Results tagged ‘ Athletics ’

On the eve of the 2008 World Series, let us take another look at the numbers.

It is now two days before the start of the 2008 World Series, which will be played at the home ball park of the American League Champion, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field, on Wednesday, October 22, at 8:22 pm Eastern. The Tampa Bay Rays will be hosting the National League Champion, the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that has just won only its sixth pennant in its 125-years history. So, how did Charlie Manuel’s boys get here, on the verge of possibily winning the franchise’s second World Series crown? Let look at the numbers, shall we?

First, let’s see how well this team did month by month. 

March/April: 15-13

May: 17-12

June: 12-14

July: 15-10

August: 16-13

September: 17-8

Total: 92-70

As can be seen, the team has winning records in six of the seven months shown above, with their best month being September, when the team, with Ryan Howard’s resurging bat leading the way, would sprint their way to the National League Eastern Division pennant, and with their worst month being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.

Another thing that people have said is that you have to win series to win pennants, and the Phillies have also done that. At the end of the regular season, they have ended up with 27 series wins, 19 series loses and 6 series splits. Of their 27 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in nine of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (3), Washington (2), Los Angeles (NL) (1), Milwaukee (1)) for a total of 28 wins, while in their 19 series defeats they were swept only twice (Los Angeles (AL), Los Angeles (NL)) for a total of 7 loses. Of their 10 series wins during the last two months of the regular season, their most important ones would be the one against the Padres in San Diego as it would help to get the team back on track after having been swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles; their home sweep of the Dodgers since it would help prove to the team that they can beat anybody at home; their win against the Mets in New York at the beginning of September as it would help the Phillies stay close to the Mets, especially after having lost the previous series in Washington; their four games sweep of the Brewers, as it would give the Phillies the option of winning either the Eastern Division or the Wild Card, putting them in the driver seat of the later as they challenged the fading Mets for the former; their final sweep of the Braves in Atlanta as it would help to build up momentum for; their series win against the Marlins in Miami, in which they would help to kill the Marlins’ own hope for the post-season; and lastly, their second sweep of the Nationals which would see them clinch their second straight divisonal crown on the last Saturday of the regular season, while the Sunday win by the rookies and the bench players would help them to maintain momentum going into the National League Divisional Series against Milwaukee.

Another thing that you need to do is to win games in your own division. And the Phillies have actually accomplished that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both teams in their own division and against the teams of the other two divisions within the National League:

National League East: 41-31

National League Central: 27-16

National League West: 20-12

Unfortunately, they have not done so well this year against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.

But, how well have they performed against the other clubs in the National League? The Phillies would end the regualr season with losing records against only two other NL teams, both of them being teams within their own division:

National League East:

Atlanta Braves: 14-4

Washington Nationals: 12-6

Florida Marlins: 8-10

New York Mets: 7-11

Total: 41-31

The Phillies’ best record in both the division and against the NL overall was their 14-4 record against the Braves, which included their three straight three games sweeps of the Braves’ in their own ball park, something that have not happened to the Braves since they were swept by the Chicago Cubs in 1909, when they were known as the Boston Doves. Their worst record in the division was their 7-11 record against the New York Mets, who won all but the last two series with the Phils, including their series spilt of late August in Philadelphia and the Phillies’ 2-1 series victory in New York in early September, including the spilt of a day/night Sunday doubleheader which would keep the Phillies close to the Mets before they would make their final move to win the Eastern Division pennant.

National League Central:

Milwaukee Brewers: 5-1

Cincinnati Reds: 5-3

St. Louis Cardinals: 5-4

Chicago Cubs: 4-3

Houston Astros: 4-3

Pittsburgh Pirates: 4-2

Total: 27-16

Against the teams of the National League Central Division, the Phillies would do rather well, winning most of their series against them. They would do best against the Brew Crew, spliting the series in Milwaukee and then sweeping them in an important August series in Philadelphia that would help propel the Phillies into the lead of the National League Wild Card race, on their way to their eventual winning of the National League Eastern Division.

National League West:

Colorado Rockies: 5-0

Los Angeles Dodgers: 4-4

Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3

San Diego Padres: 4-2

San Francisco Giants: 3-3

Total: 20-12

Against the West, the Phillies would end the season with a 20-12 record, doing their best against the Rockies, as they would get even with the former National League Champions for losing the 2007 National League Divisional Series by sweeping them in five games, although they would do the home portion of the sweep against a wounded team, while doing their worst against both the Giants and the Dodgers, as they would spilt home series with both teams, winning the series at Citizens Bank Park (2-1 (Giants), 4-0 (Dodgers)), while losing the series on the road (1-2 (Giants), 0-4 (Dodgers)).

Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face facts, people, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3

Boston Red Sox: 1-2

Oakland Athletics: 1-2

Texas Rangers: 1-2

Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2

Total: 4-11

With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it should means that this team might have a hard time with the American League Champion Tampa Bay Ray. But the team that got creamed by the American League in May and June is not the same team that have finished crushing first the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Series and then the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Championship Series, and with little help from either their set up man (Jimmy Rollins) or their biggest offensive threat (Ryan Howard) until the end of both series. This team appears to be a lot more confident now then they did when they faced the American League elite teams the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels at home back in June. That might make all the difference by the time the World Series is over.

The Phillies also had a very good home-road split. At Citizens Bank Park, they had a record of 48-33, where they were in a four way tie for the second best record for the National League, while they were 44-37 on the road, the best record in the National League. Overall, their 92-70 record was the second best in the National League, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (97-64) and the fifth best in the Majors. Those two records of success at both home and on the road should help the Phillies when they face the Rays starting on Wednesday.

Not again???? *&^$#!!!! And this time, an umpire gets into the act???? GGGRRRR!!!!

The Phillies let another game slip out of their hands as they blow another lead, losing to the Cubs, 3-2. And, to add insult to injury, a bad umpire’s call may have hurt them this time. Like yesterday, the Phillies would score first, as, with two men on and two outs, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has been hit by the pitch, and then would move up to second on Ryan Howard’s walk, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between two former A’s teammates, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton and Cubs’ starter Rich Harden. As the Phillies’ batter would be patient at the plate, causing Harden’s pitch count to rise, Blanton would breeze quickly through the first four innings, giving up only a lead-off walk and a hit. The Phillies would finally get their second run off of Harden when, with a runner on first and two outs, Howard would hit a single to right, with Utley, who has gotten on first with a single, would go to third on the hit. Cubs’ right fielder Kosuke Fukudome would then commit a throwing error, which would allow Utley to score, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Cubs would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1, as, with runners on the corners on and one out, Daryle Ward would hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley would throw to Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s second out, removing Henry Blanco, who has earlier singled, but he would then make an errant throw to first, which would pull Howard off the first base bag, because of Blanco’s slide which would force Rollins to make a quick throw when he actually have time to throw out Ward, which would not be recorded as an error. The blunder would allow Mark DeRose, who has earlier walked, stole second and has moved to third on Blanco’s single, to score the Cubs’ first run. Blanton would then end the inning by getting Alfonso Soriano to pop out. Blanton would then melt down on the mound in the sixth, as he proceed to walk first Ryan Theriot and then Derrick Lee. After getting out the next two batters, with the runners both moving up a base on the second out, he would then walk DeRosa to load the bases. That was enough for Charlie Manuel, as he would come out to take out Blanton and replace him with Scott Eyre. Eyre would, unfortunatley, walk Fukudome on five pitches, forcing in Theriot, and tying the game at two all, while leaving the bases loaded. Eyre would end the inning by striking out Blanco. In the seventh, the Phillies would try to retake the lead, with runners on the corners and two out, Howard would hit a ball at Cubs’ first baseman Lee, who would proceed to boot the ball, but would somehow be able to throw it in time to pitcher Jeff Samardzija, to get out Howard. This would lead to an argument between Howard,  Manuel, Davey Lopes and first base umpire Chris Guccione, while, according to the Phillies’ announcers, Howard, Lopes and Manuel had a point as Howard would actually beat Lee’s throw to first, which would have given the Phillies the lead with Rollins, who was safe on a force out, moved to second on Shane Victorino’s walk and has gone to third during another force out, coming across the plate during the play. Third base coach Steve Smith would eventually be ejected from the game by home plate umpire Bill Welke for still arguing the call. This would turn out to be huge, as, in the Cubs’ half of the seventh, with one out, Clay Condrey would give up a solo home run to Soriano, his twenty-third home run of the year, to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. This would be the final score, as the Phillies would be unable to score in the eighth inning, and after turning back the Cubs in their half of the eighth, would be unable to get anything done in the ninth, as Carlos Marmol would record his seventh save of the season.

Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he pitches five and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on two hits and five very costly walks. Scott Eyre would get his second blown save of the season, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up only one walk, which sadly brought in the tying run, and one strikeout. Clay Condrey would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA. Rudy Seanez would also pitch an inning, as he gives up no run on one hit. Rich Harden would also receive a no-decision as he would only last five innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits. Chad Gaudin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. Jeff Samardzija would get the win as he pitches an inning and a third, giving up no runs on two hits. Carlos Marmol would get his seventh save of the year as he pitches one and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball, giving up no hits while striking out three.

Multiply factors would kill the Phillies today. First, Blanton’s five walks. Four of those walks would lead to the two runs that he would give up, especially the three walks that he would give up in the sixth inning, loading the bases. Although it would be Scott Eyre who would walk home the tying run, it would never have happened if Blanton had been able to throw strikes when he needed to, especially after getting ahead of the hitters. Secondly, the offense. Although they would force Rich Harden to leave the game early by getting him to work long pitch counts, they would be unable to get a key hit when they needed it when they threaten to score in the early innings. Business as usual for the offense. Third, Jimmy Rollins’ blunder in the fifth, when he could’ve taken his time to throw to first for the third out on Daryle Ward’s grounder to Utley, but instead would rush his throw because of Harry Blanco coming at him to break up the double play. Instead of the score staying 2-0 Phils, it became 2-1 Phillies because he would force Ryan Howard off of the bag to keep it from going past him. And lastly, the umpire’s call in the seventh inning on Howard’s grounder to first that would bounce off of Derrick Lee’s glove. According to instant reply, Howard has actually beaten Samardzija to the bag, but first base umpire Chris Guccione would call Howard out. The broadcasters think that this is the result of the same umpire earlier calling Utley safe on the previous play when he might’ve been beaten by the throw. If it is, it really stinks! as it kept the Phillies from retaking the lead. Oh man, how much more of this do we Phillies’ fan have to suffer through before we all go mad? Or when will all of this buzzard luck finally start to go our boys’ way?

The Phillies (73-62) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (85-50, 1st National League Central), now trying for a split in the series. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern (2:55 pm Central) in Wrigley Field. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (7-10, 4.49), who is coming off a win against the Dodgers on August 25, as he pitches seven shut out innings, giving up nine scattered hits while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be trying to pitch his six straight quality start since returning from the minors and improving his record to 5-1 in his last eight starts, while trying to stop the Phillies’ present slide at three games. The Cubs’ starter will be Ted Lilly (13-7, 4.23), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 25, as he went seven innings, giving up only three earned run on seven hits while striking out seven, in the Cubs’ 12-3 rout. He will be trying to see if he can continue the Cubs’ seven game winning streak and continue the Phillies’ current losing streak.

With the lost, the Phillies are presently trailing the Mets by two game and lead the Marlins by five games, as the Mets defeated the Marlins. The Phillies will be trying to regroup so that they can come back and split the series before continuing their long road trip.

Overworked bullpen allows another good start to disappear in another disastrous eighth inning as the Phillies lose to the Cubs, 6-4.

The Phillies’ bullpen would blow yet another game in the eighth inning as Chad Durbin gives up a grand slam home run to Aramis Ramirez, as the Phillies lose the opener of their four games series with the Major League leading Cubs, 6-4. The Phillies would take the lead in the first inning, as, with runners on the corners and two outs, Shane Victorino would hit a RBI single, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, and sending Ryan Howard, who has walked, to third. After Jayson Werth worked a walk off of Cubs’ starter Ryan Dempster to load the bases, Dempster would end the inning by getting Pedro Feliz to strike out swinging. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels and Dempster, as Hamels would refuse to give up hits to the Cubs while Dempster would get out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. In the Cubs’ half of the fifth, they would tie the game at one all, as, with one out, Mark DeRosa would hit a RBI triple, scoring Kosuke Fukudome, who has gotten on base with an infield single. Hamels would then end the threat by first striking out Dempster for out number two, and then getting Alfonso Soriano to pop up to the shortstop for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then regain the lead in the sixth. Werth would start the inning off with a double. Feliz would then walk, putting runners on first and second. Carlos Ruiz would then hit a RBI single, scoring Werth, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead, while sending Feliz to second. Hamels would then sacrifice the runners over to third and second, respectively, for the inning’s first out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz, to make it a 3-1 Phillies’ lead, while sending Ruiz to third. The Cubs then decided to pitch to Utley, instead of going after a slumping Pat Burrell, and Utley would make them pay for it as he would hit a RBI single, knocking in Ruiz, to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead. Burrell would end the inning by flying out to left. Hamels would then proceed to keep the Cubs silent in both the sixth and seventh innings, before handing the ball over to the bullpen. Unfortunatley, the bullpen would not be able to preserve the win in the eighth. Ryan Madson would give up a lead-off pinch hit home run to pinch hitter Mike Fontenot, his ninth home run of the year, cutting the Phillies’ lead down to 4-2. Soriano would follow with a double. Ryan Theriot would then single, sending Soriano to third, with no one out. Charlie Manuel would immediately take out Madson and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then walk Derrick Lee, loading up the bases. Then, on a 1-0 fastball, Aramis Ramirez would hit a grand slam home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, scoring Soriano, Theriot and Lee, giving the Cubs a 6-4 lead. That would end up being the final score as the Phillies would be turned back in the ninth, with Kerry Wood recording his twenty-eight save of the year.

Cole Hamels would get another no-decision, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one run on five hits and striking out six. Ryan Madson would face only three batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Chad Durbin would get the lost as he received his fifth blown save of the year, as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk. His record is now 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. Ryan Dempster would also get a no-decision as he goes six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out seven. Sean Marshall would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Bob Howry would get the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. His record is now 6-4 with a 5.31 ERA. Kerry Wood would get the save, his twenty-eighth of the year, as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit.

For the second straight night, the Phillies’ bullpen would blow a lead in the eighth inning, now showing itself to maybe getting overworked. It would seem that one or two of the starter(s) might have to go eight full innings if they want to avoid any more eight innings blow ups like in the last two games. Either that, or Charlie Manuel is going to have to find someone who is fresh enough to act as the eighth inning bridge to Brad Lidge. Scott Eyre maybe? Just a suggestion, Chuck.

The Phillies (73-61) will continue their four games series with the Cubs (84-50, 1st National League Central). The game will be played in Wrigley Field and will start at 2:20 pm Eastern (1:20 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.75), who is coming off a no-decision against the Dodgers on August 24, as he went six innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, in the Phillies’ 5-2 extra-inning win. He has never pitched against the Cubs and will be trying to pitched his fourth quality start since his trade to the Phils and his second win, while trying to end the Phillies’ present two games slide. The Cubs will counter with Rich Harden (9-2 (4-1), 2.00), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on August 24, as he went seven innings, giving up only an earned run on two hits and striking out eleven, in the Cubs’ 6-1 win. He has faced the Phillies once before on June 26 as a member of the A’s, giving up no runs on two hits and striking out eleven in eight innings of work, in the A’s 5-0 win. He will be trying for his tenth win, while hoping to once again defeat the Phils.

With the lost, the Phillies trail the Mets by a full game, and are ahead of the Marlins by five games, as the Mets prepare to meet the Marlins for three games in Miami. The Phillies will be trying to recover from their last two loses while trying to see if they can regain first place during the series between the Mets and the Marlins.

Still meeting the Cardinals in St. Louis, now trying for a series win.

The Phillies (59-50) will continue their three games set with the Cardinals (62-50, 3rd National League Central) with a night game tonight from Busch Stadium. The game will start at 7:15 pm Eastern  (6:15 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.13), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on July 27, when he would pitch only two innings thanks to a two hours plus rain delay, as he gave up two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 12-10 win. This will be Blanton’s first career start against the Cardinals, which will hopefully end in Blanton’s favor. Blanton will be trying for his first career win as a Phil as he makes his third start since being traded to the Phillies. The Cardinals’ starter will be Braden Looper (10-4, 4.38), who is coming off a win against the Braves on July 28, going seven strong innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, in the Cardinals’ 12-3 win. He has faced the Phillies already this year back on July 10, where he would go six innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, in the Cardinals’ 4-1 lost. Looper will be trying to improve his season record while seeing if he can do better than he did the first time against the Phillies.

The Phillies will be trying to do better then they did last night when they were only able to get five hits, all of them against the Cardinals’ starter, Kyle Lohse. They will also be trying to score some runs for Blanton, something he didn’t get much of either from the A’s or in his first two starts as a Phil, while the rest of the Phils will be looking for a good start from Blanton in return.

The Phillies are leading the Mets by a game as they prepare to meet the Astros tonight. The Marlins trail the Phils by a game and a half as they play the Rockies. The Phillies now lead the Braves by nine and a half games as they have just lost to the Brew Crew. The Phillies, as they now look to win the series and the road trip, will be trying to put some distance between themselves and their rivals, especially the Braves who are about to enter the point of no return in the pennant race. 

Taking a look at the numbers.

It is now the first of August and the start of the dog days of summer, before we enter the period known as the September pennant races. At the moment, the Philles are leading the National League East, holding a slim one game lead over a resurgent New York Mets squad. How are Charlie Manuel’s boys doing it at the moment/ Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

First, by months. Everybody knows that for the last few seasons people have kept saying that this team needed to win games early in the season, to get a quick start, if they wanted to be in contention for the pennant during September. Well, have they? In fact, they have:

March/April: 15-13

May: 17-12

June: 12-14

July: 15-10

As can be seen, the team has won three of the four months, with their best month being May, and their worst being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.

Another thing that people have said is that you need to win series to stay in contention, and the Phillies so far have also done that. At the moment, they have won 17 series, lost 13 and have tied 4. Of those 17 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in five of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (2), Washington (1)) while they have been swept only once (Los Angeles (AL)).

Another thing that you need to do is to lead in your division. And the Phillies have also done that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both their own division and the other two divisions in the National League:

National League East: 24-19

National League Central: 17-12

National League West: 14-7

Unfortunately, they have not done well this season against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.

But, how have they done against other clubs in the National League? For the most part, they presently have losing records with only two teams, both of them being in their division:

National League East:

Atlanta Braves: 10-2

Washington Nationals: 6-3

Florida Marlins: 4-5

New York Mets: 4-9

Total: 24-19

It is quite obvious that they would have to beat the pants off of both the Mets and the Marlins, whom they will meet for a total of 14 games during the last two months of the season, for the Phillies to gain complete control of the division. They also have 15 games left with the Nationals and the Braves.

National League Central:

Cincinnati Reds: 5-3

Houston Astros: 4-3

St. Louis Cardinals: 3-3

Chicago Cubs: 2-1

Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-1

Milwaukee Brewers: 1-1

Total: 17-12

The Phillies have one more series each with the Cardinals (this weekend), the Cubs, the Pirates and the Brewers for a total of 14 games, which may be important towards the home stretch, especially the four games series against the Cubs in Chicago at the end of the month and the four games series with the Brew Crew at home in mid-September as part of a seven games home stand.

National League West:

Colorado Rockies: 5-0

Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3

San Francisco Giants: 3-3

San Diego Padres: 2-1

Los Angeles Dodgers: 0-0

Total: 14-7

Against the West, the Phillies have only three series left, a three games series with the Padres and two four games sets with the Dodgers, that may become important games for both teams in their divisional pennant races later on this month, for a total of 11 games. With the addition of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers via a deadline trade, the Phillies will probably be trying real hard to get at least a split with the Dodgers.

Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face it, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3

Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2

Boston Red Sox: 1-2

Oakland Athletics: 1-2

Texas Rangers: 1-2

Total: 4-11

With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it means that this team, if it makes it to the playoffs and is able to get into the World Series, will have a problem defeating an American League ballclub, unless they are able to get some more pitching to help bolster the bullpen, or another strong bat either among the regulars or on the bench. Of course, that’s just my opinion. I have no idea what the cheapo owners of this team thinks on extra help.

The Phillies overall record of 59-49 is the fourth best in the National League. The Phillies will probably need to win their division to get into the playoffs, since the Cardinals and Brewers have better records than they do as they presently lead the way in the Wild Card race. The best way for the Phillies to win their division is to start winning series with the Mets and the Marlins, especially against the Mets, whom they have five more games left to play, while they have nine more games to play with the fish, starting this coming Tuesday at home. If they can take care of business with those two teams, especially during the September stretch run, the only real team they will have left to worry about afterwards is the Nationals, since the Nationals will at that point be trying to play the spolier role, especially since they will be playing the Phillies in Philadelphia during the last weekend of the season. Keep your fingers crossed people, it’s going to be a real bumpy last two months of the season.

Phillies enter New York, hoping to leave still in first place.

The Phillies (53-46) goes to New York to meet the Mets (53-46) for an important three games series for first place in the National League East. The first game of the series will be played tonight in Shea Stadium and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their new acquistion, Joe Blanton (5-12, 4.96), who is pitching for the first time since his start as an Oakland Athletics against the Mariners back on July 9. That would end up being his twelfth lost of the season, as he would pitch six innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits, in the A’s 4-6 lost. This will be both Blanton’s first start as a Phillie, and his first start as a National League pitcher. But this will not be the first time that he has faced the Mets. In two previous starts, for the A’s, he has shut them down for fifteen innings, giving up no runs. This will be Blanton’s first start in thirteen days and the Phillies hope that he will be well rested and ready to continue his success against the Mets, as the Phillies will try to win their first series of the second half and regain control of first place. The Mets’ starter will be Johan Santana (8-7, 3.10), who is coming off a no-decision against the Reds on July 17, as he would last only four innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits, in the Mets’ 10-8 come from behind victory. Santana has lost four of his last seven starts, during which his record would be 1-4 with two no-decisions, both of which were lost by the Mets, where he would pitch a combine total of forty-five innings, giving up eleven earned runs on thirty-eight hits. His last start against the Phillies was on July 4, one of his two no-decisions, during which he would go eight innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Mets’ 3-2 lost. This year, his record against the Phils is 1-0, with a no-decision, where he has given up five earned runs in fifteen innings of work. He will be trying for his ninth win of the year while trying to set up the tone for the Mets’ series with the presently floundering Phils.

The Phillies’ offense will be once again trying to regain the potent offense that they had in late May and early June, which seems to have vanished after their twenty run outburst in St. Louis on June 13. The Phillies have not done too well this season against divisional opponents, outside of the Atlanta Braves, presently being only 3-7 against the Mets. The Phillies will be trying for their first series win against the Mets, as well as of the second half, as they hope to take advantage of Mets’ closer Billy Wagner’s present day-to-day status because of a bad shoulder. But, in order to do that, they will need to start playing more situational baseball, the lack of which manager Charlie Manuel has blasted them about after losing Sunday’s game with the fish. If they don’t, they will definately be saying hello to the Nationals before the end of August.

The Phillies are presently tied with the Mets’ for first place in the National League East, both leading the Marlins by a full game, and the Braves by six, after the Braves’ defeat of the fish last night in Miami in the first game of a three games set between the two teams.

Phillies gets Joe Blanton from the A’s for three minor league prospects.

Phillies land workhorse Blanton
Trade sends three prospects to A’s for durable righty

The Phillies continue their visit to Atlanta.

The Phillies (45-39) will continue their three games series with the fourth place Braves (40-44) with a night game at Turner Field. The game will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter for tonight’s game will be Adam Eaton (2-6, 4.86), who is coming off a tough lost against the A’s on June 26, where he would go seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 5-0 lost. He has lost his previous three starts, although pitching rather well in two of them. The Phillies in his previous sixteen starts are 7-9, thanks mainly to a lack of runs support from the offense. He has already faced Atlanta once this season, pitching a no-decision against them on June 8, during the Phillies’ sweep in Atlanta, going six innings, giving up only three earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. He will be trying for his third victory of the season, while hoping that the bats are indeed back and will this time score some runs for him. The Braves will counter with Jorge Campillo (3-2, 2.54), who is coming off a win against the Brew crew on June 25, where he would go seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on four scattered hits, in the Braves’ 4-2 win. He has faced the Phillies already once this year, a no-decision on June 8 as Eaton’s opponent. In that game he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 6-3 lost. He will be going for his fourth win of the year, while trying to put the Phillies’ bats back to sleep, and to help the Braves avoid losing their fifth straight game at home against the Phillies.

The Phillies will be hoping that yesterday’s game will mean the return of their red hot bats, and the start of a break away from the other teams in the National League East. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ starting rotation is still in flux during Brett Myers’ reassignment to the Iron Pigs. Who will the Phillies use in the rotation spot left vacated by Myers? In the meantime, the Phillies have brought up R.J. Swindle from the minors, to help the team while Clay Condrey is still in Texas as his wife gives birth. Will Swindle be the left-handed reliever that the Phils have been looking for to compliment J.C. Romero? Only time will supply the answers to all three questions.

The Phillies will enter tonight’s game with a one game lead over the Marlins as the fish have defeated the Nationals this afternoon. Their lead over the Mets is still three and a half games as they prepared to played the third game of their four games series with the redbirds. The Braves trail the Phils by five game as they prepare to continue hosting the Phils at their home ballpark. The Phillies will be trying for their first two game winning streak since their 20-2 blow out of St. Louis back on June 13, as well as their first series win since their sweep of the Braves back on June 6-8.

Kendrick get his eighth victory as Phillies offense appear to have returned.

Kyle Kendrick pitches six strong innings while the Phillies’ offense gave him some early runs support before finally putting the game away in the ninth, as the Phillies have now defeated the Braves for the fourth straight time in Atlanta, 8-3. The first Phillies’ run would come in the second as Pat Burrell would hit his twentieth home run of the season, leading off the inning, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The Phillies would then break it open in the third against Braves’ rookie Charlie Morton. Rollins would start the inning off with a single to right. Shane Victorino would follow with a two-run home run, his third home run of the year, scoring Rollins, to make it 3-0 Phillies. Chase Utley would then get a single to right, followed by one to center by Ryan Howard, which would send Utley to third, with still nobody out. Burrell would single home Utley to make it a 4-0 Phillies’ lead, while sending Howard to third. Geoff Jenkins would then follow with a single, the fourth straight Phillies’ single and the fifth in the inning, scoring Howard, while sending Burrell to second, as the Phillies now had a 5-0 lead. That would be it for Morton, as Braves’ manager Bobby Cox would take him out, and replace him with Buddy Carlyle, who would come in and get out the three batters he would face via a called third strike (Pedro Feliz), fly out (Carlos Ruiz) and a foul tip strike out (Kendrick). With a five run lead, Kendrick would keep the Braves’ off of the scoreboard for six innings, while throwing his pitch when he needed to to stifle any possible attempts by the Braves to get an inning going. But this would end in the bottom of the seventh, as, after the Phillies were unable to really bust the game wide open in the top half of the inning when they had the bases loaded with only one out, Jeff Francoeur would start off Atlanta’s half of the inning with a single to right. Brent Lillibridge would then single to right, sending Francoeur to second. Pinch hitter Greg Norton would then follow with a double, scoring both Francoeur and Lillibridge, and cutting the Phils’ lead to 5-2. That would be it for Kendrick as Charlie Manuel would replace him with J.C. Romero. Romero would get Gregor Blanco to ground out to first for the first out of the inning, while moving Norton to third base. Romero would then issue a four-ball walk to Kelly Johnson, putting runners on the corners for Clipper Jones. Romero would then walk him, loading up the bases for Mark Teixeira. Teixeira would hit towards Utley what should’ve been a double play ground ball, that, because of Utley’s misplaying of the ball, would instead turn into a ground out, second to first, to get out Teixeira. On the play, Norton would score, making it 5-3 Phils, while Blanco and Jones would both move up a base. But that would be the end of the Braves’ rally as Romero would get Brian McCann to end the inning with a ground out, second to first. After being unable to bust it open in the eighth inning, after once again loading the bases with only one out, the Phillies would finally be able to do so in the ninth, when, with Blain Boyer pitching in relief, pinch hitter Jayson Werth would start the inning off with a single to right. He would then steal second, going to third on McCann’s thowing error. After Jenkins strikes out, Feliz would hit a sacrifce fly, scoring Werth and giving the Phillies a 6-3 lead. Ruiz would then get the walk. Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would then follow with a single to center, sending Ruiz to second. Rollins then walks, loading the bases for the third straight inning, but this time with two outs. Victorino then follows with a two-run single to left, scoring both Ruiz and Dobbs and sending Rollins to second, to put the game away at 8-3. After Utley flies out to right to end the inning, Brad Lidge would come on to pitch the ninth, putting down the Braves and giving the Phillies the win.

Kyle Kendrick would get the win as he pitches a strong six innings plus three batters, giving up only three earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 8-3 with a 4.58 ERA. J.C. Romero and Tom Gordon would both pitch an inning of relief, each giving up no runs on no hits. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up no runs on one hit. Charlie Morton would take the lost, lasting only two innings plus six batters, as he gives up five earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 1-2 with an ERA of 6.16. Buddy Carlyle would pitch three scorless innings in relief, giving up only one hit. Manny Acosta would pitch two scorless innings, giving up two hits. Will Ohman would pitch a scoreless, hitless inning of relief. Blain Boyer would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Royce Ring would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phillies’ offense appears to have returned, as the first six starters (Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Burrell and Jenkins) would all get two hits apiece, while pinch hitters Werth and Dobbs would also get hits, to give the Phillies a total of fourteen hits. All but three of those hits would be single, as Jenkins would get a double, while Burrell and Victorino would both hit home runs. In fact, Victorino would knock in a career high four RBIs during the game. In the game, the batters would appear to have been a bit more patient at the plate, although they would be unable to bust the game wide open in both the seventh and eighth innings when they twice had the bases loaded with only one out, but would be able to do so in the ninth with a third bases loaded situation, and with two men out. Meanwhile, until he ran out of gas in the seventh, although having a low pitch count, Kendrick would be able to keep himself out of any possible dangerous situtaion by being able to throw his pitch when he needed to. One of the Phils’ radio announcers (probably Gary Matthews) commented during the game that Kendrick has been taking advice from the veteran pitcher, Jamie Moyer, and that both Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton have both doing the same. If this is the result of Kendrick talking and listening to the veteran, then more power to him, just keep listening to the veteran.

The Phillies (45-39) continued their three games series in Atlanta (40-44) today with a night game at Turner Field. The game will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Adam Eaton (2-6, 4.86), who is coming off a tough lost against the A’s on June 26, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 5-0 lost. He has lost his last three starts, although pitching well in two of those starts. The Phillies’ in his previous sixteen starts are 7-9. He has already faced Atlanta once this season, pitching a no-decision on June 8, during the Phillies’ sweep in Atlanta, going six innings, giving up only three earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. He will be trying for his third victory of the season, while hoping that the bats are indeed back. His opponent will be Jorge Campillo (3-2, 2.54), who is coming off a win against the Brew crew on June 25, where he would go seven innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Braves’ 4-2 win. He has faced the Phillies already once this year, a no-decision on June 8 as Eaton’s opponent. In that game he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 6-3 lost. He will be going for his fourth win of the year, while trying to put the Phillies’ bats back to sleep, and to help the Braves avoid losing their fifth game at home against the Phillies.

The victory increases the Phillies’ lead over the Marlins to a game and a half as the fish would lose their game to the Nationals. The Mets now trail the Phillies by three and a half games as they won their game with the Cardinals. With the lost, the Braves now trail the Phils by five games. The Phillies will see if they can continue winning while trying to put some more distance between themselves and the rest of the division.

The Phillies return to Atlanta, trying to regain their former thunder.

The Phillies go to Atlanta to end their present three cities, nine games, road trip, as they return to the city where they have had their last good series. The first place Phillies (43-39) will face the fourth place Braves (40-43) for the first of three night games to be played at Turner Field. Tonight’s game will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The floundering Phillies will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (7-3, 4.59), who is coming off a dominating victory over the Athletics on June 25, where he pitched a career high eight innings, giving up only four hits, as he shut down the Athletics, in the Phillies’ 4-0 victory. He has already faced the Braves twice this year, pitching very well in both starts. His 2008 record against Atlanta is 1-0 with a no-decision, in a game which the Phillies would also win, as he pitched a combined eleven and a third innings, giving up only five earned runs on ten hits. Behind him, the Phillies are 12-4, the best record among all Phillies’ staters. He will be shooting for his eighth win of the year, while trying to set the tone as the Phillies hope to regain their winning ways before heading into the All-Star break. The Braves will counter with rookie Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.24), who is coming off a lost against the Brew crew on June 24, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. In his first three career starts, he has pitched seventeen innings, giving up only eight earned runs on seventeen scattered hits. He will be trying for his second win of his young career, while hoping to become yet another young pitcher who will be a future pain in the Phillies’ collective side.

The Phillies’ offense heads into Atlanta, hoping to forget what has gone wrong during their last six series, and try to regain what they were doing right when they swept the Braves here back in early June. Charlie Manuel’s explosive offense will see if a return to more familiar pitching will lead to a return to what the players know that they are very capable of, beating other teams’ pitchers into submission with their bats. Of course, to do that they will have to be more patient at the plate, staying away from first, second and third pitch swinging, and general bad batting selection while standing in the batter’s box, as well as staying aggressive on the basepaths once they do get on base, so that they can support the generally good starting pitching that they have been getting during their recent slide, good pitching that would most times be racking up wins if not for the team’s present general offensive slump. Jimmy Rollins especially needs to start thinking while he is in the batter’s box, and forgo swinging at the first pitch thrown at him, since they seems to be leading him into making mostly easy outs, and keeping him off the bases, so that he is unable to cause problems for the opposing team. If there is one silver lining coming out of what has just happened during the last six series, the Phillies should now know where the holes are, and have already started to decide what they will have to do to plug them up if they expect to get into the playoffs and beyond. Now, if Pat Gillick will be willing to pull the trigger on some trades by the end of the month, if they are not able to fill the holes up with some good players from within their minor league system. 

The Phillies are now leading the Marlins by a half-game as the fish defeated the Nationals in the first game of their three games set at home. The Mets are now trailing the Phillies by three and a half games, as they lost the first of their four games with the Redbirds in St. Louis. The Braves trail the Phillies by four games as they prepare for their three games series with the first place Phillies in Atlanta. The Phillies will be trying to hold onto first place, hoping to recatch the lightening that had lead to their sweep of the Braves, while hoping that the Braves won’t be able to get revenge for that early June sweep.

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