Results tagged ‘ Pop Out ’

A pair of three-run bombs help propel the Phils past the Dodgers, 8-6, to take a 1-0 lead in the 2009 NLCS.

Two three-run home runs by Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez and a two-run double by Ryan Howard help lead the Phils to an 8-6 victory in the first game of the 2009 National League Championship Series. The Phils lead the seven-games series with the Dodgers, 1-0.

The Dodgers struck first in the bottom of the second as James Loney hits a solo home run, his first in the series, over the right field fence to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The game then developed into a pitchers’ duel for the first four innings between Phils’ starter Cole Hamels and Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw. During those four innings, Kershaw had the Phils’ bats quieted, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out two batters. Meanwhile, Hamels, besides Loney’s home run, gave up three hits and a walk, pitching himself out of a two on, two out jam in the first inning, while striking out three Dodgers. The Phils then struck in the fifth as, with two men on, via a single to Raul Ibanez, who then moved up to second on a wild pitch, and then a walk to Pedro Feliz, and with nobody out, Carlos Ruiz hits a three-run shot to left, his first home run of the series, scoring both Ibanez and Feliz, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. Five batters later, with two men on, and with two men out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who got on base on a force out, wiping out Hamels at second, who had earlier walked, then moved up to second on a wild pitch as Shane Victorino struck out, swinging, and then moved to third on the third wild pitch in the inning, and Chase Utley, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Dodgers then came back in their half of the inning as, with runners on the corners, and with one out, Andre Ethier hits into a force out, 6-4, knocking in Russell Martin, who had earlier hit a ground-rule double, and then went to third on Rafael Furcal’s single, making it a 5-2 Phils’ lead, as Furcal, who had just singled, was forced out at second base, before Ethier would move up to second as Utley’s throw to first went into the Phils’ dugout. The next batter, Manny Ramirez, then made it a 5-4 Phils’ lead, as he hits a two-run home run into left center field, his first home run of the series, scoring Ethier. The Dodgers would threathen to score in the sixth, as they loaded up the bases on singles by Loney and Ronnie Belliard and a walk to pinch hitter Jim Thome, who was then pinch run for by Randy Wolf, with two men out. But, J.A. Happ, who was pitching in relief of Chad Durbin, who had earlier come in in relief of Hamels, ended the inning by getting Furcal to ground out, 4-3. The Dodgers then threathen again in the seventh as Ethier lead off the inning with a double. But, Chan Ho Park, pitching in relief of Antonio Bastardo, turned back the Dodgers by getting Ramirez to ground out, 5-3, then struck out Matt Kemp, swinging, before ending the inning by getting Casey Blake to also ground out, 4-3. The Phils then increased their lead in the eighth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Ibanez hits a three-run bomb to right, knocking in Howard and Jayson Werth, who had both walked, giving the Phils an 8-4 lead. The Dodgers then tried to come back in their half of the eighth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Martin hits an RBI single, knocking in Loney, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second on Belliard’s single, cutting the Phils’ lead to 8-5, while sending Belliard, who had just singled, over to second. Two batters later, after pinch hitter Juan Pierre hits into a force out, 1-4, as a low throw to second from reliever Ryan Madson killed a possible double play attempt, wiping out Martin at second, while Belliard moved up to third, Furcal hits a sacrifice fly for the inning’s second out, knocking in Belliard, to make it an 8-6 Phils’ lead. Madson would then get out of the inning by getting Ramirez to ground out 5-3, with runners on first and third. Brad Lidge was then given the ball in the ninth to save it. Lidge was greeted with a lead-off single by Kemp. But, he then got Blake to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Kemp at second base, for outs number one and two. Loney then worked a walk, after falling behind 0-2, to keep the game alive. After Loney took second on defensive indifference, Lidge finally recorded the save, his first for the series, by getting Belliard to pop up to Rollins for the final out.

Cole Hamels got the win, as he pitched five and one-third innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out four. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA. Chad Durbin picked up his first hold of the series as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. J.A. Happ also picked up his first series hold as he pitched a third of an inning, giving up a walk. Antonio Bastardo pitched to one batter, giving up a hit. Chan Ho Park got his first hold as he pitched a scoreless inning, as he struck out a batter. Ryan Madson pitched an inning, as he gave up two runs on four hits. Brad Lidge got the save, his first in the series, as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Clayton Kershaw took the lost as he went just four and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on four hits, five walks and three wild pitches, while he struck out three. His series record is now 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA. Ramon Troncoso pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo combined for two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit (Kuo), while striking out two (Kuo). George Sherrill pitched an inning, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while he struck out a batter.

The Phils had only eight hits in the game, making the most of them, along with the seven walks that they received. Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz led the team with two hits apiece, with both Ibanez and Ruiz each hitting a three-run home run. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard had the other two Phils’ hits, with Howard’s hit being a two-run double. The Phils did very well with runners in scoring position as they went 3 for 5.

The Phils (1-0) continues their NL Championship Series with the Dodgers (0-1) with an afternoon game at Dodgers Stadium. The game will start at 4:07 pm Eastern (1:07 pm Pacific). The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63), who last pitched on September 30 against the Astros, as he went only four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out two as he received a no-decision in the Phils’ 10-3 win, as they clinched the NL East pennant. This will be his first start of the 2009 post-season, as he hope to give the Phils a chance to take a 2-0 lead back to Philadelphia. The Dodgers will counter with Vicente Padilla (12-6 (4-0), 4.46 (3.20)), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on October 4, as he pitched five innings, giving up just a run on four hits, as he struck out ten, in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win. He will be trying to even up the series before the two teams head for Philadelphia. The Phillies hope to continue their road success before they head back home to continue the series with home field advantage.

Two bombs from Ryan Howard power the Phils to a 4-1 victory over the Braves.

Two bombs from the big man Ryan Howard help to power the Phils to a series win over the Braves, as they defeat Atlanta, 4-1. The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins in the NL East is now four-and-a-half games as Florida splits a make up doubleheader with the Rockies.

The Phils took the lead in the second inning as Ryan Howard hits a lead-off home run, his twenty-ninth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Braves would tie the game up at one-all in the fourth as, with two men out, Matt Diaz hits a solo home run, his seventh home run of the season. The Phils would regain the lead in the sixth as, with two men on base, and with one man out, Howard hits a three-run home run, his thirtieth home run of the year, knocking in Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, who had both singled, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. That would end up being the final score as J.A. Happ, despite not having his best stuff, would pitch himself out of trouble for seven and two-thirds inning, giving up only three hits to the Braves, while the relief staff would only give up a single and a walk in an inning and a third of work, before Brad Lidge would record his twenty-third save of the year by getting Omar Infante to pop up to Chase Utley for the final out.

J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only one run on three hits and six walks, while striking out three. His record is now 9-2 with an ERA of 2.66, making himself a strong candidate for this year’s Rookie of the Year honors. Ryan Madson pitched a third of an inning, giving up a single. while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up a walk. Brad Lidge got his twenty-third save of the year, after blowing his eighth save of the season the previous afternoon, by getting out the only batter he would face. Javier Vazquez took the lost, as he pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks, while he sruck out seven. His record is now 10-8 with a 2.99 ERA. Eric O’Flaherty and Kris Medlen combined for two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit (O’Flaherty) and a walk (also O’Flaherty), while striking out a batter (Medlen),

The Phils had just seven hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the way with three hits, a single and two home runs, a solo shot and a three-run bomb, knocking in all four Phils runs, as he raised his average to .269. Shane Victorino was next with two hits, one of which was a double, followed by Jimmy Rollins and Pedro Feliz with a hit apiece. The Phils missed sweeping the Braves because of some bad fielding in the ninth inning of Saturday’s ballgame, but they do come home from a very successful road trip, winning all but one of the games, coming back nicely after being swept by the Marlins the previous weekend. They will now come home for a three games series with the Diamondbacks before going back on the road. The short home stamd will start tomorrow night.

The Phillies wasted several opportunities before finally losing to the Reds, 4-3.

Despite a good pitched game by J.A. Happ, the sixth straight quality start by a Phils’ starter, the Phils’ offense allowed too many opportunities to go by, allowing the Reds to get away with the win as they lose 4-3. They remain two games ahead of the Marlins as they lose again to the Giants.

The Phils took the lead in the second as Ryan Howard hits a lead-off home run, his twenty-first home run of the year, to make it 1-0 Phils. Jayson Werth quickly made it a 2-0 lead as he followed Howard with a solo home run of his own, his eighteenth home run of the season. The Phils would increase their lead to 3-0 as, with two men on base, and nobody out, Chase Utley hits an RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins who had earlier singled, then went to second on Shane Victorino’s single, while sending Victorino, who had just singled, over to third. Howard then loaded the bases as he worked a walk off of Reds’ starter Aaron Harang. But Harang then got himself out of the inning by first striking out Werth, swinging, then getting Greg Dobbs to pop up to the second baseman for the inning’s second out, and then getting Pedro Feliz to ground out, 1-3, leaving it a 3-0 Phils’ lead. The Reds would make it a closer game in the fourth as, with a man on, and one man out, Brandon Phillips hits a two-run home run, his twelfth home run of the year, scoring Jerry Hairston, who had earlier singled, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils tried to add another run in their half of the fourth as Carlos Ruiz started off the inning with a lead-off triple. But, he would then get stranded there as Harang struck out Phillies’ starter J.A. Happ, then got Rollins to ground out, 4-3, as Ruiz decided not to head for home on the ground out, and then got Victorino to ground out, 6-3 to end the inning, still 3-2 Phils. The Reds then tied it up at three-all in the sixth, as, with two men out, Philips hits a solo home run, his thirteenth home run of the year and his second home run of the night. The Phils tried to retake the lead in the seventh as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Charlie Manuel sent out Eric Bruntlett to pinch hit, intending for Dusty Baker to take out reliever Arthur Rhodes and replace him with another pitcher so that he could counter with Matt Stairs. Baker, instead, left Rhodes in the game, who would, in turn, proceeds to strike out Bruntlett to end the threat, with the game still tied at three-all. The Phils tried again in the eighth inning, with runners once again on the corners, and now with one man out, as Rollins hits a grounder to first, as John Mayberry, Jr., who was pinch running for Feliz, who had earlier reached second on a two-base throwing error by Reds’ shortstop Hairston, and had then gone to third on Ruiz’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4. Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto threw home, which beat Mayberry, who was tagged out (although the radio announcers commented that there’s a possibility that the Reds’ catcher did not tag him out before he had crossed the plate) by Ramon Hernandez for the second out on a fielder’s choice, 3-2, while Rollins was safe at first, as pinch hitter Stairs, who had earlier walked, would move up to second base. Victorino then hit into a 4-6 force out, as Rollins is wiped out at second, to end the inning. The Reds then took the lead in the ninth when, with two men on, and one out, Hernandez hits an RBI single, scoring Votto, who had earlier doubled and had gone to third on Philips’ sacrifice bunt, giving the Reds a 4-3 lead, while sending Laynce Nix, who had just pinch hit and had been intentionally walked, on to second base. That would be the final score as the Phils would be put down in their half of the ninth, as Francisco Cordero recorded his twenty-first save of the season.

J.A. Happ received a no-decision as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs on six hits, while he struck out seven. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two. Brad Lidge took the lost as he gave up a run on two hits and a walk. His record is now 0-4 with a  7.12 ERA. Aaron Harang also got a no-decision as he went six inning, pitching out of jams, as he gave up three runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Arthur Rhodes pitched a scoreless inning, giving up only a hit and a walk. David Weathers got the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk. Francisco Cordero recorded his twenty-first save of the seasn as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just one walk.

The Phillies collected ten hits in the game, with Chase Utley leading the way with three hits, as he raised his average to .310. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz had the other seven Phils’ hit, with Howard’s and Werth’s hits being a pair of solo home runs, Rollins’ a double and Ruiz’s a triple, while the team would be unable to get the key hit that would’ve opened up the flood gates as had happened on Monday night. Beside Howard and Werth, Utley knocked in the other Phillies’ run. The Phils’ offense will now go back out there and will try to win the series, hoping that this time they will get the key hit to win the next two games, starting tonight.

The Phillies (43-38, 1st National League East) will continue their four-games series with the Reds (41-41, 4th National League Central) with another night game. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and it will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 2.84) will start for the Phils, coming off of his spectacular return to the majors on July 3, as he pitched a six and one-thirds innings gem, giving up only two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 7-2 win over the Mets. He will be going for his second victory while proving that his return was not a fluke. The Reds will counter with Homer Bailey (1-0, 5.94), who is coming off a no-decision against the Cardinals, as he pitched seven and a third strong innings, giving up just two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Reds’ 7-4 lost. He is also shooting for his second win, while hoping that the Phils’ bats won’t come back seeking revenge for last night’s inablity to score runs. The Phils will be trying to win their fifth game since coming home, putting some more distance between them and their Eastern Division rivals as they continue to lose.

The Phillies play with fire once too many times as the bullpen is unable to hold the lead as the Phils lose to the Blue Jays in extra-innings, 8-3.

The Phils’ pitching staff played with fire once too many times as Ryan Madson blew a save opportunity with a bases loaded walk in the ninth, before Clay Condrey is bombed for five runs in the tenth as the Phils lose to the Blue Jays, 8-3, as the World Champs are still unable to win victories at home.

The Phils took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as, with a runner on second, and nobody out, Chase Utley hits an RBI single, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier doubled, beating the throw to the plate from the center fielder, which allowed Utley to move up to second base. In the fourth, the Blue Jays would tie the score at one-all as, with one out, Adam Lind hits a solo home run, his thirteenth home run of the season. Two batters later, the Blue Jays would take the lead as, with a runner on first and still one man out, Kevin Millar hits an RBI double, scoring Alex Rios, who had earlier singled, making it 2-1 Blue Jays. The Phils would retake the lead in their half of the sixth, after their ace, Cole Hamels, had pitched himself out of a bases loaded, nobody out, jam in the top half of the inning. With a man on second and nobody out, Jayson Werth hits a two-run home run, his tenth home run of the year, knocking in Utley, who had earlier walked and then stole second, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. That would remain the lead as both Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero held off the Blue Jays, with the latter pitching himself out of a three-walks, bases loaded jam in the eighth, thanks to some confusion on the Blue Jays part as Rios did not tag third base and score on a long fly out to left by Marco Scutaro for the inning’s second out. But, in the ninth, with Ryan Madson pitching for the save, the Blue Jays would once again load the bases, via a single to Vernon Wells, a single to ex-Phil Scott Rolen, which would send Wells over to third, beating the throw, allowing Rolen to move up to second, and an intentional walk to Lind. After Madson strikes out Rios for the inning’s first out, he walks Lyle Overbay, forcing in Wells from third, tying up the score at three-all. Madson would then get out of the inning by getting Rod Barajas to pop out to Rollins under the infield fly rule for the second out, and then striking out pinch hitter John McDonald. After the Phils go down 1-2-3 in their half of the ninth, everything would fall apart in the tenth. After Clay Condrey retires the lead-off batter with a ground out, 6-3, he gives up a single to Aaron Hill. Wells followed him with a single, sending Hill on to second base. Rolen then followed with an RBI single, scoring Hill, and giving the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead, while sending Wells to second. Lind was then walked, loading up the bases once again, as Wells and Rolen both moved up a base. Rios then in turn walked, scoring Wells, while moving both Rolen and Lind up a base, leaving the loaded, as the Blue Jays increased their lead to 5-3. That would be all for Condrey, as he was replaced by Rookie Tyler Walker. Walker then gave up a sacrifice fly to Overbay, the second out of the inning, as Rolen crossed the plate, making it a 6-3 Blue Jays’ lead, while Lind would move up to third, putting runners on the corners. Barajas then followed with a two-run double, scoring both Lind and Rios, making it an 8-3 Blue Jays’ lead. Walker would then end the inning by getting Scott Downs to ground out, 6-3. That would end up being the final score as the Phils could not put together a rally in their half of the tenth.

Cole Hamels received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, as he struck out six, while getting himself out of a few jams. Chad Durbin pitched a scoreless inning as he collected his fifth hold, as he walked only one, while striking out two. J.C. Romero also pitched a scoreless frame as he recorded his third hold, giving up three walks before pitching out of trouble. Ryan Madson blew his second save of the season, as he gave up a run on two hits and two walks, while striking out two. Clay Condrey took the lost as he got hit around for five runs on three hits and two walks, in only a third of an inning of work. His record now is 4-2 with an ERA of 3.44. Tyler Walker pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on a hit. Ricky Romero also got a no-decision as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out nine. Shawn Camp pitched a third of an inning, getting out the man he would face. B.J. Ryan also pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Jason Frasor pitched a third of an inning, taking care of the only man he would face. Scott Downs got the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. His record is now 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA. Jesse Carlson pitched a scoreless tenth, giving up just one hit. 

The Phils only had eight hits in the game, with Chase Utley leading the attack with three hits, raising his batting average to .313. Jimmy Rollins followed with two hits, while Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino collected the other three hits. Utley knocked in one of the Phils’ run, while Werth would knock in the other two with his two-run home run. The Phils are still trying to figure out how to win more games at home, while also wondering how to restart their offense, so that it would be more consistent as starting pitching is starting to get better.

The Phillies (36-26, 1st National League East) continue their Interleague Play three-games set with the Blue Jays (35-31, 3rd-T American League East). The game will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park, depending on the weather. The game is to start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be the veteran Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.11), who is coming off a good start against the Mets on June 11, where he received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up just three runs on eight hits, as he struck out three, in the Phils’ 6-3 extra-inning win. He will be trying to even his record, while recording victory no. 251 in his long career. The Blue Jays will counter with Scott Richmond (4-3, 3.90), who had previously pitched on June 12 in relief against the Marlins, going three and two-thirds innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Blue Jays’ 7-3 lost. He will be trying to pitch a good start against the World Champs, while the Phils’ bats will be trying to crush him.

Once again denied winning his 250th start, Jamie Moyer is knocked out of the box early as the Phils lose to the Mets, 7-5, in spite of another Phillies’ attempt at a late come back.

The Mets once again deny Jamie Moyer a chance at winning his 250th career start by knocking him out of the box in the third inning, then held on to keep the Phils from performing another come-from-behind win, as the Phils fall to the Mets, 7-5, losing the two-games series in New York.

The Phillies scored first in the first inning, as, with a runner on second, and two men out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled and had gone to second on Chase Utley’s ground out, 4-3, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Mets would take the lead in their half of the first, when, with one man on, and one man out, Carlos Beltran hits a two-runs home run, his fifth home run of the year, knocking in Luis Castillo, who had earlier walked, and then stole second base, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, with a runner on second and still one man out, David Wright hits a two-run home run of his own, his third home run of the year, knocking in Carlos Delgaldo, who had earlier doubled, making it 4-1 Mets. The Mets made it 5-1 in the second, as, with one man out, Jose Reyes hits a solo home run, his second home run of the year. The Met added to their lead in the third, as, with the bases loaded via a hit batter (Delgado) and two singles (Wright and Fernando Tatis) and one man out, Ramon Castro hits a two-run double, knocking in both Delgado and Wright, and sending Tatis to third, giving the Mets a 7-1 lead. That would be the game for Phils’ starter Jamie Moyer, as Charlie Manuel would take him out and replace him with J.A. Happ. Happ proceeded to shut the Mets down by getting Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey to ground out, 6-3 and strike out Reyes looking, to end the inning with no further damage. The Phils then started to chip away at the Mets’ lead. In the fourth, they made it 7-2 Mets, as, with a runner on second, and no outs, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single, scoring Jayson Werth, who had earlier singled, and had stolen second base. The Phils would make it 7-3 Mets in the sixth, as, with one out, Howard hits a solo home run to right center field, his sixth home run of the season. The Phils then cut the Mets’ lead down to 7-5, as, with a runner on third, and two outs, Werth hits a two-run home run, his fifth home run of the season, scoring Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, had gone to second base on Utley’s ground out, 4-3, being called safe on Reyes’ interference error, which would lead to Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel’s ejection from the game for arguing the call and hitting the umpire with the bill of his cap, and moving on to third on Howard’s ground out, also 4-3. In the ninth inning, the Phillies had a runner on second, Matt Stairs, who had a pinch hit walk and went to second on defensive indifference, and two outs, with Rollins at the plate, representing the tying run. Rollins would end the game by poping out to second, as Mets’ closer Francisco Rodriguez recorded his ninth save of the year and his fourth in four straight games.

Jamie Moyer took the lost as he is once again denied his 250th career win. He would go only two and one-third innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter, while striking out only one. His record is now 3-2 with a 7.26 ERA. J.A. Happ pitched three and two-thirds strong innings of relief, giving up only two hits, while striking out two. Clay Condrey pitched a scoreless inning, only giving up a hit and a walk. Jack Taschner also pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Mike Pelfrey took the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up just three runs on eight hits and a walk. His record is now 4-0 with an ERA of 5.46. Pedro Feliciano pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits. Francisco Rodriguez recorded his ninth save of the year, and his fourth save in four straight games, as he pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up only a walk.

The Phillies had ten hits in the game, with Jayson Werth leading the team with four hits, two singles, a double and a home-run, knocking in two runs and scoring two, raising his season average to .284. Ryan Howard followed with two hits, a double and a home run, knocking in two runs. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz had the other four Phillies’ hits, all singles. Ibanez knocked in the Phils other run. Once again, starting pitching has done in the Phillies, as the relief corps had to once again come in early to shut down the opposition, giving the Phillies’ bats time to chip away at the lead. Sadly, the Phils were unable to overcome the Mets’ lead, but the comeback still put the rest of the National League on notice that this is a ballclub that refuses to quit.

The Phils (14-12, 1st) come back home, still in first place in the National League East, to start a three-games weekend home stand with the Braves (13-15, 4th). The first game of the three-games series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park, with a start time of 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels, who is recovering from an injury to his left foot, which he had rolled over trying to field a bunt on April 28 against the Nationals. In that game, he was dominating the Nationals before his mishap, having shut them down for four and a third innings, giving up just four hits and two walks, while striking out four, as he received a no-decision in the Phillies’ 7-1 blow out win. He is still looking for his first win, while the Phillies hope that he will once again dominate opposing batters while not suffering another freak injury. The Braves will counter with Jo-Jo Reyes (0-1, 5.00), who is coming off a no-decision of his own, as he pitched five and a third innings against the Astros on May 3, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Braves’ 7-5 lost. He is also looking for his first win. The Phils hope to win the weekend series with the Braves, before starting their first series of the year with the now-Manny Ramirez-less Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cole Hamels gets crushed as the Phils are defeated by the Rockies, 10-3.

The Phillies starting rotation is still looking for its first quality start of 2009 as the Rockies crush the rotation’s ace, Cole Hamels, for seven runs, as the Phils lose to the Rockies, 10-3.

The Phils, for the first time this season, took the lead, as Pedro Feliz, in the second inning, hit a sacrifice fly, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier doubled, and had gone to third base on shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s fielding error of Raul Ibanez’s groundball, making it 1-0 Phillies. Hamels, meanwhile, threw two good innings, before getting pummeled by the Rockies in the third. Clint Barmes started the inning off with a double. Opposing pitcher Jason Marquis then followed him with an RBI single, scoring Barmes, tying up the game at one all. After Dexter Fowler is called out for batter interference on a bunt attempt for the inning’s first out, Ryan Spilborghs followed with a double, moving Marquis to third base, putting runners on second and third with one out. The next batter, Todd Helton, then hit into a 4-3 ground out for the inning’s second out, scoring Marquis, giving the Rockies a 2-1 lead, while sending Spilborghs over to third. Garret Atkins then followed with a two-run home run, his first home run of the season, scoring Spilborghs, and making it 4-1 Rockies. Brad Hawpe then got on base with a ground-rule double. Tulowitzki followed him with a triple, scoring Hawpe, and giving the Rockies a 5-1 lead. Chris Iannetta, the ninth batter of the inning, would finally end the nightmare by poping out to Carlos Ruiz in foul territory. The Phillies cut the Rockies’ lead to 5-2 as Feliz knocked in his second RBI of the game, this time with a 6-3 ground out, the second out of the inning, as he scored Werth, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third base on an Ibanez 4-3 ground out. In the bottom half of the inning, the Rockies got the run back as Spilborghs doubled in Barmes, who had gotten on base with a single, had move over to second base on Marquis’ sacrifice bunt and had gone to third on Fowler’s 6-3 ground out, making it 6-2 Rockies. Helton followed with an RBI single, scoring Spilborghs, and giving the Rockies a 7-2 lead. After Hamels gave up a single to Atkins, putting runners on second and first, manager Charlie Manuel came to the mound and relieved Hamels, bringing in J.A. Happ. Happ ended the inning by getting Hawpe to ground out, 3-1, after earlier throwing a wild pitch which moved the runners up to third and second respectively. The score remained 7-2 until the bottom of the eighth, when the Rockies increased their lead with a three-run outburst. With Chad Durbin on the mound in relief, Fowler made it 8-2 Rockies with an one-out RBI single, as he knocked in Barmes, who had earlier reached base after being hit by the pitch and had moved up to second on pinch hitter Seth Smith’s walk, while Smith stopped at second base. Spilborghs then singled in Smith, making it 9-2 Rockies, while sending Fowler over to third, putting runners on the corners. Helton then followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Fowler, and giving the Rockies a 10-2 lead. In the ninth, Werth made it a 10-3 Rockies’ lead as he hit a lead-off home run, his first of the season, off of Rockies’ reliever Matt Belisle. But that would be it for the Phils, as Belisle got Ibanez to ground out to first, Greg Dobbs to strike out and Chris Coste to ground out, 6-3, to end the ballgame.

Cole Hamels took the lost for the Phils, as he pitched only three and two-thirds innings, giving up seven runs on eleven hits and a walk, while striking out only one batter. His record is now 0-1 with a high ERA of 17.18. J.A. Happ followed him and pitched an inning and a third of relief, giving up only one hit as he struck out one. Clay Condrey came to the mound next and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Chad Durbin then pitched an inning, giving up three runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit batter, while striking out one. Jason Marquis got the win for the Rockies, as he pitched a quality start, going seven innings, giving up just two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out two. Marquis’ record is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Alan Embree followed with a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit and a walk. Matt Belisle then pitched an inning of relief, giving up a run on one hit, Werth’s home run, as he struck out a batter.

Jayson Werth led the team by going four for four, with two singles, a double and a home runs, scoring all three Phillies’ run, increasing his batting average to .333. Chase Utley also had a good day, as he went two for three with a walk, increaing his average to .429. Carlos Ruiz, who went 0 for 2, with his average dropping down to .273, was taken out of the game for an injury to his right oblique.

The Phillies (1-3) will continue their three-game series with the Rockies (3-1) in Denver with a night game tonight at Coors Field. The game will start at 8:10 pm Eastern Time (6:10 pm Mountain). The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (0-1, 6.00), who will be looking for his first win of the young season, trying to improve on his start last Sunday against the Braves. The Rockies will counter with Jorge De La Rosa, who will be starting his first game of the year. Last season, in twenty-eight games, twenty-three of which were starts, he went 10-8 with a 4.92 ERA. This season, his record is 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phillies will be trying to tie the series with a win tonight.

2008 World Series: Game 4: A 10-runs offensive barrage and six plus strong innings from Joe Blanton would lead the Phillies to a 10-2 rout of the Rays. The Phillies now have a commanding three games to one lead and are ready to clinch on Monday night.

Supporting Joe Blanton’s six plus strong innings of work, the Phillies’ offense would finally wake up to score ten runs as the Phillies would rout the Rays, 10-2. The win would give the Phillies a very commanding three games to one lead in the series, and a chance to clinch the World Series crown at home behind their ace Cole Hamels. The Phillies would score first in the first inning once again as, with the bases loaded, and one out, Pat Burrell would take a walk, forcing in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier doubled, would move up to third base on Jayson Werth’s fly out to right, and would be safe on a fielder’s choice ground ball hit by Ryan Howard to the pitcher, as Rays’ starter Andy Sonnanstine would catch Rollins between third and home as he tried to score and would try to throw him out as he headed back to third, but the third base umpire Tim Welke would call Rollins safe, although the instant replay would show that Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria had actually tagged Rollins out on his *** before he has gotten back to the base, giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The Phillies would make it 2-0 in the third, as, with runners on second and third and two men out, Pedro Feliz would single in Chase Utley, who has reached first base earlier on an Akinori Iwamura fielding error and would move on to third on Howard’s single, while Howard would move on to second. After a Carlos Ruiz single would load the bases, moving both Howard and Feliz up a base, Joe Blanton would end the inning by poping up to the first baseman in foul territory.The Rays would cut the lead in half in the fourth as, with no one on base and two outs, Carl Crawford would hit a solo home run, his second home run of the series, to make it a 2-1 Phillies’ lead. The Phillies would get the run back, with interest, in their half of the fourth, as, with two men on, and one out, Howard woud hit a three-run blast to left, his second home run of the series, scoring Rollins, who would reach base on a second Iwamura’s fielding error and would move on up to second on Werth’s walk, to make it 5-1 Phillies. The Rays would then get one of the runs back in the fifth as, with no one on and two men outs, Blanton would give up a solo home run to pitch hitter Eric Hinske, to make it 5-2 Phillies. In the Phillies’ half of the inning, with no one on and two men outs, Blanton would hit a solo home run of his own, his first career home run, to give the Phils a 6-2 lead. The Rays would try to come back in the sixth as they would put runners on second and first via a walk (Carlos Pena) and a hit batter (Crawford) with two men out. Blanton would end the threat by striking out Dioner Navarro swinging. The Ray would try again in the seventh. They would start the inning off with Bob Zobrist getting on base with a walk. That would be it for Blanton, as Charlie Manuel would take him out of the game to a standing ovation and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would proceed to get Jason Bartlett to fly out to center for the inning’s first out. He would then give up a single to pinch hitter Willy Aybar, which would send Zobrist up to second base. Manuel would then come back out, and replace Durbin with Scott Eyre. Eyre would get Iwamura to line out to left for the inning’s second out. Manuel would then replace Eyre with Ryan Madson. Madson would strike out B.J. Upton swinging for the inning’s final out. After Madson pitches a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the Phillies would proceed to bust the game wide open in their half of the inning. After pinch hitter Matt Stairs would strike out for the inning’s first out, Rollins would get on base with a double that would just miss being a home run by a few inches. Jayson Werth would then follow with a two-run home run, that would score Rollins and give the Phillies an 8-2 lead. Two batters later, Howard would hit a two-run shot of his own, his third home run of the series, scoring Utley, who was earlier intentionally walked to get to Howard, a move which would this time backfire on the Rays, to make it a 10-2 Phillies’ lead. The inning would then end as Eric Bruntlett would ground out, 6-3, and Shane Victorino would fly out to center. J.C. Romero would then be sent out to end the game. Navarro would start the inning off by getting on base on a Romero’s fielding error as he made a bad throw to Howard on a ground ball hit to him. Zobrist would then follow by hitting into a force out, 4-6, being safe on first as Navarro is wiped out at second. Madson would then end the game by striking out first Bartlett on a call third strike and then striking out pinch hitter Rocco Baldelli for the final out.

Joe Blanton would get the win as he would pitch a strong six innings plus one batter, as he would give up only two earned runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter, while striking out seven Rays. His series’ record is now 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch one-third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning and a third of scoreless ball, giving up no hits, while striking out three. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits, while striking out two. Andy Sonnanstine would pitch only four innings, giving up five runs, three of which were earned, on six hits and three walks, while striking out only two. His series record is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Edwin Jackson would pitch two innings, giving up an earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one. Dan Wheeler would pitch an inning and a third, giving up two earned runs on three hits while striking out one. Trever Miller would pitch two-thirds of an inning, all giving up two earned runs on one hit and a walk.

Joe Blanton would proceed to dominate the young Rays, being able to mix his pitches so that they would be unable to do much damage against him. While Blanton was keeping the Rays quiet, the Phillies’ bats would finally wake up as they would knock in 10 runs, with eight of them coming via the long ball, which would include the surprising home run by starter Blanton. The offense would not only knock out the Rays’ starter, but they would this time hit the killer blow against the Rays’ bullpen in the eighth inning.

The 2008 World Series will continue later tonight in Philadelphia. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern time. The Phillies will be sending to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (1-0, 2.57), who is coming off a brilliant win in Game 1 of the series against the Rays on October 22, as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Phillies’ 3-2 win. Hamels will be trying to clinch the World Series crown for the Phillies while trying to set a new post-season record by going 5-0 as a starter. The Rays will counter with Scott Kazmir (0-1, 4.50), who is coming off a lost against the Phillies on October 22, as he was the losing pitcher of Game 1, as he would pitch six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four, in the Rays’ 3-2 lost. Kazmir will be trying to win game five to send the series back to Tampa Bay as he hope to put the Phillies’ offense back to sleep.

The keys to the game will be for Cole Hamels to just continue pitching the way he has been pitching in his previous four starts while the offense will just need to continue what they did in last night’s game, and the Phillies should win their second World Championship in the oganization’s 126 years of existance. At the same time, they will need to keep an eye out for any tricks that the Rays might try to pull to help get the series back to Tampa Bay for games six and seven.

2008 World Series: Game 2: Inability to knock in men in scoring position do in the Phillies as they fall to the Rays, 4-2. Series come to Philadelphia tied at a game apiece.

The inability to knock in runs with men in scoring position in the first seven innings would waste a good effort by Brett Myers as the Phillies would lose to the Rays, 4-3. The lost would tie the series up at a win apiece as the series will now come to Philadelphia for three games. The Rays would score first in the first, as Carlos Pena would hit a RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Akinori Iwamura, who has earlier walked and would go to third on B.J. Upton’s single, giving the Rays a 1-0 lead. An Evan Longoria ground out, also 6-3, would make it 2-0 Rays, as it would score Upton, who has singled, would go to second on Jayson Werth’s fielding error as he would take his eye off the ball as he looked to see what Iwamura was going to do on the single, and has moved up to third on Pena’s earlier ground out. The Phillies would threaten to come back in the second as they would put runners on third and second via a double (Ryan Howard), a walk (Pat Burrell) and a wild pitch, with only one out, but Rays’ starter James Shields would get out of the inning by first striking out Greg Dobbs looking and then getting Pedro Feliz out on a liner to center field. The Rays would add to their lead in the second, as, with the bases loaded via a single (Dioner Navarro), a walk (Rocco Baldelli (on what should have been strike three swinging since he had swung through the pitch and was originally called out by the home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, but who would then reverse his call after calling for help from the first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who would claim that there was actually no swing by Baldelli)) and a second single (Jason Bartlett), and two men out, Upton would hit a RBI single to right, scoring Navarro, making it 3-0 Rays. But, the following runner, Baldelli, would then be tagged out at home plate as Werth would throw a strike to Carlos Ruiz, who would then block the plate and successfully tag out Baldelli to end the inning. The Phillies would threaten again in the third as they would put a runner on third (Ruiz) via a double and a Jimmy Rollins’ ground out, 4-3. But, they would once again be left empty handed as Shields would get out of the inning by first striking out Werth swinging and then getting Utley to ground out, 4-3. The Phillies would try once again to score a run in the fourth, as they would put runners on the corners via a single to Howard and a single to Shane Victorino, which would send Howard on to third base, as it would go off of Rays’ first baseman Pena’s glove, saving a run for the moment. But once again the Phillies would be unable to score as Shields would strike out Dobbs again, this time swinging, for the inning’s second out, and then get Feliz to this time ground out, 5-3, ending the inning. The Rays would add a fourth run in their half of the fourth, as with runners on the corners and one out, Bartlett would knock in Cliff Floyd, who has earlier singled, moved to second on Navarro’s single and then moved on to third on Baldelli’s force out, cutting down Navarro at second, using a safety squeeze for out number two, 1-3. Brett Myers would then end the inning by getting Iwamura to ground out, 4-3. After that Myers would then gain control of the Rays during his last three innings of work, only giving up a walk and a single. Meanwhile, the Phillies would continue to threaten to score. They would get runners on first and second in the fifth, via a walk (Ruiz, who would then be forced out at second on a grounder by Rollins, 3-6) and a single (Werth), with one man out. But the inning would end as Werth would commit a base running blunder by straying too far off of first base on a Chase Utley fly out to right field, as he is quickly doubled up on a throw from Rays’ right fielder Baldelli to Pena. The Philles would try once more in the sixth, getting two men on via singles to Victornio and Dobbs, with the later’s hit sending Victornio to third, with two men out. But the inning would end as Rays’ reliever Dan Wheeler, pitching in relief of Shields, would get Feliz to once more ground out, this time a 5-4 force out as Dobbs is wiped out at second base. The Phillies would go at it again as they would put runners on second (Ruiz (walk and stolen base)) and first (Utley (walk)) with two men out. But Rays’ closer David Price would end the inning by striking out Howard looking. The Phillies would finally score a run in the eighth, as, with two men out, Eric Bruntlett would hit a pinch hit solo home run, cutting the Rays’ lead down to 4-1. After J.C. Romero would come in and pitch a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, the Phillies would make one more attempt to get back into the game in the top of the ninth. Ruiz would start off the inning with a double. Rollins, on a 0-1 pitch from Price, would get part of his uniform hit by Price’s pitch. But, home plate umpire Kerwin Danley would instead claim that Rollins wasn’t touched by the pitch. Rollins, after getting the count full, would then pop up to second for the inning’s first out. Werth would then follow with a sharp grounder to Rays’ third baseman Longoria, who would be unable to play the ball, as it would bounce off of his glove and head towards center field, allowing Ruiz to score, making it 4-2 Ray, and Werth to reach first on the error. But, Price would then end the Phillies’ hopes as he would strike out Utley swinging and then get Howard to ground out to first base to end the game.

Brett Myers would get the lost as he would pitch seven innings, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on seven hits and three walks, while strking out two. His series’ record is now 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. James Shields would get the win as he would pitch a superb five and two-thirds inning, giving up no earned runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out four. His series’ record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Dan Wheeler would pitch a scoreless inning of relief, giving up no hits and a walk, while striking out two. David Price would pitch two and a third innings of relief, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a walk, while striking out two.

The Phillies’ season long achillies’ heel, being unable to knock in runners in scoring position, would hurt the Phils with avengence last night, as they would end up leaving eleven men on base, being unable to knock in runners in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, especially with less than two outs, because of the batters’ inability to either get a key hit, hit the ball to the right side, or to just hit the ball deep into the outfield for a sacrifice fly. This would end up ruining a somewhat good performance by Brett Myers who, despite giving up four runs, might not have given up that many runs if not for Jayson Werth’s fielding error in the first inning, allowing B.J. Upton to reach second, and the yes it’s a swing, wait a minute it wasn’t a swing call by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, in the second. If not for that boot and that bad call by the umpire, the game might have been a lot closer, even with the Phillies’ offense inability to score a run in the first seven innings. If there is any silver lining in this lost, it is that Ryan Howard might have finally gotten out of his slump, as he would go 2 for 5 with a double and a single, although he would also strike out in one at-bat with men in scoring position. At least he was able to hit the ball last night, unlike the first game. Anyway, the Phillies will now head for home, having left Tampa Bay with a spilt, and now preparing to defeat the Rays in three straight games at home in what will obviously be a very noisy Citizens Bank Park.

The third game of the 2008 World Series will be played tomorrow night in Citizens Bank Park. The game is scheduled to start at 8:22 pm Easten time. The Phillies starter with be Jamie Moyer (0-0, -.–), who will be coming off a bad start against the Dodgers on October 12 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, where he was only able to pitch an inning and a third, as he gave up six earned runs on six hits, while striking out two, in the Phillies’ 7-2 lost. In the post-season, he has a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 13.50, as he pitched only five and one-third innings, giving up eight earned runs on ten hits and three walks, while striking only five. His regular season record was 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in thirty-three starts, as he would give up 85 runs, 81 of which were earned on 199 hits and 62 walks, while striking out 123 batters in 196 and one-third innings of work. Moyer will be trying to regain his late season form, going through a large number of innings while giving up very few runs, hoping to give the Phillies a 2-1 series lead over the much younger Rays, planning to use his experience against their youth. The Rays will counter with Matt Garza (0-0, -.–), who will be coming off a victory against the Red Sox on October 19, as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on two hits and three walks, while striking out nine, in the Rays’ 3-1 win over the Red Sox, clinching the pennant and winning himself the American League Championship Series MVP. In the post-season, Garza’s record is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.32, as he would pitch nineteen innings, giving up seven earned runs on fifteen hits and ten walks, while striking out eighteen. During the regular season, his record was 11-9 with an ERA of 3.70 in thirty starts, as he gave up 83 runs, 76 of which were earned on 170 hits and 59 walks, while he struck out 128 batters in 184 and two-thirds innings. He will try to be as dominant against the Phillies’ batters as he was in his two starts against the Red Sox.

The key for the Phillies tomorrow will be for Jamie Moyer to regain his regular form, using his experience and his wit against a bunch of young guns who will probably be expecting to feast on his slow stuff. If he does, the Rays’ batters will be in for a long night. At the same time, the Phillies’ offense needs to rebound and starts knocking in runners in key situations by using both patient and strategic hitting. They may be force to have to use plays like the suicide and safety squeeze, like the Rays did in the fourth inning last night, to push runs across the plate when they have less than two men outs and a runner on third. It might look cheap, but if it’ll help to jump start the offense, then they should use it. Another key is once again for Jimmy Rollins to get on base in anyway he can, and for him to stop swinging at high fastballs. If that would require him to change his stance, then change his stance. At the moment, he is not catching up with those pitches. And lastly, Ryan Howard needs to continue what he did last night, as he is way over due for an offensive break out. He can only be held down for so long before he start to make someone pay for it. Hopefully, it’ll be the Rays and the payback will start tomorrow night.

GO PHILLIES!!!

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!!!

National League Championship Series: Game 4: Two eighth inning home runs by Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers, giving them a three games to one lead in the NLCS.

Two two-run home runs by Shane Victorino and pinch hitter Matt Stairs in the eighth inning would help lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers as the Phillies take a commanding three games to one lead over the Bums in the National League Championship Series. The Phillies jumped quickly on Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe in the first inning, as, with runners on first and second and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled and has moved up to second on Jayson Werth’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead, while sending Werth on to third. Ryan Howard, as he would make the inning’s first out, would make it 2-0 Phillies, as he would hit a RBI ground out to the right side, 4-3, scoring Werth, while sending Utley over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a walk, putting runners on the corners. Lowe would finally get out of the inning as he would get Shane Victorino to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Burrell at second. The Dodgers would get a run back in their half of the first, as, with runners on first and second and two men out, James Loney would hit a RBI double, scoring Rafael Furcal, who has earlier singled, and has moved on to second on Andre Ethier’s ground out, 4-3, to make it 2-1 Phils, while sending Manny Ramirez, who has earlier been intentionally walked by Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton, to third. Blanton would then get out of the inning as Blake DeWitt would line out to Howard. That would remain the score until the bottom of the fifth as Lowe would calm down, while Blanton would constantly pitch himself out of jams. In the Dodgers’ fifth, the Dodgers would tie the game as, with two men on and no one out, Ramirez would hit a RBI single, scoring Furcal, who has earlier walked and has gone on to second on an Ethier’s single, while Ethier’s would reach third on Burrell’s late throw to the plate as Furcal is able to push his way through catcher’s Carlos Ruiz’s right leg. Ramirez would meanwhile move up to second on the throw, putting two men in scoring position. Blanton would then get Russell Martin to ground out, 6-3, for the inning’s first out, scoring Ethier on the play, to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead, while Ramirez would go back to second base. Blanton would then intentionally walk Loney to put runners on first and second with still one out. The strategy behind the move would work for the Phils, as the next batter, DeWitt, would hit into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning. After Lowe is taken out of the game by the Dodgers, the Phillies would then tie up the game in the sixth, as, with men on second and third, and with two men out, Howard, who has earlier walked, moved on to second on Burrell’s single and would move over to third on Victorino’s sacrifice bunt, would score on a Chan Ho Park’s wild pitch, while Burrell would move up to third. Park would then walk Ruiz to put runners on the corners. Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would then come out of the Dodgers’ dugout and replace Park with Joe Beimel, after Geoff Jenkins is sent out as a pitch hitter. Jenkins is then replaced by So Taguchi, who would promptly end the inning by flying out to right. The Dodgers would retake the lead in their half of the sixth as Casey Blake would hit a lead-off home run off of Phillies’ reliever Chad Durbin, making it 4-3 Dodgers. Juan Pierre would then follow with a double. Durbin would then walk pinch hitter Matt Kemp, putting two men on base, still with no one out. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel would then replace Durbin with Scott Eyre. Furcal would then attempt a sacrifice bunt. Howard would get the ball but would then commit a throwing error, throwing it past Utley, allowing Pierre to score, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead, while allowing Kent to go to third and Furcal to move up to second, with still no body out. Ethier would then line out to first for the inning’s first out. Then, on the key turning point of the game, Ramirez is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. After Eyre is replaced on the mound by Ryan Madson, he would help get the Phils out of the inning with no more damage as Martin would hit a line drive that is caught by Utley, who would then quickly tag second base with his glove, beating Furcal back to the bag, for an unassisted double play, leaving the score still 5-3 Dodgers. After turning back the Dodgers in the seventh, the Phillies would go to work on the Dodgers’ bullpen in the eighth, finally scoring some runs. Howard would start the inning off with a single. After Burrell pops up to second for the inning’s first out, Victorino would follow with a two-run bomb to right, scoring Howard, and tying the game up at five all. After Pedro Feliz would line out to left for the inning’s second out, Ruiz would get on base with a single. Torre would then come out and replace Cory Wade, who had given up the two-run shot to Victorino, with Joe Broxton, to face pitch hitter Matt Stairs. Stairs would work the count to 3-1 before he would hit a monster two-run home run of his own to right field, scoring Ruiz, and giving the Phillies a 7-5 lead. Rollins would then walk and steal second with Werth batting, before Werth would end the inning by striking out. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies would send out J.C. Romero. After giving up a walk to Furcal, Romero would get Ethier to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Furcal at second. Romero would then be replaced with Brad Lidge for a four-out save. It didn’t start out that way as Ramirez would get on base with a double. Martin would then follow with a strike out, which should’ve ended the inning, but didn’t, as it would get away from Ruiz, allowing Martin to reach first base while sending Ramirez over to third, putting runners on the corners. But Lidge would finally get out of the inning by getting Loney to fly out to left. In the ninth, Lidge would pitch an easy 1-2-3 inning, as he would first get pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra to fly out to center for the first out, get Blake to strike out swinging for the second out and then end the game by getting Jeff Kent to fly out to Feliz for the final out, as he records his fifth save of the post-season.

Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four. Chad Durbin would face only three batters, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a walk. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Ryan Madson would get the win as he would pitch an inning and two-thirds, giving up no runs on one hit and a walk, while striking out one. His record in the series is now 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on one hit, while striking out two, as he would records his forty-sixth straight save in forty-six tries. Derek Lowe would also get a no-decision as he also goes only five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. Clayton Kershaw would go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Chan Ho Park would get a blown save as he goes a third of an inning, giving up no runs on a walk and a wild pitch. Joe Beimel would also go a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would go an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on a hit, while striking out two. Cory Wade would get a blown save and the lost as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. His record is now 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Jonathan Broxton would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one.

The victory places the Phillies just one game away from getting into the World Series, as the offense is finally able to torch the Dodgers’ bullpen, getting five runs off of it thanks to a wild pitch and two two-run home runs. The bats would end up getting twelve hits over all, with all of the regulars getting at least one hit, with Chase Utley being the team leader, as he went three for five, knocking in a run on a double and two singles. Next was Carlos Ruiz, who went two for three, with two singles and a walk, scoring a run. Meanwhile, Joe Blanton would pitch five good innings, getting out of trouble constantly before finally being taken out for a pinch hitter. Although giving up two runs, the Phillies’ bullpen would hold firm for four innings, helped along by two double plays with Utley’s unassisted gem in the seventh being the more important of the two as it would get the Phillies out of a bases-loaded, one out jam. The Phillies now need just one more win to get into the World Series, with three chances within which to do it.

Game Five of the National League Championship Series will be played tomorrow night. It will be played in Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (1-0, 2.57), who is coming off a good start against the Dodgers in game one of the NLCS on October 9, where he would go six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to pitch the Phillies into their first World Series appearance since 1993 with a victory. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (0-1, 27.00), who is coming off a very awful start in game two of the NLCS against the Phillies on October 10, as he would last only two and one third innings, giving up eight runs, only seven of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five, in the Dodgers’ 8-5 lost. He will be trying to pitch a better game tomorrow night while trying to keep the Dodgers in the playoff.

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