Tag: wilson valdez

Man at the top may be thinking it’s not as lonely up there as he would like

The good news for the Phillies is that Jimmy Rollins is back on the field. The bad news is that he has on-based .304 over his last 1,107 plate appearances and isn’t hitting for any power. Slowed by injuries, he’s slugging .366 for the season with two extra-base hits in his last 61 times to the plate. This article suggests he won’t be at 100 percent until next Spring.

His return is an issue for the Phils and the issue is complicated because 1) Shane Victorino was a monster out of the leadoff spot during Rollins’s recent absence and is hitting 276/345/466 while batting first for the season and 2) Wilson Valdez, who replaced Rollins at short defensively when Rollins was out most recently, is playing very well both offensively and defensively, hitting 333/413/431 over 59 plate appearances in his last 15 games.

It’s surely less of a factor, but Rollins also hasn’t played particularly well in the post-season the last three years, posting a 231/297/366 line over 149 playoff plate appearances.

While fans might disagree about what Charlie Manuel and the Phils should do with Rollins, what they almost surely will do is start him at shortstop and bat him at the top of the order. Manuel is pretty good about remembering that it wasn’t too long ago that Rollins was the MVP of the league.

But. For the eight Phillie regulars and Wilson Valdez, here’s the percentages of plate appearances this season in which they have singled, walked or been hit by a pitch:

Player % of PA
single, walk or HBP
Utley 31.4
Ruiz 31.1
Polanco 28.1
Werth 27.3
Ibanez 25.6
Howard 25.5
Rollins 25.4
Victorino 24.3
Valdez 23.4

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but there’s not a whole lot there that suggests that either Rollins or Victorino is the guy that should be leading off for the Phillies. Compared to the other guys on the list, Rollins isn’t likely to reach base on a single, walk or hit by pitch and Victorino is even less likely.

Rollins hasn’t been likely to deliver an extra-base hit this year, either. Here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which the nine players have had any kind of extra-base hit, a double or a triple or a home run this year:

Any XBH

2B or 3B

HR

Werth 11.3 Werth 7.3 Howard 5.1
Howard 9.7 Ibanez 6.8 Werth 4.0
Ibanez 9.3 Ruiz 6.6 Utley 3.2
Ruiz 8.4 Victorino 5.5 Victorino 2.8
Victorino 8.3 Valdez 5.0 Ibanez
2.6
Utley 7.6 Polanco 4.9 Ruiz 1.9
Rollins 6.5 Rollins 4.7 Rollins 1.8
Valdez 6.1 Howard 4.6 Valdez 1.1
Polanco 5.9 Utley 4.4 Polanco 1.0

If the reason Rollins shouldn’t be leading off is because he’s struggled offensively overall for a while now, the reason that Victorino isn’t an ideal fit might have as much to do with what he does well as it does with how infrequently he singles, walks or is hit by a pitch. For the year he has been more likely to homer in a given plate appearance than Ibanez and more likely to hit a double or a triple than Utley. Where all Utley’s doubles have gone is a question for another day — over the last two seasons he has hit doubles less than half as regularly as he did from 2005 through 2008.

With Victorino and Polanco at the top of the order hitting one and two, it’s hard for me to see why you wouldn’t be better off with Victorino hitting behind Polanco. Polanco has been much more likely to reach base on a single, walk or hit by pitch while Victorino has been more likely to deliver a double or a triple and nearly three times as likely to hit the ball out of the yard. Polanco’s power has been absent for a long, long time now. After slugging .473 over his first 160 plate appearances for the season, he has hit 291/339/356 over his last 435 plate appearances with just 22 extra-base hits. Of those extra-base hits, 19 have been doubles.

Again, I don’t think it’s likely you’re going to see Polanco or Victorino and especially not Valdez hitting leadoff for the Phils any time soon. Rollins is the guy for the Phillies, and when he’s healthy enough to play I think you’ll see him in the lineup and hitting first. So let’s hope he hits.


Twenty, no questions

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about which of the three outstanding starting pitchers might get the call for the team in game one of a critical series? I don’t. If all three are healthy and on normal rest and the Phillies give the ball to anyone other than Roy Halladay, I will be stunned.

Last night, Halladay became the first right-handed pitcher to win twenty games for the Phillies since Robin Roberts did it in 1955. Halladay wasn’t great, but he went seven innings and held Atlanta to three runs. The Phils squandered a ton of opportunities and left an army on base, but they got two big swings in the game, the back of the bullpen held and they came out with a 5-3 win. Werth put them up 3-0 with a three-run shot in the third and Ibanez delivered a two-out, two-run double into the right field corner in the sixth. Halladay, Madson and Lidge did the rest.

The Phillies are 91-61 on the season after beating the Atlanta Braves 5-3 last night. They have won nine in a row and lead the NL East by five games. The second-place Braves are a game ahead of the Padres for the Wild Card.

Halladay got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out three. It’s his sixth start in a row in which he has allowed three earned runs or more. Over those starts he’s thrown to a 4.32 ERA and allowed ten home runs in 41 2/3 innings. Opponents have hit .294 against him

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Derrek Lee singled to right with one out in the second, but Halladay struck Nate McLouth out swinging for the second out and got Alex Gonzalez to ground to short.

Rick Ankiel started the third with a single, but the pitcher Mike Minor hit into a double-play behind him with Valdez taking the feed from Utley and 360-ing before throwing to first. Omar Infante lined an 0-2 pitch into right for a single before Jason Heyward flew to right for the third out.

The Phils were up 3-0 when Halladay started the fourth. Martin Prado led off with a walk, but Halladay got the next three batters to keep Atlanta off the board.

Gonzalez lofted a ball near the right field foul line that Werth couldn’t reach to start the fifth. The ball got away from Werth and Utley had to track it down and Gonzalez had a double. Ankiel was next and he moved Gonzalez to third with a single to right. Lefty Eric Hinkse hit for the pitcher and he hit a ground ball near second. Utley fielded and flipped with the glove hand to second for the first out as Ankiel slid hard into Valdez. Valdez’s throw to first hit Ankiel in the left hand, so the Phils only got one out. Gonzalez scored on the play to cut the lead to 3-1 and Infante came to the plate with one out and Hinske on first. Halladay got Infante to fly to right for the second out and struck Heyward out looking to end the frame.

The Phils thought Ankiel went too far out of the base path to slide into Valdez. Looked okay to me.

Prado led off the sixth with a single and came around to score when Brian McCann followed with a double to center. 3-2. Lee hit a fly ball to center for the first out. McCann tried to tag and go to third, but Victorino made a nice throw that beat him easily for the second out. McLouth grounded to Halladay for the third out.

Halladay started the seventh up 5-2. He got the first two before lefty Freddie Freeman hit for the pitcher Peter Moylan. Freeman absolutely crushed the first pitch he saw from Halladay out to right center, cutting the lead to 5-3. Halladay struck Infante out to end the frame.

I think chances are good you’ll be seeing that Freeman guy again at some point. That’s career home run number one, but there are a lot more coming.

Madson pitched the eighth. Heyward walked to start the inning, but Madson struck out Prado and got McCann to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Madson hasn’t been charged with a run in 10 2/3 innings over his last 11 appearances. Since July 29 he has thrown 31 innings with an 0.58 ERA and an 0.87 ratio and 41 strikeouts. Going back to April 24 he has a 1.49 ERA and has allowed one home run to the 170 batters he has faced.

Lidge pitched the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Lee. It brought McLouth to the plate as the tying run. Lidge struck out McLouth and got Gonzalez on a fly ball to center. Ankiel popped to short to end the game.

Lidge has an 0.87 ERA and an 0.73 ratio since the start of August. In 20 2/3 innings he has struck out 22. He was throwing for the second day in a row and threw 17 pitches in the game. Madson threw 12 on two days rest.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Mike Minor went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. That’s the same lineup they used in game one of the series.

Utley and Howard singled back-to-back with two outs in the first, putting men on first and second for Werth. Werth popped to third to leave both men stranded.

Valdez and Halladay singled back-to-back with two outs in the second, putting men on first and second. Valdez stole third before Victorino grounded to short for the third out.

Polanco led off the third with a walk and moved to second when Utley followed with a single to right. Howard flew to right for the first out before Werth blasted a 2-1 pitch out to left center, putting the Phils up 3-0. Ibanez followed with a double and the righty Christhian Martinez walked Ruiz intentionally. Valdez hit a ball to third that Prado didn’t handle, loading the bases with one down. Halladay struck out on three pitches and Victorino struck out swinging 1-2 to leave the runners stranded.

Second error in two games for Prado after he failed to handle the ball at second base on Utley’s steal in game one.

Polanco started the fourth with a single. Utley and Howard went down behind him before Werth moved him to second with a walk. Ibanez grounded to second for the third out.

It was 3-1 when the Phils hit in the fifth. Ruiz flew to center for the first out before Valdez hit a ball that the pitcher Kyle Farnsworth fielded. Farnsworth’s throw was bad, though, and Valdez was safe on an error for the second time in two at-bats. Halladay struck out and Victorino grounded to second to end the inning.

Howard walked with two outs in the sixth and the lead cut to 3-2. He moved to third when Werth singled off the wall in left. Ibanez hit a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner and both runners scored, putting the Phils up 5-2. Ruiz grounded to second to leave Ruiz stranded.

Huge two out hit for Ibanez. Howard continues to walk and walk.

Valdez singled to start the seventh with the lead cut to 5-3. With righty Craig Kimbrel on the mound for the Braves, Gload hit for Halladay. Valdez took second on a passed ball before Gload struck out swinging for the first out. Victorino was next and lined a ball to second. Valdez was caught off base and doubled-up to end the inning.

Polanco singled to start the eighth. Utley and Howard struck out behind him before Werth grounded to second.

Victorino was 0-for-5 and left seven men on base. He’s 1-for-13 without a walk in his last three games. Rut roh.

Polanco 2-for-4 with a walk. 4-for-his-last-11 with two walks. He is slugging .331 over his last 264 plate appearances with 13 extra-base hits (12 doubles and a triple).

Utley 2-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk. He has at least one walk in eight straight games. In four of those games he walked more than once and on-based .541.

Werth was 2-for-4 with a walk and a three-run homer. Over his last eight games he’s 12-for-36 with five home runs and four walks. Get it? The thing where Howard always walks before Werth homers is good for everyone. You get more points that way.

Ibanez 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. His two-out double in the sixth was huge. 434/492/755 over his last 59 plate appearances has raised his line on the year from 256/337/409 at the end of the first game of the September 1 double-header to 274/352/444. He hit 213/267/350 against lefties in the first half of the season and has hit 264/319/443 against them so far in the second. In September he’s 8-for-24 against them with three doubles and a home run (333/385/583).

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk. 359/479/590 over his last 12 games.

Valdez 2-for-4 with a nifty little twirly thing in the third and a less nifty throw-it-off-of-Rick-Ankiel’s-arm-and-into-the-dugout thing in the fifth. 348/400/485 over his last 50 plate appearances.

Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.90) faces righty Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62) tonight. The Phillies have won nine games that Oswalt has started in a row. In those outings he’s gone 7-0 with a 1.55 ERA and opponents have hit .187 against him. Hanson has made two starts against the Phils this season, but both came early in the year. On April 20 he allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings and on May 31 he allowed a run on three hits over 6 2/3.

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Flying ace

There are enough things going right for the Phils these days that you get the feeling they might be okay even if Cole Hamels wasn’t absolutely unhittable. It looks like we’re not going to have to find out. Hamels made his fifth outstanding start in a row last night, holding the Braves to a run over eight innings as he led the Phils to a 3-1 win.

Hamels has been charged with one run on less in seven of his last nine starts.

He got a lot of help from his middle infielders last night as they turned three double-plays, two of which were spectacular. Utley got a late throw from Polanco in the first, but turned the double-play thanks to a strong throw he delivered just as he landed. In the sixth it was Valdez’s turn to make a fantastic throw as the Phils again doubled-up Prado to end a threat for the Braves.

Atlanta, on the other hand, struggled defensively and their problems in the bottom of the fifth changed the game. The Phils came to bat in with the score tied at 1-1 and managed to score a pair of runs on a single hit, Chase Utley’s single with one out and nobody on base, thanks to a pair of defensive miscues from the Braves. Shane Victorino led off with a knuckling fly ball to right that went off of Jason Heyward’s glove for a three base error. Later in the inning Utley stole second and took third when Martin Prado didn’t handle the throw from the catcher, allowing him to score on a ground out by Ibanez three batters later.

The Phillies are 90-61 after beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1 last night. They have won eight in a row and lead the NL East by four games. Atlanta is four games ahead of the Padres for the Wild Card.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing a run on six hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out six. He threw 117 pitches last night after throwing 127 in his previous start. Over his last five starts he has allowed two earned runs in 36 2/3 innings (0.49 ERA).

Heyward singled with one out in the first, but Hamels got Prado to hit into a double-play behind him. Prado hit a ball to third and Polanco was a little slow getting the ball to second. Utley caught it and made a strong throw just after landing to beat Prado at first. Exceptional play by Utley to make such a solid throw with so little time.

Derrek Lee started the second with a single. Brian McCann was behind him and doubled to right, scoring Lee to put Atlanta up 1-0. Matt Diaz moved McCann to third with a single, but Hamels struck Alex Gonzalez out for the second out and got Melky Cabrera to hit into a double-play to prevent further damage.

It was 1-1 when Hamels set Atlanta down in order in the third.

He came back with a 1-2-3 fourth.

Gonzalez doubled down the third base line and into the left field corner with one out in the fifth. Hamels struck Cabrera out for the second out and the pitcher Brandnon Beachy for the third.

He was up 3-1 when the started the sixth. Heyward walked with one out. Prado was next and crushed a ball out of the yard but just foul and then smashed a ball in-between first and second. Utley moved to his left to field it and then turned and threw to second. Valdez uncorked a fantastic throw to first to complete the double-play.

I wasn’t sure that was a double-play when it was hit and it turned out not to be close. The throw from Valdez was exceptionally strong.

Lee started the seventh with a single. McCann flew to left, Diaz flew to right and Gonzalez grounded to third.

He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and the Phillies hit for him in the bottom of the inning.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils still up by two runs. He struck out Heyward, got Prado on a fly ball to right then struck out Lee to end the game.

Over his last 21 appearances, Lidge has thrown 19 2/3 innings and been charged with two earned runs (0.92 ERA). Opponents are hitting .119 against him in those games and he hasn’t allowed a home run.

Lidge was pitching with a day of rest and threw 11 pitches in the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brandon Beachy went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez still at short with Rollins sidelined. Beachy was making his major league debut after the Brave’s scheduled starter, Jair Jurrjens, was unable to go with a knee problem.

The Phils went in order in the first.

They were down 1-0 when Howard started the bottom of the second with a double to right. Werth flew to right for the first out before Ibanez moved Howard to third with a ground out to the pitcher. Ruiz lined a double into left and Howard scored, tying the game at 1-1. Valdez was walked intentionally and Hamels flew to left to leave both runners stranded.

I wouldn’t walk Valdez intentionally that much.

Victorino started the third with a single and stole second before Polanco flew to left. Utley struck out swinging for the second out before Beachy walked Howard intentionally. Werth flew to right for the third out.

Valdez walked with two outs in the fourth. Hamels flew to center for the third out.

Victorino lined a ball to right to start the fifth. Heyward should have made the play, but the ball went off the tip of his glove and fell for an error. Victorino was running hard and wound up at third with nobody out. Polanco followed and grounded to short for the first out with Victorino scoring to put the Phils ahead 2-1. Utley followed that with a single and with Howard coming to the plate the Braves called on lefty Eric O’Flaherty to pitch to him. Utley took off as O’Flaherty delivered ball two to Howard and the count went 2-1. With the huge shift on for Howard, Prado was covering second and he didn’t handle the throw. Utley went to third with the error charged to McCann, but Prado really should have caught the ball. Howard walked, putting men on first and third with one down for Werth. O’Flaherty stayed in to pitch to him and Werth ripped a 3-2 pitch foul down the third base line before walking to load the bases for Ibanez. Ibanez hit a ground ball to short and Gonzalez made a nice play to get an out at first with Utley scoring to put the Phils up 3-1 with two down and men on second and third. Righty Peter Moylan came in and struck Ruiz out on three pitches to leave both men stranded.

Miserable defense and walks in the inning help the Phils score two runs on just one hit (Utley’s single).

The Phils went in order in the sixth.

Polanco walked to start the seventh. Utley popped to third for the first out and Howard struck out swinging for the second. Werth moved Polanco to second with a single into right, but Ibanez flew to center to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the eighth. Gload hit for Hamels with two outs and the righty Kyle Farnsworth on the mound for Atlanta. Farnsworth struck him out swinging to end the inning.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Polanco 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Utley 1-for-4

Howard 1-for-2 with two walks. One of the walks was intentional. He has 13 walks in his last 32 plate appearances. In the 154 plate appearances before those 32 he walked 12 times.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk.

Ibanez 0-for-4 with an RBI and five men left on base.

Ruiz 1-for-4 with an RBI double.

Valdez 0-for-2 and walked twice. Five walks in 50 September plate appearances for Valdez — that’s more than Werth, who has four in 77 plate appearances.

Roy Halladay (19-10, 2.49) faces lefty Mike Minor (3-1, 5.84) tonight. Halladay has been less dominant over his past five starts, throwing to a 4.41 ERA and allowing nine home runs in 34 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old Minor was the seventh pick of the 2007 draft and has made seven starts for the Braves this year. Lefties are hitting .194 against him, righties .322 with all five of the home runs he has allowed. He had a 3.91 ERA after his first four starts but has allowed 14 runs in 14 innings over his last three times out.

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Sweet September

It’s been quite a month for the Phillies. After winning seven in a row they are 15-3 in September and have outscored their opponents by an average of two runs a game — in their 18 games this month they have scored 109 runs (6.06 per game) and allowed 73 (4.06 per game).

Yesterday the Phils put four runs on the board in a flash in the bottom of the ninth. Down 6-3 to start the inning, Polanco singled and Utley doubled before Howard brought them both home with a two-run single. Werth smashed a long home run to center to give the Phils the walkoff win.

If they had gotten to Ibanez you would have to have liked his chances as well. Ibanez was 7-for-11 with a walk in the series and hitting 375/437/609 so far this month. The middle of the order was a wrecking crew against the Nats this weekend. All four of Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez hit over .330 in the series. The four combined to go 20-for-44 (.455) with five home runs.

The Phillies are 89-61 on the season after beating the Washington Nationals 7-6 yesterday afternoon. With the win the Phils complete the three-game sweep in which they outscored Washington 21-9. Atlanta swept the Mets this weekend and the Phils are three games ahead of the Braves in the NL East. Atlanta leads the Padres by 2 1/2 games for the Wild Card.

Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out eight and has allowed 15 runs in 22 2/3 innings over his last four starts.

He got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first and another in a 1-2-3 second.

Willie Harris led off the third and homered to right, putting the Nats up 1-0. Ivan Rodriguez followed that with a single and the pitcher Yunesky Maya struck out trying to bunt him to second for the first out. Blanton struck Danny Espinoza out swinging for the second out and got Ian Desmond to ground to Utley for the third.

Adam Dunn singled with one out in the fourth. Blanton struck Roger Bernadina out swinging for the second out as Dunn was thrown out trying to steal second to end the frame.

The Phils were up 2-1 when Blanton started the fifth. Michael Morse led off with a single to right. Blanton struck Harris out behind him for the first out before Rodriguez moved Morse to second with a single to right. Maya bunted the ball hard to first. Howard fielded and threw to third to get Morse for the second out and Blanton struck Espinosa out swinging to leave the runners at first and second.

Great no-throw-the-ball-into-the-stands by Howard. Second time in the game that Maya couldn’t bunt the runners over.

Blanton started the sixth with a 3-1 lead. Ian Desmond led off with a single and Ryan Zimmerman flew to left behind him for the first out. Desmond stole second before Dunn drew a walk on a close 3-2 pitch. Bernadina popped to short for the second out and it brought Morse to the plate with two down and men on first and second. Blanton got ahead 1-2, but then threw two straight balls and Morse hit a 3-2 pitch out to right for a three-run homer that put Washington on top 4-3. Harris grounded to first for the third out.

Baez pitched the seventh and got the first two hitters before Espinosa homered to left, extending the lead to 5-3. Desmond flew to Werth, who had taken over for Victorino after Victorino was ejected, for the third out.

For Baez it was the first time he has been charged with a run in his last five appearances.

Romero started the eighth. He got the first two hitters before Bernadina doubled to left. Romero walked the righty Morse intentionally to put men on first and second for Harris. Harris lined a single to left, scoring Bernadina (6-3) and Morse took second. Contreras came in to pitch to the righty Rodriguez and got him on a fly ball to right for the third out.

For Romero it was the first time he was charged with a run in his last ten games.

Worley pitched the ninth. He allowed a two-out single to Desmond, but struck Zimmerman out to leave Desmond stranded.

The Phillies lineup against righty Yunesky Maya went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Schneider catches the day game with Valdez at short and Victorino hitting leadoff.

Utley singled with two outs and Howard was walked intentionally behind him. Werth grounded to short to leave both runners stranded.

Ibanez started the second with a walk and was balked to second. Schneider reached on an infield single and Ibanez took third. Valdez popped to short for the first out. Blanton tried to bunt and struck out for the second. Victorino flew to right to leave both runners stranded.

Nothing for the Phils with men on first and third and nobody out. Valdez comes up empty with nobody out and a man on third.

Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the third.

Werth and Ibanez singled back-to-back to start the fourth. It put men on first and third for Schneider and he cleared the bases with a double to center, putting the Phils up 2-1. Valdez fouled out to first, Blanton flew to center and Victorino popped to short to leave Schneider at second.

Again 8-9-1 in the order don’t have any luck moving the runner along.

Polanco started the fifth and was hit by a pitch. Utley flew to right for the first out and Polanco stole second as Howard struck out for the second. Werth lined a two-out single into left and Polanco scored to put the Phils up 3-1. Ibanez moved Werth to second with a single and the Phils pulled off a double steal that put runners on second and third for Schneider with two down. Schneider struck out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

Down 4-3, the Phils went in order in the sixth. Dobbs hit for Blanton and popped to second for the second out. Victorino struck out for the third out, slammed his helmet and was ejected from the game. Francisco went in to play right with Werth moving to center.

Polanco and Utley singled back-to-back to start the seventh with the Phils down 5-3. It put men on first and second, but Howard and Werth both struck out and Ibanez lined to second.

The Phils were down 6-3 when Schneider started the eighth with a single. Valdez popped to first for the first out, Francisco popped to second for the second. Gload hit for Contreras and struck out to leave Schneider at first.

Polanco singled to start the ninth and went to third on a double by Utley. Howard singled into center and the lead was cut to 6-5. Werth hit a 3-2 pitch out to center to give the Phils a 7-6 win.

Victorino 0-for-4 in the game. 3-for-11 with three walks and an RBI in the series. 266/332/440 for the year. 389/459/537 over his last 61 plate appearances.

Polanco 2-for-4 yesterday and 3-for-14 in the series. 226/291/290 over his last 21 games. 298/337/392 for the year.

Utley 3-for-5 with a double. 4-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. 277/390/454 for the year.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBI. 3-for-9 with a home run and four walks in the series. He has walked 11 times in his last 28 plate appearances and is hitting 280/353/517 for the year.

Werth 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. 6-for-13 with three home runs and six RBI in the series. He has homered three days in a row. 292/381/521 for the year.

Ibanez 2-for-3 with a walk. 7-for-11 with a home run and a walk in the series. 467/529/800 over his last 51 plate appearances. 274/354/444 on the season.

Schneider 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI yesterday in his only action in the series. 7-for-his-last-14 with three walks, a double, a home run and five RBI. 241/338/397 on the year.

Valdez 0-for-4 and left four men left on base. 4-for-12 with two doubles in the set. 256/293/360 on the year.

Cole Hamels (11-10, 3.01) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (7-6, 4.64) tonight. Hamels has allowed one run over 28 2/3 innings in his last four starts. He threw a season-high 127 pitches in his last outing. Jurrjens hasn’t fared well in either of his last two starts, allowing 11 earned runs over 8 2/3 innings. Lefties are hitting 294/371/503 against him and righties 250/301/423. He has a 3.51 ERA in his ten starts at home and a 5.81 ERA in his ten starts on the road.

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So long, and thanks for all the Fish pitching

The Phils have faced Florida in seven of their last ten games and been all over the Fish, winning six of the seven games as they scored an average of seven runs per game. The Braves, meanwhile, have stumbled, going 5-9 over their last 14. The combination of the Phillie surge and Atlanta’s struggles have the Phils three games ahead in the division for the first time since the end of May.

The bad news is the Phils are done with Florida for the season.

Last night the Phils pounded Marlin pitching in a 10-5 win as they completed a three-game sweep in Florida. Halladay got the start and again wasn’t fantastic, but he wasn’t terrible, either. He held Florida to three runs over six innings while striking out nine and earning his 19th win of the season. The Phils cranked out 14 hits in the game. Ibanez, Ruiz and Valdez combined to go 8-for-14 in the 6-7-8 spots in the order and Victorino added two more hits of his own as he continues to produce offensively out of the leadoff spot.

Brad Lidge stumbled in the ninth inning for the first time in a long time. With an off day today, Lidge came into the game to protect a 10-4 lead and allowed a hit and three walks before Contreras had to take over with one out and the bases loaded. For Lidge it was just the second time he had been charged with an earned run over his last 19 appearances.

The Phillies are 86-61 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 10-5 last night. They have won four in a row and are in first place in the NL East, three games ahead of the Braves. Atlanta is a half game ahead of the Giants for the Wild Card.

Halladay got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on ten hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. He has a 4.41 ERA over his last five starts and a 4.79 ERA over his last three.

He started the bottom of the first with a 3-0 lead. Emilio Bonifacio led off with an infield single. Halladay struck Logan Morrison out for the first out before Hanley Ramirez moved Bonifacio to second with a ground out to second. Dan Uggla was next and singled into center, scoring Bonifacio to cut the lead to 3-1. Gaby Sanchez flew to right for the third out.

Halladay threw a 1-2-3 second.

The Phillies led 6-1 when he started the third. Morrison and Ramirez singled back-to-back with two outs, putting men on first and second for Uggla. Uggla lined to third, leaving the runners stranded.

It was 8-1 when he started the fourth. Sanchez led off with a single before Chad Tracy flew to center for the first out. Scott Cousins moved Sanchez to second with a single before Brad Davis singled into right to load the bases. Righty Hector Luna hit for pitcher Brett Sinkbeil, who I promise is a real person, and hit a fly ball to right for the second out. Sanchez tagged and scored to make it 8-2 with Cousins taking third. Bonifacio struck out swinging to end the inning.

Up 9-2, Halladay threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Sanchez homered to left to start the sixth. 9-3. Tracy followed that with a single, but Halladay struck out Cousins and Davis behind him. Righty Wes Helms hit for the pitcher Jay Buente (also a real person) and singled into center, sending Tracy to third. Halladay struck Bonifacio out looking 2-2 for the third out.

Durbin started the seventh. Morrison led off with a triple and came in to score when Ramirez followed with a ground out to short. 9-4. Uggla flew to center and Sanchez flew to right to end the inning.

Durbin was pitching in back-to-back games. He pitched a complete inning for the first time in his last five appearances. Since July 29 he’s made 22 appearances and thrown to a 5.82 ERA over 21 2/3 innings.

Madson pitched the eighth. He hit Tracy with a pitch before Cousins struck out swinging for the first out. Davis was next and grounded to short with Tracy forced at second for the second out. Righty Cameron Maybin hit for the pitcher Brian Sanches and Madson struck him out swinging 2-2 for the third out.

Again Madson pitches with a five-run lead. It’s too many appearances for Madson, who has now thrown in 28 of 43 games for the Phils since the start of August. He’s allowed two earned runs in 28 innings in those games (0.64 ERA). He almost surely wouldn’t have been in the game if the Phillies didn’t have an off-day today, but he shouldn’t have pitched anyway.

Lidge started the ninth up 10-4, pitching for the second straight day. Bonifacio singled to right and Morrison followed that with a walk. He struck out Ramirez before Uggla walked on five pitches, loading the bases. Sanchez walked on five pitches as well, forcing Bonifacio in to cut the lead to 10-5. That was it for Lidge. Contreras came into the game with the tying run on deck. He struck Tracy out for the first out and got Cousins on a ground ball to second to end the game.

Lidge and Durbin have both pitched two days in a row, but that shouldn’t be an issue with no game today. Lidge threw 23 pitches in the game, Durbin 20, Madson 15 and Contreras six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jorge Sosa went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez still at short with Rollins sidelined and Victorino leading off.

Utley and Howard walked back-to-back with two outs in the top of the first. Werth singled into right with Utley scoring to make it 1-0 and Howard going to third. Werth stole second before Ibanez cleared the bases with a two-run double. 3-0. Ruiz flew to center for the third out.

Walk, walk, single, stolen base, two-run double for the Phils after two outs and nobody on.

It was 3-1 when Valdez started the second with a single. Halladay bunted him to second and he took third on a ground out by Victorino. Polanco flew to center for the third out.

Utley homered to start the third. 4-1. Howard walked before Werth popped to first for the first out. Ibanez moved Howard to second with a single and Ruiz reached on an error by Tracy at third to load the bases. Valdez singled to left with everyone moving up a base and Howard crossing the plate. 5-1. Halladay struck out for the second out, but Victorino followed that with a single to right. Everyone moved up a base again and Ibanez scored. 6-1. Polanco grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Werth walked with two outs in the fourth. Ibanez was next and singled to center. Werth went to third with Ibanez taking second when the throw came into third. Ruiz was walked intentionally to load the bases. Valdez singled again, moving everyone up a base and scoring Werth to make it 7-1. With Halladay at the plate, a wild pitch by Sinkbeil allowed everyone to take another base. Ibanez scored and it was 8-1. Halladay grounded to second for the third out.

Again the Phillies do it with two outs and nobody on. Valdez was 2-for-2 with two RBI-singles in the last two innings.

Up 8-2, Victorino started the fifth with a triple and scored when Polanco followed with a single to left. 9-2. Utley, Howard and Werth went in order behind Polanco.

Ruiz singled with one out in the sixth. Valdez was next and hit a ground ball to third with Ruiz forced at second for the second out. Halladay flew to left for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the seventh with their lead cut to 9-3.

It was 9-4 when Howard started the eighth with a walk. Werth struck out behind him and Ibanez hit into a double-play.

Ruiz doubled to start the ninth. Valdez flew to center for the first out before Gload hit for Morrison and doubled to left. Ruiz scored and it was 10-4. Victorino grounded to short and Polanco flew to right to leave Gload stranded.

Victorino was 2-for-6 with a triple and an RBI in the game. He was 6-for-16 with a double, a triple and a walk in the series and is hitting 265/330/443 for the season.

Polanco 1-for-6 with an RBI last night and left five men on base. 3-for-15 with a double and a walk in the series. 5-for-his-last-28 and hitting 300/339/397 for the year.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a home run and a walk. 2-for-10 with two home runs and five walks in the series. 274/388/454 on the year.

Howard 0-for-2 with three walks. 1-for-8 with a single and seven walks in the series. 279/348/514.

Werth 1-for-4 with a walk. 3-for-12 with a home run and two walks in the series. 3-for-his-last-20 and hitting 288/379/505 for the year.

Ibanez was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. 3-for-10 with a double and three walks in the set. 266/347/433 for the season. He’s hitting 412/487/765 with seven extra-base hits in 39 plate appearances over his last nine games.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double. 5-for-11 with two walks, a double and a home run in the series. 299/401/437 for the year. 375/500/500 over 60 plate appearances in his last 18 games.

Valdez was 3-for-5 with two RBI. 6-for-13 with a double and a walk in the series. 10-for-28 (357/400/429) filling in for Rollins. He’s at 253/292/355 for the year.

The Phils are off today and start a three-game set with the Nationals tomorrow.

You can also read this post at philliesflow.wordpress.com


The Big Missing Piece

The Phillies saw yet another star hit the DL and kept right on rolling. Worries are that Ryan Howard could be lost for as long as three weeks, but the Phils came out strong again last night to beat Florida 6-1 for their eighth win in ten games.

Halladay did most of the heavy lifting, holding the Fish to a run over seven innings on a hot night in Florida. Again the Phils got a lot of sock out of the bottom of their order as Francisco, Ruiz and Valdez combined to go 9-for-14 with a pair of home runs out of the six, seven and eight holes.

The Phillies are 58-48 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 6-1 last night. They are in second place in the NL East, two games behind the Braves.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing a run on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a solo home run. He struck out nine and dropped his ERA on the year to 2.17.

He threw a 1-2-3 first and started the second with a 2-0 lead. Dan Uggla led off for the Marlins and hit a 2-2 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 2-1. Halladay got the next three.

He struck out Hector Luna, pitcher Sean West and leadoff man Hanley Ramirez in a 1-2-3 third.

The Phils led 4-1 when he started the fourth. Logan Morrison led off for Florida and walked. Gaby Sanchez was next and Halladay struck him out looking for the first out before Uggla moved Morrison to second with a single to left. Cody Ross was next and hit a fly ball to Francisco in right that was deep enough for Morrison to tag and go to third. It brought Mike Stanton to the plate with two outs and men on the corners, but Halladay struck him out swinging 2-2 to end the inning.

He set the Marlins down in order in the fifth with the Phillies up 5-1.

Sanchez singled to left with two outs in the sixth. Halladay got Uggla on a fly ball to center to leave him stranded.

Ross and Stanton singled back-to-back to start the seventh. It put men on first and second for Ronny Paulino and Halladay got Paulino to hit into a double-play. Luna flew to right for the third out.

Durbin pitched the eighth with a five-run lead. He allowed a two-out double to Logan Morrison, but struck Sanchez out behind him.

He was back for the ninth. Uggla led off with a single and Durbin struck Ross and Stanton out behind him before Paulino doubled to left and Uggla went to third. Donnie Murphy hit for the pitcher and Durbin struck him out swinging to end the game.

Durbin threw 42 pitches in the game with a five-run lead coming off an off-day for the Phils and their bullpen. Not sure why.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Sean West went (1) Rollins (2) Ibanez (3) Polanco (4) Werth (5) Francisco (6) Ruiz (7) Ransom (8) Valdez. Valdez at second with Utley on the DL. Francisco in right and Werth in center with Victorino on the DL. Ransom at first against the lefty with Howard out with the ankle problem.

Rollins led off the game with a double to left. Ibanez struck out for the first out, Polanco flew to left for the second and Werth struck out to leave Rollins stranded.

Francisco and Ruiz started the second with back-to-back homers, putting the Phils on top 2-0. Valdez singled with one out and Halladay tried to bunt him to second, but hit into a double-play. The pitcher West fielded the bunt and threw softly to first to get Halladay. Valdez tried to take third on the soft throw, but was thrown out at third to end the inning.

Up 2-1, the Phillies went in order in the third.

Francisco singled with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Ruiz followed with a double. Ransom popped out for the first out and the lefty West walked Valdez intentionally to load the bases with one down. Halladay was next and hit a ball down the third base line that went off of Luna and into foul territory. Francisco and Ruiz both scored and the Phils led 4-1. Rollins popped out to first for the third out.

Francisco and Ruiz power the offense again. No RBI for Ransom with one out and men on second and third.

Ibanez singled to start the fifth. Polanco was next and hit a ball that Uggla didn’t handle for an error that allowed Ibanez to go all the way to third. Werth struck out for the first out and Francisco lined to second for the second. Ruiz picked them up, though, singling into left and bringing in Polanco to make it 5-1. Ransom popped to first to leave the runners stranded at first and second.

Werth and Francisco both can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. Francisco at least hit the ball.

Rollins walked with two outs in the sixth. Ibanez grounded to the pitcher behind him.

Polanco singled to start the seventh. Werth struck out again behind him for the first out before Francisco moved him to second with a single. Ruiz was next and he grounded to second with the runners moving up to second and third. With righty Burke Badenhop on the mound for Florida, Gload hit for Dobbs and was walked intentionally to load the bases. Valdez was next and he hit a ball ticketed for left. Ramirez made a nice play to get a glove on in and save a run, but Valdez had an infield single and Polanco scored to put the Phillies ahead 6-1. Halladay grounded back to the pitcher to set the Phillies down.

Ibanez walked with one out in the eighth. Polanco popped to short and Werth struck out.

Ruiz singled with one out in the ninth. Gload struck out and Valdez lined to short.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. He’s 3-for-his-last-22.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk. He’s hitting 352/441/545 over his last 102 plate appearances.

Polanco 1-for-5 out of the three-hole.

Werth 0-for-5, struck out four times and left five men on base. He went 0-for-5 and struck out three times on July 29 and then came back and went 2-for-4 with a homer the next day. He’s still hitting 377/487/623 over his last 76 plate appearances.

Francisco was 3-for-5 with a home run. 355/412/742 over his last 34 plate appearances.

Ruiz was 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI. He’s 14-for-his-last-31 with four doubles and two home runs.

Ransom was 0-for-3 to drop his average on the year to .190.

Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 4.44) faces righty Anibal Sanchez (8-6, 3.33) tonight. Kendrick has been very good in his two starts since coming back from the minors, allowing two runs over 13 1/3 innings. Sanchez threw a complete game one hit shutout against the Giants on Thursday in his last start. He has allowed just five home runs in 124 1/3 innings this season.

Ryan Howard was put on the DL and John Mayberry was called up. Mayberry has hit 258/321/410 in 383 at-bats at Triple-A this season.


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