Tagged: Yunel Escobar

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 6: The magic number into the playoffs is now one as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 6-2.

Behind Pat Burrell’s three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning and the solid pitching of rookie J.A. Happ and the bullpen, the Phillies have defeated the Braves, 6-2, cutting their magic number to get into the post-season down to one and to win the National League East down to four. Their lead in the East has increased to two and a half games as the Mets are unable to stop the Cubs. The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Chase Utley, with a runner on second and no one out, would hit a RBI double, knocking in Jimmy Rollins who has earlier doubled. The RBI would be the 100th of the season for Utley, the only Phil, other than Ryan Howard, to knock in so many runs. The Phillies would increase their lead to 2-0 in the second, as, with a runner on third and one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit into a ground out, second to first, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move up to second on Pedro Feliz’s ground out, 6-3, and would go to third on Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens’ wild pitch. The score would remain 2-0 for the next three innings as a pitchers’ duel developed between Jurrjens, who was able to slow down the Phillies’ offernse after the second inning and Phils’ starter  J.A. Happ, who would be almost unhitable to the Braves’ offense, who would only be able to get two hits and a walk off of him through the first five innings. Sadly, that would come to an end in the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Kelly Johnson, would tie up the ballgame at 2-2 as he would slug an 0-1 slider, that was high in the strike zone, into the right field seats, scoring Matin Prado, who has earlier walked. One inning later, the Braves would threaten to take the lead, as with one out, Brent Lillibridge would get on base with a single to left. Jurrjens would then move him over to second with a sacrifice bunt, for the inning’s second out. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Happ and replace him with Rudy Seanez, to face pinch hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch hitting for the originally announced pinch hitter, Yunel Escobar, who in turned was to pinch hit for Josh Anderson. Seanez would proceed to intentionally walk Norton, putting runners on first and second. Seanez would then get the next batter, Prado, to hit into a force out, 6-4, putting out Norton at second, for the final out of the inning. The Braves would then try again in the eighth, as Johnson would lead off the inning with a double, and then would go to third on Victorino’s fielding error. Seanez would then get Omar Infante to line out to Rollins for the inning’s first out. The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, would then hit a fielder’s choice ground ball to Rollins, who would quickly throw home, cutting down Johnson, as Ruiz blocks the plate and tags him out, for the second out of the inning, while Francoeur would be safe on first. After Manuel takes out Seanez and replaces him with Scott Eyre, Eyre would get Casey Kotchman to fly out to left for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then retake the lead in their half of the eighth, as pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would get a pinch single off of Braves’ reliever Jeff Bennett. After Dobbs is replaced at first base by pinch runner Greg Golson, the Braves would try to pick Golson off at first. It didn’t work as Bennett would commit a throwing error, as the ball would get past Braves’ first baseman Kotchman, which would allow Golson to go from first to third. After Rollins would ground out for the inning’s first out, Utley would be intentionally walked, bringing up Jayson Werth. Werth would hit a sharp grounder to Braves’ third baseman Prado, who would then throw home in an attempt to cut down Golson. It wouldn’t work, as Golson was off on the crack of the bat, beating Braves’ catcher Clint Sammons’ tag, and scoring the go ahead run as the Phillies took a 3-2 lead, while Utley would go on to second and Werth would reach first on the fielder’s choice. Bobby Cox would then come to the mound and replace Bennett with Will Ohman. After Howard flies out for the second out of the inning, Ohman would be replaced by Julian Tavarez to pitch to Pat Burrell. With the count going to 3-1, Burrell would hit a Tavarez’s fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, scoring both Utley and Werth, and giving the Phillies a 6-2 lead. After Victorino follows with a triple, Tavarez would finally end the inning by getting Feliz to fly out to left. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Ryan Madson. After Madson gets pinch hitter Ruben Gotay to fly out for the inning’s first out, he would give up a pinch single to pinch hitter Chipper Jones. Pinch hitter Brian McCann would then follow him with a deep fly ball to left that would go out of the park, but would be declared a double by the third base umpire Chad Fairchild who would claim that the ball has landed under the yellow line, making it a double and not a home run. A later umpires’ conference would uphold Fairchild’s call, as does instant reply, thus leaving the Braves with runners on second and third with one out and not a two-run homer for McCann. Madson would then buckle down and get Gregor Blanco to fly out to left for the second out of the inning, and then get Prado to ground out, 4-3, to end the game and preserve the win.

J.A. Happ would get a no-decision as he pitches a strong six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, striking out five while walking only two. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning of relief, giving up only one hit and walking a batter. Scott Eyre would get the win as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. His record is now 5-0 (3-0 with the Phils) with an ERA of 4.30. Ryan Madson would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits. Jair Jurrjens would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk. Jeff Bennett would get the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on a hit and a walk. His record is now 3-7 with an ERA of 3.86. Will Ohman would also pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Julian Tavarez would also go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.  

The Phillies would score two early runs, which J.A. Happ would hold onto brillantly until he gives up the two-run home run to Kelly Johnson in the sixth. The Phillies offense would then go back to work in the bottom of the eighth, scoring four unanswered runs, with the big blow being Pat Burrell’s three-run shot. The go ahead run that Greg Golson would score on the crack of the bat, would be his first run scored in a major league game. The bullpen would then come in and pitch two and a third innings of shut out ball, although Madson almost gave up a two-run home run to pinch hitter Brian McCann, except that the ball would drop into the seats below the yellow line under the railing in left, as confirmed later by instant replay. The Phillies are now on a roll, having won ten of their last eleven games, as they reached a season high twenty-one games over .500, the highest since their pennant winning year of 1993. The Phillies are now one game away from 90 wins, and need just one more game to guarantee a return to the playoffs.

The Phillies (89-68) will continue their series with the fourth place Braves (69-86) with a game tonight. The game 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 (14-9, 3.10), who is coming off a win against the Braves on September 18, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. Hamel will be trying for his fifteenth win of the year while trying to secure the playoff spot for the Phillies with a good outing tonight. The Braves’ starter will be Mike Hampton (2-3, 5.05), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies on September 18, as he would go seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. This is his third start against the Phillies, sporting an 0-1 record, with a no-decision. He will be trying to hold off the Phillies running into the playoff for one more night.

The Phillies are now leading the Mets by two and a half games, thanks to the Mets lost to the Cubs. The magic number to win the National League East is now at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is now at a game, as the Brewers were idle last night, while it is at three and a half games over Houston, who were also idle last night. The Phillies will be trying to win tonight’s game to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while trying to see if they can get Cole Hamels his fifteenth win of the season.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 11: Happ-ily staying in first place as the Phils defeat Atlanta behind Happ’s six innings of shut out pitching.

Phillies’ starter rookie J.A. Happ records his first major league victory as he shuts down Atlanta for six innings as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 6-1. The victory keeps them in first place in the East as the Mets finally defeated the Nationals. The Phillies’ bat would take the pressure off of Happ by batting around in the first inning. After Jimmy Rollins would ground out, 3-1, for the first out of the inning, Chase Utley would get on base with a walk. Jayson Werth would follow with a walk, moving Utley to second. Ryan Howard would then hit a RBI single, scoring Utley and sending Werth to second for a quick 1-0 lead. It would become 2-0 as Werth would steal third and then go home on Braves’ catcher’s Brian McCann’s throwing error, while Howard would move up to second on the error. After Pat Burrell flies out to right for the inning’s second out, Shane Victorino would get on base with a single, sending Howard to third, putting runners on the corners. After Victornio steals second, putting two men in scoring position, Pedro Feliz would get on base with a walk, loading the bases. Carlos Ruiz would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Howard and Victorino, giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead, and sending Feliz to second. Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens would finally end the inning by striking out Happ. With the four run cushion, Happ would go to work against the Braves, giving them very few base runners in the early innings. The Braves would put up a threat in the fifth, as Casey Kotchman would lead off the inning with a double, the Braves’ first extra-base hit, and the first Brave to get into scoring position. But Happ would then get out the next two batters via fly outs, Jeff Francoeur to left and Josh Anderson to center. The next batter, pinch hitter Yunel Escobar would then get on base with a walk, putting two men on. After Escobar is replaced by pinch runner Brandon Jones, Happ would end the inning by getting Martin Prado to ground out, 6-3. Happ would stay in for one more inning, putting the Braves down easily in the sixth, before handing the ball over to the bullpen. The Phillies would finally add a run in the eighth, as, with runners on first and third and one out, Feliz would hit a ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Kelly Johnson. Instead of throwing to second to start an inning ending double play, Johnson would throw to first to get out Feliz for the second out of the inning, allowing Eric Bruntlett, who was pinch running for Burrell, who has earlier reached base with a single, and then would move to third on Victorino’s single, to score, making it 5-0 Phillies, while sending Victorino to second. The Phils would tack on one more run in the ninth as pinch hitter Matt Stairs would hit a pinch hit home run, his twelfth home run of the year and his first as a Phil, to give the Phils a 6-0 lead. In the bottom half of the ninth, the Braves would finally score a run as, with a runner on second and two out, Greg Norton would get a RBI single, scoring Francoeur, who has earlier singled and has moved to second on defensive indifference, making it a 6-1 Phillies’ lead. But Clay Condrey would end the game by getting Gregor Blanco to fly out for the game’s final out.

J.A. Happ would get the win, the first in his major league career, as he pitches six shut out innings, giving up only three hits and one walk, while striking out two. His record is now 1-0 with an ERA of 4.24. Chad Durbin would pitch an inning and two-thirds of relief, giving up two hits and a walk. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. Jair Jurrjens would get the lost, as he would go five innings, giving up four earned runs, all in the first, on five hits and five walks. His record is now 13-10 with an ERA of 3.72. Vladimir Nunez would pitch two and a third innings, giving up an earned run on three hits. Blaine Boyer would pitch one and two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run on two hits.

The Phillies’ offense, although it got ten hits, would not deliver the knock out blow to Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens after he has escaped the first inning, wtihin which he threw over 40 pitches and gave up all four runs that he would give up that night, as he walked three batters along with three singles. Jurrjens would then calm down enough to get through five innings. But, it wouldn’t matter as the four run cushion would help to relax J.A. Happ enough to allow him to go six innings, with the fifth being the only inning that the Braves would actually make a threat and come away with nothing for their efforts, as he went after the Braves’ hitters. The offense would later add two insurance runs in the late innings to guarantee the win. The victory put the Phillies eighteen games over .500 as the team rides a six games winning streak, their highest this season, while they won their eighth straight game at Turner Field.

The Phillies (85-67) will play the last game of their three game road trip with the Braves (67-85) tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (13-9, 3.11), who is coming off a good start against the Brewers on September 13, where he’d pitched six and a third innings of good ball, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 7-3 win. In his last start against the Braves on July 26, Hamels would receive a no-decision as he went only three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs, only four of which were earned, on six hits, in the Phillies’ dramatic 10-9 come from behind win. In three starts this year, including the disaster of July 26, Hamels’ record against the Braves is 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA. He will be going for his fourteenth win of the year while trying to complete the third sweep of the Braves at their own home park. The Braves will counter with Mike Hampton (2-2, 5.34), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on September 13, as he would go six innings, giving up just two earned runs on six hits, in the Braves’ 3-2 win. His last start against the Phillies was on July 26, where he would also receive a no-decision as he pitched only four innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 10-9 lost. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to stop the suddenly revised Phillies’ offensive juggernault.

The Phillies are still a half game ahead of the Mets as they defeated the Nationals last night. They are still five and a half games in front of the Marlins, as they defeated the Astros once again. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets still have a half game lead over the Brewers as they defeated the Cubs, for the moment putting on hold the Cubs’ clinching party. The Astros now trail the Mets by three and a half game after their lost to the Marlins. The Phillies will be looking to extend their winning streak to seven games as they plan to do something that is always hard to do: Sweep their opponent in their home ball park, for the third time this season. If this happens, if would serve notice that the Braves’ reign as a divisional leader is over. GO PHILLIES!!!!

The Phillies use the long ball to win their first series of the second half as they defeat the Braves, 12-10.

The Phillies would use a combination of the long ball and situational hitting to come from behind again to defeat the Braves as they win their first series of the second half, 12-10. It didn’t look that way at the start as the Braves would score two runs in the top of the first off of Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton. With two men on and one out, Brian McCann would hit a RBI single, scoring Yunel Escobar, who has earlier singled, making it 1-0 Braves. Mark Kotsay would follow with a RBI double, scoring Mark Teixeira, who has earlier walked, to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, with Eric Bruntlett batting, the rain would come down, delaying the game for over two hours. The long rain delay would force the removal of both teams’ starters, Blanton and Jorge Campillo. The Braves would increase their lead in the top of the fourth off of Adam Eaton. With a runner on second and one out, Eaton would give up a two-run home run to Kelly Johnson, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Kotsay, who has earlier singled, to make it 4-0 Braves. Omar Infante would follow with a solo shot, his second home run of the year, to give the Braves a 5-0 lead. The Phillies would then come back in their half of the fourth. With two men out, and a runner on first, Chris Coste would hit a two-run home run, his eighth home run of the year, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, cutting the Braves’ lead to 5-2. The next batter, pinch hitter So Taguchi would then get on base with a pinch single. Jimmy Rollins would follow by working a walk. Shane Victorino would then hit a three-run home run, his eighth home run of the year, scoring Taguchi and Rollins, tying the game at five all. In the fifth, the Phillies will take the lead as Pat Burrell would hit a solo home run, his twenty-sixth home run of the year, making it 6-5 Phillies. The Phils would then break the game wide open in the sixth. With Royce Ring now on the mound, he would be greeted by pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz with a pinch double. Ruiz would then go to third on a single by Rollins. Victorino would follow with a RBI single, scoring Ruiz, and sending Rollins to second to make the score 7-5 Phillies. Chase Utley would then strike out, making the first out of the inning. With Ryan Howard at the plate, Rollins and Victorino would perform a double steal, with Victorino just beating McCann’s throw from behind home plate. Howard would then hit a RBI single with the infield pulled in, scoring Rollins easily, and then scoring Victorino, as he knocks over McCann, as McCann tries to catch left fielder Jeff Francoeur’s throw from left on one hop, and then tries to turn around quickly to tag out Victorino, making it 9-5 Phillies. McCann would then lay on the ground for the next several minutes, with Victorino and Rollins, among others, looking to see if he was alright, before he is finally taken out of the game, and replaced by Corky Miller. Meanwhile, Royce is replaced on the mound by Blaine Boyer. Burrell would then fly out for the second out of the inning. Werth would then follow with a two-run home run, his fourteenth home run, to give the Phillies an 11-5 lead. Bruntlett would then end the inning by flying out. In the seventh, Rollins would increase the Phillies’ lead by hitting a solo home run, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Phils a 12-5 lead. The Braves would then make it close in the eighth. With Rudy Seanez on the mound, Kotsay would start the inning off with a single. After Francoeur pops up for the first out of the inning, Johnson would get on base with a walk, sending Kotsay to second. Infante would follow with a RBI double, scoring Kotsay and sending Johnson to third, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 12-6. Greg Norton would then load the bases as Seanez commits an error on his ground ball. Ryan Madson is then brought in to relieve Seanez. Gregor Blanco would then walk, scoring Johnson, while leaving the bases loaded as the Phillies now lead 12-7. Escobar would then pop out to Bruntlett in foul territory for the second out of the inning. Pinch hitter Martin Prado would then hit a double that a diving Werth would be unable to catch, scoring Infante, Norton and Blanco after it gets past Werth, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. Madson would finally end the inning by getting Miller to ground out, third to first. In the ninth, Brad Lidge would proceed to nail down his twenty-fourth save of the year to finally end the ballgame.

Joe Blanton would get a no-decision thanks to the rain delay, as he pitches two innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Adam Eaton would also pitch two innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Clay Condrey would get the win as he pitches two innings, giving up no runs on one hit. His record is now 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA. J.C. Romero would go an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Rudy Seanez would go one-third of an inning, giving up four earned runs on two hits. Ryan Madson would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning, as he records his twenty-fourth save of the year, giving up no runs on no hits. Jorge Campillo would also pitch a no-decision because of the rain delay, going one and two-thirds innings, giving up no runs on two hits. Jo-Jo Reyes would go two and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on four hits. Julian Tavarez would take the lost as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA.Royce Ring would pitch a third of an inning, giving up four earned runs on four hits. Blaine Boyer would pitch two-thirds of an innings, giving up a run on one hit. Buddy Carlyle would pitch an inning, giving up one run on one hit. Will Ohman would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits.

The Phillies (56-49) have finally won their first series of the second half as well as the short home stand, while also starting a two game winning streak. For the second straight game the Phillies’ offense would score ten or more runs, this time with them doing it with a combination of the long ball and situational hitting. Does this mean that the offense is back? I’m going to wait until after the next several series before saying yes or no. The next Phillies’ game will be played on Tuesday as they meet the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

With the win, the Phillies continue to trail the Mets by a game, as they won their game against the Cardinals. The Marlins would drop to third place, a game behind the Phillies, as they lost to the Cubs. The Braves now trail the Phillies by six and a half games. As the Phillies take the day off before starting their series with the Nationals in D.C., the Mets go to Miami to start a three games series with the Marlins, while the Braves prepare for a four games series with the Cardinals.

The Phillies play situational ball as they come from behind to defeat the Braves, 10-9.

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’ offense continues to do nothing than waste good efforts by the starters as they lose to the Braves, 8-2.

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 red hot Phillies leave Atlanta with a sweep. Head south to wreck further havoc in Miami.

The Phillies have finished their sweep of the shellshocked Braves by defeating Atlanta with a three run ninth to win the game, 6-3. The Phillies would start the game off by taking the lead in the first inning, when Ryan Howard hit a RBI double, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The lead would increase to 2-0 two batters later, when, with the bases loaded and two out, Geoff Jenkins would ground out to first, scoring Chase Utley who has earlier singled. The Braves would tie it up in their half of the first, when Mark Teixeira hit his tenth home run of the year off of Phillies’ starter Adam Eaton, scoring Yunel Escobar, who has earlier doubled. The Phillies would retake the lead in the third, when Howard would hit his second RBI double of the ballgame, scoring Victorino, who has earlier singled, making it 3-2 Phillies. In the fourth, Atlanta would come back to tie it at three all when Josh Anderson hit a RBI single, knocking in Omar Infantine, who has reached base earlier with a single. The game would then become a battle between the two teams’ bullpens, once Eaton and Braves’ starter Jorge Campillo were both taken out of the game by the end of the sixth inning. The bullpens would keep both teams off of the scoreboard, until the ninth. With Blain Boyer pitching for the Braves, the Phillies would retake the lead, when, with one out, and with runners on first and second, Victorino would hit a RBI single, scoring pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett, who has earlier singled, making it 4-3 Phillies. Now, with the bases loaded, and with still one out, Howard would hit his third RBI double of the game, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has singled earlier and Victorino, giving the Phillies a 6-3 lead. Brad Lidge would then be brought in to pitch the ninth, and he would pitch a 1-2-3 inning to record his seventeenth save in seventeen tries.

Adam Eaton would get a no-decision as he would go six innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. Chad Durbin would get the victory as he pitches two scoreless innings while giving up two hits. His record is now 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, as he records his seventeenth save of the season. Jorge Campillo would also get a no-decision as he pitches five and one-third innings for the Braves, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. Buddy Carlyle would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Will Ohman would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on no hits. Blaine Boyer would take the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on three hits. His record is now 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA. Manny Acosta would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phillies have swept their third series of the season, and they did it in the ballpark of the team that used to own the Eastern Division. For the third straight game, the Phillies’ offense would get some timely hits late in the game to win it, while the relievers continue to shut down the opposition, allowing the offense to be able to win the game in the late innings.

The win put the Phillies (39-26) thirteen games over .500 as they head to Miami to visit the Florida Marlins (34-28) for a three games series starting Tuesday night. The first place Phillies are still  three and a half games ahead of the second place Marlins, who won their game against the Reds as they wait for the red hot Phillies to arrive. With the lost, the third place Braves are now six and a half games behind the Phillies. The fourth place Mets are now seven and a half games behind the Phils as they have lost once again to the Padres. As the Phillies take the day off and travel south to Miami, the Marlins will play the final game of their four games set with the Reds, while the Braves travel to Chicago to start a series with the Cubs and the Mets will also be taking the day off.

Edit: The Phillies’ win on Saturday was Charlie Manuel’s 300th victory as the Phillies’ manager.

The Phillies win in extra-innings as Gregor Blanco is thrown out at home by Shane Victorino.

In what ended up being a wild game that had an even wilder ending, the Phils came from behind to defeat the Braves in extra-innings, 4-3. The Phillies would take a quick 1-0 lead in the first when Chase Utley hits a RBI ground ball to the right side of the infield, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier got on base with a triple. That would be the score for the next few innings as Jamie Moyer and Braves’ starter Tim Hudson would find themselves locked in a pitchers’ duel. That would all change in the bottom of the sixth inning when Moyer would get tagged deep by Brian McCann for his twelfth home run of the season, scoring Mark Teixeira, who has earlier singled, to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead. That would remain the score until the top of the ninth, when, with two outs, Geoff Jenkins would get on base with a walk from Braves’ reliever, Blaine Boyer. Eric Bruntlett would then be sent in to pinch run for Jenkins. After Bruntlett is able to steal second, Pedro Feliz would also receive a walk, putting two men on base. The next batter, Chris Coste, would then hit a ground ball towards Kelly Johnson who proceeds to boot the ball for an error, allowing it to get into the outfield, and allowing Bruntlett to score to tie the game up at two all, but Feliz would get tagged out at hime plate by a perfect throw home from Johnson to catcher McCann, because Feliz did not run fast enough to get home before the throw. Tom Gordon would keep the Braves off the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth to get the game into extra-innings. In the Phillies’ tenth, Chris Snelling would start it off with a double. So Taguchi would then be sent out to pinch run for Snelling. After Jimmy Rollins sacrifice him over to third, Victorino would knock him in with a RBI triple, his second triple of the night, to make it 3-2 Phillies. Utley would then follow with a RBI double, driving in Victorino to make it 4-2 Phillies. That extra run would soon be important in the Braves’ half of the tenth, With Brad Lidge now pitching in relief of Gordon, the Braves would get two men on base, with two outs. Yunel Escobar would hit a single to center, scoring Josh Anderson, who has singled earlier, from third, to make it 4-3 Phillies. But, Gregor Blanco, who has also singled earlier, tried to score from second base to retie the game, and was instead cut down at home plate by a perfect throw from Victorino to Coste, with Coste putting on the tag to end the game, and give Lidge his sixteenth save of the year.

Jamie Moyer would pitch a good game, although having to pitch out of trouble in almost every inning he was in. Moyer would go five and one third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits. Chad Durbin would pitch two-thirds of an inning, plus one batter in the seventh, giving up no earned runs on no hit. J.C. Romero would pitch one third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hit. Rudy Seanez would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Ryan Madson would go one inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Tom Gordon would get the win, as he goes one inning, giving up no runs on one hit. His record is now 5-2 with a 4.01 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch the tenth, recording his sixteenth save of the season, as he goes an inning, giving up an earned run on three hits. Tim Hudson would also pitch a good game against the Phils, pitching seven and two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run on five scattered hits, as he, like Moyer, would take a no-decision when the Phils tied the game in the ninth. Will Ohman would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Blain Boyer would pitch two-thirds of an inning, getting a blown save, as he gives up an unearned run, thanks to Kelly Johnson’s fielding error, on no hit. Manny Acosta would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. His record is now 3-4 with a 4.45 ERA. Royce Ring would go one-third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit.

The Phils’ bullpen would once again keep the game close, allowing the batters to finally tie the game in the ninth inning, after being stymied time and again by Tim Hudson, making this the first game in a while that the offense didn’t score a lot of runs in support of Moyer. But, as in their last few victories, the Phillies were able to score runs when they needed to, helped along by a Braves’ error, and a key mistake by the Braves runners in the seventh when Yunel  Escobar tried to score on Jeff Francoeur’s fly out to Pat Burrell, who threw the perfect throw to Chris Coste, who then tagged out Escobar for the double play to end the inning. The win now place the Phillies eleven games above .500.

The Phillies will continue their series in Atlanta with the second of their three games tomorrow night at Turner Field. The game will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (5-2, 5.00), who is coming off of his second straight victory, as he went five and one third innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits.in the Phils’ 5-4 win over the Reds on June 2. Lifetime against the Braves, he is 2-0 in three starts with a 4.24 ERA, which includes his victory in his first start against them on May 13, where he went six innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Phils’ 5-4 win. He hopes to improve his record while continuing the Phillies’ recent run of quality starts. The Braves will counter with Jo-Jo Reyes (2-3, 4.78), who is coming off of a no-decision against the Marlins on June 2, going six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Braves’ 7-5 win. He was Kendrick’s opponent in the May 13 game in Philadelphia, going six and two-thirds innings as he gave up five earned runs on eleven hits. He hopes to even the present series while hoping he’ll do better than he did in his first start against the Phillies.

With the win, the Phillies are now three and a half games ahead of the Marlins, as the fish were just crushed by the Reds. The Braves have now fallen four and a half games behind the Phillies. The Phils have increased their lead over the Mets to five and a half games. The Phillies hope to continue to increase their lead over the other teams in the National League Eastern Division.