Phillies-Nationals Game Thread 5/6/12

Back in last place in the NL East, the Phillies hope to salvage the last game of their three-game set in Washington tonight. Potential free agent Cole Hamels faces off against up-and-comer Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals. After tonight, the Phillies head back home for eight games against the 15-13 New York Mets, 9-19 San Diego Padres, and 13-15 Houston Astros.

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Natinals

Phillies-Nationals Game Thread 5/5/12

The Phillies have played in four games that reached extra innings and they have lost all four of them, each time without using “closer” Jonathan Papelbon. The Nationals rallied in the 11th inning last night against Michael Schwimer in his third inning of work. With two outs and the bases loaded, Wilson Ramos hit a single to drive in the winning run. It wasn’t all bad, though. The Phillies were not completely dominated by Stephen Strasburg as both Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz hit home runs, accounting for the Phillies’ three runs. The Nationals’ bullpen shut them down for five innings after Strasburg left the game, however, holding the Phillies to three hits, striking out six and walking one.

Since the end of April, the Phillies have been straddling .500, reaching but never quite surpassing the barrier. With a win this afternoon against the Nationals, the Phillies can get back to .500 and move to within 3.5 games of first place. They will be relying on Vance Worley to outduel former Phillies farmhand Gio Gonzalez this afternoon. Manager Charlie Manuel has made one notable change to the lineup: Carlos Ruiz, who currently has the team HR and RBI lead and is 13 for his last 28, is hitting fifth in the lineup, something he has done only twice in his career (2006, 2008).

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Phillies-Nationals Game Thread 5/4/12

No need to pinch yourself, for this is real life. The Washington Nationals are indeed in first place in the NL East at 16-9. Their offense hasn’t been anything to write home about — even the Phillies have outscored them, for instance — but their starting pitching has been phenomenal. Four of their five starters have posted an ERA under 2.00 in five starts, with the lone exception being Edwin Jackson at 3.69. Even the back of the bullpen has been in on the action as closer Henry Rodriguez has a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings.

The Phillies’ pitching has matched them pound-for-pound, however. This was an interesting fact I dug up earlier today:

twitter.com/CrashburnAlley/status/198501465432662016

Aside from tonight’s match-up, the starting pitching should be the cause célèbre. Kyle Kendrick opposes Stephen Strasburg tonight (what a disparity in talent!), Vance Worley and Gio Gonzalez face off tomorrow afternoon, and Cole Hamels and Jordan Zimmermann wrap up the series on Sunday night. I’ll set the over/under on runs scored by both teams in the series at 12.

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Natinals

Phillies-Braves Game Thread 5/3/12

The Phillies will attempt to salvage a series win after dropping last night’s debacle 15-13 in ten innings on a Chipper Jones walk-off two-run home run. Roy Halladay was uncharacteristically pedestrian, failing to make it out of the sixth with eight runs to his name. The offense finally woke up, partially a result of having better at-bats. Carlos Ruiz became the first Phillies catcher to drive in seven runs in a game, going 3-for-5 with a home run and 0.49 WPA.

In this afternoon’s series finale, Joe Blanton will oppose Randall Delgado, a 22-year-old who has struggled with control in his brief Major League career. Delgado has walked at least three and failed to make it out of the sixth inning in each of his last three starts. As they did last night against Tommy Hanson, the Phillies will need to be patient at the plate if they hope to tackle the 15-10 Braves.

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Braves

Phillies-Braves Game Thread 5/2/12

The Phillies once again waited until late in the game to put together some offense. They tagged elite reliever Jonny Venters for two runs in the eighth inning last night to go ahead 4-2. That allowed for $50 million man Jonathan Papelbon to come in and close out the game, bringing the Phillies back to .500 for the first time since April 20. The Phillies moved to only 2.5 games out of first place.

Roy Halladay will take the hill for the Phillies tonight as he attempts to push the Phillies over .500 for the first time since Opening Day. Halladay hasn’t quite been himself through his first five starts despite a 1.95 ERA. The most he has struck out in a game is six, which he accomplished in eight innings against the San Francisco Giants on April 16. He has also walked nine batters in his last 22 innings (3.7 BB/9), and induced more fly balls than ground balls in his last two starts (24 fly balls, 18 grounders). The Braves, sporting one of the league’s best offenses, will attempt to take advantage of a lesser Halladay and avoid losing another series to the Phillies.

twitter.com/DavidHaleTNJ/status/197805890085195776

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Phillies-Braves Game Thread 5/1/12

The Phillies have arrived in Atlanta after a brief four-game homestand against the Chicago Cubs. The 14-9 Braves lay claim to one of the league’s best offenses, averaging over five runs per game. Compared to the Phillies, they’re basically the 2000 Colorado Rockies. That’s not to say the Braves haven’t had their problems, however. Brandon Beachy, tonight’s starter, has easily been their most effective starter. Young talents Mike Minor and Randall Delgado haven’t yet put it together and veteran Jair Jurrjens was recently demoted to Triple-A after his fourth start, which left him with a 9.37 ERA.

Last night, the Phillies were able to earn a series split with the Cubs thanks to some timely hitting. Placido Polanco‘s two-run single in the eighth inning broke a 4-4 tie and allowed Jonathan Papelbon to enter in the ninth to nail down the save. For as bad as the Phillies have been offensively, they have been timing their runs as best as they can: 35 of their 76 total runs scored this season (46 percent) have come in innings 7-9, compared to 20 in innings 1-3 (26 percent) and 21 in innings 4-6 (28 percent). That will be just a bit tougher to do against Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel, but the Phillies will try nonetheless.

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Cubs-Phillies Game Thread 4/28/12

Last night’s thread mentioned that the Cubs were one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, but it didn’t look that way last night. The Cubs scraped together three runs against Roy Halladay while Cubs starter Paul Maholm stymied the Phillies through six and a third — the only damage coming from a Ty Wigginton solo homer. Yes, it was the Phillies once again looking impotent on offense, but they will look to change that tonight against Randy Wells. In his season debut on Sunday, he allowed only two runs against the Cincinnati Reds despite striking out only two and walking five in five innings of work. The Phillies — not known for their plate discipline — will need to be patient against the right-hander tonight if they have any hope of mounting a run-scoring threat.

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Cubs-Phillies Game Thread 4/27/12

With the way the Phillies have hit over the first three weeks of the season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a similarly-impotent offense in the National League. Fortunately for the Phillies, one of them is in town tonight for the first game of a four-game series in the Chicago Cubs, who are in last place in the NL Central with a 6-13 record. As a team, the Cubs have posted a .278 wOBA, third-worst in all of baseball. They have the lowest isolated power at .098, and only one player has hit more than one home run: Bryan LaHair with four. Starter Paul Maholm will be looking to silence the Phillies in the hope that his team can scratch and claw their way to a couple runs in support. Roy Halladay, currently with a 1.50 ERA, looks to win his fourth game in five starts and, at the same time, quiet the recent concerns about his lack of strikeouts.

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Phillies-DBacks Game Thread 4/25/12

Apologies for the lack of game threads lately. All of us have been quite busy and/or under the weather lately. In our absence, however, we have been treated to an offensive explosion as the Phillies have scored 13 runs in their last two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Phillies were held scoreless through eight in the first game, but managed to cross the halfway point of a nine-run comeback in the ninth inning. In the second game, Laynce Nix was the hero, going 3-for-3 with a home run and a long single that was almost a homer as well. Pete Orr, surprisingly, knocked in three with a bases-clearing triple as well.

Thankfully, the arduous West coast trip ends today at 3:40 PM as Cole Hamels opposes Trevor Cahill. Hamels is off to a great start, as expected and is looking to bring the Phillies home on a positive note. If the Marlins lose tonight against the Mets, the Phillies could finally get out of the NL East cellar!

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Diamondbacks

Phillies-Padres Game Thread 4/21/12

The Phillies are halfway through their grueling ten-game road trip. Game six of ten will be played tonight in San Diego as Roy Halladay matches up against Cory Luebke. Halladay has been nothing short of dominant thus far after a spring in which he had the Phillies fan base concerned. Despite the lack of offense, Doc has won all three of his starts so far with a 1.17 ERA. Meanwhile, Luebke is an up-and-coming lefty, just 27 years old. He broke out last year with a 3.29 ERA, a 9.9 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in 140 innings between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Expect the offensive impotency to continue from both sides.

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You know what to do in the comments. I won’t be around, as I couldn’t possibly miss Jon “Bones” Jones in the UFC tonight.

EDIT: But Mike will be, so he’ll be starting the chat a few minutes before first pitch.