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Archive for August, 2008

Phillies Win on Myers’ Gem, Homers by Werth, Howard

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

     Jayson Werth   Brett Myers   Ryan Howard

Brett Myers, unscored upon in 17 innings, gave up single runs in the second and eighth innings before being bailed out by J.C. Romero.  But rightfielder Jayson Werth clubbed 2 homers and 4 RBIs and 1st baseman Ryan Howard also homered as the Phillies knocked out lefthander Ted Lilly and battered the Cubs lefthanded reliever Neal Cotts enroute to a 5-2 win in Saturday’s 3rd game.

The win, coupled with the Marlins comeback win over the Mets loss enabled the Phils to reduce   the Mets’ NL East division lead to 1 game.  The 4th place  Atlanta Braves lost again to the cellar-dwelling Washington Nationals, this time in 10 innings but remain 16 games behind.

Rightfielder Jayson Werth broke a 1-1 deadlock in the sixth inning with a 2 out, 2 run single to give the Phils a 3-1 lead.  He had led off the fifth inning againt Lilly with a game-tying solo homer and followed 1st baseman Ryan Howard’s 37th homer in the eighth against reliever Neal Cotts with another solo homer of his own, number 20.  Werth was the offfensive hero in a game the Phils really needed going 3 for 4 with 4 of the Phillies’ 5 RBIs.

Brett Myers pitched another gem to notch his 8th win vs 10 losses although he gave up 11 hits and broke down in the eighth inning as 3 straight Cub hits plated the 2nd run.  But J.C. Romero came on with runners at 1st and 2nd base with none out and mowed down the Cubs striking out the side.   Myers has won 4 of his last 6 starts and has only allowed 2 runs in 23 innings over 3 games.

After the Phils threatened in the ninth with 2 on and one out against Cub reliever Bob Howry, closer Brad Lidge came on in the Cubs’ ninth to retire the side in order to register his 32nd save.

The Cubs took an early 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning as catcher Geovany Soto followed 2 one out singles with an RBI single to centerfield.

Lilly made the lead stand up through four innings only allowing the first 2 Phillies to reach in the first inning before retiring the next 12 Phils in a row before Werth led off the fifth with his game-tying homer.

Phillies nation’s Tim Malcolm summed up the game;

It came down to the eighth inning yet again, but JC Romero was fearless, backing Jayson Werth’s big game and Brett Myers’ stellar performance.

Myers was stellar in limiting the Cubs from scoring. He gave up 11 hits — a common thread for his starts — but didn’t let the Cubs get one extra-base hit, the key to his victory. He got his outs when he needed them, eight for strikeouts. It mirrored his last start against the Dodgers.

Jayson Werth fueled the offense with two home runs and an RBI single (4 RBI). His presence in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher (especially with a struggling Pat Burrell) is of huge importance.

Arguably the clutch performance in the game was JC Romero’s.

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

The Phillies must win in Sunday’s game against the Central division leading Cubs to finish off August for a split of the series and to either keep pace with, or catch the Mets.  On Monday, the Phils head to the Washington Nationals for 3 games followed by 3 at Shea stadium, their final 3 regular season games against the Mets.

In Sunday’s final, 45 year old lefthander Jamie Moyer faces Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

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

Soriano’s Homer Powers Cubs Past Sleeping Phillies Offense

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Two recent ex-teammates Joe Blanton and Rich Harden locked up in a near-deadlock for five innings with the Phillies holding a 2-1 lead.  But the Cubs benefited from Blanton’s sixth inning wildness and a forced-in run on a walk by former Cub reliever Scott Eyre. The Cubs took the lead on leftfielder Alfonso Soriano’s seventh inning 1 out solo homer off of reliever Clay Condrey enroute to a 3-2 win on Friday.

With the loss, the Mets increased their NL East division lead over the Phillies to 2 full games with their come-from-behind win over the 3th place Marlins who are now 7 games back. The 4th place Atlanta Braves lost to the cellar-dwelling  Washington Nationals and are now 16 games behind.

Blanton was impressive through the first 4 innings, not allowing the Cubs a hit through 3 2/3 innings and, at one point, retiring 10 straight Cubs. 

Meanwhile, after Harden got the first 2 outs in the first inning, he hit 2nd baseman Chase Utley, then walked 1st baseman Ryan Howard and gave up a run-scoring single to left by leftfielder Pat Burrell as the Phils took an early 1-0 lead.  But the Phils couldn’t capitalize on 2 more Harden walks in the second inning.

AP Sports Writer Rick Gano describes the rest of the game for Yahoo sports;

The Phillies made it 2-0 in the fifth. Utley singled and raced to third when Howard singled to right, then scored when  [rightfielder Kosuke] Fukudome’s throw to first apparently hit Howard for an error, and the ball got away from [1st baseman Derrek] Lee.

With a 2-0 lead, he [Blanton] ran into trouble the following inning when Mark DeRosa walked, stole second and moved to third on Henry Blanco’s infield single to third.

Pinch-hitter Daryle Ward hit a perfect double play grounder to second with one out, but after taking Chase Utley’s toss for the forceout, shortstop [Jimmy] Rollins sailed a throw over Howard at first and DeRosa scored.

Chicago tied it in the sixth on four walks, three by Blanton and one by former-Cub Scott Eyre to Kosuke Fukudome.

Philadelphia had put runners at the corners with two outs in the top of the seventh before Howard’s hard grounder went off Derrek Lee. The first baseman retrieved the ball, tossed to pitcher Jeff Samardzija and first base umpire Chris Guccione called Howard out. In the ensuing argument from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and third base coach Steve Smith, Smith was ejected by plate umpire Bill Welke.

Howard was called out, the game remained tied and Alfonso Soriano homered in the bottom half for the surging Cubs.

“I was pretty sure I was safe. … It’s definitely frustrating. It changes the outcome of the game,” Howard said. “It changes the momentum. Instead of being down 3-2, they get out of the inning, Soriano comes up and hits a home run, now they’re up 3-2.”

Outside of the seventh inning threat squelched by the close play on Howard, the Phils registered no offense after the fifth inning against 3 Cub relievers.   Samardzija recorded his 1st MLB win and reliever Carlos Marmol notched his 7th save.   Both Harden and Blanton were pulled with pitch counts of 100 or more.  Harden had an even 100 pitches in 5 innings and Blanton threw 114 pitches in 5 2/3 innings.   Condrey, who coughed up Soriano’s solo shot, was charged with the loss. 

Phillies Nation’s Tim Malcolm articulated the frustration which Phillies fans feel today with these comments;

These are the things the Cubs do. The things winning ballclubs do.

The Phils couldn’t come back to at least tie the game. But why would they? Those are the things the Cubs do.

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

These remaining 8 road games are perhaps the most important games of the season; 2 MUST WIN games against the Central division leading Chicago Cubs to finish off August, followed by 3 vs the Washington Nationals and then 3 at Shea stadium, their final 3 regular season games against the Mets.

On Saturday, Brett Myers, who hasn’t given up a run in 16 innings, is opposed by lefthander Ted Lilly.   In Sunday’s final, 45 year old lefthander Jamie Moyer faces Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

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

Ramirez Slams Phillies Bullpen in Cubs Comeback Win

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Cole Hamels pitched a seven inning gem while Ryan Dempster spent his six innings getting into jams.  When the Phillies put 3 on the board in the sixth, the game seemed in the bag.  But after 108 pitches, Charlie Manuel went to reliever Ryan Madson who gave up a homer, single and double in the eighth, and then to Chad Durbin who walked Derrek Lee and served up a grand slam to Aramis Ramirez as the Cubs rallied for a 6-4 win.

The Mets, who had Thursday off, increased their NL East division lead over the Phillies to 1 full game. The 4th place Atlanta Braves beat the 3th place  Marlins. The Marlins are now 6 games back and the Braves improved to 15 games behind.

Cole Hamels cruised through 4 innings giving up only 2 hits as the Phillies took a first inning 1-0 lead as centerfielder Shane Victorino’s single drove in 2nd baseman Chase Utley who had doubled.

The Cubs tied the score in the fifth on a 1 out RBI triple by 2nd baseman  Mark DeRosa.  But the Phillies charged out to a 4-1 lead in the sixth on an RBI single by catcher Carlos Ruiz, followed by a sacrifice fly RBI by shortstop  Jimmy Rollins and an RBI single by Utley.

Hamels followed by retiring 6 of the last 7 hitters he faced.  The young ace gave up 1 run on 5 hits, didn’t walk anyone and struck out 6.  But with Hamels’ pitch count at 108 after seven innings, Charlie Manuel’s “Holy Grail” dictated that he be replaced to open the eighth. The game then took an ugly turn.    AP Sports Writer Rick Gano describes the rest for Yahoo sports;

The Phillies’ bullpen, which failed to hold an eighth-inning lead Wednesday night in a tough loss to the Mets, faltered again and a 4-1 lead evaporated.

Reliever Ryan Madson gave up three straight hits to start the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Mike Fontenot homered leading off to make it 4-2, Alfonso Soriano doubled and moved to third on Ryan Theriot’s single.

Durbin (5-3) relieved and walked Derrek Lee to load the bases with no outs. Ramirez then hit a 1-0 pitch deep into the seats—Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino hardly moved as the ball left the bat—to give the Cubs the lead with his 24th homer.

“(Fontenot) hit a homer and all of a sudden it’s a two-run game and we got the top of our lineup coming. Soriano got on base and Theriot got on base. … We got a good team,” Ramirez said.

Meanwhile, Dempster lasted six innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits while walking 4 and striking out 7.  He threw 114 pitches. The Cubs bullpen followed by making short work of the Phils in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings with closer Kerry Wood working the ninth and earning his 28th save of the season.

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

These 10 road games shape up as perhaps the most important games of the season; 3 more against the Central division leading Chicago Cubs to finish off August, followed by 3 vs the Washington Nationals and 3 at Shea stadium, their final 3 regular season games against the Mets.     

On Friday, former Oakland Athletics teammates Joe Blanton and Rich Harden oppose each other. Harden has given up only 1 run in his last 3 appearances over 19 innings.  It will be the first experience that the Phils have had with Harden who came to the Cubs in a deal which beat the trade-deadline.

On Saturday, Brett Myers, who hasn’t given up a run in 16 innings, is opposed by lefthander Ted Lilly.   In Sunday’s final, 45 year old lefthander Jamie Moyer faces Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

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

Mets Overtake Phillies on Late Rally

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

The  Phillies held a 3-2 lead on early homers off of lefthander Johan Santana; a first inning 2 run homer by 1st baseman Ryan Howard and a second inning solo shot by Jayson Werth.  Kyle Kendrick and reliever Scott Eyre bested Santana for seven innings.  But the Mets rallied for 4 runs in the eighth to beat the Phils by a 6-3 score.

The Mets again took over the NL East division lead over the Phillies by 1/2 game. The 3rd place Florida Marlins bested the 4th place Braves. The Marlins are now 5 1/2 games back and the Braves dropped to 15 1/2 games behind.

The Phillies got to Santana for 3 early runs on the homers by Howard and Werth but couldn’t apply the knockout punch.  After Werth belted his second inning lead-off homer, the next time the Phillies posed a threat to Santana was in the sixth when leftfielder Pat Burrell led off with a double and Ryan Howard walked.  But after two strikeouts with a pop out in between, Santana emerged unscathed in his last inning of work.

In the seventh, reliever Brian Stokes (who emerged as the game-winner)  replaced Santana to begin the inning and got into 2 out runners on 1st and 2nd difficulty after a walk and an intentional walk.  But Stokes coaxed a  ground out by Pat Burrell to end the inning.   Catcher Chris Coste led off the inning with a single but was rubbed on a doubleplay grounder by pinch hitter  Greg Dobbs.

Kendrick deserved much better than a no-decision as he hung in only allowing 2 runs despite giving up 8 hits in 5 innings. 1st baseman  Carlos Delgado singled in the Mets’ 1st run in the first inning after shortstop Jose Reyes led-off with a single and went to 2nd base on a groundout.  With the Mets trailing by 3-1, Delgado homered to rightfield to open the fifth inning cutting the Phils lead to 3-2.

Kendrick threw 101 pitches.  Lefthander Scott Eyre looked dominating against both left and righthanders retiring all 6 hitters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings, 3 of them on strikeouts.

Meanwhile, AP sportswriter Rob Maaddi describes the Mets’ eighth inning rally for Yahoo sports;

Rudy Seanez (5-4), getting a rare opportunity as a setup man because four other relievers were unavailable, retired the first two batters before Delgado hit an opposite-field shot to left to tie it at 3.

Seanez left after Carlos Beltran reached on an infield single.  Brad Lidge, who is 31-for-31 in save chances, came in and intentionally walked Ryan Church after Beltran stole second.

Daniel Murphy hit a tiebreaking double…  Murphy, a rookie who spent most of the season at Double-A Binghamton, then ripped a double to right to score Beltran for a 4-3 lead, snapping an 0-for-16 slump. Brian Schneider followed with a bloop single down the left-field line that drove in two runs.

Murphy was in Hawaii preparing to play winter ball last September when the Mets crumbled, but he paid close attention to the race.

“It was kind of helpless,” he said. “You always want to see the big league team do well.”

The Mets threw 3 relievers at the Phillies in the eighth and ninth innings and retired the last 6 Philly hitters witout even a whimper.

In short, the offense, which had been relentless against the Dodgers and came back from the dead in Tuesday’s game, returned to snoozing after building an early lead — not a good lead-in to the coming 4 game series with the red-hot Cubs.

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

The Phils now hit the road for perhaps the most important 10 games of the season; 4 against the Central division leading Chicago Cubs to finish off August, followed by 3 vs the Washington Nationals and 3 at Shea stadium, their final 3 regular season games against the Mets.  By the way, while the Phils play the NL-best Cubs on Thursday, the Mets have the day off before closing out August with with 3 games in Florida.   

In Thursday’s opener against the Cubs, ace lefthander Cole Hamels opposes  Ryan Dempster who hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in a game since July 20. 

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

Phillies Rally to Edge Mets in 13 Innings

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

            Chris Coste     Jimmy rollins

45 year lefthander Jamie Moyer gave up 6 runs on 9 hits in three innings in his shortest outing in three years.  But shortstop Jimmy Rollins, 5 for 7 with a homer, a double, 3 stolen bases and 3 RBIs, led the Phillies comeback against oft-injured 37 year old Pedro Martinez and the porous Mets bullpen.  After the Phils tied the score in the ninth, catcher Chris Coste, who pinch-hit and replaced Carlos Ruiz, smacked a bases-loaded 1 out walk-off single to centerfield to win by an 8-7 score.

By winning, the Phils took over the NL East division lead over the Mets by 1/2 game. The 3rd place Florida Marlins suffered a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to the 4th place Braves after holding 6-3, 8-4 and 9-6 leads.  The Marlins are 6 games back and the Braves are 15 games behind.

One of the best Phillies blogs going, Phillies Nation’s Tim Malcolm succinctly describes the Phils’ comeback;

As they’ve done all season, the Phillies bullpen shut down an offense, this time for nine scoreless frames. And it was the whole bullpen — Clay Condrey for 2.1, Scott Eyre for 1.2, Chad Durbin for one, Brad Lidge for one, Ryan Madson for two, JC Romero for one, Rudy Seanez for one. The full line: 10 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Sparkling.

The bullpen allowed a Phillies comeback. They started off Pedro Martinez, who pitched well, but is no longer reliable to win games.  Pedro Feliz knocked home Shane Victorino with a sacrifice fly. An inning later, unlikely hero Clay Condrey led off with a double, and Jimmy Rollins smoked a two-run home run into right field. 7-3. Then Chase Utley walked, and two batters later, Ryan Howard launched a left-field homer. 7-5. We had a game.

Brian Stokes held the Phillies during the middle innings, but the Phils met a few of their best friends starting in the eighth. First:  Duaner Sanchez. A Carlos Ruiz single and change to lefties took him out for Pedro Feliciano. Lefty Greg Dobbs promptly singled, leading to a Rollins single to make it 7-6. Rollins had five straight hits to open the game…

The Phillies were erased in the eighth (thanks Pat Burrell, 0-for-7), and it was Luis Ayala’s turn to stop the Phils and end the game. It seemed certain with two quick outs, but Jayson Werth kept it alive with a single. In came Eric Bruntlett, the most unlikely candidate to bring home a run from first base. But he did — double in the gap, scoring Werth (with thanks to a bad reception by Brian Schneider). 7-7.

The Phils came up big when the Mets threatened. In the eleventh, Werth gunned David Wright, who was trying to stretch a single into a double with two outs. In the twelfth, Howard robbed Ryan Church of a hit.

All of it set up the 13th, led off by the burgeoning leader,  [Shane] Victorino. His hustle triple forced the Mets to load the bases with no outs.  Brett Myers, the eager pinch hitter, played dummy and almost won the game by walking [Myers went down on a called 3rd strike] in a genius call by Charlie Manuel. With one down, up stepped Coste, and the game finally ended.

AP sports writer Rob Maaddi amplifies on Myers’ 13th inning at bat for Yahoo sports;

Myers did his best in the batter’s box to distract Schoeneweis, digging in, bailing out and looking pitches all the way into the catcher’s mitt.

“I think the whole ballpark knew he wasn’t going to swing, but he put on a good show,” Coste said. “It was intimidating in the on-deck circle.”

To get an idea of how clutch these guys were offensively, check out the box score and play-by-play.

Here though are some glimpses;

Jimmy Rollins   : 5 for 7 — a homer, a double, 3 stolen bases, 3 RBIs
Ryan Howard    : 1 for 6 — a homer, 2 RBIs
Jayson Werth   : 3 for 5
Eric Bruntlett    : 2 for 2 — a double, 1 RBI
Clay Condrey  : 1 at bat — 1 broken-bat double
Chris Coste     : 4 for 4 — a double, the winning RBI

AP’s Rob Maaddi provides this Phillies’ trivia;

Rollins’ last five-hit game was June 16, 2005 at Seattle. He’s done it four times. … Philadelphia had a season-high six steals, including three by Rollins.

Needless to say, neither starter was a factor in the final win/loss decision.  Rudy Seanez who retired the Mets in order in the thirteenth inning was credited with his 5th win vs 3 losses.  Scott Schoeneweis, whose 2nd pitch to Coste with the sacks jammed was rifled into centerfield to win the game, was charged with the loss.

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

On Wednesday, young Kyle Kendrick is opposed by Johan Santana.  The Phillies swept the Mets in 4 games at home last August 27-30.

The Phils then hit the road for perhaps the most important 10 games of the season; 4 against the Central division leading Chicago Cubs to finish off August, followed by 3 vs the Washington Nationals and 3 in New York against the Mets.  Can lightning strike twice in the upcoming 2nd game at home with the Mets and in the 4 game series in New York in early September?

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

Myers, Bullpen Shut Out Dodgers on 13 Hits in Phillies Sweep

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

               Brett Myers      Jimmy Rollins

Brett Myers pitched 7 innings giving up 9 hits while walking 3 but combined with the Phillies bullpen to shut out the Dodgers who left 13 men on base and couldn’t plate runs.  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 3 and drove in 2 of the Phils’ 5 runs enroute to Monday’s 5-0 sweep win.

With the win over the Dodgers, the Phils remained 1/2 game back in the NL East division race as the Mets won their series final to split their 4 games the  Houston Astros. The 3rd place Florida Marlins, who are 5 1/2 back, and the 4th place Braves, who are 15 1/2 games back, both had Monday off.

Myers’ 7th win vs 10 losses was gritty in emerging unscathed over seven innings as 12 Dodgers reached against him.   He threw 110 pitches.

AP sportswriter Rob Maaddi describes Myers’ game for Yahoo sports;

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” [Manny] Ramirez said. “That guy is nasty.”

Myers tossed seven gritty innings… and the Philadelphia Phillies completed their first four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 23 years with a 5-0 win Monday night.

Philadelphia remained a half-game behind the NL East-leading New York Mets with its eighth victory in 10 games since losing four straight at Dodger Stadium. The Mets visit Tuesday for a two-game set.

“It means we have to go get two more,” Rollins said. “It’s no more important than the four games we have in Chicago after. Every game is the playoffs right now.”

It was the Phillies’ first four-game sweep over the Dodgers since  Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 1985, at Los Angeles. Philadelphia had never swept the Dodgers in a four-game series at home.

Coming off his first shutout in four years, Myers (7-10) ran his scoreless innings streak to 16. He allowed nine hits, struck out eight and walked three.

J.C. Romero worked the eighth and Clay Condrey finished the 13-hitter. Only two teams have had more hits without scoring a run in a nine-inning game: The New York Giants got 14 hits in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 14, 1913, and the  Cleveland Indians had 14 hits in a 9-0 loss to the Washington Senators on July 10, 1928.

“You draw it up and the law of averages says you’re going to score some runs, but you can’t depend on that,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley (12-10) gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Myers pitched out of jams all night. The toughest came in the seventh when Los Angeles loaded the bases with one out. But the right-hander fanned Jeff Kent and retired Ramirez on a liner to deep right to preserve a 3-0 lead.

Offensively, Rollins followed rightfielder Jayson Werth’s 2nd inning lead-off walk, 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz’s infield single, catcher Chris Coste’s line-out to 3rd base and Myers’ sacrifice bunt with a 2 run single off of Billingsley to put the first 2 runs on the board.

The 3rd run scored in the fifth on leftfielder Pat Burrell’s ground doubleplay after Rollins opened the inning with a double to right and went to 3rd on 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s single to right. 

The final 2 Phillies runs came in the seventh inning Werth singled in Ryan Howard who had doubled to center to open the inning.  With 1 out, Werth advanced to 2nd base on Feliz’s to leftfield and scored from 2nd on Coste’s bouncer to second to cap the Phillies scoring.

Billingsley gave up 3 runs on 7 hits while walking 5 and striking out 3 through six innings in losing his 10th game vs 12 wins.  He threw 107 pitches.

The Phillies successfully kept leftfielder Manny Ramirez out of the Dodgers’ offense throughout the series.  Ramirez was woeful going 2 for 14 with no RBIs as opposed to going 4 for 11 with a homer and 5 RBIs in the Dodgers’ seep of the Phils in L.A.  He was woeful this time on the bases and in the field.

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

The Mets follow the Dodgers into Philly for a brief, but important 2 games.  Two veterans hook up in Tuesday’s opener as 45 year lefthander Jamie Moyer is opposed by oft-injured 37 year old Pedro Martinez.  On Wednesday, young  Kyle Kendrick is opposed by Mets’ ace lefthander Johan Santana.  The Phillies swept the Mets in 4 games at home last August 27-30.

The Phils then hit the road for perhaps the most important 10 games of the season; 4 against the Central division leading Chicago Cubs to finish off August, followed by 3 vs the Washington Nationals and 3 in New York against the Mets.  Can lightning strike twice in the upcoming brief 2 games at home with the Mets and in the 4 game series in New York in early September?

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