Tag: wilson valdez

The replacements

Injuries to Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz have meant that some unexpected players have had a major impact on the Phillies this year. We might as well start expecting them, though, cause the recent trips to the DL by Chase Utley and Placido Polanco ensure we’ll be seeing a lot of those guys in the days to come.

Day one of the Utley/Polanco free era went pretty well. The Phils scored nine runs and won in ten innings. Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez combined to go 5-for-8, hitting two home runs, executing a safety squeeze and driving in seven runs. Seven? Yup.

The game was also notable for another two-out blowup by Brad Lidge. The Phils took a 9-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Lidge set down the first two Reds without a peep before a walk and a single brought Joey Votto to the plate and Votto blasted a three-run homer to tie the game.

Lidge’s ERA puffed to 5.25 on the year with the outing. He has allowed seven runs on the season, six of which have scored with two outs. Opponents are hitting .154 against him with nobody out, .143 against him with one out and 381/458/762 with two outs.

I don’t know what it is with Lidge, but he has had big problems late in innings. My first guesses would be he’s getting tired or something is happening with his slider that makes it much less effective the more he throws it in a game. As I wrote last week, he hasn’t had the same kind of problems over his career with the two-out drop off he is having this season. Either way, it’s an issue whatever the cause and his results for the season aren’t looking so good anymore after last night’s outing.

The Phillies are 41-34 on the season after beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 in ten innings last night. They are in third place in the NL East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves and one game behind the Mets.

Joe Blanton got the start for the Phils and went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a triple. He struck out two and dropped his ERA on the year to 6.19. It’s his third straight start in which he’s allowed three runs or fewer and just the second time this season he didn’t allow a home run in his outing.

Brandon Phillips led off the bottom of the first with a triple and came in to score when Orlando Cabrera followed with a ground out. 1-0. Joey Votto flew out to center for the second out before Johnny Gomes doubled and Jay Bruce followed that with a walk. Blanton hit Miguel Cairo with a pitch to load the bases, but got Chris Heisey on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Blanton started the second up 3-1. Pitcher Mike Leake singled with one out, but Blanton got Phillips and Cabrera behind him to turn Cincinnati away.

Votto singled to start the third, but the Reds went in order behind him.

The Phils were up 6-1 when Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth and a 1-2-3 fifth.

Blanton got the first two in the sixth before Cairo singled and Heisey walked behind him. Ramon Hernandez was next and he delivered a bases clearing double to center, cutting the lead to 6-3. Blanton got the pitcher Leake on a fly ball to center to end the inning.

Phillips started the seventh with a single and Cabrera hit into a double-play behind him. Votto grounded to short for the third out.

Blanton got the first two outs in the eighth before Cairo singled into left. Contreras took over for him and got pinch-hitter Laynce Nix on a fly ball to left for the third out.

Lidge started the ninth with the Phils still up 6-3. He got Hernandez on a soft ground ball to short for the first out and struck out pinch-hitter Drew Stubbs for the second. Phillips was next and Lidge walked him on five pitches. Cabrera was next and moved Phillips to third with a single to left. It brought Votto to the plate and Votto hit a 1-1 pitch out to right center, tying the game at 6-6. Lidge got Gomes on a ball hit out in front of the plate and fielded by Schneider to send the game to extra-innings.

Romero pitched the bottom of the tenth with a 9-6 lead and set the Reds down in order for his third save of the year.

The Phillies lineup against righty Mike Leake went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Schneider (8) Valdez. Dobbs at third and Valdez at second. Rollins drops to third in the lineup with Utley on the DL. Dobbs hits second against the righty. Schneider catches with Ruiz sidelined.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Howard and Werth started the second with back-to-back walks with the Phillies down 3-1. Ibanez was next and flew to center. Howard tagged and went to third. Werth took second with the help of a dropped throw in from the outfield by Cabrera. Schneider was next and he hit the first pitch he saw from Leake out to right, putting the Phillies up 3-1. Valdez and Blanton went down behind him to set the Phillies down.

Rollins singled with two outs in the third, but Howard grounded out behind him.

Werth singled to start the fourth and moved to second on a one-out single by Schneider. Valdez was next and he also hit the first pitch from Leake out of the park, this one to left, putting the Phillies up 6-1. Blanton struck out swinging for the second out before Victorino singled. Dobbs popped to short for the third out.

The Phils went in order in the fifth.

The lead was cut to 6-3 when the Phils hit in the sixth. Schneider singled with one out, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him.

Blanton hit for himself to start the seventh and struck out. Victorino followed with a walk. With lefty Daniel Herrera on the mound for Cincinnati, Castro hit for Dobbs and walked as well. Rollins flew to center for the first out with Victorino moving to third, but Howard struck out to leave both runners stranded.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Valdez started the ninth with a single off of righty Jordan Smith. Gload hit for Contreras and grounded to first with Valdez moving to second. Victorino walked to put men on first and second for Castro, but Castro struck out for the second out and Rollins struck out for the third.

The game was tied at 6-6 when the Phillies hit in the tenth. Lefty Arthur Rhodes, who had an 0.28 ERA in 35 appearances for the year, was on the mound for the Reds. Howard led off with a double and Werth walked. Charlie Manuel was ejected during Ibanez’s at-bat for arguing balls and strikes. Ibanez quickly got behind 0-2 before doubling to center, scoring Howard to put the Phils up 7-6 with men on second and third. Francisco hit for Schneider with the lefty still on the mound and singled into left on a ball deflected by the Cincinnati third baseman Cairo. Werth scored (8-6) and Ibanez went to third. Righty Nick Masset took over for Rhodes and Valdez executed the squeeze with Ibanez scoring to make it 9-6. With men on first and second and still nobody out, Sardinha hit for Lidge. He tried to bunt the runners along, but popped it up for the first out. Victorino flew to right and Castro grounded to second to end the frame.

Victorino was 1-for-4 and walked twice.

Dobbs 0-for-3 to drop his average on the year to .145.

Rollins was 1-for-5. He’s hitting 207/303/310 in 29 at-bats since coming off the DL.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Werth 1-for-3 and walked twice.

Ibanez 1-for-5 with a double.

Schneider 3-for-4 with a three-run homer.

Valdez 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.

Roy Halladay (9-6, 2.29) faces righty Aaron Harang (6-7, 5.07) this afternoon. Halladay threw seven shutout innings against the Blue Jays his last time out, coming off of a pair of starts in which he allowed a combined ten runs in 14 innings. Harang has allowed more than three runs in a start just once in his last six outings.


King of the bowed

There’s something wrong with the Phillies. Not sure what it is, but lack of talent surely isn’t the problem. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be having much an impact on Cole Hamels. Hamels took a no-hitter into the seventh last night. He didn’t get it and the Phillies didn’t win, falling 3-1 as they scored three runs or fewer for the thirteenth time in 15 games.

The Phillies are 30-26 on the year after a 3-1 loss to the Padres last night. The teams split the four-game set.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both solo home runs. He struck out six and lowered his ERA on the year to 3.98. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last seven starts, although in his June 1 start he allowed three runs while getting just two outs before being forced from the game by a rain delay.

Hamels threw 121 pitches in the game, which is his most for the season.

He set down the first eight San Diego hitters he faced before walking the pitcher Wade LeBlanc with two outs in the third. Jerry Hairston flew to right behind LeBlanc for the third out.

Hamels walked Adrian Gonzalez with one out in the fourth, but got Scott Hairston to hit into a double-play behind him.

He threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth.

He hadn’t allowed a hit when he started the seventh. David Eckstein grounded to first for the first out, but Gonzalez was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch out to left to put San Diego on top 1-0. Scott Hairston was next. Hamels got ahead of him 0-2, but Hairston homered to left as well. 2-0. Chase Headley grounded to Hamels for the second out before Yorvit Torrealba lined a single to right. Oscar Salazar was next and he hit the ball hard on a line, but Polanco snared it for the out to leave Torrealba stranded.

Hamels came back with a 1-2-3 eighth.

Baez started the ninth — apparently things went do well on Sunday the Phils couldn’t resist having him throw back-to-back days. The Phillies were still down 2-0. Baez got Eckstein to ground to second for the first out before Gonzalez hit a 3-2 pitch out to left to put San Diego up 3-0. Scott Hairston was next and he reach on an infield single. Headley grounded to second with Hairston forced at second for the second out and Ruiz threw Headley out trying to steal to end the frame.

Baez threw 21 pitches in the game and has pitched two days in a row. Over his last three appearances he has allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Wade LeBlanc went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez at short and Castro on the bench with Rollins on the DL.

Victorino and Polanco singled back-to-back to start the bottom of the first. Utley flew to left for the first out before Victorino and Polanco pulled off a double steal. A walk to Howard loaded the bases for Werth with one out, but Werth hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Two hits, a walk and two stolen bases for the Phils, but no run.

Ibanez singled to right to start the second. Ruiz flew to center for the first out and Valdez hit into a double-play.

Victorino singled with one out in the third, but Polanco and Utley both flew to right.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

They were down 2-0 when they went in order in the seventh.

Righty Luke Gregerson took over for LeBlanc to start the eighth. He got Ruiz to fly to right for the first out. Dobbs hit for Valdez and grounded to first. Gload hit for Hamels and flew to right.

The Phils were down 3-0 when they hit against righty Heath Bell in the ninth. Polanco singled with one out, but Utley flew out to left behind him. Polanco took second without a throw before Howard delivered a double to left, scoring Polanco to make it 3-1. Werth struck out swinging 2-2 to end the game.

Victorino was 2-for-4 in the game. He’s 7-for-16 in the series with a double, a triple and a home run in the series. 264/321/468 for the season.

Polanco was 2-for-4 in the game. 8-for-17 with a walk and eight singles in the four-game set. 320/355/450 for the year.

Utley was 0-for-4 last night. 2-for-15 in the series with two singles. 140/234/193 over his last 64 plate appearances. .140? 260/379/475.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double in game four. 6-for-16 with two doubles and two walks in the series. He has at least one RBI in each of the last three games and drove in six in the series. 286/344/454 for the year.

Werth was 0-for-4 and left four men on base. 1-for-15 with a home run and three walks in the series. 125/222/229 over his last 54 plate appearances. 278/362/552 for the year.

Ibanez was 1-for-3 with a strikeout last night to drop his average for the year to .230. 1-for-13 with two walks in the series. 143/225/229 over his last 40 plate appearances. 230/329/371 on the year.

Ruiz 0-for-3 in the game. 2-for-11 in the series. 214/340/238 over his last 50 plate appearances. 300/425/392 for the year.

Valdez 0-for-2 last night and 1-for-5 in the series. 256/264/360. His .625 OPS for the year is better than his career OPS of .577. Castro was 0-for-7 in the series with four strikeouts to drop his line on the season to 227/252/278. His .531 OPS for the year isn’t quite as good as his career .591 mark.

Werth, Ibanez and Utley are the guys the Phillies need. Since the end of the day on May 10, that trio has hit 199/292/344 over 277 plate appearances. All three have hit under .215 (Utley .202, Werth .183 and Ibanez .213).

Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 4.62) faces righty Chris Volstad (3-6, 4.08) tonight. Kendrick has had two nice starts in a row, allowing one earned runs in his last 13 innings. One of those starts came against the Marlins on May 28. Lefties are still hitting 315/386/532 against him for the year. Volstad has allowed just one home run in his last five starts and faced Kendrick in the May 28 game, holding the Phils to three runs over 6 1/3 innings.


Brave new world?

The Phillies can’t hit, can’t field and can’t win. Those are all big problems, but just part of the challenge faced by this year’s Phils. The other part is that the Atlanta Braves are just good and have been for a while. The Braves looked a whole lot better than the Phils over the past two games, but just about everyone is looking better than the Phils during the recent funk. The problem is that Atlanta winning more than the Phils isn’t a recent development. Here’s what the teams have done in the regular season going back to the start of August, 2009:


Games after July 31 in the 2009 season
Team W L Scored Allowed Dif
ATL 34 25 283 214 +69
PHI 34 27 276 243 +33
           

2010
Team W L Scored Allowed Dif
ATL 30 22 255 206 +49
PHI 28 23 237 203 +34
           

Regular season games after 7/31/09
Team W L Scored Allowed Dif
ATL 64 47 538 420 +118
PHI 62 50 513 446 +67

The Braves are 2 1/2 games better than the Phils since the start of last August. The scarier part is how much better their run differential has been than the Phillies over those 110 games or so. In those games the Phillies have scored 67 more runs that their opponents. Atlanta has nearly doubled that, scoring 118 more runs than they have allowed.

There is good news, though, and that’s that the Phillies are simply better than Atlanta. They finished comfortably ahead of the division in 2009, six games ahead of the second-place team and the second-place team wasn’t even the Braves — it was the Marlins. The Phillies played well enough to win and the Braves didn’t win anything as well as they played.

Sooner or later, the Phillies are going to start to hit and field and win again. When they do, my guess is they win often enough to outpace the Braves. I’m feeling a little less sure than I did couple of weeks ago, though, and they didn’t do a lot last night to make it look like they were about to turn the corner.

The Phillies are 28-23 on the year after a 7-3 loss to the Braves. The Phils fall a game and a half behind the Braves in the NL East. They have lost eight of their last ten.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and got two outs in the first before a rain delay that forced him from the game. He allowed three runs on a double, a homer and two walks and struck out one. Hamels did not return after a delay of an hour an four minutes in the first inning. Atlanta’s starter, Tim Hudson, did and allowed two runs over six innings in the game.

Martin Prado doubled to left to start the bottom of the first. Jason Heyward flew to right for the first out before Hamels walked Chipper Jones. It put men on first and second for Troy Glaus and Glaus hit a 2-1 pitch out to left to put Atlanta up 3-0. Hamels struck out McCann before rain stopped the game. When it started back up the Phils had Durbin on the mound. Durbin walked Yunel Escobar before getting Omar Infante to pop to second to end the inning.

Hamels was behind Escobar 2-1 when rain stopped the game, so when Durbin walked him when the game resumed the walk was charged to Hamels.

Durbin struck out Melky Cabrera to start the second inning before the pitcher Tim Hudson singled to center. Durbin got the next two to leave Hudson stranded.

He walked Glaus with one out in the third and McCann moved Glaus to third with a single. Escobar hit a double-play ball to Castro at third, but the Phillies didn’t get a double-play. They didn’t even get a single play, cause Castro didn’t handle the grounder cleanly and was charged with an error. Glaus scored to make it 4-0 with McCann going to second and Escobar safe at first. Infante was next and he singled to left, scoring McCann (5-0) and sending Escobar to third. Durbin got out of it without any more damage, getting Cabrera to line to short and Hudson to ground to short.

Big error for Castro at third. With both Valdez and Castro in the starting lineup, the Phils put Castro at third and Valdez at short. That presumably means that the Phils think Valdez is better at short or worse at third.

Bastardo threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

He was back for the fifth and walked McCann with one out. Escobar was next and he singled into center, sending McCann to second. Herndon came in to pitch to the righty Infante and walked him to load the bases. Cabrera hit a ground ball to second. Utley went to Valdez for the second out, but that’s all the Phillies would get. McCann scored to put Atlanta up 6-0 with two down and men on first and third for Hudson. Hudson grounded to second to end the inning.

Bastardo threw 1 1/3 innings having thrown 22 pitches the day before. He’s been charged with five runs on 14 appearances for the season, three of which have scored in the last two days.

The lead was cut to 6-2 when Romero started the sixth. He walked Heyward with one out and struck Chipper out swinging before Heyward stole second. After the stolen base, the lefty Romero put the righty Glaus on intentionally and got McCann on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Baez pitched the seventh. He gave up a leadoff single to Escobar, but got Infante on a fly ball to left for the first out before getting Cabrera to hit into a double-play.

Baez was back for the eighth. Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Takashi Saito to and singled to right. Werth mishandled the ball for the Phillies second error of the game, which allowed Hinske to go to third. Gregor Blanco ran for Hinske and came in to score when Prado followed with a fly ball to right, putting Atlanta up 7-2. Baez walked Heyward and Contreras came in to pitch to Jones, getting Chipper to hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Long day for the pen, especially Durbin who threw 51 pitches after throwing seven in Monday’s game. Durbin also pitched three days in a row May 26-28. That’s too much Durbin and you’re not likely to see him for a while. Bastardo was also pitching for the second day in a row. He threw 23 pitches last night after throwing 22 on Monday. Before Monday’s game he hadn’t ever thrown 20 pitches in relief in a game. Now he’s done it twice in two days.

Baez threw 31 pitches in the game. Herndon 12 and Contreras six.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Victorino (2) Valdez (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Valdez at short. Castro at third. Werth back in the lineup after sitting with his 0-for-19. Ruiz catches. Valdez came into game hitting 333/350/513 over his past 41 plate appearances, but he has a .269 on-base percentage for the season and .272 for his career. Hitting him second in the lineup is a poor idea.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Werth walked with one out in the second and the Phillies down 3-0. Ibanez flew to center and Castro grounded to short.

Ruiz reached on an infield single to start the third. Durbin tried to bunt him to second and couldn’t, striking out for the first out. Victorino struck out too, bringing Valdez to the plate with two outs and Ruiz still on first. Valdez singled to left and Infante mishandled the ball for an error, letting Ruiz go to third and Valdez to second. Utley struck out swinging to leave both men stranded.

Durbin can’t get the bunt down.

Ibanez singled with two outs in the fourth and the Phils down 5-0. Castro grounded to short for the third out.

Ruiz walked to start the fifth. Dobbs, who had entered with Bastardo in the bottom of the fourth, was next and he grounded to third with Ruiz forced at second for the first out. Victorino struck out again before Valdez grounded back to the pitcher.

Second time in three innings the Phillies put the leadoff man on base but didn’t score. Victorino struck out in both innings.

Utley started the sixth with a double. Howard followed and hit a 2-2 pitch out to right, cutting the Atlanta lead to 6-2. Werth and Ibanez went down behind him before Gload hit for Herndon and grounded to short.

First home run for Howard since May 21. Including last night, he has hit 139/244/222 in his last 41 plate appearances.

Ruiz singled off of lefty Eric O’Flaherty to start the seventh. Dobbs stayed in the game and singled to right, sending Ruiz to third. Victorino popped to first with the runners holding for the second out. Valdez was next and hit a ground ball to third. Chipper fielded and went to second for an out as Ruiz took off for home. Prado took the throw at second and made a strong throw home, where McCann applied the tag and held the ball as Ruiz slid in to end the frame and turning the Phillies away.

Wow. Great play by Atlanta.

Just a miserable game for Victorino, who can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. He went 0-for-5 and left six men on base in the game.

Dobbs gets a rare at-bat against the lefty with the Phils out of third baseman and comes through with a single. Valdez, Castro and Dobbs are presumably the healthy players on the Phils who could play third. Valdez was playing short and Castro was double-switched out of the game in the fourth.

Werth doubled to center with two outs in the eighth, finally breaking his long slump (he’s 1-for-his-last-22). Ibanez struck out looking for the third.

The Phillies were down 7-2 when they hit in the ninth. Francisco, who had entered with Contreras in the bottom of the eighth, led off with a single to center. Ruiz walked. Dobbs again got to hit against a lefty, this time Jonny Venters, and this time he struck out. Victorino was next and he hit a ground ball back to the pitcher. Venters went to second to force Ruiz for the second out. It brought up Valdez with men on first and third. Victorino took second without a throw before Valdez singled to center, scoring Francisco (7-3) and sending Victorino to third. Utley was hit by a pitch to load the bases and bring Howard to the plate as the tying run. Billy Wagner came in to pitch to Howard and got him to ground an 0-2 pitch to short to end the game.

Victorino was 0-for-5 and struck out twice.

Valdez was 2-for-5 with an RBI and still shouldn’t be hitting second.

Utley 1-for-4 with a double. He’s hitting 176/288/294 over his last 59 plate appearances.

Howard 1-for-5 with a two-run homer. He’s on pace to hit 29 home runs this year and walk 54 times.

Werth 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. He’s still on pace to set the single-season doubles record with 73.

Ibanez 1-for-4.

Castro was 0-for-2. He’s 4-for-his-last-22. You kind of get the feeling he’s not a Manuel favorite.

Ruiz was 2-for-2 with two walks. He’s 6-for-his-last-12 with four walks.

Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 5.04) faces righty Derek Lowe (7-4, 4.86) this afternoon. Lefties are hitting 343/412/586 against Kendrick for the year. He comes off of a strong start against the Marlins in which he allowed two unearned runs over six innings. Lowe ended April with a 5.79 ERA but has a 2.88 ERA and a 1.16 ratio over his past four starts.

This article suggests that Polanco may play again on Friday.


Phils get their wind back

The Phils won a wild one yesterday with a little help. Coming off of an outing in which he threw 120 pitches, superstar Tim Lincecum got what many saw as an early hook and the Phillies roared back with three runs in the ninth inning to tie the game after he left. They also got help from the wind in San Francisco not once or twice but three times and it had a huge impact on the game.

The first and biggest of the three came with the bases loaded in the ninth inning with the Phillies down to their final strike. Jayson Werth lofted a high fly ball that stayed up in the air forever and finally dropped on the line in right field for a bases clearing double that tied the game. With two outs in the top of the eleventh, Wilson Valdez hit a fly ball to left that carried and carried until it hit high off the wall for an RBI-double that put the Phillies ahead. The next batter for the Phils hit what should have been a routine fly ball to left that turned out not to be routine. San Francisco left fielder Eugenio Velez couldn’t reel it in and the two-base error helped the Phillies score a critical second run in the inning.

The Phillies made more than their share of their own luck in the game as well. The most memorable defensive effort of the game came from backup catcher Brian Schneider, who made an amazing play for the second out of the eleventh to keep the game from being tied. With one out and men on second and third and the Phils up a run and the infield in, Velez hit a ground ball to first. Howard threw home, but his throw was bad and on the first base side of home plate. Schneider took the throw and spun back towards the plate, tagging Juan Uribe out as he slid into the plate for the second out of the inning. The next batter grounded to second to end the game.

The Phillies are 12-9 on the year after beating the Giants 7-6 in eleven innings yesterday. San Francisco takes the series two games to one.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out ten. His ERA on the year is up to 5.28.

The starting pitching has been terrible of late. Last night was the sixth game in a row without a quality start. Over those six games the Phillies starters have thrown to a 6.69 ERA and a 1.77 ratio. They’ve allowed 50 hits in 35 innings.

He walked Edgar Renteria with one out in the first and Renteria stole second. Pablo Sandoval was next and he hit the ball hard, but Utley took it for the second out with Renteria moving to third. Hamels struck out Aubrey Huff for the third out.

He walked Bengie Molina with one out in the second. Matt Downs was next and Hamels struck him out for the second out before Nate Schierholtz moved Molina to second with a single. Hamels struck the pitcher Tim Lincecum out swinging 2-2 to leave the runners stranded.

Hamels got the first two hitters to start the bottom of the third before Sandoval doubled on a ball softly hit to right that went off of Werth’s glove. Hamels struck Huff out for the third out.

Mark DeRosa started the fourth with a single, but was caught trying to steal second as Molina struck out. It left the bases empty with two outs for Downs and Hamels struck him out to end the inning.

He had a 1-0 lead when he started the fifth. Schierholtz led off with a single and Lincecum bunted him to second. Andres Torres doubled to left, scoring Schierholtz to tie the game at 1-1. Renteria was next and he reached on an infield single with Torres holding second. Hamels got Sandoval on a popup in the infield and struck out Huff to leave both men stranded.

Molina singled with one out in the sixth and Downs followed with a double that moved him to third. Hamels intentionally walked the lefty Schierholtz, loading the bases with one out for Lincecum. Lincecum struck out. Hamels got ahead of Torres 1-2, but then threw three straight balls to walk him and force in a run. 2-1 with the bases still loaded. Renteria singled to right and Downs and Schierholtz both scored to make it 4-1. Sandoval flew to center for the third out.

I know it sets up the double-play and Schierholtz was 5-for-5 in the game, but I object to walking him intentionally there even if it works. Lefty-lefty on the eight hitter. I think you have to try to get him out.

Baez pitched the seventh. He gave up a two-out single to Molina before getting Downs on a fly ball to Victorino to end the inning.

Contreras got the eighth. Schierholtz led off with a single. Lincecum, who had thrown 98 pitches and had a 4-1 lead, hit for himself and bunted Schierholtz to second. Contreras struck Torres out swinging for the second out and got Renteria to ground to Utley to leave Schierholtz stranded.

Herndon came in to pitch the ninth after the Phillies tied the game at 4-4 with three runs in the top of the ninth. Sandoval led off with a single, but Herndon struck Travis Ishikawa out behind him for the first out. DeRosa hit a slow ground ball to third for the second out that moved Sandoval to second. Herndon walked the righty Molina intentionally and got the righty Downs to ground to third to send the game to extra-innings.

Madson was looking for a save when he entered the game in the bottom of the tenth, trying to protect a 5-4 lead. Schierholtz led off and doubled down the right field line. Howard was playing close to the line and probably should have made the play, but he didn’t. Eugenio Velez moved Schierholtz to third with a ground ball to second. Torres was next and he dumped a single in front of Werth, scoring the runner to tie the game at 5-5. Torres stole second and moved to third when Renteria grounded to second. Sandoval was walked intentionally and took second without a throw when the Phillies didn’t hold him on. Ishikawa grounded to second to end the inning.

Figueroa had a 7-5 lead when he started the eleventh. He got DeRosa on a fly ball to right for the first out before Molina singled to center. Eli Whiteside ran for Molina at first and righty Juan Uribe hit for the pitcher Sergio Romo. Uribe smashed a ball back up the middle and off the body of Figueroa. The ball rolled toward first and Howard picked it up and tried to flip to the pitcher covering first, but the flip was awful. Uribe was safe at third with Whiteside on first and Howard charged with an error. Schierholtz was next and he doubled again, scoring Uribe to make it 7-6 and sending Whiteside to third. The Phillies brought the infield in and Eugenio Velez chopped a ball to Howard. Howard fielded and threw home. His throw was bad, on the first base side of the plate, but Schneider made an amazing play. He caught the throw and spun back towards home, putting his glove in front of the plate. Uribe slid in and tried to avoid the glove and put his hand on the plate but Schneider got him for the second out. Torres grounded to second to end the game.

Golly. Just a fantastic play by Schneider. Getting the tag in exactly the right place, seemingly without looking, might have taken a little luck. Whether it did or not, it was pretty to watch.

Two bad throws in the inning for Howard. One a flip, actually.

Three scoreless innings in the middle of the game from Baez, Contreras and Herndon were critical in the game. Madson and Figueroa were the only guys in the pen to throw more than 15 pitches. Figueroa threw 28 and Madson 27, but the Phillies are off today.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Lincecum went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz.

The Phils went in order in the first.

Lincecum struck out Howard, Werth and Ibanez all swinging in the second. It gave him four for the game cause Polanco went down swinging in the first.

One more strikeout (Hamels) in a 1-2-3 third.

Polanco singled softly to right with one out in the fourth. Utley hit into a double-play behind him.

Howard hit Lincecum’s first pitch of the fifth out to left to put the Phils up 1-0. Lincecum got the next three.

Lincecum threw a 1-2-3 sixth with the game tied at 1-1.

Howard doubled with two outs in the seventh and the Phils down 4-1. Werth flew to center to leave him stranded.

The Phillies went in order in the eighth. With two outs, Gload hit for Ruiz and lined to short.

Lincecum came back to start the ninth with a 4-1 lead having thrown 98 pitches in the game. Dobbs hit for Contreras to start the inning and hit the ball hard, but Ishikawa took it for the first out. Victorino followed with a walk. The Giants brought righty Brian Wilson in to pitch to Polanco and Polanco flew to center for the second out. Utley moved Victorino to third with a single and took second on defensive indifference. Howard walked and the bases were loaded with two down. Werth got behind 1-2 and then lofted a high fly ball down the right field line. It landed either on or just inside the line for a double that cleared the bases and tied the game at 4-4. Ibanez was walked intentionally and Castro popped to second for the third out.

I don’t think there’s and chance that Lincecum pitches to Howard given that Howard has homered and doubled off of him in the game. Probably not Utley either. I thought it was surprising he didn’t pitch to Polanco, though. Even after he walks Victorino, if he gets Polanco and Utley he doesn’t face Howard. Polanco wasn’t a lefty and he wasn’t the tying run.

Schneider was hit by a pitch to start the tenth. Valdez bunted him to second with the first out. Victorino singled to center and Schneider moved to third. With Polanco at the plate, San Francisco pitcher Jeremy Affeldt delivered a pitch that Molina should have handled but didn’t. Schneider scored to put the Phils up 5-4. Polanco was hit by a pitch on the foot and Utley walked to load the bases for Howard with one out. Howard struck out swinging 0-2. Sergio Romo came in and struck Werth out to leave the bases loaded.

Huge strikeout for Howard with one out.

The Giants tied it up in the bottom of the tenth. Ibanez led off the eleventh with a single. Francisco hit for Madson and bunted Ibanez to second. Schneider struck out swinging for the second out. Valdez was next and he lofted a 3-2 pitch down the left field line. The ball carried and carried and went high off the wall for a double. Ibanez scored to put the Phillies up 6-5. Victorino was next and he hit a fly ball to shallow left that should have ended the frame, but the ball went off of Velez’s glove for an error and Ibanez scored to make it 7-5. Velez was there, he just didn’t catch the ball. Polanco flew to right for the third out.

Enormous error for Velez given that the Giants scored a run in the bottom of the eleventh. Glad to see Ibanez start the rally in the eleventh.

Victorino was 1-for-5 yesterday and 4-for-14 with two doubles and a walk in the series. He’s hitting 225/263/393 on the year.

Polanco was 2-for-13 with a walk in the series. 313/344/446 for the year. He’s 3-for-his-last-25 with three singles.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 2-for-10 in the series. 3-for-his-last-22 with three singles. 282/429/564.

Howard was 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and a home run yesterday. 4-for-11 with two walks in the set. 286/323/505.

Werth was 1-for-5 with a huge double in the ninth. He struck out three times. 2-for-10 with two doubles and six strikeouts in the series. 315/398/589 for the year.

Ibanez was 1-for-4 yesterday with a big single in the eleventh and a walk. 1-for-6 in the series. 219/346/344 for the year. He didn’t play in game one with Francisco in left.

Castro was 0-for-4 yesterday and 0-for-7 in the series. He started games two and three at short with Valdez playing in game one. 283/292/326 for the season.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 yesterday and 0-for-6 with three walks in the series. Gload hit for him in the eighth yesterday, which is a little unusual. 269/424/327 on the season.

Francisco started in left in game one of the set and was 1-for-5 with an RBI in the series. He’s 4-for-18 with a double for the season.

Valdez started game one at short and had a big hit yesterday in the top of the eleventh. 1-for-4 in the series and 3-for-13 for the year.

Schneider made an outstanding defensive play in the bottom of the eleventh yesterday to keep the game from being tied. He was 0-for-1 in the series and is 2-for-14 on the season.

Blanton allowed five runs over five innings for Reading last night. This says the Phillies have not given him a timetable for his return.

No date yet for Lidge, either.


Rolling old school

The fantastic run of starting pitching continued for the Phils last night. This time it was Jamie Moyer making his first good start of the season. Moyer held the Braves to two unearned runs on four hits and two walks over six strong innings to earn his second win of the season and the 260th of his career. The Phillies have five quality starts in their last six games.

What they also got last night was some runs. Eight, to be exact. They came into last night’s game having scored six runs over their past four games. The battered left side of the infield proved not to be the problem, but a big part of the solution. With Rollins and Polanco both out of the lineup, their replacements, Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs, combined to go 5-for-8 and scored four of the team’s eight runs.

The Phillies are 10-5 on the season after beating the Braves 8-3 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one.

Moyer got the start for the Phils and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Both of the runs were unearned, thanks for some defensive floundering by Utley in the fifth. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four and dropped his ERA for the season to 5.00.

Matt Diaz lined to right for the first out of the first with the Phillies up 2-0. Martin Prado was next and he hit it hard, too, but Dobbs snared his line drive for the second out. Chipper Jones followed with a single to left, but Moyer got Brian McCann on a soft ground ball to first to end the inning.

He struck out Troy Glaus and Yunel Escobar to start the second before he hit Jason Heyward with a pitch. Melky Cabrera lined to short to end the inning.

That’s a lot of line outs in two innings.

He was up 5-0 when he started the third. The pitcher Derek Lowe and Diaz both grounded out to start the inning, but Prado doubled to left. Chipper grounded to third to leave him stranded.

He set the Braves down in order in the fourth.

Cabrera walked with one out in the fifth. Righty Omar Infante hit for Lowe and walked, putting men on first and second with one down. Diaz was next and hit a ball to short. Castro fielded and threw to second, but Utley didn’t handle his throw. Cabrera scored to make it 5-1. Utley was charged with an error and it was still first and second with one out. Prado was next and he hit a ball to Castro as well. This time Utley caught the throw at second for the second out, but then threw the ball away from another error. Infante scored and it was 5-2 with two outs and a man on first. Jones hit yet another line drive, but Dobbs caught it at third for the third out.

Miserable inning defensively for Utley. Two walks issued by Moyer made it possible.

The Phillies were up 6-2 when Moyer started the sixth. McCann led off with a single. Moyer struck out Glaus for the first out before Escobar doubled to center, sending McCann to third. Moyer struck out Heyward for the second out and got Cabrera on a pop up to short to end the inning.

Huge strikeout by Moyer to get Heyward with one out and men on second and third.

Durbin started the seventh with an 8-2 lead. McLouth led off and doubled to right. Durbin struck Diaz out for the first out, but Prado singled to right. It put men on first and third with one out for Chipper and Chipper walked on four pitches to load the bases. McCann got ahead 3-0 and then hit a fly ball deep to left that Ibanez took in front of the warning track for the second out. McLouth tagged and scored. 8-3 with men on first and second. Durbin struck Glaus out swinging at a 3-2 slider.

Nice job to come back by Durbin and hold them to one run. Things looked a little worrisome when he walked Chipper on four pitches and then got way behind McCann.

Baez threw a 1-2-3 eighth with an 8-3 lead.

Herndon entered in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Hinske led off with a single, but Diaz grounded into a double-play behind him to clear the bases. Prado reached on an infield single and moved to third when Chipper followed that with a double. Herndon got McCann to fly to left to end the game.

Herndon keeps Atlanta off the board, but has allowed eight hits over 1 1/3 innings in his last two appearances.

Durbin threw 33 pitches in the game and seems unlikely for tonight. Herndon 12 and Baez nine.

The Phillies lineup against righty Derek Lowe went (1) Victorino (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Dobbs plays third with Polanco on the bench after getting hit on the elbow with a pitch on Wednesday. Castro plays short with Rollins on the DL. Second is a little high for Dobbs. Seven is a little high for Castro. Three lefties in a row 2-3-4 for the Phils.

Dobbs and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the first. It put men on first and third for Howard and Howard singled to center. 1-0 with men on first and third. Werth flew to center deep enough for Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0. Ibanez lined to second for the third out.

Ruiz singled with one out in the second and Moyer bunted him to second. Victorino grounded to second to leave him stranded.

Dobbs banged a double off the wall in right to start the third. Utley walked. Howard flew to left for the first out before Werth walked to load the bases. Ibanez hit a double-play ball, but the Braves didn’t get a double-play. They didn’t even get a single play. Prado fielded, but his throw wasn’t handled by Escobar. Dobbs and Utley both scored with Werth moving to third with the Phils up 4-0. Castro singled to right. Werth scored and Ibanez went to second. 5-0. Ruiz struck out and Moyer grounded back to the pitcher to leave both men stranded.

Not turning the double-play to end the inning costs the Braves three runs.

The Phils went in order in the fourth and the fifth.

Castro started the sixth with a single off of righty Kris Medlan. Ruiz moved him to second with a single. Moyer would have bunted, but Medlan couldn’t find the strike zone and Moyer walked to load the bases with nobody out. Victorino flew to left for the first out. Castro tagged and scored to put the Phils up 6-2. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty came in to pitch to Dobbs and Wilson Valdez hit for Dobbs. Valdez hit a ground ball to short and Ruiz was forced at second for the second out. Utley walked and the bases were loaded for Howard. Howard struck out.

So the Phillies get one run after loading the bases with nobody out. The righty Valdez hits for Dobbs against the lefty. I think you have to let Francisco hit there because there are two men on base even though Valdez is going to come into the game and play third. Assuming Francisco isn’t hurt I think Manuel thinks the sixth is too early to use the best hitter on your bench. I don’t agree.

The single by Castro got the sixth started after he delivered a big two-out hit in the third.

Ibanez walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second when Castro followed with another single. Ruiz flew to right for the second out, sending Ibanez to third. With righty Peter Moylan on the mound, Gload hit for Moyer and singled to center. Ibanez scored to make it 7-2 and Castro went to third. Victorino was next and he singled to right. 8-2 with men on first and second. Valdez struck out swinging to leave them stranded.

Utley, Howard and Werth went in order in the eighth.

Ibanez singled to start the ninth, but Castro struck out behind him for the first out. Ruiz grounded to short for the first out with Ibanez moving to second. With righty Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Braves, Francisco hit for Baez and flew to center.

Francisco winds up getting an at-bat in the game, but against a righty with one man on base instead of two.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with two RBI in the game. He was 2-for-14 with two singles and no walks in the three-game set. He’s hitting 212/254/379 for the season. He’s 3-for-his-last-21 and doesn’t have an extra-base hit in the last six games.

Polanco started games one and two and did not play yesterday after being hit on the elbow with a pitch in game two. 2-for-7 with a double in the series. 383/400/567 for the season. He’s walked once for the year, putting him on pace to walk 11 times. That’s not going to matter if he hits .383, but he’s not. On the other hand, he’s not going to walk 11 times either.

Utley was 1-for-3 with two walks and two errors last night. 4-for-12 with two doubles and two walks in the series. 339/479/739 on the year.

Howard was 1-for-5 with an RBI and five men left on base. 3-for-13 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 294/324/529. He hasn’t homered in ten games and isn’t walking either. He’s on pace to walk 32 times this season.

Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 3-for-11 with three doubles and a walk. 327/413/558.

Ibanez 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI yesterday. 3-for-9 with a double and four walks in the series. 200/344/280 for the year.

Castro was 3-for-5 with an RBI yesterday and 5-for-13 in the set. He’s hitting 353/361/382 in 34 at-bats for the year.

Ruiz was 2-for-5 and left five men on base yesterday. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 275/420/325.

Dobbs started at third last night. He was 2-for-3 with a double in the game and 2-for-4 in the series. His double last night was the only extra-base hit for the Phils in the game. He’s 3-for-12 with two walks for the season.

Valdez was 0-for-2 last night and 0-for-3 in the series.

Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.86) faces righty Kris Benson (0-1, 3.00) tonight in Arizona as the Phils play the first of three against the 6-9 Snakes. Hamels was brilliant against the Marlins in his last start after a rocky start to the season. Benson has made one start for Arizona, allowing two runs over six innings against the Padres last Saturday.

JA Happ was put on the DL. JC Romero took his spot on the roster. Nelson Figueroa will start on Saturday against Ian Kennedy.

The article linked above says Polanco thinks he should be back in the lineup tonight.


The doctor (and pretty much everyone else in the rotation) is on

Roy Halladay’s amazing start to the season continued last night as he delivered a complete game shutout against the Braves in Atlanta. Halladay got more than a little help from his defense in the game. Shane Victorino went over the wall to take a home run away, Chase Utley made a fantastic play to start a critical double-play late in the game and Ryan Howard made several nice plays at first.

Halladay isn’t the only guy pitching well in the rotation for the Phils these days. Hamels, Kendrick and Halladay have now given the Phillies three fantastic starts in a row. Over those three games the Phils starters have allowed two earned runs in 25 innings (0.72 ERA and an 0.76 ratio). The Phillies have four quality starts in their last five games.

All that good starting pitching and defense is going to come in handy for the Phils as they continue a stretch where they score very few runs. They have scored six times in their last four games. Polanco left last night’s game early after being hit on the elbow by a pitch. Assuming he’s not in the lineup tonight, that puts more of a burden on a team struggling offensively that played the last few innings of last night’s game with Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez on the left side of their infield.

The Phils are 9-5 on the season after beating the Braves 2-0 last night.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout. He allowed five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out seven. After four starts, he’s 4-0 with an 0.82 ERA.

He set Nate McLouth, Martin Prado and Chipper Jones down in order in first.

He started the bottom of the second with a 1-0 lead and got Brian McCann, Troy Glaus and Jason Heyward in order with the help of a great catch by Victorino. Glaus drove the ball deep to center field. Victorino made a long run to the track and jumped at the wall, reaching above the wall to take away what would have been a home run.

Nice catch.

Yunel Escobar, Melky Cabrera and Tim Hudson went in order in the third.

Chipper split the gap in left center with two outs in the fourth for a double. McCann was next and struck out swinging to leave him stranded.

Halladay had another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, getting Glaus on a fly ball to center and Heyward and Escobar on ground outs.

The Phillies were up 2-0 when Halladay started the sixth. Cabrera led off with a single and switch-hitter Brooks Conrad hit for the pitcher Hudson. He fouled out to Ruiz for the first out. Halladay got McLouth on a fly ball to center and Prado on a grounder to third to end the inning with Cabrera stranded.

Wilson Valdez was at third base to start the bottom of the seventh. Jones and McCann singled back-to-back to get things started, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Halladay struck out Glaus for the first out before Heyward walked to load the bases. Escobar smashed a ball back up the middle, but Utley gloved it diving to his right. He flipped to second for the first out and Castro’s relay to first completed the double-play and ended the inning.

Huge play by Utley.

Lefty Eric Hinske hit for the pitcher Jonny Venters with one out in the eighth and flared a ball into left that dropped near the line for a double. A ground out by McLouth moved him to third, but Prado grounded to short to leave him stranded.

Halladay had thrown 101 pitches through eight innings.

He was back for the ninth and threw another 1-2-3 inning with the help of three nice defensive plays. Chipper led off and ripped a ball in between first and second, but Howard made a great diving play to his first to field the ball and tossed to first to get him. McCann grounded hard to Howard for the second out. Glaus was next and he hit a ball slowly to third. Valdez charged and made a nice play, throwing him out at first to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Castro (8) Ruiz. Rollins on the DL and Castro at short.

Polanco was drilled on the left elbow with one out in the first and went to second on a wild pitch after Utley struck out swinging. Howard struck out to leave him stranded.

Werth and Ibanez started the second with back-to-back doubles. 1-0. Castro moved Ibanez to third with a single to left. Ruiz flew to right with the runners holding. Halladay struck out for the second out. Victorino flew to center to leave both men stranded.

Nice to see Werth and Ibanez do some damage, but the Phils can’t get any more after putting men on first and third with nobody out.

Utley doubled into the right field corner after Polanco grounded to the pitcher to start the third. Howard was walked intentionally. Werth struck out swinging for the second out. Ibanez chopped a ball back up the middle, but Escobar fielded near second base and threw him out to leave two more stranded.

I thought it was pretty early to walk Howard intentionally, especially after Werth and Ibanez doubled back-to-back the inning before. It worked, though.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth and again in the fifth.

Howard started the sixth with a single and came around to score when Werth followed with a double. 2-0. Werth took third on the throw, but the Phillies wouldn’t be able to bring him home. The lefty Ibanez was walked intentionally. Castro followed with a ball hit to short. Escobar came home with it and the Braves got Werth. First and second with one out for Ruiz. Ruiz hit a ground ball to second and Castro was forced at second for the second out. Halladay grounded to short for the third out.

Werth in the middle of the scoring again for the Phils. The Phillies can’t add another run with a man on third and nobody out as the Braves get Werth at the plate on Castro’s ground ball.

Lefty Jonny Venters set the Phillies down in order in the seventh. Wilson Valdez hit for Polanco and grounded to short for the second out.

The Phils went in order in the eighth.

Ruiz doubled to left with one out in the ninth off of Takashi Saito. Halladay moved him to third with a ground out, but Victorino struck out looking to leave him stranded.

Victorino was 0-for-5 and struck out twice. He’s hitting .210 for the year after going 1-for-his-last-14.

Polanco 0-for-2 and left in the seventh after being hit by a pitch early. This says he’s likely to be out of the lineup in tonight’s game but may not miss too many games.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a double and struck out twice. He made a huge defensive play in the seventh to start the double-play.

Howard was fantastic with the glove in the game as well. He was 1-for-3 with a walk in the game.

Werth was in the middle of all the scoring. 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI.

Ibanez was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. He’s still hitting just .196, but is 2-for-his-last-5 with three walks.

Castro was 1-for-4.

Ruiz 1-for-4 and left four men on base.

Moyer (1-1, 7.50) faces righty Derek Lowe (3-0, 4.67) tonight. Moyer has made two starts and didn’t pitch very well in either of them. In each start he allowed five runs in a single inning. Atlanta has scored at least seven runs in each of the three games that Lowe has started this season.


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