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2010 Game Recaps

Phillies stay sharp for 96th win, beat Braves 11-5

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, October 02, 2010 12:09 AM Comments: 18

Even though they have the NL East wrapped up for a fourth consecutive year, the Phillies have no desire to muck these final games heading into the playoffs.  Heading into Atlanta to play the rival Braves, who are also fighting for a playoff spot, the Phillies can still influence the outcome of the Wild Card race.  Currently the Braves lead the Padres by two games in the Wild Card.

They put that task, for game one, on the shoulders of Kyle Kendrick.  Originally Charlie Manuel had set up his rotation so that the big three of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels would again pitch against the Braves to finish off the season.  Having clinched the division earlier this week,  Manuel decided to throw Kendrick to line Halladay up to start Game 1 of the NLDS.   We learned today he will be followed by Oswalt in Game 2.  Hamels is the likely choice for Game 3 although nothing has been announced yet.  He will start the final game of the season against the Braves.

Kendrick pitched well enough to get onto the postseason roster I think.  He threw five innings giving up five hits and two runs on 95 pitches.  If and when Kendrick is used in the playoffs, he will be coming out of the bullpen.

The offense looked to stay hot heading into next week’s NLDS.  Jimmy Rollins hit a grand slam during the five-run sixth inning, his first since coming back.  Ryan Howard had two RBIs and Carlos Ruiz had three hits for the Phillies.

Placido Polanco, who received a cortisone shot Wednesday, returned to the team but did not see any action.  Manuel did say he wanted Polanco to get some at bats before the end of the season, so you can expect to see him this weekend in some capacity.

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Ben Fran and the Backup Boys Clean House, 7-1

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 29, 2010 11:09 PM Comments: 0

It’s turned into a waiting game, basically. Everyone is looking ahead to the postseason, which starts next week. The reserves stepped in once again on Hangover: Day 2, pushing the Phillies to a series win over the Nationals with a 7-1 victory. Ben Francisco jacked two home runs, John Mayberry and Mike Sweeney each added one and even though the game was rather meaningless (again) it gave the bench guys some good swings heading into the playoffs.

Francisco and Mayberry each knocked in three runs and Joe Blanton pitched seven solid innings. Blanton ends his year on a high note, one that started fairly ugly. He struck out six and allowed just three hits while tossing 107 pitches. He likely won’t pitch in the NLDS, so Charlie Manuel allowed him to go deeper than Roy Oswalt went last night.

As for the few regulars who saw time, Shane Victorino went 0-for-4 as did Jimmy Rollins who has scuffled at the plate the last two games. Wilson Valdez, if you want to call him a regular, played second base and finished 0-for-3 with a walk.

In his quest for a spot on the NLDS roster, Greg Dobbs went 2-for-4 with a couple of singles. Out in the pen, Romero, Madson, Lidge tossed two scoreless frames to end it.

Just one week. But before the playoffs, enjoy the final moments of what has been an awesome regular season. Let it last.

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Phils Lose to Nats on Hangover Day

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 28, 2010 11:31 PM Comments: 0

There was a game played today? How dare they. After the champagne was cleaned up (although Matt Gelb of the Inquirer said there was a candle lit in the clubhouse and it still smelled of bubbly and stogies) the Phillies and Nationals got together for game two of a now-meaningless series. The Nats won 2-1 tonight on an Adam Dunn walkoff blast in the ninth, causing a celebration of sorts for the cellar dwelling neighbors to the south.

Roy Oswalt got the start and didn’t last very long before Charlie Manuel pulled the plug on his outing. He was stopped at just 66 pitches in an effort to keep him fresh for either Game 1 or Game 2 of the National League Division Series which begins next Wednesday. The over/under set by myself was at 70, so whoever had the under won nothing. For the playoffs, Slot #1 is reserved for Mr. Halladay, but beyond that, the order is not known.

Anywho, Oswalt was nice again tonight, throwing five innings and allowing no earned runs. Washington scored in the first inning after a Jimmy Rollins error on an attempted run-down play. Rollins threw the ball past Greg Dobbs as they tried to get Nyjer Morgan between second and third. Morgan would score a batter later on a ground out by Dunn.

Dunn would strike early and then again late with his 38th home run off Jose Contreras, an absolute missile well into the second deck.

Now on to more important things, such as the health of their shortstop Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll made his return to the starting lineup for the first time since September 8, going 1-for-3 with a few weak ground outs to first base. He said later that he probably wouldn’t be healthy until February, noting that legging out infield singles will have to wait until then. But as long as Rollins can maneuver in the field and give the Phils some clutchness in the postseason, it’s all you can ask for.

Few other notes: Dom Brown stole two bases tonight, flashing some speed that we hope to see next year. Placido Polanco got the night off and likely will have every night off until next Wednesday. He’s expected to have another cortisone shot in his bad elbow, which should help him get through October. Greg Dobbs went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts – he did not make a case for a spot on the postseason roster with another ugly performance. If it comes down to Brown and Dobbs, who do you take?

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Division: Clinched. Business: Unfinished.

Posted by Michael Baumann, Mon, September 27, 2010 11:36 PM Comments: 0

Carlos Ruiz after the Phillies clinch the 2010 NL East titleI’ve always been awed by the ability of major league ballplayers to keep things in perspective. Consider Roy Halladay. Halladay signed what was then the richest contract in Phillies history in terms of annual salary, replaced a fan favorite, and, like Atlas, lifted the hopes and expectations of a city of 1.6 million on his shoulders. Tonight was his 33rd appearance of the year, and he was perhaps as stunning this evening as at any other point in his six months in red pinstripes (his perfect game in May notwithstanding). 97 pitches, 65 strikes, no walks, two hits, six strikeouts, no runs allowed. Methodical is the word that comes to mind.

Pitch no. 97 was a fading 84-mph split-fingered what-the-hell-was-that?-ball low and on the outside corner to a befuddled 23-year-old Nationals infielder named Danny Espinosa. I was sitting in Mac’s Tavern on Second and Market when that ball hit Carlos Ruiz’s glove. Mac’s is not really a sports bar, and it was only half full, but its patrons celebrated pitch no. 97 with appropriate pomp and circumstance: the Rocky theme was played, strangers were hugged, fists pumped, and high-fives exchanged. This fourth straight division title is an unprecedented occurrence for this team, so we were pretty jazzed. Imagine how Roy Halladay, a veteran of 13 major league seasons with nary a playoff appearance, must have reacted!

Methodically. Halladay, veteran of 13 major league seasons, none of them ending in playoff runs, pumped his fist, walked off the mound, and gave his catcher a peremptory hug. The eight position players on the field, seven of whom has played in a World Series in the past five years, were similarly nonplussed. Jayson Werth, whose two extra base hits and four RBIs paced a Phillies attack that methodically hung eight runs on five Washington pitchers, jogged in from right field to join the party. The ordinarily effervescent Shane Victorino couldn’t be bothered even to do that–he walked.

The fracas on the mound (if you could call it that) seemed staged, a display no one really wanted to bother with and only put on for the benefit of the TV cameras. The Phillies looked, for lack of a better word, bored with the division title. They expect to have another shot at this pitching-mound-orgy-and-champagne-shower business in a couple weeks. Considering recent events, that might be a reasonable expectation.

Here are some photos from tonight’s game courtesy of Brian:

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Phillies Fail to Clinch at Home, Lose to Mets, 7-3

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, September 26, 2010 06:06 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

It’s not the way they wanted things to end at home, but the Phillies did get some help in the standings. Even though the Phils lost to the Mets 7-3 in the series finale, the Atlanta Braves lost to the Washington Nationals, 4-2.

With a six game lead with six to play, any win by the Phillies, or any loss by the Braves, means the Phillies will clinch the National League East.

On the mound, Cole Hamels was working with very little from the early stages of the game. He allowed a second inning home run to David Wright, which put the Mets on top 1-0. Hamels was visibly frustrated with the strike zone of home plate umpire Mike Winters all afternoon, and for good reason. Winters was not consistent, but let’s not place all of the blame on the umpire. Hamels wasn’t sharp and he made several mistakes, including another long one to Carlos Beltran in the fifth inning.

Hamels would last only four innings – plus one batter in the fifth, which was Beltran – allowing five runs on nine hits to go with three walks and two strikeouts. The five earned runs allowed were the most for Hamels since —. His two K’s on the day were a season low for a game that was not rain shortened.

“It was just one of those days where I couldn’t locate and I wasn’t being consistent,” said Hamels after his second-shortest outing of the season. “I just threw…too many pitches out of the zone, then when I was throwing strikes I left them up.”

Sound like you can chalk it up to a great pitcher just having a bad day. Unfortunately, it came in a spot where a win would have sent the Phillies off on the road with another NL East crown. That will have to wait until at least Monday.

Chase Utley accounted for all of the Phillies offense with one swing of the stick in the fifth inning. He lined one into the first row in right field for a three-run home run, his 16th of the season. Other than his contribution, little was provided elsewhere. The Phillies did manage nine hits on the afternoon, however, they again struggled with runners in scoring position going 1-for-13.

“You can’t hit every day, that’s life,” quipped Charlie Manuel following his teams first series loss since the Houston Astros swept them in late August.

Jimmy Rollins made his return to the lineup a quick and rather uninspiring one. Rollins pinch hit for Wilson Valdez in the eighth inning, his first at bat since September 8. He swung at the first pitch and rolled it over to second base. Not exactly how he wanted to come back, but at least he’s been deemed healthy enough to play from here on out.

The home schedule didn’t end on a high note, but there were reasons to celebrate the season on Fan Appreciation Day. Over 3.6 million fans pushed through the turnstiles, an average attendance of 45,028 per game, both franchise records.

They’ll now head to the Nation’s Capital for a three game set with the Nats, who did their part to aid the Phillies this weekend. Rain is forecasted for both Monday and Tuesday, which sets up an interesting situation should any game be rained out.

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Phils give up big inning, lose 5-2

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, September 26, 2010 01:11 AM Comments: 0

What could have been a champagne drenched locker room turned into just another post game interview spot.  The Phillies woke up Saturday morning with hopes of wrapping up the NL East division for a fourth straight year.  The Braves blanked the Nationals 5-0 in a day game canceling all hopes of clinching tonight against the Mets.  And then the seventh inning happened to the Phillies.  Magic number is still at two after losing tonight 5-2.

So let’s recap.  The win steak is over.  The playoff push is on pause; for now.  The Phillies could not figure out Mets’ rookie Dillon Gee, managing only five hits and two runs.  Hitting his 31st home run of the season, Ryan Howard is responsible for all the Phillies’ scoring for the night.  With two hits in the first inning, the Phils looked to continue their September slugfest against the Mets.

However, after the second inning, the offense went to sleep collecting only three more hits and none after the seventh.  Kyle Kendrick kept the offense in the game through six innings allowing only three hits and no runs.  But after allowing a run in the seventh and loading the bases, Kendrick was pulled for Chad Durbin.  Durbin allowed a three run double to Lucas Duda and another RBI double to Joaquin Arias.

The Phillies went into the seventh inning winning 2-0 and left trailing 5-2.

The Phillies can still clinch the division tomorrow with a win paired with a Braves loss.  If not, they will have to do it on the road in Washington or Atlanta.

Keep the champagne on ice and plastic rolled up.  But don’t put it away.  The Phillies will still need it.  Cole Hamels goes tomorrow for the Phils against Pat Misch.

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The Other Roy Dominates as Phils Jump 6 Up

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 22, 2010 10:55 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

Roy Oswalt. Tommy Hanson.  Neither blinked. Both righties battled each other, providing a pitchers duel that leaves you feeling a little giddy in late September. They left it for the bullpens to fend for themselves, and in the end, the Phillies were once again too much for Atlanta in the 1-0 finale win, their 10th straight.

Raul Ibanez gave the Phillies all they needed for a sweep with a double down the left field line that sprayed chalk and scored Jayson Werth. Werth slid through home plate with a pump of his fist as the rally towels waved at full whip.

The gap in the National League East has grown because of performances like that of Oswalt. He went seven innings, tossing 99 pitches, while allowing a lone hit and walk. It was a shutdown game that reeks of playoff baseball. Oswalt is desperate for it, as are many of the men who share red pinstripes.

Although he was left with a no-decision, Oswalt was downright brilliant, as he has been for sometime now. Tonight was Roy Deuce’s ninth scoreless outing of the season, and it came at a time when it was absolutely necessary.

Several players have flourished at the right moment, including one of the more beleaguered Phillies, Brad Lidge. The Phillies closer has converted nine saves in a row – including three straight nights with a save – and has finally found his old self. He said the workload hasn’t been a problem. “I do feel good,” said Lidge. “Basically the first two months of the season I was on the DL, so, to be able to throw a lot these last few months… that’s what’s one of the things that’s helped to get my arm and that command back.”

It wasn’t until the fifth inning the Phillies got any sort of offense perking. Carlos Ruiz’s one out double was the first hit of the evening off of Hanson. Wilson Valdez followed that up with a walk and Roy Oswalt moved them up a base with a well-placed two-strike bunt.

That brought up a scuffling Shane Victorino who promptly struck out looking on a ball right down the chute. It was a night filled with missed opportunities; few opportunities really. Tommy Hanson was the cause of the lacking offense.

Hanson went six strong frames, allowing just two hits while walking three and striking out four. Too many times he fooled Phillies hitters with a nasty slider/curveball combo which is helped by a mid-90’s fastball. Hanson did all he could, however, the Braves continued their slide into the abyss.

And for the Phillies, all that mattered was that Oswalt kept it close enough for the offense to strike. In the end, they did.

So the lead is six games with nine to play. Do the math and the Phils have a magic number of four. They are ever so close to completing a remarkable comeback, but it’s not yet time to sleep. They’ve taken care of business for the last month, what’s a few more days?

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Halladay's 20th Stretches NL East Lead to 5

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 21, 2010 11:19 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

It’s beginning to feel like the Phillies and Braves are shopping in Macy’s. One team is standing on the escalator heading to the top floor, searching for the fine china, while the other is watching them pass on the way down, searching for the exits. Atlanta’s move toward the door continued tonight as Jayson Werth’s three-run homer paced the Phillies to a 5-3 win, their ninth straight.

Roy Halladay wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t need to be. His offense gave him enough to work with and he in turn provided his team with a victory, his 20th of the season. For Doc, it was the third 20-win season of his fine career and the first for the Phils since 1982 (Steve Carlton). It also pushed the Phillies five steps ahead of the Braves in what was once shaping up to be dogfight for the division.

Again, Halladay didn’t have his best stuff as he looked slightly worn down. Perhaps the long season has begun to take its toll. Overall, it was yet another quality start – seven innings, seven hits, three earned runs, two walks, and three strikeouts. It’s been a string of so-so performances by his standards, and although he wasn’t of the Cy Young caliber we’ve become accustomed to, Halladay gutted out a win in one of the most significant games he’s ever pitched.

“Being able to think about getting ourselves to the playoffs and finishing these last couple of weeks strong has been the priority,” said Halladay, with multiple ice wraps covering his upper body. “To be able to go out and pitch meaningful games at this point in the season makes all the difference.

Braves starter Mike Minor was sent to the showers early, going 2 1/3 innings while allowing those three runs on seven hits. The 22-year old rookie was forced to toss 73 pitches to get just seven outs.

Werth’s bomb to deep left-center field, his 25th of the year, opened up the scoring in the third inning. Minor was chased one batter later after allowing a double to Raul Ibanez following the home run.

Atlanta would counter with one in the fifth and one in the sixth to bring it to 3-2, but the Phils would eventually pull away. In the bottom of the sixth, Ibanez notched his second double, a screamer into the right field corner, scoring Ryan Howard and Werth. Halladay would exit after seven, handing it off to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. The Phillies closer converted his 20th save in his last 22 tries and in the process may have closed it down for good on the Braves.

As for Doc’s 20th victory, Charlie Manuel heaped praise on his ace. “He’s had a tremendous year for us. Count the innings and the wins he’s got, that speaks for itself, ” said Manuel.

Halladay’s 20th overshadowed a game of many stars tonight. Chase Utley and Wilson Valdez turned two beautiful double plays, including a ballerina-like pirouette move by Valdez on one of them. Lidge has hit his stride at the perfect time, recording his 19th scoreless appearance in those 22 opportunities. And the fans. They were loud and carrying towels. Citizens Bank Park was bumpin’.

Tomorrow, the final nail in the Braves coffin can be hammered down. The grave has been dug; it’s up to Roy Oswalt seal it up.

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Doc gets 20th win, magic number now six

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Tue, September 21, 2010 11:17 PM Comments: 0

For the first time in his career, Roy Halladay (20-10, 2.53) is pitching for a playoff contender.  From the looks of it, it hasn’t phased him one bit.  Halladay won his 20th game of the season tonight for the Phillies beating the Atlanta Braves 5-3 in front of the 119th consecutive sellout at CBP.  This is the first time the Fightins have had a 20-game winner since Steve Carlton did it in 1982.

Halladay made it through seven innings allowing three runs on seven hits.  He only struck out three batters and did walk two guys.  Two walks in one game is very rare for Halladay; he only has 30 in 32 starts this season.  I wouldn’t look too much into that stat as Halladay was getting a little squeezed on the outside corners tonight.  Halladay has thrown over 240 innings this season and I know I wouldn’t mind seeing the Phillies lock this division up early and give the good Doctor some extra rest heading into the playoffs.

The offense has Halladay’s back all night chasing Atlanta starter Mike Minor (3-2, 6.18) after recording only one out in the third inning.  Minor allowed seven hits including a laser shot of a home run by Jayson Werth to give the Phillies a three run lead.  Phillies hitters exploded for 12 hits tonight with Werth, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, and Wilson Valdez collecting two hits each.  Even Roy Halladay added a hit and now has 12 hits on the season.

The Phillies have now won nine straight games, a season high, and are a Major League best 17-3 in September.  At 91-61, the Phillies are 30 games over .500 for the first time since 1993.  After tonight’s win their lead over the Braves in the NL East is five games.  Werth’s homer was his 25th of the season and he became the first Phillies player this year with 100 runs scored.

Phillies magic number to clinch is down to six.  Roy Oswalt will try and help the Phils go for the sweep tomorrow against Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson.

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King Cole dominates, Phils lead now by 4 games in NL East

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Mon, September 20, 2010 11:23 PM Comments: 0

Cole Hamels, the ace.  He certainly has been pitching like it lately.  And coming into a crucial three game series against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies were looking for Hamels to continue pitching like one.   Hamels is the third part of the three headed monster affectionately called H2O.  The trio of Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt is the scariest top three out of any team in the Majors.  Matched with an offense who continues to carve up starting pitching; this team is making their patented push to the playoffs to hopefully claim their fourth straight NL East title and third consecutive NL pennant.

Tonight, however, the offense wasn’t it’s usual ball punishing self.  With Hamels on the mound, and the way he has been pitching of late, the Phils were in good hands.  Hamels did not disappoint.  He went eight innings allowing only six hits and one run while striking out six taking the win for the 3-1 victory.  That is only the second run he has allowed in his last 39 1/3 innings of work where his ERA is so small I can’t even see it.  In his last five starts his ERA is an astonishing 0.49 which puts his overall at a career best 2.43.  With his performance tonight, he joins the rest of H2O with sub three ERA’s.  Oswalt’s ERA with the Phillies is under two.

Hamels did work from behind giving up a run in the second inning but worked out a two on-bases loaded jam striking out Alex Gonzalez and inducing an inning ending double play by Melky Cabrera.    This just shows how far along Hamels has come from last year and the year before.  Before Hamels could have become frustrated with himself and lost focus.  Tonight he buckled down and went to work.  Each day growing more and more comparisons to his 2008 World Series MVP form.  Something the Phillies will definitely love to see again.

The offense tonight managed only five hits scattered throughout the lineup.  Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz all picked up RBIs for the Fightins.  With those RBIs the Phillies now have seven of their eight regular starters with at least 50 RBIs.  Jimmy Rollins, who has missed a lot of time on the DL, has 37.

The Phillies will send Roy Halladay to the mound tomorrow to try to increase their lead in the NL East, which is now at four games.    Tonight’s win was the team’s eighth straight win.  Since June 21, when the Phillies trailed Atlanta by seven games, the team has gone 42-15 to retake their stake at the top of the NL East.  Now at 90 wins for the season, the Phillies only trail the Yankees (91) for most wins the Majors.

Brad Lidge pitched the ninth inning tonight for his 24th save in 29 chances.  That is his 14th save in his last 15 chances.  Oh and Chooch is leading the team in batting with a .299 average.  Ice cream for everyone!

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