Tag: Washington Nationals

Balester can’t deter Phils

Coming off back-to-back losses, Phillies fans were hoping to see the team come out strong last night. They got their wish. The Phils jumped all over Collin Balester as Utley and Howard combined to drive in seven runs in the first two innings. Joe Blanton pitched well and the pen was even better as the Phils rolled to an 8-4 win.

With the Marlins beating the Mets last night, the Phils lead the division by two games with two games left to play.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals last night, winning 8-4 to improve to 90-70 on the season. They will clinch the division today if they beat the Nats or the Mets lose.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. He got some terrible defense behind him, hurt most by plays by Ruiz and Howard, and only one of the runs was earned. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out two.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

He started the second with a 3-0 lead. Elijah Dukes led off and Blanton walked him. Willie Harris flew to center for the first out. With Kory Castro at the plate, Dukes went to second on a passed ball. Ruiz just didn’t catch the ball, which wasn’t even in the dirt. It cost the Phils a run, cause Castro grounded to second for the second out with Dukes going to third and Luke Montz singled into left to bring Dukes in and cut the lead to 3-1. Orr grounded to Utley to end the frame.

The Phils probably would have had a double-play on the ball that Casto hit if Dukes had been on first instead of second.

Blanton started the third up 7-1. Emilio Bonifacio doubled with one out, but Blanton got the next two to leave him stranded.

He got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Orr hit a ground ball to Howard that Howard booted for his 19th error of the season. Robert Bernandina hit for the pitcher Jason Bergmann and doubled to left, moving Orr to third. Bonifacio was next and he hit a fly ball to center for the second out. It was deep enough to score Orr and cut the lead to 7-2. Cristian Guzman was next and he singled into right, scoring Bernandina to make it 7-3. Lastings Milledge flew to center for the third out.

More bad defense costs the Phillies runs.

With two outs in the sixth, Casto hit a 1-0 pitch to deep right. A fan reached over the fence and tried to catch the ball but dropped it. Casto was given a home run and the play was reviewed. The play stood. 7-4. Looked like the right call to me. Blanton struck out Montz for the third out.

Eyre started the seventh after the Phils hit for Blanton in the bottom of the sixth. Righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the lefty Pete Orr and Eyre struck him out for the first out. Switch-hitter Anderson Hernandez hit for the pitcher hit for the pitcher Garrett Mock and Eyre struck him out too. Bonifacio was next and he hit a ball slowly to short. Rollins charged, bare-handed and made a strong throw to first to nip Bonifacio.

Nice inning for Eyre and a great play by Rollins.

Madson started the eighth up 8-4. Cristian Guzman led off with a single to right. Madson struck out Milledge and got Dukes on a pop to third before Romero came in to pitch to the lefty Harris. Righty Aaron Boone hit for Harris and grounded to Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to end the frame.

Lidge started the ninth up 8-4. Casto swung at a 1-2 pitch and the home plate umpire called him out, but Casto argued that he had fouled the pitch off. The home plate ump checked with the third base ump who said Casto had fouled the ball off. Manuel came out to argue and was ejected. I don’t think that Casto actually fouled the ball off. Lidge struck him out swinging on the next pitch for the first out. Montz was next and Lidge struck him out swinging 1-2. Gonzalez was next and grounded to short to end the game.

I was surprised that nobody on the Phillies’ bench came out to get Manuel before he finally walked away. He was about as mad as Phillies fans have seen him.

The bullpen goes three scoreless innings for the Phils, allowing one base-runner on Guzman’s single off of Madson. They struck out five. Nobody threw more than 13 pitches. After the off-day on Thursday, everyone likely seems available for this afternoon’s game as the Phillies try to clinch the division.

The Phillies lineup against righty Collin Balester went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Ruiz. The slumping Werth stays in the lineup and moves up to second in the order with Utley dropped to third. Dobbs plays third against the righty with Feliz on the bench. Ruiz catches.

Werth lined a single into center with one out in the first and went to third when Utley followed and singled into right. Howard was next and blasted an 0-1 pitch out to right-center to put the Phils up 3-0. Burrell and Victorino both popped out to end the inning.

Dobbs started the second with an opposite field double with the Phils up 3-1. Ruiz flew to right and Blanton struck out, but Rollins drew a walk to put men on first and second. Werth reached on an infield single to third that loaded the bases. It brought Utley up and he hit a 3-1 pitch off the top of the wall in left. It cleared the bases and put the Phils up 6-1. Howard followed with a double of his own. 7-1. Burrell grounded to third for the third out.

Rollins, Werth, Utley and Howard all get aboard with two outs and it gets the Phils four runs.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.

With one out in the fourth, Rollins blooped a 1-0 pitch in between second and center. It dropped in and good hustle by Rollins got him to second. Werth flew to left and Utley flew to center to leave Rollins stranded.

The Phils started the fifth up 7-3. Victorino doubled with two outs and stole third, but Dobbs grounded to second to leave him stranded.

They were leading 7-4 when they started the sixth. Ruiz flew to center for the first out. With the righty Garrett Mock on the mound, Jenkins hit for Blanton and popped to short. Rollins drew a walk, but Werth struck out for the third out.

If you hadn’t already, I think you have to conclude that Manuel has more confidence in Stairs than Jenkins as a left-handed hitter off the bench. In that case he chose to save Stairs for later in the game.

Utley started the seventh with a single. Howard struck out before Utley stole second. Burrell drew a walk and Bruntlett ran for him at first. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to short. Bruntlett was forced at second for the second out. With two outs and men on first and third, Feliz hit for Dobbs with lefty Mike Hinckley on the mound. Jesus Colome came in to pitch for Feliz. Victorino stole second before a passed ball brought in Utley and moved Victorino to third with the Phils up 8-4. Feliz flew to center for the third out.

Wouldn’t have run for Burrell there.

Ruiz led off the eighth with a walk. Stairs hit for Romero and Ruiz was caught stealing as the count went 2-2 on Stairs. The Phils ran all over the Washington catcher Montz, who was making his fifth career start, but that’s a terrible time to run with Stairs hitting towering foul balls off of the righty Jesus Colome. Ruiz was safe and didn’t get the call, but it’s terrible anyway. Stairs struck out for the second out. Rollins drew a walk, his third of the game, and stole second. Werth struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch.

Rollins was 1-for-2 with a double, three walks and his 47th stolen base.

Werth was 2-for-5. Nice to see him have a good game.

Utley 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBI.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with a double.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with a double.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk and a bad miscue on the passed ball. Shouldn’t have been allowed to be caught stealing in the eighth.

Jamie Moyer (15-7, 3.78) faces lefty John Lannan (9-14, 3.86) this afternoon. Lannan has faced the Phillies twice this season, allowing ten runs in 11 2/3 innings. The Phillies’ lefties have hit him pretty well over their careers. Howard is 3-for-8 with a double and a home run. Utley 4-for-8 with a walk in the plate appearances where Lannan didn’t break his hand. Moyer has been just fantastic for the Phils in big starts over the past two years. Here comes one now. The Phillies have won six games in a row that Moyer has started. He’s 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA in four starts against the Nats this season.

If you care about the music that players use for their at-bats, you might find this thing kinda cool.

Now that you Menchion it

The Brewers designated outfielder Kevin Mench for assignment. Mench is a right-handed corner outfielder who can hit lefties. Despite his connections to the area and his time at the University of Delaware, it’s hard to see the Phillies having a place for him with Werth and Burrell on the team.

Aaron Rowand’s house is for sale.

This mailbag from the White Sox web site says Chicago is still interested in Rowand and estimates his chances of returning to the team at 50 percent.

This mailbag from the Phillies web site says they won’t trade Helms unless they first upgrade their third base situation.

The Nats have agreed to a one-year contract with Paul Lo Duca. The key for Manny Acta this season may be less keeping the players who hate him away from the ones who are undecided and more making sure everyone has access to comprehensive medical care.

This suggests that reliever Matt Wise may become available by Wednesday. The 32-year-old righty didn’t have a great 2007, throwing to a 4.19 ERA with a 1.45 ratio, but could help the Phillies’ pen.

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