Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: August 2010

Oh Where, Oh Where Were the Bats?

Hiroki Kuroda was close to a no-no. But Shane Victorino thwarted the Japanese righty’s no-hit bid with only five outs to go in the game. Kuroda still got the last laugh, shutting down the Phillies and leading the Dodgers to a 3-0 win Monday night.

Kuroda was damn-near unhittable until Victorino’s single in the eighth. Kuroda didn’t finish the inning, lasting 7 2/3 innings while only allowing four base runners: a hit, two walks, and a hit batter.

Roy Halladay again fell victim to a lack of offense, pitching seven solid innings of work while allowing three runs on 1o hits and a walk while striking out four. It was Halladay’s 10th loss of the year while deserving probably only half of them.

Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, and Jamey Carroll all had two hit games off Halladay. Also the usual Phillies killer, Rod Barajas, hit a solo homer in the fifth inning to make it a 3-0 game.

WP: Kuroda (10-11). LP: Halladay (16-10).



Series Preview: Dodgers

PHI: 73-57, 2nd in NL East
LAD: 67-64, 4th in NL West
Where: Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles, CA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Roy Halladay (16-9, 2.22) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (9-11, 3.56)
Tuesday: Kyle Kendrick (8-7, 4.64) vs. Carlos Monasterios (3-4, 3.54)
Wednesday: Roy Oswalt (9-13, 3.12) vs. Clayton Kershaw* (11-8, 3.01)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 10:10: CSN
Tuesday, 10:10: CSN
Wednesday, 3:10: CSN
All Games on 1210 AM

Player to Watch – Andre Ethier: He is pretty much LA’s finest. Ethier is batting .295 with 22 homers and 74 RBIs. He had some time off with an injury earlier in the season and picked up where he left off but he hasn’t swung well as of late. He’s had a couple multi-hit games in the past week that were separated by a bunch of 0-for’s.

Series Overview – The Phillies lead the season series 2-1, which was played earlier this month. The third game of the series featured another monumental melt-down by closer Jonathon Broxton against the Phils in which Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run walk-off double to cap-off a four-run ninth. The ninth followed a four-run eighth in which the Phils started down 9-2.

The Dodgers, despite their season struggles, have kept alive with their record at home. They’ve compiled a 39-27 record at home. The Phillies used their sweep in San Diego to pull themselves to .500-ball on the road at 31-31.

The Phillies are 17-9 in August, their best month of the season (surpassing May’s 16-12 record).

The starting pitching has been absolutely tremendous in the Phillies’ last seven games in which they were 3-4. The starters have posted a 2.20 ERA (12 earned runs in 49.0 IP) and have gone at least six innings in each start.

The Phillies have won 14 of their last 16 games against teams from the NL West. I think it’s safe to say they have a leg up on the Dodgers already.

Manny Ramirez is no longer a Dodger, leaving the team a lot lighter in the hair department and headache free. It also leaves them short on a bat, something they will need going up against the Phillies starting pitching.

SoCal Sweeping

It was about time the Phillies have Cole Hamels the run support he deserved. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Cole Hamels, I would like to introduce to you the offense. It’s amazing that despite how incredible Hamels had been pitching since July 11 that this is the lefty’s first win in that span, a total of eight starts.

Hamels went eight innings of four-hit ball in the Phillies 5-0 win in his home town of San Diego. He struck out six as he kept the Padres hitters on their heels the entire game. Ryan Madson pitched the ninth to preserve the shut out.

If Hamels’ pitch count wasn’t at 115 and the Phillies weren’t holding a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead after eight, he most likely would have pitched the ninth. But Cole did good work and there was no need to strain his golden arm.

It was an excellent home coming for Hamels and team mate, Mike Sweeney. Sweeney got the start today for a few reasons: resting Ryan Howard against a lefty starter and playing the Orange, CA native in front of some family and friends in attendance.

Sweeney hit his seventh home run of the season and first as a Phillie, a line drive that snuck it’s way around the left field foul pole. Sweeney has torched the Padres in his career with a .485 average, five home runs, and 20 RBIs.

Jayson Werth gave the Phillies an insurance run in the ninth inning with his solo homer to left, only his third in the month of August. Carlos Ruiz also went 2-for-3 on the night, scoring twice.

It’s odd when a team gets swept at home by the Houston Astros and then turns around and sweeps the team with the best record in their league in their ball park. The Phillies have had constant success against the Padres though. The currently have a seven game winning streak in San Diego and are 18-4 at PETCO Park.

HR: Sweeney (7), Werth (18).

WP: Hamels (8-10). LP: Richard (12-6).


A Blantonian Effort

“Heavy B,” as the fans love to call him, has been starting to find his groove and is settling in as the Phillies #4. He gave forth another good six-inning, one-run effort to lead the Phillies to a 3-1 win in San Diego.

Jon Garland had had an unsuccessful run against the Phillies in his career but was good tonight. He lasted 6 1/3 innings with giving up three runs on three hits while walking three.

The Phillies managed only three hits all night, two of them coming from Shane Victorino. Victorino also drove in two runs, including the RBI triple in the seventh that gave the Phils the 2-1 lead. Mike Sweeney also grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

With Atlanta’s victory, the Phillies remain two games back. The Phillies are still not scoring the way they are capable of. Three runs isn’t going to cut it against some of the more offensive juggernauts in the majors. This series victory should get the Phillies back on track and put the Astros series in the rear view mirror.

3B: Victorino (9).

WP: Blanton (6-6). LP: Garland (13-9). S: Lidge (18).


Patient Phils Edge Padres In Extras

As Tom Petty once said, “waiting is the hardest part.” The Phillies were a little more selective at the plate tonight and had to play extra innings against the Padres. Despite a blown save they worked Padres pitching and won a close contest 3-2 in 12 innings in San Diego

Roy Oswalt turned in another fine pitching performance. Oswalt went eight superb innings giving up only one run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks. He stayed ahead of the Padres hitters and didn’t allow many base runners.

Oswalt was helped out by some incredible defense courtesy of Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz caught both Ryan Ludwick and Chase Headley stealing in the second inning. This allowed the Phillies to avoid having the Padres put runners in scoring position.

The Phillies lineup played small ball to win this game. Jimmy Rollins had two hits tonight including a two out single in the third inning. Placido Polanco followed it with another single and Chase Utley singled once again to bring in Rollins.

Patience paid off once again in the eighth inning. Utley worked a one out walk and Ryan Howard looked good at the plate in notching a single. Jayson Werth followed it up with a big walk to load the bases for Raul Ibanez. Ibanez slapped a line drive in shallow right field that allowed Utley to score to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

Brad Lidge had been pitching phenomenal lately but his luck ran out tonight. He blew the save opportunity and it sure wasn’t pretty. Lidge started off the ninth inning by allowing a leadoff single to former Phillies hero Matt Stairs. He also hit Ludwick right on the hand to load up the bases with two outs. He had two strikes on Chase Headley when he balked which allowed the tying run to score and tie the game.

The game went to extra innings and the Phillies offense was looking stagnant. But in the 12th inning Rollins led off by a double to right field. Polanco followed with an RBI single where Rollins slid around the tag of Yorvit Torrealba to score the winning run.

Chad Durbin pitched two scoreless innings of relief and was credited with the win.  Durbin had two strikeouts in his two innings of work and was able to shut the door on the Padres.  The Phillies win coupled with a Braves loss moves the Phillies two games behind Atlanta in the NL East.  Joe Blanton takes the hill tomorrow for the Phillies.

2B: Rollins (12)

WP: Durbin (4-1). LP: Frieri (0-1)


Series Preview: Padres

PHI: 70-57, 2nd in NL East
SD: 76-50, 1st in NL West
Where: PETCO Park (San Diego, CA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Fr: Roy Oswalt (9-13, 3.22) vs. Mat Latos (13-5, 2.33)
Sat: Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.32) vs. John Garland (13-8, 3.25)
Sun: Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.47) vs. Clayton Richard (12-5, 3.55)

Fri: 10:05, CSN
Sat: 4:10, FOX
Sun: 4:05, MyPHL 17
All games on 1210 AM

Hot (last 4) – Roy Oswalt: 3-0, 1.65 ERA, 27.1 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 25 K.
Not (last 6) – Ryan Howard: .160 (3-for-24), 1 RBI, 12 K since returning from DL.

Player to Watch – Adrian Gonzalez: He’s leading the team in offense with a .298 average, 26 homers, and 82 RBIs. He’s only a few points off in both average and OBP (.389) in being the 3-4-5-type of player that teams covet. He’s been one of the hottest players on that team currently and is their main offensive threat. Hopefully the starting pitching and worn bull pen can keep him at bay.

Overview: San Diego is on a pretty good winning pace, holding onto a comfortable six-game lead in the West. They’ve won eight of their last 10 while the Phillies are coming off of a four-game sweep to a weak team like the Astros.

The Padres are a good 39-24 at homer while the Phillies are 28-31 on the road. But the Phillies have had recent success in San Diego, compiling an 15-4 record since 2004.

The two teams split a four-game series back in early June. But it’s a different part of the season now and both teams are in different positions. It will be interesting to see how the Phillies handle going into a series trailing in the division and wild card while going up against one of the better teams in the National League.

The Phillies are lucky to not have Kyle Kendrick on the hill but will also be missing their ace, Roy Halladay. Hamels and Oswalt will need to pick up the slack and Blanton will need to continue his solid streak as the Phillies hope to regulate the Padres offense.

Offense Stumbles Again

Who would have seriously thought this team would get swept in a four-game series to the Astros? Well, folks, that’s exactly what happened as the Astros beat the Phils 5-1 to complete the improbable sweep between a playoff contender and a playoff dreamer.

Wandy Rodriguez kept the Phillies’ bats silent in seven innings of work. He allowed a run on five hits and one walk while striking out six.

Kyle Kendrick wasn’t bad but he gave up a run in each of the first four innings. He finished with four runs on nine hits in six innings pitched while striking out one.

Michael Bourn was a terror on the base paths today. The speedy centerfielder was 3-for-5 with a run scored and RBI. Carlos Lee did damage to the Phillies again as he went 2-for-4 with a double and home run.

Raul Ibanez had himself a three hit game. Chase Utley had an RBI double in the sixth to provide the Phillies with its only offensive showing.

Ryan Howard went 0-for-4 with two strike outs as he continues to struggle off the DL. Howard is now 3-for-24 with 14 strike outs since his return from a sprained left ankle.

The Phillies made the fans think they had a come back in them as Ibanez and Shane Victorino had back-to-back base hits in the ninth with two outs. But Carlos Ruiz flew out to center to end the game.

The Phillies were swept at home which is shocking considering they entered the series with the best home record in baseball (42-22). It was the first time they were swept in a four-game series since September 6-9 at Veterans Stadium in 1999.

The Phils will take their road struggles (28-31) to San Diego to face the first place Padres. Roy Oswalt will take the hill as he hoped to provide the Phillies with a well enough start to win.

2B: Ibanez (27), Utley (15).

WP: W. Rodriguez (10-12). LP: Kendrick (8-7)


Ex’s Shine In Win

J.A. Happ was good and Michael Bourn’s only hit was the one that mattered. The lefty shut down his former team and Bourn’s solo shot in the sixth was key as the Astros beat the Phillies for the third straight time this series by a score of 3-2.

Happ went 6 1/3 innings while allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. It was his fourth win of the season. Both he and Brett Myers were victorious over their former teams who drafted them and saw them go through their farm system.

Bourn’s solo home run in the sixth broke a 1-1 tie created by the Phillies in the fifth. Chris Johnson and Humberto Quintero both had two hits on the game with Quintero’s being the winner in the seventh. Hunter Pence homered in the fourth inning to break up Roy Halladay’s early perfect game.

Halladay was great in his start, going seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six. His perfect game was broken up in the fourth while Happ’s no-hit bid was lost in the fifth off of Jayson Werth’s lead-off homer.

Werth homered in the fifth and Placido Polanco doubled in Doc in the sixth to provide the Phillies with their only offense of the night.

Both Atlanta and San Francisco lost today to keep the Phillies 2 1/2 games back in the division and tied with the Giants for the wild card spot. It was the ninth straight day the Phillies and Braves matched each other for wins and losses.

2B: Polanco (23). HR: Werth (17).

WP: Happ (4-2). LP: Halladay (16-9). S: Lyon (8).


Umps The Story In Marathon Loss

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard had to be restrained from go after third base umpire Scott Barry after Barry said Howard went around for strike three. (Ron Cortes/Philly Inquirer)

Never should the umpires take the story away from a game. Especially in a game that went 16 innings and last five hours and 20 minutes, saw 15 different pitchers, and even saw an ace play left field for two innings.

But instead, third base umpire Scott Barry was the story in the Phillies 4-2 loss in 16 innings to Houston.

I should be talking about another seven inning, two-run effort by Cole Hamels being wasted. I should be talking about Jimmy Rollins’ game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth. I should be talking about Ryan Howard’s five strike outs. I should be talking about how anemic the offense was despite having it’s starting eight back in the line up together for the first time since May 21.

But instead, Barry baited Howard into an ejection in the 14th inning that left the Phillies with one option, putting Roy Oswalt in left field and moving Raul Ibanez to first, a position he hadn’t played since May 2005.

With an 0-1 count, Howard checked his swing but Barry, who was the third base umpire for the game, said Howard went around. Howard was obviously heated about that call, kept going with the at-bat.

With a 1-2 count, Howard checked his swing once again, clearly not even coming close to a swing and Barry said he went for strike three. Howard threw his bat and was immediately ejected by Barry.

Barry then said something to Howard which forced him to charge at Barry and the big man needed to be restrained by third base coach Sam Perlozzo and Placido Polanco. Charlie Manuel came out and was ejected and Ross Gload, who is on the DL, was ejected from the dugout. Both were tossed by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.

The officiating in recent years has become somewhat of a disgrace, from the blatant blown calls to the arrogance of umpires. Though I know a majority of umpires hate the fact that video review for more than home runs is looming, they are certainly proving why it’s necessary.

So Howard was ejected and the Phillies were screwed. They had exhausted their bull pen and bench in the game, leaving them with a hole at first base. So they opted with throwing Oswalt in left and move Ibanez to first where both players did alright.

Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt plays left field after Ryan Howard's ejection. Raul Ibanez moved to first base. (Ron Cortes/Philly Inquirer)

The first batter in the top of the 15th hit a fly ball straight to Oswalt, in which he squeezed for the first out, bringing a loud ovation from the fans. Ibanez made a nice diving play at first base before he dropped a throw to first that would of limited the damage in the 16th to just one run.

The bull pen had gone 8 1/3 innings of shut out ball until David Herndon ran out of gas in his third inning of work. No blame gets put on him as he loaded the bases and allowed an infield hit and a missed double-play opportunity to put two runs on the board for Houston. He did his job and the balls were just placed where the fielders couldn’t make a play.

The Phillies stranded 19 runners total in the game. They were also 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. This can not happen in a 16-inning game in the middle of a divisional and wild card race.

Howard went 0-for-7 and was the first major league player to do so since Jim Thome did it in 2004 with guess who: the Phillies. Howard is also 2-for-19 with 12 strike outs since coming off the DL. He and Chase Utley have not been affective since making their returns to the Phillies line up, causing speculation that they weren’t ready to come back up.

With the Braves loss, the Phillies remained 2 1/2 game back of Atlanta. But San Francisco won, pulling them with a tie for the wild card with Philadelphia.

Roy Halladay will face another former Phillies making his first career start against the Phightins in J.A. Happ. Happ was a part of the trade that brought Oswalt to the Phillies.

2B: Ibanez 2 (26). HR: Rollins (6).

WP: Fulchino (1-0). LP: Herndon (1-3).


Myers Beats Former Team

Brett Myers “stuck it” to the Phils. He backed up his comments in the off season as he limited the Phillies offense to two runs as the Astros beat Philly 3-2 Monday night.

Myers allowed only two runs in seven innings of work. He gave up those two runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out nine. In his last nine starts, Myers has allowed more than two earned runs only once.

It looked as though Joe Blanton was going to get the win with the way Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge have been pitching. But Madson allowed two runs in the eighth on a two-run single by Carlos Lee, coughing up the 2-1 lead to Houston.

Blanton got out of a jam in the first inning thanks to defense. With a run already in for Houston, Chase Utley made a great throw at the plate to hold it the score and Jayson Werth followed that up with a sliding catch in right. He wound up allowing a run on five hits and striking out nine in seven innings.

Carlos Ruiz hit a solo home run to tie the ball game in the third after Blanton had a rough first inning. They later added a run in that inning to give Blanton a 2-1 cushion. Then the bull pen faltered.

2B: Werth (42). HR: Ruiz (6).

WP: Myers (9-7). LP: Madson (4-2). S: Lyon (7).