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August 30 2007

The Phillies continue to get great pitching and the Mets continue to struggle at the plate, but none of that's going to matter if the Phils keep buying their rabbit's feet in bulk.

For the second straight night the Phils played a great game and got a win with the help of a really unlikely play.  With the Phillies up a run with runners on first and third and one out in the  the ninth, Marlon Anderson slid aggressively into Tag Iguchi to break up a double-play that was never going to be.  Anderson was called for interference and the game was over.  It was the Phils only chance to get two on the slowly hit ball unless Endy Chavez decided to stop for water going from third to home.

The Phillies have gotten a lot of breaks the last two days, but they've also played really well.

Jamie Moyer bounced back with a strong start after getting bombed twice in a row.  For the Phillies it was the fifth straight game in which their starting pitcher had allowed two or fewer runs.

The pen went three scoreless innings in a one-run game.  In the first three games of the four-game set the bullpen hasn't been charged with a run in ten innings.

Pat Burrell drove in two of the three Phillies runs with a solo home run and a bases loaded sac fly.

On a personal note, if I hear Gary Matthews say somebody "centered the ball" one more time it may be more than I can bear.  If you find me wandering the streets somewhere flipping my lower lip to do that phub-phub-phub thing, at least you won't have to wonder why.

The Phillies beat the New York Mets last night, winning 3-2 to improve to 70-62 on the year.  It was the fourth straight win for the Phils.  They are in second place in the NL East, three games behind the Mets.  The Padres and Diamondbacks are in a tie atop the NL West -- the Phillies trail both of those teams by three games for the Wild Card.

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run.  He struck out four.

Jose Reyes led off the first with a bunt single, but Moyer pick him off and Reyes was tagged out after a rundown.  Luis Castillo popped to second for the second out before David Wright homered to center to put the Mets up 1-0.  Carlos Beltran and Moises Alou followed with back-to-back singles that put men on first and third with two down, but Carlos Delgado popped to second for the third out.

Paul Lo Duca started the second with a walk, but Moyer struck out Lastings Milledge for the first out and the pitcher Oliver Perez lined to first and Howard stepped on the bag to double off Lo Duca.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 third.

Beltran started the fourth with a double and went to third on a ground ball to third by Alou.  Delgado singled into left and Beltran scored to tie the game at 2-2.  Lo Duca flew to center for the first out before Milledge walked, putting men on first and second for the pitcher Perez.  Perez lined to second to end the frame.

Wright singled with two outs in the fifth, but Beltran flew to right for the third out.

Delgado singled with one out in the sixth, but Moyer struck out Lo Duca and Milledge to set the Mets down.

Romero entered in the seventh, pitching for the third day in a row and the fourth time in five days.  Surprised me.  He walked Reyes with one out but picked him off.  Reyes took off for second, but Howard made a nice throw and Reyes was out.  Second time on the night the Phillies had picked Reyes off.  Castillo smoked a ball down the line and Nunez made a great diving play and threw to first to rob him of a hit.  Castillo also had Nunez take away a hit in the third and Howard made a nice play to rob him in Tuesday's game.

Gordon pitched the eighth and gave up a leadoff walk to Wright.  He got Beltran on a fly ball to right and Alou to hit into a double-play to third.  Great job by Gordon, called upon to pitch to the heart of the Mets' order with the Phils up a run.

Myers came in to pitch the ninth with the Phils up 3-2 after throwing 27 pitches in Tuesday's game.  He struck out Delgado for the first out, but Lo Duca singled into right.  Endy Chavez ran for Lo Duca at first.  The lefty Marlon Anderson hit for the righty Milledge and he laced a single into right center that moved Chavez to third.  Shawn Green hit for the pitcher Jorge Sosa and the Phillies played the infield back, looking for the double-play.  Green hit a slow ground ball to short.  Rollins had to come in and flip backwards to Iguchi at second.  Anderson was out at second, but as Iguchi threw to first with his momentum carrying him towards third, Anderson went way out of the base line towards third to plow into him with his forearm raised.  The Phillies had no chance to double-up Green and prevent the tying run from scoring, but they got the interference call at second and it ended the game.

Hard not to think of the Ruiz play from Friday night.  Watching it live, Ruiz's barrel-role into Giles looked a lot worse.   After watching the replay, though, I thought the ump got it right last night as well.  It's a gutsy call to end the game on.  Both slides were completely unnecessary -- if interference wasn't called on either, both times the runner would have scored from third and both times the runner would have been safe at first.  Anderson's came with the game on the line, though, and Ruiz's play started with nobody out.

Too much Romero, but he's pitching very well.  The Phils have a problem with only one lefty in the pen.   Someone's got to get Delgado out, but I don't think Romero should be pitching to the best hitters in the Mets' lineup with the game on the line night after night.  The Mets have three big switch-hitters in Reyes, Castillo and Beltran, but Beltran has been better against lefties than righties this season and about the same over his career.  Reyes and Castillo are about the same either way this year and maybe a little better against lefties over their career -- Delgado is the guy Romero needs to get, not everybody.  Either way, Romero's been great and it's worked out really well for the Phils in this series.  I think you have to see all the work that Romero is getting as a vote of no-confidence in the other guys in the pen, though, cause last night he threw for the third straight day and faced a pinch-hitter and two switch-hitters that didn't really need a lefty.  Or, I suppose, you could see it as a vote of much-confidence in Romero.  Here's hoping he stays healthy.

Last night, Delgado didn't hit in the seventh or eighth and Romero didn't face him.  Delgado led off the ninth and Myers struck him out after a scary foul ball.

Romero has thrown to a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 innings in his 30 appearances since joining the Phillies.

Myers would have blown the save if it hadn't been for the miracle slide at second base.

The Phillies' lineup against lefty Oliver Perez went (1) Rollins (2) Iguchi (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Werth (7) Ruiz (8) Nunez.  Utley on the bench against the second lefty in a row to face the Phils.  Nunez plays third with Moyer on the hill.  Ruiz catches with Coste on the bench after three starts in which he left 18 men on base.

Rollins led off the first with a home run to left that tied the game at 1-1.  Iguchi flew to right for the first out before Burrell homered to center to make it 2-1.  Howard and Rowand both struck out to end the inning.

Werth started the second with a walk before Ruiz flew to center for the first out.  Nunez walked, putting men on first and second for Moyer.  Moyer tried to bunt but couldn't, striking out on a foul ball.  Rollins flew to right for the third out.

Iguchi walked to start the third, but Burrell and Howard struck out behind him.  With Rowand at the plate, Iguchi was caught off of first to end the inning.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the fourth, but Nunez flew to center for the third out.

In the fifth, the Phillies loaded the bases on a walk by Moyer and singles by Rollins and Iguchi.  Burrell was next and he the 1-0 pitch out to left but foul by a couple of feet.  He flew to left and Moyer scored to put the Phils up 3-2.  With runners on second and third and one out, Howard and Rowand both struck out.  One run out of bases loaded, nobody out and 3-4-5 coming to the plate.

Werth singled to start the sixth and Ruiz bunted him to second.  Nunez struck out and Helms hit for Moyer and struck out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Howard doubled to start the eighth, but Rowand struck out, Werth grounded to short and Ruiz flew to center.  Awful night for Rowand, who struck out for the fourth time and couldn't move the runner to third with nobody out.  It kept the Phils off the board in a one-run game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 and homered for the second straight game.

Iguchi was 1-for-3.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a home run and a sac fly.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a double and struck out three times.

Rowand was 0-for-4 and struck out four times.  Howard and Rowand combine to go 1-for-8 with seven strikeouts.  After striking out 12 times in 91 at-bats in July, Rowand has struck out 34 times in 99 at-bats in August.

Werth was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk.

Nunez 0-for-2 with a walk and great defense at third.

Kyle Lohse (7-12, 4.47) faces Orlando Hernandez (9-4, 3.07) this afternoon as the Phils look to sweep the series.  In his five starts with the Phillies, Lohse is 1-0 with a 3.95 ERA.  Including his time with the Reds, Lohse has gone 5-3 with a 2.72 ERA in his home starts and 2-9 with a 6.07 ERA in his road starts, pitching his home games in two of the worst parks for hurlers in all of baseball.  While with the Reds, Lohse faced the Mets on July 15 in New York and allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and three walks.  Reyes hit a two-run homer off of him in that game.  El Duque is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his last two starts and has thrown to a 3.21 ERA with a 1.04 in his five starts in August.  He's faced the Phillies twice this season, allowing two runs in 12 innings.  On June 6 he threw six shutouts innings and on June 29 he gave up two runs over six.

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