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Archive for August, 2007

Phillies Win, SWEEP Mets Despite Blowing Two Leads

Friday, August 31st, 2007

    Jayson Werth     Tadahito Iguchi    Chasr Utley

1st Baseman Ryan Howard, leftfielder Pat Burrell and centerfielder Aaron Rowand staked the Phillies to a 5-0 lead after 3 innings, but it took 9th inning hitting and base-running heroics by rightfielder Jayson Werth and pinch hitter Tadahito Iguchi to set the stage for 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s walk-off single driving in the winning run off of Mets closer and losing pitcher Billy Wagner as the Phils blew two leads but showed why the lead the NL in hitting in emerging victorious by an 11-10 score to sweep their four game series with the NL East leading New York Mets.

With the win and the series sweep, the Phillies have now moved to within 2 games of the NL East leaders in what promises to be a white-hot division race in September.  They remain in second place, now 2 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves who had an off-day on the schedule.  The Phils are now 2 games behind wild card leading San Diego who were defeated by the  Arizona Diamondbacks who have retaken the NL Central Division lead.

          Ryan Howard         Pat Burrell      Aaron Rowand

The Phillies lit up “El Duque” Orlando Hernandez early and often as Howard pounded his 36th homer, a 2 run shot to centerfield in the 1st inning and Burrell rifled his 23rd dinger, a 2 run shot in the 3rd and the first of 2 homers in the game.  Rowand followed Burrell with a solo shot and the Phillies were rolling with a 5-0 lead after 3 innings.

Kyle Lohse, who had given up 2 hits through 3 innings, was touched in the 4th inning for 3 Met runs.  With one out, rightfielder Shawn Green doubled driving in a run.  2nd baseman Reuben Gotay drove in the 2nd run with a groundout.  Then Lastings Milledge, pinch hitting for Hernandez, singled in the 3rd Met run to chase Lohse and close to 5-3.  Reliever Geoff Geary got the side out in the 4th inning but was pounded in the 5th.

The Mets tied the game with 2 runs in the 5th on centerfielder Carlos Beltran’s RBI single and Shawn Green’s RBI sacrifice fly.

The Phils came back in their half of the 5th with 3 runs off of reliever Aaron Sele to take an 8-5 lead as catcher Carlos Ruiz, pinch hitter Shane Victorino and shortstop Jimmy Rollins each singled in runs.

The Phillies’ 8-5 lead held up until the 8th inning when the Mets pounded  J.C. Romero and Antonio Alfonseca for 5 runs to take their first lead of the game by 10-8.  I sat wondering how it is possible that manager Charlie Manuel nearly let the game get out of hnd by staying with Alfonseca as long as he did.

AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi recaps the inning for Yahoo sports;

Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson’s RBI double off Alfonseca cut the lead to 8-6. After Jose Reyes was intentionally walked,  Endy Chavez hit a two-run single to tie it at 8.

With David Wright batting, Reyes stole third and scored on a throwing error by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Alfonseca exited to a chorus of boos after walking Wright.

[Jose] Mesa walked Carlos Beltran and gave up an RBI groundout to Carlos Delgado that made it 10-8.

With the Mets ahead by 2 runs to begin the Phillies’ half of the 8th inning, they called upon closer Billy Wagner “who hadn’t pitched since last Friday after experiencing a tired arm.”

AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi recaps the last inning and a half;

Looking for his first six-out save in eight years, Wagner (2-2) gave up Burrell’s solo shot in the eighth and immediately ran into trouble in the ninth.

Jayson Werth hit a leadoff single, then stole second and third on consecutive pitches with one out. Pinch-hitter Tadahito Iguchi’s single to left tied it at 10.

Jimmy Rollins was intentionally walked after Iguchi stole second, bringing up Utley, who entered the game leading the NL in batting average. The All-Star second baseman, playing his third game after missing a month with a broken hand, worked a full count before lining a single to right field to score Iguchi and send the crowd into a frenzy.

Fans chanted “Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!” as they left the ballpark. One man held a broom he sneaked in.

“When Utley was batting, that’s the loudest I ever heard it,” Burrell said.

It was Philadelphia’s first four-game sweep over any team since doing it against the Mets in September 2003 at old Veterans Stadium.

The Phillies have sliced five games off New York’s lead with five straight wins while the Mets have lost five in a row.

Wagner has blown his last two save opportunities and is 29-of-33 this year with two blown saves against Philadelphia. The All-Star closer left the Phillies to sign with New York before last season.

“I felt fresh. I was fine,” Wagner said. “I was trying to make pitches and I was unable to make them.”

Reliever Tom Gordon (2-2), who  pitched a clean 9th inning was credited with the win.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Thursday’s games,  click here.

The Phillies, in hot pursuit of the Mets, now take to the road for a 3 game series with the Florida Marlins.

In Friday’s opener, surprising rookie Kyle Kendrick is opposed by Sergio Mitre.  On Saturday, equally surprising J.D. Durbin faces Byung-Hyun Kim.
     
For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Friday’s and Saturday’s games,
click here and here.

The Phillies Edge Mets to Go 3-0 in Series

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

           Jimmy Rollins      Jamie Moyer      Pat Burrell

Jamie Moyer edged out Oliver Perez in a tight 6 inning battle of lefthanders, both shortstop Jimmy Rollins and leftfielder Pat Burrell stroked first inning homers and the Phillies’ bullpen once again came up big holding the Mets scoreless over the final 3 innings, thanks to a controversial game-ending double play on an interference call, to win a  3-2 nail-biter in game 3 of their 4 game series.

With the win, the Phillies moved to within 3 games of the NL East leading Mets.  They remain in second place, two games ahead of the Atlanta Braves who defeated Florida by a 7-4 score.  The Phils remain 2 games behind new wild card leading  Arizona Diamondbacks who lost a close 3-1 game to the new NL Central Division leading San Diego Padres.

After 3rd baseman David Wright stroked a two-out solo homer to centerfield off of Moyer, Rollins, hitting righthanded, led off with a homer and Burrell followed suit with a clout to centerfield off of Oliver Perez to put the Phillies up by 2-1 after 1 inning. 

The score remained the same until centerfielder Carlos Beltran led off the 4th inning with a double to leftfield and scored on 1st baseman Carlos Delgado’s RBI single to leftfield to knot the score at 2-2.

The Phils took the lead for good in the 5th inning as Perez issued a lead off walk to pitcher Moyer.  Rollins and 2nd baseman Tadahito Iguchi, replacing Chase Utley who was given the day off by manager Charlie Manuel, singled to load the bases with none out.  Burrell, who narrowly missed getting a grand slam on a previous pitch of the at bat as the ball landed just inches foul of the left-field pole, drove in Moyer with the lead run on a sacrifice fly to leftfield, after which Perez struck out 1st baseman  Ryan Howard and centerfelder Aaron Rowand to retire the side.  Losing pitcher Perez (12-9) struck out 10 for the game, while walking 5 and giving up 3 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings.

Winning pitcher Moyer (12-10) gave up 2 runs on 8 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4 in 6 innings.

The bullpens took over from there.  Reliever Jorge Sosa held the Phils to 1 hit over the 7th and 8th innings, while relievers J.C. Romero and Tom Gordon likewise held the Mets scoreless in the 7th and 8th innings respectively.  Things got a bit dicey for closer Brett Myers in 9th as the Mets got 2 hits and had runners at the corners with one out and pinch hitter  Shawn Green at bat. 

After striking out Carlos Delgado, Myers gave up singles to both catcher Paul Lo Duca and pinch hitter Marlon Anderson.  Endy Chavez, pinch running for Lo Duca, advanced to 3rd base on Anderson’s single.

But Myers recorded his 13th save by getting Green to ground into a controversial game-ending double play, shortstop to 2nd to 1st.

AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston describes the situation for Yahoo sports;

The Mets had runners on the corners with one out against closer Brett Myers when pinch-hitter Shawn Green hit a slow roller to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who shoveled the ball to Tadahito Iguchi at second.

Anderson made a rough slide at Iguchi outside the line and knocked the second baseman down as he threw to first. Second base umpire CB Bucknor ruled interference and a double play, sending Anderson into a fit.

He ripped off his helmet and jumped up in protest, and manager Willie Randolph also rushed out to argue.

Anderson demanded an explanation and said he didn’t receive one.

“My foot was on top of the bag when I touched him,” Anderson said. “I haven’t read the rule book tonight, but maybe somebody will have an explanation for it. My foot was on the bag when I made contact with him.”

Crew chief Joe West spoke on Bucknor’s behalf.

“Marlon Anderson went after the second baseman to break up the double play and did not, and could not reach the base, which is what he argued,” he told a pool reporter. “He went out of his way to interfere with the play that created the interference. CB made a great call, made a gutsy call and he didn’t back down from the call at all.”

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Kyle Lohse goes for the Phillies against “El Duque” Orlando Hernandez in the series finale as a Phillies sweep becomes a  distinct possibility.     

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Thursday’s games, click here.

Littleton’s Save in 30-3 Game; Quirk in MLB Save Rules

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

                        Wes Littleton

Following the Texas Rangers’ 30-3 demolishment of the Baltimore Orioles, many fans are now asking how reliever Wes Littleton could enter the game and be credited with a save where his club led by 11 runs upon his entry and ultimately won the game by 27 runs.

It had me scratchng my head enough to get me to review the save rules.

Last season, this blog did a write-up defining; What is a save?

It seems that aside finishing or closing a game which his team wins and not being designated as the winning pitcher, there are 3 other conditions, of which he must qualify under 1.

Absurdly, Littleton met one of the 3 conditions, the last one which states;

He pitches effectively for at least three innings.

            John Ennis

The same held true for reliever John Ennis who entered a recent game to start the 7th inning with the Phillies up 14-1, gave up a run in the 7th and kept the San Diego Padres off of the board the rest of the way to earn the save in the Phils’ 14-2 blowout.  The AP report for Yahoo sports recounted;

John Ennis pitched three innings in his Phillies debut for his second major league save.

I agree with bloggers such as Chris of SportsProjections.com that either the save call be referred to the game’s scorekeeper for a decision or that the rules for saves be stiffened so that anomalies such as these no longer occur.

But I’ll also go one further on Chris’s humorous, sarcastic questions. 

I believe that there is one relief pitcher who could be depended upon to make a 27 run game exciting;  no, not even Jose Mesa as awful as he is, but Mitch Williams.

                     Mitch Willams

Who will ever forget the “Wild Thing’s” performances in games 4 and 6 of the 1993 World Series for the Phillies against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With the Phils up 14-11 in the 8th inning of game 4, Williams proceeded to cough up 3 runs on 3 hits as Toronto took it’s 15-14 lead before Williams retired the side.

                         Joe Carter

And in game 6, Williams was brought in nail down a 6-5 Phillies win which would take the series to a 7th game.  But after giving up a hit and a walk, Williams got one up in Joe Carter’s wheel-house and the Phils lost game 6 by an 8-6 score, thus losing the series by 4-2.  Yes, wild thing would be capable of finding a way to blow a 27 run lead.

Phillies Defeat Mets on Howard’s 10th Inning Walk-Off Homer

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

        Ryan Howard     Brett Myers     Jimmy Rollins

The Phillies battled back from a 2-0 deficit and 7 shutout innings by Mets veteran lefthander Tom Glavine to tie the game in the 8th inning on shortstop JImmy Rollins’ solo homer and centerfielder Aaron Rowand’s tying run RBI single, both runs scoring on reliever Pedro Feliciano.

That set the stage for Victorino’s leadoff single in the 10th inning followed  Ryan Howard’s opposite-field walk-off homer which made a losing pitcher out of Guillermo Mota and a winner out of closer Brett Myers as the bullpen tacked up 3 1/3 shutout innings and the Phillies battled to an important 4-2 win in Tuesday’s game 2 of the crucial four game confrontation.   Howard was 3 for 5 for the game boosting his average to the .270 mark.  

With the win, the Phillies picked up another game on the Mets and now trail by the NL East leaders by 4.  They remain in second place, two games ahead of the Atlanta Braves who lost to Florida in extra innings by a 4-3 score.  They remain 2 1/2 games behind wild card leading San Diego who defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 6-4 score.

The Mets and their fans have to be feeling edgy and with good reason, for the Phillies have the potent top-side of their lineup back with the return from the DL of 2nd baseman Chase Utley and Victorino coupled with the Phillies’ wins in the first two games of the series.

Starters Glavine and Adam Eaton engaged in a pitching duel through 5 2/3 innings with the only scoring being a 2nd inning none-out, two run homer by 1st baseman Carlos Delgado which followed a leadoff single by leftfielder 
Moises Alou.

Glavine was touched for 8 hits and pitched out of trouble in the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th innings and only went clean on the Phils in the 3rd and 7th innings.  Eaton pitched well holding the Mets to the two runs while keeping the Phillies in the game.  And the Phillies bullpen shut out the Mets the rest of the way enabling their 8th inning rally to tie and Howard’s 10th inning clout. 

Feliciano replaced Glavine in 8th and Rollins homered leading off the inning.  After Pat Burrell walked, pinch runner Shane Victorino stole 2nd base and advanced to 3rd on catcher Paul Lo Duca’s throwing error.  Rowand’s swinging bunt single drove in Victorino with the tying run.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Tuesday’s games,  click here.

Wednesday’s game three will be a battle of lefthanders as the Phillies start veteran Jamie Moyer, who hopes for a solid outing after being pounded in his last two starts.  Moyer will be opposed by six year veteran Oliver Perez.    

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Barrage Mets to Win Series Opener

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

         Chase Utley     J.D. Durbin     jayson Werth

For the Phillies, it’s one down and three more to go as outfielder Jayson Werth, who went 5 for 5 with 4 RBIs vs San Diego on Sunday, stretched his consecutive hit streak to 9 with another perfect night.  2nd baseman Chase Utley returned to the lineup in grand style going 3 for 5 with a solo homer and 3 RBIs.  Leftfielder Pat Burrell belted a two run homer, as did pinch hitter Tadahito Iguchi and J.D. Durbin tossed a fine 6 1/3 inning effort giving up only 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 6 to earn win number 6 as the Phillies pounded the Mets by a 9-2 score in their series opener.

With the win, the Phillies picked up a game on the Mets and now trail by the NL East leaders by 5.  They remain a game up on the race with the Atlanta Braves who crushed Florida by a 13-2 count.  The Phils remained in 2nd place in the NL wild card race at 3 games behind leading San Diego as the Padres edged Arizona by a 3-1 score.

Manager Charlie Manuel was tossed from the game in the 1st inning after arguing a close play at first base.   

The Phillies touched up losing pitcher Brian Lawrence for a run in the 2nd on Werth’s RBI double to leftfield, got 2 runs in the 3rd on Burrell’s leftfield shot. 

Meanwhile, Durbin retired the first 12 batters he faced through 4 innings.

After the Mets notched their 2 runs off of Durbin in 5th on RBI singles by catcher Paul Lo Duca and pitcher Lawrence to cut the lead to 3-2, the Phils answered with 2 more runs off of Lawrence on Utley’s centerfield solo shot and an RBI single by 3rd baseman Greg Dobbs.

The Phillies scored their 6th run in the 6th on Utley’s RBI double off of reliever Jorge Sosa and capped their scoring with 3 runs in the 7th on catcher Chris Coste’s RBI double and Iguchi’s pinch two-run homer to leftfield off of Scott Schoeneweis.

In the 7th inning, the substitute manager pulled Durbin for reliever Antonio Alfonseca after a one out single by Carlos Delgado. When Lo Duca greeted Alfonseca with a single, he was alertly pulled and replaced by J.C. Romero who retired the side with no damage.  No 7th inning Manuel snoozes here.  Relievers Tom Gordon and Clay Condrey held the Mets scoreless on one hit for the remainder of the game.

AP sportswriter Rob Maaddi wrotes about Utley’s return to the lineup for Yahoo sports;

Utley quickly found his stroke and finished the game leading the NL with a .339 average. He was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, falling a triple short of the cycle. The All-Star second baseman missed 28 games after he was struck by a pitch from Washington’s John Lannan on July 26. The gritty Utley finished that game, but the next day had a pin inserted into his hand to stabilize a broken right ring finger.

Utley got a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first inning and earned a curtain call after homering in the fifth. Fans chanted “M-V-P” after his RBI double in the sixth. He singled in the seventh.

 

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on these and all of Monday’s games, click here.

The Phillies start Adam Eaton, another returnee from the DL, vs veteran lefthander Tom Glavine in game 2.    

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Tuesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Turn Tables in Finale, Rout Padres 14-2

Monday, August 27th, 2007

          Jaysson Werth     Kyle Kendrick    Ryan Howard

The Phillies got a career game from rightfielder Jayson Werth (5 for 5 with 4 RBIs) and a big game from 1st baseman Ryan Howard (3 for 4, HR #34 and 4 RBIs, plus a 3 run homer from catcher Chris Coste and rookie Kyle Kendrick pitched a clutch 6 innings in a crucial start to gain his 7th win as the Phillies pounded Padres starter and losing pitcher Tim Stauffer for 11 runs in 4 innings enroute to avenging the Padres’ earlier rout with their own 14-2 rout in the series finale.

With the win, the Phillies picked up a game on San Diego in the NL wild card chase and now trail the Padres by 3 games. The Phils took over sole possession of 2nd place in the NL East and in the wild card race with the  Atlanta Braves losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Phils also picked up a game on the NL East leading Mets who lost to the Dodgers by a 6-2 score as Padres cast-off David Wells won his first start as a Dodger going 5 innings and giving up 2 runs on 7 hts whle walking 3.

The AP report recaps the background and highlights of the game for Yahoo sports;

San Diego, which led the majors in ERA (3.51) coming into the game, surrendered 14 runs and 17 hits, both season highs. The Padres had won four in a row to move within two games of Arizona in the NL West.

Kyle Kendrick (7-3) pitched six strong innings for the victory. He gave up one run and six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

“I am surprised at what Kyle has brought to this team,” Manuel said. “I didn’t realize his composure would be this good.”

John Ennis pitched three innings in his Phillies debut for his second major league save.

After Saturday’s frustrating 4-3 loss to San Diego, Manuel said that his team “definitely needed to win” on Sunday.

“Yeah, it probably was a must-win game,” Werth said. “We’ll be OK. There’s still plenty of time left in the season, we just couldn’t afford to get swept in this series.”

Werth is hitting .368 (25-for-68) with three homers and 17 RBIs in 23 games since coming off the DL on July 31.

“I haven’t played healthy since ‘04,” Werth said. “I’m finally healthy and getting regular playing time. I just want to take advantage of that opportunity.”

San Diego’s Tim Stauffer (0-1), who was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Portland to make the start, was roughed up for 11 runs and 11 hits in four innings. Stauffer watched his ERA balloon from 17.18 to 21.13.

“Tim had a tough day,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “It looked like his stuff was fine, but when he needed to record an out, he couldn’t make the right pitch.”

Philadelphia got off to a fast start as Jimmy Rollins and  Tadahito Iguchi opened the game with consecutive singles and Pat Burrell roped a ground-rule double to center. After two strikeouts, Greg Dobbs walked and Werth stroked a two-out, two-run single.

Stauffer ran into control problems in the second, walking Kendrick and Burrell, before Howard launched a two-out, three-run homer to left field. It was Howard’s 34th homer and his first since August 12.

“It felt pretty good,” Howard said. “I got a good pitch to hit and I didn’t miss it.”

                  Chris Coste

The Phillies broke the game wide open in the fourth as  Aaron Rowand and Werth had RBI singles and Coste connected for his three-run shot — his fourth of the season — to make it 11-1.

Howard, Aaron Rowand and Jayson Werth closed out the scoring in the fifth inning with RBI singles [off of reliever  Wilfredo Ledezma].

Mike Cameron and Geoff Blum each had RBI doubles to account for San Diego’s offense [in the 3rd and 7th innings].

Recently acquired reliever Jim Ennis gave up the Padres’ second run in the 7th inning on two hits, went clean on the Padres in the 8th and gave up two hits in the 9th but got through unscathed to record the save.

Will 2nd baseman Chase Utley return to the active roster and to the lineup for the Mets series?  That’s a multi-million dollar question. There has been very little written in the media in days about Utley’s rehabilitation progress and status nor about his previously projected return in time for the Mets series.   Michael of Phillies Nation seems to question whether Utley will be back for the Mets opener although other blogs through last Friday seemingly continue to point in toward his return for the Mets series as does the AP report on Sunday’s Padres finale.  Somehow, I’m dubious — not enough hype. 

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on this and all of Sunday’s game,    click here.

The Phillies open their crucial 4 game series with the Mets on Monday.  With the Mets’ loss on Sunday night, a Phillies sweep would leave them 2 games behind and still within striking distance with the whole month of September ahead.  J.D. Durbin goes for the Phils against Brian Lawrence for the Mets.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Monday’s games, click here.