NL Beast bloggers attended the game tonight, and what a great game it was. It didn’t have a ton of lead changes or great plays in the field; it was just a good old fashion pitchers’ duel.
Jason Bergmann pitched excellently. 7 innings, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts and 3 walks. The Phillies lineup couldn’t get to him and they remained cold after last night’s shutout. Bergmann has gone 7 innings and let up no runs in both of his last two starts. In his last game start ago against the Mets he picked up a win in a 1-0 decision. Tonight, he would not be able to secure the W.
Cole Hamels owned the night. 7 inings, 4 hits, 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts. Few times throughout the night did Hamels look shaky. When he did get in a jam, he calmly pitched his way out. There’s little else to say except that he now has 19 straight scoreless innings. His ERA is down to 2.69 and his WHIP is now at 1.02. He didn’t pick up the win, but he is coming into his own after a somewhat slow start. No longer does he have the one or two tough innings early in the game. Right now for Hamels, it’s lights out from the start. The only question is whether he’ll go 7, 8, or 9 innings.
After Tom Gordon got the job done for Phils in the bottom of the 8th, John Rauch came in for the Nats to try to keep the game scoreless. Pedro Feliz led off with a double, and then was pinch-ran for by Eric Bruntlett. Why, I ask? Is Bruntlett that much faster than Feliz? Feliz certainly is better in the field. Carlos Ruiz laid down a fabulous sacrifice to move Bruntlett to third and Greg Dobbs followed with the lone RBI of the night, a single to center. Dobbs was thrown out on the next play when Shane Victorino flied out to center. From where we were sitting Dobbs looked clearly safe, but it was a good relay and Charlie Manuel, standing right there, did not argue the call.
One run is all the Phillies would need. Despite a good effort by the Nats in the 9th, they could not get past Brad Lidge. A great pitching outing for both teams. Unfortunately both Bergmann and Hamels did not receive a win. They both deserved one.
Posted in Nationals, NL East, Phillies
Tagged Brad Lidge, Carlos Ruiz, Charlie Manuel, Cole Hamels, Eric Bruntlett, Greg Dobbs, Jason Bergmann, John Rauch, Nationals, Pedro Feliz, Phillies, Shane Victorino, Tom Gordon
The Phillies fell behind 3-0 to the Braves in the first inning after RBI hits by Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur. But Kyle Kendrick quickly calmed down after the first inning. He ended up going the next five innings without allowing a run. That gave him his third 6 inning, 3 earned run outing in a row. From a guy fifth in the rotation, the Phillies should be happy that he gives them a chance to win.
Offensively, the Phillies came to play tonight. Facing Jo-Jo Reyes, the Phillies started their attack in the 4th, when Jason Werth singled to center, driving in Chase Utley and big-man Ryan Howard. Howard, who was part of the action all night long, notched an RBI of his own in the fifth, knocking in Shane Victorino. Later in the inning, Werth continued his barrage, hitting in Howard. And, in the 7th, Werth would grab yet another RBI to give the Phillies their fifth run. Werth ended the night with 4 RBIs.
In the 9th, things got a little bit shaky as Brad Lidge faced adversity for one of the only times this season. With one out, Mark Kotsay walked and then advanced to 2nd base after fielder interference. At this point, Chipper Jones, who already had 3 hits on the night, hit a bomb just short of the fence in left. Eric Bruntlett, who pinch-ran for Burrell in the 7th, caught the ball right in front of the wall, saving Phillies fans and Brad Lidge a lot of grief. But the fight wasn’t over from the Braves. Brian McCann came up next and doubled, driving in Kotsay and making it a 1 run game. It should be noted that Jason Werth misplayed the ball, first breaking in and then running backwards as the ball flew well over his head. He probably should have made the play.
Lidge was having trouble finding the plate at this point and walked Greg Norton, bringing up Francoeur, who was 0-4 lifetime against Lidge. Falling behind quickly in the count, Francoeur finally lifted a ball between Werth and right fielder Shane Victorino. Victorino called Werth off at the last second and caught the ball to end the game. Not a moment too soon for Lidge, who let up his first earned run of the year in 18 innings of work.
The Phillies started their homestand with a thorough game all around, while the Braves continue to struggle on the road. They are now 5-15 away from Turner Field. Also, the Phillies have to be outright elated that Ryan Howard finally looks to be coming out of his slump. He was 2-4 with a long double to center field and now has an RBI in each of his last three games, as well as in 4 out of his last 5 games. He’s upped his average to .181 for the season.
Posted in Braves, Phillies
Tagged Brad Lidge, Braves, Brian McCann, Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Eric Bruntlett, Greg Norton, Jason Werth, Jeff Francoeur, Jo-Jo Reyes, Kyle Kendrick, Mark Kotsay, Phillies, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino
NOTE: You are reading this correctly.
Beast: Eric Bruntlett. Yes, that’s right. The substitute short stop turned out to be an excellent replacement for Jimmy Rollins. In the last week, Brunlett hit .333 with 8 RBIs. That stint included two doubles, a triple, and a home run. He had a terrible first game filling in for Rollins, but he got his stuff together and will be a welcome addition to our already potent bench. Oh, by the way, Bruntlett had those 8 RBIs only starting 4 games against the Diamondbacks!
Runners Up: Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz
Least: Chase Utley. Yes, that’s right again. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Utley hit .120 for the week, only 3 hits in 25 at bats. He had no home runs and struck out 8 times. Pat Burrell was only 3/19 on the week, and Ryan Howard only 4/24. Needless to say, the middle of the order has to hit better. Luckily, Brunlett, as well as Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Feliz have been hitting the cover off the ball this week.
Runners Down: Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell
The Game: San Francisco Giants (14-22) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (21-16)
The Matchup: Tim Lincecum (4-1, 1.49, 45/17 K/BB, 1.37 WHIP) vs. Jamie Moyer (2-2, 4.45, 17/10 K/BB, 1.59 WHIP)
The Story: Old versus new again for Jamie Moyer. The 45 year-old faces off against Tim Lincecum, only 23. Never mind the fact that Moyer is almost twice the age of his opponent, he’s pitched phenomenally against his expectations this year. Moyer is coming off his best start of the season: 7 innings, 5 strike outs, no walks, and only 2 earned runs. And he did that against the Diamondbacks, one of the hottest lineups in the league. The Giants have lost the last two Lincecum starts, after winning his first five outings. He outpitched Cole Hamels last week in Philadelphia, but the Giants pen was not able to hold it together.
Jimmy Rollins leads the way for the Phils. With three RBIs and three hits last night in his first game back from the DL, the Phillies hope his spark is contagious. Pat Burrell is hitting only .158 in the last week, and Chase Utley is not doing much better at .200. Yet, with good starting pitching and great relief, the Phillies are finding a way to win games. That’s certainly a mark of a winner. When you’re hot, everything just seems to go your way.
But it’s not all by chance that the Phils are winning despite the anemic performance of their stars. While Utley and Burrell struggle, Carlos Ruiz is hitting .350, Pedro Feliz is hitting .400, and Eric Bruntlett is hitting .308. Everyone on this team is contributing (sans Ryan Howard).
Stat of the Day: Pat Burrell’s BB/K ratio is 1.03 (30/29). That’s the best on the team, but good enough for only 17th in the NL. Albert Pujols leads the category with a ratio of 2.92 (35/12).
Posted in Phillies
Tagged Albert Pujols, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Eric Bruntlett, Giants, Jamie Moyer, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliz, Phillies, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum
The Game: San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Matchup: Patrick Misch (0-0, 5.40, 8/3 K/BB, 1.30 WHIP) vs. Cole Hamels (3-3, 3.10, 41/14 K/BB, 1.07 WHIP)
The Story: The Phillies look to get back to their winning ways in San Francisco after splitting a four game set in Arizona. The series starts off with stud Cole Hamels, looking for his fourth win of the season, facing off against Patrick Misch, who is appearing in only his third game this season. In one previous start a week ago, also against the Phillies, Misch lasted only four innnings, allowing 5 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 2 home runs, and struck out 4. Misch has let up 4 home runs on the season in only 10 IP.
The big news of the is Jimmy Rollins back with the team for the first time since April 20. Rollins is listed as the lead off man in tonight’s lineup, and no one is trying to hide the Phils’ sigh of relief that their MVP is back. The offense hasn’t stalled, but it has certainly cooled off in the last week. Rollins’ speed, coupled with that of Shane Victorino, who is also just back from injury, are essential to the functioning of the lineup. In addition, it sends utility man Eric Bruntlett back to the bench. Bruntlett is hitting .303 in the month of May and will add depth to an already strong bench. Australian infielder Brad Harman has been sent back to Lehigh Valley to make room for Rollins.
Stat of the Day: Former Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand is hitting .336 in his first season with San Francisco.
The Game: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Matchup: Brandon Webb (7-0, 2.49, 37/16 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP) vs. Brett Myers (2-2, 4.70, 37/12 K/BB, 1.36 WHIP)
The Story: Cy Young hopeful Brandon Webb goes for his 8th win in 8 starts. ‘Nuff said about him.
Brett Myers goes for his 3rd win, after posting a no decision in a strong 7 inning, 10 strikeout outing last week against the Giants. Myers seemed to find his strength again last week after shying away from his fastball in earlier starts this season. We’ll see if the long toss continues to pay off this afternoon.
Last night’s 5-4 win displayed nothing but grit from the Phils, but with Ryan Howard slumping, Pat Burrell cooling off, and Chase Utley coming back down to the stratosphere, the rest of the team has to continue to pick up the slack. Take Eric Bruntlett: He’s probably due only a couple more starts until Jimmy Rollins takes back his leadoff spot, but Bruntlett has filled in great, both in the field and at the plate.
With any luck, the Phillies make this one competitive. If they are able to pull off a win – taking 3 out of 4 from the Dbacks – it would be a very big statement to the rest of the league.
Stat of the Day: Ryan Howard is on pace for 231 strikeouts. His 199 strikeouts last year was a Major League record.
Eric Bruntlett doubled and Chase Utley singled in the top of the 8th for two consecutive RBI hits. Utley’s put the Phils up 5-4. Tom Gordon gave up a leadoff double to Chris Snyder in the bottom half of the inning, but got out of the inning cleanly with three consecutive outs. In the 9th, Brad Lidge went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts and a groundout to first. Ryan Howard finished off the game by diving to touch the bag after electing to finish the play himself.
Before Bruntlett hit the game tying double a scary play happened at first. Shane Victorino struck out swinging, but the ball got passed catcher Chris Snyder and Victorino took off running down the line. As Victorino approached the bag, Dbacks first baseman Conor Jackson reachd in front of Victorino in an effort to catch the ball. A scary collision occurred in which Jackson ended up face down in the dirt and Victorino was clearly shaken up. After a short delay, Victorino stayed in the game and scored from 1st on the very next pitch. Jackson was not so lucky. Clearly shaken up, he walked off the field under his own power.
There was no intentional wrongdoing by Jackson, but I don’t know how responsible it was of him to lean across the basepath in that situation. He was being competitive and trying to make a play. But suppose he caught the ball – Victorino likely would have been called safe because of interference. Luckily, it looks ike both players will get away from this one largely unscaved. In my opinion Jackson should be more careful in that situation. He almost got himself and another player seriously injured.
Kyle Kendrick only let up 3 ER, despite allowing 10 hits and giving up one walk. He threw 60 out of 92 pitches for strikes and punched out two batters in 6 innings of work. It wasn’t pretty – nothing has been for the Phillies this year – but it was a healthy number 5 outing.
The Phillies only managed 7 hits off the Dbacks, and only 4 off of Micah Owings in is 7 innings. Owings recorded 7 strikeouts, allowing 3 ER and 1 HR to Pedro Feliz in the 7th.
This was a gritty, all-around win for the Phils. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy, but they got the job done. The lineup is too potent to ever count them out, and the bullpen is keeping them in every game that isn’t a blow out.
Promising stuff tonight.
Posted in Phillies
Tagged Brad Lidge, Chase Utley, Chris Snyder, Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks, Eric Bruntlett, Kyle Kendrick, Micah Owings, Pedro Feliz, Phillies, Postgame, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Tom Gordon