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Archive for September, 2010

Halladay’s 2 Hit Shutout of Nationals Clinches Phillies 4th NL East Crown

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

   Roy Halladay   Jayson Werth   Roy Halladay

Phillies rightfielder Jayson Werth went 3 for 5 with a second inning leadoff solo homer and 4 RBIs, 3rd baseman Placido Polanco and catcher Carlos Ruiz each went 3 for 4 driving in a run each as the Phils scored a run in the first inning, 3 runs in the sixth on Monday KO’ing Washington lefthander  John Lannon, and 4 more runs in the ninth off of former Phil prospect Joe Bisenius.  Staff ace Roy Halladay really only needed that first inning run as  Halladay tossed a masterful 97 pitch complete game 2 hit 8-0 shutout of the Nationals while the Phillies clinched their 4th straight NL East crown.

With the Phils winning the division title, the Atlanta Braves are now tied with the San Diego Padres for the NL Wild Card spot with the Colorado Rockies now 4 1/2 games behind.  The magic number for either the Braves or Padres is 7 games.

The celebration in the Phils lockerroom was wild after the game and their ace “The Doc” Roy Halladay was at the very center of it being doused with bubbly Champagne by rightfielder Jayson Werth.  This will be Halladay’s first trip to the post-season in his 12 year career.

Halladay was masterful, by any measure, on Monday against the Nationals — even though they are last in the division and undoubtedly will lose over 90 games.  It was Halladay’s 4th shutout, including the perfect game against Florida, and his 9th complete game of the season.  And Werth led the offense with his second inning leadoff solo shot as well as a 2 run double in the sixth off of Lannon and an RBI single in the ninth knocking in the Phillies 8th and final run.

For the game highlights, click here for the AP recap for Yahoo.

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

In Tuesday’s game 2, the other Roy, Roy Oswalt faces Jason Marquis for the Nationals.  Marquis lasted but 1/3 of an inning in his previous start against the Phils.

This blog will be periodic for the remainder of the regular season as the remaining 5 Phillies games will be anti-climatic with the Phils undoubtedly giving exposure in the lineup to a number of September call-up prospects while resting regulars for the playoffs.

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

Phillies Lose to Mets in Final Home Game, NL East Magic Number is 1

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The Mets jumped on Phillies starter Cole Hamels for a run in the first inning, 3 runs in the third and a run in the fifth on Sunday as Hamels gave up solo shots to 3rd baseman David Wright in the first and centerfielder  Carlos Beltran in the fifth as the Mets played spoilers, of sorts, for the 2nd game in a row.  Beltran had 2 homers in the game belting a ninth inning shot off of reliever Ryan Madson.  The Phils got close in the fifh on 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s 3 run homer off of Mets starter Pat Misch who showered early after Utley’s homer going only 4 2/3 innings for a no-decision.  But Utley’s shot brought the only scoring which the Phils would generate despite other opportunities in the first, fourth, sixth and eighth innings.  Beltran’s ninth inning shot brought insurance as the Phillies lost to Mets by a 7-3 score in their final home game of the regular season as the NL East magic number dropped to 1 game.

The Phils 1st place lead in the NL East remained at 6 games over Atlanta as the Braves also lost the final of their weekend series with Washington.  Meanwhile, the Braves dropped to 1/2 game behind the San Diego Padres in the NL wildcard race with the Colorado Rockies trailing by 3 1/2 games.

The AP game recap for Yahoo notes Hamels’ problems:

The Mets roughed up Cole Hamels (12-11) again. Hamels allowed five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, falling to 0-4 against New York this year. The lefty had been dominant recently. He gave up just four runs in his previous six starts, a span of 43 2-3 innings.

“Just one of those days where I wasn’t able to locate and be consistent,” Hamels said. “Sometimes it happens. With the way I’ve been pitching, I know I can correct it and get it back on track.”

Manny Acosta (3-1) tossed 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Mets starter Pat Misch had a 5-0 lead going into the fifth, but couldn’t finish the inning. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings to remain 0-4.

Trailing 5-0 in the fifth, the Phillies got back in it when Utley went deep with two outs to cut the deficit to two runs.  Ryan Howard followed with a double, chasing Misch.

A pair of outstanding defensive plays by Mets outfielders saved two runs. Beltran made a diving grab on pinch-hitter  Ross Gload’s drive to left-center to leave a runner on third in the sixth. Left fielder Nick Evans made a sliding catch on Howard’s shallow fly to strand a runner at second in the seventh.

Jimmy Rollins, sidelined since Sept. 8 with a hamstring injury, got a standing ovation when he came up as a pinch hitter representing the tying run in the eighth. He grounded out against Elmer Dessens to end the inning.

And so the Phils’ on-again, off-again offense continues leaving it’s pitching staff of aces little margin for error.  Hamels went 45 2/3 innings giving up only 6 runs for an approximate 1.20 ERA prior to Sunday’s third inning.  In reality, he’s had 3 bad games since May and should easily have had at least 5 more wins.  The offense badly needs to come around for the playoffs for the Phils to make it to the October Big Show.

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

Ace and 20 game winner Roy Halladay is opposed by lefthander John Lannon for the Nationals.

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

Phillies Split Weekend Games With Mets, NL East Magic Number is 2

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

The Phillies won their series opener on Friday with the Mets scoring single runs off of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in the first, second and fourth innings as centerfielder Shane Victorino led off the first with a homer and doubled in another run in the second inning.  After Mets rightfielder Angel Pagan slammed a 2 run homer in the fourth off of Joe Blanton, catcher Carlos Ruiz singled in the winning run in the Phillies fourth.   Blanton bested Dickey by pitching a 7 inning gem outside of the homer.  Reliever Ryan Madson went clean on the Mets in the eighth on 10 pitches and closer Brad Lidge shut them down in the ninth to earn his 27th save in 32 opportunites as the Phils edged the Mets by a 3-2 score. 

With 2 outs in the first inning of Saturday’s game 2, 2nd baseman Chase Utley laced a single to left centerfield and 1st baseman Ryan Howard followed by slamming a 2 run centerfield homer off of 24 year old rookie  Dillon Gee to give the Phils a 2-0 lead.   That was it for Phillies scoring as Gee and 3 Met relievers held them to 3 hits while walking 2 the rest of the way.  Kyle Kendrick breezed thru the 1st six innings giving up but 3 hits before the roof crashed in the seven as the Mets sent 9 men to the plate off of Kendrick and reliever Chad Durbin while scoring 5 runs on 5 hits.   J.C. Romero and David Herndon held off the Mets in the eighth and ninth innings as the Phils offense did a swoon after the first inning and the Mets took game 2 from the Phillies by a 5-2 score breaking the Phils’ 11 game winning streak.

The Phils 1st place lead in the NL East remained at 6 games over Atlanta as the Braves also split their weekend series with Washington.  Meanwhile, the Braves fell into a NL wildcard race tie with the San Francisco Giants, while the 2 teams maintained a 3 1/2 game lead over the Colorado Rockies.

For the AP recaps for Yahoo on Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and here.

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

In Sunday’s series final and final Phillies home game of the regular season, two lefthanders oppose each other.  Cole Hamels opposes Pat Misch.   The Phils next travel to Washington for 3 games with the Nationals followed by the 3 final games of the regular season in Atlanta.

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

Phillies Shut Out, Sweep Braves, NL East Magic Number is 4 Games

Friday, September 24th, 2010

                        Roy Oswalt      Raul Ibanez

The Phillies’ bats were silent for seven innings as Roy Oswalt battled with  Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson in a deadlock of zeros.  However, in the eighth inning with a runner on first with 2 out, leftfielder Raul Ibanez lined a slicing double to the leftfield corner off of Braves reliever Jonny Venters to drive in the only run of the game as rightfielder Jayson Werth, who walked, scored from 1st base.  Oswalt pitched seven innings and combined with reliever Ryan Madson and closer Brad Lidge to toss a 1 hitter.  Oswalt, who outdid both Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, got a no-decision for his trouble as Madson was credited with the win after tossing a scoreless eighth.  Lidge notched his 26th save in 31 opportunities as the Phillies shut out and swept the Braves by a 1-0 score to lead NL East by 6 games, with the Magic number to clinch the division at 4 games.

The Phils extended their 1st place lead in the NL East to 6 games over the Braves.  Meanwhile, the Braves lead in the NL wildcard race dropped to 1/2 game over the San Diego Padres, but increased to 3 1/2 games over the  Colorado Rockies.

The AP game recap for Yahoo provides the highlights:

Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay delivered in the first two games. Oswalt pitched even better, though he didn’t get the win.

“I didn’t want them to do something I couldn’t do,” Oswalt said. “I’m trying to push them as much as possible and they’re doing that off me. Anytime you feed off each other, it helps down the stretch.”

Braves starter Tommy Hanson tossed six scoreless innings, giving up two hits and three walks.

Hanson didn’t allow a hit until one out in the fifth when  Carlos Ruiz lined a double that [Nate] McLouth slid past. Hanson struck out Shane Victorino looking at a fastball down the middle to end the inning and strand runners at second and third.

Jonny Venters (4-3) hit Chase Utley with a pitch to start Philadelphia’s eighth. After Ryan Howard grounded into a double play, Jayson Werth walked.

Ibanez then hit an opposite-field drive that sliced into the left-field corner. Left fielder Nate McLouth overthrew the relay man and Werth slid home safely for a 1-0 lead. Philadelphia won with only four hits.

The Phillies are 44-15 since July 21, when they trailed the Braves by seven games. They are 18-3 in September.

Oswalt is 7-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts since joining the Phillies. They’re 10-1 in those games. He retired the first 11 batters before [Martin] Prado lined a double in the fourth.

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

The Phils next begin a 3 game series on Friday with the Mets.  In Friday’s opener, Joe Blanton opposes knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.  On Saturday,  Kyle Kendrick goes against 24 year old rookie Dillon Gee for the Mets.

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

Halladay Wins 20th as Phillies Beat Braves, NL East Lead at 5 Games

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

       Jayson Werth   Roy Halladay   Raul Ibanez

Phillies ace Roy Halladay became the first Phil pitcher in 28 years to win 20 games, since Lefty Steve Carlton’s last 20 win season in 1982.  With the score knotted at 0-0 in the third inning and 2 men on and 1 out, rightfielder Jayson Worth solved Atlanta’s rookie lefthander Mike Minor for a 3 run homer, his 25th of the season to put the Phils up 3-0.  The Braves managed single runs off of Halladay in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. But in-between, in the bottom of the fifth, leftfielder Raul Ibanez’s 2 run double gave the Phils and Halladay some cushion in what turned out to be the winning margin.  Halladay went seven full innings throwing 103 pitches and allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, including pinch hitter Freddie Freeman’s seventh inning solo shot, his 1st MLB homer.  Reliever Ryan Madson and closer Brad Lidge shut the door on Atlanta the rest of the way with Lidge credited with his 25th save in 30 opportunities as Halladay won his 20th as the Phillies beat the Braves by a 5-3 score and their NL East lead jumped to 5 games.

The Phils extended their 1st place lead in the NL East to 5 games over the Braves with the other Roy set to face the Braves on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, the Braves lead in the NL wildcard race dropped to 1 1/2 games over the San Diego Padres, who shut out the L.A. Dodgers, and remained at 3 games over the Colorado Rockies who lost to Arizona.

With Tuesday’s win over the Braves, the Phils pushed their winning streak to 9 games and reduced their magic number (any combination of Phils wins and/or Braves losses) to clinch their 4th straight NL East division title to 6 games.

Five Phils got 2 hits in this one, among them Ibanez who has been charging in the stretch drive pushing his batting average to .275 and driving in runs.   Jayson Werth continues on a tare with his 4th homer in 5 games. 

It seems like in every game, various Phils rise to lift the team — one day  Ryan Howard, the next day Carlos Ruiz and Ibanez, Werth and Chase Utley.  Let’s not forget Placido Polanco, Utley’s predecessor at 2nd base, who the Phils traded for to play 3rd. He’s played a mean 3rd base, his batting average has been around .300 all season and he’s been the Phils’ most consistent hitter.  And lest we not forget Wilson Valdez who has capably spelled Jimmy Rollins and Utley, to a lesser extent, and who comes through in the clutch repeatedly. 

The starting pitching — the 3 aces has been nasty down the stretch and the bullpen is approaching it’s 2008 white-hotness.  One of the great mysteries of life though, which hopefully I’ll discuss post-season:  In retrospect, what did GM Reuben Amaro Jr. know which made him trade lefthander Cliff Lee?  We all know what Lee did for the Phils from when they acquired him, through to the World Series.  But when you look at Lee’s season — the suspension, the injuries, the inconsistence down the stretch, makes one wonder whether money and/replenishment of the Phils farm system was really what was on Amaro’s and the front office’s mind.   

But call me a perfectionist, I still wanna see more scoring from the offense and less runners left on base — the Phils left 12 on in this one. 

To view Tuesday’s game highlights, click here for AP’s game recap for Yahoo.

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

The Phils seek a sweep of the Braves as other Roy of the Ace Troika,  Roy Oswalt goes for the Phils in Wednesday’s series final against Atlanta’s  Tommy Hanson.  The Phils have the day off on Thursday before beginning a 3 game series with the Mets.

There will be no blog posts here until Friday.

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

Hamels Pitches Gem, Phillies Beat Braves, Lead Division by 4 Games

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

                   Cole Hamels   Cole Hamels   Cole Hamels

The Phillies took advantage of 2 Atlanta errors on Monday to score 2 fifth inning runs which were charged to minor league call-up Brandon Beachy to break a 1-1 tie. Second inning doubles by 1st baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz tied the game for the Phils after Braves catcher Brian McCann doubled in the Braves only run in the top of the inning.  In the fifth, both Phils runs scored on groundouts as 3rd baseman Placido Polanco’s groundout scored Shane Victorino who led off reaching 3rd on a 3 base outfield error and leftfielder Raul Ibanez’s bases loaded groundout drove in the Phils 3rd run.  Lefthander Cole Hamels took care of the rest. In another dominant pitching effort over eight innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits while throwing 117 pitches and striking out 6 while walking 1,  Hamels pitched a gem as the Phillies beat the Braves by a 3-1 to extend their division lead to 4 games and extend their winning streak to 8.

The Phils now sit perched in 1st place in the NL East 4 games ahead of the Braves with their other 2 aces set to face the Braves on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Meanwhile, the Braves lead the NL wildcard race by 2 games over the San Diego Padres and 3 games over the Colorado Rockies.

The AP game recap provides highlights of the game:

The two-time defending NL champions won their eighth straight game and improved to 42-15 since July 21, when they trailed the Braves by seven games.

Hamels (12-10) allowed one run and six hits, striking out six in eight innings to win his fifth straight start—a career best.  Brad Lidge finished for his 24th save in 29 chances.

Brandon Beachy (0-1) gave up three runs—one earned—and four hits in 4 1-3 innings in his major league debut. He was a late fill-in for Jair Jurrjens, still nursing a sore right knee.

The 24-year-old right-hander was at the Braves’ instructional league program in Florida when he got the call to join the team.

“The kid did real well under the circumstances,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

Shane Victorino led off Philadelphia’s fifth with a hard liner to right-center. He hustled into third after the ball glanced off  [Jason] Heyward’s glove. Heyward made a long run and seemingly had trouble with the wind or the curve of the ball, but it was ruled an error.

Placido Polanco’s RBI grounder to shortstop drove in Victorino with the go-ahead run.

Chase Utley followed with a single. He stole second and advanced to third on catcher Brian McCann’s throwing error.  Eric O’Flaherty entered and walked Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth to load the bases. Raul Ibanez grounded out to shortstop to score Utley for a 3-1 lead.

The Braves went ahead 1-0 in the second on McCann’s RBI double.  Derrek Lee singled and scored on McCann’s shot off the scoreboard in right. After [Matt] Diaz singled, Hamels pitched out of the jam. He struck out Alex Gonzalez and got  Melky Cabrera to ground into a double play.

The Phillies answered in the bottom half. Howard led off with a double. Two outs later, Carlos Ruiz lined a double to left to tie it at 1. The crowd chanted “Choooch” as Ruiz jogged into second with another clutch hit. The catcher leads the team with a .299 batting average.

Ruiz entered the season with a .246 career average, but he has a knack for coming through in big games. Ruiz hit .349 in the NLCS and World Series over the last two years.

Hamels has a 0.49 ERA in his last five starts, and a career-low 2.93 ERA this season.

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

In game 2, ace Roy Halladay goes for his coveted 20th win opposed by rookie lefthander Mike Minor for the Braves.

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