Friday, July 29, 2011

Phils Filet Bucs 10-3

Yah, it's hot in Philly; it's hot all over the world. Even hotter is the match up between Roy Halladay and his alleged  doppelganger Charlie Morton. Hope Charlie has a thick skin. When the Phillie fans invaded PNC Park last month, the hoots of "You're no Halladay" were merrily chanted; we can only imagine what tonight will bring.

Buc base running reared its ugly head right from the start. First pitch swinging, Xavier Paul bounced a tough chance to second; Chase Utley hurried and misfired on the throw. No biggy; Paul was tagged out after taking a turn to second by Halladay. Garrett Jones got ahead in the count 3-0; he K'ed three pitches later swinging at a changeup. McCutch popped out foul to Ryan Howard to end the frame. In the first inning alone, Halladay has shown the Pirate hitters five different pitches.

Morton will face six lefty/switch hitters in a row. He walked the first one, Jimmy Rollins, on four pitches, none particularly close to the plate. Rollins broke on Morton's first move; he picked him off 1-3-6. Domonic Brown made it a timely play when he lined a single to short that Wood couldn't handle. Morton got ahead of Chase Utley 1-2, but gave him a sinker down the middle that he knocked into right center for a triple, a ball that Jones probably should have caught; he didn't, and then compuonded the problem by missing the cutoff..

Howard got ahead 2-0 and drilled a change into right for a double. It's ugly quickly here in Philly. Shane Victorino got ahead 3-0 against Morton, fouled three balls off, and blooped ball four into center just over Wood to put runners on the corners with one out. Raul Ibanez lined an 0-2 curve that was over the plate into right to bring home another run and chase Victorino to third.

The first righty of the inning, Carlos Ruiz, came through by bouncing a sinker to short for the 6-4-3 DP. But Halladay had a three run lead after an inning, and that ain't good. The Pirates haven't exactly put on a base running or fielding clinic in the inning, and Morton's signature sinker is cutting more than diving.

Walker rolled a changeup to Howard for the unassisted out. Pedro grounded out to second. Halladay stayed on the black against Overbay, and he struck out without taking a single swing.

Wilson Valdez went down swinging at a curve, but the ball got through Mike McKenry and Valdez reached first on the wild pitch. Halladay couldn't move Valdez up and K'ed.  And here come the lefties again. Rollins knocked the first pitch softly through the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners. Brown rolled a likely looking DP ball to Walker; it went through him. A run scored and Rollins went to third. Utley got ahead 2-0 and took a belt high sinker on the outer half of the plate over the left center wall for his eighth homer of the year. Where's some rain when you need it?

Howard flew out to left, the first LH that Morton has retired. Victorino picked up the pace; he tripled into right. Ibanez walked on four pitches, as Todd Tichenor, the plate ump, isn't giving up the low strikes tonight to either pitcher. Twelve lefties have faced Morton; eleven have reached base. Ruiz, a righty, came up; he got plunked to load the bases. Valdez fell behind 0-2 but he eventually walked to plate another.

And there is no action in the Bucco bullpen; Chris Leroux was put on the DL today and D-Mac is out for another day after his 5+ innings in Atlanta Wednesday. He got Halladay, but it's an 8-0 laugher already with seven innings to cover. The only good news is that it's starting to rain. The bad news is not only is Morton having problems, but the Pirates can't catch a cold behind him to help him out. Mama said there'd be days like this.

Heck, it's not even raining hard enough to slow down the game. The bottom of the Bucs lineup went out routinely. Morton is still on the hill; he has to take one for the team with the bullpen hors d' combat from the Brave series.

Rollins grounded out and Brown flew out to the wall in right. With two outs, Utley bounced  a curve up the middle for a knock. Howard struck out swing over a sinker. Morton finally got through the lefties, but he's up to 86 pitches, and the Bucs can't count on more than another frame from him. That's not the only bad news; the rain has passed, so some innings are going to have to be eaten by the pen tonight.

Paul dropped a changeup into right for the Bucs first hit, although his first at bat could have been just as easily ruled a knock rather than an error. Jones got ahead 3-0; Halladay worked the count to full and got him on a fly to right. McCutch bounced out to Utley, with the X-Man moving to second. Walker took a changeup to the fence in right center, ending the inning with a loud out. Paul was having a tough day on the bases; instead of running Walker's long fly out, he was tagging from second - with two outs.

Victorino flew out. Ibanez grounded one to short and Wood booted it. Ruiz popped out, and Valdez walked on a 3-2 sinker. Halladay rolled one back to the box, and the Phils machine was shut down for another inning.

Pedro lined out to deep left center to open the fifth. Overbay followed with a fly out and Wood popped up. Morton would go no further. He went four innings, giving up eight runs (six earned) on nine hits, four walks, and a hit batter, striking out four and throwing 103 pitches. Tony Watson bit the bullet in the fifth.

Rollins flew out to the wall in straightaway center on a 3-2 fastball, and Brown went down on three pitches when he couldn't catch up to a heater. Watson whiffed Utley on four pitches, getting a slider foul tipped into McKenry's glove.

Halladay struck out McKenry swinging at a change up; he threw five different pitches in a six pitch at bat with every pitch a strike. Watson went down looking at a curve. Paul bounced out to short to end the Bucco sixth. That started the subbing; Matt Diaz went to left, Paul to center, and McCutch gets a brief breather.

Watson stayed strong and K'ed Howard on a foul tip fast ball. Victorino was rung up on three pitches; Watson may have caught a call on strike three. Ibanez ruined the K streak by lining out to right.

Jones hit a rocket to first to start the seventh; Howard opened up his big mitt and tucked it away. Diaz bounced out to third and Walker bounced a curve to second to end the frame. Jason Grilli manned up this inning, and Pedro Ciriaco took over at short for an all-Pedro left side.

Ruiz walked on four pitches. Grilli got Valdez to smack a curve to third; Alvarez got the lead runner. Ross Gload came up to hit for Halladay. Grilli airmailed a waste pitch over McKenry's mitt to send Ruiz to second on a wild pitch, but came back to whiff Gload on a foul tip, the third one that Scooby Doo has pulled in tonight. Rollins golfed a curve off his knees and shipped it into the right field seats for his twelfth long fly of the year to make it 10-0. Brown put up a fight, going nine pitches before striking out swinging at a fast ball.

Drew Carpenter took the hill for Philly. he got Pedro to pull an outside change to Howard for the first out. Overbay walked on four pitches; that's his second at bat without a swing. Wood struck out on a foul tip. McKenry doubled into left field to move Overbay to third. Ciriaco fell behind 0-2, then tightened up and had a nine pitch at bat, finally doubling into left on a slider to bring home a pair. Paul stroked a two strike sinker into center, and the Bucs had their third run. Jones drove a 3-2 changeup to the 381' mark, where Victorino ran it down.

Grilli K'ed Utley swinging through high heat. John Mayberry K'ed going after a fast ball. Victorino broke up the whiff-fest by ripping a double into right off a curve. He pitched carefully to lefty Ibanez with righty Ruiz on deck, staying just off the black and walking him. It worked; Ruiz bounced out to Ciriaco.

David Herndon came on and got Diaz swinging. Steve Pearce went down swinging at a changeup after seeing three heaters. Pedro bounced one to first, and the Bucs went down quietly 10-3 to the Phils.

Morton's performances since May have left a lot be desired. Today he ran into the perfect storm; a lefty-loaded lineup, an ump that took away low strikes (which in justice didn't bother Halladay), a flat sinker and Bad News Bears defense behind him. But his reliance on the sinker has given the league a pretty good book on him, and he has to start mixing his change and four seamer in with the sinker and curve to give the lefties a different look.

Hopefully, they got it out of their system; the Bucs came up empty in starting pitching, hitting and fielding tonight. James McDonald takes on Cliff Lee tomorrow night.

  • Guess what? The Bucs get to see Hunter Pence this weekend. The Phils sent 1B Jonathan Singleton and RHP Jarred Cosart, Top 50 prospects, and another pair of minor leaguers to the Astros to land the OF'er. That changes the dynamics of the NL Central, too, taking away the Astros main man against the rest of the division during the race down the stretch.
  • Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review tweeted a little food for thought; since June 16th, Kevin Correia has 3 RBI, Pedro Ciriaco 2, and Lyle Overbay 1.
  • Chris Leroux has been placed on the 15-day DL with a left calf strain retroactive to yesterday and Pedro Ciriaco was recalled from Indy (actually the Tribe is in Charlotte tonight). It makes us wonder just a bit  whassup with Ronny Cedeno, who's out of tonight's lineup. He probably would have ate up a couple of the balls that eluded Brandon Wood.
  • Ohlie made his first Indy rehab start. He went five innings, giving up a run on five hits with three walks and a K. Ohlendorf threw 73 pitches and topped out at 91 MPH.
  • Jen Langosch of has a piece called "Parting With Prospects Bucs Great Temptation." She frames the trade wheeling and dealing thus "...the debate now is what cost is the right one both for the short and long term."

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