Saturday, April 26, 2008

Howard Back In Lineup, Offense Beats Up Morris.

For the first time in two games Ryan Howard was in the Phillies starting lineup Saturday night against the Pirates. Kyle Kendrick took the mound against the cross state rivals opposing Matt Morris who, like Kendrick, has struggled this season. Both starters were looking to try to turn their seasons in a positive direction.

Things looked to be starting off well for Morris, getting Jason Werth and Gregg Dobbs in order. Chase Utley came to the plate and hit a line drive single to right, bringing Ryan Howard to the plate.

Howard had taken the last two games off to try to clear his head in hopes of getting out of his early slump in which his is hitting below .200. Howard did appear as a pinch hitter in both games.

After fouling off three consecutive pitches by Morris, Howard hit a bomb of a home run right over the center field wall for his fifth of the season making the score 2-0. Pat Burrell singled on a line drive to Jason Bay, and Geoff Jenkins knocked him in on what was scored a error on Xavier Nady when Jenkins hit a ball over Nady's head that bounced out of his glove. Chris Coste was up next and after three pitches was hit by Morris to give the Phils 1st and 2nd with two outs. Eric Bruntlett singled on a ground ball to center field bringing in Jenkins and moving Coste to 2nd, and in what seemed to be a never ending nightmare for Matt Morris, Kyle Kendrick reached base when SS Brian Bixler booted a ball into center field brining in Coste. Finally, after allowing six runs to score, Jason Werth flied out to end the inning.

It didn't take long for the Phils to tack on another run, when in the top of the 2nd inning, Chase Utley singled, Ryan Howard walked, and two batters later Eric Bruntlett singled to left to bring home Utley.

The Pirates finally made some noise in the third after Kendrick hit Brian Bixler with a pitch. Two batters later, Nate Mclouth hit a line drive center field to bring home Bixler, and Freddy Sanchez doubled to right bringing home Mclouth.

The Pirates pen appeared to have been keeping the Phils offense in check until the sixth inning. Brian Bixler recorded his second error of the game of a hit by Eric Bruntlett and after back-to-back doubles by Jason Werth and Pedro Feliz, the Phils tacked on two more runs to their lead.

The Pirates got one back in the seventh as Doug Mientkiewicz singled to center, Ronny Paulino attempted to move over Mientkiewicz and hit a slow dribbler that was fielded by Kendrick, but because of the rushed play, was thrown away. Mientkiewicz advanced to third on the error and was brought home on a ground out by Bixler.

Kendrick pitched into the eighth inning, but after giving up a leadoff home run to Nate Mclouth and allowing a single to Freddy Sanchez, Kendrick was pulled for Rudy Seanez who managed to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs. Ryan Madson came in for the Phils in the ninth and was able to close it out for an 8-4 win for the Phils

The Phils send ace Brett Myers to the mound on Sunday hoping to get their first three game sweep of the season.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Phils Coste Past Pirates

The Phillies opened their last of three series in their three city road trip on Friday night against state rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Adam Eaton took the mound hoping to build off his unexpected good start to the 2008 season against the Pirates Zack Duke. The Phils poured the runs on early and often.

In the first, Jason Werth and Chase Utley managed back-to-back walks before Chris Coste doubled a ball off of Duke left field bringing in both runners. In the third Jason Werth hit his fifth home run of the season to right-center field. Pat Burrell doubled to left field and was knocked in by Coste who hit a single to center-field for his third RBI of the night. The Phils tacked on two more runs in the fourth after Eric Bruntlett led off the inning with a single. Brad Harman came to the plate and got his first hit, and RBI of his major league career with a double to left field. Harman would score his first run of his career two batters later thanks to a single by Jason Werth.

The bottom of the fourth was when things started to get sticky of Eaton. The Phils starter managed to get Freddy Sanchez swinging to start off the inning, but followed it up with a long ball to Jason Bay. Ryan Doumit doubled to right and Xavier Nady hit a double of his own to knock in Doumit. Two batters later, Paul Mientkiewicz doubled to right field and Nady came in to score cutting the Phils lead in half. After a walk to Brian Bixler, Chad Durbin was brought in to replace Eaton and managed to get out of the inning without further damage.

In the bottom of the fifth, Durbin managed to get the first two batters out, before serving up a walk to Jason Bay. Ryan Doumit hit his second double of the game giving the Pirates 2nd and 3rd with two outs. Nady came to the plate and sliced a ground ball to left field and both Doumit and Nady came in to score.

Durbin managed to keep the Pirates off the board in the sixth, which became important because of the Pirates bullpens ability to shut down the Phils offense after the fourth inning. Tom Gordon pitched a near flawless 7th, followed up by another fantastic outing by JC Romero in the 8th, and the Phils Brad Lidge came in in the ninth and closed the game out with strikeouts to both Nate Mclouth and Jason Bay.

The Phils send Kyle Kendrick to the mound on Saturday night who look to build on their 13-11 record and end this road trip strong.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Burrell Pulls Through For Phils, Split Series

The Philadelphia Phillies sent Jaimie Moyer to the mound Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee against Jeff Suppan. The Phils hoped for a solid outing from Moyer who went into the game with a 1-1 record and seemed to be having some difficulty following Hamels in the rotation.

The Brewers struck early against Moyer after he walked Rickie Weeks and allowed him to score on line drive single by Ryan Braun.

The game became a pitchers duel, between the two veteran pitchers. It wasn't until the sixth inning that the Phils finally tied the game up with a Jason Werth home run.

In the eighth inning the Brewers went to their bullpen and the Phils were able to take advantage. David Riske walked Gregg Dobbs and allowed a single from Chase Utley before Pat Burrell hit a line drive double over the head of Ryan Braun allowing both runs to score with two outs.

The Phils were able to close out the game with strong outings by Tom Gordon, JC Romero and Brad Lidge who came in for his 5th save of the season. Gordon managed to get out of a 1st and 3rd, no out jam in the seventh inning to keep the lead for the Phils.

The Phils head out to Pittsburgh for a three game set as they sit at 1 game over the 500 mark and in third place in the NL East.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Long Ball Can't Carry Phils Past Brewers

Wednesday nights match up between the Phillies and the Brewers featured Cole Hamels against Milwaukee's Dave Bush. Hamels struggled early in the game giving up 3 runs in the first. Hamels allowed a leadoff double to Rickie Weeks, an RBI single to Gabe Kapler, followed by a home run courtesy of Prince Fielder.

The Phils chipped away though with a third inning home run by Chase Utley, who has an extra base hit in nine straight games. Then in the 5th inning, Gregg Dobbs stroked a ball to right field after Hamels led off the inning with a single. The Phils tacked one more on with a home run by Pat Burrell in the sixth.

Things were smooth sailing for the Phils, as Hamels pitched into the eighth, but got into trouble after a lead off double to Ryan Braun followed up by Prince Fielder's second home run of the night.

Derrick Turnbow came into the game in the ninth and despite allowing So Taguchi to reach on a walk and advance to third on a throwing error, closed out the game after getting Jason Werth to strike out and Pedro Feliz to ground out.

The Phils close out their short set with the Brewers on Thursday night and send Jaimie Moyer to the mound.

Burrell Blasts Phils Past Rockies, Over 500

Tuesday night the Phillies looked to win their first series of the season against the Colorado Rockies. Although it was just a 2 game series, the Phils had a chance to move over the 500 mark while keeping their momentum going to Milwaulkee.

The game featured Brett Myers against Jeff Francis in what continues to be a inter-conference rival since last years Wild Card Playoff series. Chase Utley continued to deliver early and in the 3rd inning smacked a two run double to center field to get the Phils on the board early. The Rockies struck back right away off Brett Myers with back-to-back doubles by Todd Helton and Matt Holiday. In the 4th, Jeff Francis helped the Phils tack on to their lead by walking in a run to give the Phils a 3-1 lead.

The lead didn't last long though as Myers started to struggle against the Rockies lineup, giving up a leadoff triple to Brad Hawpe. Jeff Baker singled to bring in Hawpe. Two batters later Jeff Francis bunted over Baker to move him into scoring position. Willy Tavares came to the plate and doubled to center field bringing in Baker and tying the game at 3. The Rockies took the lead in the 5th off a Matt Holliday homer run, and the Phils Jason Werth tied it back up with a homer of his own.

In the bottom of the seventh things blew up on Brett Myers after a walk to Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins homered on a line drive to left field giving the Rockies the lead again. In the top of the eighth Pedro Feliz doubled to left field and was knocked in by pinch hitter Gregg Dobbs bringing the Phils within one.

In the top of the ninth, the Rockies brought in Manny Corpas to close out the game. The Phils had yet to score a run off Corpas in his short career, but were up to the challenge of changing that stat.

So Taguchi led off the inning with a single past Todd Helton. Chase Utley came to the plate two batters later and hit a line drive centerfield in which Taguchi moved to third base and Utley got to second on the throw. Corpas intentionally walked Ryan Howard to load the bases to try and force the double play. Pat Burrell came to the plate with the hottest bat on the team, and potentially in the league. With the count 2-2 Burrell hit a bomb to left-center field, but because the Rockies were shading towards right field, Willy Tavares couldn't get there in time and the ball fell in for a base clearing double. The Phils took the lead 8-6, and in the bottom of the ninth Brad Lidge came in for the save.

The Phils moved over the 500 mark for the first time this season and now head to Milwaulkee to face the Brewers in a two game set.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Utley Continues Streak, Phils Win.

Chase Utley took his four game, five home run streak into Colorado on Monday night in hopes of building off the important win in the final game against the Mets on Sunday. The Phillies were also looking to get some other offense going since they have been thriving off the long ball so far this season. They went into Monday's game against the Rockies with a league leading 31 home runs.

Monday nights match up featured the Rockies Mike Redman against the Phils Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick has been struggling a bit this season. Being a contact pitchers requires getting good defense from the rest of the team and the Phils have been struggling in the field, more so since the lost of Jimmy Rollins.

Kendrick allowed the Rockies to get on the board early in the second off a three run home run by Yorvit Torrealba.

The Phils looked like they were going to continue to struggle to score runs, until the fourth inning when Ryan Howard reached on a single and Pat Burrell crushed a ball for his seventh home run of the season.

It didn't take long though for the Rockies to add to their lead as Kendrick allowed a two run homer by Garrett Atkins bring the game to 5-2.

The Phillies came right back in the top of the sixth when Jason Werth managed an inside-the-park home run off a ball hit to center field, followed by Chase Utley's 6th home run in 5 games.

With the score 5-4 and the Rockies readying their closer in the bullpen in the top of the eighth, the Phillies managed to score two runs off of plays other than home runs for the first time in two games. Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliz all reached base which brought up Carlos Ruiz with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Ruiz smoked a ball down the right field line for a double allowing Howard and T.J. Bohn, who came in to run for Burrell, to score.

With the lead going into the ninth, the Phils looked to tack on some insurance runs. Geoff Jenkins led off the ninth with a single to right field and Chris Coste was hit by a pitch. Jason Werth came up to the plate and hit a line drive to right field for a double which allowed Jenkins to score. After Utley and Howard went down, T. J. Bohn came to the plate and hit a line drive to left field allowing Coste and Werth to come in to score.

Although they had the a four run lead, Brad Lidge came in to end the game and after striking out Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holiday, the Phils closed out a well fought 9-5 win.

The Phils send Brett Myers to the mound on Tuesday to face Jeff Francis. The Phillies are at the .500 mark for the fourth time the season and will be looking to get over the hump.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Utley Blasts Phils Past Mets, Avoid Sweep

Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN featured the "teams" to beat in the NL East, as the Phillies and Mets squared off in the final game of their weekend series. The Phils sent Adam Eaton to the mound to face off against Mike Pelfry. Eaton has had a surprising start to the season, keeping opponents in check all year and providing the offense with an opportunity to win the games. Sunday night was no different, except the Phillies brought their "secret" weapon.

Chase Utley had homered in each of the Phillies loses in the series against the Mets and it appeared that it was going to take more than one to get past their heated rivals. It took two. Utley hit a solo home run in the first inning to get the Phils on the board early. Pelfry seemed to keep the rest of the Phillies offense in check until the 5th inning, when Chase Utley powered a second ball into the stands with two men on to make the lead 4 for Eaton. Unfortunately though, Eaton struggled in the 6th inning and the Mets managed to battle back to score 4 runs of their own and tie the game up, sending the Philly crowd running for cover.

Lucky for the fans though, they only had to wait until the next inning when Pedro Feliz came into to pinch hit for Gregg Dobbs against Pedro Feliciano. Feliz managed to get the best of the match up sending one over the wall and supplying the winning run for the Phils.

Brad Lidge came in to get the save, and although he allowed the first to batters to reach base, he managed to get out of the game on a stellar play by MVP Shortstop Jimmy Rollins replacement, Eric Bruntlet.

The Phils head to Colorado on Monday to face the Rockies.