530 for the year.

Howard went 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and seven RBI. He’s at 272/353/564 for the season.

Ibanez was 3-for-11 with two home runs and a walk in the series. He has six home runs but just ten RBI in the month. 277/347/565 for the year.

Werth was 1-for-9 with two walks in the series. 271/376/516. 1-for-his-last-13.

Feliz was on the bench for game one with Cairo at third. He went 1-for-7 with a double in the series. 262/308/381. He’s hitting 245/283/359 since the end of May. The end of May was a long time ago.

Ruiz started the night game of the double-header before returning to Philadelphia to have his wrist looked at. He was 0-for-2 in the series and is at 253/353/423 for the year.

Bako started games one and three of the series. 2-for-7 with two walks in the series. 198/291/297 on the year.

Cairo started game one at third and went 2-for-5 with a double in the series. He’s hitting 226/250/290 in 31 at-bats for the year.

Francisco was 0-for-1 in the series and is hitting 267/300/547 in 75 at-bats with the Phillies.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner in the series and still does not have an at-bat in September. 167/224/240 on the year.

Dobbs was 0-for-1 with a walk in the series and is at 259/312/410 for the season.

Stairs was 0-for-1 with a walk. 206/369/402 on the season. He’s 3-for-37 (.081) since the All-Star break.

This article says that Carlos Ruiz has had an MRI that showed no structural damage to his left wrist. Ruiz will likely have a cortisone injection today and be sidelined for three to five days.

The list of catchers that the Phillies have lost recently includes Jason Jaramillo, Lou Marson, Ronny Paulino and Chris Coste. Marson was part of the Lee deal, which was a fantastic trade for the Phils. The other three were pretty much given away, though. The Phils traded Jaramillo for Paulino in December. Paulino was traded for Taschner in an awful deal for the Phillies at the end of March. The Astros claimed Coste off of waivers in July after the Phils had acquired Bako. Losing Paulino for Taschner is the move of those three that hurts the most, Paulino has hit 278/344/435 in 223 at-bats for the Marlins this season.

The article linked above also says that Eyre was available to pitch last night.


Late, close and watching

Question of the day is why doesn’t Tyler Walker pitch to more batters when the game is close. Answer of the day is “I don’t know” — given that’s the answer at least I can demonstrate that he doesn’t pitch to a lot of batters when the game is close.

First things first: Walker has been fantastic for the Phillies this season. He came into yesterday’s games with a 2.35 ERA for the year and a 0.98 ratio. Opponents were hitting .204 against him for the season and on-basing .258.

Still, as the back of the bullpen implodes Walker virtually never is pitching in situations when the game is close. The chart below lists all of the Phillies pitchers who have faced at least one batter this year, how many total batters they have faced, how many batters they have faced when the score was tied or one of the teams was winning by one run and the percent of batters faced when the score was tied or with the Phils up or down one. It is divided into three sections — pitchers who have worked only as starters are at the top, pitchers who have worked only as relievers are at the bottom and pitchers who have pitched both as starters and as relievers are in a group in the middle (the chart does not include yesterday’s games).

  Total PA PA tie or
within one
% tie or
within one
Pedro
Martinez
171 115 67.3
Cole Hamels 740 483 65.3
Joe Blanton 753 488 64.8
Cliff Lee 275 128 46.5
Antonio
Bastardo
102 46 45.1
       
Brett Myers 294 159 54.1
Kyle Kendrick 66 32 48.5
JA Happ 623 300 48.2
Jamie Moyer 648 277 42.7
Chan Ho Park 362 161 44.5
Andrew
Carpenter
32 13 40.6
Rodrigo Lopez 137 52 38.0
       
JC Romero 68 40 58.8
Ryan Madson 298 126 42.3
Clay Condrey 156 64 41.0
Brad Lidge 263 107 40.7
Scott Eyre 119 39 32.8
Chad Durbin 285 93 32.6
Jack Taschner 138 24 17.4
Sergio
Escalona
34 4 11.8
Tyler Walker 125 14 11.2
Steven
Register
11 0 0.0

So the only player who has pitched for the Phillies this season and thrown to a lower percentage of the batters he’s faced with the score tied or the Phils up or down one run is Steven Register, who appeared in one game and faced 11 hitters.

As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for the answer to why questions you’ve come to the wrong place. I don’t know. If I had to guess my guess would be that Manuel is terrified of the prospect of Walker facing a left-handed hitter with the game close. Walker has been great against lefties in 2009 — they’ve hit 209/271/302 against him, which is actually better than the 200/250/343 that righties have hit against Walker. In 2008, however, lefties smoked Walker to the tune of 319/372/597. Over his career lefties have hit an ugly 281/352/459 against Walker.

Aside from Walker, I think that the chart shows some other interesting things. First and most obvious is that starting pitchers generally face more batters with the game close and a higher percentage of their batters than relief pitchers do.

I think the difference in the percentage of the hitters that Romero and Eyre faced in tight games is telling. Both would like be used primarily as situational lefties in the post-season if available, but Manuel has given Romero a lot more of his chances in tight games. Eyre has been better.

Condrey has faced a higher percentage of hitters in one run or closer games than Lidge. His percentage is also higher than Durbin. Durbin has a low percentage of hitters faced in tight games compared to other regulars in the group. It’s also down from last year. In 2008, Durbin faced 364 batters and faced 174 of them (47.8%) with the score tied or the Phils up or down a run. I don’t think any of that bodes well for Durbin.

Myers has a strained back. The Phillies hope he will return before the end of the regular season.

The article linked above says that Happ will start on Thursday, Lee on Friday and (hopefully) Pedro on Saturday.

It also says that Dobbs was not ready to play third yesterday with his calf. I still find starting Cairo to be very odd. Even if Dobbs does not go I don’t understand why it would be Cairo and not Bruntlett. I’ve been saying for a while that I think Bruntlett is on the post-season roster because he’s the only choice to back up the middle infield. That’s not literally true, of course. It’s also notable that Bruntlett does not have an at-bat this month. We’ll see.

The same article says that Eyre needs surgery but is cleared to pitch, pitched yesterday and felt good. It also says that Romero threw 50 pitches yesterday and will throw again tomorrow and that Park could pitch next week.


Feast of the East

It’s not clear how the season is going to end for the Phillies, but one thing I think we can say at this point is that the Phils are better than the other teams in the NL East. The Phils have one more big stop to make in Florida, but they have plowed through the other teams in the division in their recent stretch, going 10-3 against the Nats, Mets and Braves over their last 13 games.

The Phillies are 27-9 on the season against the Mets and Nationals. 60-52 against the other teams in baseball.

The Phillies are 87-61 on the season after taking two of three from the Braves in Atlanta. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Marlins by eight games. After winning the first game of the series they were twenty-six games over .500 for the first time since the 1993 season.

The Phillies won the first game of the series 9-4. Martin Prado put the Braves up 1-0 in the bottom of the third with a home run off of Happ. Happ left after three innings for precautionary reasons after a mystery injury that may or may not have been related to his oblique. Howard put the Phils up 2-1 with a two-run homer in the fourth and Kendrick took over for Happ and delivered four scoreless frames. The Phils extended the lead to 3-1 on another home run by Howard, this one a solo shot in the sixth. Werth drove in two runs with a single in the eighth and it was 5-1, but Brian McCann got Atlanta back in the game with a two-run homer off of Walker in the bottom of the eighth. A three-run homer by Rollins and a solo shot from Francisco pushed the Phillies lead to 9-3 and Atlanta scored a run charged to Durbin in the bottom of the ninth.

The Braves won game two 6-4. Again the Phillies saw their starter leave early as Pedro left after three innings with a stiff neck. Martinez did well to get out of the second allowing just one run after the Braves saw their first two hitters reach on a double and a single. Atlanta extended the lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the second on four hits and a hit batter. Durbin took over for Martinez after the early exit, allowing three runs over 2 2/3. The Phillies, meanwhile, couldn’t find the answer to Javier Vazquez. Vazquez tossed seven shutout innings and the Braves took a 6-0 lead into the top of the ninth. The Phils scored four times in the top of the ninth, with Howard delivering the big blow, a two-run homer off of Rafael Soriano. With two outs and men on first and second, Francisco flew to right to end the game and snap a six-game winning streak for the Phils.

The Phils played sloppy yesterday. They gave away outs on the bases, got ejected arguing about it, overthrew the cutoff man, executed one of the worst rundowns you’ve ever seen and dropped the ball — and that was all in the first inning. They pitched well enough to win anyway, taking the game 4-2. The Braves went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first with a run off of Cliff Lee. Francisco doubled in Rollins in the third to tie the game at 1-1 and Ibanez and Feliz drove in runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-1. A triple by Utley in the top of the fifth brought in Rollins and it was 4-1 before a long rain delay that forced Lee from the game. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of Lee before Lidge allowed yet another run in the ninth.

The Phils threw 26 innings in the series with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.27 ratio.

All three of the starts were cut short. Happ and Martinez had their starts cut short by injury and Lee exited after four yesterday due to rain. The three combined to throw just ten innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.80 ratio. Happ and Lee both pitched pretty well, but Martinez allowed three runs on seven hits over three innings. They allowed just one home run, which Prado hit off of Happ.

Happ left game one of the series after three innings in which he allowed a run on five hits including the solo homer to Prado.

Pedro went three innings in game two before leaving with neck stiffness. In his three innings he allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk. The loss in game two was the first time the Phillies had lost a game that he had started.

Lee only got to throw four innings in his start as well before he was forced from the game by rain. He went four innings, allowing a run on three singles and a pair of doubles. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out two. He’s allowed one run in 13 innings over his last two starts. 7-2 with the Phils with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.07 ratio. He’s walked just nine over 68 innings.

The pen had to throw a ton of innings in the set with three early exits from the starters. As a group the pen threw 16 innings in the three games, pitching to a 3.38 ERA with an 0.94 ratio. They allowed just 11 hits in 16 innings. Kendrick was fantastic in game one, throwing four shutout innings in relief of Happ, but Walker and Durbin both got hit hard later in that game. Durbin was hit hard again in game two, with Escalona and Condrey pitching well after that. Walker, Escalona, Condrey and Madson combined to pitch four scoreless innings yesterday before Lidge gave up a run in the ninth.

Escalona entered game two in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies down 6-0 to pitch to lefty Brian McCann. He got McCann on a line drive to third to end the game. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh.

He also started the seventh inning yesterday with the Phils up 4-1. He hit Nate McClouth with two outs and Condrey came on to face the righty Prado.

Escalona sure seems like he should be getting consideration for the post-season roster given the problems for Eyre and Romero, but Manuel makes it sound like there’s not much of a chance. He has a 2.16 ERA and an 0.84 ratio in 8 1/3 innings on the year.

Kendrick took over for Happ in the fourth inning of game one, entering with a 2-1 lead. He threw four scoreless innings, allowing three singles and not walking a batter. He has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in 16 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season.

Walker started the eighth inning of game one with a 5-1 lead. He allowed a one-out single that was followed by a two-out home run by Brian McCann. Walker was pulled for Madson after getting just two outs.

Walker also pitched in yesterday’s game, entering in the bottom of the fifth after the rain delay with the Phillies up 4-1. He threw a 1-2-3 fifth. He came back to start the sixth and allowed a leadoff single to Chipper. He got the next two hitters before walking Omar Infante, then struck out David Ross to leave both runners stranded.

Walker has been fantastic for the Phils. He deserves to throw important innings in the post-season and I think he will.

Madson entered game one with two outs and nobody on, the Phillies up 5-3. He got Omar Infante on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Madson also pitched the eighth inning yesterday, entering with a 4-1 lead, and struck out the side.

Durbin started the ninth inning of game one with a 9-3 lead. He gave up a leadoff double to Garret Anderson and Anderson came around to score on a one-out single by Adam LaRoche. Durbin got the two hitters after LaRoche to end the game.

Durbin also pitched in game two. He entered in relief of Pedro to start the fourth with the Phillies down 3-0. Nate McLouth led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Bako. A sac fly by Prado brought him in to make it 4-0. Durbin came back for the fifth and got the first two before allowing a walk that was followed by a two-run homer by LaRoche. 6-0. He started the sixth as well. McLouth led off with a single and Durbin got the next two before Escalona came on to pitch to the lefty McCann.

Not a good series for Durbin, who the Phils could sure use. He has walked 42 in 62 2/3 innings on the season after walking 35 in 87 2/3 innings in 2008. His walk rate for the year is the worst for his career.

Condrey pitched the eighth inning of game two with the Phillies down 6-0. In his first action since July 22 he set the Braves down in order.

Condrey also pitched yesterday, entering in the seventh with two outs, a man on first and the Phillies up 4-1 to pitch to Prado. Prado grounded to third to end the inning.

These are critical innings for right-handed pitchers for the Phils looking to make the playoff roster. The Phils have a whole lot of righties — Myers and Durbin aren’t pitching well and Park is hurt.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning yesterday, coming into the game with a 4-1 lead. He got the first two batters he faced. He walked Brooks Conrad with two outs and Conrad took second on defensive indifference. McCann was next and delivered a single to right, scoring Conrad to make it 4-2. Lidge struck out McLouth to end the game.

Lidge has allowed runs in three straight appearances. In his last three times out he has given up four runs on five hits and a walk over three innings. He’s really making it tough for the Phils to think about using him in close games in the playoffs.

The pen can surely use the off day today after throwing 16 innings in the series. Condrey and Escalona have both thrown two days in a row.

The Phillies scored 17 runs in the three-game series.

Rollins was 3-for-13 with a double, two walks and a home run in the series. 247/292/415 for the year.

Francisco started game one in center with Victorino out with stomach problems. 5-for-13 with two doubles and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 270/304/554 with the Phillies.

Utley was 3-for-13 with a triple and a walk in the set. 294/411/533 for the season. He’s hitting .229 in September.

Howard was 4-for-11 with a double and three home runs. 271/354/564 on the year. After hitting three home runs in the series he still has just four for September after hitting eleven in August.

Ibanez was 2-for-11 with a double in the series and is hitting 277/347/559 for the year. In a bizarro coincidence he is also hitting .277 and on-basing .347 in September (but slugging .538).

Werth went 3-for-8 with three walks in the series. 274/377/523 on the year.

Feliz was 3-for-12 in the set and is at 264/310/382 on the year. He’s on-basing .234 in September after on-basing .257 in August.

Ruiz left game one after the top of the sixth with problems with his left wrist. He was 0-for-1 with a walk in the series and is hitting 255/355/426 on the year. 317/411/538 since the start of August.

Bako started games two and three and went 1-for-7 in the series. He’s hitting 190/277/298 on the year.

Bruntlett appeared as a pinch-runner in games one and two but did not have an at-bat in the series. He has not gotten an at-bat this month or in any of his last six appearances. 167/224/240 on the season. Need to let him hit if he’s going to be on the post-season roster (he is).

Mayberry was 1-for-2 with a double to improve his line on the year to 200/241/473 over 55 at-bats. Those are the at-bats I’d rather see Bruntlett getting.

Dobbs was 1-for-1 in the series and is hitting 261/309/413 for the season.

Stairs was 1-for-1 with a double and a walk in the series. 208/367/406 on the year.

This suggests that:

  • Carlos Ruiz could be available tomorrow.
  • Eyre felt good throwing yesterday and will throw again tomorrow.
  • Park could pitch again during the regular season.
  • Pedro’s neck isn’t feeling good.

Brett Myers will see a doctor about soreness in his right shoulder. Happ’s status seems to be unclear.


Plan B

The Phillies tried Ryan Madson as a starter in 2006 and things didn’t go very well. Madson made 17 starts in which he threw to a 6.28 ERA and wound up doing most of his work for the year pitching in relief. He finished the season with a 5.69 ERA.

Since then he’s had three years as a full-time reliever and in each of the three seasons he’s pitched to an ERA in the 3.05 to 3.10 range with a ratio in the 1.22 to 1.27 range. Here’s a look at how his numbers for this year for striking batters out and allowing runs, hits, walks, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances compare to his numbers for the last two seasons:

  ERA Ratio R/100 H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 SO/100
2007 3.05 1.27 8.02 20.25 9.70 4.22 2.11 18.14
2008 3.05 1.23 8.53 23.24 6.76 5.00 1.76 19.71
2009 3.10 1.22 8.66 22.02 7.22 3.25 2.17 24.19

Despite the very similar ERAs for the three year, Madson has his walk rate down significantly in the past two seasons compared to 2007. He is striking out a lot more hitters this year, but allowing home runs at his highest rate for the three seasons. While his home run rate is up, his rate for allowing extra-base hits that aren’t home runs is down a lot. In 2008 he was allowing about 1.54 times the doubles and triples per 100 plate appearances that he has in 2009.

The thing that’s a little worrisome about Madson’s year in 2009 is that if you divide what he’s done this season nearly in half, the first half was a lot better than the second. Madson didn’t allow a home run in his first 34 appearances on the year before June 18. On that day the Phils and Jays went into the top of the ninth tied at 7-7 and Rod Barajas hit a solo homer off of Madson. The Phils lost 8-7. Those first 34 appearances are just about half of his work for the year — he’s faced 138 batters before June 18 and 139 on June 18 or after. The numbers before that date are a whole lot better:

  ERA Ratio R/100 H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 SO/100
4/8/09 to
6/16/09
2.16 1.11 5.80 18.84 7.97 2.90 0.00 26.81
6/18/09 to
9/9/09
4.05 1.32 11.51 25.18 6.47 3.60 4.32 21.58

With the exception of walks, pretty much everything has been going in the wrong direction for Madson since the day he allowed his first home run of the season. His rates for allowing hits and doubles and triples are way up, and his strikeouts down, but by far the biggest factor for him is that after not allowing a home run in his first 33 1/3 innings of the season he has allowed six in his last 33 1/3.

Not to be forgotten in all of this is that Madson was outstanding in the post-season last season, throwing to a 2.13 ERA and an 0.87 ratio in 11 appearances. He’s also on pace to throw a few less innings this season, about 79 after throwing 82 2/3 in ’08. The thing about ’08, though, was that Madson was fantastic at the end of the regular season as well as in the post-season. In his last 14 appearances in the regular season in ’08 he was charged with one earned run, throwing to an 0.64 ERA with an 0.93 ratio and striking out 17 in 14 innings.

Andy Tracy and Sergio Escalona are up. Rodrigo Lopez has been released.

The article linked above says that Moyer will take Happ’s start on Saturday. It also says that Kendrick will likely start one of the double-header games on Sunday, which would go a long way towards removing #DIV/0! from the Start Log.


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