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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Game 121: Phils escape disaster (71-50)

The Phils took the third game of the series today behind 2 3-run homers in the first inning. Werth and Ruiz cleared the bases in at-bats against Oliver Perez in the first prior to his being yanked after running a 3-0 count to Pedro Martinez. Werth batted in the 3 hole today as Utley questionably was given another day off. Jayson Werth and Chase Utley are the Phillies two best batters vs. LHP, and Utley was given a day off for Eric Bruntlett.

The scoring started after two good PAs by Rollins and Victorino that led to men on first and second and none out. In a twelve pitch AB, Werth blasted a ball down the LF line for a homer. Ruiz tacked on another homer 5 batters later. Things looked to be going smoothly for the Phils up 6 runs after their first AB. However, a questionable nonplay by Victorino led to a leadoff inside the park homer for Angel Pagan in the Mets half. Throughout the first 6 innings, Martinez allowed 4 ERs to score, but only let 8 men reach base. Not a great outing, but the Mets made the most of their chances making Martinez's day look worse than it probably was.

The game got a little too close for comfort in the late innings as Durbin and Madson both allowed runs to score in their 1 inning of work. Lidge had a 3 run lead in the 9th when he came in to close the game. After consecutive errors by Howard and Bruntlett, the Mets scored one run and had a man on first with none out. After an infield single, Lidge and the Phillies got extremely lucky when the Mets' runners broke on a 3-2 and Jeff Francoeur lined into an unassisted triple play to Eric Bruntlett. Bruntlett was questionably (according to common sense and Musser and me) left in after Perez was removed, and remained in the 9th inning when the Phils should have used Utley as a defensive replacement.

Questionable call: The umpires were again awful today. In the top of the 9th, Bruntlett hit a hump back liner to shallow right field where Jeff Francoeur clearly made a diving catch. The second base umpire who was literally no more than 50 ft away could not see that the ball was clearly caught and immediately lifted into the air, still in the RFs glove. Instant replays from cameras directly in the line of sight with this umpire showed the catch clearly. No question. The correct call was then made by the third base umpire.

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