Blogging Baseball: All-time baseball highlights and real-time commentary

Archive for July, 2010

Phillies Sweep Diamondbacks in 11 Innings on Valdez’s Single

Friday, July 30th, 2010

       Raul Ibanez     Wilson Valdez   Cody Ransom

The Phillies’ winning streak now stands at 8 games as substitute shortstop  Wilson Valdez’s 1 out single in the eleventh inning on Thursday drove in 3rd baseman Cody Ransom, who had been walked by Arizona reliever   Esmerling Vasquez, and advanced to 2nd base on catcher Carlos Ruiz’s single.  Starters Kyle Kendrick and lefthander Joe Saunders engaged in a pitching duel for nearly seven innings.  With the Phils up 2-1 in the ninth, reliever Ryan Madson gave up a leadoff double and and was relieved by  J.C. Romero who gave up a single putting runners at 1st and 3rd bases.  The tying run scored on a groundout.  On the day when Phillies lefthander  J.A. Happ, having recently returned from being on the DL, was traded with 2 lower level minor league prospects to  Houston for 3 time All Star Roy Oswalt, the Phillies swept the Diamondbacks by 3-2 score in 11 innings on Valdez’s single.

With the win, the Phils narrowed NL East division-leading Atlanta’s lead to 2 1/2 games as the Braves were beaten by the Washington Nationals.  The Mets also gained on the Braves by shutting out St. Louis, but remain 3 games behind the Phils.

The AP game recap for Yahoo describes the game:

[Raul] Ibanez gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the sixth with a drive into the seats in right-center. Ibanez is batting .391 with two homers and 10 RBIs in the second half, raising his average to .263 from .243 at the All-Star break.

Ransom hit a one-out single in the fifth and scored when Ruiz lined a double into the left-field corner.

Miguel Montero hit a solo homer for the last-place Diamondbacks, who have lost seven straight.

After the Diamondbacks tied it in the ninth, the Phillies rallied against Esmerling Vasquez (1-4) in the 11th.

Vasquez struck out Jayson Werth before Cody Ransom walked. After Carlos Ruiz singled, Valdez lined a single to center and Ransom slid in safely ahead of center fielder  Chris Young’s throw.

“I feel happy to help the team,” said Valdez, who was filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins. “We’re doing what we have to do to win.”

Jose Contreras (5-3) tossed a scoreless 11th for the win. Passed over in a save situation in the ninth, closer Brad Lidge pitched a perfect 10th. Lidge threw 64 pitches and struggled while earning two straight saves earlier in the week.

Joe Saunders gave up two runs and nine hits in seven innings in his first start since the Diamondbacks acquired him in the trade that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels.

“Saunders pitched great,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.

Kyle Kendrick allowed one run and four hits, striking out a season-high five in 6 1-3 innings. He’s 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two starts since a brief demotion to the minors last week.

“I want to pitch here,” Kendrick said.

The Diamondbacks rallied to tie it in the ninth, but blew a chance to take the lead. After Ryan Madson tossed a perfect eighth, manager Charlie Manuel kept him in instead of turning to Lidge. But Justin Upton led off with a double and J.C. Romero entered to face Adam LaRoche, who lined a single to right.

Upton scored the tying run on Montero’s slow chopper to shortstop. After Mark Reynolds was intentionally walked, Romero walked Stephen Drew on four pitches to load the bases.

But second baseman Placido Polanco and shortstop Valdez turned an outstanding double play on Gerardo Parra’s grounder to second. Valdez made a strong throw to barely beat Parra at first. Parra was ejected by first-base umpire Adrian Johnson after slamming his helmet in disgust.

Valdez went 3 for 5 for the game while 2nd baseman Placido Polanco, 3rd baseman Ransom and catcher Carlos Ruiz each had 2 hits apiece.

To view the scores of all of Thursday’s games, click here.

The Phils begin a six game road trip on Friday playing 3 games in  Washington and 3 games in Florida against the Marlins with a day off in-between the 2 series. 

Both ESPN and the news site MyFox Houston broke first reports of the trade and also reported that the newly acquired Roy Oswalt will replace Happ as Friday’s starter vs Craig Stammen for the Nationals.  On Saturday, Joe Blanton goes for the Phils vs lefthander Ross Detwiler for Washington.

To view the schedule of all of Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and here.

Halladay, Offensive Support Lead Phillies Over Diamondbacks

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

          Domonic Brown     Carlos Ruiz

The Phillies’ winning streak hit 7 games on Wednesday as ace Roy Halladay tossed another masterpiece complete game and the number 3, 5, 6 and 7 hitters in the Phils lineup pounded Arizona starter Edwin Jackson for 5 runs and reliever Sam Demel for 2 more seventh inning runs with heralded prospect outfielder Domonic Brown and catcher Carlos Ruiz leading the way  as Halladay and offensive support led the Phillies over the Diamondbacks by a 7-1 score in game 2 of their 3 game series.

NL East division-leading Atlanta remained 3 1/2 games ahead of the 2nd place Philies after nipping Washington.  The Phils put more space between themselves and the 3rd place Mets who were edged by the St. Louis Cardinals in 13 innings.

Roy Halladay’s 1 run, 6 hit, 9 strikeout complete game performance was worthy of his billing as one of MLB’s best pitchers.  He has gven up but 2 runs in his last 4 starts, over a span of 35 innings at home.  In that span, he has struck out 34 while walking 3.  But the big news was highly heralded outfielder prospect Domonic Brown’s double, single and 2 RBIs in 4 plate appearances in his 1st MLB game. 

Brown’s second inning double to right centerfield, on the 3rd pitch he saw from Jackson, which followed centerfielder Jayson Werth’s double, drove in the Phils 1st run of 2 in the inning off of the Arizona starter.  Werth was moved from rightfield to centerfield as substitute for Shane Victorino who went on the 15-day DL after suffering an abdominal strain on his left side.  Brown took Werth’s normal rightfield spot.  The AP game recap notes:

After moving to third on Ruiz ‘s single, Brown scored on Wilson Valdez’s groundout, giving Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.

After grounding out to end the third inning, Brown followed Werth’s leadoff single in the sixth with his own single to right centerfield.
When Ruiz followed with a double to left, both Werth and Brown scored as the Phils scored 3 runs in the inning.

With 1 out and Phils runners on 2nd and 3rd in the seventh, Brown slammed a long sacrifice fly to right centerfield to score 1 of the 2 runs in the inning.  All and all, Brown’s line 2 hits in 3 at bats, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. 

Carlos Ruiz had a monster game going 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs.

Arizona’s Jackson lasted into the sixth and got noone out in the inning before being chased on Ruiz’s 2 run double.  Jackson was charged with 5 runs in all, while reliever Sam Demel was charged with the 2 Phils’ seventh inning runs. 

Halladay, who threw 114 pitches for the game, gave a ninth inning leadoff single, retired the next 2 hitters before an RBI double by catcher Miguel Montero broke the shutout.  Halladay then got 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds to fly out to rightfield to end the game.

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

In the series final, Kyle Kendrick is opposed by lefthander Joe Saunders, obtained in the recent trade which sent Dan Haren to the L.A. Angels.  The Phils begin a six game road trip on Friday playing 3 games in Washington and 3 games in Florida against the Marlins with a day off in-between the 2 series.

To view the schedule of all of Thursday’s games, click here.

Phillies Beat Arizona With 3 Homers, Winning Streak at 6 Games

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

     Jayson Werth     Ryan Howard    Cody Ransom

Down by 5-4 against D-backs starter Rodrigo Lopez, the Phillies broke open a close game on Tuesday with a 3 run sixth inning and a 2 run seventh inning featuring 2 run homers off of the Arizona bullpen by 1st baseman Ryan Howard in the sixth and by replacement 3rd baseman  Cody Ransom in the seventh.  Lefthander Cole Hamels had an early departure after five innings having thrown 108 pitches including a 31 pitch first inning.  Although the Phils injury list swelled as shortstop Jimmy Rollins was not in the lineup due to a bruised left foot and centerfielder  Shane Victorino left the game in the seventh with a left oblique strain, the  Phillies beat Arizona by a 9-5 score with 3 homers as their winning streak hit 6 games.

With the win, the Phillies gained another game on the NL East division-leading Atlanta Braves who were shut out by Washington.
The 2nd place Phils now trail the Braves by 3 1/2 games.  The Phils remained 3 games up on the 3rd place Mets who thumped St. Louis.

Victorino has down-played the injury, but is due to take an MRI and be examined by the Phils team physician on Wednesday.  The AP game recap for Yahoo notes:

If Victorino has to go on the disabled list, top prospect  Domonic Brown is a candidate to replace him.

“I think Domonic is always a consideration,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

They’re already missing Chase Utley.

The recap continued:

David Herndon (1-2) allowed two runs—one earned—in one inning to record his first major league victory.

Mark Reynolds hit his 24th homer [in the fourth] for the Diamondbacks, who have the third-worst record in the majors.

After the Diamondbacks scored two runs off Herndon in the sixth to go up, the Phillies answered with three in the bottom half to take a 7-5 lead.

Raul Ibanez hit a two-out RBI single off Jordan Norberto (0-1) to tie it at 5. Howard followed with an opposite-field drive to left-center.

The 2006 NL MVP has been Philadelphia’s most consistent hitter in a lineup that’s been riddled by injuries and inconsistency. The All-Star first baseman is batting .302 with 23 homers and a NL-leading 81 RBIs.

Ransom hit a two-run shot off Ransom hit a two-run shot off Chad Qualls to make it 9-5 in the seventh.  [Jayson] Werth crushed a 1-2 pitch from starter Rodrigo Lopez into the bushes behind the center-field wall for a 4-3 lead in the fifth.

Both starters pitched five innings. Cole Hamels allowed three runs and six hits, striking out eight. It was his shortest outing since lasting four innings against Toronto on June 26. The 2008 World Series MVP finished the month with a 2.16 ERA in six starts, but only got one win.

Lopez gave up four runs and seven hits against his former team. He was 3-1 in seven games with the Phillies last year.

Relievers Danys Baez and Jose Contreras each pitched an effective, scoreless inning to set up Ryan Madson who went clean on the D-Backs in the ninth to end it.

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

In Wednesday’s game 2, ace Roy Halladay is opposed by Edwin Jackson for the Diamondbacks.

To view the schedule of all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Sweep Rockies, Lidge Nearly Blows Game

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

      Brian Schneider    Placido Polanco   Joe Blanton   Raul Ibanez

For the 2nd game running, Phillies closer Brad Lidge found himself in a ninth inning bases-loaded situation on Monday with the game on the line. With the Phils up 5-2 on a fine six inning outing by starter Joe Blanton, this time Lidge lost 2 of the 3 run Phils lead in the ninth by giving up a 2 out 2 run dinger to Colorado leftfielder Seth Smith.  Following the homer, Lidge nearly crashed when a single sandwiched in-between 2 walks created the sacks-loaded jam.  But Lidge went 1-1 to rightfielder Ryan Spilborghs before the #5 hitter grounded a soft tapper to the mound which Lidge ate up throwing to 1st baseman Ryan Howard to end the game.  3rd baseman  Placido Polanco, leftfielder Raul Ibanez and catcher Brian Schneider all drove in runs against starter Jason Hammel as the Phillies swept the Rockies with a 5-4 win as Lidge nearly blew the game.

With the win, the Phils picked up 1/2 game on NL East division-leading Atlanta who had the day off.  The Phils have whittled the Braves lead down to 4 1/2 games despite the fact of 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s stint on the DL.  The Phils maintain their 3 game lead on the 3rd place Mets who also didn’t play on Monday.

Lidge’s latest dicey save is noted in the AP game recap for Yahoo:

Generally calm after saves, Lidge showed some emotion this time with a fist swipe.

“I wasn’t thrilled today,” Lidge said. “I actually had a better fastball and better command today. It just goes to show that you never know what’s going to happen. But I feel great that we won the game and that I got my job done.”

Seth Smith hit a two-out, two-run homer off Lidge in the ninth and Colorado went on to load the bases, but Spilborghs hit a little bouncer to the left side of the mound. Lidge came in and made a strong throw to first base for the final out, getting his 10th save in 13 chances.

“You can’t give up three runs,” Lidge said. “First and foremost, you’re happy to win, but you know you have work to do. I made adjustments from last night to today, but it didn’t go the way I wanted. (Still), it ended up right. It’s one of those deals. You can go through rough times and blow saves. Right now, lots of guys are getting on base, but I’m not blowing saves.”

Joe Blanton (4-6) won for the first time since beating  Cleveland on June 24. He gave up two runs in the first, but allowed only three more hits before leaving after six innings with a 5-2 lead.

“I felt good,” Blanton said. “I just had a lot of runners on all day. I was able to keep the ball down more after the first inning.”

Backup catcher Brian Schneider’s two-run triple [in the second inning] sent the Phillies toward their fifth straight win.

The Phillies took the lead for good by scoring three times in the second. Ross Gload singled off Jason Hammel (7-6),  Greg Dobbs doubled and Schneider hit his first triple since Sept. 22, 2007.

Colorado first baseman Jason Giambi then made errors on consecutive plays. First, he dropped Hammel’s throw on Blanton’s comebacker. Next, Giambi fielded a grounder by  Jimmy Rollins but threw low to shortstop Clint Barmes trying to get a forceout, letting Schneider score.

Philadelphia scored twice in the sixth after Dobbs led off with a single and Schneider walked. A sacrifice by pinch-hitter  Cody Ransom set up RBI singles by Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez.

Phillies relievers Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero each pitched a scoreless inning.

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

On Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks come into town for 3 games with the Phils.  Lefthander Cole Hamels goes in the opener against former Phil  Rodrigo Lopez who replaces the just traded Dan Haren who was previously designated to start for the D-backs.

To view the schedule of all of Tuesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Edge Rockies as Rollins Scores on Wild Pitch

Monday, July 26th, 2010

                    Jimmy Rollins       Ben

With the Phillies down by 3-2 in the seventh inning on Sunday, Colorado reliever Joe Beimel gave up a leadoff ground-rule double to pinch hitter  Wilson Valdez.  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins followed by reaching Beimel for a shallow left centerfield RBI single to tie the game.  Rollins reached 2nd base on the play due to an error by the leftfielder.  With 2 outs in the inning, Rollins stole 3rd and Beimel walked 1st baseman Ryan Howard.   Rafael Betancourt replaced Beimel and got a 1-2 count on rightfielder  Jayson Werth before uncorking a wild pitch resulting in the Phillies lead run. 2 Phils relievers combined for a clean eighth inning and closer Brad Lidge closed out Colorado despite a dicey ninth inning as the Phillies edged Rockies as Rollins scored on wild pitch for a 4-3 win.

The Phils picked up another game to trail NL East division-leading Atlanta by 5 games as the Braves were edged by the Florida Marlins.  The 2nd place Phils picked also picked up another full game on the Mets who are 7 1/2 games back of division-leading Braves.  The Mets were shut out by a 1-0 score by lefthander Clayton Kershaw and the L.A. Dodgers.

While not being particularly offensive, the Phillies rallied in the seventh inning, as contenders are supposed to, despite a 1 1/2 hour rain delay.   The AP game recap brings Rollins’ scoring the lead run for Yahoo:

“He was very alert,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Rollins. “In his mind, he was ready to come in on a bobble or wild pitch. He got down the line fast. Those are the things you take advantage of. It was a break for us.”

Before the rain, J.A. Happ was recalled… after missing more than three months with a strained left elbow. He allowed three runs on four hits and four walks.

“His stuff was there,” Manuel said. “I just thought he was wild up and he had trouble keeping the ball down. When he’s low in the zone, that’s when he’s at his best. He looked healthy. His ball was sneaky. He just needs some more work.”

“I know I can be better, but I felt good about how I pitched,” Happ said.

Happ also felt good about returning to the major leagues, though he felt it should’ve come sooner. Last season’s runner-up in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year balloting had completed a rehab stint July 6, but the Phillies optioned him to Lehigh Valley because they felt he wasn’t ready.

“I pitched a little bit angry, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “I feel like I belong here, but you have to prove that every day.”

Ben Francisco erased Philadelphia’s early deficit with a two-run home run for Philadelphia, which has taken the first three games of the series, and are 16-5 against Colorado in the past 21 regular-season games.

Ryan Madson (3-1) worked out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the top of the seventh to earn the win.

The Rockies threatened against closer Brad Lidge in the ninth, loading the bases with two outs on two walks and a single. Lidge needed 30 pitches to escape, ending the game with a perfect slider for a called third strike against Ian Stewart.

“My whole career, people have been telling me I’m going to give them a heart attack,” said Lidge, who recorded his ninth save in 12 chances. “That’s just my style sometimes. For me right now, I’m feeling confident that whatever is going on around me, it will end well. That’s the feeling you get when mentally, you’re feeling good about what you’re doing.”

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

The Phillies hope for a 4 game sweep with Monday’s series final as Joe Blanton is opposed by Jason Hammel for the Rockies. On Tuesday, the  Arizona Diamondbacks come into town for 3 games with the Phils.  Lefthander  Cole Hamels goes in the opener while the D-backs, who just traded Dan Haren, have yet to designate their starter.

To view the schedule of all of Monday’s games, click here.

Pitching, Timely Offense Lift Phillies to Wins Over Rockies

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

     Raul Ibanez  Roy Halladay  Kyle Kendrick  Ross Gload

Demoted, then subsequently recalled Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick came up big on Saturday with a seven inning 1 run, 6 hit masterpiece.  The Phillies offense capitalized on Colorado’s recently more earthly ace Ubaldo Jimenez’s 6 walk wildness with some timely hitting during a 7 run third inning where Jimenez was chased, retiring no one, and was charged with 6 of the runs.  The Phils gave no respite to the Rockies bullpen either, scoring 4 more runs as Kendrick notched his 6th win, dropped his ERA to 4.60 with the effort as the Phils pounded the Rockies by a 10-2 score.

On Friday, Phils ace Roy Halladay held office hours with a masterful eight inning 5 hit shutout while the offense chased Aaron Cook with a 5 run fifth inning capped by rightfielder Ross Gload’s 1 out 2 run homer.  The Phils tacked on an eighth inning run, but “the Doc” had all that he needed to master the Rockies. Lefthander J.C. Romero came on to toss a 7 pitch clean ninth inning to complete a Phillies 6-0 shutout of Colorado in the series opener.

With the 2 weekend wins and a 3 game winning streak, the Phils picked up a game to trail NL East division-leading Atlanta by 6 games as the Braves split their weekend games with the Florida Marlins.  The 2nd place Phils picked up a full game on the Mets who are now 7 1/2 games back of division-leading Braves.  The Mets split their weekend games with the L.A. Dodgers.

On Saturday, Kendrick breezed while Jimenez ran into trouble in the second as the Phils threatened loading the sacks with 2 out after a single and Jimenez’s first 2 walks.  He struck out Kendrick to end the threat unscathed.  He walked 4 more Phils in the third and the home team made maximum use of their 3 hits in the inning, a Rockies’ throwing error and a Jimenez wild pitch to plate 7 runs in one of their highest inning uprisings of the season.  6 of those runs were charged to Jimenez while the 7th was charged to reliever Matt Belisle.

With Kendrick on his game big-time, this one was out of the Rockies reach in the third.  Leftfielder Raul Ibanez, beginning to catch some fire of late going 4 for 9 with a homer and 5 RBIs over the weekend, added a 2 run sixth inning homer just to make sure and shortstop Jimmy Rollins added an eighth inning RBI single for good measure.

Reliever Jose Contreras gave up an eighth inning run on 2 hits but the Phils were, by this point, totally in control.  Recent young minor league call-up Vance Worley tossed a clean ninth inning, in his first MLB appearance, to end the game. 

Phillies pitching has been phenominal during this 3 game win streak holding opposition to 2 runs in 29 innings.

For more details on Saturday’s game, click on the AP game recap here.

On Friday, Ibanez and Gload provided much-needed offense and “the Doc” had it on cruise control providing the kind of effort which refreshed the best memories of 2007 through 2009 seasons and perhaps, renewed fan faith that the Phillies are still in this thing — that despite the frequent offensive meltdowns, the Phils have a real shot to 3-peat right up through the World Series.

For more details on Friday’s game, click on the AP game recap here.

To view the scores of all of Friday’s And Saturday’s games, click here and  here.

Sunday’s game 3 is a battle of lefthanders as recently reactivated lefthander J.A. Happ opposes Jeff Francis.

To view the schedule of all of Sunday’s games, click here.