Recapping the First Home Stand, Plus Preview of Rockies-Phillies

B MacCorrespondent IApril 9, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 08: Raul Ibanez #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a home run against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park on April 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

With the 2009 Regular Season well underway, the Philadelphia Phillies look to rebound after losing their first home-stand of the regular season to the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies starting pitching this past home stand was rocked by the revamped Atlanta offense.

The Phillies won their very first game of the season yesterday, Apr. 9, on what was the World Series Ring Ceremony. With Pat Burrell in attendance, the Braves got off to a two nothing lead in the first. With the two-run blow coming off the bat of Braves power-hitting catcher, Brian McCann.

The Fightin' Phils would answer with a two-run shot themselves in the bottom of the second, with the home run coming off the bat of Phillies new left fielder, Raul Ibanez. The Braves in the third would hang a five spot on the scoreboard off of starter Joe Blanton, which made the score seven-two.

The Phillies would get one run back in the bottom half of the third inning, to make the score seven-three in favor of Atlanta. Joe Blanton had an early exit, leaving in only the fourth inning.

In came the Phillies bullpen, working on their own "perfect game' of sorts. In came rookie left-hander J.A. Happ. Happ gave up a two-run home run to Braves rookie center-fielder, Jordan Schafer. Thus summarily ending the Phillies bullpen "perfect game".

Happ pitched two innings, giving up two runs on the lone hit: the Schafer home run ball, walked one and struck out two.

Score after six: 9-3 Atlanta.

In came Chad Durbin to pitch the seventh. Durbin struggled with his command walking three and parted after tossing two-thirds of an inning and giving up a run. Next to enter from the Phillies bullpen was the big Texan, Clay Condrey.

Condrey would be the eventual winning pitcher for the Phillies, got out of the inning unscaved.

Score going into bottom of the seventh: 10-3 Atlanta.

Here is where the game gets weird. The bottom of the seventh started off with Shane Victorino grounding out to start the inning. Then Phillies second baseman Chase Utley hit a shot out to center off of Braves reliever Eric O'Flaherty.

O'Flaherty then hit the next batter, slugging first baseman, Ryan Howard to put runners on first and second with one out. Braves manager Bobby Cox then went to the 'pen for right-hander Peter Moylan to replace O'Flaherty, put only to no avail.

Moylan walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Then Moylan gave up hits to Ibanez and Pedro Feliz to score two runs, cut the lead to 10-5 and still the Phillies had the bases loaded. Big, power-hitting Canadian slugger Matt Stairs would pinch hit for catcher Carlos Ruiz.

Stairs would draw a walk, scoring a run, cutting the lead to 10-6. Cox then called for reliever Blaine Boyer, but that did no good. Boyer walked pinch hitter Chris Coste to score Ibanez to make the score 10-7. Boyer then walked Jimmy Rollins to make the score 10-8.

Cox, frustrated that none of his relievers could throw strikes and get him out of the innings called on change-up specialist, Jorge Campillo. Campillo gave up a single to Victorino, who started off the inning with a ground out; which in turn scored Stairs, and made the score 10-9.

Next batter, Chase Utley, would walk on a close pitch to tie the game at 10-10. Ryan Howard would then ground out to Braves first baseman, Casey Kotchman, which drove in a run make the score 11-10 Phillies.

This was the first time so far this season that the Phillies have had the lead.

The Phillies scored eight runs, all earned on only four hits, but the bulk of them runs coming from four, bases-loaded walks. Total number of walks in the inning: six, four with the bases loaded.

The Phillies would score one more in the eighth inning and that would be all closer extraordinaire Brad Lidge in the ninth would need. After giving up a Matt Diaz solo home run, Lidge came back and got the next two batters out and closed out his 42nd consecutive save to cap a stunning and surprising comeback.

That is why the Phillies have been called the "Comeback Kids" before. The Phillies seem to be masters at the come-from-behind victory.

Home Stand Recap, Pitching

Phillies starting pitching prior to yesterday, April 9th, 2009, gave up a total of eight runs (all earned) on 16 hits in 11.0 innings pitched. Add yesterday's game in their and you get a "grand" total of 15 runs, all earned, on 25 hits in 15 innings pitched.

With a team starting rotation ERA of 9.00.

Here are the lines for the starting pitchers:

Brett Myers (0-1) Losing Pitcher of Opening Day (Apr. 5): 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 4 R, BB, 6 K, 3 HR, 6.00 ERA

Jamie Moyer (0-1) Losing Pitcher of Apr. 7: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 7.20 ERA

Joe Blanton (0-0) No- Decision on Apr. 8: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 7 R, 2 BB, 6 K, HR, 15.75 ERA

The bullpen this past home stand has really thrown it's weight at the Braves. The Phillies bullpen in seven innings pitched prior to yesterday had three-fourths of a perfect game going with seven perfect, shutout innings pitched.

Although the Phillies bullpen gave up runs yesterday, it was pretty much rock-solid performances all around.

The bullpen closed out their first home stand with a combined 2.25 ERA with three runs, all earned, three hits, four walks, and 11 K, one Hold and one Save.

Home Stand Recap: Hitting

The Phillies bats were all but silent coming into yesterday's game. The Phillies hitters had only managed to hit a total of eight hits and score a run in two games played. With the lone run coming during the ninth inning of Opening Day/ Night.

The starting eight stats through Apr. 7:

Jimmy Rollins: 1-for-9

Shane Victorino: 0-for-7, 2 K, BB

Chase Utley: 2-for-7, K, BB

Ryan Howard: 2-for-8, 2 K

Raul Ibanez: 1-for-8, K

Jayson Werth: 1-for-8, 1 RBI, K

Pedro Feliz: 0-for-5, 2 BB, 2 K

Carlos Ruiz: 2-for-7

But on Junior...I mean World Series Ring Day the Fightin' Phils' bats came alive for 11 hits and 12 runs.

The starting eight stats through Apr. 8:

Rollins: 1-for-14, 1 R, 1 RBI, BB, 3 K

Victorino: 2-for-13, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K, BB

Utley: 4-for-11, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K,

Howard: 3-for-12 (1 for 4), 2 R, 1 RBI, 2K

Werth: 1-for-11, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, K

Ibanez: 3-for-11, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, K

Feliz: 2-for-9, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K

Ruiz: 3-for-9 (1 for 3), 1 BB

Starting eight combined: 16 for 79, 10 R, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 13 K

Bench stats:

Eric Bruntlett: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 RBI

Matt Stairs: 0 for 1, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB

Miguel Cairo: 0 for 2, 1 K

Chris Coste: 1 for 1, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB

Greg Dobbs: 0 for 2, 2 K

Next game: Philadelphia (1-2) vs. Colorado (2-1) on Apr. 10

Preview: it is the return of World Series and NLCS MVP, Cole Hamels. Look for the Phillies to take out some pent up frustration on Colorado. As in 2008 they made the Rockies their whipping boys, scoring over 40 runs in five games against them.

The Phillies are looking to climb above .500 this weekend.

Next three probable starting pitchers: Hamels (0-0) Apr. 10, TBD (0-0) Apr. 11, Myers (0-1) Apr. 12.


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