The Phillies let another game slip out of their hands as they blow another lead, losing to the Cubs, 3-2. And, to add insult to injury, a bad umpire’s call may have hurt them this time. Like yesterday, the Phillies would score first, as, with two men on and two outs, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has been hit by the pitch, and then would move up to second on Ryan Howard’s walk, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between two former A’s teammates, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton and Cubs’ starter Rich Harden. As the Phillies’ batter would be patient at the plate, causing Harden’s pitch count to rise, Blanton would breeze quickly through the first four innings, giving up only a lead-off walk and a hit. The Phillies would finally get their second run off of Harden when, with a runner on first and two outs, Howard would hit a single to right, with Utley, who has gotten on first with a single, would go to third on the hit. Cubs’ right fielder Kosuke Fukudome would then commit a throwing error, which would allow Utley to score, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Cubs would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1, as, with runners on the corners on and one out, Daryle Ward would hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley would throw to Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s second out, removing Henry Blanco, who has earlier singled, but he would then make an errant throw to first, which would pull Howard off the first base bag, because of Blanco’s slide which would force Rollins to make a quick throw when he actually have time to throw out Ward, which would not be recorded as an error. The blunder would allow Mark DeRose, who has earlier walked, stole second and has moved to third on Blanco’s single, to score the Cubs’ first run. Blanton would then end the inning by getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out. Blanton would then melt down on the mound in the sixth, as he proceed to walk first Ryan Theriot and then Derrick Lee. After getting out the next two batters, with the runners both moving up a base on the second out, he would then walk DeRosa to load the bases. That was enough for Charlie Manuel, as he would come out to take out Blanton and replace him with Scott Eyre. Eyre would, unfortunatley, walk Fukudome on five pitches, forcing in Theriot, and tying the game at two all, while leaving the bases loaded. Eyre would end the inning by striking out Blanco. In the seventh, the Phillies would try to retake the lead, with runners on the corners and two out, Howard would hit a ball at Cubs’ first baseman Lee, who would proceed to boot the ball, but would somehow be able to throw it in time to pitcher Jeff Samardzija, to get out Howard. This would lead to an argument between Howard, Manuel, Davey Lopes and first base umpire Chris Guccione, while, according to the Phillies’ announcers, Howard, Lopes and Manuel had a point as Howard would actually beat Lee’s throw to first, which would have given the Phillies the lead with Rollins, who was safe on a force out, moved to second on Shane Victorino’s walk and has gone to third during another force out, coming across the plate during the play. Third base coach Steve Smith would eventually be ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bill Welke for still arguing the call. This would turn out to be huge, as, in the Cubs’ half of the seventh, with one out, Clay Condrey would give up a solo home run to Soriano, his twenty-third home run of the year, to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. This would be the final score, as the Phillies would be unable to score in the eighth inning, and after turning back the Cubs in their half of the eighth, would be unable to get anything done in the ninth, as Carlos Marmol would record his seventh save of the season.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he pitches five and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on two hits and five very costly walks. Scott Eyre would get his second blown save of the season, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up only one walk, which sadly brought in the tying run, and one strikeout. Clay Condrey would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Rudy Seanez would also pitch an inning, as he gives up no run on one hit. Rich Harden would also receive a no-decision as he would only last five innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. Chad Gaudin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. Jeff Samardzija would get the win as he pitches an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Carlos Marmol would get his seventh save of the year as he pitches one and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits while striking out three.
Multiply factors would kill the Phillies today. First, Blanton’s five walks. Four of those walks would lead to the two runs that he would give up, especially the three walks that he would give up in the sixth inning, loading the bases. Although it would be Scott Eyre who would walk home the tying run, it would never have happened if Blanton had been able to throw strikes when he needed to, especially after getting ahead of the hitters. Secondly, the offense. Although they would force Rich Harden to leave the game early by getting him to work long pitch counts, they would be unable to get a key hit when they needed it when they threaten to score in the early innings. Business as usual for the offense. Third, Jimmy Rollins’ blunder in the fifth, when he could’ve taken his time to throw to first for the third out on Daryle Ward’s grounder to Utley, but instead would rush his throw because of Harry Blanco coming at him to break up the double play. Instead of the score staying 2-0 Phils, it became 2-1 Phillies because he would force Ryan Howard off of the bag to keep it from going past him. And lastly, the umpire’s call in the seventh inning on Howard’s grounder to first that would bounce off of Derrick Lee’s glove. According to instant reply, Howard has actually beaten Samardzija to the bag, but first base umpire Chris Guccione would call Howard out. The broadcasters think that this is the result of the same umpire earlier calling Utley safe on the previous play when he might’ve been beaten by the throw. If it is, it really stinks! as it kept the Phillies from retaking the lead. Oh man, how much more of this do we Phillies’ fan have to suffer through before we all go mad? Or when will all of this buzzard luck finally start to go our boys’ way?
The Phillies (73-62) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (85-50, 1st National League Central), now trying for a split in the series. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern (2:55 pm Central) in Wrigley Field. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49), who is coming off a win against the Dodgers on August 25, as he pitches seven shut out innings, giving up nine scattered hits while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be trying to pitch his six straight quality start since returning from the minors and improving his record to 5-1 in his last eight starts, while trying to stop the Phillies’ present slide at three games. The Cubs’ starter will be Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 25, as he went seven innings, giving up only three earned run on seven hits while striking out seven, in the Cubs’ 12-3 rout. He will be trying to see if he can continue the Cubs’ seven game winning streak and continue the Phillies’ current losing streak.
With the lost, the Phillies are presently trailing the Mets by two game and lead the Marlins by five games, as the Mets defeated the Marlins. The Phillies will be trying to regroup so that they can come back and split the series before continuing their long road trip.
The Phillies’ bullpen would blow yet another game in the eighth inning as Chad Durbin gives up a grand slam home run to Aramis Ramirez, as the Phillies lose the opener of their four games series with the Major League leading Cubs, 6-4. The Phillies would take the lead in the first inning, as, with runners on the corners and two outs, Shane Victorino would hit a RBI single, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, and sending Ryan Howard, who has walked, to third. After Jayson Werth worked a walk off of Cubs’ starter Ryan Dempster to load the bases, Dempster would end the inning by getting Pedro Feliz to strike out swinging. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels and Dempster, as Hamels would refuse to give up hits to the Cubs while Dempster would get out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. In the Cubs’ half of the fifth, they would tie the game at one all, as, with one out, Mark DeRosa would hit a RBI triple, scoring Kosuke Fukudome, who has gotten on base with an infield single. Hamels would then end the threat by first striking out Dempster for out number two, and then getting Alfonso Soriano to pop up to the shortstop for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then regain the lead in the sixth. Werth would start the inning off with a double. Feliz would then walk, putting runners on first and second. Carlos Ruiz would then hit a RBI single, scoring Werth, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead, while sending Feliz to second. Hamels would then sacrifice the runners over to third and second, respectively, for the inning’s first out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz, to make it a 3-1 Phillies’ lead, while sending Ruiz to third. The Cubs then decided to pitch to Utley, instead of going after a slumping Pat Burrell, and Utley would make them pay for it as he would hit a RBI single, knocking in Ruiz, to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead. Burrell would end the inning by flying out to left. Hamels would then proceed to keep the Cubs silent in both the sixth and seventh innings, before handing the ball over to the bullpen. Unfortunatley, the bullpen would not be able to preserve the win in the eighth. Ryan Madson would give up a lead-off pinch hit home run to pinch hitter Mike Fontenot, his ninth home run of the year, cutting the Phillies’ lead down to 4-2. Soriano would follow with a double. Ryan Theriot would then single, sending Soriano to third, with no one out. Charlie Manuel would immediately take out Madson and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then walk Derrick Lee, loading up the bases. Then, on a 1-0 fastball, Aramis Ramirez would hit a grand slam home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, scoring Soriano, Theriot and Lee, giving the Cubs a 6-4 lead. That would end up being the final score as the Phillies would be turned back in the ninth, with Kerry Wood recording his twenty-eight save of the year.
Cole Hamels would get another no-decision, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one run on five hits and striking out six. Ryan Madson would face only three batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Chad Durbin would get the lost as he received his fifth blown save of the year, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk. His record is now 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. Ryan Dempster would also get a no-decision as he goes six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out seven. Sean Marshall would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Bob Howry would get the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. His record is now 6-4 with a 5.31 ERA. Kerry Wood would get the save, his twenty-eighth of the year, as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit.
For the second straight night, the Phillies’ bullpen would blow a lead in the eighth inning, now showing itself to maybe getting overworked. It would seem that one or two of the starter(s) might have to go eight full innings if they want to avoid any more eight innings blow ups like in the last two games. Either that, or Charlie Manuel is going to have to find someone who is fresh enough to act as the eighth inning bridge to Brad Lidge. Scott Eyre maybe? Just a suggestion, Chuck.
The Phillies (73-61) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (84-50, 1st National League Central). The game will be played in Wrigley Field and will start at 2:20 pm Eastern (1:20 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.75), who is coming off a no-decision against the Dodgers on August 24, as he went six innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, in the Phillies’ 5-2 extra-inning win. He has never pitched against the Cubs and will be trying to pitched his fourth quality start since his trade to the Phils and his second win, while trying to end the Phillies’ present two games slide. The Cubs will counter with Rich Harden (9-2 (4-1), 2.00), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on August 24, as he went seven innings, giving up only an earned run on two hits and striking out eleven, in the Cubs’ 6-1 win. He has faced the Phillies once before on June 26 as a member of the A’s, giving up no runs on two hits and striking out eleven in eight innings of work, in the A’s 5-0 win. He will be trying for his tenth win, while hoping to once again defeat the Phils.
With the lost, the Phillies trail the Mets by a full game, and are ahead of the Marlins by five games, as the Mets prepare to meet the Marlins for three games in Miami. The Phillies will be trying to recover from their last two loses while trying to see if they can regain first place during the series between the Mets and the Marlins.
Pedro Feliz’s bat would knock in four late innings runs, while his glove would help stop the Dodgers in the tenth as the Phillies win a walk-off victory against the Dodgers in extra-innings, 5-2. The Dodgers would get their first run of the game in the first, when, with the bases loaded, and one out, James Lanier would hit a RBI single, knocking in Andre Ethier, who has gotten on base with a five-balls walk (Yes, five-balls. The home plate umpire, Jerry Layne, at some point in the count, thought it was 2-2, when it was in fact 3-2, before Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton finally walked Ethier), moved to second on Jeff Kent’s single and then went to third when Manny Ramirez was hit by the pitch, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Blanton would finally get out of the inning by getting Nomar Garciaparra to fly out and Casey Blake to strike out. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Blanton and Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda, with Blanton giving up only four more hits and two more walks while striking out four Dodgers’ batters before being lifted after six innings of work, while Kuroda would keep the Phillies silent for four innings, giving up no hits at that point, while only four men would get on base (Error, two walks and a hit batsman). The Phillies would tie the game in the fifth as Chase Utley would hit a RBI single, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, and then went to second on Blanton’s sacrifice bunt. The Dodgers would retake the lead in the seventh, when, with a runner on second, and two outs, Kent would hit a RBI single, scoring Ethier, who has earlier walked, and then got to second base on Ryan Madson’s wild pitch, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Phillies would come back to tie it at two all in the ninth, when, with two men on, and two out, Pedro Feliz, who has come in as a defensive replacement for Greg Dobbs in the seventh during a double switch when Madson came in to replace J.C. Romero on the mound, would get a RBI single, scoring Shane Victorino, who has singled, and has gone to second on Eric Bruntlett’s sacrifice bunt. In the Dodgers’ tenth, they would try to regain the lead as they loaded the bases with two singles (Ramirez and Loney) and a walk (Mark Sweeney) with nobody out. The next batter, Blake, would then hit the ball to third. After catching the ball, Feliz would tag the bag for the first out, beating Loney to the bag, and then throw home to double up Ramirez, who would be tagged out by Chris Coste, for a 5-2 double play, as Sweeney would move up to second and Blake would be safe at first. Chad Durbin would then end the inning by getting Russell Martin to fly out to right. In the bottom of the eleventh, the Phillies would go to work against Dodgers’ reliever Joe Beimel, who was starting his second inning of work. Victorino would start off the inning with a double. After Joe Torre comes out to replace Beimel with Jason Johnson, Coste would get a walk, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Jayson Werth would then hit a grounder to the right side, to second baseman Pablo Ozuna, who would throw to first for the inning’s first out, while Victorino and Werth would move up to third and second base respectively. Cole Hamels would then come up to pinch hit with the Dodgers’ infield and most of the outfield in to try and prevent the run from scoring. Hamels would sadly pop up the first pitch thrown at him, that would be caught by Ozuna for the second out of the inning. This would bring up Feliz. On the first pitch, Feliz would hit it deep to center field for a three-run home run, his thirteenth home run of the year, scoring Victornio and Coste, as he gives the Phillies an extra-inning walk-out win, 5-2.
Joe Blanton would get his third straight no-decision as he goes six innings, giving up only an earned run on six hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out four. J.C. Romero, would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Chad Durbin would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk. His record is now 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA. Hiroki Kuroda would also get a no-decision as he also goes six innings, giving up an earned run on two hits as he struck out five. Chan Ho Park would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jonathan Broxton would pick up his fifth blown save of the year as he goes an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. Joe Beimel would get the lost as he pitches one inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit and a walk. His record is now 4-1 with a ERA of 1.95. Jason Johnson pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on a hit and a walk.
After two straight games of getting ten hits, the offense would be limited to seven hits in the third game of the four games series with the Dodgers, but they would count the most when they came, as the bottom of the order would once again cause the damage as Shane Victorino would be involved in the rallies that would score the tying and winning runs, while Carlos Ruiz would score the Phillies’ first run and Pedro Feliz, coming in as a late innings’ replacement, would knock in the tying and winning runs as he batted in the ninth spot. The bottom part of the line-up have ended up being responsible for three of the last five Phillies’ win, and have done most of the scoring in their last lost. If the bottom half of the line-up continues to score runs after Victornio’s placement into the fifth hole, the Phillies should continue to be a team no longer to be taken lightly. Once the first five batters have decided to once again hit, this team should be tough to beat down the stretch. But, we probably won’t know which way the team will be going until after the end of the series with the Mets.
The Phillies (71-59) will end their four games series with the Dodgers (65-65, 2nd National League West) with a night game tonight, nationally televised on ESPN2, as they look for a sweep of the Bums. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (6-10, 4.71), who is coming off a nine hit shut out of the Nationals on August 20, in the Phillies’ 4-0 victory, his fifth straight quality start since his return from the minors. His only start against the Dodgers was a hard luck lost on August 14, where he went seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 3-1 lost. He will be trying for his four win since coming back from the minors and his sixth straight quality start. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (12-9, 3.10), who is coming off a no-decision against the Rockies on August 20, where he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Dodgers’ 4-3 lost. He did not face the Phillies during the last series. He will be trying to stop the slide and thereby avoid the sweep.
The Phillies now trail the Mets by half a game as the Mets lost to the Astros last night. They are ahead of the Marlins by four and a half games as the fish defeated the D-backs last night. The Phillies will be trying to perform a sweep of the Dodgers, in revenge for the Dodgers’ sweep last week, while hoping that the Astros will defeat the Mets, putting them back into first place, before their two games series with the Mets, starting tomorrow night.
Brett Myers pitches his third straight strong start as the Phillies’ offense finally end its scoring drought as the Phils defeated the Pirates, 4-2. The Phillies would end their inability to score runs in the bottom of the first as Shane Victorino hits a RBI double off of Pirates’ starter Ian Snell, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier tripled, to give the Phils a quick 1-0 lead. After Chase Utley strikes out for the first out of the inning, Ryan Howard would give the Phils a 2-0 lead as he hits a RBI single, scoring Victorino. After Pat Burrell strikes out for the second out, Jayson Werth and Greg Dobbs would both walk, loading the bases. After getting the count to 3-1, Chris Coste would hit a deep fly ball to left that would die and be caught by the left fielder near the fence for the third out of the inning, leaving the score 2-0 Phils. Brett Myers would keep the Pirates off-balanced for most of the game, throwing a large number of first strike pitches, while staying out of any major trouble until the fourth inning when, with one out, and a runner on first, he would give up a RBI double to Nate McLouth, scoring Doug Mientkiewicz, who has earlier singled, to make it 2-1 Phillies. Myers would then get out of the inning by getting Ryan Doumit to ground out, and then striking out Brandon Moss, one of six Pirates he would strike out in the game. The Phillies would try to increase their lead in their half of the inning when they loaded up the bases again, with two men outs, when Snell would get Utley to strike out again, to end the threat. The Phillies would finally get another run off of Snell in the seventh when Rollins would lead off the inning by hitting his second triple, his fourth hit of the ballgame. Victorino would then follow with a RBI single, punching it through the drawn in Pirates’ infield, to give the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Phillies would add one more run in the eighth as Dobbs would hit a RBI single, also doing it against a drawn in infield, scoring Werth, who has earlier tripled, to make it a 4-1 Phillies’ lead. In the ninth, the Pirates would score their second run, as Moss would hit a RBI single off of Chad Durbin, as Brad Lidge was given the night off by Charlie Manuel, scoring McLouth, who has earlier singled, moved to second on defensive indifference and went to third on a wild pitch. But that would be it, as Durbin would get a fly out and then a pop out to finally end the game.
Brett Myers would get the win, as he pitches seven and two-thirds innings of strong ball, giving up only one earned run on five hits and striking out six. His record is now 5-9 with a 5.09 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Chad Durbin would get his first save of the year, as he pitches an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. Ian Snell would get the lost, as he pitches six innings plus two batters, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out five. His record is now 4-9 with a 6.06 ERA. Sean Burnett would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Romulo Sanchez would pitch one and a third innings, giving up an earned run on two hits.
The Phillies’ offense would finally score some runs tonight, as Jimmy Rollins would get on base four times with two singles and two triples. Hopefully this outburst by JayRoll will mean the beginning of a long hitting streak by him, since he needs to get on base to help get this team moving.
The Phillies (63-53) will conclude their three games weekend series with the Pirates (53-63) tomorrow afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (10-7, 3.78), who is coming off his first career lost to the Marlins on August 5, where he went five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-2 lost. He will be trying once again to get his eleventh win of the season, while trying to pitch another quailty start for the Phils and hoping that the bats are indeed back. The Pirates will send to the mound Jason Davis (1-1, 2.57), who is coming off a lost in relief against the Diamondbacks on August 4, when he pitched three and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits. He will try to give the Pirates the series win while hoping that the Phillies’ bats will go back to sleep.
The Phillies are still leading the Mets by a game and the Marlins now by two and a half games as the Mets defeated the Marlins once again tonight. Their lead over the Braves is presently at eight and a half games as the Braves defeated the Diamondbacks. The Phillies will be trying to win the series and split the home stand, while hoping that the Marlins will defeat the Mets so that they can put some distance between them and their nearest opponents in the East as they prepare for a trip to California for seven games with the Dodgers (their first series against them) and the Padres.
The Phillies used situational baseball to come from behind to defeat the Braves after it looked like they had finally imploded in the top of the fourth inning. The Phillies would score the game’s first runs in the second inning. Ryan Howard would start the inning off by getting on first base with a walk. He would be followed by a double from Pat Burrell, which would put runners on second and third with nobody out. Jayson Werth would then follow with a ground out, third to first, for the first out of the inning, doing what the Phillies’ batters have been doing too much of lately, hitting a ball to an opposing player with less than two outs, unable to score the runner(s) on base. Eric Bruntlett is then intentionally walked to load the bases. Chris Coste would follow him with a two-run double, scoring Howard and Burrell, making it 2-0 Phillies, while sending Bruntlett to second. Cole Hamels would then bunt the runners over to third and second base respectively, while making the second out of the inning. Unfortunately, Jimmy Rollins would then end the inning with a ground ball to the pitcher. The Phillies would increase their lead in the third, as Chase Utley would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier tripled, to make it 3-0 Phillies. But then the roof would appear to fall in on the Phillies and Cole Hamels in the fourth. The inning would begin with Hamels giving up a walk to Yunel Escobar. Mark Teixeira would follow with a single, sending Escobar to second. Hamels would then walk Brian McCann to load the bases with Braves. The next batter, Omar Infante, would then hit a two-run RBI double into left field, scoring both Escobar and Teixeira, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-2, while sending McCann to third. Jeff Francoeur would then hit a sacrifice fly for the first out of the inning, sending home McCann with the tying run, while Infante stayed at second. Martin Prado would then hit a grounder to second that was stopped by Utley. But instead of getting back up, picking up the ball and throwing out Prado, Utley would look at Prado and tried to pick up the ball at the same time, and dropped the ball, committing the first error of the inning, and leaving runners on the corners as Infante moved up to third. The next batter, Mark Kotsay would then hit a RBI single, scoring Infante and sending Prado to second, giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. Mike Hampton then followed with a ground ball right to Hamels. Instead of taking his time and throwing the ball straight to Rollins at second base to start a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning, he would throw the ball away as he throws it to where Rollins had originally started out, allowing Prado to score, Kotsay to reach third, and Hampton to be safe at first, on the second error of the inning, making it 5-3 Braves. Gregor Blanco would then follow with a single, scoring Kotsay and sending Hampton to second, as the Braves increased their lead to 6-3. Escobar, who has originally started the inning, would come up for the second time, but this time he would fly out to right for the second out of the inning. Teixeira would then come up for the second time and cap off the disastrous inning by hitting a three-run home run off of Hamels, his twentieth home run of the year, giving the Braves a 9-3 lead, and what looks to be the final knockout blow to the Phillies’ season. Charlie Manuel would after that finally come out and take a very snake bitten Hamels out of the game, replacing him with Rudy Seanez. Seanez would then end the inning with one pitch as he gets McCann to pop up to Utley, although that almost became a disaster in itself as the ball almost got away from him as it came back down. After Adam Eaton have come into his first game since being sent down to the bullpen after the Joe Blanton trade and put down the Braves in the top of the fifth, the Phillies’ batter would go after Braves’ starter Mike Hampton as they used something that they have not done for a while, playing situational baseball. Rollins would start the inning off with a single. Victorino would then hit a grounder towards deep shortstop that would be picked up by Braves’ shortstop Escobar, who would end up having no play, thus becoming an infield single as Rollins’ speed would allow him to get to second. Utley would then follow them with a single that would load the bases with Phillies. Hampton would then be taken out of the game at this point, replaced by Royce Ring. Howard would greet Ring with a two-run RBI single, scoring both Rollins and Victorino, cutting the Braves’ lead to 9-5, while sending Utley to third. Bobby Cox would then come out for the second time in the inning, and replace Ring with Blaine Boyer. Burrell would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Utley, making it 9-6 Braves. Werth would follow with a single, sending Howard to second. Bruntlett would then hit a deep fly ball to center, but Howard would stay at second, instead of going to third. It at first look like a base running blunder, but the next batter, Coste would hit a RBI single in the hole between first and second, allowing Howard to score, making it now a 9-7 Braves’ lead. Greg Dobbs would then come up to pinch hit for Eaton. On a 1-2 pitch, he would crush the ball into the second deck in right field for a three-run home run, his third home run of the year, and his team record tying twentieth pinch hit of the season, scoring both Werth and Coste, giving the Phillies a 10-9 lead. Rollins would then come up for the second time and tried to bunt himself back on. He would instead be thrown out by Boyer. The Phillies would then hold on, as Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for three shut out innings in which they would keep the Braves at bay, before the ball is finally handed over to Brad Lidge in the ninth, who would redeem himself for his previous night’s implosion by getting the Braves to go 1-2-3 for his twenty-third straight save without blowing it, breaking the team record that was originally set by Billy Wagner.
Cole Hamels would get a no-decision as he pitches three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs, four of which were earned, on six hits and three walks, two of whom would later score. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, getting one man out on one pitch. Adam Eaton would get the win, as he pitched one inning, giving up no runs on one hits. Eaton’s record is now 4-8 with a 5.66 ERA. Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would each pitch a scoreless inning, although Durbin would also pitch to one batter in the eighth, giving up only two hits (Durbin), while walking four. Brad Lidge would get a 1-2-3 inning, recording his twenty-third straight save without blowing one. Mike Hampton would also get a no-decision as he pitches four innings plus three batters, giving up six earned runs on six hits. Royce Ring would only pitch to one batter, giving up a single. Blaine Boyer would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up three earned runs on three hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 4.18 ERA. Will Ohman, Rafael Soriano and Julian Tavarez would each pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits to the Phillies.
I don’t know which one I am more shocked by, the implosion in the fourth inning, or the comeback in the fifth, using situational hitting. Seeing the Phillies collapse the way they did in the top of the fourth seems to show the way the Phillies have been screwing up so far this season, especially with Hamels throwing away the double play ground ball because he have been feeling frustrated up to that point in the inning, when he needed to just take his time and throw to Rollins at second for the second out of the inning, to lead to the end of the inning with a double play, and then to follow that up a few batters later by throwing up a home run pitch to Mark Teixeira in what, to me at least, seems to be the final collapse of the Phillies’ season. But then, to watch the team come back the way they did in the fifth inning, and doing it by using some situational hitting, something that they finally seems to be able to do, appear to show that the team isn’t dead yet. But, I’m going to wait to see if they can continue doing this for a while before thinking that the run machine is finally back and is now running once again on all cylinders.
The Phillies (55-49) will finish their three games weekend series with the Braves (49-54) this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.00), who is coming off a so-so start against the Mets on July 22, where he would go six innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ dramatic come from behind 8-6 win. This will be his first ever start against the Braves as he try to continue adjusting to pitching to National League batters while trying to help the Phillies get their first series win of the second half. The Braves will counter with Jorge Campillo (5-4, 2.83), who is coming off a win against the Marlins, where he went seven innings, giving up no earned runs on two hits. He has pitched four time against the Phillies, twice in relief and twice as a starter, being 0-1 with a no-decision against them as a starter, and 0-0 as a reliever, pitching a combine total of thirteen and two-thirds innings, giving up eight earned runs on twenty-one hits. He will be trying to do better than he did in his last start against them, while trying to help the Braves will the series.
The Phillies stayed tied with the Marlins in second place, both now traling the Mets by a game, as the Mets have lost their game with the Cardinals in extra-innings. The Braves still trail the two second place teams by five and a half games. The Phillies will be trying for their first series win of the second half.
The Phillies would end up wasting another good effort by one of their starters, this time by Kyle Kendrick, before the Braves would finally explode for seven runs in the ninth off of the Phillies’ relief corps. Kendrick and Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens would be involved in a six innings long pitchers’ duel, with the only run scored during this time being on a solo home run off of Kendrick by Brian McCann, his nineteenth home run of the year, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while Kendrick constantly got himself out of trouble, keeping the Braves from scoring any more runs during his time on the mound. In the meantime, the Phillies’ offense would be unable to do anything against Jurrjens, constantly going down 1-2-3. The Braves would break the game wide open in the ninth as they become the first team to score more than a run off of Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge as he came in to pitch the ninth to try and keep the Phillies within striking distance of the Braves. Pinch hitter Greg Norton would greet Lidge with a pinch hit double off of the wall in center. Gregor Blanco would then get on base as he would beat out the throw from third basemen Greg Dobbs on a bunt attempt to move Norton up to third, which would instead be recorded as a single. Yunel Escobar would then walk, loading the bases. Mark Teixeira would follow with a RBI single, scoring Norton to make it 2-0 Braves, while leaving the bases loaded. The next batter, McCann, would then hit a grand slam home run, his twentieth home run of the year, scoring Blanco, Escobar and Teixeira, giving the Braves a 6-0 lead. Charlie Manuel would then come out and remove Lidge, replacing him with Clay Condrey. After Condrey gets Mark Kotsay to pop up for the first out of the inning, he would give up a double to Jeff Francoeur. He would then give up a RBI double to Kelly Johnson, scoring Kotsay, to make it a 7-0 Braves’ lead. Omar Infante would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Johnson and giving the Braves a 8-0 lead. in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would score their only runs of the game as Ryan Howard would, with two outs, hit a two-run home run, his thirtieth home run of year, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, to make it 8-2 Braves. That would end up being the final score as Will Ohman would get Pat Burrell to fly out for the final out.
Kyle Kendrick would pitch a good game, even if he had to constantly pitch himself out of trouble, but still takes the lost because of lack of offensive support, as he goes six innings, giving up only one earned run on seven hits. His record is now 8-5 with a 4.70 ERA. J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin would both pitch a scoreless inning, with both giving up no hits. Brad Lidge would get rocked by the Braves as he faced five batters, getting no one out as he gives up five earned runs on four hits and a walk. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on three hits and a walk. Jair Jurrjens would get the win, as he pitched an excellent game against the Phillies, pitching eight innings, giving up no runs on three hits. Will Ohman would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits.
Man, this is getting to be a broken record. The Phillies’ starter pitches a quality start, going six or more innings, and leaves the game either trailing by a few runs, or just barely leading, as the Phillies’ offense can’t seem to get anything started. And to make matters worst, one of the reliever would then come in and get tagged for several runs late in the game, with closer Brad Lidge this time being the victim as he gets lighted up for five runs, followed by Clay Condrey, who gets tagged for two more. I am not going to say anything more about the witless Phillies’ offense except for this: THEY STINK!!!!! THEY ROT!!! THEY REEK!!! THEY MAKE GARBAGE LOOK GOOD BY COMPARISION!!! End of story! GRUMBLE!!!!
The weekend series continues tomorrow as the Phillies (54-49) play the Braves (49-53) in an afternoon game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 3:55 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.11), who is coming off of a no-decision against the Marlins on July 20, going eight innings as he gives up only two earned runs on four hits. Hamels has faced the Braves two times already this year, having a 2-0 record against them, going a combined total of seventeen and two-thirds innings, giving up only one earned run on nine hits. Hamels will for the fourth straight week try to notch his tenth win of the year while pondering if the Phillies’ batters will finally give him some runs support, after pitching three straight quality starts with little support. The Braves will be sending to the mound Mike Hampton (0-0, _.__), who will be making his first start at the major league level since 2005. He will be looking for his first win of the year, while hoping to continue the Phillies present offensive woes.
The Phillies are now tied for second place with the Marlins, both teams now trailing the Mets by two games, as the Mets have won their game with the Cardinals. The Phillies now lead the Braves by four and a half games after the lost. The Phillies continue in free fall, as they have just lost their fifth game in the second half, wondering when they are going to start breaking out the bats and score runs.
The Phillies rally to score six runs in the top of the ninth inning off of a Billy Wagner-less Mets’ bullpen while new Phil Joe Blanton is unable to contain the Mets in his first start as a Phil as the Phillies defeat the Mets, 8-6. The Phillies would take a quick lead in the first as Jayson Werth would hit a two out RBI single off of Mets’ starter Johan Santana, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. That would remain the score until the bottom of the third when Phillies’ starter Blanton would give up a RBI double to David Wright, knocking in Jose Reyes, who has earlier walked, to tie the game at one all. But Endy Chavez, who has singled earlier, would try to score on the play, but is instead thrown out at home plate, Burrell to Jimmy Rollins to Carlos Ruiz, who would put the tag on Chavez for the first out of the inning. Two batters later, with Wright still on second base, and with two outs, Carlos Delgado would hit his nineteenth home run of the year, a two-run shot that would give the Mets a 3-1 lead. In between the third and fourth innings, Charlie Manuel would be ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes with the third base umpire as the Phillies believed that Delgado had struck out on an 0-2 pitch while the umpire claimed that he had checked his swing. The Mets would increase their lead in the sixth, when, with a runner on first, Marlon Anderson, via a walk, and with two outs, Ramon Castro would hit his fifth home run of the year, giving the Mets a 5-1 lead. In the meantime, Santana would keep the Phillies off the scoreboard, until the seventh, when Shane Victorino would hit his sixth home run of the year, a solo shot, that would cut the Mets’ lead to 5-2. The Mets would try to break the game wide open in their half of the seventh as Rudy Seanez replaces Blanton on the mound. Seanez would give up a lead-off double to Chavez. Chavez would then attempt to score on a single to right by Wright. But, for the second time in the game, he would be thrown out at the plate, this time from Werth to Coste, who tagged him out for the first out of the inning. On the throw home, Wright would move to second. Seanez would then intentionally walk Carlos Beltran, putting runners on first and second. The Phillies would then replace Seanez with J.C. Romero. Romero would get Delgado to fly out to center for the second out. But he would then hit Damion Easley to load the bases. Romero would then get out of the inning as he would get pinch hitter Fernando Tatis to line out to Chase Utley. In the ninth inning, the Mets would replace Santana with Duaner Sanchez, thinking that the game was over. The Phillies would soon make them think otherwise. Werth would greet Sanchez with a single. Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would follow with a single, sending Werth to second. Victorino would follow with a single, loading the bases. The Mets would then replace Sanchez with Joe Smith, as they hope that Ruiz would hit into a rally-killing double play. Ruiz would hit a ground ball to shortstop Reyes, but Reyes would somehow miss the second base bag as a hostling Victornio would reach second on the fielder’s choice ground ball. The bases thus remain loaded as Werth scores to make it a 5-3 game. The Phils would then send out Geoff Jenkins as a pinch hitter, but he would never reach the plate as the Mets would replace Smith with Pedro Feliciano, while the Phillies would counter with So Taguchi, who was so far 0-for-16 as a pinch hitter. Taguchi would this time connect as he would hit a two-run double, scoring both Dobbs and Victorino and sending Ruiz to third, as the game was now tied at five all. Rollins would then follow with a two-run double of his own, scoring both Ruiz and Taguchi, to give the Phillies a 7-5 Phillies. Utley would then ground out to first for the first out of the inning, moving Rollins over to third. Burrell is then intentionally walked, putting runners on the corners, and setting up the double play. Ryan Howard would hit a ground ball straight to Feliciano, who would then drop the ball, before picking it up and throwing out Howard, as Rollins scores to make it 8-5 Phillies, while Burrell would go to second. Aaron Heilman is then sent into the game to replace Feliciano. Heilman would walk Werth, the man who has started the inning off, putting runners on first and second, with two outs. Heliman would then get Dobbs to pop up to Reyes to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would send out their closer Brad Lidge to end the game. He starts the inning off by walking Chavez. Chavez would then go to second on defensive indifference. Lidge would then strike out Wright for the inning’s first out. Chavez would then go to third on a Lidge’s wild pitch before finally scoring on a ground out to first by Beltran, for the second out, making the score 8-6 Phillies. That would be the final score as Lidge would get Delgado to ground out, third to first for the final out, as he records his twenty-second straight save, tying the team’s record for most consecutive saves in a row set a few years earlier by Billy Wagner.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision, as he pitches six innings in his first start as a Phil, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. J.C. Romero would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Chad Durbin would get the victory as he goes an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 3-2 with an ERA of 1.78. Brad Lidge would record his twenty-second save, as he goes an inning, giving up an earned run on no hits. Johan Santana would also get a no-decision, going eight innings, giving up only two runs on eight scattered hits. The Mets bullpen would then take over and implode as the team’s closer, Billy Wagner, would be unavailable to pitch. Duaner Sanchez would face three batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Joe Smith would take the loss as he face only one batter, giving up an earned run on no hits. His record is now 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA. Pedro Feliciano would get his second blown save, as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Aaron Heilman would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.
The Phillies have won the game by doing something that they haven’t been able to do too much of since May, come back from behind in the ninth inning to win a game while trailing by several runs. Of course, they did it after the Mets have taken out their starter, Johan Santana, who for the third time this season has pitched a quality start against the Phillies. The Phillies would be able to produce a rally in the ninth inning, because of the use of small ball, hustling on the part of Shane Victorino on Carlos Ruiz’s ground ball, luck (Jose Reyes missing second base on Ruiz’s grounder, and Pedro Feliciano’s bobbling of Howard’s ground ball to him with the chance for an inning ending double play), some situational hitting by Chase Utley to move Jimmy Rollins over to third, and, lastly, So Taguchi finally getting a pinch hit when the Phillies needed it the most. Whether this will be the turning point of the season, or just a temporary blip on the radar screen will be found out during the next two games of the series.
The Phillies (54-46) will continue their three games series with the Mets (53-47) tomorrow night at Shea Stadium. The game will begin at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies starter will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.84), who is coming back from a minor league stint to recover both his fast ball and his confidence. His last start was back on June 27 in a no-decision against the Rangers, where he would only pitch two innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 8-7 lost. The Phillies will be hoping that his stint in the minor league has actually brought back both his fast ball and his confidence. The Mets will send to the mound John Maine (8-7, 4.22), who is coming off a lost to the Reds on July 18, as he goes four and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits, in the Mets’ 5-2 lost. He will be going for his ninth win of the year while trying to help the Mets get over their previous night’s lost.
The Phillies, with their win, have regain sole control of first place, while they now lead both the Mets and the Marlins by one game and the Braves by seven, thanks to the Braves’ lost to the fish last night. The Phillies will now try to build momentum from their come from behind win as they attempt for either a series sweep or a series win before heading back home to meet the Braves at Citizens Bank Park for a three games weekend series.