Saturday, May 17, 2008

Barajas Almost Matches Werth's Big Night

Saturday night's game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays played out much like Friday nights game. Rod Barajas came back to Philadelphia after a difficult season trying to become the Phils starting catcher, but struggled and lost the job to Carlos Ruiz. Friday, Barajas got some payback.

After a solid first inning from Adam Eaton to start off Saturday's game, Eaton hit a batter and allowed two hits before Barajas smoked a ball over the right field fence for a grand slam and a four run lead.

Eaton would seemingly settle in with the hopes of allowing the Phils offense to battle back, but the home team struggled to get their offense going against A.J. Burnett.

In the fourth inning, Gregg Dobbs managed to get the Phils on the board with an RBI double off Burnett. The Phils added two more runs in the seventh and came within one run after a two RBI double from Jimmy Rollins.

After a scoreless eighth inning, Rod Barajas struck again and led off the top of the ninth with a solo shot to make it a two run lead again. The Blue Jays tacked on another run on a Hector Luna single and Toronto's closer, B.J. Ryan came in and shut down the Phils for the save.

The rubber match between these two teams will feature Kyle Kendrick for the Phils and Shaun Marcum for the Jays.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Myers Struggles Early and Often

Wednesday nights match up between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves pitted the ageless Tom Glavine against the reeling Brett Myers. Glavine was looking to obtain his first win since returning from the DL earlier this season, and Myers was still trying to obtain his starting form, as he has struggled all season to get games in the win column.

The Braves offense started up early for the second night in a row, putting a two spot on the scoreboard in the first inning with home runs by Yunel Escobar and Chipper Jones. They tacked on another in the second when Kelly Johnson hit a home run of his own. The barrage continued in the third with a two out, two RBI double off the bat of Brian McCann in the third for a 5-0 lead.

Myers was finally pulled in the fifth inning after giving up three more earned runs. Myers loaded the bases in the top of the fifth and after Brian McCann brought home one run, Ryan Madson was brought in to stop the bleeding, but allowed two more to cross the plate off a ground ball by Gregor Blanco.

The Phils finally got to Glavine in the sixth with an RBI double from Jimmy Rollins, and fielders choice RBI from Shane Victorino and a two run home run off the bat of Chase Utley.

Unfortunately for the Phils though, the damage was done, and even though the bullpen held the Braves offense off the board after the fifth inning, they could only muster two more runs in the game. Ryan Howard hit a solo home run for his eighth of the year in the eighth inning and Jimmy Rollins had an RBI single in the ninth to bring the game to 8-6.

The Phils send Cole Hamels to the mound on Thursday to try to win the series for the Phils against Chuck James.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Werth's Bat Carries Phils

Tuesday nights game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies featured a divisional rival that poses an interesting story. An aging Braves team that spent a decade atop the NL East as the Phillies, Mets and Marlins looked up hoping for a Wild Card spot. Now the tables have turned on the Braves and they are the team striving to compete for the number one spot in the division. As the Phillies, Marlins and Mets flourish this season, the Braves are looking for a spark to get rolling. Tuesday they were looking for that spark, but unfortunately for the Braves, Jason Werth showed up in rare fashion.

The Phils sent Kyle Kendrick to the mound on Tuesday to face the Braves JoJo Reyes as Kendrick looked to bring stability to the back of the Phils rotation. Kendirick however took some time to stabilize.

In the top of the first the Braves came out firing on all cylinders. After the first two batters reached base, Chipper Jones singled to center bringing home a run. three batters later though, Jeff Francoeur hit a 2 out 2 RBI single to right giving the Braves a 3-0 lead after the first. Luckily for the Phils though, Kendrick would settle after the shaky start and began to shut down the Braves offense.

It took until the fourth inning for the Phils to put up some runs. In the bottom of the inning, Chase Utley led off with a single and was moved to third on a long double to center off the bat of Ryan Howard. Two batters later, Jason Werth hit a single up the middle and brought both Howard and Utley home to make it a one run game.

The Phils added two more in the fifth inning off an RBI single from Ryan Howard and another from Jason Werth. Werth would continue his stellar 4-4 night with a RBI single in the seventh that would bring home the eventual game winner.

Four of the five Phillies runs came off the bat of Jason Werth which helped to erase a difficult play in the bottom of the ninth when Werth allowed a ball to sail over his head and bring home a run. Luckily for Werth, Brad Lidge kept his composure after allowing the run and closed out the game for his tenth save of the season.

With the Phils win and a loss by the Marlins, the Phils are now only 1.5 games out of first in the NL East. Wednesday's match up features Brett Myers for the Phils and the ageless wonder Tom Glavine to the Braves. Jason Werth has more than likely secured himself a spot in Wednesday's lineup with a 4-4 performance, and the Phils Ryan Howard finally had a solid night going 2-4 with an RBI.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Phillies Weekend Recap: Giants Stomp Phils

Friday night the Philadelphia Phillies opened a three game set in San Fransisco with the hopes of edging the Giants in a series for the second time in a week. The Phils were riding high after their first four games in the road trip saw a split with the leagues best Arizona Diamondbacks, and although MVP front runner Chase Utley and the surprising play of Pat Burrell had cooled off, Jimmy Rollins would be back in the starting lineup for the first time in a month.

In Friday's game, the Phils sent their young ace Cole Hamels to the mound looking to increase his record to 4-3 on the year against the Giants Pat Misch. After the first six innings it appeared that this series would play out like the previous weekends in which every game came down to the last inning, including two extra inning games. Unfortunately for the Giants though the Phils managed to score three runs in the eighth giving the Phils a 7-4 lead and the win to start off the series, Hamels took the win and in his first game back, J-Roll hit a two run shot over the left field wall for his third dinger of the year.

Saturday's game however wasn't so bright for the Phils, as they faced Tim Lincecum the young right hander who went into the game with a 4-1 record. The Phils managed to score first in the second inning with a lead off home run by Ryan Howard, but Lincecum and the Giants offense would prove to be too much for the Phils. Jamie Moyer had another poor outing and gave up 6 earned runs in 4 innings and the Giants took the second game of the series by a score of 8-2.

Sunday's rubber match to determine the series winner would feature Adam Eaton on the mound for the Phils against the Giants Jonathan Sanchez, another young pitcher in the organization. Eaton who had been steady throughout the first month of the season had struggled in his last few outings and needed to get back on track to help the Phils in their winning ways. Eaton pitched well enough to win again on Sunday, giving up only 2 runs, but only going 5 innings after getting into trouble in the sixth. JC Romero however gave up 2 when the Phils had a 3-2 lead in the seventh and the Phils dropped the third game and the series to the Giants.

The Phils head home on Tuesday for a series against the Atlanta. They look to put behind them a losing road trip in which Chase Utley went 4 for 24 with 4 walks and Pat Burrell went 2 for 18 with six walks.

As long as Howard continues to struggle, Utley and Burrell will have to get back on track to keep up with the surging Florida Marlins who took a 3 game lead in the division as the Phils dropped to 2nd place, tie with the Mets.