Results tagged ‘ Caught Stealing ’

Kyle Kendrick and the bullpen throw a six-hit shut out against the Cardinals as the Phils defeat the Cards, 4-0.

Kyle Kendrick throw seven shut out innings, before handing it over to the bullpen which threw two more scoreless innings, as the Phils defeat the Cardinals, 4-0.

The first three and a third innings of the game was a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick and Cardinals’ starter Brad Penny, with Penny throwing three straight 1-2-3 innings, while Kendrick avoided trouble in the Cardinals’ second as, with a runner on second via a double to Colby Rasmus, and with one man out, Rasmus tried to steal third with Yadier Molina batting, and was thrown out, 2-5, for the inning’s second out. That would be important as Molina got on base with a double, which would’ve easily scored Rasmus from either second or third. The Phils took the lead in the fourth as, with a man on base, and with no one out, Placido Polanco hits a two-run home run, his fourth home run of the year, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The Phils increased their lead to 3-0 in the sixth as, Victorino hits a lead-off home run, his sixth home run of the season. The Phils added to their lead in the seventh as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hits an RBI double, knocking in pinch runner Wilson Valdez, running for Juan Castro, who had earlier singled, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead. That would be the final score as Danys Baez and Jose Contreras together pitch a pair of 1-2-3 innings to end the game.

Kyle Kendrick receives the win as he pitches seven shut out innings, giving up only six hits and two walks, while striking out three. His record is now 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA. Danys Baez and Jose Contreras then follow by combining for two 1-2-3 innings, striking out a batter (Baez). Brad Penny took the lose as he pitches six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out six. His record is now 3-2 with a 1.99 ERA. Mitchell Boggs pitches an inning and a third, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Dennys Reyes pitches two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men that he would face.

The Phils had seven hits in the game, with Victorino leading the team with two hits, a single and a solo home run, knocking in a run and scoring two. Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Juan Castro, and pinch hitter Greg Dobbs had the other five Phils’ hits. Polanco’s hit was a two-run home run, knocking in two run. Utley, Howard and Castro each had a single, while Dobbs had a pinch hit double, knocking in a run.

The Phils (16-11, 1st East) will conclude their four-game set with the Cardials (18-10, 1st Central). The game will start at 1:05 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Roy Halladay (5-1, 1.47), who is coming off a complete game shut out win against the Mets on May 1, where he gave up only three hits and a walk, while he struck out six, in the Phils’ 10-0 win. The Doc will be shooting for his sixth win of the year, while trying to give the Phils another series win. The Cardinals will try to counter with Kyle Lohse (0-1, 5.28), who is coming off a no-decision against the Reds on May 1, as he went seven innings, giving up a run on seven hits, while striking out eight, in the Cardinals’ 6-3 win. He will be trying to keep up with the Phils’ ace. The Phils will be trying to win the series, while trying to help Halladay tie for the most wins in the National League.

The Phillies ends Interleague Play with a series win, as they defeat the Blue Jays, 5-4.

The Phillies end Interleague Play on a high note as they leave Toronto with a series win and a two-game winning streak, as they defeat the Blue Jays, 5-4. The win, the 252nd in Jamie Moyer’s long career, pushes him into 43rd place on the all-time wins list, going past Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. But it was not easy.

The Blue Jays took a quick lead in the first as, with one man out, Aaron Hill hits a solo home run, his eighteenth home run of the season, making it 1-0 Blue Jays. Toronto increased their lead in the second, as, with one man on, and two men out, Jose Bautista hits a two-run home run, his second home run of the year, knocking in Lyle Overbay, who had just walked, to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead. In the third, the Phils made it 3-1 Blue Jays, as, with runners on second and third, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI ground out, 3-unassisted, scoring Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, moved over to second on Jayson Werth’s walk, and then went to third when Chase Utley struck out, but the ball got passed Blue Jays’s catcher Raul Chavez for a passed ball, while sending Werth, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on the pass ball, would go on to third base. It then became a 4-1 Blue Jays’ lead as Hill hits a lead-off home run, his ninteenth home run of the year, and his second of the game. Later in the inning, the Blue Jays threathen to add more runs to their lead, as they had two men on base, Scott Rolen via a double, and Adam Lind via a walk, with only one out. But Phils’ starter Jamie Moyer would get out of the jam by striking out first Alex Rios, and then Overbay, with both man swinging. The Phils would then take over the lead in the fourth. The Phils would load the bases on a Pedro Feliz single, a Chris Coste walk, which would move Feliz up to second base, and then a bunt single by Eric Bruntlett, which moved both Feliz and Coste up a base, with nobody out. Carlos Ruiz then hits a grounder to Blue Jays’ third baseman, Rolen, which could have been a doubleplay ball, if the play wasn’t broken up by Bruntlett’s slide, knocking down Blue Jays’ second baseman, Hill. The play instead becomes a force out, 5-4, allowing Feliz to score from third, making the score 4-2 Blue Jays, while Coste would move to third, and Ruiz would be safe first, with only one out. Victorino then followed with a sacrifice fly for the inning’s second out, scoring Coste from third, making it a 4-3 Blue Jays’ lead. Two batters later, with two men on, and still two men out, Utley hits a two-run triple, knocking in Ruiz, who had gone to second on Werth’s single, and Werth, who had just singled, to give the Phils’ a 5-4 lead. That would be the score until the ninth, as Moyer would handle the Blue Jays for the fourth-fifth innings, Chan Ho Park would shut them down for two innings, and Ryan Madson would keep the Blue Jays in check in the eighth inning. In the ninth, the Phils would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge, back from the 15-games disabled list, to record the save. At first, he ran into trouble, as he allowed two men on base, a single to Chavez and a walk to Marco Scutaro, moving John McDonald, who was pinch running for Chavez, to second base with the tying run. After getting Hill to pop out to Utley, with the Infield Fly Rule in effect, for the first out, Lidge would pick McDonald off of second base. After missing McDonald, he threw the ball to Feliz, who would eventually tag McDonald out, 1-5-6-5, for the inning’s second out, killing the threat as the batter, Vernon Wells, then proceeded to ground out 6-3, for the final out.

Jamie Moyer won the game, pitching five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and two walks, while striking four. His record for the year is now 6-6, the Phils’ first six game winner, with an ERA of 6.05. Chan Ho Park recorded his fourth hold as he pitched two scoreless innings, striking out a batter. Ryan Madson recorded his fourteenth hold of the season, as he gave up only a hit and a walk. Brad Lidge recorded his fourteenth save of the year, as he gave up only a hit and a walk. Brian Tallet got the lost, as he pitched six inning, giving up five runs, only four of which were earned, on eight hits and six walks, while striking out six. His record is now 5-5 with a 4.47 ERA. Brandon League, Jeremy Accardo and Jason Frasor combined for three shut out innings, giving up only two hits (League (1), Frasor (1)) and three walks (Accardo (2)  Frasor (1)) between them, while they stuck out only three batters (League (2), Accardo (1)).

The Phillies collected ten hits in the game, with Chase Utley leading the team with two hits, a double and a triple, knocking in two runs, as he raised his average to .302. Shane Victornio, Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, Carlos Ruiz and Matt Stairs got the other eight Phils’ hits, all singles, with Stairs’ being a pinch hit single. Besides Utley’s two RBIs, Howard, Victorino and Ruiz each knocked in a run, with Victorino’s being a sacrifice fly. With Interleague Play now behind them, as well as a series win, the Phils will resume playing fellow National League teams, as they hope to increase their lead in the NL East.

The Phillies (39-34, 1st) have the day off today. They will resume play tomorrow night with their first visit to Atlanta as they face the Braves, hoping to continue their road winning ways as they at the moment stand at .500 for the present road trip. They are presently leading the Mets by two and a half games, as they were swept this weekend by the Yankees.

Jamie Moyer is once again denied his 250th career win as the Phillies lose to the fish, 5-3.

Once again, Jamie Moyer is denied his 250th career win as he loses to the Marlin for only the second time in his career, as the Phils lose to the fish, 5-3.

The Phils took a quick 2-0 lead in the first, as, with a man on base, and two men out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run home run, his eleventh home run of the year, scoring Raul Ibanez, who had earlier walked. The Marlins took the lead in the fourth, as, with two men on base via walks, and nobody out, Wes Helms hits a three-run home run, his first home run of the year, scoring both Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu, making it 3-2 Marlins. In the sixth, with two men on, and two men out, Ronny Paulino hits an RBI single, scoring Helms, who had earlier singled and had gone to second on Cody Ross’ single, making it a 4-2 Marlins’ lead, as he beats the throw to home plate, while sending Ross to third, while Paulino would move on to second on the throw to the plate. In the Phils’ half of the sixth, they would get a run back, as Howard hits a lead-off home run, his twelfth home run of the season, and his second in the game, cutting the Marlins’ lead to 4-3. In the seventh, the Marlins got an insurance run as, with two men on, and two men out, Helms hits an RBI single, scoring Jeremy Hermida, who had earlier singled, making it a 5-3 Marlins’ lead, while sending Cantu, who had earlier walked, over to third. That would be the final score as the Phils’ threat in the ninth fizzle out after Shane Victorino is throw out at second base, caught stealing.

Jamie Moyer took the lost, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks, while he struck out five. His record is now 3-5 with a 7.42 ERA. Chan Ho Park pitched three innings of relief, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, while he also struck out five. Chris Volstad got the win, as he pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out six. His record is now 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA. Dan Meyer pitched a third of an inning, getting his eight hold of the season as he retired the only man he would face. Leo Nunez pitched a scoreless inning as he also recorded his eighth hold of the year, striking out a batter. Matt Lindstrom got the save, his ninth of the season, as he pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a walk, while striking out one. 

The Phillies had only six hits in the game, with Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz leading the way with two hits apiece, with Howard’s two hits being a pair of home runs, accounting for all three of the Phils’ runs. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino would account for the other two Phils’ hits. The lost leave Jamie Moyer still looking for career win number 250, as folks begin to wonder how much longer this can go on.

The Phillies (24-19, 1st) continues their three-games home stand with the pesky Marlins (21-25, 4th). The game will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (2-3, 7.11), who is coming off a win against the Reds on May 21, as he pitched only five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 12-5 win. He will be looking to even his record while improving on his last start. The Marlins’ starter will be Andrew Miller (1-1, 4.94), who is coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on May 21, as he went seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, as he struck out nine, in the Marlins’ 4-3 lost. He will be trying for his second win of the season. The Phillies will regroup and try to defeat the pesky Marlins tonight, so that they can go out and win the series tomorrow night. Their lead in the National League East is presently a half-game over the Mets.

And once again, some numbers: Phillies’ Fielding.

Here is one last set of numbers to show how the Phillies were able to win first the National League East and later the National League itself this past season. Good teams win by being able to play good defense behind their pitchers. Let’s see how well the Phillies did in the field. In a 162 games season in which they played in 1449 and two-third innings (7th), they had a team field percentage of .985, tying them with the Colorado Rockies for fifth best in the league. They had 6137 total fielding chances (7th), making 4349 put outs (7th) and 1698 assists (T-6th with Milwaukee), while committing only 90 errors (12th worst). They would turn over 142 double plays (T-9th with Houston). Their catchers would allow only 5 passed balls (T-15th worst with Milwaukee). They sadly would allow 109 stolen bases (5th) while throwing out 34 runners (9th). The team would end the season with a Defense Efficiency Rating (DER) of .7080, fifth best in the league. With these numbers, it shows that, defense wise, this was mainly a team that was either in or near the middle of the pack in most defensive categories, that did get to make many double play and was run on by the opposition, but at the same time did not commit too many errors or saw many balls get past their catchers. They also ended the season with a very high DER among the sixteen teams that played in the National League. While they could’ve done better in the field, the team’s fielding was good enough to support the team’s pitching staff, thus allowing the staff to keep the team in enough games for the offense to eventually win them.

2008 World Series: Game 1: The Phillies takes a 1-0 lead behind the strong pitching of Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from the bullpen as they defeated the Rays, 3-2.

Seven strong innings from Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Rays, 3-2, to take the first game of the World Series. The Phils would jump into the lead in the top of the first, when, with a runner on first and one man out, Chase Utley would hit a two-run home run into the right field seats, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phillies would threaten to increase their lead in the second, when, with the bases loaded via a single (Shane Victorino) and two walks (Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz) and with one man out, Victorino would try to score on a shallow fly ball to left center field by Jimmy Rollins that was caught by Rays’ centerfielder B.J. Upton for the inning’s second out. Victornio, who would later admit that he ran home on a miscommunication with third base coach Steve Smith, who was telling him not to go home, would be tagged out at home plate by Rays’ catcher Dioner Navarro for the inning’s final out. In the top of the third, the Phillies would threaten to score again after Werth would reach third base via a lead-off double and a Utley ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out. But Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir would get out of the inning by getting first Ryan Howard and then Pat Burrell to strike out swinging. The Rays would then mount a threat of their own in their half of the third as they would load up the bases with only one out via two singles (Ben Zobrist and Akinori Iwamura) and a walk (Jason Bartlett). But Cole Hamels would end the threat by getting Upton to ground into a 5-4-3 double play on a sharp grounder hit to Feliz. The Phillies would finally add another run in the fourth as, with runners on second and third and one man out, Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move to second on Feliz’s single, and who would both move up a base on Chris Coste’s ground out to first, would cross the plate on Ruiz’s ground out, 6-3, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The Rays would finally get on the scoreboard as, with two outs, Carl Crawford would hit a solo home run on a Hamels’ curveball, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 3-1. The Rays would then cut the Phils’ lead down further in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two men out, Iwamura would hit a RBI double, scoring Bartlett, who has earlier walked and then stole second, to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by getting Upton to foul out to Howard, who would make a spectular catch just inside the stands behind the first base foul line. The Rays would try to threaten again in the sixth as Howard would boot Carlos Pena’s ground ball for a fielding error. But, when Pena tried to steal second, he would be picked off by Hamels, who would throw over to Howard, who would then throw to Rollins, would would just barely tag out Pena for the inning’s first out, although the Rays’ bench would claim that Hamels had actually balked, a claim that first base umpire Kerwin Danley would ignore. Hamels would then proceed to strike out Evan Longoria and then get Crawford to ground out, 4-3, to end the inning. The Phillies would make another threat to score an extra run in the seventh, as, with runners on third (Utley (single, stolen base and wild pitch (J.P. Howell)) and first (Burrell (walk), who was then replaced by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett) and two outs, Rays’ reliever Grant Balfour, the second Rays’ reliever for the inning, would end the inning by striking out Victornio. Hamels’ seventh would be an easy eleven-pitch 1-2-3 inning. After the Phillies would go down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Ryan Madson would come out in relief of Hamels and proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 inning of his own. In the Phillies’ ninth, the Phils would make one final attempt to get an insurance run as they would get runners on second (Werth (ground-rule double) and first (Utley (intentional walk)) and one out. But, the Rays would get out of the inning as first Howard would strike out looking and then Bruntlett would pop out to the second baseman. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to close it. Lidge would proceed to strike out Pena and Longoria on seven pitches before ending the game by getting Crawford to foul out to Feliz for the final out, recording the save.

Cole Hamels would get the win as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 4-0 record in the post-season. Ryan Madson would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Brad Lidge would also pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two, as he would record his fifth save in the post-season and his forty-sixth save in forty-six tries. Scott Kazmir would receive the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.50. J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour, Trever Miller and Dan Wheeler would combine for three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Howell and Balfour one hit apiece) and two walks (Howell and Balfour would each give up a walk), while striking out five (Howell and Balfour two each and Miller one).

The Phillies would win last night’s game thanks to the bullpen shutting down the Rays’ offense in the last two innings, while Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine to get the last eleven Ray batters out, after Hamels had picked off Carlos Pena trying to steal second in the sixth inning. Speaking of the pick off, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and the Rays’ bench all thought that Hamels had balked before he threw to first base after Pena had started to run towards second base. The first base umpire, Kerwin Danley, would ignore their argument, but before the start of the Phillies’ seventh, home plate umpire Tim Welke told Maddon that he would look into the matter. Quite frankly, I don’t know what the point of all this is. If it was a balk, Danley should’ve called it right then and there. I just hope this wasn’t an attempt by Maddon to influence things later in the series as it could backfire on his team since the umpires could decide to look closely at the pitchers of both teams when their pitchers throw towards first when there is someone on base who is a basestealing threat. I guess time will tell. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense would once again in the post-season be unable to hit an early knockout blow against their opponent as they would leave eleven men on base, thanks mainly to Ryan Howard being unable to stop chasing junk out of the strike zone. Hey big guy, lay off the junk pitches will you? As long as you keep swinging at them, they’re going to keep throwing them to you. Please follow Charlie Manuel’s advice, just relax at the plate and let the ball come to you. Even if it means hitting into an out, it’ll at least be a lot better than being made to look like a fool with your constant swing and misses at off-speed junk.

The 2008 World Series continues tonight with the series’ second game, being played tonight at Tropicana Field. The game will begin at 8:29 pm Easten time. The Phillies will send to the mound Brett Myers (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his victory over the Dodgers on October 10, where he went five innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 8-5 win, thanks in part to his going 3 for 3 at the plate, knocking in three runs and scoring two. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA, as he pitched twelve innings, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and seven walks, while striking out ten. During the regular season, his record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA, as he pitched in thirty games, giving up 103 runs, 96 of which were earned, on 197 hits and 65 walks, while striking out 163 batters in 190 innings of work. But, he was a better pitcher in the second half, after his return from a minor league reassignment, as he would go 7-4 with two no-decisions. Myers will be pitching his first start on the road during the post-season, and hoping to stake the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the series, while hoping to avoid a repeat of his last road start back on September 19 against the Marlins where he got bombed for ten earned runs. The Rays will be countering with James Shields (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his second straight bad start in the ALCS against the Red Sox on October 18, as he would last just five and two-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Rays’ 4-2 lost. In the post-season, his record is 1-2 in three starts, as he would pitch ninteen and a third innings, giving up nine runs, eight of which were earned, on twenty-one hits and six walks, while striking out thirteen. His regular season record was 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA, as he would pitch in 33 games, going 215 innings, giving up 94 runs, 85 of which were earned, on 208 hits and 40 walks, while striking out 160. Shields will be going out to even the series at a game a piece, while trying to avoid getting hurt for the third straight game in the post-season. The Phillies will once again be trying to be patient with another Rays’ starter who have had even worst recent luck in the post-season than has last night’s starter Kazmir before striking the major blow, while hoping that Myers will be able to do well on the road for at least this game, before heading back home to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and its very loud, screaming fans.

GO PHILLIES!!!

More by the numbers: Phillies’ Offense.

So how did the Phillies do offensively both individually and as a team? First, let take a look at how the Phillies did as a team. (Comment: When I put down worst, flip it over as it really means that they were near the bottom in a particularly bad offensive category. So, for example, eighth worst in total strike outs means that they have as a team actually struck out fewer times then have the seven teams above them.)

In 162 games, the team had a team batting average of .255, 10th best in the NL, which puts them in the middle of the pack. Their team slugging percentage was .438, second best in the league, while their on-base percentage was .322, the league’s seventh best offensive team. The team’s OPS (On-base percentage plus Slugging Percentage) was .770, third best in the league. The team went to the plate officially a total of 5509 times, for 10th best in the NL, while they went to the plate (TPA) a total of 6273 (seventh) times. They crossed home plate a total of 799 times, tied for second best in the league with the New York Mets. They had 1407 hits, once again for 10th place in the NL. Of those hits, 291 of them were doubles (ninth), 36 were triples (fourth) and 214 were home runs (1st) for a total of 541 Extra-Base Hits (2nd) and 2412 total bases (third). They had 762 RBIs (second), of which only 40 came via a sacrifice fly (12th). They had 71 sacrifice hits, which tied them for fourth place with the St. Louis Cardinals. They walked a total of 586 times (fifth) of which 68 were intentional (second). They were also hit by the pitch 67 times (fourth). They would strike out a total of 1117 times, for eighth worst in the league. They stole 136 bases (third), while being caught only 25 times (13th worst), giving them a SB% (Stolen Base Percentage) of 84.5, the best in the NL. They would hit into 108 double plays, for 12th worst in the league. They saw 24,124 pitches (sixth). They made 1516 ground outs (fourth most) and the same number of fly outs (1516, also fourth) for a GO/AO (Ground Out to Fly Out ratio) of 1.14 (11th worst).

Put together, this means that during the regular season, the Phillies was an offensive machine who, although they didn’t get many hits, were very likely to kill you with extra-base hits, mainly home runs and triples, and would score a lot of runs off of their opponents’ pitching. They were also a team that could get on base via the walk, partly because the opposing team would rather not allow themselves to be beaten by their big men. They would also steal a lot of bases and knew when to pick their spots when they did so. Overall, they would strike out very little and would hit into very few double plays. If they had an achillies’ heel, the team did not hit too many sacrifice flies, meaning that they didn’t do much small ball, although they did know how to move the runners over when they needed to. Also, they were an about average team when it came to taking opposing teams’ pitchers deep into counts.

Now individually. Ryan Howard lead the NL in most Home Runs (48) and RBIs (146), while ninth in runs scored (105) and sixth in slugging percentage (.543). Chase Utley was tied for 19th in batting avg. (.292), tied for ninth in home runs (33), eleventh in RBIs (104), tied for fifth in runs scored (113), tenth in hits (177), tenth in doubles (41) and ninth in slugging percentage (.535). Shane Victorino was the Phillies regular with the highest batting avg. (.293) which was 18th in the NL. He was also 13th in runs scored (102), sixth in stolen bases (36), and 5th in triples (8). Pat Burrell was tied for ninth in home runs (33) and tied for 20th in slugging percentage (.507). Jimmy Rollins was third in stolen bases with 47, tied for 18th in doubles (38), and fourth in triples (9).

This means that this is a very dangerous hitting club that should not be taken lightly, while the team’s star players were all, in their own ways, able to did a lot of damage to opposing teams’ pitching when they were given the chance to do so. 

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 1: Sweeping the Nationals and ending the regular season on a high note.

The Phillies, behind a bunch of rookies and bench players, defeated the Nationals, 8-3, ending the 2008 regular season on a high note. They will now be facing the Brewers in the National League Divisional Series starting this coming Wednesday afternoon.

The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as, with two men on base and one out, Eric Bruntlett, who has earlier singled and then moved to third on Tadahito Iguchi’s double, would cross the plate on Nationals’ starter Odalis Perez’s wild pitch, while Iguchi would move up to third. The Nationals would tie the game in the third, as the Phillies’ surprise starter Kyle Kendrick would give up a lead-off home run to Luke Montz, his first career home run. The Nationals would then take the lead in the fourth as, with a runner on second and no one out, Kory Casto would hit a RBI double, scoring Anderson Hernandez, who has earlier doubled, to make it 2-1 Nationals. Two batters later, with Casto now on third, after moving up on Ryan Langerhans’ ground out, 4-3, he would score on Alberto Gonzalez’s RBI single, making it 3-1 Nationals. The Phillies would strike back in their half of the fourth, as, with runners on second and third and two outs, So Taguchi would hit a two-run single, scoring Lou Marson, who has earlier singled, his first hit in the majors, and would move up to third on pinch hitter Jayson Werth’s single, who would later steal second, tying the game up at three all. Eric Bruntlett would then follow with a RBI double, knocking in Taguchi and giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. The Phillies would add to their lead in the sixth, when, with a runner on first and two outs, Taguchi would hit a RBI triple, knocking in pinch hitter Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled to the left of the shift that most major league teams would put up against him, making it 5-3 Phillies. Then in the eighth, the Phillies would put the game away, when, with a runner on first and two outs, Marson would hit a monster two-run home run to left, his first career home run, scoring Greg Golson, who was earlier safe at first on a force play, which has wiped out Mike Cervenak, who has earlier reached base on a fielding error by Nationals’ shortstop Hernandez, giving the Phillies a 7-3 lead. Pinch hitter Matt Stairs would then follow with a solo home run to right, his thirteen home run of the year, to give the Phillies an 8-3 lead. That would be the ballgame as Clay Condrey would come in to pitch a scoreless ninth, although he would give up a walk and then a single before recording the final out of the Phillies’ 2008 regular season by getting Emilio Bonifacio to ground out, 3-1.

Kyle Kendrick, the surprise starter, would get a no-decision as he pitches four innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Kendrick, who is not on the Phils’ post-season roster, will now be sent down to the Florida Instructional League to rebuild his confidence in his pitches as well as being taught two more pitches to help compliment his slider, before he comes back to join the team for spring training 2009. Les Walrond would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up two hits as he struck out four. His record is now 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA. J.A. Happ would pitch one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, giving up two hits as he struck out three. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up a hit and a walk. Odalis Perez would get the lost, as he is only able to pitch three and two-thirds inning, leaving the game early because of a possible injury and with the Nats not taking any chances with his career, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on eight hits while striking out five. His record is now 7-12 with an ERA of 4.34. Shairon Martis would pitch two innings and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits while striking out three. Marco Estrada would pitch two innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on three hits.

The Phillies (92-70) would end the year with a sweep of the Nationals, winning the third game of the series with rookies and bench players, although two of the regulars, Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard would both come up to bat as pinch hitters, both getting singles and both scoring. Among the bench players, So Taguchi would lead the way by going 3 for 5, getting a triple, knocking in three runs while scoring one. Eric Bruntlett and Tadahito Iguchi would be next as they each went two for five, with Bruntlett knocking in a run and scoring one. Geoff Jenkins would be the other bench player who would get a hit. The only one among the rookies with a good day would be Lou Marson, who would go 2 for 4, getting his first major league career hit, a single, score his first run, knock in his first RBI and hit his first home run of his career, all in the same game. He also threw out his first base stealer of his career, as he caught the Nationals’ Emilio Bonifacio when he overslid second base on a steal attempt, tagged out by Iguchi when he tried to put his foot back on the bag. Also, all three pinch hitters that the Phillies would send up to the plate would hit safely as Matt Stairs would add a solo home run to Werth and Ryan’s singles. The victory gives the Phillies the second best record in the National League, beind the Central Division Champions Chicago Cubs, and the fifth in the majors, behind the American League Western Division Chmpions Los Angeles Angles, the American League Eastern Division Champions Tampa Bay Rays and the American League Wild Card Winner and Current World Champions Boston Red Sox.

The Phillies ended the season in first place in the National League Eastern Division, with a record of 92-70 for a winning percentage of .568, ending twelve wins over .500. They ended up being three games ahead of the Mets, who ended up with a record of 89-73 .559, seven and a half games ahead of the Marlins, who ended up with a record of 84-77 .522, twenty games ahead of the Braves, who ended up with a record of 72-90 .444 and thirty-two and a half games ahead of the Nationals, who ended up with a record of 59-102 .366.

The Phillies will now have today and tomorrow to rest up before they get ready to face the Wild Card Winner Milwaukee Brewers for a five games National League Divisional Series, which will start in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Phillies lose tough one to the Braves as their lead in the East shrinks to a game and a half.

A throwing error by Cole Hamels, the lack of a clutch hit with the bases loaded and a base running error in the sixth would all lead to a hard lose as the Phillies lose a close one to the Braves, 3-2. The Mets’ win against the Cubs cuts the Phils lead in the East down to a game and a half and leaves the magic number for winning the East at four while a Brewers’ win leave the playoff magic number at one.

The Braves took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second and one out, Kelly Johnson would hit a RBI single, scoring Martin Prado, who has earlier singled, giving the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would tie up the game in the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled, went to second on Pat Burrell’s walk and would go to third on Shane Victorino’s 4-6-3 double play ball, which wiped out Burrell at second. The Braves would retake the lead in the third as, with runners on first and second and two out, Coel Hamels would have Johnson, who has gotten on base earlier with a single and then would move to second on Omar Infante’s single, picked off as Johnson was trying to steal third. But, Hamels’ throw to Feliz at third would go behind the third baseman and into left field, allowing Johnson to score and make it 2-1 Braves. The Phillies would threaten to even the score in their half of the third as they loaded up the bases with a double (Chase Utley), a throwing error by Johnson (Jayson Werth) and a walk (Howard), with two men out. But Braves’ starter Mike Hampton would end the threat by getting Burrell to pop out to the third baseman. The Braves would increase their lead in the sixth, as, with two outs, Casey Kotchman would hit a solo home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, making it 3-1 Braves. The Phillies would get a run base in their half of the sixth, as, with a runner on third and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI double, scoring Howard, who has earlier tripled, to make it a 3-2 Braves’ lead. Then Burrell would make a crucial base running blunder as, when Shane Victorino hit a hard ground to Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge, instead of going back to second, as he should’ve done, he would be caught off second and then be run down before finally being tagged out by Johnson, with the play going 6-5-4, with Victorino being safe at first on the fielder’s choice. Later, with Feliz batting, Victorino would try to steal second. He would be thrown out by Braves’ catcher Brian McCann for the inning’s second out as Johnson supplies the tag. Feliz would then end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Burrell base running blunder would seems to take the wind out of the Phillies’ sails for the rest of the night as they would be unable to mount another threat as the game ended up being a win for the Braves.

Cole Hamels would take the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, as he struck out seven. His record is now 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09. Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them, while striking out one (Romero). Mike Hampton would get the win as he pitches six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. His record is now even at 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA. Will Ohman and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, with both man giving up no hits while Bennett would walk a batter. Mike Gonzalez would record his fourteenth save of the year as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits as he walked a batter and struck out one.

The Phillies would get done in by the kind of mistakes that they have been avoiding lately, namely a throwing error by Cole Hamels when he had Kelly Johnson dead to rights when Johnson was trying to steal third, being unable to get the clutch hit when they needed it after they had loaded up the bases and Pat Burrell’s base running blunder with no one out. With Hamels’ errant throw, even with his throwing behind Pedro Feliz, if the throw has gone into Feliz’s glove, and Johnson has been safe at third, the Braves would have been turned back as Hamels then struck out Casey Kotchman to end the inning, keeping the game tied at 1-1. This might have been the turning point of the game, as the Phillies, in the later half of the inning, would mount a bases loaded threat that would be turned back because of a pop up into foul territory by Pat Burrell that was caught by Braves’ third baseman Martin Prado. But what really killed the Phillies was Burrell’s later base running blunder in the sixth. With the play in front of him, he should’ve went back to second when Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge caught Shane Victorino’s hard ground ball. Instead, he allowed himself to get trapped between second and third, and then compounded things by not staying in the base paths long enough to allow Victornio to get to second base. An added insult would be Braves’ catcher Brian McCann throwing out Victorino when Victorino tried to steal second. Hopefully the Phillies will be able to bounce back from the lost and win tonight’s game with the Braves.

The Phillies (89-69) will play the final game of their three games home stand with the Braves (70-88) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46), who is coming off his worst outing since his return from the minors, as he lost to the Marlins on September 20, where he only went four innings plus five batters, giving up ten earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 14-8 lost. Myers should be able to come back from that start, like his did in his previous start against the Brewers on September 14, where he pitched a complete game shut out, after his lost to the Marlins on September 10. The lost makes Myers 7-3 since his return. He will be trying for his eleventh win overall while getting the Phillies a bit closer to the playoff with four games left to play. The Braves will oppose him with Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on September 19, where he only lasted three and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 9-5 lost. Against the Phillies this year, he has appeared in three games, two of them starts, where his record is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA, hoping that he won’t get bombed again by the Phillies’ bats as he starts against them.

The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead over the Mets down to a game and a half as the Mets defeated the Cubs. The magic number for the Division crown is still at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead is still a game over the Brewers as they defeated the Pirates, while their lead over the Astros is now four and a half as they lost to the Reds. The Phillies will be trying to recover from last night’s lost, hoping for another good outing from Myers while hoping to once again sting Reyes and send the Braves packing with another lost.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.