Results tagged ‘ Michael Stutes ’

Phillies Get Papelbombed for Fourth Time in a Week

Prior to this past week, Jonathan Papelbon had converted all 13 of his save opportunities.  But last night against the Padres, he dropped another bomb on the Phillies; it was his 4th blown save in his last 5 attempts.  Red alert!  The Phillies have been Papelbombed!

Worse than that, starting pitcher Cliff Lee took a 3-0 lead into the 9th inning before the bomb dropped.  After putting 2 men on base, Lee was pulled and the air raid ensued.  Papelbon gave up a 2-run single, hit the next batter and then managed a double-play ball.  But with 2 outs and a runner on third, catcher Carlos Ruiz let the next pitch sail past him, which scored the tying run.

The end result was a mind-blowing, 10-inning 3-4 loss to the Padres.  Please excuse me while I vomit…

The Phillies bullpen is the worst in all of baseball with a 4.67 ERA entering last night’s game.  Now every starter on this team has to think that if he cannot go all 9 innings, he has no shot at a win.  Just take a quick look at the pen’s instability:

-          Raul Valdes bombed and was sent to the minors in May

-          Veteran Chad Durbin was so bad they released him

-          Mike Adams, the $12 million dollar man, has been on the DL twice and may not pitch again this year.

-          Jeremy Horst was awful all year and is now on the DL

-          Michael Stutes, having missed all of 2012 and part of 2013 due to surgery, is once again on the DL.

-          Papelbon has lost his mind/command/sanity??

-          The rest of the pen, except Antonio Bastardo, consists of rookies, most of whom have bounced back and forth from the majors to the minors.

It is sad to say, but this team may have just hit rock bottom.  Start bracing yourselves…I predict more bombs to be dropping in the very near future.  Duck and cover!

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Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Clip Cardinals’ Wings in Game 1

Game 1 of the Phillies – Cardinals NLDS looked like a party before the game began:

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Then after scoring 3 runs off Phillies ace Roy Halladay in the first inning, the Cardinals were given false hopes of possibly winning the game.  After all, Halladay does not usually implode in this fashion, so those 3 runs looked like a killer blow.

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The fans were very quiet after that, especially when the Phillies offense got themselves out, making Kyle Lohse toss only 6 pitches in each of the first two innings.  The mood was so depressing, it felt like a funeral.

But in the bottom of the 4th, the Phillies offense showed signs of life, with a little help from a Cards error.  Chase Utley doubled, Ryan Howard walked and then Shane Victorino hit what should have been an easy pop-up.  But David Freese dropped the ball, giving Victorino a second chance.  He took advantage with an RBI-single for the Phillies first run of the game.

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By the 6th inning, the Phillies had finally figured out Lohse.  After Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence singles, Howard delivered a huge blow with a 3-run bomb, giving the Phils a 4-3 lead.  Raul Ibanez added on with a 2-run shot later in the inning.

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As the Phillies added on, Halladay found his groove.  He did not allow a single hit to the Cards after the 2nd inning.  Halladay went eight innings, allowing only the 3 runs in the 1st.  This guy is amazing.

With an 11-3 lead, the Phillies decided to save Halladay’s arm for another day and gave the 9th inning to Michael Stutes.  It seemed like a good situation to baptize the rookie into his 1st postseason appearance.  However, it did not work out too well for Stutes.

Stutes wound up getting charged with 3 runs in 1/3 of an inning and closer Ryan Madson had to be brought in to clean up the mess.  So the final score was 11-6.  Worse for Stutes, this huge blunder has pretty much rendered him useless for the rest of the series.

So on to Game 2 Sunday night at 8:37pm.  The good mood of the Phillies players Phillies and coaches yesterday is sure to carry over:

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Here is the full Photo Album from Game 1…enjoy!

Go Phillies!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Double Fish Fry in Phillies – Marlins Doubleheader

After Hurricane Irene wiped out the last two games scheduled between the Phillies and Marlins in late August, both were rescheduled as a day/night doubleheader on Thursday, which otherwise would have been the final off-day of the regular season for the Phillies.  Fittingly, it was windy and rainy throughout the day, but baseball finally prevailed over weather.

Day Game

The Phillies came away with a 3-1 win in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.  Kyle Kendrick started the game, but was only allowed to go five innings since he had not pitched in a while.   The precautionary move was understandable, but Kendrick pitched very well so it was a shame to see him pulled early.

Kendrick allowed only two hits, one of which was a home run.  He also struck out six batters and did not issue any walks.  Kendrick’s early departure opened the door to the Phillies bullpen.

First up was Michael Stutes who pitched two scoreless innings, although he did have several base runners.  Stutes was not terribly sharp, but he got the job done.  Actually, no one looked great coming out of the pen in this one including Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson.  But although the innings pitched were a little sloppy, they did not allow any runs.

Bastardo, however, is becoming a serious concern.  The once unhittable 8th/9th inning lefty has looked very human in this past month.  So noticeable are his struggles that manager Charlie Manuel did not hesitate to pull him after Bastardo allowed a double and a walk.  If Bastardo cannot get it together soon, using the bullpen in the postseason is going to be a real adventure.

As for the offense in this game, there was not much of it.  Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each had 2 hits and 1 RBI.  Ibanez hit his 30th double of the season which means he has now had at least 30 doubles each year for 10 straight seasons.

But the rest of the offense basically took the day off.  There were hits scattered here and there, but all those runners were stranded on base.  They even loaded the bases in the 8th with 1 out and failed to score.  Ryan Howard’s slump continued as well; he is 0 for his last 16 at-bats.

Defensively, Pete Orr had quite a game at second base.  He made multiple diving grabs and ice-cream coned a short fly ball after jumping about four feet off the ground to get to it.  He probably saved the Phillies a lot of trouble.

So despite the lack of fire power and slightly sloppy pen performance, the Phillies recorded the win.

Night Game

The offensive struggles from the first game of the doubleheader carried right on over to the second game.  The Marlins started Alex Sanabia, a young pitcher who spent the whole year in the minors.  So things looked good on the surface for the Phillies.

But the winds grew stronger as the sun went down.  Fly balls that were hit hard wound up cycloning backwards away from the outfield wall, putting fly balls in play that may have been doubles or homers in calmer conditions.

Chase Utley made his first start since getting hit in the head with a pitch last week.  He had a pinch-hit single in the day game, and barely scratched out a hit in the night game against the Marlins bullpen.  The only two players who seemed to have Sanabia figured out were John Mayberry Jr. and Ross Gload, who both had multi-hit games.

The Phillies had not scored yet when Mayberry finally cut through the strong winds with a line-drive solo homer in the 6th.  That would end up being a very important run for the Phillies.

With Cliff Lee pitching, the Phillies had a good chance that the one run would hold up.  Lee kept the Fish at bay, despite allowing a bunch of base runners.  He was amazing, as usual, and even had one of the few Phillies hits in the game.

But just when it looked like this game was in the books, Lee got to two outs in the 9th and, for the second time this year, gave up the tying run.  The solo homer took all the air out of the balloon as the crowd sighed in disbelief at the 1-1 tie.

After the game, Lee said, “I can’t think of a worse scenario.”  He hit the nail on the head.  But lucky for Lee, Ryan Howard emerged from his slump and hit the baseball on the head.  After Michael Martinez walked in the 10th, Howard doubled to score him for the walk-off, extra-innings win.

Whew!

FYI – Michael Schwimer had pitched the top of the 10th and this turned out to be his first major league win.

Division Magic # – 2 games

Home Field Advantage Magic # - 3  games

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Lose After Playing Under Protest

Well, there went five hours of my life I wish to forget.  The Phillies said goodbye to SunLife Stadium in Miami today with a gut-wrenching 14-inning 5-4 loss to the Marlins, played under protest from the Phillies.  It was another wasted Roy Halladay start.

The big controversy began when umpire Joe West decided to make up the rules as he went along.  In the 6th inning, Hunter Pence hit a double that should have left the Phillies with two men on base and no outs.  Instead, West decided to use instant replay on a ball that he himself ruled a double.  Replay, according to the baseball rules, is only to be used on potential home runs.

West came back after 13 minutes of “reviewing” and ruled Pence out due to fan interference.  While those idiot fans did attempt to interfere, the play should not have been reviewable in the first place.  The other problem is that West assumed the ball would have been caught had the fans not intruded.  But on the video replay, it is far from a sure thing that outfielder Bryan Petersen would have caught it.  In fact, his glove was already closed by the time the ball reached him.

The Phillies then announced a formal protest of the game and manager Charlie Manuel was ejected for arguing.  After the game, Manuel stated the same point, that the ball would not have been caught (per Ryan Lawrence, DelCo Times).  West claims Manuel asked for a replay; Manuel sternly denies this.

So now it is a game of he said (Manuel), she said (West, running from the press afterwards ;o).  If MLB determines that a rule was broken by West, the game could be restarted with the Pence double at a later date.  But seriously, odds of that happening are like ZERO.  MLB has refused to hold umpires accountable for anything and I do not see that changing now, sad as that may be.

The rally was killed after that call, but the Phillies did score two runs on a Ryan Howard single in the 7th to take the lead.  That lead was promptly erased as rookie Michael Schwimer got tossed into the fire at the bottom of the 7th.  I feel sorry for Schwimer; this was not a situation where a rookie should have been sent in to hold a slim 4-3 lead after all the drama of the previous inning.  The pressure had to be immense and Schwimer wound up giving up the tying run.

What happened next is what the Phillies should really be ashamed of.  They played seven straight innings of scoreless baseball, dragging the game through 14 innings.  As a team, the Phillies left 11 men on base, went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and totaled only 10 hits in 14 innings.

Worse than that, the bullpen kept them in the game and the offense did nothing to support them.  The biggest victim was David Herndon, who imploded on Saturday night and handed the game to the Marlins.  But tonight, he pitched almost four full innings with an amazing effort.  He worked in and out of jams and kept pitching tough even as he tired.  Herndon escaped bases loaded jams twice, five intentional walks and a badly fielded ball at third that would have shortened his outing.

 

Still, Herndon persisted and redeemed himself from Saturday’s disaster.  That his offense could not score him one single run during all that was ridiculous.  Chase Utley went 0-for-7; Pence ended 0-for-6, although he was robbed of a double; Shane Victorino had only one hit and a walk in six at-bats.  And most of that was against the Marlins sub-par bullpen.  Yuck :O(

The game ended with another bases loaded jam for Herndon who walked the winning run in just as his arm was about to fall off.  And that happened after some questionable calls from the home plate ump who seemed to decided that 14 innings were enough for him.

While all that really sucked…a lot…tomorrow is a new day and the Braves are coming to town.  These next three days are the time for the Phillies to drop the hammer on the NL East.  So perhaps the offense tonight was saving up the hits for the Braves?  Hope so….game 1 begins at 7:05pm Monday night!

 

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Herndon Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography, West photo by MLB.com

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Rebound Against the Nats Behind Oswalt & Mayberry

If there were any questions about Roy Oswalt not pitching after the rain delay on Friday, those questions were answered tonight.  With a fresh start and no interruption in his routine, Oswalt was very sharp.

Oswalt tossed eight innings of shut-out baseball against the Nationals, allowing eight hits and a walk.  He began to look tired near the end of the eighth, but manager Charlie Manuel stuck with his man after a quick conversation on the mound.  Oswalt looked fantastic and best of all, the back issues do not seem to be bothering him anymore.

Another guy who had an outstanding night was John Mayberry Jr.  He had two hits and a walk tonight plus a huge play in the field.  In the fourth inning, Ryan Zimmerman tried to go 2nd to home on a Jayson Werth single.  Mayberry fielded the ball and fired.  It was a perfect, one-hop throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz that nailed Zimmerman at the plate.

 

Mayberry’s play recently is prompting questions about whether Raul Ibanez should even be in the starting line-up.  At the very least, this has already turned into a platoon with Mayberry starting against lefties.  But as Mayberry continues to out-perform Ibanez, how long will Manuel keep his loyalty to Ibanez?  That remains to be seen.

Several other players had multi-hit night’s as well including Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins.  And once again, Wilson Valdez was right in the middle things with a huge triple that scored the Phillies first two runs in the fourth inning.  And in the sixth, Hunter Pence hit his 14th of the year and fourth as a Phillie.

Michael Stutes took over for the Phillies in the ninth inning and had a nice outing.  His last appearance was not great, so this had to be a relief for Stutes to get in a clean inning.  The Phillies went on to win by a 5-0 score.

The finale of this 3-game series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35pm with Roy Halladay pitching.  Sadly, it appears more rain is also on the schedule.  So cross your fingers & toes; with any luck, I will return from D.C. with photos.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Down Four Starters, the Phillies Rise Above Both the DBacks & the Rain

The Phillies began the game against the Diamondbacks last night without four of their starting players.  After pleading his three game suspension down to two games, Shane Victorino began that suspension last night.  And then Ryan Howard sat out with a sore hand and Carlos Ruiz was benched with a sore groin.  And of course, Placido Polanco is on the DL.

But the lack of star power in the line-up had little effect on this Phillies team, which is strong from top to bottom.  Rookie Vance Worley started the game and pitched three very solid innings before the rain began.  He did not allow a run and gave up only one hit.

The offense gave Worley support early, scoring one run on a Wilson Valdez double in the 2nd.  Then in the 3rd, John Mayberry Jr. came up big again with a monster 2-run homer.  It was Mayberry’s 10th homer of the year, which in limited at-bats, is very impressive.

Then suddenly the skies opened up and flooded the stadium as the grounds crew rushed to cover the field.  What appeared might be a short, 30 minute rain delay turned into two and a half hours.

By that time, Worley could not go back out and pitch so David Herndon took over.  Herndon has been given a lot of grief from the fans this year after he got off to a rocky start.  But in his last 22 games going back to May, Herndon is pitching at a 2.00 ERA.  He figured out why he was having issues in April and made the adjustment.

In this game against the D-Backs, Herndon pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.  In the 5th inning, he struck out the side.  Herndon has really improved his game.  Michael Stutes, on the other hand, is watching the scales slowly tip downward and out of his favor.

 

Stutes gets all the praise because he got off to a very good start, unlike Herndon.  Plus it does not hurt that he is adorable, right ladies?  So Stutes has gotten a pass in situations that Herndon has not.

But last night Stutes was visibly upset after allowing a home run in the 8th inning to the first batter.  Charlie Manuel was seen in the dugout consoling Stutes, patting him on the back as he held his head in his hands in defeat.

Why is Stutes so upset after a solo homer?  Because he too recognizes that things are beginning to go downhill for him.  In his last 12 games, Stutes is pitching at an ERA of 5.17.  His ERA has risen every month since ending May with a 2.38 ERA.  His total ERA is now up to 3.40.

Stutes, like a lot of rookies in the same position, is starting to struggle.  It could be a combination of many factors like a lack of experience, teams knowing better what to expect from him and being slightly overworked.  Stutes has pitched a lot and, especially for a rookie, this can take its toll.

Hopefully for Stutes, he can make an adjustment and work his way back, like Herndon has done.  But in the meantime, he may spend a lot of time being frustrated until he figures it out.

The one run Stutes allowed was the only run of the night for the D-Backs and the Phillies went on to win by a 4-1 score.  The Phillies, still holding the best record in baseball, became the first team to reach 80 wins on the season.

And the reason why the Phillies continue to have success is simple.  Like I mentioned earlier, they are solid in every aspect of the game.  More importantly, role players like Mayberry, Valdez and Herndon, continue to come through in big situations.  So even with four starters out and a rookie pitcher, they continue to win.

It is a good time to be a Phillies fan.

The Nationals are up next; game time tonight is 7:05pm with Roy Oswalt pitching.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

43 Games to Go

After Sunday’s rain-out, the Phillies have 43-games to go in the regular season, including the make-up game on 9/20 at 1:05pm as part of a split-doubleheader.  As of today, the Phillies still lead all of baseball with 78 wins and are nine game in front of the Braves in the NL East.

With all of the injuries suffered by the Phillies this year so far, it is even more impressive that they have been this dominant.  Four starting position players, two starting pitchers and three relievers have all spent time on the DL and some of them made multiple trips.

They have also used four different closers because of the injuries and two spot / replacement starters.

 

And while Placido Polanco, the starting third baseman, is not technically on the DL right now, he has not played since August 6th due to a sports hernia.  After receiving an injection, Polanco is expected to decide by Tuesday whether or not to have surgery which could put him out nearly the rest of the regular season.

Still, the Phillies keep finding ways to win.  Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels have been terrific on the mound.  While the pitching seems to have carried the team through the first half of the year, the recent addition of Hunter Pence has jump-started the offense.  And once again late in the season, Ryan Howard is heating up.

By the way, am I the only person without a Pence jersey or tee-shirt yet?  The ballpark has been stacked with them in all varieties.

Jimmy Rollins is having his best year since the 2008 season.  And while hitting .265 is not spectacular, he is taking more pitches, drawing more walks and has been healthy all year.

And since coming off the DL with major knee issues, Chase Utley appears to be back to his old self…almost.  Shane Victorino is also having a great year despite two trips to the DL, batting .313.

But the younger role-players have also been key to the Phillies success so far.  Michael Martinez, Wilson Valdez and John Mayberry Jr. have all made big contributions filling in for injured players.  The young pitchers Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley have been slightly overused for guys at their level of experience, but they have all responded very, very well.

The point is, this team is winning and shows no signs of slowing down.  This is a very special time to be a Phillies fan.  We could very well be witnessing something historic right now.  The season is far from over, but I like their chances.

While the team is off today, think about it.  Sit still for a moment and soak it all in.  Then, take a deep breath.  Can you smell it? 

…43 games to go.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Swat the Nats with Some Big Sticks

In his second start back since coming off the DL, Roy Oswalt looked healthy and in control.  Thanks to an early lead given to him by the offense, he was able to relax and really settle back into the rotation.

Through seven innings, Oswalt gave up three runs on six hit and a walk for a quality start.  While Oswalt pitched, the Phillies offense did more than their share to help out.

Ryan Howard continues to rip the cover off the ball.  Tonight he went 2-for-4 with four RBI, including a 2-run homer.  That puts him at 95 RBI on the year, which leads the league.

 

Also with a multi-hit night, Shane Victorino shows no signs of slowing down.  He is now batting .313.

The Phillies scored runs in a variety of ways tonight, taking advantage of Nationals errors, running the bases well and taking walks.  Oswalt walked twice, and one of those forced a run home.  Pitcher John Lannan lasted only three innings, allowing seven runs, six of which were unearned due to Nats bloopers.

By the eighth inning, the Phillies has the game well in hand, leading 8-3.  Only, there was still one issue.  Hunter Pence did not yet have a hit.  And as has been the trend since Pence joined the team, if he does not hit, the Phillies do not win.  Pence alleviated all worries of a Nats comeback with an RBI-single in the 8th.  Whew!

Michael Stutes pitched the final two innings to secure the Phillies 11-3 win over the Nats, splitting the series at one game apiece.

The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:35pm which is to be preceded by the unveiling of the new fan-funded Harry Kalas statue.  However, the weather is calling for a lot of rain, threatening the game.  Cross your fingers!  If the rain holds out, I will return with photos.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Victorino Was Key in Phillies Win Over Dodgers

After being suspended for three games, Shane Victorino was still able to play tonight against the Dodgers as he appealed the ruling.  And that turned out to be a very good thing for the Phillies.

Going 3-for-5 in the game, Victorino scored three times and hit a key home run in the 8th inning to give the Phillies a 2-run lead late in the game.

The energy Victorino brought to the game was crucial on a night where both starter Roy Halladay and the Phillies bullpen encountered some issues.  While Halladay allowed only one run, he struggled to get through 6 1/3 innings and had a lot of baserunners.

The bullpen took over with a 4-1 lead that quickly dwindled down to just a 4-3 lead by the end of the eighth inning.  Michael Stutes allowed two runs and also committed a throwing error before Brad Lidge was brought in to take over.  Lidge was shaky as well, walking one batter and giving up a hit.  But he redeemed himself by fielding a tough bunt and making a glove toss to first to end the inning.

In that same inning, the Dodgers were called for interference as Juan Rivera ran Chase Utley over who was trying to field a ground ball.  They may have had a double play, but it did not matter once Lidge made the final out.

After the Victorino homer, the Phillies were leading by a score of 5-3 in the ninth.  Ryan Madson was brought in for the save, but Madson had not pitched since 8/1 as he left the team to see the birth of his fourth child.  Madson was a bit rusty, but he nailed the save.

Game two with the Dodgers is another late one; 10:10pm Tuesday night with Cliff Lee on the mound.

FYI – Placido Polanco had an MRI today and was diagnosed with a mild sports hernia.  He will receive and injection, but may still require surgery.  I will have more on that as the news comes.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

See-Saw Battle Ends in Phillies Win

This team is never dull, although sometimes, I wish they were.  The Phillies see-saw battle with the Padres today was a real tummy-turner with lots of ups and downs.

UPChase Utley smashed a 3-run homer in the first inning.  The Phillies held onto the 3-run lead through 5-innings as Kyle Kendrick looked pretty good on the mound.  But as with all good things, they must soon end…

DOWN – Kendrick lost his mojo in the 6th inning, giving up two home runs for three RBI total.  With the game tied 3-3, Michael Stutes took over on the mound for the next four outs.  Despite getting into trouble in the 7th, it looked like Stutes was about to get out of the mess when a Cameron Maybin single put the Padres ahead, 4-3.

UP – As the Phillies bats had laid dormant for five straight innings, a comeback seemed like a remote possibility.  Enter, Ryan Howard.  Given the day off to try and work on his hitting, Howard was called upon to pinch hit in the bottom of the 7th.  It took just one pitch and Howard homered to re-tie the game, 4-4.

 

The homer was followed by a pinch hit double from Ross Gload and a Jimmy Rollins walk.  Then the improbable happened again; rookie Michael Martinez hit his second career homer to add on three more runs.  Utley homered again later the same inning to make it an 8-4 Phillies lead.

DOWN –  Antonio Bastardo had his first really bad day of the year as he loaded the bases with two outs in the 8th inning.  Then things got really wild as Bastardo literally began throwing the ball anywhere but over the plate.  After two straight wild pitches, the Padres finally scored again.

In another improbable and frankly, unbelievable move, the Phillies sent David Herndon to the mound to clean up the mess.  Herndon has been less than reliable all year so this was a shocker.  Not shocking was watching Herndon walk a run home.  But he did manage to escape the inning with the Phillies still leading, 8-6.

UPRyan Madson closed the game out in the 9th where he allowed one hit, but struck out two batters for the save.  And despite allowing a run, Stutes got the win.

UP x2 – The Phillies have won four straight and go for five tomorrow with Roy Halladay on the mound.  The Braves lost today, extending the Phillies lead to five game in the NL East.

Game time on Sunday is 1:35pm; I will return with photos.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

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