Cole Hamels pitchs his first career shutout as he holds the Chipper Jones-less Atlanta Braves to four hits in the Phils’ 5-0 victory. The victory leaves the Phillies a full game behind the Florida Marlins, whose game with the Reds in Cincinnati was postponed because of rain. The Phils would score their first run in the second inning against losing Braves’ starter Chuck James as Pedro Feliz hit a solo home run, his sixth home run of the year, making it 1-0 Phils. The Phils would increase their lead in the third with Ryan Howard hitting his ninth home run of the season, making a 2-0 Phillies lead. The Phils would make it 3-0 as Feliz knocks in his second RBI of the night, singling in Pat Burrell, who has gotten on base earlier with a walk. The Phils would then make it 5-0 in the fourth as Shane Victorino hits his first home run of the season, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier walked. That would be all the runs that Hamels would actually need as he gives up just three singles to Omar Infante, Gregor Blanco and Jeff Francoeur and a double to Brian McCann. The Braves would attempt to rally twice, both times late in the game, first with McCann on second with two outs in the seventh, and then with runners on first and second with two outs in the eighth, after giving up walks to Greg Norton and Yunel Escobar, but Hamels would pitch himself out of both situations, with a fly out (seventh), and a ground out (eighth). In the ninth, after giving up a single to Francoeur, Hamels would get Mark Teixeira to hit into a double play, on a fantastic play by Rollins. Hamels would then get McCann to end the game by striking out swinging, his sixth strike out of the night. Cole Hamels gets the win, throwing 120 pitches overall as he goes all nine inning, giving up no earned runs on four hits, striking out six and walking two. With his first career complete game shut out, Hamels record improves to 5-3 while his ERA drops to 2.89. Braves’ starter Chuck James took the lost, going only four innings, as he is beaten up by Phillies’ hitters for five earned runs on six hits. His record drops to 2-3 while his ERA rises to 8.22. Jorge Campillo would pitch three innings of relief, giving up no runs on five hits. Chris Resop would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. The Phillies offense had twelve hits over all, with Rollins, Jayson Werth, Feliz and even Hamels, as each went 2-4 on the night. In fact, all but one of the Phils’ starting nine would get at least one hit in the game, as Chase Utley took the collar, going 0 for 3 with a walk. Meanwhile, Ryan Howard appears to be getting his swing back, as he has now hit safely in seven straight games, during which time he has hit a double, a triple and three home runs. With the win, the Phils win the series 2-1, while teeing off on all three of Atlanta’s starting left handers, although Tom Glavine would survive long enough to win one of the games for Atlanta. The second place Phillies are now a full game behind the first place Marlins, who will now meet the Kansas City Royals in Miami for three games. They are a game and half ahead of the third place Mets, who will be facing the New York Yankees for three games in Yankees Stadium. The fourth place Braves now trail the Phils by two games as they face the Oakland Athletics for a three games series in Atlanta. The Phillies (23-19) will begin their first Interleague series tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays (21-22, 4th American League East) for the first of three games at Citizens Bank Park. The game starts at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils starter will be Jamie Moyer (2-3, 5.02), who is coming off of his worst outing of the season, as he got rocked by the Giants on May 10, giving up six earned runs on nine hits while going only four innings, in the Phils’ 8-2 lost. He will be looking to both redeem himself and evening his record. The Blue Jays will most likely counter with David Purcey (0-0, 2.08), who would be making his first start since April 18, when he started against the Detroit Tigers, after being called up from Triple-A Syracuse. In that game, he would get a no-decision, as he goes four and one-third innings, giving up an earned run on two hits, in the Blue Jays’ 8-4 lost. He will be looking for his first major league win. The Phillies will be looking to stay pace with the Marlins, if not regain first place, as they look to win yet another series at home.
The final game of the Phillies-Braves series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils (22-19) will be sending out their ace, Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.36), who is coming off of a shaky start against the Giants on May 9, where he pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits while striking out seven in the Phils’ 7-4 win. Although he has won two of his last three starts, his ERA has been steadily climbing since his third start of the season. He will need to improve both his record and his ERA as he faces the Braves (20-19), against whom he has a lifetime record of 3-2 in six starts, with him going 3-0 against them last year, with an ERA of 4.42. The Braves’ starter for tonight’s game will be Chuck James (2-2, 7.58), who is coming off a lost to the Pirates on May 10, where he went six innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits, in the Braves’ 5-2 lost. In the four games that he has so far started for the Braves this season, he has given up at least four earned runs in three of them. He will be looking to improve his season record while the Phils will be looking to increase his ERA totals.
At the moment, the series is at 1-1, with the Phils banging up both left handed starters who has so far been sent against them, although they have only roughed up both Reyes and Glavine in the middle innings. The Phils need to get to James’ early in the game, while Hamels needs to keep the Braves from scoring and silent Chipper Jones’ presently hot bat for the Phils to win.
Edit: Chipper Jones is not in the Braves’ starting line-up tonight with a sore groin, so Hamels won’t have to worry about facing his hot bat. Anyway, what a way to cool him off. Ouch!!!And Hamels has just gotten through the first inning, giving up only a single to Omar Infante.
The second place Phillies are presently 1.5 games behind the first place Marlins in the National League East, as the final game of the fish’s four games series with the Reds was postponed due to rain. They are presently a full game ahead of both the Mets, who have just lost three of four to the fifth place Nationals, and the Braves. They hope to gain a half-game on the Florida Marlins tonight while putting some distance between them and both the Mets and the Braves with a win tonight.
The Phils will continue the home stand with a three games Interleague series against the Toronto Blue Jays, followed by a road trip to Washington to face the Nationals for three games in their brand new stadium, followed by four more in Houston against the Astros.
The Phils come up short as they attempt to come from behind against the Braves, losing in the ninth, 8-6. Phils’ starter, Brett Myers, would get rocked early and often by the Braves, giving up a run in almost every inning he pitched last night. The Braves went to work in the first inning as Yunel Escobar hit Myers’ second pitch out of the park for a home run, his fourth of the year, giving the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. Four pitches later, Chipper Jones would hit his eleventh home run of the year, increasing Atlanta’s lead to 2-0. The Braves would increase their lead in the second inning on a first-pitch home run by Kelly Johnson, hit fifth of the season, making it 3-0. In the fourth, Brian McCann would increase the lead to 5-0, as he hit a two-run RBI double off of Myers, knocking in Mark Kotsay, who has got on base earlier via an error by Ryan Howard as he missed a throw on what should’ve been a double play ball, and Jones, who has doubled earlier. After escaping trouble in the fourth, Myers would get sent to the showers in the fifth, after he gives up a RBI single to McCann with one out, scoring Kotsay, who has earlier got on base with a single, making it a 6-0 Atlanta lead. Myers was able to pitch only four and one-third innings, eventually giving up eight runs, six of which were earned, on nine hits. Ryan Madson would come in to replace Myers. After getting the second out of the inning, Madson would intentionally walk Johnson, before giving up a RBI single to Gregor Blanco, scoring Mark Teixeira, who has gotten on base earlier via a force out, and McCann, making it 8-0 Atlanta, while both runs would be charged to Myers. But that would be it for Atlanta as Clay Condrey and Rudy Seanez would combine to pitch three scoreless innings as they give up no runs on one hit. In the meantime, the Phillies’ bat would finally get to Tom Glavine in the sixth. After Chris Coste gets his second single of the night off of Glavine, and pitch hitter Eric Bruntlett walks, Jimmy Rollins would knock in the Phils’ first run of the game with a double, scoring Coste. Shane Victorino would then get the Phillies’ second run as he grounds out, short to first, scoring Bruntlett. Chase Utley would then follow with his fourteenth home run on the year, scoring Rollins, as he makes the score 8-4 Braves. After walking Pat Burrell with two out, Glavine would be taken out of the game for Jeff Bennett, who would end the Phillies’ threat. In the eighth inning, Howard would cut the lead to 8-5 as he hits his ninth home run of the year off of Braves’ reliever Royce Ring. Then in the ninth, with two outs, the Phils attempt some ninth inning heroics. Coste would start it off by getting on base with a single, his fourth of the night, off of Blaine Boyer. Greg Dobbs then follows with a pinch hit single, getting Coste to second. Rollins would then get a RBI single, knocking in Coste and sending Dobbs to third. After Rollins gets his third steal of the year, putting the tying run in scoring position, Victorino would hit a long fly ball to the right field warning track, where it was caught by Jeff Francoeur, ending the threat, and giving Boyer his second save of the season, as the Braves hang on to win, 8-6.
Brett Myers would take the lost, as he gets hit hard in his four and one-third innings of work. His record is now 2-5 with an ERA of 6.40, as he gives up eight runs, six of which were earned, on nine hits. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thirds of an inning of relief, giving up no earned runs on two hits. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit while Rudy Seanez would pitch two innings of relief, giving up no runs on no hits. Tom Glavine would win the game for the Braves, as he goes five and two-third innings, giving up four earned runs on four hits while striking out four as he kept the Phils off balanced until the sixth inning. Glavine receives his first win of the year, as his record improves to 1-1, while his ERA goes to 4.41. Jeff Bennett would pitch one-third of an inning plus one batter, as he gives up no runs on one hit. Will Ohman would go one inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Royce Ring would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up one earned run, Howard’s home run, on one hit. Blaine Boyce would go one and one-third inning, giving up an earned run on three hits as he records his second save.
In spite of the lost, the Phils are still in second place, 1.5 games behind the Marlins, as the fish loses their third game in a row to the Reds, and still half a game ahead of the Mets, as they lost again to the Nationals. The Phils are now ahead of the fourth place Braves by a full game.
Edit: The Phils are presently a full game ahead of the Mets as they have just lost their second straight game, and three of four, to the Nationals.
The final game of the three game series starts tonight at 7:05 pm at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will be sending their ace, Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.36), to the mound for the rubber game of the series. Hamels is coming off a somewhat shaky start against the Giants on May 9, where he went seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, as he gain the victory in the Phils’ 7-4 win. The Braves will counter with Chuck James (2-2, 7.58), who is coming off of a lost against the Pirates on May 10, where he gave up five earned runs on five hits as he pitched six innings in the Braves’ 5-2 lost. In his four starts, he had given up at least four earned runs in three of them. The Phils will be trying to win this game to stay in pace with the Marlins, and stay ahead of both the Mets and the Braves.
The once again second place Phillies (21-18) begin their six games home stand tonight as they meet the fourth place Atlanta Braves (19-18) for the first time this season. The first game of their three game set will be played at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will be starting Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 4.93), who is coming off his no-decision start against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix on May 7, in which he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on ten hits, in the Phils’ 5-4 come from behind victory. His previous start, against the Giants on May 2, was also a no decision, as he pitched six innings plus two batters, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, in the Phils’ dramatic 6-5 ten-innings victory. His last win was on April 26 in Pittsburgh, where he pitched seven innings plus two hitters, as he gave four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits, in the Phils’ 8-4 win over the Pirates. Kendrick will be going for his third win of the year. While his ERA has slowly gone down during his last few starts, Kendrick has been trying to be a strikeout pitcher, like teammate Cole Hamels. Kendrick would be more effective if he just stick to what he does best, getting the opposing team’s batters to hit the ball on the ground and allowing his fielders to make plays behind him. Although a few balls will obviously get through, the defense should be good enough to handle most of the chances presented to them. His opponent, Jo-Jo Reyes (1-0, 2.25), will be the first of three lefties that the Braves will be throwing at the Phils for this series. Reyes is coming off of a no decision of his own, as he was taken out of his May 8 start against the Padres, after pitching only two and two-thirds inning, because he had developed a blister on the index finger of his right hand. Before he was taken out, he had given up two runs, one of which was earned, on five hits, in the Braves’ 5-4 win. His previous outing was a victory over the Cincinnati Reds on May 3, where he went five and one-third innings, giving up an earned run on four hits, in the Braves’ 9-1 blowout win.
The Braves will be throwing three left handers against the Phils for this three game set, Reyes, Tom Glavine and Chuck James, expecting them to keep the Phils’ batters off-balance. At this moment, the Braves’ thinking appear to be right, as the Phils seem to have a harder time going against left handed pitching then they do against right hander, hitting .235 (13th best) versus lefties, while hitting .253 (9th best) against righties. But looks can be deceiving as they have hit twenty-six of their doubles, one triple and twenty homers off of lefties, while hitting twenty doubles, two triples and eighteen home runs off of right handers. They have gotten almost as many total hits off of lefties as righties (102 vs. 110). They have as many RBIs against left handers as against right handers (56 to 59), as well as score as many runs (59 to 61). They have gotten more TBs off of lefties (190 to 188), as well as receive the same number of walks from both sides of the mound (47 each), but they have unfortunately struck out more often against left handers (97 to 80), something which they will need to cut down on during the season. This would appear to show that despite having a weaker batting average against left handers, the Phils can be dangerous to lefties, and it could be bad news for the Braves, especially as two of their lefties, Glavine and James, don’t seem to be very overpowering to the hitters this year based on their ERAs, especially Glavine, a future hall of fame candidate, who is at the moment still winless after five starts. But, you never know with the Phils’ batters.
The Braves, as they come to Citizens Bank Park, have the worst road record in the National League, being 5-14 after their spilt yesterday against the Pirates in a make-up doubleheader, winning the second game. Meanwhile, the Philles have a home record of 10-8, while winning their last two home series. So, this will be a series to see if the Braves will finally be able to win a series on the road, or if the Phillies will beat up on one of their divisional rivals, in spite of facing three straight lefties, while staying pace with the Marlins.
The Phillies are presently two and a half game behind the Marlins, who have lost the first of their four games set in Cincinnati. They are presently a half game ahead of the third place Mets, who have lost the first of their four games series in Washington, D.C. and are a full game ahead of the Braves who have just finished a series in Pittsburgh, losing three of four, which has cool them off after their six games sweep in Atlanta.