Monday, April 30, 2012

Blanton, Garza steal the show over the weekend

The weekend wielding mixed results for the Phillies, who beat the Cubs 5-2 on Saturday but were dominated by Matt Garza is yesterday's 5-1 defeat.

For Joe Blanton this season, it's been feast or famine; on the field at least, it's certainly always feast with big Joe off the field.

Blanton was terrific on Saturday, allowing two runs on eight hits, no walks and eight strikeouts over 7.1 innings. Chad Qualls got the final two outs of the eighth, to pick up his fifth hold of the season and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to pick up his seventh save in as many opportunities.

Carlos Ruiz had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with his third home run of the year and three RBI. Jimmy Rollins drove in the other two runs, with a looper down the right-field line that landed just fair for a two-run double in his first game of the season out of the lead-off hole.

Charlie Manuel mixed up the lineup for Saturday's game, putting J-Roll back on top, moving Hunter Pence to third and giving Jim Thome the start in the clean-up spot.

Thome was 0-for-1 and injured his back running the bases. No word on how much time he's miss just yet.

On Sunday, Garza continued his dominance over the Phillies, allowing no runs on just one hit over seven innings. He walked one and struck out ten. Ouch.

Kyle Kendrick pitched well, but was victimized by a mis-judged ball in right field by Hunter Pence which led to a second inning run, and a Laynce Nix error in the third. Kendrick allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, one walk and seven strikeouts. David Herndon allowed two more runs on three hits over two innings.

The always interesting Carlos Marmol entered with a 5-0 lead on the ninth, and made it an adventure as he typically does. He allowed one run on one hit and three walks. He walked Ty Wigginton with the bases loaded to force in a run and bring the tying run to the plate, but Shane Victorino bounced out to end the game.

Tonight the Phillies, who stand four games behind Atlanta and Washington and one game behind third place New York, look to split the four-game set with Chicago.

The Vanimal, Vance Worly (2-1, 2.16) takes the mound against former Florida Marlin Chris Volstad (0-3, 6.14) who is obviously off to a bad start with the Cubs.

Worley is 1-0 in his career against Chicago with a 1.13 ERA and seven strikeouts over eight innings,

Volstad is 2-5 lifetime against Philly, with a 5.88 ERA.

Starting tomorrow, the Phillies open an important stretch in which they'll see both Atlanta and Washington for the first time this season.

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