Behind the five hit pitching of the National League Championship Series MVP Cole Hamels, the Phillies have defeated the Dodgers, 5-1, to win the NLCS four games to one. The Phillies are now in the World Series for the sixth time in the organization’s 126 years history and are now looking for their second World Series crown. The Phillies would strick first in the first inning as Jimmy Rollins would smack Chad Billingsley’s 3-2 fastball into the right center field seats for a lead-off home run, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would threaten to tie the game in the second as they would put two men on base, via singles to James Loney and Matt Kemp, with only one out. But Hamels would get out of the jam as he would get Blake DeWitt to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Kemp at second base. The Phillies would then increase their lead in the third, as, with runners on first and second, and two outs, Ryan Howard would get a RBI single, knocking in Rollins, who has earlier walked, and then steal second, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead, while sending Chase Utley, who has also walked, over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Utley, making it 3-0 Phillies, while sending Howard over to third. After a wild pitch by Billingsley would send Burrell over to second base to put two runners in scoring position, Billingsley would intentionally walk Shane Victorino to load the bases. Billingsley would then be taken out of the game by Joe Torre and be replaced on the mound by Chan Ho Park. Park would then end the inning by getting Pedro Feliz to ground out, 6-3. The Phillies would then put the game away in the fifth. Jayson Werth would start the inning off with a lead-off single. Utley would then hit into a force out, 3-6, that would wipe out Werth at second for the inning’s first out, while Utley would beat the throw back to first. Howard would then follow with a single, putting Utley on second base. Burrell would then hit a ground ball to Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would proceed to first boot the ball off of his glove and then kick it away from himself with his left foot, for a fielding error. Utley, who was running on the play, would then turn around third and head for home, while Howard would round second and head for third. Furcal, after catching up with the ball, would then uncork a wild throw towards home plate which would get past Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin, allowing Utley to score safely and make it a 4-0 Phillies lead as Furcal would receive his second error on the play. Meanwhile, Howard would stop at third, while Burrell would move up to second, with still one man out. Shane Victorino is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. Feliz would then strike out swinging for the inning’s second out. Carlos Ruiz would then come up and hit a grounder towards Furcal, who would then proceed to commit his third error of the inning as he threw the ball past Dodgers’ first baseman Loney, allowing Howard to cross the plate with the Phillies’ fifth run, giving the Phillies a 5-0 lead, while allowing Burrell to get to third and Victorino to move up to second, while leaving the bases still loaded. Hamels would then end the inning by grounding out to Loney at first. The Dodgers would then try to get back into the ballgame in their half of the fifth, as Casey Blake and Kemp would both reach base with back-to-back singles. But Hamels would then get DeWitt to hit into another double play, 4-6-3, wiping out Kemp at second for two outs, while sending Blake over to third. Hamels would then end the inning by striking out pinch hitter Jeff Kent swinging. The Dodgers would finally score a run in the sixth, as, with no one on base and two out, Manny Ramirez would hit a solo home run, his second home run of the series, to make it a 5-1 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by striking out Martin looking. The Dodgers would threaten again in the seventh, as, with two men out, first Kemp and then pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra would both reach base on walks, putting runners on first and second. Hamels would then settle down enough to end the inning by striking out Kent, looking, on a 2-2 fastball. In the Dodgers’ eighth, after getting out the first two batters, Ryan Madson would give up a single to Ramirez. After Ramirez would move up to second base on defensive indifference, Madson would end the inning by getting Martin to ground out to Howard at first. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to their closer Brad Lidge. Lidge would give up a lead-off single to Loney. Lidge would then get Blake to fly out to Victorino in right center field for the inning’s first out. He would then get Kemp to hit a deep fly ball to center that would be caught in front of the fence by Victorino for the inning’s second out. After Loney would move up to second on defensive indifference, Lidge would end the game by getting Garciaparra to pop up a 3-2 slider into third base foul territory, which would be caught by Ruiz for the final out of the ballgame, sending the Phillies into the 2008 World Series.
Cole Hamels would get the win, as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA, earning him the NLCS MVP. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning of scoreless relief, giving up only one hit. Brad Lidge would also pitch an inning of scoreless relief, giving up just one hit. Chad Billingsley would take the lost, as this time he would only last two and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA. Chan Ho Park would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Greg Maddux would pitch two innings, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out three. James McDonald would pitch two innings of shut out ball, giving up only one hit and a walk, while striking out two. Joe Beimel, Cory Wade and Hong-Chih Kuo would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit (Kuo), while striking out one (also Kuo).
Like in the fourth game in Milwaukee, the Phillies would take the Dodgers’ fateful out of the game early with Jimmy Rollins’ lead-off solo home run. The Phillies’ offense would then knock Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley out of the ballgame in the third by scoring two more runs against a pitcher who has wilted under the post-season spotlight. The Phillies would then get their last two runs in the fifth, thanks to three errors by Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would commit four errors in the series, all of them detrimental to the Dodgers’ hope for a series victory. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels would pitch a superb game, getting the first two Dodgers’ batters out constantly, so that Manny Ramirez would be unable to do any major damage against him, so that his solo shot late in the game would turn out to have no effect upon the game’s final outcome. Hamels was also helped along by a pair of double play balls that were hit by Blake DeWitt that would help to defuse Dodgers’ rallies in the second and fifth innings, while a Russell Martin strike out would help end a post two out threat in the seventh. The Phillies’ bullpen was once again superb as both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine for two shut out innings, both giving up only one hit.
With the victory, the Phillies can now relax for close to a week before they will finally face the American League Champion on October 22 in the home of the American League Champion. Of the two teams, I myself would prefer that the Phillies face the Boston Red Sox, as that would give them both a chance to snatch the World Series crown from the present champs as well as get revenge for the lost back in ’15. But, unless the Red Sox are able to pull off another trailing three games to one-three victories in a row senario, it looks like it’ll be a Phillies-Rays World Series, Fox’s ratings nightmare come true. And if it does, I’ll be laughing my head off, as this is what Fox gets for trying to overlook a couple of good teams because they were hoping for a Manny v. Red Sox wet dream. Shame on you, Fox. And, let go, PHILLIES!!!!
The Phillies, behind a bunch of rookies and bench players, defeated the Nationals, 8-3, ending the 2008 regular season on a high note. They will now be facing the Brewers in the National League Divisional Series starting this coming Wednesday afternoon.
The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as, with two men on base and one out, Eric Bruntlett, who has earlier singled and then moved to third on Tadahito Iguchi’s double, would cross the plate on Nationals’ starter Odalis Perez’s wild pitch, while Iguchi would move up to third. The Nationals would tie the game in the third, as the Phillies’ surprise starter Kyle Kendrick would give up a lead-off home run to Luke Montz, his first career home run. The Nationals would then take the lead in the fourth as, with a runner on second and no one out, Kory Casto would hit a RBI double, scoring Anderson Hernandez, who has earlier doubled, to make it 2-1 Nationals. Two batters later, with Casto now on third, after moving up on Ryan Langerhans’ ground out, 4-3, he would score on Alberto Gonzalez’s RBI single, making it 3-1 Nationals. The Phillies would strike back in their half of the fourth, as, with runners on second and third and two outs, So Taguchi would hit a two-run single, scoring Lou Marson, who has earlier singled, his first hit in the majors, and would move up to third on pinch hitter Jayson Werth’s single, who would later steal second, tying the game up at three all. Eric Bruntlett would then follow with a RBI double, knocking in Taguchi and giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. The Phillies would add to their lead in the sixth, when, with a runner on first and two outs, Taguchi would hit a RBI triple, knocking in pinch hitter Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled to the left of the shift that most major league teams would put up against him, making it 5-3 Phillies. Then in the eighth, the Phillies would put the game away, when, with a runner on first and two outs, Marson would hit a monster two-run home run to left, his first career home run, scoring Greg Golson, who was earlier safe at first on a force play, which has wiped out Mike Cervenak, who has earlier reached base on a fielding error by Nationals’ shortstop Hernandez, giving the Phillies a 7-3 lead. Pinch hitter Matt Stairs would then follow with a solo home run to right, his thirteen home run of the year, to give the Phillies an 8-3 lead. That would be the ballgame as Clay Condrey would come in to pitch a scoreless ninth, although he would give up a walk and then a single before recording the final out of the Phillies’ 2008 regular season by getting Emilio Bonifacio to ground out, 3-1.
Kyle Kendrick, the surprise starter, would get a no-decision as he pitches four innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Kendrick, who is not on the Phils’ post-season roster, will now be sent down to the Florida Instructional League to rebuild his confidence in his pitches as well as being taught two more pitches to help compliment his slider, before he comes back to join the team for spring training 2009. Les Walrond would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up two hits as he struck out four. His record is now 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA. J.A. Happ would pitch one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, giving up two hits as he struck out three. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up a hit and a walk. Odalis Perez would get the lost, as he is only able to pitch three and two-thirds inning, leaving the game early because of a possible injury and with the Nats not taking any chances with his career, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on eight hits while striking out five. His record is now 7-12 with an ERA of 4.34. Shairon Martis would pitch two innings and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits while striking out three. Marco Estrada would pitch two innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on three hits.
The Phillies (92-70) would end the year with a sweep of the Nationals, winning the third game of the series with rookies and bench players, although two of the regulars, Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard would both come up to bat as pinch hitters, both getting singles and both scoring. Among the bench players, So Taguchi would lead the way by going 3 for 5, getting a triple, knocking in three runs while scoring one. Eric Bruntlett and Tadahito Iguchi would be next as they each went two for five, with Bruntlett knocking in a run and scoring one. Geoff Jenkins would be the other bench player who would get a hit. The only one among the rookies with a good day would be Lou Marson, who would go 2 for 4, getting his first major league career hit, a single, score his first run, knock in his first RBI and hit his first home run of his career, all in the same game. He also threw out his first base stealer of his career, as he caught the Nationals’ Emilio Bonifacio when he overslid second base on a steal attempt, tagged out by Iguchi when he tried to put his foot back on the bag. Also, all three pinch hitters that the Phillies would send up to the plate would hit safely as Matt Stairs would add a solo home run to Werth and Ryan’s singles. The victory gives the Phillies the second best record in the National League, beind the Central Division Champions Chicago Cubs, and the fifth in the majors, behind the American League Western Division Chmpions Los Angeles Angles, the American League Eastern Division Champions Tampa Bay Rays and the American League Wild Card Winner and Current World Champions Boston Red Sox.
The Phillies ended the season in first place in the National League Eastern Division, with a record of 92-70 for a winning percentage of .568, ending twelve wins over .500. They ended up being three games ahead of the Mets, who ended up with a record of 89-73 .559, seven and a half games ahead of the Marlins, who ended up with a record of 84-77 .522, twenty games ahead of the Braves, who ended up with a record of 72-90 .444 and thirty-two and a half games ahead of the Nationals, who ended up with a record of 59-102 .366.
The Phillies will now have today and tomorrow to rest up before they get ready to face the Wild Card Winner Milwaukee Brewers for a five games National League Divisional Series, which will start in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Kyle Kendrick’s poor performance against the World Champions Red Sox leads to an early exit and to a lost as the Phillies are unable to effectively rally as they lose the final game of their three games series to the Red Sox, 7-4. The Red Sox would break it open early as their first four men would get on base and score against Kendrick to give them a 4-0 lead. After Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia would both get on base via singles, J.D. Drew would knock them both in as he hits a three-run home run off of Kendrick, for his thirteenth home run of the year. Mike Lowell would quickly follow with a solo shot of his own, his eleventh home run of the season. The Phillies would get a run back in their half of the first as Ryan Howard would beat the shift against him to hit a RBI single, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier walked. The BoSox would put the game away for keeps in the third inning as Bill Moss hit a two-run single, scoring Drew, who has earlier doubled, and Lowell, who has reached base after being hit by the pitch, to make it 6-1 BoSox. The Red Sox would then score their last run of the game in the fourth, as, with Clay Condrey pitching in relief of Kendrick, Drew would hit a RBI single, knocking in Pedroia, who has earlier doubled to give Boston a 7-1 lead. With the bullpen shuting down the World Champs for the rest of the game, the Phillies tried to chip away at Boston’s lead. They would make a 7-2 game in the fifth, when Jayson Werth hit into a force play, scoring Greg Dobbs. The Phils would then cut the lead down to 7-4 in the seventh, when, with no one out and two men on, pinch hitter Pedro Feliz would hit a two-run single, scoring previous pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett, who has earlier singled, and Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier walked, and who would both move up a base on reliever Craig Hanson’s wild pitch. But that would be it for the Phillies as their rally would then get snuffed out by reliever Manny Delcarmen, who would get six of the seven men that he would face, before the BoSox would send in Jonathan Papelbon who would record his twenty-first save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Kyle Kendrick would take the lost as he was unable to get his changeup down, as he would go only three innings while being rocked for six earned runs on six hard hits. He is now 6-3 with a 5.06 ERA. Clay Condrey would pitch two innings of relief, giving up one earned run on four hits. Chad Durbin would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. Rudy Seanez would also go an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up no runs on no hits. Justin Masterson would get the win, as he pitches five innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits. His record is now 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Javier Lopez would pitch a scorless inning, giving up no hits. Craig Hensen would pitch to four batters, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Manny Delcarmen would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on no hits. Jonathan Papelbon would pitch a scoreless, hitless ninth as he records his twenty-first save of the year.
The Phillies have now lost their third straight series, as they were both outscored and outpitched by the World Champion Red Sox. Although it would appear that the two teams are almost evenly matched, if any of the Phillies’ starters were to lose control of their pitches, like Kyle Kendrick did this afternoon, the BoSox will be waiting to pounce on it, while the Phillies’ batters appear to be easily shut down by the Boston starters, especially if they do not act very patiently at the plate. The later is going to have to be corrected, hopefully by the All-Star break, else they are going to be in for a long, hot summer of fighting for first place with the Marlins.
With the lost, the Phillies (42-32) who will have the day off tomorrow, will now wait for the results of the games involving the rest of the division. They now have a two and a half games lead over the Marlins, as they prepare to once again play the Mariners in Seattle. They lead both the Braves and the Mets by six games, as they wait to face the Rangers and the Angels respectively. The Phillies will be hoping that all three of their main opponents will lose their games on the road, so that they will hold on to their present leads in the standings.
Jamie Moyer was only able to go five innings as he threw a lot of pitches tonight, 106 in fact, as the Phillies fall to the Red Sox, 3-0. The Red Sox would score the first runs of the game when Moyer threw a two-run home run to Coco Crisp, his sixth home run of the season, scoring Jason Varitek, who has earlier walked, to make it 2-0 BoSox. In the sixth, the Red Sox would increase their lead as Ryan Madson, who was pitching in relief of Moyer, would give up a RBI double to Julio Lugo, scoring Crisp, who has earlier singled, giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. That would be how the game would end, as Jon Lester, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon would combine to seven hit the Phils, with Papelbon pitching a 1-2-3 ninth to record his twentieth save of the year.
Jamie Moyer would take the lost as he struggles to pitch five innings, giving up only two runs on four hits, and walking five, one of whom would later score. His record is now 7-4 with a 4.09 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. Rudy Seanez would go an inning, giving up no runs on no hits, while Clay Condrey would also pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Jon Lester would get the win, going seven shut out innings as he six hit the Phillies. Hideki Okajima would pitch an inning in relief, giving up no runs on one hit. Jonathan Papelbon would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, as he records his twentieth save of the year.
The Phillies (42-31) will conclude their three games series with the World Champion Red Sox (45-29, 1st American League East) tomorrow afternoon at Citizens Bank Park for a Business Person’s Special. The game will start at 1:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (6-2, 3.43), who is coming off a victory against the Cardinals on June 13, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 20-2 rout. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to help the Phillies win their first series since their sweep of the Braves. The Red Sox will counter with rookie Justin Masterson (3-1, 2.90), who is coming off his first major league lost as he was defeated by the Reds on June 13, where he would go six and two-thirds inning, giving up three earned runs on four hits, in the BoSox’s 3-1 lost. He will be trying to avoid getting his second major league lost while trying to see if he can keep the Phillies’ batters off-balanced.
The Phillies are presently leading the Marlins by two and a half games, although they are presently losing their game with the Mariners. The presently third place Mets are now trailing the Phils by six games, although they are presently trailing the Angels. The Braves, thanks to their lost to the Rangers, are still six and half games behind and in fourth place, The Phillies are presently hoping that the Marlins and the Mets will both lose their games so that the standings will remain the same before they get ready for tomorrow afternoon’s game.
The Phillies (42-30) continue their three games series with the World Champion Red Sox (44-29, 1st American League East) with another night game at Citizens Bank Park. Tonight’s game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Jamie Moyer (7-3, 4.12), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on June 12, where he pitched eight strong shut out innings, giving up only two hits, in the Phils’ 3-0 win. Moyer has won five of his last six starts, with the Phils winning his other start. In those six starts he would go a combined forty innings, giving up only fourteen earned runs on thirty-four hits, including four quality starts. Lifetime against the Red Sox he is 6-11 in 20 starts, while Manny Ramirez has been a major thorn in his side, as ‘Big Papi’ has hit ten career home runs off of him. Jamie will be trying to improve his record, while trying to keep Manny and the rest of the BoSox offense from taking him downtown. He will be opposed by Jon Lester (5-3, 3.43), who is coming off of a victory over the Baltimore Orioles on June 12, when he pitched seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, in the Red Sox’s 9-2 win. Lester has won his last two starts, where he would give up only three earned on fifteen hits as he pitched a total of thirteen and a third innings. He will be looking to improve his record, while trying to quiet down the Phillies’ bats.
The Phillies will be trying to continue showing that they can stand up with the best that the American League have to offe. The offense will be trying to continue the outburst which they’d shown to a national audience last night, while hoping that Jamie will have better luck pitching against a team that seems to have his number before giving it over to the National League’s best bullpen.
The Phillies are presently leading the second place Marlins by three games, while leading both the Braves and the Mets, who have earlier today fired Willie Randolph, by six and a half game. The Phillies will be looking to once again increase their lead against their divisional rivals.
The Phillies, to prove that they are one of the best teams in the major leagues this year, have brought out the bats to easily defeat the World Champions Boston Red Sox, 8-2. The Phillies would score first in the bottom of the first as Jimmy Rollins would hit Bartolo Colon’s second pitch of the night out of the ballpark for his sixth home run of the season to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with a runner on second and one hit, Ryan Howard would hit a two-run home run, his eighteenth home run of the year, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier doubled, to make it a 3-0 Phillies’ lead. Two innings later, in the third, Howard would hit a solo shot for his nineteenth home run of the season to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. In the fifth, the Red Sox would cut the Phillies’ lead in half as Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew would hit back-to-back solo home runs off of Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels, for their sixth, and twelfth home run of the year, respectively, to make the score 4-2 Phils. But, that would turn out to be all of the damage that the Red Sox would be able to muster against Hamels during the seven innings and one batter that he would pitch tonight, as he would keep them generally quiet, as he gives up only seven hits. Then in the Phillies’ sixth, they would put the game away as they send nine men to the plate and score four runs. The inning would begin with Pedro Feliz getting a walk off of Mike Timlin, who was pitching in relief of Javier Lopez, who, in turn has pitched an inning in relief of Colon. Carlos Ruiz would follow with a single, moving Feliz to second. After Hamels sacrifice them both over to third and second respectively, Rollins would hit a two-run RBI single, scoring both Feliz and Ruiz, to make it 6-2 Phillies. Victorino would then follow with a single, sending Rollins over to third. Chase Utley would then hit a fielder’s choice ground ball, which would score Rollins from third, to give the Phillies a 7-2 lead. Howard would follow with a RBI triple, scoring Utley, making it 8-2 Phils. That would be how the game would end, as Chad Durbin would come in the eighth in relief of Hamels after Hamels has walked Drew to start the inning, and getting six of the seven batters that he would face, including a double play ground out off of the first man that he would face in the eighth.
Cole Hamel would get the win, going seven innings plus a batter, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 7-4 with a reduced ERA of 3.23. Chad Durbin would pitch two innings of relief, giving up no runs on one hit. Bartolo Colon would take the lost, giving up four runs on six hits. His record is now 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA. Javier Lopez would pitch one inning in relief, giving up no runs on one hit. Mike Timlin would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up four earned runs on four hits. David Aardsma would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on one hit. Hideki Okajima would then come in to pitch a scoreless, hitless inning.
The three games series between the Phillies (42-30) and the Red Sox (44-29, 1st American League East) will continue tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. The game will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (7-3, 4.12), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on June 12, where he would go eight inning, giving up no earned runs on two hits, in the Phillies’ 3-0 win. Moyer has won five of his last six starts, while the Phillies would win his other start. In those six starts, he has pitched a combined forty innings, giving up fourteen earned runs on thirty-four hits, including four quality starts. Lifetime against the Red Sox, he is 6-11 in twenty starts. Moyer will be trying to improve his lifetime record against the BoSox while trying to give the Phillies two wins in a row against the World Champs. The Red Sox will send to the mound Jon Lester (5-3, 3.43), who is coming off a victory against the Orioles on June 12, where he went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, in the Red Sox’s 9-2 win. He has won his last two most starts. He will be trying to defeat the Phils, while hoping to quiet down the offense.
The Phillies’ offense woke up tonight, lead by Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, who both had three hits. Between them, the Phillies’ sparkplug and the big man got two singles, a triple and three home runs, knocking in seven runs and scoring four. It would appear that JayRoll is starting to come out of his recent swoon while Howard is definately getting hot. If these two can get into a major groove at the same time, along with Victorino, Utley and Burrell, it will be almost impossible for the Phillies to get knocked out of first place.
With the win, the Phillies are presently three games ahead of the Marlins, as they won their games against the Mariners. The Braves are presently still six and a half games behind the Phils as they won their game with the Rockies, while the Mets are also still six and a half games behind the Phils after their victory over the Angels. The Phillies will once again be trying to increase their lead in the division.
The Phillies (41-30) will start a six games home stand and the resumption of their involvement in Interleague Play tonight by hosting the World Champion Boston Red Sox (44-28, 1st American League East) for three games. The series’ opener will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.27), who is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on June 11, where he went eight innings, giving up only two earned runs, both on solo home runs to Jorge Cantu, on three hits, in the Phils’ 6-2 lost. In his previous start against the Reds on June 5, he would pitch a complete game shut out as he gave up only three hits to the Reds, in the Phils’ 5-0 victory. This will be his first time facing the BoSox, so he will be seeing how well he pitches against an elite team of the American League while trying to get his own team back on the winning track after suffering a couple of tough loses over the weekend. His opponent will be Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.41), who is coming off a win against the Baltimore Orioles on June 11, where he pitched six innings, giving up an earned run on five scattered hits, in the Red Sox’s 6-3 win. In his five starts, Bartolo has given up three earned runs or less in all but one of his starts. Lifetime against the Phillies, he is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in four starts, while this will be his first start at Citizens Bank Park. He will be trying to pitch his team past the Phils so that they can stay ahead of the surprisingly good Tampa Bay Rays.
The Phillies will be looking to regroup after losing their last two series on their recent nine games road trip, especially after yesterday’s lost to the Cardinals thanks to a pair of misconnections between Chase Utley and Tom Gordon with two men out in the bottom of the tenth which allowed the Cardinals to win the extra-inning game. The offense will be trying to once again score a lot of runs like they were doing several weeks earlier. With their upcoming series against the BoSox and the Angels, the Phillies will be seeing if they can compete with a pair of elite teams in the American League, whom they might be playing against if they get into the World Series later this year, as well as to see if any problem that they might have will be exposed now so that they can be plugged up later before the late summer and September stretch run towards the pennant.
Oh, and it seems that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina has only received a concussion from his close encounter with Eric Bruntlett, but he was kept in the hospital for overnight observation, just in case. Thanks goodness. I hate to see a ballplayer get injured, no matter what the cause, or which team they play for.
Going into tonight’s game, Cole Hamels is among the National League leaders in Earned Run Average (10th), Strikeouts (4th-T), Innings Pitched (4th), Complete Games (1st-T) and Shut Outs (1st). He is also tied for 17th in Wins (6) and is tied for 16th in Games Started (14). As mentioned earlier, he will be trying to help his team defeat an elite team of the American League while improving on his stats in each category.
Inspite of the lost, the Phillies have at present the third best record in the National League, trailing only the National League Central leading Chicago Cubs (45-25), and the St. Louis Cardinals (42-29). In fact, they are at present the only National League teams to have won 40 or more games so far this season. Only three other teams in the majors have won over 40 or more games: Boston, the American League Western leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (42-28) and the Tampa Bay Rays (40-29). They have the best road record in the National League (20-17) and one of the best record at home (21-13). Only one other team has scored more runs than they have in the NL, the Chicago Cubs (387 (Cubs), 381 (Phils)). They are also the third best team in the NL in giving up the least runs (291), with only the Cubs (279) and the Braves (282) being better. The offense has the fifth best batting average in the NL at .264, while they are among the leaders in Slugging Percentage (1st), On-Base Percentage (4th), Walks (5th), Total Bases (1st), Runs Batted In (2nd), Home Runs (2nd), Doubles (3rd), Hits (4th) and At-Bats (3rd). The Phillies have the fourth best team ERA (3.82) in the NL, while the relief corps still has the best team ERA (2.62).
The Phillies lead the second place Marlins by three games, as they prepare to start a three games series against the Seattle Mariners in Seattle. The third place Braves, after their late lost to the Angels, are still six and a half games behind the Phillies, as they prepare to face the Rockies in Denver for a make up game, before starting a three games series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. The fourth place Mets also trails the Phillies by six and a half games, as they get ready to meet the Angels in Anaheim for a three games series. The Phillies hope to hold their own against the World Champions, to win the series, while trying to once again get some more distance betweeen themselves and the other teams in their division.