Thursday, May 8, 2008

Webb Too Much For Phils

Thursday ended the four game set between the Phillies and the Diamondbacks and in order to win the series the Phightins would have to defeat the 7-0 Brandon Webb. Webb is obviously the number one candidate for the NL Cy Young in this early season and has won every outing of the year so far. Unfortunately for Brett Myers, he hasn't had the same luck. Before Thursday, Myers had posted a 2-2 record, far from the classification of the Phillies "ace" as his ERA hovers around 5.

The Phils managed to get to Webb early in the first and scored the first run of the contest on a one out sac-fly by Chase Utley.

The Diamondbacks however continued to pour on the runs and scored two in the bottom of the first with a two run home run off the bat of Chris Young.

It wouldn't take long though for the D'backs to break open the game. In the bottom of the fourth, Myers walked the first two batters and then allowed a single off the bat of Mark Reynolds to load the bases with no outs. Chris Snyder doubled on a line drive to left bringing home Justin Upton and Stephen Drew. Chris Burke then singled bringing home Reynolds making it a 5-1 game. The D'backs would tack on one more in the inning off a sac-fly by Augie Ojeda bringing home Snyder and extending the lead to 6-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Diamondbacks added another run to their lead when Mark Reynolds singled with one out bringing home Stephen Drew making it a 7-1 game. They struck again in the seventh with a lead off home run by Justin Upton.

The Phils managed to get two back in the top of the ninth, but it would prove to be to much as Webb pitched a complete game for his eighth win of the season. The Phils managed to split the series with Arizona who had the best record in baseball going into the week. They now head to San Fransisco to take on the ailing Giants and try to regain control of the NL East.

Phils Battle Back Late In The Desert

Wednesday nights game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies featured two young prospects in the teams rotations. Kyle Kendrick took the mound for the Phils looking to bring his record to 3-2 on the year while Micah Owings went for the D'backs with a substantial 4-1 record. The big talk of the year has been Owings ability with the bat and his potential to play when not pitching.

The D'backs struck first against Kendrick who struggled in the inning and allowed a two out run on a Stephen Drew single to left bringing home Augie Ojeda.

The Phils struck back in the third with a run of their own with a one out single by Shane Victorino bringing home Carlos Ruiz tying the game at 1.

Despite throwing almost 40+ pitches in the first two innings, Kendrick managed to settle down and it took until the 5th for the D'backs to strike again. Chris Young led off with a home run to left and after a triple by Augie Ojeda, Conor Jackson was able to bring home their third run on a ground out.

The Phighting Phils wouldn't go quietly and tied the game up again in the top of the 5th when Pedro Feliz hit his fifth home run of the season bringing in Geoff Jenkins with him.

Ryan Madson came in to pitch in the seventh inning to protect, but after allowing a one out single to Eric Byrnes, and then a stolen base, Conor Jackson hit his sixth double of the season and collected his 2nd RBI of the night.

Things looked tied up for the Diamondbacks after taking the lead right back from the Phils but when Shane Victorino reached base on a passed ball third strike, the Phils gained new life. Eric Bruntlett came up and double to left field bringing home Victorino from first to tie the game back up and Chase Utley singled to center allowing Bruntlett to score the eventual game winning run.

The Phils collected an important win as they face the hottest pitcher in baseball, Brandon Webb on Thursday. The Phils will look to hand Webb his first loss of the season and leave Arizona on a high note before heading to San Francisco for a three game set.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Eaton Struggles In The Desert

Adam Eaton took the mound on Tuesday night with the hopes of obtaining his first decision of the year. Having previously started 6 games this season, Eaton had yet to get a decision despite the fact that the Phillies had won 4 of the 6 games. For the D'backs, Randy Johnson looked to stop the bleeding from back to back losses of crucial errors in the ninth inning.

Arizona struck first in the bottom of the first inning. A lead off double to Chris Young was followed two batters later by a throwing error on the part of Pedro Feliz on a ball hit by Eric Byrnes allowing Young to reach 3rd. With one out, Connor Jackson hit a single to center bringing home Young and putting the Diamondbacks on the board.

The Phils struck back in the third against Johnson. Adam Eaton decided to help himself a bit and hit a lead off double to the gap in left center. Shane Victorino laid down a sac-bunt to move him over to 3rd, and with one out Eric Bruntlett smoked the first pitch he saw from Johnson over the left field wall taking the lead 2-1.

Although Adam Eaton had not gotten a decision in this young season, his strength has been keeping his team in the game enough to win. Unfortunately, the D'backs didn't play up to that and in the bottom of the fourth blew the doors open with a 5 run inning. Justin Upton lead off the inning with a walk and was moved to third on a Mark Reynolds double. Miguel Montero came to the plate next and Eaton walked the bases loaded. Luckily Eaton managed to get Augie Ojeda to fly out to center without allowing a run to score, but did allow the next batter, who just so happened to be the pitcher, to walk on four pitches bringing home the tying run. Chris Young followed with a ground out that allowed and run to score, and Stephen Drew took care of the rest with a three run home run to cap the 5 run inning leaving the Phils in a 6-2 hole.

The Phils tried twice to get a rally going, once in the fifth after a one out walk to Victorino, Eric Bruntlett doubled bringing Shane home. Then again in the sixth Jason Werth hit a lead off home run to get the score to 6-4. That would be all the Phils could muster and for the first time this season Adam Eaton got a decision, unfortunately it was in the wrong column.

The Phils dropped to 19-15, and with a Florida win now share first place in the NL East. They send Kyle Kendrick to the mound on Wednesday night to try to bounce back from the tough loss.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Offense Explodes In Arizona

The Philadelphia Phillies set out on Monday night to take on the league leading Arizona Diamondbacks. The D'backs have the best record in baseball so far with a 21-10 record after a tough loss on an error in the 9th to lose to the Mets. Eerily similar to how the Phils managed to sneak away with a win on Sunday as well against the Giants.

The Phils sent Jamie Moyer to the mound who has been consistent through the first month of the season but has struggled to get run support and has limited his ability to last past the sixth inning. Arizona on the other hand sent 24 year old Max Scherzer to the mound who had his first start of his career.

The Phillies offense started early and kept the heat on, scoring a run in the first inning after a lead off double by Shane Victorino who latered scored on a sac-fly by the struggling Ryan Howard. The Diamondbacks got it back quick though scoring a run off an RBI triple by Stephen Drew in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1.

Unfortunately for Scherzer, the Phils brought their bats to Arizona and they opened the game up in the top of the third. Chase Utley doubled with one out, followed by a walk by Ryan Howard and the two out rally began after Pat Burrell struck out swinging. Geoff Jenkins singled to center bringing home Utley to take the lead. Howard moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and was later brought home when Pedro Feliz reached on a fielding error by Stephen Drew. Jenkins scored the teams fourth run on a single to center by Carlos Ruiz, and Jamie Moyer helped himself with a line drive double to left scoring Feliz and making the score 5-1.

That would conclude Max Scherzer's outing for the night and Arizona brought in Edgar Gonzalez to stop the bleeding. Gonzalez managed to keep the Phils off the board for three straight innings, but in the top of the seventh the Phils got back to work. Geoff Jenkins lead off with a single, and two batters later Ruiz singled to right and Jenkins advanced to third. Jamie Moyer laiddown a sac-bunt to move Ruiz to second and the Phils second two out rally of the night was on.

Gonzalez intentionally walked Victorino to get a better matchup with Bruntlett but the Phils shortstop won that battle with a base clearing triple. Utley then walked bringing up the struggling Howard who singled on a ground ball to right to bring home Bruntlett for a 9-1 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Chris Snyder homered off Jamie Moyer to get the score to 9-2, but the damage was all but done. Moyer left the game in the eighth and turned the game over to the bullpen to hopefully secure his second win of the season.

The Phils tacked on two more runs in the eighth and ninth. The first off a sac-fly by Gregg Dobbs bringing home Feliz, and the second on another fielding error on a ball hit by So Taguchi allowing Utley to score.

With the score 11-2, Charlie Manuel turned the game over to Clay Condrey, whose 7.45 ERA has made it difficult for him to get innings, so this was the perfect opportunity.

After three singles to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and a throwing error by Jenkins, allowing Miguel Montero to score, it looked like the D'backs were about to start a rally. Condrey managed to get it under control and only allowed one more run to score off a ground out by Chris Burke. The Phils finished with an 11-4 win against the league leaders and look to take the second game on Tuesday night.

The Phils expanded their lead in the NL East with a win on Monday by 1.5 games.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Phils Offense Comes Up Big Late Again

Sunday's rubber match between the Phillies and the Giants featured the Phillies true ace Cole Hamels and the Giants best pitcher Tim Lincecum. The Phillies offense has struggled through this series as they have through the rest of the season to score runs that haven't come off the long ball. Leading the league in that category with 47 going into Sunday, they needed to find a way to play small ball and put some runs ton the board.

Both pitchers came out smoking the ball as it took until the end of the 3rd inning for either team to make a dent. Shane Victorino led off the inning by reaching 1st on a throwing error, Eric Bruntlett followed that up with a ground ball single into right. After a 1 out fielders choice by Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell struck again and hit a line drive double to left bringing home Victorino and Bruntlett to make the score 2-0.

It would only be a half inning later though when the Giants offense cracked Hamels. Emmanuel Burriss led off with a line drive single to right, three batters and two outs later, Jose Castillo lined one to center bringing home Burriss. Rich Aurilla doubled on a line drive to center, bringing home Castillo and tying up the game at 2.

Just an inning later the Phils would take back the lead when Victorino led off the inning again with a single, and Eric Bruntlett reached on the Giants second error of the day. Lincecum walked Howard to load up the bases and during Pat Burrell at bat, threw a wild pitch bringing home Victorino. After an intentional walk to Burrell, Geoff Jenkins hit a sac-fly to bring home Bruntlett to extend the Phils lead to 4-2.

The top of the sixth, the Giants struck again, when after a one out single by Aaron Rowand, Rich Aurilla hit his third home run of the season to tie the game back up at 4.

Both offenses took the seventh inning off, but were right back at it in the eighth when after a two out single by Aaron Rowand, Jose Castillo tripled off a ball over Geoff Jenkins head bringing home Rowand and taking the lead for the Giants for the first time in the game.

Unfortunately for the Giants though, Carlos Ruiz was not up for losing the rubber match, and in the bottom of the eighth, hit his first home run of the season over the left field wall to tie the game up once again at 5.

Charlie Manuel brought in Brad Lidge in the top of the ninth of a tie game for the second night this series and luckily it panned out as Lidge held the game to a tie.

In the bottom of the ninth, Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard drew two out walks. Geoff Jenkins came to the plate and hit a slow rolling ball to Eugenio Velez who missed the play and on the third error of the game, Ryan Howard scored from second winning the game for the Phils.

The Phillies head on the road on Monday to face the MLB best Arizona Diamondbacks and look to hold their lead atop the NL East with a record of 18-14.