The Phils took the lead in the first as, with two men on, and with one man out, Hunter Pence hits an RBI infield single to the shortstop, scoring in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, moved up to second base on Placido Polanco’s single, then stopped at third on Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice bunt, 4-3, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Polanco, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Rollins’ sacrifice bunt, to third. The Pirates would tie the game up at one-all in the sixth as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Yamaico Navarro, who had earlier walked, would stop at second base on Jose Tabata’s single, then stopped at third on Alex Presley’s force out, 4-6, wiping out Tabata at second base for the inning’s second out, would score on Cliff Lee’s wild pitch, crossing the plate after Lee misses Carlos Ruiz throw back to him as he tried to cover home plate, while Presley, who was safe on the force out, would move up to second base. The game then became a duel between both teams’ bullpens until the bottom of the tenth as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Presley hits an RBI infield single, knocking in Michael McKenry, who was pinch running for Rod Barajas, who had earlier doubled, then moved up to third base on Clint Barmes’ sacrifice bunt, 5-4, as Presley beat out Rollins’ throw to first, giving the Pirates a 2-1 walk-off win.
Cliff Lee got a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up a run on two hits, two walks and a costly wild pitch, while striking out four batters. Kyle Kendrick, Chad Qualls, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo combined f0r three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Qualls (1), Stutes (1)) and a walk (Bastardo) between them. Joe Blanton (0-1, 13.50) took the lost as he went two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a hit batter. Jeff Karstens also received a no-decision as he went six innings, giving up a run on five hits and a walk, while striking out two. Tony Watson, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan combined for three scoreless innings, giving up just two walks (Hanrahan), while striking out three (Grilli (1), Hanrahan (2)) between them. Juan Cruz (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, while striking out a batter.
The Phils had seven hits in the game with Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco both leading the team with two hits apiece, all singles. Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz had the other three Phils’ hits, all singles. The Phils also had three walks and a stolen base (Pence) in the game.
The Phils (1-1, 3 NL East) will conclude their three-game series with the Pirates (1-1, T-2 NL Central) with an afternoon game tomorrow afternoon at PNC Park. The game is to start at 1:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Vance Worley (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a rookie season in which he ended up with a record of 11-3, with a 3.01 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23, as he appeared in 25 games, 21 of which were starts, as he pitched a total of 131.2 innings, striking out 119 batters, while walking only 50. Worley will be trying to help the Phils leave Pittsburgh with a series win, while out to prove that the previous season was not a fluke. The Pirates will counter with James McDonald (0-0, -.–), who last season had a record of 9-9 with a 4.21 ERA, as he started in 31 games, totaling 171 innings pitched, as he struck out 142 batters, while walking 78. He will be trying to give the Pirates the series win. The Phils will be out to win the series while trying to see if they can establish some kind of offense before coming back to Philly for their home opener.
During the off-season, after the Phils had picked up Cliff Lee via free agency, everyone in the country were talking about the Phils four aces (Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), while also thinking that the Phils would likely trade away Joe Blanton (they didn’t), although the other four would come out to support the fifth member of the starting rotation during spring training, but the pleasant surprise during the first nine games of the season has been the performance of the bullpen, who have been rather stingy with both the hits and the runs.
Roy Halladay, the staff ace, have had two good starts, having a record of 1-0, as he has gone 13 innings, giving up only one earned run on eleven hits and one walk, while he has struck out 13, for an ERA of 0.69 and a WHIP of 0.92.
Cliff Lee, the present no. two man, has also pitched two games, a spectacular start against the Astros, and a start against the Braves where he lost his control. His record is now 1-1, as he has pitched ten and a third innings, giving up nine earned runs on fourteen hits and a walk, while he has also hit two batters, as he has struck out fourteen, for the team lead, for an ERA of 7.84 and a WHIP of 1.45.
Roy Oswalt, the no. three man, have had two good outings for a 2-0 record, making him the present team leader in wins. He has pitched twelve innings, giving up four runs, of which three were earned, on ten hits and three walks, while also hitting a batter, while he has struck out eight, for a 2.25 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.08.
The team’s no. four starter, Cole Hamels, in his two start, had a bad start against the Mets, before bouncing back against the Braves this past Sunday. His record is now 1-1, as he has gone nine and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on eleven hits and three walks, and one hit batter, while he had struck out eleven, for a 5.59 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
Joe Blanton, the team’s fifth starter, will be making his second start of the season tonight, after having been taken out of his opening start, as he allowed his pitches to come up against the Mets in the fifth inning. His record is 0-0, as he looks for his first win or lost, as he had so far gone four and one-thirds innings, giving up seven runs on ten hits and two walks, while hitting a batter, while he has struck out six, for a high ERA of 14.54 and a WHIP of 2.77, both presently highs among the starters. He hopes to bring both down during his start against the Nationals.
So far, the five starters have a combine record of 5-2, as they have pitched 49.1 innings, giving up 27 runs, of which 26 were earned, on 56 hits and 10 walks, while hitting a total of 5 batters, while striking out 52 batters. They have also given up all three of the home runs allowed by the Phils’ pitchers (Oswalt, Lee and Blanton with one each).
Meantime, the bullpen has shown itself to be better than expected, as they have allowed only six runs, only five of which were earned, and one inherited runner to score, in their combine total of 30.2 innings.
Their long man, Kyle Kendrick, has appeared in three games, with a 0-0 record, as he has given up a run on four hits and three walks, while striking out a batter in five innings of work, for a 1.80 ERA.
Antonio Bastardo has been on fire as he has appeared in three games, with a 1-0 record, as he has so far given up no runs in four and two-thirds innings, giving up only two hits, while striking out nine batters, for an ERA of 0.00.
The Phils’ other lefty in their bullpen, J.C. Romero, appeared to have regain his 2008 form as he has pitched in five games, for an 0-0 record, as he has given up a run on three hits and a walk in four innings, while he has strucked out three, for a 2.25 ERA.
After having a bad year in 2010, Danys Baez seems to have recovered nicely this year, as he has appeared in five games, for a record of 1-0, as he has given up an unearned run on six hits and a walk, as he pitched a total of five innings, while striking out two, for an 0.00 ERA.
Second year man David Herndon is the only reliever who doesn’t seem to be pitching well in the early going, as he has pitched in five games, for an 0-0 record, going six innings, as he has given up three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out a batter, for a 4.50 ERA.
The Phils’ eighth inning pitcher, Ryan Madson, is doing well, as he had an 0-0 record, as he has pitched in three games for a total of three innings, giving up no runs on a hit, while he has struck out four, for an 0.00 ERA.
Their present closer, Jose Contreras. has been lights out, as he has appeared in three game, for an 0-0 record while converting both of his save opportunities, as he has gone three innings, giving up no runs on two hits and a walk, while he has struck out four, for an 0.00 ERA.
The bullpen has appeared in all nine games, for an 2-0 record, as they have given up a total of 23 hits and 8 walks, while striking out 24 batters. The good work of the bullpen help give the Phils a team ERA of 3.49 while the team’s WHIP is at 1.21. If this continues, especially once the starters have hit their stride, this could become a very dangerous team, even if the offense has its mid-season slump, as the pitching should keep them within striking distant during most games.