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April 5 2007

The Phillies have acquired 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Francisco Rosario from the Blue Jays for cash.  In 23 innings for Toronto last season, Rosario pitched to a 6.65 ERA, allowing 24 hits and 16 walks while striking out 21. 

In 42 innings at Triple-A last season, Rosario struck out 50 while throwing to a 2.79 ERA.


April 5 2007

I have to admit that I didn't believe it.  No matter how many articles I read about how Victorino was going to try to steal more bases this season, I never thought the Phillies would let him run into outs in front of Howard and Utley.  I was wrong.  He ran into outs in front of Howard and Utley last night and it cost the Phils dearly.

The Phillies lost to the Braves last night, falling 3-2 in eleven innings to drop to 0-2 on the season.

Cole Hamels got the start and was unhittable on a chilly night in Philly.  He threw seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk.  All four hits were singles.  He struck out eight.

Hamels got the leadoff man in the first but Edgar Renteria followed with a single and Chipper Jones was next and walked.  Andruw Jones hit a chopper to third.  Helms got Chipper at first but Andruw Jones was called safe at first on a close play to avoid the double-play.  With runners on first and third with two outs, Hamels got Jeff Francoeur to ground to third to end the inning.

In the second, Hamels got the first two before Matt Diaz hit a ball in the hole between third and short.  Helms fielded it but his throw to first bounced well before it reached first base.  Howard couldn't scoop it and Helms was charged with an error.  It was a bad throw by Helms but the ball should have been handled by Howard.  The Helms/Howard combination could be good for a lot of errors this season.  Hamels struck out Tim Hudson to end the inning.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 third and got the first hitter in the fourth before Francoeur singled to center.  Brian McCann was next and Hamels got him to hit into a double-play to end the inning. 

Hamels got two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 fifth.  He set Atlanta down 1-2-3 again in the sixth with 1-0 lead.

Andruw Jones led off the seventh with a single, but Hamels struck out Francoeur for the first out of the inning.  Brian McCann was next and blooped a ball in front of Burrell for a single that sent Jones to second.  The play looked a little odd as Burrell played the ball on a bounce, but I thought Gary Matthews made a great point on the television broadcast that with one out you can't risk a dive that lets the batter go to second and takes a possible double-play out of the equation.  Craig Wilson was next and he hit a dribbler of the third base side of the mound.  Hamels fielded the ball and slipped, but recovered to make a strong throw and get Wilson for the second out of the inning.  Matt Diaz was up with runners on second and third and the pitchers' spot up next.  The Braves clearly would have pinch-hit for Hudson if the Phils had walked Diaz, so the Phils pitched to Diaz and he hit a ground ball to third.  Helms fielded and made an awful throw to Howard, which Ryan did a great job to scoop for the third out of the inning.  Nice decision by Manuel and it worked.

And then came the pen with a 1-0 lead to protect.

Matt Smith started the eighth with Bourn in left and Nunez playing third for the Phils.  If you're going to have Nunez on the team, defensive replacement is the job for him but it cost the Phils to be without Helms' bat in this game.  Chris Woodward led off, pinch-hitting for Hudson, and lined to third for the first out.  Kelly Johnson was next and Smith walked him on four pitches.  With righty Edgar Renteria at the plate, Manuel called on Geary who got Renteria to fly to center for the second out.  Chipper was next and Geary battled him in a long at-bat that ended with a walk.  Geary got Andruw Jones to ground to short to end the inning.  Geary did a nice job.

Tom Gordon came on to pitch with a 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth.  Francoeur led off with a double to left-center and Brain McCann followed with a home run that tied the game at 2-2.  The Phillies were out of lefties in the pen and Atlanta called on Scott Thorman to pinch-hit for Wilson.  Thorman flew out to center for the first out of the inning.  Matt Diaz was next and he singled.  Another lefty, Ryan Langerhans, pinch-hit for the Braves, this time for the pitcher's slot, and he hit a ground ball to first that Howard made a nice play on to turn into a double-play to end the inning.

Ryan Madson started the tenth with the score still knotted at 2-2.  He got the leadoff man, but Renteria followed with an infield single to deep short.  When Renteria moved to second on a wild pitch from Madson with Chipper at the plate, the Phils put Chipper on intentionally.  It put runners on first and second with one down for Andruw Jones.  Madson struck out Jones with a wicked change-up on a 1-2 pitch for the second out of the frame.  Jeff Francoeur popped to third to end the inning. 

Madson returned to start the eleventh.  McCann led off and hit the ball hard on a line to third, but Nunez snagged the line drive for the first out.  Thorman was next and the lefty homered to right to put Atlanta up 3-2.  Pete Orr was next, pinch-hitting for Macay McBride, and he reached on an infield single.  A balk from Madson moved Orr to second with one out before Langerhans struck out.  Kelly Johnson grounded to third to end the inning.

Madson faced five batters in the inning.  All five were lefties.  Only one of them homered.  Bobby Cox did a great job of having the right guys in the game at the end while the Phillies kept sending Michael Bourn and Nunez to the plate with Burrell and Helms on the bench.

Another bad day for the pen.  There's a lot to complain about in this game, but it's hard to fault how Manuel used the pitchers he had available to him.  Madson pitched okay.  This one was on Gordon.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Howard (4) Utley (5) Burrell (6) Helms (7) Rowand (8) Ruiz (9) Hamels.  Ruiz catches Hamels but otherwise the same as opening day.  It will be interesting to see what the Phils do against the lefty James -- I wouldn't be surprised if they moved things around a little three through five given how good Burrell is against lefties.  Still a lot of righties in a row after Utley and a guy who never gets on base in front of Howard.  I would guess we'll see Werth in right today against the lefty.

The Phillies didn't have a hit through four innings.  Victorino was hit by a pitch with one out in the first, but Howard and Utley followed and both flew out, ending the inning. 

Rollins drew a walk with two outs in the second, but was picked off of first base by Hudson.  Replay showed it very close but he was probably safe.  It was the second close play at first on the night that went against the Phils.

Utley walked with two outs in the fourth, but Burrell flew to center to end the inning.

Helms and Rowand went down to start the fifth, but with two outs Ruiz smoked a ball way out to left to put the Phils up 1-0.  Hamels grounded out to end the inning.

Howard walked with two outs in the sixth but Utley lined to right on a sliding catch by Francoeur to end the inning.

Burrell led off the seventh with a single to center and Manuel pinch-ran for him with Michael Bourn.  That's one of my least favorite moves that Manuel makes regularly.  It didn't grow on me any last night.  Helms followed and grounded into a double-play.  Rowand was next with two outs and the bases empty and he drew a walk and stole second.  Ruiz struck out to end the inning.

Nunez led off the eighth and grounded out as tradition dictates.  Rollins was next and drew a walk.  With Victorino batting, Rollins took off for second and McCann threw the ball nowhere near second base.  It went into center and Rollins wound up at third with one down.  After striking out on opening day with runners on second and third and nobody out, Victorino came up big this time as he doubled into the left field corner putting the Phils up 2-0.  With Howard are the plate Victorino was caught trying to steal third, which is an absurdly terrible play.  Howard followed with a walk before Utley smoked a double into right center.  Howard lumbered around third but the Braves nailed him at the plate to end the inning.  Two outs on the paths for the Phils in the inning.  I'm okay with Howard trying to score from first on a double with two outs, but the Victorino caught stealing was really awful and cost the Phils a critical run.

Michael Bourn led off the ninth.  Also terrible by Manuel.  In the eighth and ninth the batters the Phillies sent to the plate to lead off the inning were Nunez and Bourn.  Bourn flew out to right.  Dobbs followed, pinch-hitting for Gordon, and hit a ball caught in foul territory in right field.  Rowand struck out to end the inning.

Ruiz led off the tenth and singled.  Nunez was next and was bunting all the way.  He popped one up in foul territory towards third base -- Chipper charged in and dropped the ball.  Given another chance, Nunez got the bunt down.  With one down and a runner on second, the Braves walked Rollins, bringing up Victorino with one down and runners on first and second.  Victorino hit a slow chopper back to the pitcher and the Braves had to take the out on a close play at first.  Atlanta brought in lefty Macay McBride with two lefties in a row due for the Phils (of course if it wasn't two lefties in a row it would have been Howard, Utley and Michael Bourn in some order).  Howard swung at the first pitch and grounded out to second to end the inning.

Utley led off the eleventh against Bob Wickman with the Phils down 3-2.  He popped up the first pitch to third for the first out.  Michael Bourn was next and grounded out to first.  Jayson Werth pinch-hit for Madson and singled to center.  Rowand struck out to end the game. 

That game was atrocious.  Victorino's caught stealing was atrocious.  Michael Bourn has one career hit, which came on a bunt.  I'd try really hard not to give him critical at-bats instead of Burrell.  Cox abused the Phillies' lack of lefty options in the pen.

On the bases, the Phils were wretched.  Rollins picked off.  Howard ran into an out at the plate, which is harder to quibble with.  Victorino.  The highlight was the Rollins steal of second and going to third when McCann threw the ball into center field, but Rollins likely would have scored from first anyway when Victorino followed with a double into the corner in left. 

Rollins was 0-for-2 and walked three times. 

Victorino was 1-for-4 with an RBI.  If he had a green light to steal on his own last night I would guess it's at least yellow today.

Howard was 0-for-3 and walked twice. 

Utley was 1-for-4 with a walk and a double.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a strikeout.  Bourn 0-for-2.

Helms was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. 

Rowand was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts.

Adam Eaton faces Chuck James this afternoon.  James appeared in three games against the Phils last year, two of which were starts.  He went 1-0 in 15 2/3 innings with a 2.30 ERA.  He struck out 13.  The Phillies need Burrell today, last year he was 4-for-8 with two home runs off of James.  Utley and Howard combined to go 1-for-13 with a single and six strikeouts. 

Manuel called the Victorino attempted steal of third "terrible" in this article.  Victorino seems to suggest that he didn't know Manuel wouldn't want him running in that situation.  Victorino also apparently thinks he would have been a hero if he had been safe.  It's a bad play if he's safe, too.

Injury updates on Coste, Lieber and Garcia here.

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