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Archive for May, 2009

Moyer Leads Phillies to Series Sweep Over Nationals

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

              Jamie Moyer      Chris Coste

The Phillies offense put just enough runs on the board against  Washington’s lefthander John Lannon to win as veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer put up unquestionably his best outing of the season.  Moyer led the Phillies to a series final 4-2 victory and series sweep over the Nationals on Sunday despite 2 solo shots by Nationals leftfielder Josh Willingham.

With the win, the Phillies maintained their 1/2 game lead in the NL East over the Mets who won their series final over Florida.

Moyer began the game by retiring 6 of the first 7 Nationals hitters and finished by retiring the last 6 batters he faced.  And in between, he was in control throughout in winning his 4th game against 5 losses and his 250th career win. He threw 102 pitches in six innings giving up only 3 hits, walking none and striking out 4 after having been pounded in 4 of his last 5 starts and losing 4 games in a row.  The only run Moyer allowed was in the fourth inning on the 1st of 2 Josh Willingham solo homers.

Meanwhile, the Phils scored single runs off of Lannon in the first, second and fourth innings as 2nd baseman Chase Utley doubled in a run in the second, catcher Chris Coste solo homered in the third and a run scored in the fourth on 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz’s fielder’s choice grounder after leftfielder Raul Ibanez tripled to centerfield and rightfielder Jayson Werth walked.

Lannon pitched a fine ballgame as well in a losing cause, but got no offensive support as Moyer and the Phils bullpen stifled Washington throughout the game.  The young lefthander threw 106 pitches in five innings giving up 3 runs on 4 hits while walking 4 and striking out 7 and giving up Coste’s solo homer.

Reliever Clay Condrey gave up Willingham’s 2nd solo homer, a 2 ball pitch leadoff homer in the seventh inning.  Condrey then retired the next 3 hitters to end the inning.

Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge came on to set down the Nationals in the eighth and ninth innings with Lidge throwing a clean ninth to notch his 12th save of the season.

The Phillies managed an insurance run in the eighth inning off of reliever Joe Beimel as Chase Utley drew a 2 out walk and 1st baseman Ryan Howard slammed a 2 ball pitch for an RBI triple to centerfield.

For all of the scores of Sunday’s games, click here.

The Phillies leave after Sunday’s game for a West Coast swing which begins with 3 games in San Diego beginning on Monday.  Joe Blanton goes for the Phils in the opener against Kevin Correia, who replaces originally scheduled Mike Adams, for the Padres.

For all of Monday’s games, click here.

Howard’s Slam, Solo Homer Lead Phillies Past Nationals

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

                    Ryan Howard

Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels had his worst outing since opening day but 1st baseman Ryan Howard wiped out a 3-0 Washington lead with a leadoff solo shot in the second inning and a 1 out monstrous 475 foot grand slam to rightfield in the third, both off of Shairon Martis as the Phils put 5 runs on the board to take a 6-3 lead.  Hamels helped his own cause with a fourth inning RBI double and the Phils pushed in 2 insurance runs on a fielding error, but Howard’s slam and solo homer led the Phillies past the Nationals by a 9-6 score on Saturday.

Coupled with the Mets’ Saturday loss to Florida, the win pushed the Phillies back into 1st place in the NL East, 1/2 game ahead of the Mets.

Howard’s titanic third inning blast was his 8th career grand slam, pushing him past Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt who previously held the franchise record for slams with 7.  Howard’s 2 homers marked the 19th multi-homer game of his career and his 14th dinger of the season.  Howard had 5 RBIs for the game bringing his seasonal total to 39.

The Nationals hammered Hamels hard in the second inning after he retired them in the first on 10 pitches, scarcely working up a sweat.  The major blows in the Nationals’ inning were a 2 run double by catcher Wil Nieves and a 2 out RBI single by 2nd baseman Anderson Hernandez.

But Howard quickly got the Phils on the board against Martis in their second inning with his leadoff homer.  And after catcher Carlos Ruiz drew a walk from Martis, advanced on Hamels’ sacrifice bunt to the pitcher and scored on shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ single to rightfield, centerfielder Shane Victorino walked after Rollins stole 2nd base.  2nd baseman Chase Utley then got an infield single to load the bases for Howard.  The big slugger to a ball from Martis before nailing his next pitch 475 feet to the 3rd level in rightfield, only the second ball to reach that third deck since the Phils began playing in Citizen’s Bank Park.

With the Phils up by 6-3, shortstop Alberto Gonzalez reached Hamels for a fourth inning RBI triple to draw the Nationals to 6-4.  But Hamels helped his cause in the bottom of the fourth with a 1 out RBI double as the Phils led 7-4.  Martis, who lost his 1st game of the season after winning 5, left after the fourth having thrown 71 pitches and having given up 7 runs on 7 hits, including Howard’s 2 homers while walking 2 and striking out 1.

The Nationals drew to 7-6 in the sixth, Hamels’ last inning, as pinch hitter  Ronnie Belliard slammed a 2 out, 2 run homer.  Hamels left having thrown 104 pitches in six innings and having given up 6 runs on 8 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7.  Hamels won his 3rd game of the season vs 2 losses despite his poor perforamce.

But the Phils then got 2 insurance runs after loading the bases with 2 outs in the bottom of the sixth when 2nd baseman Hernandez booted Howard’s grounder.

The Phillies bullpen was air-tight through the final three innings with only   Scott Eyre giving up 2 hits in 1/3 inning in the seventh.  But reliever Clay Condrey came on to retire the side in the inning. 

Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge came on to close down the Nationals in the eighth and ninth innings with Lidge notching his 11th save of the season.

In further news related to Brett Myers’ hip injury, the AP recap for Yahoo sports reports:

The Phillies announced after the game that Antonio Bastardo will take Brett Myers’ spot in the rotation Tuesday in San Diego. The left-hander is 3-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 11 games between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.

Four lefthanders now, in a five-man rotation??

For all of the scores of Saturday’s games, click here.

The Phils hope for a series sweep as veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer starts the series final completing the lefthanded trio slated to have started against the Capitals.  Moyer is opposed by young lefthander John Lannon.

The Phillies leave after Sunday’s game for a West Coast swing which begins with 3 games in San Diego beginning on Monday.  Joe Blanton goes for the Phils in the opener against Mike Adams for the Padres.

For all of Sunday’s games, click here.

Phillies Edge Nationals Despite Getting 16 Hits

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

               Shane Victorino      JA Happ

Phillies lefthander J.A. Happ had a 2 hitter, 1 of them a Washington solo homer, going into the sixth inning, but gave up a 3rd hit, plunked a batter and ended up charged with 2 more sixth inning runs.  23 year old lefthander Ross Detwiler gave up early runs as the Phillies scored just enough to edge the Nationals by a 5-4 score pounding 16 hits on Friday off of Detwiler and 5 other Washington relievers.

Despite the win, the Phils still find themselves down by a 1/2 game to the NL East first place Mets who nipped the Florida Marlins Friday in extra innings.  As this report is being written, the Marlins have beaten the Mets handily and the Phils, with a Saturday win over Washington, could find themselves back in 1st place leading the Mets by 1/2 game.

The Phils got 4 hits from centerfielder Shane Victorino, 2 hits each from 4 other hitters in the batting order as the entire starting lineup, other than Happ, got at least 1 hit.  But the best the Phils could do is plate 5 runs in four innings off of Detwiler, just enough to win.  They left 13 runners stranded.

Leftfielder Josh Willingham put the Nationals on the board 1st with a lead-off homer off of Happ in the second inning, the only ball to leave the park fair in the game.  But the Phils knotted the score against Detwiler in the second as rightfielder Jayson Werth and 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz each singled and catcher Carlos Ruiz drove in Werth with a double to rightfield.

The Phils then took a 4-1 lead in the third as the big blows vs Detwiler were a 2 run single by leftfielder Raul Ibanez and an RBI triple by Feliz.   They added their 5th run against the starter in the fifth.  With Victorino and shortstop Jimmy Rollins on 2nd and 3rd base respectively, 2nd baseman Chase Utley grounded into a fielders’ choice scoring Rollins.

Detwiler left after 4 innings and, while the 8 Phillies reached over the final four innings, including a bases loaded with 1 out situation in the seventh inning, the Phils could plate no further runs against the Nationals bullpen.

Meanwhile, Happ opened the sixth by giving up a lead-off single to 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman and followed by striking out rightfielder Adam Dunn.  After hitting Willingham with a pitch, that was it for Happ who was replaced by reliever Chad Durbin. Catcher Josh Bard greeted Durbin with a double to right-centerfield scoring Zimmerman and 2nd baseman  Anderson Hernandez singled scoring Willingham with Bard then scoring the 4th run, charged to Durbin, on Werth’s fielding error.
 
Happ, still undefeated in 2009, went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with 3 runs on 3 hits while walking 3 and equalling a career best 5 strikeouts in winning his 3rd game, his 1st win as a starter, of the season.  Happ threw 96 pitches, a lot of pitches for 5 1/3 innings.

The AP recap on the game reports reactions of both manager Charlie Manuel and and Happ, himself to his performance:

“He was very aggressive and I thought he did a good job,” Manuel said. “I liked the way he threw. He pitched aggressive and moved the hitters.”

Happ, who began the season in the bullpen, said his confidence as a starter is growing.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I felt pretty good and was able to mix it up more. My goal is to go a little deeper than I did today.”

Washington was then totally shutdown by the tandem of lefthander Scott Eyre, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge, each of whom tossed scoreless innings.  Lidge struck out 2 in a clean ninth inning enroute to his 10th save of the season.

In other news, the Phils announced that Brett Myers’ hip condition was much more serious than first thought.  The AP report on Yahoo sports regarding Myers’ injury reports:

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Myers has a torn labrum and no date has been set for surgery. Myers was examined by Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York on Friday and Kelly recommended the surgery.

Myers… said Kelly was “shooting for Thursday” for the surgery.

Myers said he was resigned to having the surgery.

“(Kelly) just flat-out told me he could give me a cortisone shot, but that’s just going to make it worse,” he said.

The Phillies placed Myers on the 15-day DL after Friday’s game and called up left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace him on the active roster.

“We’re pretty concerned about it, obviously,” Amaro said. “We don’t know how rehab will go but we have to operate under the assumption that he’ll miss a significant amount of time, if not the rest of the season.”

Said Myers: “I told (Kelly) I wanted to be back in September, but he said it’s a long shot.”

The Phils, who had been testing the waters for available starters for possible trades before Myers’ injury, now seem to be looking in earnest.  The AP report notes:

Long term, Amaro said the Phillies would look into trading for a starter.

“If there’s a deal to be made that makes sense, we’ll move on it,” Amaro said. “But it takes two to tango.”

For all of the scores of Thursdays and Friday’s games, click here and here.
On Saturday, ace lefthander Cole Hamels is opposed by undefeated 5-0  Shairon Martis who the Phils pounded pretty well back on April 27.

In Sunday’s series final, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer completes the lefthanded trio to have started against the Capitals.  Moyer is opposed by young lefthander John Lannon.

For all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, click here and here.

Phillies Offense Snoozes, Marlins Win 2 of 3

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The Phillies offense slumbered again and could do nothing with Florida’s Burke Badenhop in his 1st start of the season.  Brett Myers gave up 2 homers, including a 2 run shot to centerfielder Cody Ross in a 3 run fifth inning as the snoozing Phillies offense dropped 2 of 3 games to the Marlins, the final by a 6-2 score on Thursday.

The loss, coupled with the Mets win and 3 game sweep over the Washington Nationals, dropped the Phillies out of 1st place to 1/2 game behind the Mets in the NL East.  Hopefully, if the Marlins do to the Mets what they did to the Phillies — by taking at least 2 of 3 and if the Phils can sweep Washington, they can put a little distance between themselves and the Mets.  But the offense needs to awaken consistently and the starting pitching needs to maintain consistency.

The Phillies offense was ice-cold once again, this time facing Badenhop who was making his 1st start of the season.  He had made 11 appearances so far in a relief role.  to understand just how cold the offense was, the 8 hitters in the Phillies starting lineup went a collective 6 for 31 and reached only 8 times in 33 plate appearances.  Myers actually did better than the other 8 hitters in the lineup statistically, going 1 for 2, following catcher Carlos Ruiz’s fifth inning solo homer with a single to rightfield.

The Phils had Badenhop in a jam only once in his five innings of work.  After shortstop Jimmy Rollins fouled out to open the game, the Phils loaded the bases only to have leftfielder Raul Ibanez ground into an inning-ending doubleplay as Badenhop eluded trouble.

Badenhop controlled the Phils through the remainder of his 5 innings as 2nd baseman Dan Uggla poked a 1 out solo shot in the fourth off of Myers and nemesis former Phillie 3rd baseman Wes Helms followed 2 singles and runners at 1st and 3rd base with a sacrifice fly driving in the 2nd Florida run.

Badenhop threw 81 pitches through five innings in gaining his 3rd win, his 1st as a starter this season, giving up only 5 hits including Ruiz’s solo homer.  He walked 1 and struck out 3.

Trailing by 2-1, Myers got pounded in the sixth, only making it through 2 outs and leaving the game complaining of right hip discomfort which was later diagnosed as inflammation.  The big blows in the inning were Uggla’s RBI double and Ross’s 2 run shot.  Myers has been pounded for 17 homers, a major league-high, including 7 dingers in his last 3 starts.  Reliever Clay Condrey recorded the final out of the sixth and went on to set the Marlins down in the seventh and eighth innings only giving up an eighth inning leadoff single to Uggla which was wiped out by a doubleplay.

Myers, who was charged with his 3rd loss, threw 94 pitches through 5 2/3 innings giving up 5 runs, the 2 homers, on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 3.

AP sports writer Rob Maaddi reports on Myers’ hip condition for Yahoo sports:

Myers said his hip has been bothering him for a while, but he doesn’t expect to miss a start.

“Today was the worst it’s been,” he said. “It was hard to finish pitches. It’s tough, but you have to power through it. I wasn’t going to quit. I hope it’s nothing serious.”

We’ll see…

3 Marlins relievers then put the Phils down through eight innings with only  Leo Nunez being tagged by pinch hitter Matt Stairs’ 1 out solo homer for the Phils’ 2nd run. The Phils had the chance to do damage in the eighth as Rollins walked and centerfielder Shane Victorino followed 2nd baseman  Chase Utley’s fly out by reaching on a fielding error.  The 2 pulled off a double-steal putting runners at 2nd and 3rd base with 2 out.  But Nunez eluded the jam by striking out 1st baseman Ryan Howard to end the inning.

The Marlins scored an insurance run in the ninth off of lefthanded reliever Jack Taschner on former Phillie pinch hitter Ron Paulino’s RBI single. 

The Phils threatened again in the bottom of the ninth against Matt Lindstrom, but again, lacked the punch to come through in the clutch.  After Ibanez grounded out, outfielder Jayson Werth singled to center and went to 3rd base on 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz’s double to leftfield.  After Ruiz fouled out to rightfield, Stairs was walked to load the bases. But Lindstrom got Rollins to line out to centerfield to end the game.

For all of the scores of Wednesday’s games, click here.

The Phils have Thursday off before entertaining the Washington Nationals for a 3 game weekend series beginning on Friday to end the month of May.

Young lefthander J.A. Happ starts for the Phillies in Friday’s opener opposed by another lefty, 23 year old Ross Detwiler.

On Saturday, ace lefthander Cole Hamels is opposed by undefeated 5-0  Shairon Martis who the Phils pounded pretty well back on April 27.

For all of Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here, here and  here.

Blanton’s 7 Scoreless Innings Lead Phillies Over Marlins

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

       Joe Blanton      Shane Victorino

Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton had easily his best outing of the season and one of the finest outings of his career. Blanton, who was staked to a quick 3-0 lead, spread out 5 Florida hits and 2 walks in seven innings and was only threatened in the second.  Blanton’s seven scoreless innings and 11 strikeouts led the Phillies to a 5-3 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night.

The Phillies held on to their 1/2 game NL East Division lead as the Mets again defeated the Washington Nationals.

The Phils put 24 year old lefthander Andrew Miller in a first inning jam as leadoff hitter shortstop Jimmy Rollins reached on a throwing error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez to open the game.  Centerfielder Shane Victorino followed by lining a 1 strike pitch for a double to left, the 1st of the Flyin’ Hawaiian’s 4 hits in the game, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd base.  Miller then walked both 2nd baseman Chase Utley and 1st baseman Ryan Howard on 5 pitches each, the latter walk forcing in the Phillies 1st run as the bases remained full.  Leftfielder Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield driving in the 2nd run.  After rightfielder Jayson Werth struck out, 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz drove in the 3rd run with an infield single to 3rd base putting runners at 1st and 3rd base with 2 out.  Catcher Carlos Ruiz ended the inning with a fly out to left.  3-0 Phillies.

Meanwhile, Florida went 3 up, 3 down in the first inning and Blanton retired the 1st 2 Marlins in the second.  But 2rd baseman Dan Uggla singled to center and centerfielder Cody Ross slammed Blanton’s 1st pitch for a ground-rule double to center putting runners on 2nd and 3rd base.  Blanton intentionally walked leftfielder Chris Coghlan to load the bases, but then got opposing pitcher Miller to ground his 1st pitch into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.  That was Blanton’s only jam in a game where he retired 9 of the last 10 hitters he faced, 6 of them by strikeout.

Miller managed to settle down after the first inning and was able to evade Phillies scoring opportuniies in the fourth and fifth innings before the Phillies plated their 4th run in the 6th, his final inning, as Victorino slammed a 2 out, 1 strike pitch for an RBI double to right-centerfield.   Miller, charged with the loss, left having thrown 109 pitches and giving up 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 4 and striking out 4.

Blanton threw 114 pitches through seven shutout innings, giving up 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 11 in his best outing since August 28, 2008 when he threw a 1 hit seven shutout inning performance at Pittsburgh in a game that the Phillies ultimately lost in extra innings.

The Phillies capped their scoring in the seventh inning when Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz hit back-to-back doubles, with Werth scoring, off of Marlin’s reliever Chris Leroux.

Reliever Ryan Madson went clean on Florida in the eighth before things got a bit dicey with Chad Durbin being charged with 3 ninth inning runs. 

Durbin managed to get 1 out before 2 of the runs scored.  Closer Brad Lidge came on to retire the final 2 Florida hitters on a ground out, as the 3rd run scored and on a game-ending strikeout of 3rd baseman Wes Helms who took a collar on Wednesday after killing the Phillies in game 1.  The save was Lidge’s 9th of the season.

For all of the scores of Tuesday’s games, click here.

Brett Myers goes in Wednesday’s series final as the Phils hope for another series win. Myers is opposed by Burke Badenhop , rather than Florida’s originally scheduled starter, 24 year old Hayden Penn.

The Phils have Thursday off before entertaining the Washington Nationals for a 3 game weekend series beginning on Friday to end the month of May.

For all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Offense Goes Silent in Loss to Marlins

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Phillies veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer had another decent outing.  But aside from 1st baseman Ryan Howard, who hit 2 homers and drove in 3 runs off of Florida’s starter Chris Volstad, the rest of the Phillies offense went silent in their loss to the Marlins by a 5-3 score in Monday’s series opener at Citizen’s Bank Park.

With the loss, the Phillies’ NL East lead dropped to 1/2 game over the Mets who won their game over the Washington Nationals.

Outside of Howard, who went 2 for 4, 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz who went 2 for 2 before being replaced at 3rd base by Greg Dobbs, shortstop Jimmy Rollins who poked a 2 out double off of Volstad in the seventh and centerfield Shane Victorino who singled, the rest of the Phils offense bone-cold snooze mode going 0 for 17.

Meanwhile former Phillie 3rd baseman Wes Helms was in Phillies fans’ faces all night going 3 for 5 including a 3 run fourth inning homer off of Moyer and a seventh inning RBI single off of reliever Chan Ho Park to give the Marlins an insurance run.

Volstad picked up his 4th win against 3 losses throwing 107 pitches over 6 2/3 innings while giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, including Howard’s 2 homers, and walking 2 while striking ou 6.  Moyer dropped his 5th game, against 3 wins throwing 113 pitches through six innings and giving up 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 2 and striking out 5.

AP sports writer Rob Maaddi provided these notes on Moyer, his fourth inning problems and his record against the Marlins for Yahoo sports:

Moyer breezed through the first three innings, retiring seven straight before running into trouble in the fourth.  Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu walked to start the inning. Moyer thought he struck out Helms on a close 2-2 pitch, but didn’t get the call. Helms drove the next offering out to left for his first homer of the season, giving the Marlins a 3-2 lead.

“Walks kill you,” Moyer said. “It’s the game right there.”

Moyer… [fell] to 12-2 against the Marlins. The 46-year-old left-hander has improved his last two starts after a dreadful stretch. His ERA dropped slightly to 7.42.

Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom picked up his 9th save as the Florida bullpen allowed 1 Phil to reach, on a walk in the final 2 1/3 innings.

For all of the scores of Monday’s games, click here.

The Phillies try to knot the series at a game apiece as Joe Blanton goes in game 2 opposed by 24 year old lefthander Andrew Miller for Florida.

For all of Tuesday’s games, click here.