Results tagged ‘ Batting Average ’

The Phils offense is off to a good start in 2011…

Coming out of spring training, everyone pondered how the Phils offense would do without Jayson Werth (now a member of the Nationals) and Chase Utley (knee problems). Well, after nine games, they seems to be doing pretty well.

After nine games, the Phils are among the National League leaders in several offensive categories. They lead the league in team batting average (.334), team slugging percentage (.484), team total bases (155), team hits (107), stolen base percentage (80%) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.865), while they are tied for first with the Reds for most RBIs (58). They are second in on-base percentage (.380), doubles (22), runs scored (59), and team extra-base hits (31). They are fourth in total at-bats (320). They also have the third fewest strike outs (56).

As is shown by the stats, although they are not hitting as many home runs (8) as they have in the past, they are still knocking in runs, as they are getting a lot of singles, with enough doubles added, and are using them to move men around the bases to score.

All but one of the regular eight are presently batting over .300, with Shane Victorino leading the team with a .417 batting average, which puts him in fifth place among batting leaders, thanks to his recent hot series against the Braves. Victorino is also batting .611/432, as he is batting 15 for 36 with 8 runs scored and with 8 RBIs. He has four extra-base hits (2 2BS, 1 3B, 1 HR), for 22 total bases, and has stolen 2 bases, being caught once.

Ryan Howard is next with a .361/.639/.390, as he has gone 13 for 36, scoring 7 runs, while knocking in 11 runs, leading the club, as he have has 6 extra-base hits (4 2Bs, 2 HRs), for 23 total bases.

Thanks to his hot series against the Braves, Carlos Ruiz is third with a .346/.538/.414, as he has gone 9 for 26, scoring 6 runs, as he knocked in 7, with 3 extra-base hits (2 2Bs, 1 HR), for 14 total bases.

Fourth among the starting eight is Placido Polanco with a .342/.447/.390, as he has batted 13 for 38, scoring 6 runs, while he had knocked in 8, with a total of 4 extra-base hits, all doubles, for 17 total bases.

Fifth is Wilson Valdez, who is playing second base as Utley recovers from his injury. Valdez has gone .333/.444/.357, hitting 9 for 27, scoring 5 times, while knocking in 5. He has 3 extra-bases hits, all doubles, for 12 total bases. He also has a stolen base.

Jimmy Rollins, in a contract year, is doing well in the third spot in the line-up, although slowing down in the Braves series, being no. six. He is batting .324/.405/.390, going 12 for 37, crossing the plate 6 times, while still waiting for his first RBI. He has 3 extra-base hits, all doubles, for 15 total bases. He has 3 stolen bases, leading the team.

Seventh is Ben Francisco, who is doing rather well as he handle the right field duties. He has gone .306/.528./375, batting 11 for 36, scoring 7 times, while knocking in 7. He has 4 extra-base hits (2 2Bs, 2 HRs), for 19 total bases. He also has a stolen base, and has been caught once.

Raul Ibanez is the last of the eight, as he has also cool down in the Braves series, after being hot against the Mets. He is presently hitting .257/.400/.350, as he has gone 9 for 35, with 9 runs scored, while he has knocked in 6. He has 3 extra-base hits (2 2Bs, 1 HR), for a total of 14 total bases. He has also stolen 1 base.

The rest of the team, including pitchers, have gone a collective 16 for 49, collecting one extra-base hit (1 HR), for 19 total bases. They have scored 5 times, while knocking in 6 RBIs.

Finally, unlike last year, the team has done very effectively pinch hitting, having ten hits, with 5 RBIs, with 4 of them coming on Ruiz’s pinch hit grand-slam home run last saturday afternoon.

If the Phils can continue what they are doing right now, their starting pitching will be even more effective, since the offense will be handing them leads both at home and on the road.

Cole Hamels comes back to pitch seven innings of four-hit ball on the Braves, as the Phils win, 3-0.

As Shane Victorino had a three-hit game, hitting a solo home run, Cole Hamels recovered from his bad first start by pitching seven strong innings against the Braves, as the Phils win, 3-0.

The first three innings was a pitchers’ duel between the Braves’ Derek Lowe, who gave up one hit, while striking out one, and the Phils’ Cole Hamels, who got through the first nine Braves without giving up a hit, striking out four. The Phils then took the lead in the fourth as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Jimmy Rollins hits into a 6-4-3 doubleplay, scoring Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, then went to third on Placido Polanco’s single, while Polanco, who had just singled, would be wiped out at second base for the inning’s first out. The Phils then took a 2-0 lead in the sixth as Victorino hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year. Cole Hamels then got out of a pair of jams. First, in the sixth, with runners on first and second, via single to Freddie Freeman, who was then moved up to second on a Lowe sacrifice bunt, and then a walk to Nate McLouth, and with two men out, Hamels got Chipper Jones to ground out, 5-3, on the first pitch, to end the threat. Then, in the seventh, after giving up singles to Jason Heyward and Alex Gonzalez, with Heyward going to third, and with two men outs again, Cole got out this jam as he got Freeman to ground out, 4-3, once again on the first pitch. The Phils then added to their lead in the ninth as, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and went to third on right fielder Heyward’s fielding error as he misplayed the ball, as he ran on contact, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. That would be the final score as Jose Contreras collected his second save as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Dan Uggla to end the game.

Cole Hamels (1-1, 5.59) got the win, as he bounced back from his bad start against the Mets, as he pitched seven shut out innings, giving up four hits and a walk, while striking out eight. Ryan Madson received his second hold of the year as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while he struck out a batter. Jose Contreras collected his second save of the season, striking out a batter. Derek Lowe (1-2, 1.45) took the lost, as he went seven innings as well, giving up two runs on seven hits, while he struck out two. Jonny Venters pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Craig Kimbrel pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk, striking out a batter. Hamels came back in his second start, after his disastrous first start, while the bullpen continues to be lights out.

The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Shane Victorino leading the team with three hits, two singles and a solo home run, as he scored two of the Phils’ run, while knocking in one, as he raised his average to .417, after a slow start during opening weekend. Carlos Ruiz followed with two hits, both singles, raising his average to .346, putting all of the Phils’ regular, except for Raul Ibanez, who is now batting .257, at .300 or above. Placido Polanco (Single), Rollins (Double) and Ibanez (Single) had the other three Phils’ hits. Ryan Howard had the other Phil RBI, as he hit an RBI ground out, while Rollins knocked in the other run on a doubleplay, getting no RBI. The Phils’ offense have so far been able to beat the Astros, the Mets and now the Braves’ pitching, although kept under control in three of their first nine games, but winning one of those games, and losing one of the others because one of their starters let the lead get away.

The Phils (7-2, 1st) have tomorrow off, before they go to Washington to meet the Nationals (4-5, 5th) for three games, starting on Tuesday night.

A late inning surge gives the Phils the win, as they defeat the Braves, 10-2.

Seven runs scored in the seventh and eighth innings, including a career first grand-slam home run by pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz, gives the Phils a 10-2 win over the Braves.

The Phils took the lead in the first as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Ben Francisco hits an RBI single, scoring Shane Victorino who had started the game off with a double, then went to third on Jimmy Rollins’ ground out, 3-1, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Braves tied the game up at one-all in the third as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Freddie Freeman hits an RBI single, knocking in Alex Gonzalez, who had earlier doubled. Two batters later, after Brandon Beachy had moved Freeman up to second base with a sacrifice bunt, 1-4, the Braves took the lead as Martin Prado hits a single to right, which Francisco misfielded for an error, allowing Freeman to score, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead. The Phils retook the lead in the fourth as, with a man on, and with two man out, Brian Schneider hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the season, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. The Braves then tried to regain the lead in the sixth, as they loaded the bases, via a single by Chipper Jones, and walks to Brian McCann and Dan Uggla, with two men out. But Roy Oswalt got out of the inning by getting Jason Heyward to pop up to the third baseman for the inning’s final out. The Phils then broke the game wide open in the seventh as, with the bases loaded, via a double by Ibanez, a pinch hit single by pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr. sending Ibanez over to third base, and a walk to Wilson Valdez, moving Mayberry, Jr. up to second base, and with nobody out, pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz hits a pinch hit grand-slam home run, his first home run of the season, and his first career grand-slam, knocking in Ibanez, Mayberry, Jr. and Vadez, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. Three batters later, with a man on second, and with two men out, the Phils made it an 8-2 lead as Howard hits an RBI double, knocking in Victorino, who had earlier singled, then stole second base. The Phils then made it a 9-2 lead in the eighth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Ruiz hits an RBI double, scoring pinch hitter Michael Martinez, who had earlier singled. The Phils then took a 10-2 lead as Victorino hits an RBI single, scoring Ruiz. That would be the final score, as J.C. Romero and Danys Baez would pitch a pair of scoreless innings.

Roy Oswalt (2-0, 2.25) got the win as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on five runs and two walks, while he struck out only two batters. David Herndon, J.C. Romero and Danys Baez combined for three scoreless innings, giving up only one hit (Baez), while striking out one (Baez). Brandon Beachy (0-1, 3.75) took the lost as he pitched six innings plus one batter, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out two batters. George Sherrill pitched to two batters, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk. Scott Linebrink pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits, while striking out two. Cristhian Martinez pitched two innings, giving up two runs on four hits,while also striking out two.

The Phils had fifteen hits in the game, with Shane Victorino leading the team with four hits, three singles and a double, knocking in a run, while scoring two, lifting his average to .375. Jimmy Rollins (Single, Double) and Carlos Ruiz (Grand-Slam Home Run, Double, 5 RBIs) followed with two hits each. Ryan Howard (Double, RBI), Ben Francisco (Single, RBI), Raul Ibanez (Double), Brian Schneider (Home Run, 2 RBIs), Roy Oswalt (Single), pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr. (Single) and pinch hitter Michael Martinez (Single) had the other seven Phils’ hits. The Phils offense went back to where they had left off on Thursday, while their pinch hitters went three for three, knocking in four runs, all on Carlos Ruiz’s first career grand-slam home run.

The Phils (6-2, 1st) will conclude their three-games series with the Braves (4-5, 3rd) tomorrow with an afternoon game at Turner Field. The game will start at 1:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Cole Hamels (0-1, 20.25), who is coming off a horrible start against the Mets on April 5, as he went only two and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter, while striking out only three batters, in the Phils’ 7-1 lost. He will be trying to bounce back from that lost. Derek Lowe (1-1, 0.77), who is coming off a lost against the Brewers on April 5, as he pitched six innings, giving a run on five hits and three walks, while he struck out seven, in the Braves’ 6-1 lost. He will be trying to give the Braves the series win. The Phils will be going for their third series win, while looking to see if Hamels will bounce back from his previous start.

The Phils offense give Roy Halladay plenty of runs support as they shut out the Mets, 11-0.

The bats pounded the Mets, giving Roy Halladay plenty of runs support as the Phils shut out the Mets, 11-0.

After Roy Halladay pitched himself out of a bases loaded, one out, jam in the top of the third, the Phils took the lead in their half of the inning as, with one man on, and with one man out, Shane Victorino hits an RBI single, knocking in Wilson Valdez, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Halladay’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, before Victorino would go to second base on center fielder Angel Pagan’s throwing error. The Phils then took a 2-0 lead as Placido Polanco hits an RBI double, scoring Victorino. The Phils then increased their lead in the fourth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI single, knocking in Ben Francisco, who had earlier singled, then went to second when Raul Ibanez was hit by the pitch, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead, while sending Ibanez, who had been hit by the pitch, to second base. The Phils then made it a 4-0 lead as Valdez hits an RBI double, knocking in Ibanez, while sending Ruiz on to third base. Three batters later, with still two men on, and now with two men out, Polanco hits a two-run single, scoring both Ruiz and Valdez, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. The Phils then took an 8-0 lead in the fifth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Valdez hits a two-run double, his second double of the game, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier singled, then reached second on Ike Davis’ throwing error on an Ibanez ground ball, as he tried to force out Howard at second base, and Ibanez, who had been safe at first on Davis’ throwing error, before he is thrown out at third base trying to stretch it into a triple, 8-6-5, to end the inning. The Phils then took a 10-0 lead in the seventh as, with one man on, and with two men out, Ibanez hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the season, knocking in Howard, who had been safe on a force out, 3-6, as Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled, was wiped out at second base thanks to the shift. The Phils would score once more in the eighth as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Polanco hits into an RBI force out, 6-4, knocking in Valdez, who had earlier singled, moved up to second base on pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr’s single, then went to third on Victorino’s fly out, giving the Phils’ an 11-0 lead, while Mayberry, Jr., who had earlier singled, is wiped out at second base, while Polanco would beat the throw back to first. That would be the final score as David Herndon threw a scoreless ninth.

Roy Halladay (1-0, 0.69) got the win as he pitched seven innings, giving up six scattered hits and a walk, while striking out seven. Danys Baez and David Herndon combined for two shut out innings, giving up a hit (Baez) and a walk (Herndon) between them. Jon Niese (0-1, 6.55) took the lost as he pitched only four innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and a walk, while he struck out seven Phils. Pedro Beato pitched two innings, giving up two unearned runs on three hits. Tim Byrdak pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out a batter. D.J. Carrasco pitched an inning, giving up a run on three hits. Despite not throwing his best stuff, Halladay stayed in there until the offense started to score runs. Then he started to get control of the Mets, before handing it over to the bullpen for two scoreless final innings.

The Phils had their second straight sixteen hits game, with all of the starters, including Roy Halladay, having at least one hit. Wilson Valdez lead the team with four hits, two singles and two doubles, as he knocked in three runs, as he increased his batting average to .429. Shane Victorino (Singles, RBI), Placido Polanco (Single, Double, 4 RBIs) and Jimmy Rollins (Singles), all followed with two hits each. Ryan Howard (Single), Raul Ibanez (HR, 2 RBIs), Ben Francisco (Single), Carlos Ruiz (Single, RBI), Roy Halladay (Single) and pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr. (Single), had the other six Phils’ hits. After scoring only one run on seven hits in the opener of the three games set, the Phils have come back to score 21 runs, while getting thirty-two hits. Meanwhile, the Phils’ pinch hitter have gone 7 for 12 with a walk, during the first six games, knocking in two runs.

The Phils (5-1, 1st) will go on the road for the first time this season, to face the Braves (3-4, 4th) in Atlanta for three games, starting tomorrow night. The game will be played at Turner Field, and will start at 7:35 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.86), who won his first start against the Astros on April 2, as he pitched seven inning, giving up three runs on four hits, while he struck out eleven in the Phils’ 9-4 win. He will be going for his second win of the season, while trying to add to the Braves present woes. The Braves will counter with Tim Hudson (1-0, 1.29), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on April 3, as he went seven innings, giving up a run on three hits and a walk, while he struck out five, in the Braves’ 11-2 rout of the Nats. He will be trying to end the Braves present three-game losing streak. The Phils will hit the road for the first time this season, for three games in Atlanta and three more in Washington, D.C.

In spite of Joe Blanton’s implosion on the mound, the Phils go on to defeat the Mets, 10-7.

After watching Joe Blanton allow the Mets to come back from a seven-run deficit, the Phils retook the lead before defeating the Mets, 10-7, evening the series, and regaining first place.

The Phils took the lead in the first as, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Placido Polanco hits an RBI ground out, 4-3, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier tripled, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The Phils then took a 3-0 lead in the second as, with two men on, and with one man out, Victorino hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, knocking in Pete Orr, who had earlier singled, then went to third as Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey threw away Joe Blanton’s sacrifice bunt attempt for a throwing error, while Blanton, who had gone to second base on Pelfrey’s throwing error of his sac bunt, stayed at second. The Phils would increase their lead in the third as Howard hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the season, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead. Then five batters later, with the bases loaded, via a single by Ibanez, a walk by Ben Francisco, moving Ibanez up to second base, and a single by Orr, moving both man up a base, and with one man out, Blanton hits a two-run single, knocking in both Ibanez and Francisco, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead, while sending Orr to third. The Phils then took a 7-0 lead two batters later as, with runners on the corners, and now with two men out, Polanco hits an RBI single, knocking in Orr, while sending Blanton up to second base. The Mets got two runs back in the fourth as, with one man on, and with no one out, Angel Pagan hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the year, knocking in Carlos Beltran, who had been hit by the pitch, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 7-2. The Mets then got to Blanton in the fifth as, with two men on, and with one man out, David Wright hits an RBI single, scoring Jose Reyes, who had earlier doubled, cutting the Phils’ lead to 7-3, while sending Willie Harris, who had just walked, up to second base. The Mets then cut the Phils’ lead down to 7-4 as Beltron hits an RBI single, scoring Harris, while sending Wright to second base. Two batters latter, with the bases now loaded, after Pagan hits a single, moving both Harris and Wright up a base, and with still one man out, Ike Davis hits a two-run double, knocking in both Harris and Wright, making it a 7-6 Phils’ lead, while Pagan would stop at third. Three batters later, the Mets tied the game up at seven-all as, after Brad Emaus walked to reload the bases, and with now two men out, pinch hitter Daniel Murphy hits an RBI single, knocking in Pagan, while sending Davis to third, and Emaus to second base. The Phils regain the lead in their half of the fifth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Polanco hits an RBI single, scoring Victorino, who had just doubled, giving the Phils an 8-7 lead. The Phils then made it a 9-7 lead two batters later, after Jimmy Rollins had walked, moving Polanco up to second base, as Howard hits an RBI infield single, as third base coach Juan Samuel aggressively sent Polanco home, while Rollins would stop at second base. The Phils then made it a 10-7 lead in the sixth as Francisco hits a solo home run, his second home run of the year. That would be the final score as the Phils’ bullpen would shut down the Mets for the final four innings, with Jose Contreras picking up his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he pitched four and one-third innings, giving up seven runs on ten hits, two walks and a hit batter, while he struck out six. Antonio Bastardo (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he pitched one and two-thirds inning, giving up a hit, while striking out two. J.C. Romero received his first hold of the season as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Ryan Madson also received his first hold of the year as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Jose Contreras recorded his first save of the season, as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk, as he struck out a batter. Mike Pelfrey also got a no-decision as he pitched only two innings plus four batters, as he gave up seven runs, six of which were earned, on eight hits and a walk, while he struck out a batter. Taylor Buchholz pitched two scorless innings, giving up three hits, while he struck out five. Blaine Boyer (0-1, 9.82) took the lost as he pitched two inning, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Pedro Beato and Francisco Rodriguez combined for two scoreless innings, as they walked one batter (Rodriguez), while striking out two (Rodriguez). The Phils’ bullpen came on to stop the Mets, after another Phils’ starter is knocked out of the game, this time pitching four and two-thirds innings, allowing only one inherited runner to score.

The Phils had sixteen hits in the game,  with Ryan Howard leading the team with four hits, an infield single, two doubles and a home run, as he knocked in two runs, while also scoring two, as he raised his average to .524. He would also walk. Placido Polanco followed with three hits, all singles, as he knocked in three runs. Shane Victorino (Double, Triple, RBI), Raul Ibanez (Singles, RBI) and Pete Orr (Singles) came next with two hits apiece. Ben Francisco (Home Run, RBI), Joe Blanton (Single, 2 RBIs) and pinch hitter John Mayberry, Jr. (Single), had the other three Phils’ hits.

The Phils (4-1, 1st) will conclude their three games series with the Mets (3-2, T-2nd) tomorrow with an afternoon game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 3:05 pm. The Phils will send to the mound their ace, Doc Halladay (0-0, 1.50), as he received a no-decision on opening day against the Astros on April 1, as he pitched six innings, giving up a run on five hits, while he struck out six, in the Phils’ 5-4 walk-off win. He will be trying for a series win, while trying to increase his record over the Mets to 5-0. The Mets will counter with Jon Niese (0-0, 2.57), who also received a no-decision, his being against the Marlins on April 2, as he pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk, while he struck out three, in the Mets’ 6-4, extra-innings win. He will be looking to give the Mets the series win. The Phils will be trying to head to Atlanta with a 5-1 record.

As the Phils’ bats wake up, Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings, as the Phils beat the Astros, 9-4.

As the Phils’ offense decides to give Cliff Lee some runs support, Lee responds with seven strong innings as he struck out eleven Astros, as the Phils defeat the Astros, 9-4, as they start the season off with a 2-0 record.

The Phils continued from where they had left off yesterday by taking a quick lead in their half of the first inning as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI single, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Jimmy Rollins’ single, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Rollins, who had just singled, on to third base. The Phils then made it a 2-0 lead as, now with runners on the corner, and now with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Rollins, while sending Howard on to third base. The Astros would cut the Phils’ lead down to 2-1 in the fourth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Carlos Lee hits an RBI triple, knocking in Angel Sanchez, who had earlier singled. The Phils would increase their lead in their half of the fourth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Shane Victorino would hit a two-run single, knocking in Ibanez, who had earlier walked, moved to second base when Carlos Ruiz was hit by the pitch, before moving up to third on Cliff Lee’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, and Ruiz, who had been hit by the pitch, then went to second base on Cl. Lee’s sac bunt, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. The Phils then added to their lead in the fifth as, with a runner on first, and with nobody out, Ben Francisco hits an RBI double, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier lead-off the inning with a single, giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Phils then made it a 6-1 lead as Ibanez hits an RBI single, scoring Francisco. Two batters later, with Ibanez now on second base, after moving there on Ruiz’s ground out, 5-3, and with one man out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI single, scoring Ibanez, giving the Phils a 7-1 lead. The Astros would cut the Phils’ lead down to 7-3 in the sixth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Car. Lee hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the year, knocking in Sanchez, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Hunter Pence’s soft ground out, 4-3. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the seventh as, with one man on, and with no one out, Ruiz hits an RBI double, knocking in Ibanez, who had started the inning off with a walk, giving the Phils an 8-3 lead. The Astros made it an 8-4 Phils’ lead in the eighth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Car. Lee hits an RBI single, scoring Sanchez, who had earlier been safe at first on a Polanco throwing error, then moved up to second base on Pence’s single, while sending Pence, who had just singled, up to third base. The Phils would get the run back in their half of the eighth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Francisco hits an RBI single, scoring Polanco, who had started the inning off with a single, then went to second on Rollins’ ground out, 1-3, giving the Phils a 9-4 lead. That would be the final score as Jose Contreras would shut down the Astros in the ninth inning, striking out the last two batters.

Cliff Lee (1-0, 3.86) gets the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs on four hits, while he struck out eleven. Danys Baez pitched an inning, giving up an unearned run on two hits, while he struck out one batter. Jose Contreras pitched a scoreless ninth as he gave up two hits, while he struck out two. Wandy Rodriguez took the lost (0-1, 15.75), as he pitched four innings plus three batters, giving up seven runs on nine hits and a walk, while he struck out five. Enerio Del Rosario and Mark Melancon combined for two scoreless innings, giving up two hits (one each), while he struck out three batters (Del Rosario (1), Melancon (2)) between them. Aneury Rodriguez, who was making his major league debut, pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Jeff Fulchino also pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while he struck out a batter.

The Phils had fourteen hits in the game, with all of the regulars getting at least one hit, with Placido Polanco leading the team with three hits (singles) as he raised his average to .375. Jimmy Rollins (Singles), Ryan Howard (Singles, RBI), Ben Francisco (Single, Double, 2 RBIs) and Raul Ibanez (Single, Double, 2 RBIs), all followed with two hits each. Shane Victorino (Single, 2 RBIs), Carlos Ruiz (Double, RBI) and Wilson Valdez (Single, RBI) had the other three Phils’ hits.

The Phils (2-0, 1st NL East) will conclude their three games series with the Astros (0-2, T-4th NL Central) with an afternoon game tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park. The game will begin at 1:35 pm EDT. The Phils will start Roy Oswalt (0-0, 0.00), who went a combine 13-13 with a 2.76 ERA for both the Astros and the Phils last year. He will be trying to give the Phils an opening series sweep. The Astros will try to counter with Bud Norris (0-0, 0.00), who is coming off a 9-10 season, with a 4.92 ERA. He will be trying to give the Astros their first win of the season.

In other news, Shane Victroino was taken out of the game, and replaced with John Mayberry, Jr. in the fifth inning with a sore left calf. It is hoped that he won’t be out for any amount of time.

The Phils signed Luis Castillo to a minor league contract.

Yesterday, the Phils signed recently released New York Mets second baseman, Luis Castillo, to a minor league contract, after Castillo had cleared waivers. Castillo, who, in 2010, played in 86 games for the Mets, going .235, with 58 hits, hitting four doubles and two triples, while knocking in only 17 RBIs, will be trying for the second baseman job, to temporarily replace Chase Utley while he continues to battle his injury.

The Phils, if he is able to make the roster, will only pay $414,000 of his $6 million salary. The Mets would pay the rest.

Well, we’ll see how this pan out. Castillo just should not feel too comfortable if he does make the team. After all, he is a temporary solution.

Domonic Brown and Jonathan Singleton are among MLB.com’s Top 50 Prospects.

Yesterday, MLB.com announced who they consider to be Major League Baseball’s top 50 prospects. Among the fifty were two players in the Phillies’ farm system: Dom Brown, who came in at number 4 and Jonathan Singleton, who came in at 30.

Dom Brown, who is expected to join the team during spring training, to serve as part of a platoon in right field with Ben Francisco, to replace the just departed Jayson Werth, spent part of 2010 playing the outfield for both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He batted .327, with an on-base percentage of .391 and a .589 slugging percentage, in 389 at-bats, as he hit 22 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 20 HRs and 68 RBIs for the two farm teams, before joining the major league ballclub during the summer after Shane Victorino got hurt. With limited playing time, as he stay with the ballclub through the playoffs, he batted .210 with 3 2Bs, 2 HRs and 13 RBIs in 62 at-bats, showing at the same time both his potential and his rawness. The Phils sent him to the Dominican Winter League to give him the at-bats he did not get while riding the bench during the last two months of the regular season, but he was sent home after struggling at the plate. So, he will be out to prove himself during spring training, to prove that he deserves to be with the big league ballclub.

Jonathan Singleton, who landed at number 30, spent the year playing for Class-A Lakewood, playing first base, as he went .290/.393/.479, hitting 25 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 14 HRs and 77 RBIs. As he shows potential, Singleton is being converted into an outfielder, as the Phils last season signed Ryan Howard to a five-year, $125-million contracts, which will start in 2012, meaning that he likely will not be able to join the ballclub playing that position. If he is able to show that he can play the outfield, Singleton should have a much better chance getting into the big league, hopefully as a Phil.

Recent News…

Since the last time I’d written something here, the Phils have come to terms with both Ben Francisco (January 15) for one year for $1.175 million dollars with performance bonuses and with Kyle Kendrick (January 18) for $2.45 million, also for one year, to avoid arbitration with both players, thus having all of their players signed up for at least one season. Last season, 2010, in 88 games (28 of which were starts), Francisco batted .268 (48 for 179), as he hit thirteen doubles and six home runs and knocked in 28 RBIs. He also went .282 pinch hitting (11-39), hitting three doubles and knocking in 7 RBIs. This season, Francisco will be used in a platoon with Dom Brown in right field to replace Jayson Werth, who had during the off-season signed a long term contract with the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, Kendrick last season pitched in 33 games (a career-high), 31 of which were starts, as he went 11-10 with an ERA of 4.73, as he pitched in 180.2 innings and struck out 84 batters (both career highs) while walking 49, who, depending on what the team might do, will either be their long man coming out of the bullpen, or fighting for the fifth starter spot with Vance Worley.

As the Phils prepare for the start of spring training next month in Clearwater, Florida, they are looking at their options, thanks to their present embarrassment of riches with their starting pitching staff, which at the moment consists of Roy Halladay (Ace), Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt (who at the moment are being nicknamed either the Four Aces, R2C2 or the Fantastic Four by the fans) and Joe Blanton, as they decide whether they really need to trade Kentucky Joe to another team that needs a good starter to help give them some salary flexibility, or to just keep Joe, and use him as their fifth starter, knowing that he so far have had a good track record pitching for the Phils during the two plus seasons since they’d gotten him from the Oakland A’s to help them down the stretch towards their 2008 World Series Championship. My opinion is that they should hang onto Blanton, unless he brings in a good righthanded bat that’ll help the team in the line-up. Either way, he would be helping the team, especially as the fifth starter, since he is presently seen as a good third or fourth starter on most teams.

Lastly, Charlie Manuel’s contract is coming up this season. Although it is more than likely that the Phils will give him an extension, Charlie had announced on WIP radio yesterday, when asked about it, that he would like a three year contract, and prefer that he signed the contract extension as soon as possible so that it won’t become a distraction for the ballclub during the season, although he does see himself as signing a contract at some point this season. Me, sign him up as soon as possible Ruben. Uncle Chuck seems to know what he’s doing with the players, and we all know that they like playing for him.

Hmm, things seem to be getting even busier around here.

Besides announcing that Juan Samuel would be the team’s new third-base coach and that Sam Perlozzo would be moved to the first-base coaching spot, the Phils have signed to minor league contracts former Tigers pitcher Eddie Bonine (4-1, 4.63 ERA, in 47 appearances (including one start)) and former Pirates catcher Erik Kratz (.118 (4 for 34), 1 RBI). Bonine will probably be competiting for a spot in the bullpen during Spring Training, or be sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while Katz will likely be sent to either Lehigh Valley or Double-A Reading at the start of the 2011 season.

There are reports that the Phils are close to signing Jose Contreras to a two-year $5 million contract. Contreras, who appeared in 67 games, went 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA. He could receive a third option year based on performance incentives. Contreras was a major part of the bullpen last year, and he could certainly help the team next season, if he pitches just as effectively as he did this past season.

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