Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Late Rally Pulls Phillies Ahead of Marlins

As the lack of run support curse for Cliff Lee and other pitchers continues, the Phillies are somehow still winning games.  Wednesday night, the beat the Marlins by a score of 5-3 and lee wound up with a no-decision.

Through six innings, Lee allowed three runs, although a few of those may have been due to defense and field positioning.  At the plate, Lee smacked a single that should have scored Brian Schneider.  But as he rounded third base, Schneider grabbed his leg and limped back to third base.

Adding to already long list of Phillies injuries, Schneider was lifted from the game and may end up on the DL.  The good news is that Carlos Ruiz should be coming off the DL and the two can swap places on Friday before the Braves series.

 

The Phillies were down 3-0 going into the seventh inning.  But a the Phillies bench came to the rescue just in time.  Pete Orr was the star, hitting two doubles, one in the seventh and one in the ninth.  A home run by Shane Victorino tied the game in the eighth and also extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

As Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate in the ninth with two outs and two men in scoring position, I held my breath.  Rollins had come to the plate three times with two outs in this game already and made the last out each time, leaving men stranded on base all three times as well.

In this case, the fourth time was the charm.  J-Roll singled, which scored two runs and gave the Phillies the 5-3 lead.  Ryan Madson closed the game out and is now 5-for-5 in save opportunities.

The Phillies are off on Thursday as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves Friday night at 7:35pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Tough Loss For Halladay With No Offensive Support

Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels probably looked and Roy Halladay after Tuesday night’s unwarranted loss to the Marlins and thought, “Welcome to the club.”  What club is that?  The one where they each pitch a great game and come out with a loss due to a lack of offense.

Halladay outpitched his opponent, Josh Johnson, going eight innings with only one earned run allowed on five hits and still lost the game.  Halladay did make one mistake; he walked a pitcher for the first time in his career.  That walk turned into a run for the Fish.

But the Phillies offense had the bases loaded twice, in both the second and third innings, and did not score.  The worst offender was Dane Sardinha who had bases loaded with no outs in the second.  Knowing the pitcher was on deck, he could not even make contact.  Even a double play would have scored a run.  Instead, he struck out.

In the eight, another crucial error gave the Marlins the 2-1 lead that eventually won the game for them.  Jimmy Rollins bobbled a ground ball and threw offline to Ryan Howard, pulling him off the bag.  A ground out advanced the runner and a single scored it.

This lack of offense is becoming a running theme with the Phillies, which is magnified as a serious issue when you have pitchers going eight innings, allowing one run and still losing the game.  That should not happen.

Perhaps the starting pitchers should get together for their first “club” meeting and decide on how to proceed.  They cannot really go on strike, but maybe they could take turns smacking each of the starters around while yelling, “Wake up and score me some freaking runs!”  Too much?  Just a thought ;o)

The Phillies have one more game in Florida tonight at 7:10pm.  Cliff Lee is coming off a loss where he struck out 16 batters.  Now there is a solid oxymoron for you.  Perhaps he should carry a picket sign out to the mound with him…just in case.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Phillies Win A Wild One In Miami

Call it a game if you must, but tonight’s Phillies – Marlins match-up looked more like batting practice for both teams.  It featured the Phillies worst starter, fresh off a DL stint, in Joe Blanton and the Marlins worst starter, Javier Vazquez.  As hitters walked to the plate, they were literally salivating like a pack of ravenous hyenas standing over a fresh kill.

No one was more excited than Ross Gload, who has gotten very little playing time as a bench player this year.  With a rare start in right field, Gload finally had an opportunity to do some damage.  He took full advantage with two hits and two RBI.

A lot of Phillies had multi-hit games against the struggling Vazquez and some of the Marlins’ bullpen.  Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and even Raul Ibanez came up with at least two hits in the game, along with Gload.

The pitching was another story.  Knowing he had the youngster Vance Worley nipping at his heels, Blanton must have been in a rush to get back to the team after going on the DL.  He did not even pitch in a rehab game.

In his race to get healthy, Blanton looked like a guy seriously out of practice.  But the defense bailed him out a number of times and he wound up with five innings, three runs allowed, two walks and eight hits.

Worley did wind up pitching in the game, taking over in the sixth.  He got though two scoreless innings and then in the eight, allowed a solo homer to Gaby Sanchez.  After Worley’s three innings of work, the score was then 6-4, surprisingly low for the number of hacks taken during the game.

The Phillies went on to win by the same score, with Ryan Madson collecting the save.  Roy Halladay will pitch Tuesday night.  Game time is 7:10pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Homers Hurt Hamels; Offense Cannot Bail Him Out

In two out of three games in this Braves series, the Phillies bats left their pitchers hanging.  They did not score at all for Cliff Lee on Friday.  On Sunday, they got some hits for Cole Hamels, but only two runs.

 

The 12 hits from the Phils offense was certainly better than two on Friday.  However, the hits were not timely and caused little damage.  Here is just one frustrating example.  Wilson Valdez smacked a two-out double in the second inning with no one on base.  Later in the sixth, with runners at the corners and one out, Valdez hit a weak ground ball for an inning-ending double play, leaving a runner stranded on third.

Hitting without clutch hitting is practically useless, especially in a close game.

And Hamels really could have used some clutch hitting.  He went seven innings, striking out nine batters, but allowed three runs on two homers.  Still, it was a quality start and one that he should expect to win.

 

The youngsters in the bullpen did not help the situation either, which is the opposite of what happened in Saturday’s win.  Michael Stutes entered the game not having surrendered a run in 6.1 innings this year.  But in 1/3 of an inning on Sunday, he walked two batters and allowed a two-run homer.

Stutes looked like he had never even heard of a strike zone.  He was that far off, throwing only two strikes to three batters.  This was also the first time the Phillies used him in back-to-back games.  You can be sure they will not do that again anytime soon.

 

As for Scott Mathieson, he took over for Stutes and gave up a hit, but exited the inning unscathed.  But then to start the ninth, Mathieson began to unravel.  After a hit, a sac bunt and two walks on five pitches each, Danys Baez was brought in to bail Mathieson out.

When your savior for the night is Danys Baez, you know you are having a very bad day.  Baez has been unreliable at best since last season, but on Sunday night he was able to coax an inning ending double play.

I will say this for Baez; he is always great with the fans and a very nice guy.  Last night, he was headed to the clubhouse after warm-ups and an elderly lady next to me over the dugout asked him to sign a ball.  Most players are in full-out game concentration mode at this point and do not stop.  But Baez smiled, had her toss the ball over the dugout and he signed it for her and even waved to everyone standing there.

So with no ninth inning rally in sight, the Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 5-2 and lost the series 2-1.  Heading to Miami tonight, first place in the division is on the line for this series as the Marlins are only two games back now.

Joe Blanton is back on the roster and will pitch tonight at 7:10pm.  Carlos Ruiz was put on the DL yesterday, so no one had to be bumped to add Blanton back.  The DL move was backdated to 4/28, so Ruiz could return in about five days or so if his back is feeling better.

Also, Sunday was the Phillies annual Mother’s Day celebration where a players has his mother flown in for the weekend at the Phillies’ expense to spend time with their son and see him play.  A different player is chosen each year, although there were two in 2010.  I have attended these particular games every year since 2006 so here is a photo gallery of all six years with the player, mom and sometimes other family members as well.  The only person I cannot remember is who is in the 2006 photo.  I think it is Jon Lieber, but I am not sure.  If you know, please let me know :O)

 

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Howard Makes History Again As Phillies Beat Braves

With Roy Oswalt sent to the DL, the Phillies needed a spot starter tonight against the Braves.  They went with Kyle Kendrick and the move paid off.

Kendrick has been in the bullpen all year, so his pitch count was limited.  But he managed to get through five innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two.

The Phillies offense came up with a few key hits to give the team a 3-0 lead through those five innings.  Pete Orr played second and had an RBI-fielder’s choice in the second for the first run of the game.  The second run was a historic one.

Ryan Howard smashed his career 260th home run in the fourth, passing Del Ennis for 2nd place in Phillies career home runs.  Mike Schmidt is in first place with 548 homers.  Howard has a long way to go to match Schmidt, but 2nd place is very impressive.

 

Ennis’ widow Liz, an avid baseball fan, called the Phillies after the historic homer and had them leave a note of congratulations for Howard.  It was a very classy move.  During the game broadcast, announcer Tom McCarthy noted that Liz made the call after realizing the telegram was no longer being used.  :O)

Anyway, run #3 in the game came from a Shane Victorino triple in the fifth.  Earlier in the day, Victorino was in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the stadium signing copies of his new book, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”  He must have been really pumped up after the turnout.  I heard from a source outside the ballpark that fans who showed up an hour early for the signing were told the line was already cut-off and they were turned away.

I am totally off topic here, but I have one last note about the book.  In the next week or so, I plan on writing a review of the book.  I will also reveal some personal conversations I had with Shane’s parents and also his wife, Melissa, many years back about one of the main talking points of the book, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I was very glad to hear Shane shared this in the book as I am sure it will help many people suffering from the disorder.  So, stayed tuned for that…

Back to the game…by the sixth inning, this turned into a battle of the bullpens and a 3-0 Phillies lead.  Coming out of the pen for the Phillies was J.C. Romero, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson.  Each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the Phillies win.

With so many questions surrounding the Phillies bullpen this year, it is very good to see everyone stepping up.  Especially for young pitchers like Stutes and Bastardo, their performances so far this year have been outstanding.

The series is now split 1-1.  Tomorrow the Phillies will send Cole Hamels to the mound as they try to win the series with the Braves.  It is another dreadful ESPN 8pm start on a Sunday; the second Sunday in a row.  I will be there and return with photos.

 

FYI – The MLBlogs conversion to WordPress has been postponed until next weekend, 5/13-5/16…shocking, I know.  Anyway, just keep stopping by and if there is yet another delay, I will let you know.  Thanks!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Cliff Lee Is Not Feeling The Love From The Phillies Bats

While Phillies fans have certainly shown their support of Cliff Lee since his return, his teammates are a bit lacking in that department.  In Lee’s last three starts, the Phils have scored a grand total of ONE run for him.

Last night, the huge “zero” on the board amounted to a very odd outcome.  Lee struck out a career-high 16 batters in the 5-0 loss to the Braves.  This tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts over nine innings by a lefty in Phillies history.

 

The third inning was not great for Lee, as he allowed three runs.  But aside from that inning, Lee was lights out, keeping pace with Derek Lowe who had a no-hitter going into the seventh.

But if you allow just three runs over seven innings, you are supposed to get a win, right?  Sadly, that did not happen.  Instead, the Phillies offense continues to be a dark cloud over Lee’s head.

The most frustrating offense came in the seventh after Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a single to left.  Placido Polanco knocked a ground rule double, which as the ball hopped over the fence in center, actually prevented Victorino from scoring.

With two men in scoring position and no outs, the Phillies bats failed again.  Lowe left the game with an injury and Eric O’Flaherty replaced him. 

Facing O’Flaherty should have been a relief after Lowe had mowed the Phils down in six straight innings.  Instead, the next three batters, Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, all struck out swinging.  Not one of them could even make contact.

And that continues to be the Achilles heel of this team.  These severe hot and cold streaks at the plate are going to catch up to the Phillies eventually.  The team’s 21 wins behind a stellar pitching staff is covering the multitude of offensive sins right now.  But that cannot last for long.

The Phillies bats will need to get serious very, very soon.

Injury Update

Roy Oswalt came back from his tour of duty in the Mississippi tornado sector, but apparently, his lower back did not come with him.  He is now on the DL, retroactive for 10 days, which means he could return on Friday.  Oswalt has a history of back issues, so this is potentially very bad news.  Stay tuned…

Catcher Carlos Ruiz is also still on the shelf with a strained lower back and he remains day to day.  The Phils may place him on the DL, but if they do, it will have to be sometime today so they can backdate it.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Phillies Sweep Nats With Another Great Halladay Performance

Happy Cinco De Mayo!  To celebrate, Roy Halladay pitched another great game and the Phillies swept another series, taking the Nationals down in three-straight games with a 7-3 victory.

Through seven innings, Halladay was his usual, amazing self.  He allowed only two runs on six hits while striking out 10 batters. 

The Phillies offense broke the game open in the third inning, scoring six runs and chasing Nats starter John Lannan out of the game before even recording an out in the inning.  Lannan is now 0-10 against the Phillies in his career while Halladay is the polar opposite against the Nats with 10 wins.

Raul Ibanez led the offense tonight.  He is so happy to be out of the slump that his bat was on fire.  Ibanez went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run plus three RBI.  The home run was hit off Nats pitcher, Todd Coffee, which went into the second deck in right center field.

Right before the home run, Coffee was mysteriously stricken with a bloody nose, which delayed the game.  The Nats trainer stuffed tissue up his nose as they waiting for the bleeding to stop.  What exactly started the bleed?  My guess is that Coffee had a mind-blowing, brain-straining premonition of the upcoming Ibanez homer.  Quick, someone get that man a tampon before he bleeds all over the mound!  Gross.

 

All of the starting position players except Ryan Howard had a hit in the game.  And two players hit career milestones at exactly the same time.  With a double steal in the sixth, Jimmy Rollins collected his 250th career stolen base.  And for Shane Victorino, it was his 150th career stolen base.

Before the game, Roy Oswalt returned and threw a bullpen session.  He is probably going to start on Saturday, but nothing is official yet.  Oswalt spent just over a week in his home town in Mississippi helping clean up after tornado damage and checking on his family, all of whom are just fine, thankfully.

A new series starts tomorrow with the Atlanta BravesCliff Lee will pitch against Derek Lowe, who was arrested for DUI and reckless driving last Thursday.  This is just one of the recent Braves personal disasters.  Earlier this week, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell was suspended two weeks without pay for making lewd gestures and homophobic remarks at a group of fans during a game.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Ibanez photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

 

Worley Whips The Nats

Game two against the Nationals was a very good day for young pitcher Vance Worley.  Filling in for the injured starter, Joe Blanton, Worley made his second start of the year tonight and notched his second win. 

Through six innings, Worley allowed only one run on four hits with one hit batter.  He also smacked a single into left and later scored in the fifth inning.  Worley has been so good, some may be wishing that Blanton really takes his time coming back.

By the way, have you all seen the new Vance Worley fan club?  They call themselves “Worley’s Warriors.” So is it just me, or do they look less like warriors and more like a Mariachi Band? 

 

Anyway, the offense did their job tonight as well.  Raul Ibanez put the final touches on a newly busted slump, going 3 for 4 with a solo homer.  While his batting average will take some time to recover, currently at .194, the hitting funk is officially over.

Jimmy Rollins had a nice day as well, relishing his return to the lead-off spot with two hits, an RBI and a walk.  Also with two hits, Brian Schneider continues to fill in for the ailing Carlos Ruiz.  And Shane Victorino collected two RBI.

The best part of the offense tonight was watching the Phillies go around the diamond one base at a time in the sixth inning to score four runs.  The small ball is back and the Phillies are scoring again.

Another return tonight was that of J.C. Romero, fresh off a rehab assignment.  Romero pitched a clean seventh inning and appears to be in very good shape.  Upon being added to the roster, pitcher David Herndon, who has been struggling, was optioned to AAA.

The Phillies went on to win by a score of 7-4 after Danys Baez allowed a 3-run homer in the 9th.  Ugh.

FYI – Our old buddy Jayson Werth has had only one hit in the series so far. 

The final game of the series is Thursday night at 7:05pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch.

Side note: Matt Stairs, now with the Nationals, got his 100th career pinch hit tonight.  Congrats, Matt!

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

 

Go Phillies!

Hamels Hammers Nats as Werth Returns to Philly

As the Washington Nationals came to town, so did Jayson Werth.  In his first return to Philly since departing for “greener” pastures, Werth stepped to the plate amidst some boo’s from the fans.  But within seconds, the cheers silenced the boo’s and Werth was welcomed back with the thanks he deserved for helping to bring Philly a World Championship in 2008.

 

Werth earned a little more love after the tip of his cap as he misplayed a ball that ended up as a triple for Jimmy Rollins.  He subsequently made an off-line throw home, allowing Rollins to score on a Placido Polanco sac fly.

Rollins led off today, with Shane Victorino and then Polanco to follow.  Shaky up the line-up a bit and putting J-Roll back in his comfort zone was likely meant to spark the offense, which has been sleepy for a while.

Raul Ibanez finally broke his hitless streak tonight which ended at 0-35.  He hit a double in the fourth inning.  That streak tied as second worst hitless streak for a Phillie; Joe Morgan went 0-35 in 1983 and Desi Relaford still holds the #1 spot with his 0-36 in 1998.

Although the streak was broken, Ibanez still left the bases loaded in the fifth inning.  He swung at the first pitch after Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez had just walked the previous batter.  But Ibanez was redeemed in the seventh with an RBI-double.  Those two hits had to feel really good after an 0-35 stretch.

But luckily for the Phillies, Cole Hamels was not just pitching tonight; he was hitting as well.  Hamels whacked a two-out triple in the third.  Rollins then knocked him in for the first run of the night.

In the fourth, another odd thing happened.  The Nationals intentionally walked Pete Orr, who had batted .154 in his previous four games, to load the bases.  Then with a 2-0 count in his favor, catcher Brian Schneider swung and gave the Nats the double play they were hoping for.

But Hamels kept the team in the game, allowing only four hits in his first seven innings.  In the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies added on a few runs for a 4-1 lead.  Then in the eighth, Hamels smacked his second hit of the night, a single.  Yes, the pitcher was a mere homer and double away from hitting for the cycle ;o)

But Hamels did not need to hit for the cycle to impress.  He stayed in for the ninth and got his first complete game of the year, while only allowing one run.  But I am willing to bet he is still prouder of the two hits ;o)

Roy Oswalt was supposed to start today, but he is still in Mississippi taking care of tornado damage at his house.  The Phillies had enough days off to move the rotation up a day, which worked out just fine for Hamels.  FYI – Oswalt will be back for his next start.

But first, Vance Worley will make his second start of the year tomorrow.  Game time is 7:05pm.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

All Pitching, No Offense In 14 Inning Loss

On paper, Cliff Lee had a good night against the Mets on Sunday.  He went seven innings, allowing just one run.  But he did walk two batters, which is not usual for Lee, and gave up eight hits.

A tough first inning where Lee had to throw 34 pitches to get out of it probably cut his day a bit short.  But it did not matter too much as neither offense felt like playing.

Chris Young was very good for the Mets and allowed just two hits to the Phillies.  His wind-up is similar to that of ex-Phillie, J.A. Happ, as he hides the ball behind his leg before releasing, which probably keeps the hitter guessing.

 

While the offense was sleepy, the defense had a few nice plays.  It seems that Pete Orr, filling in at second base, has a penchant for going airborne:

 

The outfielders looked good too, unless they were at the plate, of course.  No one looked good on offense:

 

In fact, Raul Ibanez is still mired in a huge slump and is now 0-34.  He had chances to break out and propel the team to a win but he struck out in the seventh with two runners on.  And in the eighth, Ibanez had the bases loaded with two outs in a tie game and he hit a weak ground ball to end the inning.

The Phillies left the bases loaded earlier in the game, too.  Brian Schneider struck out on a check swing in the seventh, which was a late call from the 3rd base ump and prompted Charlie Manuel to get himself tossed out of the game.

Eventually, Kyle Kendrick gave up the winning run in the 14th inning, handing the Mets a 2-1 win.

But there were still a few special moments during the game.  People began to get word of Osama bin Laden’s demise via smartphone and chants of “USA! USA!” rang throughout the ballpark before even the players knew what had happened.

It was a touching moment where all fans, Phillies and Mets together, could celebrate something together.  So the next time someone rags on Philly fans and goes on about some 40-year old Santa Claus crap, show them this video.  These fans far outnumber the select few morons who simply cannot conduct themselves in a proper manner in public.

So a loss for the Phillies was still a win for America.  I am more than okay with that.

FYI – Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

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