In 1887, in the fourth year of Harry Wright’s tenure as the Phillies/Quakers’ managers, the team would finish in second place for the first time in the team’s long existance.
The 1887 season would see some more changes within the National League. First, the Kansas City Cowboys, after finishing in seventh place in 1886, would not be offered another chance by the league. Their place would be taken up by the American Association Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pirates) who had finished the 1886 AA season in second place. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Maroons would transfer their assets to Indianapolis, becoming the Indianapolis Hoosiers, leaving St. Louis once again without an entry in the NL (the city’s previous representative, the St. Louis Brown Stockings, were dropped after being in the league for the 1876-1877 seasons.). The rest of the Phillies’ opponents for 1887 would be the Beaneaters, the Giants, the Nationals, the Wolverines and the White Stockings. The Phillies would play their games in their new home, the Philadelphia Base Ball Grounds, later known as Baker Bowl, which was located between North Broad Street, West Huntingdon Street, North 15th Street and West Lehigh Street in North Philadelphia.
The Phillies would begin the season in late April, facing their eastern rival, the New York Giants, for three games, the first two to be played in New York, and the third in the Phillies’ new home, the Philadelphia Base Ball Ground. The Phils would lose both games played in New York, by close scores of 4-3 and 7-4, before winning the first game to be played in their new park, by the score of 15-9, giving them a record of 1-2 for the month of April. They would then start May at home, facing the Beaneaters for three games. They would lose the first two games, then win the away game by the score of 12-0, ending their short home stand with a 2-2 record. The Phillies would next go on the road for three games against the Nationals, and then three more in Boston. The Phils would start the road trip with a 5-5 tie with the Nationals, before winning the next two games against them, and then winning the first game in their three-games series with the Beaneaters. They would then split the next two games with Boston, winning the series, 2-1, and ending the road trip with a 4-1-1 record. The Phillies would then start a second three-games series with the Giants, this time playing the first two games in Philadelphia and then the final one in New York. The Phils would split the series at home, before winning the final game in New York by the lopsided score of 17-2 for a 2-1 record in the series. The Phillies would then come home for a long home stand with three of the western teams, playing first four games against Detroit, then four against Chicago and finally three against Indianapolis. They would be swept by the Wolverines, then lose their first game with their western rival, the White Stockings. After ending their five-games slide by defeating Chicago, they would split the next two games with them, for a 2-2 record in their series, before winning all three games against the Hoosiers, ending the home stand with a respectable record of 5-6. The Phillies would then end the month of June by playing the Alleghenys in Pittsburgh for the first time for three games, including a doubleheader on June 30. The Phillies would split the doubleheader with their cross-state rival, winning the first game by 2-1 and then losing the ‘nightcap’ by a score of 6-4. They would then win the final game of their short road trip, giving them a record of 2-1, a 14-11-1 record for the month of May and an overall record of 15-13-1.
The Phillies would begin June with a short home stand against their eastern rivals, with three games against the Beaneaters, and then three more with the Giants. The Phils would lose their series with the Beaneaters, going 1-2, before tying the first game against the Giants, 6-6. They would then split the last two games with the Giants to end the series with an 1-1-1 record, and to end the short home stand with an overall record of 2-3-1. They would then go on the road to face these two teams again for two more three-games series. The road trip would end up being an 1-5 fiasco, with their only victory coming in their first game in New York, 5-4, with their worst defeat being a 29-1 shalacking by the Giants in the last game of their three-games series. The Phils would then come home for a short three-games home stand against the Nationals, which the Phillies would win 2-1. The Phillies would then go west for an eleven-games road trip against the White Stockings (3), the Hoosiers (4) and the Wolverines (4), to end June and start July. The Phillies would lose the first two games of their series with Chicago, before tying the final game at 7-7. They would then go to Indianapolos, losing the first game, and then winning the next three with the Hoosiers, including a 24-0 thumping on June 28, before going on to Detroit, where they would split the final two games of the month of June, ending the month with a record of 9-13-2 and an overall record of 24-26-3.
They would begin the month of July by losing their final two games with the Wolverines, ending the series with a record of 1-3, and the road trip with a record of 4-6-1. They would then go home for a fifteen-games home stand, to face the Alleghenys for three games, including the second doubleheader between the two teams, this one to be played on July 4, followed by three games with Chicago, three with the Hoosiers, three with Detroit and then the final three games with the Alleghenys. The Phillies would split the doubleheader with Pittsburgh, winning the first game, 9-5, then losing the ‘nightcap’ by 8-5. They would then win the last game of the series, to give them a series win at 2-1. Then would then get swept by the White Stockings, before going on an eight-games winning streak, sweeping first the Hoosiers and then the Wolverines and then winning the first two games of their second home series against the Alleghenys, before losing the last games in the series, by 4-3, winning the home stand as they went 10-5. The Phils would then go on a long road trip for the rest of July and the beginning of August to face the Nationals (3), the Alleghenys (3), the Wolverines (3), the White Stockings (1), the Hoosiers (2) and the White Stockings (3) again for 15 games. The Phillies would begin their long trip by losing their series with the Nationals, 1-2, before going on to Pittsburgh to win their series with the Alleghenys, 2-1, ending July with a record of 13-10 and with an overall record of 37-36-3, and poised to make a pennant run, as Harry Wright prepares to turn his best starter, Charlie Ferguson, into an everyday player, as well as his pitching ace, because of Ferguson’s .300 batting average.
The Phillies would start August in Detroit, winning the first game of the series, before ending it with an 1-2 record, as they would lose the next two games. They would then win the next four games, winning their one-game series in Chicago, then sweeping the Hoosiers, before going back to Chicago and winning the first game of their three-games series with their western rival. They would then split the next two games to win the series, 2-1, and go back home with a winning record of 9-6. They would go home for a long seventeen-games home stand for the rest of August and the start of September, facing the Nationals for three, the Giants for four, the Hoosiers for three, the Wolverines for two, the Alleghenys for three and the White Stockings for two. The Phils would start their long home stand by sweeping the Nationals, and then winning the first two games of their series with the Giants before having their winning streak snapped at six games with a 10-8 lost. The next game with the Giants would end up in a 5-5 tie, ending the series with a 2-1-1 series win. The Phils would then sweep the Hoosiers, before spliting their two-games series with Detroit. They would then lost their three-games series with Pittsburgh, ending August with a 16-7-1 record and an overall record of 53-43-4.
The Phillies would start off the month of September by splitting their two-games series with the White Stockings, ending the home stand with a record of 11-5-1. They would then go on an equally long road trip for most of September, facing the Beaneaters for three games, the Nationals for three, the White Stockings for three, the Hoosiers for three, the Wolverines for two and the Alleghenys for three. On the eastern half of the trip, after losing the first game with the Beaneaters, they would win the next five games, including a three-games sweep of the Nationals. They are then swept in Chicago by the White Stockings, before beginning what would become a seventeen-games no-lost streak, as they would first sweep the Hoosiers in three straight, then the Wolverines for three and finally end the trip by sweeping the Alleghenys, ending their long road trip with a record of 13-4. They would then end the month of September with two games at home against the Nationals, which they would also sweep, giving them a record for the month of 16-5, and an overall record of 69-48-4.
They would continue the home stand in October with three games against Boston, sweeping the Beaneaters with ease. They would then end their season the same way they had started it, with a series against the Giants, this time facing them for two games in New York, a one-game series in Philadelphia and then one final game in New York. The Phillies would sweep the short two-games series in New York, tied their final home game in Philadelphia, going 5-5, and then winning their final game of the year, 6-3, ending October with a 6-0-1 record and the season with a record of 75-48-5, with a winning percentage of .610, their best record to date in their short existance. This would put them in second place, three games ahead of the third place White Stockings and six and a half games behind the 1887 National League Champions, the Detroit Wolverines (This would be the Wolverines only title.).
In 128 games played, the Phillies would have a home/road record of 38-23-3 at home and 37-25-2 on the road. The Phillies would have good records against all but three teams, with their best record being against the Hoosiers (17-1), followed by the Nationals (13-3-1), with their worst record being against their nemesis the White Stockings (6-12-1). They were 7-2 in shut outs, 17-11 in 1-run games and 37-13 in blowouts. The Phillies would play before 253,671 fans in their brand new park.
The Phillies’ offense and pitching would be among the league leaders in 1887. In batting, they would end up being first in doubles (213), second in at-bats (4630), runs scored (901), hits (1269) and walks (385), fourth in batting average (.274), on-base percentage (.330), slugging percentage (.389) and stolen bases (355) and fifth in triples (89), home runs (47) and strikeouts (346), while also knocking in 702 RBIs, while being hit by the pitch 52 times. The pitchers, meanwhile, would lead the league in innings pitched (1132), shut outs (7) and runs allowed (702), be second in ERA (3.47), saves (1) and strikeouts (435), third in walks (305), fourth in hits allowed (1173) and home runs allowed (48) and sixth in complete games (119), while also finishing nine games, giving up 436 earned runs, throwing 56 wild pitches, no balks and hitting 34 batters.
Individual offensive leaders for the Phillies in 1887 would be Ed Andrews in batting (.325), hits (151) and singles (121), Jim Forgarty in on-base percentage (.376), games (126), at-bats (495), total plate appearances (587), doubles (26), walks (82) and stolen bases (102), while being tied with Sid Farrar in the number of times HBP (10), George Wood in slugging percentage (.497), runs scored (118), total bases (244), triples (19), home runs (14), strikeouts (51), and extra-base hits (55), and Charlie Ferguson in RBIs (85). Ferguson would also lead the pitching staff in winning percentage (.688), saves (1) and games finished (4), while going 22-10. Dan Casey would lead the staff in ERA (2.86), wins (28), games pitched (45), games started (also 45), complete games (43), shut outs (4), hits allowed (377), walks allowed (115), hit batters (14) and batters faced (1660), while Charlie Buffinton would lead in strikeouts (160), home runs allowed (16), losses (17), earned runs allowed (135) and wild pitches (25). On the staff, there would be three twenty games winners, as Buffinton would win 21 games, to go along with Ferguson’s 22 and Casey’s 28. Fogarty would also be the league leader in total plate appearances and walks among the batters, while Casey would be the league’s ERA and shut outs leader, while Ferguson would be tied for the league’s lead in saves among pitchers.
As the Phillies would spent the off-season preparing to hopefully win their first pennant, the Detroit Wolverines would face the American Association’s pennant winner, the St. Louis Browns, in a fifteen games World Series, which would be won by the Wolverines, 10 games to 5.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com and Baseball-Reference.com
In 1884, with Harry Wright, the future Hall of Fame manager, as the ballclub’s third manager, Reach and Rodgers would try to put together a team that they hope would become a better contender for the National League pennant than was the previous year’s team. Among the changes made would be a change in the team’s nickname, as the Quakers would now be known as the Philadelphias, following the naming convention of the time. The local sports writers would later shorten the team’s nickname down to the Phillies, which is today the longest used team nickname in American sports history. But, the local sports writers would continue to call the ballclub the Quakers in their reporting on the team, officially until 1890, using the two names interchangeably, and unofficially into the first couple of decades of the 20th century.
The Harry Wright-led Phillies would face in 1884 the same seven teams that they had faced the previous season: Boston, Providence, New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Their home ball park would remain Recreation Park.
The Phillies would begin the 1884 season as they have begun the disastrous 1883 season, in May, with a home stand. But, unlike the previous season, the Phillies would be involved in a twenty-one-games home stand, facing the Wolverines for two games, the White Stockings for four games, the Bisons for two games, the Blues for two games, then another two-games series with the Bisons, followed by a second two-games series with the Blues, two games with the Beaneaters, two games with the Grays, a second two-games series with Boston and finally a single game series with the Grays. The Phillies’ home opener with the Wolverines would see the Phillies win their first opening day game in the club’s history, as they pounded Detroit, 13-2. After winning the second game in their short series with the Wolverines, the team would win their third game in a row as they would beat the White Stockings in a close game, 9-8. The Phillies, after starting the season off on such a high note, would go back to their losing ways as they would lose their next three games with the White Stockings, followed by a lost to the Bisons, 9-7. After winning their next two games and then splitting the next four games of their home stand, the Phillies would find themselves mired in a long seven games losing streak, which would include seeing them being shut out three times, including a 13-0 defeat at the hands of the Beaneaters, before they would defeat the Grays in the final game of their long home stand, 4-3. Leaving Philadelphia with a record of 8-13, they would begin their first road trip of the season, a trip along the eastern seaboard, where they would face both the Beaneaters and the Grays for two two-games series, before ending the road trip with a two-games series against the Gothams in New York. Their first two two-games series against the Beaneaters and the Grays, which would include a doubleheader that was played first in Boston with the Beaneaters and then in Providence with the Grays on May 30, would see the Phillies end up losing all four games, thus ending the month of May with a losing record of 8-17.
June would begin just as badly for the Phils as May has just ended, as they would lose the two games of their second two-games series with Boston and then lose the first game of their second two-games series with the Grays, 4-0, before they would finally win their first road game of the year, a close 9-8 victory over the Grays. The Phillies would then start an eight-games series with the Gothams, that would include two two-games series in Philadelphia, as well as a second two-games series in New York. After losing the first two games in New York, thus ending their first road trip of the year with a 1-9 record, the Phillies would begin the first of their two two-games series with the Gothams in Philadelphia. The eight-games series between these two future rivals would see the Phillies playing the Gothams as competitively as they could, but when the eight-games series was over, the Phillies would leave Philadelphia having lost the series 3-5, although winning the second of the two-games series played in New York and splitting the second two-games series in Philadelphia. The Phillies would then begin their second major road trip of the year with a single game against the Grays, followed by a two-games series with the Beaneaters, then a second single game series against the Grays, before heading to Cleveland for four games with the Blues, followed by a four-games series in Buffalo, then four games against the White Stockings and then four games with the Wolverines, before finally ending the road trip with two games against the Gothams, for a total of twenty-two games from mid-June to mid-July. After losing the first game in Providence and then splitting the series with the Beaneaters, the Phillies would then lose the second game in Providence, before going on to Cleveland and losing their series with the Blues, 1-3. The Phillies would then drop the series with the Bisons, also 1-3, thus ending the month of June with a 7-17 record for the month, while having a season record of 15-34.
The Philles would begin July losing their four-games series with the White Stockings, 1-3, including losing a July 4 doubleheader by the scores of 3-1 and 22-3, before splitting the four-games series with the Wolverines and then losing the two-games series with the Gothams, ending their long road trip with a 6-16 record. After losing a two-games series at home against the Gothams, the Phillies would play four single games series, facing first the Grays, then Boston, then Providence again and then the Beaneaters once more, before coming home for a long home stand. The Phillies would split the four games, 2-2, losing the first two and then winning the last two. Their next home stand would see the Phillies play two games with the Grays, then two games with the Beaneaters, followed by a single game against the Grays, then two more games with the Beaneaters, followed by another single game series with the Grays, before they would face the Gothams for the final two games of the home stand with their east coast opponents. The Phils would begin the home stand by first losing the two games with the Grays, then losing the two with the Beaneaters, the two teams that would once again be fighting it out for the National League pennant, thus ending July on another losing note, as they would end the month with a dismal 5-15 record, while their season record would now be at 20-49.
The Phillies would start August with their losing streak going to six games as their would lose their game with Providence and then their first game with the Beaneaters, before finally ending the streak with a 6-2 victory over Boston. After losing the next game with Providence, the Phillies would split their two games with the Gothams, thus ending the home stand with a 2-8 record, before the two teams would head on to New York for another two games series, which would also end up as a split series. The Phillies would then go back home to Philadelphia for another long home stand, this time against teams from the west, starting with a five-games series with the Blues, followed by a four-games series with the Bisons, then a six-games series with the Wolverines, and then, finally, a four-games series with the White Stockings, for a grand total of twenty-nine games from late-August to mid-September. The Phils would begin the home stand by losing the opener to the Blues, and then tying the second game on August 20, 9-9. They would then win the next three games with Cleveland, including a 20-1 pounding of the Blues, thus winning their first series since their July 23 single series game with Boston, going 3-1-1. They would then lose the series with the Bisons, going 1-3, ending August with a somewhat good record of 7-9-1 and with an overall season mark of 27-58-1.
The Phillies would start off September on a high note as they would win their six-games series with the Wolverines, going 4-2, before getting creamed in their four-games series with the White Stockings, losing by scores of 15-10, 16-6, 19-2 and 5-2, thus ending their long home stand with a somewhat respectible record of 8-10-1. The Phillies would then conduct their second and final western road trip, facing the Bisons, the Blues, the Wolverines and the White Stockings for four games each. The Phillies would start their series against Buffalo by losing the first three games, increasing their losing streak to seven games, before finally ending it with a 3-0 shut out of the Bisons on September 20. The Phillies would then embark on a winning streak of their own, defeating the Blues for four straight games and then winning their first game with the Wolverines, for a six games winning streak, as they would end their first winning month in the team’s history by going 10-9, while increasing their season record to 37-67-1.
The Phillies would start October seeing their winning streak end as they lose to Detroit, 1-0, before going on to win their next two games, winning the series at 3-1. The Phillies would then go on to Chicago, where they would be swept in four games by the White Stockings. They would then come back home on October 15, to finish out the season by losing to the Grays, 8-0, ending the month with a 2-6 record and the season with a record of 39-73-1, with a winning percentage of .348.
In their second season of existance, the Phillies would end the year in sixth place, 23 games behind the fifth place White Stockings and 45 games behind the 1884 NL champions, the Providence Grays. The Phillies would end up playing sixteen ballgames with each of their opponents, except for the Blues, whom they would face in seventeen games. Their best season record would be with the Wolverines, against whom they would go 11-5, followed by the Blues at 10-6-1. They would have losing records with the rest of the league: Bisons and Gothams (5-11), Beaneaters and Grays (3-13) and White Stockings (2-14). The Phillies would go 3-13 in shut outs, 10-11 in 1-run games and 12-43 in blow outs. The Phillies would be 19-37-1 at home, while they would go 20-36 on the road, which would be improvements over their previous season’s home/road record, as they would go 9-40-1 at home and 8-41 on the road. The team’s home attendence for the year, at 100,475 fans, would be an increase over the team’s 1883 attendence mark of 55,992 fans.
In 1884, the team would play in 113 games, with the batters ending the season with a team batting average of .234 (7th), a team slugging percentage of .272 (6th) and a team on-base percentage of .301 (7th). The team batted 3998 times (6th) and had 934 hits (6th), as they scored 549 runs (6th) of which 343 would be by RBIs. Of their 934 hits, the Phillies would have 149 2Bs (5th), 39 3Bs (8th) and 14 HRs (8th). Phillies batters would receive 209 walks (5th), while striking out 512 times (4th). Pitching wise, the Phillies pitchers would have a team ERA of 3.93 (8th), with 106 complete games (7th), of which only three were shut outs (7th), while seven other games would be completed by another pitcher. The pitchers would convert one save (3rd) during the season. In 981 innings pitched (8th), they would give up 1090 hits (7th) and 824 runs (8th), of which 428 were earned. They would give up 38 home runs (6th) and walked 254 batters (6th), while striking out 411 (8th). They also committed 126 wild pitches.
Among the team’s batting leaders, Jack Manning would lead the team in batting average (.271), slugging percentage (.394), on-base percentage (.334), total bases (167), doubles (29), home runs (5), RBIs (52), walks (40), strikeouts (67) and extra-base hits (38), while Bill McClellan would lead the team in at-bats (450), total plate appearances (478), hits (116) and singles (98), Ed Andrews would lead in runs scored (74), Blondie Purcell would lead in triples (7), while McClellan and Sid Ferrar would be tied for most games played at 111. In pitching, Charlie Ferguson led the team in games pitched (50), games started (47), games finished (3), complete games (46), wins (21), loses (25), saves (1), shut outs (2), innings pitched (416.7) and strikeouts (194), while Bill Vinton would lead in ERA (2.23) and Jim McElroy in wild pitches (46).
Charlie Ferguson, in his first major league season, would become the first twenty-game winner in franchise’s history with his 21 victories.
Harry Wright would continue as the Phillies’ manager in 1885, as he continue to try to turn the team into a first division team in the eight team National League.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Baseball-Reference.com
So how did the Phillies do offensively both individually and as a team? First, let take a look at how the Phillies did as a team. (Comment: When I put down worst, flip it over as it really means that they were near the bottom in a particularly bad offensive category. So, for example, eighth worst in total strike outs means that they have as a team actually struck out fewer times then have the seven teams above them.)
In 162 games, the team had a team batting average of .255, 10th best in the NL, which puts them in the middle of the pack. Their team slugging percentage was .438, second best in the league, while their on-base percentage was .322, the league’s seventh best offensive team. The team’s OPS (On-base percentage plus Slugging Percentage) was .770, third best in the league. The team went to the plate officially a total of 5509 times, for 10th best in the NL, while they went to the plate (TPA) a total of 6273 (seventh) times. They crossed home plate a total of 799 times, tied for second best in the league with the New York Mets. They had 1407 hits, once again for 10th place in the NL. Of those hits, 291 of them were doubles (ninth), 36 were triples (fourth) and 214 were home runs (1st) for a total of 541 Extra-Base Hits (2nd) and 2412 total bases (third). They had 762 RBIs (second), of which only 40 came via a sacrifice fly (12th). They had 71 sacrifice hits, which tied them for fourth place with the St. Louis Cardinals. They walked a total of 586 times (fifth) of which 68 were intentional (second). They were also hit by the pitch 67 times (fourth). They would strike out a total of 1117 times, for eighth worst in the league. They stole 136 bases (third), while being caught only 25 times (13th worst), giving them a SB% (Stolen Base Percentage) of 84.5, the best in the NL. They would hit into 108 double plays, for 12th worst in the league. They saw 24,124 pitches (sixth). They made 1516 ground outs (fourth most) and the same number of fly outs (1516, also fourth) for a GO/AO (Ground Out to Fly Out ratio) of 1.14 (11th worst).
Put together, this means that during the regular season, the Phillies was an offensive machine who, although they didn’t get many hits, were very likely to kill you with extra-base hits, mainly home runs and triples, and would score a lot of runs off of their opponents’ pitching. They were also a team that could get on base via the walk, partly because the opposing team would rather not allow themselves to be beaten by their big men. They would also steal a lot of bases and knew when to pick their spots when they did so. Overall, they would strike out very little and would hit into very few double plays. If they had an achillies’ heel, the team did not hit too many sacrifice flies, meaning that they didn’t do much small ball, although they did know how to move the runners over when they needed to. Also, they were an about average team when it came to taking opposing teams’ pitchers deep into counts.
Now individually. Ryan Howard lead the NL in most Home Runs (48) and RBIs (146), while ninth in runs scored (105) and sixth in slugging percentage (.543). Chase Utley was tied for 19th in batting avg. (.292), tied for ninth in home runs (33), eleventh in RBIs (104), tied for fifth in runs scored (113), tenth in hits (177), tenth in doubles (41) and ninth in slugging percentage (.535). Shane Victorino was the Phillies regular with the highest batting avg. (.293) which was 18th in the NL. He was also 13th in runs scored (102), sixth in stolen bases (36), and 5th in triples (8). Pat Burrell was tied for ninth in home runs (33) and tied for 20th in slugging percentage (.507). Jimmy Rollins was third in stolen bases with 47, tied for 18th in doubles (38), and fourth in triples (9).
This means that this is a very dangerous hitting club that should not be taken lightly, while the team’s star players were all, in their own ways, able to did a lot of damage to opposing teams’ pitching when they were given the chance to do so.
Brett Myers’ surprising three hits would help lead the Phillies’ offensive attack as the Phillies defeated the Dodgers, 8-5. The Phillies now lead the National League Championship Series, two game to none, as it heads for Los Angeles. After a quiet first inning, the Dodgers would take the lead in the second, as, with runners on second and third, and one man out, Blake DeWitt would hit a RBI ground out, 3-1, scoring Andre Ethier, who has earlier singled and has gone to third on James Loney’s double, while Loney would move over to third, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. After Phillies’ starter Brett Myers intentionally walks Casey Blake to put runners on the corner, Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley would end the inning by lining out to right. The Phillies would then go to work on Billingsley in their half of the second. After two quick outs, Greg Dobbs would start things off with a single to short. Carlos Ruiz would then follow with a RBI double, scoring Dobbs, and tying the game up at one run apiece. Myers would then help his own cause with a RBI single, scoring Ruiz, and giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Jimmy Rollins would then follow with a single to center, which would send Myers to third base. Rollins would move up to second on the play thanks to Dodgers’ center fielder Matt Kemp’s fielding error, which would put both runners in scoring position. Shane Victorino would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Myers and Rollins, making it a 4-1 Phillies’ lead. After Chase Utley reaches base with a walk, moving Victorino over to second, Billingsley would finally get out of the inning by striking out Ryan Howard. The Dodgers would get a run back in the third, as, with runners on first and second and two outs, Loney would hit a RBI single, scoring Russell Martin, who has earlier walked, and has moved to second on Ethier’s walk, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 4-2, while moving Ethier to second. After Kemp reaches base on Dobbs’ fielding error, loading up the bases as Ethier and Loney would both move up a base, Myers would finally end the threat by striking out DeWitt. In the Phillies’ half of the third, they would go back to work on Billingsley. Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a single. Jayson Werth would follow with a double, sending Burrell to third. Billingsley would then intentionally walk Dobbs to load the bases. The Dodgers’ plan to not allow any more runs to score would work with Ruiz at the plate, as he would hit a ground ball to Loney, who would then throw to home plate, forcing out Burrell for the inning’s first out, while leaving the bases still loaded. But, it would fail with Myers, as he would slap a single past Loney into right field, scoring both Werth and Dobbs, while sending Ruiz over to third, giving the Phils a 6-2 lead. That would be it for Billingsley, as Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would take him out and replace him with Chan Ho Park. Rollins would make the inning’s second out as he would strike out, looking. But Victorino would follow with a two-run triple, scoring both Ruiz and Myers, making it 8-2 Phillies. Torre would then come back out and replace Park with Joe Beimel. Beimel would then proceed to walk both Utley and Howard to load the bases as the Phillies have now batted around. Beimel is then taken out of the game and is replaced by James McDonald. McDonald would finally end the inning by striking out Burrell. The Dodgers would then cut the lead in the fourth, as with two men on and two out, Manny Ramirez would hit a three run home run, scoring Rafael Furcal, who has earlier reached base on a strikeout-pass ball, and would then move on to second on Martin’s single, making it an 8-5 Phillies’ lead. But that would be it as the Dodgers’ bullpen would keep the Phillies’ offense scoreless for the next five innings, while Myers would keep the Dodgers scoreless in the fifth, before handing it over to the Phillies’ bullpen, which would allow only two singles and a walk in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, before handing the ball over to Brad Lidge in the ninth. Lidge would start the inning off by walking Ramirez. He would then strike out Ethier on three pitches for out number one. He would then give up a walk to Loney, which would move Ramirez up to second, and put the tying run at the plate. But Lidge would then end the game by striking out both Kemp and Nomar Garciaparra, recording his second save of the series and his fourth save in the post-season.
Brett Myers would get the win as he pitches five somewhat strong innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six. His series record is now 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA. Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson would all combine for three shut out innings, giving up only two hits, (one apiece for both Durbin and Madson) and one walk (Romero), while striking out three (Romero (1), Madson (2)). Brad Lidge would get the save as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits and walking two, while striking out the side, as he records his second save of the series and his forty-fifth straight save in forty-five tries. Chad Billingsley would get the lost as he would only last two and a third innings, giving up eight runs, only seven of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five. Chan Ho Park would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no earned runs on one hit, while striking out one. Joe Beimel would face only two batters, whom he both walked. James McDonald would pitch three and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up only two hits and walking one, while striking out five. Clayton Kershaw and Cory Wade would combine for two scoreless innings of work, giving up no hits and one walk (Kershaw), while striking out one (also Kershaw).
The Phillies’ offense would beat up on Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley, tagging him for eight runs, doing it mostly with singles, as they had only two extra-base hits against him (doubles by Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth), while their other extra-base hit was hit off of Chan Ho Park (Shane Victorino’s two-run triple). The surprising offensive star was Phillies’ starter Brett Myers as he went three for three, all singles, knocking in three runs, while scoring two. The Phillies other offensive stars were Greg Dobbs, who started the rally in the second inning, who went two for three with an intentional walk, scoring two runs, and Shane Victorino, who went two for five, knocking in four runs. The Phillies had a total of eleven hits, as each of the starters had at least one hit, except for Chase Utley, who went 0 for 1 with four walks, and Ryan Howard, who went 0 for 4 with a walk. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ pitching would limit the Dodgers’ offense to only eight hits, although one of them was a Manny Ramirez three-run home run on a good fastball in on him by Myers, that he was able to fist out of the ballpark. Otherwise, the Dodgers couldn’t do anything against either Myers or the bullpen as they struck out twelve times in the game.
The National League Championship Series will continue tomorrow night in Los Angeles. The game will be played in Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be the veteran Jamie Moyer who is coming off a lost against the Brewers on October 4 in the National League Divisional Series, where he was only able to pitch four inning, while giving up only two earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 4-1 lost. His record in the series was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. His regular season record was 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 196 and a third innings of work, as he struck out 123 batters while walking only 62. He has not faced the Dodgers this year. He will be trying to do better than he did in his last start, hoping that he can make it three victories in a row against the Dodgers in the series. The Dodgers will counter with Hiroki Kuroda who is coming off his victory over the Cubs on October 4, where he pitched six and one third shut out innings, giving up only six hits and two walks, while striking out four, in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win, which clinched the National League Divisional Series for the Dodgers. His series record was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. During the regular season, his record was 9-10 with a 3.73 ERA in 183 and one third innings of work, striking out 116 batters while walking 42. He has faced the Phillies twice this year, with an 1-0 record, with a no-decision, as he would pitch a combined total of thirteen innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out twelve. He will be trying to stop the Dodgers’ present post-season slide, while hoping that the Phillies’ dangerous offense hasn’t finally awaken.
The series will now move to Los Angeles, where the Phillies will hope to win two of the next three games so that they can clinch the series early, before being forced to do so in Philadelphia.
The Phillies show to the rest of the league that C.C. Sabathia is as human as the rest of us by scoring five runs off of him in the second inning before running him out of the game in the fourth as the Phillies’ ride Brett Myers’ two-hit pitching and Shane Victorino’s grand slam to a 5-1 victory over the Brew Crew. Things didn’t start out so brightly in the first inning, as the Brewers, after Mike Cameron started the game off by striking out on three pitches, would load the bases on Phillies’ starter Brett Myers via a walk to Ray Durham on four pitches, a double to Ryan Braun, which would send Durham to third, and an intentional walk to Prince Fielder. J.J. Hardy would then follow with a walk of his own, forcing in Durham with the game’s first run, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. But Myers would then get out of the inning as the next batter, Corey Hart, would hit the first pitch thrown to him directly to Myers. Myers would throw home for the second out of the inning as Carlos Ruiz would touch home plate before Braun can cross it. Ruiz would then throw over to first, beating out Hart, for the inning’s final out. That would turn out to be the first key moment of the game, as Myers would then settle down after the first inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies would try to strike back in their half of the first, as they would have a runner on third, via a Shane Victorino double and a stolen base, and one man out, when Brewers’ starter Sabathia would end the inning by striking out both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard swinging, and doing it by throwing only seventeen pitches. But, after Myers pitches a 1-2-3 second, the Phillies would go back to work on Sabathia. After Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a fly out to left, Jayson Werth would get on base with a double. Pedro Feliz would follow him with a RBI double, knocking in Werth, and tying the game at 1-1. After a Ruiz ground out to first would put Feliz on third, Myers would come up to bat. Myers would battle with Sabathia until on the ninth pitch thrown to him, he would get a walk, putting runners on the corners. That would be the second key moment of the game, as Sabathia’s pitch count starts to rise and he is beginning to miss the plate. Jimmy Rollins would follow Myers with a four pitch walk, loading the bases, as Myers would move up to second, bringing up to the plate Victorino. Trailing in the count, 1-2, Victorino would belt a slider into the left field seats for a grand slam home run, the first one ever hit by a Phillie in the playoffs, scoring Feliz, Myers and Rollins, and giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. Sabathia would finally end the inning by getting Utley to once again strike out swinging, but by then the damage has already been done, as Sabathia’s pitch count was now up to fifty-one pitches. In the third, Myers would pitch another 1-2-3 inning, while Sabathia would only let one batter get on base, Werth via his second double of the game, but Sabathia’s pitch count was still rising as he has now thrown seventy-two pitches in three innings. In the fourth, after Myers would breeze through another inning, even though he would hit Hart with a pitch with two men out, Sabathia would finally get knocked out of the box by the Phils. They would start their half of the fourth off with a one pitch ground out, 1-3, by Ruiz. Myers would then battle Sabathia again, getting him mad in the process, as he would get the count up to 3-2 on nine pitches, before finally flying out to center on pitch number 10. Rollins would then follow with a double, the fifth double, and the sixth extra-base hit, that the Phillies would get off of Sabathia. After intentionally walking Victorino, the Phils would get a double steal as Rollins and Victorino would both move up a base, with Utley batting. These would be the third and fourth stolen bases that the Phils would get off of Sabathia. Utley would then get a walk, loading up the bases, and leading to the removal of Sabathia by Brewers’ manager Dale Sveum. At that point, Sabathia’s pitch count has risen to ninety-eight pitches. Sveum would then bring in reliever Mitch Stetter to face Howard. Stetter would get the Brewers out of the inning by striking out Howard, leaving the bases loaded. In the fifth, the Phillies would reload the bases, with two outs, via two walks (Burrell and Ruiz) and a single (Myers), but the Brewers would get out of that jam as Rollins would line out to Fielder who made a great catch on a ball that would have broken the game wide open if it has gotten through. The Phillies would threaten again in the sixth as they would put runners on second and first, with one out, via a double (Victorino) and an intentional walk (Howard), but the Brewers would get out of the inning as Seth McClung, pitching in his second inning in relief of Stetter, would strike out Burrell for the second out of the inning and then get Werth to fly out. In the seventh, the Brewers would get a run back as Craig Counsell would ground out, 4-3, scoring Hardy, who has reached base earlier with a double, only the second hit given up by Myers, and would then move to third on Hart’s fly out to right, making it a 5-2 Phillies’ lead. The Phillies half of the seventh would see the Phils go down 1-2-3 for the only time yesterday. In the Brewers’ eighth, Myers would be taken out of the game and replaced by Ryan Madson. The inning would start with a fielding error by Rollins of pinch hitter Rickie Weeks’ grounder. Madson would then get Cameron to pop (foul) out to the third baseman for the inning’s first out. Durham would then hit into a force out, 1-6, forcing out Weeks, while Durham would beat out Rollins’ throw to first. Braun would then follow with a single, moving Durham up to second base with still two men out. Madson is then taken out of the game by Charlie Manuel and replaced by J.C. Romero, to face Fielder. On Romero’s first pitch, Fielder would hit a slow grounder towards Utley, who would shovel the ball over to Howard for the inning’s final out, ending the short-lived Brewers’ threat. In the ninth, Lidge would be given the ball for the save. Unlike Tuesday’s game, Lidge would have an easy 1-2-3 inning, ending the game with a fly out to center, giving the Phillies a 5-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the series, as the two teams now head for Milwaukee for the third game of the series.
Brett Myers would get the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out four. His post-season record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face on one pitch. Brad Lidge would get his second post season save and his forty-third save in forty three tries, as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning. C.C. Sabathia would get the lost as he is only able to go three and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits, walking four batters, while striking out five. His post-season record is now 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA. Mitch Stetter, Seth McClung, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres would pitch a combined total of four and one-thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up just three hits (McClung (2), Torres (1)) and walking three (McClung), with each one striking out a batter for a total of four strike outs.
The victory gives the Phillies a commanding 2-0 lead in the series as they show that C.C. Sabathia is indeed human. This is mainly because most of the batters remained patient, with Brett Myers’ two at-bats against Sabathia being the key at-bats, especially the first one, as Sabathia would lose his composure after each one, leading to Shane Victorino’s grand slam in the second and Sabathia’s removal with the bases loaded, after throwing 98 pitches, in the fourth. It would seem that pitching Sabathia with only three days rest for the fourth straight game has come back to haunt the Brewers as they are now backed into a corner with the wily veteran Jamie Moyer up next to attempt to seal the deal for the Phillies. The Brewers’ ace was hit hard by the Phillies as all six of the hits off of him would be for extra-bases (5 (2B), 1 (HR)) while they also ran wild on him, stealing four bases, with Victorino leading the way with two steals. Meanwhile, Myers, after starting out a little wild and maybe being a little pinched by the home plate umpire, would gain control of the game after Corey Hart’s 1-2-3 double play ball ending the first inning, ending the Brewers best, and as it would turn out, only chance to get control of this game. After that inning, the Brewers would not be able to handle Myers’ pitches, especially after he starts to throw at them more than just his fastball. It would appear that the Myers of the second half is back, and if he is, thank god for that.
The five games National League Divisional Series will now move to Milwaukee. The third game of the series will be played in Miller Park on Saturday and will start at 6:30 pm Eastern (5:30 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be veteran Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71), who is coming off a victory against the Nationals on September 27, as he went six innings, giving up only an earned run on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. He has last faced the Brewers on September 11, defeating them in the game that would lead to a four game swept of the Brew Crew, as he would pitch five and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, while striking out five, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Moyer will be trying to, like he did last Saturday, pitch the Phillies deeper into the playoff with a win. His opponent will be Dave Bush (9-10, 4.18), who is coming off his fifth straight no-decision, this time against the Cubs on September 27, as he would pitch three innings in relief, giving up no runs on no hits, while walking a batter and striking out one, in the Brewers’ 7-3 lost. His last start would be on September 23 against the Pirates, also a no-decision, as he went five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Brewers’ 7-5 win. His last start against the Phillies would be on September 14, as he pitched a no-decision, going six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Brewers’ 7-3 lost in the first game of a day/night doubleheader. Bush will be trying to prevent a sweep of the Brewers.
The Phillies will be trying to end the series early, handing the ball over to Jamie Moyer to do it. And, with the Brewers now trying to keep from getting swept, Moyer should be the right person for the job, as he’ll be trying to use the Brewers’ aggressiveness against them.
In a wild game in Atlanta, a Ryan Howard home run would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Braves, 8-7. A Mets lost to the Nationals would put the Phils back into first place in the National League East by a half game. The Phillies would take the lead in the third as, with one man out and with a runner on second, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has gotten on base earlier with a double, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. This would be the first run to be scored off of Braves’ starter rookie James Parr in three starts. The Phillies would make it a 3-0 lead as Jayson Werth would follow with a two-run home run, his career high twenty-third home run of the year, scoring Utley. Ryan Howard would then follow with a single. After Pat Burrell strikes out for the inning’s second out, Shane Victorino would follow with a double. Unfortunaltely, Howard would be thrown out at the plate trying to score on a good throw from Braves’ right fielder Jeff Francoeur to second baseman Martin Prado to catcher Brian McCann, who would supply the tag on Howard for the final out of the inning. The Braves would come back in their half of the third as Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer would have the first of his two bad innings of the night. After striking out Parr for the inning’s first out, Moyer would hit Josh Anderson, sending him to first. Anderson would then move up to second on a Moyer’s wild pitch. Moyer would then walk Prado, putting men on first and second with one out. Chipper Jones would then follow with a single, loading up the bases. McCann would then hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-1, while leaving the bases loaded as Prado and Jones would each move up only one base. Moyer would then strike out Omar Infante for the inning’s second out. Casey Kotchman would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Prado and Jones, tying up the game at three all, while moving McCann up to third. Moyer would finally get out of the inning by getting Francoeur to fly out. The Phillies would retake the lead in the fourth as, with one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a solo home run, his fourth home run of the year, making it 4-3 Phillies. The Phils would then threaten to score again in the fifth as Werth and Howard would both single with one out, putting runners on first and second. Bobby Cox would then come out to remove Parr and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would proceed to strike out Burrell for the inning’s second out, then get Victorino to ground out 3-1 to end the threat. In the sixth, Moyer would have the second of his bad innings. After getting Kotchman to ground out, 4 to 3, for the inning’s first out, Moyer would give up a single to Francoeur. Moyer would then walk both Brent Lillibridge and pinch hitter Greg Norton to load the bases. Anderson would then hit a sharp ball towards first that would be caught by Howard who would then beat Anderson to the bag for the inning’s second out, as Francoeur scored, tying the game at four runs apiece, while moving both Lillibridge and Norton up a base. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Moyer, replacing him with Chad Durbin to try and put out the fire. Sadly, Durbin would be unable to do so, as he would give up a single to pinch hitter Kelly Johnson, knocking in both Lillibridge and Norton, giving the Braves a 6-4 lead, while Johnson would go to second on Victorino’s throw to the plate that would bounce off the mound, allowing Johnson to move up a base. That would come back to haunt the Phillies later in the inning, as, after Durbin intentionally walks Jones, Manuel would come back out to replace him with Scott Eyre to face McCann. That move wouldn’t work as McCann would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, making it now 7-4 Braves, while sending Jones to second. Eyre would finally end the inning by getting Infante to hit into a force out, 6-4. The Phillies would strike back in the seventh, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Howard would hit a deep fly ball to left that would be misplayed by Infante, thus becoming a RBI triple, while scoring Werth, who has earlier singled, cutting the Braves’ lead to 7-5. Cox would then come out and replace Jeff Bennett with Will Ohman. After striking out Burrell for the inning’s second out, Ohman would give up a RBI single to Victorino, scoring Howard and making it a 7-6 Braves’ lead. Pedro Feliz would then reach base on a throwing error by shortstop Lillibridge, as he threw the base past Prado on a force out attempt, allowing Victorino to reach second. But after Ohman walks pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to load the bases, he would finally end the inning by getting pinch hitter Matt Stairs to ground out, 3 to 1. The Phillies would then retake the lead for good in the eighth, as with a runner on first with two outs, Howard would hit his major league leading forty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead. In the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge for the save. But, it would not be easy. Lidge would start off the inning by walking Jones. Lidge would then get McCann to pop out to Utley under the Infield Fly Rule, although Utley would pretend to miss the ball, to try for a force out, but the umpire wouldn’t go for it. The next batter, Infante, would then hit a sharp ground ball to Feliz. Although hit hard enough for a double play ball, Feliz would only have one play, to first, throwing out Infante, as Jones was running on the play, reaching second safely. Lidge would then proceed to walk both Kotchman and Francoeur to load the bases, with two men out, for Gregor Blanco. Lidge would then strike out Blanco swinging on a 2-2 slider, ending the game as he finally records his thirty-seventh save in thirty-seven tries.
Jamie Moyer would get a no-decision, as he would goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits while walking four and striking out six, as he would have two very bad innings that would hurt him. Chad Durbin would pitch to two batters, getting neither of them out, as he gives up an earned run on a hit and walks a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Ryan Madson would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while striking out three. His record is now 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, although he would give up three walks while striking out one as he records his thirty-seventh save of the year. James Parr would also get a no-decision, as he is able to last only four and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits. Buddy Carlyle would pitch an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief, giving up no hits while striking out two. Will Ohman would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Jeff Bennett would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on a hit. Julian Tavarez would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on no hits and a walk. Mike Gonzalez would get the lost as he receives his second blown save of the year as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up an earned run, Ryan Howard’s home run, on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Jorge Julio would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits while walking a batter as he struck out the side.
Two bad innings almost did in Jamie Moyer and the Phillies as Moyer would lose control of his stuff in both the third and the sixth innings, giving up three runs in both, as he gave up in those two innings four singles and four walks, along with a hit batsman. But this time the offense would refuse to die, thanks to Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. The game’s star, a red hot Howard, would be a double short of hitting the cycle, as he went four for five, getting two singles, a triple and a home run, knocking in three runs while scoring two. Victorino would follow by going three for five with two singles and a double, knocking in a run. Jayson Werth would be next as he went three for four, getting two singles and a home run, knocking in two runs while scoring three. Jimmy Rollins would go two for five with a single and a double, scoring a run. Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley would also contribute with a home run (Ruiz) and a RBI double (Utley). The only ones who would not contribute would be Pedro Feliz, who would get on base with a walk, and Shane Victorino would go 0 for five, striking out all five times. In a fourteen hit attack, half of the hits would be for extra-bases (2B (3), 3B (1), HR (3)), showing that the Phillies’ offense, in general, is hot at the moment, a situation that will hopefully last to the end of the year.
The once again first place Phillies (84-67) will play the second of their three games against the fourth place Braves (67-84) tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound, in place of the presently ineffective Kyle Kendrick, rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 5.71), who will be making his third start for the Phillies, still looking for his first major league win. His last appearance was in relief against the Marlins on September 9, as he would pitch three and a third innings in relief of Kendrick, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 10-8 lost. His last start was a no-decision on July 9 against the Cardinals, where he went six and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 win. The Phillies have won both of his starts, although he would receive no-decisions in both games. He will be trying for his first win while trying to keep the Phils in first place as he face the Braves for the first time in his short major league career. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on September 11, where he went six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 8-4 win. He has faced the Phillies two previous times, winning his last meeting against them on July 25, as he went eight innings, giving up no runs on just three hits, in the Braves’ 8-2 win. His record this year against the Phillies is 1-1. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to put an end to the Phillies’ seven games winning streak at Turner Field.
With the win, the Phillies jump back into first place, a half game ahead of the Mets who lost last night, 1-0, to the Nationals. They are still five and a half games over the Marlins, who defeated the Astros. The Phillies’ win and the Mets lost would put the Mets back into the Wild Card race, where they now have a half game lead over the Brewers, after their lost to the Cubs, who are out to clinch the National League Central Division this week. With eleven games left in the season, the Phillies are out to extend their present winning streak to six games and their winning streak at Turner Field to eight games, while hoping to extend their lead over the Mets in the East.
The Phillies, behind the pitching of Jamie Moyer and the bullpen, would gain ground on both the Mets in the East and the Brewers in the Wild Card chase as they defeated the slumping Brew Crew, 6-3. The Phillies would take a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Ryan Howard hit a monster 2-run shot into center field, his forty-third home run of the year, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, and has moved to second on Jayson Werth’s ground out, third to first. The Brewers would cut the Phils’ lead in the third inning as, with two outs, J.J. Hardy hit a solo home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, to make it 2-1 Phillies. The Phillies would increase their lead in the fourth, as, with a runner on first and no one out, Howard would hit a RBI double, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead. Three batters later, with a runner on third, and two out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI double, knocking in Howard, who has gone to third on Shane Victorino’s ground out to first for the inning’s second out, making it 4-1 Phillies. The Brewers would shorten the Phillies’ lead again in the sixth as, with a man on third and two outs, a slumping Prince Fielder would hit a two-run home run, scoring Rickie Weeks, who has earlier doubled and has gone to third on Ryan Braun’s deep fly out to center field, to make it a 4-3 Phillies’ lead. The Phils would get a run back in their half of the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a RBI double, scoring Feliz, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. The Brew Crew tried to get close in the eighth. With Ryan Madson still pitching in relief of Phils’ starter Jamie Moyer, Weeks would start the inning off with a single. Madson would then get the next two batters, Hardy and Braun, to strike out swinging. Charlie Manuel would then take out Madson and bring in Scott Eyre to face the still dangerous Fielder, since Eyre has his number career-wise. But, on this occassion, Fielder woule be able to work a walk, putting two men on base with the go ahead run coming up to the plate in Corey Hart. Manuel would come back out and replace Eyre with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then, with one pitch, end the inning as Hart hit sharply to Rollins, who would throw over to Utley to force out Fielder at second for the third out. In the Phillies’ eighth, they would tack on one more run as Ruiz would use a sacrifice squeeze to force in Victorino, who has reached base on a single, went to second on relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva’s throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and has gone to third on Feliz’s sacrifice bunt, giving the Phillies a 6-3 lead. That would turn out to be the ballgame as Brad Lidge would come out and shut the door on the Brewers with a 1-2-3 ninth, as he records his thirty-sixth save in as many tries.
Jamie Moyer would get the win, as he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up only three earned runs on four hits. His record is now 14-7, the team’s leader in wins, with a 3.68 ERA. Ryan Madson pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only two hits while striking out two. Scott Eyre would face only one batter, walking him. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, facing only one batter and retiring him on a force out. Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, giving up no hits as he striked out one batter. Ben Sheets would get the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits. His record is now 13-8 with a 2.97 ERA. Carlos Villanueva would pitch two innings in relief, giving up an unearned run on one hit, while striking out three.
The Phillies’ offense, for once, refused to just score runs early and then just quit, as they would score their final run of the game on a suicide squeeze, a play that they would normally not use. Maybe they have finally decided to do everything that they can to manufacture runs if they can’t normally do so with the bat? I guess we’ll see during their last fifteen games. Jamie Moyer, with three games rest, wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to keep the slumping, but still very dangerous, bats of the Brew Crew silent during his five and two-thirds innings of work, giving up only four hits, although all four would be for extra-bases (2B (2), HR (2)). The Phillies’ bullpen would then come on to keep the Brewers quiet for the rest of the game, although just barely getting out of the now seemingly dangerous eighth inning by the skin of their teeth.
The Phillies (80-67) continue their four games series with the Brewers (83-64, 2nd National League Central, 1st NL Wild Card) with a night game tonight. It will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (12-9, 3.12), who is coming off a disastrous start against the Mets on September 7, where he only went five innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits, in the Phils’ 6-3 lost. Lifetime against the Brew Crew, he is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in four starts. He will be trying once again for his thirteenth win, while trying to see if he can keep the slumping Brewers’ bats quiet and put the Brewers into panic mode with a win against them. The Brewers will counter with Manny Parra (10-7, 4.03), who is coming off a lost against the Padres on September 7, as he goes five innings, giving up six runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits, in the Brewers’ 10-1 lost. He will be trying to see if he can stop the Brewers present slide while trying to stop the Phillies from getting any closer them in the wild card race.
With the victory, the Philles are now three games behind the Mets, as the Mets prepare to face the Braves for a three games weekend series. The Phillies are ahead of the Marlins by five and a half games as the fish prepare to meet the Nationals for three games. In the wild card chase, the Phillies trail the Brewers by three games as they continue their series, while they are still tied with the Astros for second place in the wild card as they’d defeated the Pirates, before they go to wait out Hurricane Ivan for the next two days before facing the Cubs on the 14th, while they are both ahead of the Cardinals by a game and a half after losing to the Cubs before they begin a series against the Pirates this weekend. The Phillies hope to be able to gain ground in both the East and in the wild card race.