The Phillies end their four game losing streak, thanks to a good pitching effort by J.A. Happ, and two solo home runs in the eighth inning from Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz as the Phillies defeat the Cardinals, 4-2. The game started out as a pitchers’ duel between Happ and Cardinals’ reliever Brad Thompson, who was pitching in relief of Mark Mulder, who had left the game in the first inning after hurting his elbow. This would end in the fifth, when, with one out and a runner on first, Jimmy Rollins would hit a RBI triple, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. But Rollins would then be thrown out at the plate on a Shane Victorino fielder’s choice ground ball, shortstop Cesar Izturis to catcher Jason LaRue. Chase Utley would then hit a single, sending Victorino to second base. Ryan Howard would then follow with a single, scoring Victorino, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. In the seventh, as Happ stayed in the game to try and give the bullpen a rest, started the inning by getting Brendan Ryan to fly out for the first out. Itzuris would then get on base with a single. The next batter, Skip Schumaker, would follow with a ground-rule double, after Victorino tells the umpires that the ball had gotten stuck in the panneling, forcing Itzuris to go back to third. That would be it for Happ, as he is taken out of the ballgame by Charlie Manuel, to a standing ovation from the fans. Manuel replaces Happ with Chad Durbin. Durbin would walk Ryan Ludwick to load the bases. Albert Pujols would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Itzuris, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Troy Glaus would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Schumaker, making it two all, while Ludwick and Glaus would both move up a base on the throw to the place. After intenionally walking Rick Ankiel, Durbin would finally end the inning by striking out Joe Mather for the third out. In the eighth, Howard would give the lead back to the Phillies as he would hit his twenty-fifth home run of the year, tying Chase Utley for the major league lead in home runs, a solo shot off of Cardinals’ reliever Kyle McClellan, making it 3-2 Phillies. Three batters later, with two men out, and Chris Perez now pitching for the Cardinals, Pedro Feliz would hit a solo home run, his eleventh home run of the year, to make it 4-2 Phillies. In the ninth inning, Brad Lidge would be sent out to save the game, which he would do, in spite of a attempt to tie the game by the Cardinals, as he would strike out Ankiel with two men on and two outs, to record his twentieth save of the year in twenty tires.
J.A. Happ would pitch an excellent game, although only receiving a no-decision as he goes six and one-third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and striking out five. Chad Durbin would receive his second blown of the season, as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Clay Condrey would get the win as he pitches a scoreless, hitless inning as he strikes out the side. His record is now 2-1 with a ERA of 3.82. Brad Lidge would also go one inning, as he gives up no runs on no hits, walking two and striking out two. Mark Mulder would pitch only one third of an inning, walking two hitters and striking out one, before being taken out because of a bad elbow. Brad Thmpson would pitch four and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, getting a no-decision. Russ Springer would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Jason Isringhausen would pitch an inning, also giving up no runs or hits. Kyle McClellan would take the lost, pitching an inning plus one batter, while giving up only one earned run on one hit, Ryan Howard’s solo shot. His record is now 1-4 with a 2.74 ERA. Chris Perez would also pitch an inning, also giving up an earned run on one hit, Pedro Feliz’s solo home run.
J.A. Happ has obviously been taking advice from Jamie Moyer, otherwise how else do you explain how he well he was able to keep the redbirds off-balanced until the seventh inning. It’s too bad that Durbin was unable to shut down the Cardinals after being called in to relieve Happ, especially since the Phillies plan to send him back to Lehigh Valley after the All-Star break to bring back Brett Myers. I for one will not be looking forward to that if the youngster continues pitching like a stud. Anyone out there have an idea on how to persuade the powers that be that it would be better for the team to keep the kid in the bigs after this performance? Meanwhile, the Phillies’ offense is still not scoring runs, even if Ryan Howard has just broke a team record of the most RBIs knocked in by a team player before the All-Star break, breaking Greg Luzinski’s old record with his eightieth RBI of the year. The offense really needs to knock in runs with man in scoring positions. Seriously.
The three games series between the Phillies (49-43) and the Cardinals (51-41, 2nd National League Central) will conclude tomorrow afternoon with a Business Person’s Special. The game will start at 1:05 pm Eastern at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (7-6, 4.12), who is coming off a good start against the Mets on July 5, getting a no-decision as he goes six and two-thirds innings, giving up only three earned runs on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 9-4 lost. He will once again be trying for his eighth victory of the year, while hoping to help the Phillies win their first series at home since the series against the Reds. Braden Looper (9-6, 4.15), who is coming off a lost against the Cubs on July 4, where he would go seven innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Cardinals’ 2-1 lost. He will be trying once again for his tenth win of the season, while trying to stop the Phillies’ batters.
The Phillies’ victory will keep their lead over both the Marlins and the Mets at a game and a half as they both won their game. The Braves trail the Phillies by six games, as they lost their game to the Dodgers. The Phillies hope to keep their lead over the rest of the Eastern division, while trying to win the last two series on their home stand.
The Phillies (48-43) continue their three games series with the Cardinals (51-40, 2nd National League Central), with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will by rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on July 4, where he would pitch four and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 victory. He will be trying for his first major league victory while seeing if he will be able to pitch good enough to stay in the majors. The Cardinals will counter with their rookie Mark Mulder (0-0, 13.50), who is making his first start of the year, after spending some time in the bullpen. In his last appearace in the bullpen, on July 2 against the Mets, he would only go a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. He will be seeing if he can do well as a starter, while trying to keep the Phillies’ bats quiet.
Speaking of the Phillies’ offense, someone among the players needs to lit into the rest of the team to get them out of their present funk. The offense has been acting like a sleepwalker for almost a whole month, and quite frankly, it needs to stop, and the only way it is going to stop is for one of the players to start acting like a team leader and get on the collective tails of the other batters. If this will ruffle some feathers, tough. This team is suppose to be better than this, and if they are waiting for someone to get a big hit, then they have been waiting too long. Someone needs to take command and tell the rest of them to get off their collective ***** and prove to themselves and everyone else in the league that they are the fourth best team in the National League and are a potent runs producer, instead of appearing to be a weak team that is playing a lot higher than they should be. Otherwise, they might as well start looking forward to another year of not being in the playoffs and a lot of really ticked off Phillies’ fans.
The Phillies lead is presently a game over the Marlins as they have just defeated the Padres. They are a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they prepare to greet the Giants. They lead the Braves by five games, as they plan to play the Dodgers later tonight. The Phillies hope to get the offense restared while trying to stave off both the Marlins and the Mets, two teams who they have allowed back into the pennant race because of their inconsistant play.
Cole Hamels pitches a very good game as he only gives up three hits in seven innings of work. Unfortunately, two of those hits would be solo home runs. And even worst, the Phillies’ offense disappeared completely, as they got only six hits, as they lose their fourth straight game, falling to the Cardinals, 2-0. The game would be a pitchers’ duel between Hamels and Cardinals’ starter, Joel Pineiro, as the Phillies would squander a chance to take the lead in the second, while Hamels would keep the redbirds off-balanced. That is until the fifth, when Hamels gives up a solo home run to Rick Ankiel, his nineteenth home run of the year, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. One inning later, with two men out, he would give up another solo home run, this one to Ryan Ludwick, his eighteenth home run of the year, to make it 2-0 Cardinals. That would be it, as the Phillies would be unable to mount much of an offense, as the batters would blow a rally in the seventh. Ryan Franklin would pitch the ninth, recording his twelfth save of the year.
Cole Hamels would take the lost, in spite of pitching seven innings of three hit ball as he gives up two earned runs. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would both pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit each. Joel Pineiro would pitch six and one thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up only five hits. Ron Villone would pitch two-thirds innings of scoreless, hitless pitching. Kyle McClellan would pitch a hitless, scoreless inning. Ryan Franklin would pitch a scoreless night as he gives up only one hit while recording his twelfth save of the year.
Once again, the offense vanishes after showing a sign of life the previous day. This is getting to be a real annoyance. The Phillies are suppose to be one of the best runs producing teams in baseball, but I sometimes wonder if its really is, considering how much they seem to prefer letting their big men do all of their scoring and not even show a willingness to do some small ball. What is it with this team and creating runs when the big men can’t seem to get going? Are they afraid of looking like an ordinary team? If they are, then shame on them. They need to get off their individual high horses and start playing some small ball, and in that way put some pressure on the defense. Otherwise, start saying hello to the Nationals if they keep playing like this.
The Phillies (48-43) continue their three games series with the Cardinals (51-40, 2nd National League Central), with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will by rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on July 4, where he pitched four and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 victory. He will be trying for his first major league victory while seeing if he will be able to pitch good enough to stay in the majors. The Cardinals will counter with rookie Mark Mulder (0-0, 13.50), who is making his first start of the year, after spending time in the bullpen. His last appearace, on July 2 against the Mets, he would only go a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. He will be seeing if he can do well as a starter, while trying to keep the Phillies’ bats quiet.
The lost leave the Phillies with a one game lead over the Marlins, who are presently losing to the Padres. Their lead over the Mets is now at a game and a half as the Mets crushed the Giants. The Phillies lead the Braves by five and a half games, as they are presently involved in a scoreless game with the Dodgers. The Phillies will once again try to find out where their defense have disappeared to so that they can get back to winning and leading their division.
Edit: The Phils lead is still at a game and a half as the Marlins are defeated by the Padres. The defeat now placed the Marlins in a tied for second with the Mets. Wheee I say in sarcastically. Come on offense, wake up, blast it!!!!