The first game will be a night game on Saturday, with a start time of 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound their number two man in the rotation, Cliff Lee (0-0, -.–) who is coming of a 17-8 2011 season, with an ERA of 2.40 and a WHIP of 1.03. Lee pitched in 32 games, all starts, for a total of 232.2 innings, in which he struck out 238 batters, while walking only 42. Lee will be out to see if he can lead the Phils to a 2-0 start on the season while trying to collect his first win of 2012. The Pirates will try to counter with Jeff Karstens (0-0, -.–) who had ended the 2011 season with a 9-9 record, with a 3.38 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21. Karstens appeared in 30 games, 26 of which were starts, in which he threw a total of 162.1 innings, striking out just 96 batters, while walking 33. Karstens will be trying to see if he can even up the series at a game apiece.
The second of the final two games of the three game set will be an Sunday afternoon game, with a start time of 1:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Vance Worley (0-0, -.–), who will be in his second full season as a Phil, as he is coming off a 2011 campaign 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 accumulated a total of 131.2 innings, striking out 119 batters, while walking only 50. Worley will be trying to prove that he had deserved his third place showing in the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year balloting. The Pirates will send to the mound James McDonald (0-0, -.–), who in 2011 had a record of 9-9 with an ERA of 4.21, as he had 31 starts, totaling 171 innings, as he struck out 142 batters, while walking 78. He will be out to show that he can pitch better than his record would show.
The Phils will be out to win at least one of these two games, to leave Pittsburgh with a winning record, before starting their opening home stand with a three-game series with the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins.
The Phils will begin their 129th season as a member of the National League with an afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Pirates tomorrow afternoon at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. The game will start at 1:35 pm EDT.
The Phils, who are coming off a team record setting 102-80 win season, will be protecting their fifth straight National League Eastern Division Championship, also a team record, after having been knocked out of the NL Divisional Series, losing the series 3 games to 2, by the eventual 2011 World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals. The Phils will send to the mound their ace, Roy Halladay (0-0, —), who will be coming off a 19-6 2011, with a 2.35 ERA and a WHIP of 1.04. He also struck out 220 batters. The Pirates, who are coming off their19th straight losing season, finishing 2011 in 4th place in the National League Central Division with a 72-90 record, will be trying once again to at least reach a .500 record. They will be sending to the mound Erik Bedard (0-0, -.–), who had spent 2011 pitching for both the Red Sox and the Mariners, who will be coming off a combine record of 5-9 with an ERA of 3.62, and a WHIP of 1.28.
The Phils will be out to start the 2012 season on a good note.
The Phils come up a little short as they drop the series to the Nats as they lose, 2-1.
The Nats took a 1-0 lead in the first as, with one man on, and with one man out, Jayson Werth hits an RBI single, knocking in Roger Bernadina, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Ian Desmond’s sacrifice bunt, 5-3, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. The Phils tied the game up at one-all in the second as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled, would score on a Alex Cora fielding error of a Carlos Ruiz grounder, while Ben Francisco, who had earlier walked, would stop at second base, while Ruiz would be safe at first. The Phils tried to take the lead in the third as, with John Mayberry, Jr., who was earlier hit by the pitch, and then stole second base, and with two men out, tried to score on a grounder hit into right center field by Howard against the infield shift for an infield single, but was thrown out at home plate by second baseman Danny Espinosa, 4-2, for the inning’s final out. The Nats then retook the lead in their half of the third as, with two men out, Laynce Nix hits a solo home run, his ninth home run of the season, giving the Nats a 2-1 lead. The Phils tried to retied the game in the sixth, as they loaded the bases, via a walk by Francisco, a single by Raul Ibanez, sending Francisco up to second base, and a walk by pinch hitter Jimmy Rollins, and with two men out, but ended up being denied as pinch hitter Dom Brown flied out to left for the final out. That would be the last threat the Phils would mustard before Drew Storen would come in and collect his tenth save with a scoreless ninth.
Roy Oswalt (3-3, 2.70) took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out three. Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo combined for three scoreless innings, giving up a walk (Bastardo), while striking out three (Stutes (2), Bastardo (1)) between them. John Lannan (3-5, 4.05) gets the win, his first against the Phils, as he pitched five and one-third innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits, a hit batter and three walks, while striking out a batter. Todd Coffey received his first hold of the season as he pitched a third of an inning, as he walked a better. Doug Slaten also collected his first hold of the season as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Tyler Clippard collected his twelfth hold of the year as he pitched two 1-2-3 innings. Drew Storen picked up his tenth save of the season as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter.
The Phils had only five hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the team with two hits, an infield single and a double. Placido Polanco (Single), Raul Ibanez (Single) and Jimmy Rollins (Bunt Single), had the other three Phils’ hits, as the offense could not get a key hit, as their only run came in on a Nats’s error.
The Phils (34-22, 1st) have the day off tomorrow, before starting a three-game series with the Pirates (25-28, 4th Central) in Pittsburgh.
Two monster home runs by Ryan Howard is more than enough runs support for Cliff Lee as he wins his fifth straight start since being traded to the Phils, as the Phillies defeated the depleted Mets, 6-2, winning the series, before they head off to Pittsburgh. They increase their lead in the NL East over the Braves to seven games.
In the first, the Phils took the lead as, with two men on, and with only one man out, Ryan Howard hits a three-run bomb to left field, his thirty-third home run of the season, as he scored Shane Victorino, who had earlier been hit by the pitch, stole second and then went to third on Mets’ catcher Omir Santos’ throwing error, and Chase Utley, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Mets got a run back in their half of the first as Angel Pagan hits a soft pop fly to Utley, who misplayed the ball, dropping it for a fielding error, allowing Pagan to reach first and then head on to second base for a two-base error. Utley then committed a throwing error as he tried to throw out Pagan at second base, but threw the ball past Phils’ shortstop Eric Bruntlett towards the left field foul area, which would eventually allow Pagan to score on the second two-base error of the play, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead. This is the first time in his career that Utley has committed two errors in a ballgame, as well as two errors on one play. Three batters later, with a man on third and with one out, Fernando Tatis hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Gary Sheffield, who had earlier tripled, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils added to their lead in the third as, with a man on base, and with one out, Howard hits his second home run of the game, his thirty-fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier walked, making it a 5-2 Phils lead. That would remain the lead until the top of the ninth as Phils’ starter Cliff Lee took control of the game from the second inning onwards, giving up only six hits, and two unearned runs, while he struck out five for seven strong innings. In the ninth, the Phils would add an insurance run as, with a runner on second, and with one out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Utley, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 6-2 lead. That would end up being the final score as Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Cliff Lee got the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up two unearned runs on six hits, while striking out five. His record is now 12-9 (5-0) with an ERA of 2.63 (0.68). Chan Ho Park pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he collected his eighth hold, striking out a batter. Brad Lidge also pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Bobby Parnell took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks, while he struck out three. His record is now 3-6 with an ERA of 5.08. Ken Takahashi, Elmer Dessens and Billy Wagner combined for three scoreless innings, giving up only a hit (Takahashi) and a walk (Wagner), while striking out four batters (Takahashi (2), Wagner (2)). Pedro Feliciano pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out a batter. Brian Stokes pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up only a walk, as he struck out a batter.
The Phils had only seven hits, with Ryan Howard and Ryan Ibanez leading the way with two hits apiece, with both of Howard’s hits being home runs, knocking in five of the Phils’ runs, while one of Ibanez’s hits was a double, knocking in the Phils’ other run. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Eric Bruntlett had the other three Phils’ hits, with Utley’s hit being a double. Once again, the Phils’ had little offense, but got the big hit when they needed it, as they go on to Pittsburgh, after a successful start of their road trip in New York.
The Phillies (72-50, 1st National League East) continue their road trip with a three games series with the Pirates (51-71, 6th National League Central). The game will be played at PNC Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (8-6, 3.86), who is coming off a win against the D-backs on August 20, where he went eight innings, giving up three runs on ten hits, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 12-3 win. He will be trying to gain his ninth win, while starting the series against the lowly Bucos on a good note. The Pirates will counter with Ross Ohlendorf (11-8, 4.15), who is coming off a win against the Brewers on August 18, as he pitched seven innings, giving up a run on five hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Pirates’ 5-2 win. He will be going for his twelfth win, while hoping to slow down the Phils. The Phils will be trying to take advantage of one of the worst teams in the NL, while trying to put even further distance between them and the NL East rivals.
A crazy game ended in dramatic fashion as Jeff Francoeur hits into an unassisted triple play, the first time it have ever happened in a National League ballgame and for the second time in Major League history, as the Phils hung on to defeat the Mets, 9-7. The Phils’ lead in the NL East still remains at six-and-a-half games going into this afternoon’s game, as the Braves defeated the Marlins.
The Phils took an early lead in the first as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run bomb into left field, his twenty-ninth home run of the season, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and Shane Victorino, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Phils then increased their lead to 6-0 as, with two men on, and now with two men out, Carlos Ruiz hits a three-run bomb of his own, also into left field, his eighth home run of the year, knocking in Pedro Feliz, who had earlier walked, and had gone to second base on Eric Bruntlett’s single, and Bruntlett, who was playing second base as Chase Utley was given the day off, who had earlier singled. Then, after Mets’ starter Oliver Perez had thrown three straight balls to Phils’ starter Pedro Martinez, Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel had seen enough of ‘Bad’ Perez, and replaced him with Nelson Figueroa, who then struck out Martinez on three pitches to end the inning. The Mets then came back as their lead-off man, Angel Pagan hits an inside-the-park home run, his fourth home run of the year, on a ball that got stuck under the rail in left-center field, which the umpires did not call a ground-rule double because of the stadium’s rule on those kinds of hit balls, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 6-1. Three batters later, the Mets made it 6-2 Phils as, with a man on base, and with one out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI triple, knocking in Daniel Murphy, who was earlier safe on a force out, 6-4. The Phils then increased their lead in the third as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Raul Ibanez, a single to Feliz, sending Ibanez up to second base, and a single to Bruntlett, sending Ibanez over to third, and Feliz to second, with only one man out, as Martinez hits an RBI single, knocking in Ibanez, and making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead, while sending Feliz on to third, and Bruntlett over to second. Rollins would then make it 8-2 Phils as he hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz from third. The Mets got a run back in their half of the third as Pagan hits a lead-off home run, his fifth home run of the season, as he cut the Phils’ lead down to 8-3. Three batters later, with runners on second and third, and with one man out, Cory Sullivan hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Luis Castillo, who had earlier singled, and then went to third on Murphy’s double, making it 8-4 Phils. That would remain the score until the seventh, as Martinez finally settled down in the middle innings. In the seventh, the Mets made it 8-5 as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Murphy hits an RBI single, knocking in Castillo, who had earlier walked, and then stole second. In the eighth, the Phils got that run back as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Matt Stairs, who had earlier reached base on a pinch walk, move up to second on a wild pitch, and then went to third on Rollins’ ground out, 3-unassisted, scored on a second wild pitch, making it 9-5 Phils. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the eighth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Anderson Hernandez hits an RBI double, knocking in Sullivan, who had earlier singled, and then stole second, making it a 9-6 Phils’ lead. Then, in the ninth, things got even wierder. In the top of the inning, with two men out, Bruntlett hits a fly ball to center field, that Francouer caught as he dived for it, possibly hurting his hand as he did so, but was originally declared a trapped ball, with Bruntlett ending up on third with a triple. But, after Francoeur informed the umpires that he had in fact caught the ball, which would later be backed up by instant replay of the catch, the umpires, after a conference, would reversed the call as the third base umpire, Tim Timmons, had a better view of the play. But, when one of the umpires went to explain their ruling to Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel, it would lead to Charlie being ejected for disputing the call. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Castillo reached base on a Bruntlett fielding error, which allowed Pagan, who had reached base earlier on a three-base error by Ryan Howard on a ball that Howard never touched, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 9-7. The next batter, Murphy, then reached base on an infield single, on a ball that Bruntlett was only able to stop behind second base, allowing Castillo to reach second. Then with Francouer batting, and with the count 2-2, J. Manuel sent both Castillo and Murphy running on the pitch. Francouer then hit a line drive up the middle, pass Phils’ closer Brad Lidge. Bruntlett, who had gone over to second to cover the bag on the back end of the double steal attempt, caught Francouer’s line drive for the first out of the inning, before his momentum caused him to tag second base, doubling up Castillo. Then he went after Murphy, soon tagging him for the third and final out, preserving the Phils’ win, and becoming the first National Leaguer to perform an unassisted triple play which ended a ballgame, and becoming the second major leaguer to do so since Johnny Nuen of the Tigers did it back on May 21, 1927 against the Indians.
Pedro Martinez won the game, going six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while he struck out five. His record is now 2-0 with an ERA of 5.14. Chad Durbin pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Ryan Madson also gave up a run, on two hits. Brad Lidge recorded his twenty-fifth save of the season, as he gave up an unearned run on a hit. Oliver Perez took the lost, as he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks. His record is now 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA. Nelson Figuera pitched two and a third innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out a batter. Pat Misch pitched four scoreless innings, giving up just a hit, as he struck out four. Sean Green pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, two walks and two wild pitches, while he struck out one. Elmer Dessens pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with, of all people, Eric Bruntlett, leading the way with thre hits, raising his low average to .154. Next was Jayson Werth with two hits, with one of them being a three-run home run, raising his average to .271. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Martinez had the other five Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ hit being a double and Ruiz’s hit being a three-run home run. Besides the two three-run homers by Werth and Ruiz, Martinez knocked in a run, and Rollins plated a run with a sac fly. The offense took an early lead with a couple of three-run bombs, and then scored enough runs to hang on before Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play finally ended the game.
The Phils (71-50 1st) have just finished their four-games series with the Mets (57-68), with a 6-2 victory behind Cliff Lee, who is now 5-0 since coming from the American League. The Phils’ lead in the National League East is now at seven games as they head to Pittsburgh for a three-games series with the Pirates.