Archive for the ‘ MLBlogs ’ Category

Halladay Shows Signs of Life In Return After Surgery

After missing 3 months of the season due to right shoulder surgery, Roy Halladay finally returned to the mound for the Phillies yesterday.  The stars aligned in favor of Sunday ticket holders when the Phillies used up originally scheduled starter Tyler Cloyd in Saturday night’s 18 inning, 7-hour marathon loss to the Diamondbacks.  Halladay was supposed to make a rehab start in Reading on Sunday, but was instead called back to the bigs.  Sorry, Reading fans.

Reading’s loss was Philly’s gain.  Halladay looked a little rusty at first, but eventually found his groove.  Over 6 innings, he allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks.

Halladay may have given up more if not for the magic glove of Roger Bernadina.  In the 3rd inning, Bernadina made a spectacular jump at the centerfield wall to steal a home run away from Matt Davidson.  Then in the 7th, he made an amazing diving grab on a hit ball that appeared to have no chance of being caught.

 

On offense, Bernadina ended a 0-19 streak on Saturday with 2 hits in that game.  Then in addition to his fun fielding on Sunday, Bernadina collected 2 RBI on double in the 6th inning.  Maybe some regular playing time will get his bat going.  So far, so good.

It was a good day for offense overall.  Darin Ruf sparked the Phils in the 1st inning with an RBI single. Cody Asche had 2 hits and 2 RBI, Chase Utley went 1-1 as a pinch hitter and John Mayberry Jr. smacked a 2-run homer and also had a walk.

Both Asche and Ruf have been impressive both in the field and at the plate.  They are probably close to cementing their places in the line-up next year.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game, including a lot more of Mr. Halladay.

So they might not be making the playoffs, but at least Phillies baseball is a bit more fun to watch now!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

The Phillies Week In Weird

This has certainly been an interesting week for the Phillies.  Let us review the many weird happenings:

- First, manager Charlie Manual got the axe last Friday and Ryne Sandberg took over.

- People cried, complained and gave Charlie lots of hugs.

- Manual admitted to CSN Philly’s Leslie Gudel that he knew he could not win this year or last year with the team assembled as it was.  Shocker.  Not really…

- On Monday, David Murphy of Philly.com posted an article about how the front office was to blame for the Phillies failures.  Also not a shocker…

- The Phillies Triple-A Iron Pigs gave away a free funeral valued at $10,000 as part of a promotion.  Seriously.

- After 2 losses, Sandberg got his first win as manager on Sunday.

- Sandberg got that win, despite starting Michael Martinez at short stop.  Martinez was boo’ed throughout the game, I assume because starting him or just the fact that he is on this team at all, is emblematic of a very troubled 2013 Phillies season.

- On Tuesday, Roy Halladay made a rehab start in Lakewood.  He appear to be near-MLB ready.

- After Tuesday’s game, Roy Halladay spoke out on the firing of Manual.

In his comments, he added that he thought things were being “overlooked” and said, “I mean guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra bp and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference.”

As those word emanated from Roy’s mouth, the Phillies experienced something like a meteor/asteroid shower as their happy little universe slowly imploded.  All Halladay really said was what we have all been thinking/wondering about for years.  This team lacks discipline and focus.

But the media took those comments to a whole new level, posting headlines that seemed to indicate that Halladay endorsed Manual’s firing, to which he took great offense.

- Also on Tuesday, the Phillies hosted their 6th annual Jewish Heritage Celebration.  I think we can all agree that releasing Delmon Young prior to this event was a good idea.  Because, man, that would have been AWKWARD.

- On Wednesday, Halladay “clarified” his comments and reiterated his love for Charlie, saying he did not endorse anyone being fired.

- Also on Wednesday, the Phillies took out the Washington Nationals’s trash by signing Roger Bernadina, who was cut by the Nats on Monday.  Bernadina is hitting .176 this season and has not had a hit in over a month.  He will fit right in.

-  On Thursday, Philly.com reported on the secret pornography stash at Veteran’s Stadium, presumably, because they had nothing better to report on.

And yes, all of that and more happened in just under a week.  Is this a great time to be a bored Phillies fan, or what?

Maybe don’t answer that question.  Please feel free to go on with your life as originally planned.  Thank you!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Sandberg Gets First Managerial Win

Well, it took a few days, but the Phillies finally squeaked out a win for interim manager Ryne Sandberg.  The 3-5 win over the Dodgers ended yet another long losing streak for the Phils who are now solidly in 4th place in the NL East, 2.5 games behind the Mets for 3rd place.

Getting this win against the hottest team in baseball was going to require a combination of things to occur.  Pitcher Cole Hamels had to be good, which he was.  Hamels went 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs.

 

The Phillies offense had to produce.  And although it was not at all pretty at times, 7 hits and 3 RBI did the trick.  Carlos Ruiz, who has struggled lately, went 4 for 4 and Darin Ruf smashed a solo homer in the game.

Defensively, the Phillies were coming off a game in which they committed 3 errors.  On Sunday, they managed to cut that down to 1 error.  Ah, progress!

And for once, the bullpen did not implode in late innings.  Both B.J. Rosenberg and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless innings to maintain what was at that point a 2-2 tie game.

And in the bottom of the 9th, a little bit of luck was in order to seal the Phillies win.  Two errors by Dodgers shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, allowed the Phillies to walk off with the victory.  Michael Young got the game-winning RBI as Ramirez fumbled his grounder with the bases loaded.  Casper Wells scored on the error and Ryne Sandberg finally got a win!

Here is the full Photo Album from the game, which includes some fun shots of the Dodgers as well.  Fun stuff like this right here:

Is he pitching or trying some new form of karate?  I cannot decide.

The Rockies come to town for a 4-game series tonight.  Game time is 7:05pm.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Charlie Manual Out; Ryne Sandberg In

This just plain sucks.  The firing of Charlie Manual was announced this afternoon at a 2:30pm press conference.  Apparently, Manual was told he was out before Wednesday’s night game in Atlanta.  He managed his last game in a Phillies uniform knowing his fate was already sealed.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. actually cried as he made the announcement.  But I do not think anyone in that room or anyone watching at home felt sorry for him.  Because much of the demise of this team can be directly linked to many bad moves Amaro has made over the years.  While no one was placing blame, some moves speak for themselves.

Manual was offered a job, presumably in the front office, but he had not made any decision on that.  Getting canned with only 41 games left in the season seems harsh, so maybe that will weigh into his decision.

Hearing Charlie talk about how he loves coming to the ballpark every day and how he does not know what he will do now when he wakes up in the morning was tough.  It was very difficult to listen to and my heart aches for him.

What’s done is done and Ryne Sandberg is the new manager.

But Charlie will always be #1 in my heart!  He brought this team out of the darkness and into the light; 1 World Series Championship; 2 NL Pennants; and 5 Division Championships…it is hard to picture this team without him :O(

We love ya, Charlie!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Bats in Atlanta

While I was really hoping that the Phillies bats would show up in Atlanta last night, it seems my wish was mistranslated by the universe.  Bats did show up…but not the baseball kind.

The game was delayed twice last night.  The start of the game was delayed nearly 2-hours due to rain; the second delay came during the game and was caused by a couple of bats getting busy on the field.  Real bats, with wings and all that.

After being man/glove-handled by Braves third baseman Paul Janish, the love-struck bats finally detached and one flew away.  The second bat was transferred to the aptly-named Batboy, who fulfilled his job duties on multiple levels during this game.

Looks like those bats picked the wrong place to host their little rendezvous.  I do hope they were reunited later in the evening.

As for the games, the Braves bats won out, beating the Phillies by a score of 3-6.  John Lannan lasted only 1.1 innings, allowing 5 runs and left the game due to a knee injury.  He is likely done for the season and has also probably worn a Phillies uniform for the last time.  This is the same knee that landed him on the DL for 2 months earlier this year; the Phillies cannot possibly resign him if he is hurt again.

Then again, they have done dumber things; but I will give them the benefit of the doubt here…for now.

The only good news last night was that Domonic Brown had 3 hits and 2 RBI and Darin Ruf hit a homer.  Yup, the good news ends there.  Unless you count today being an off-day as good news…

The Dodgers come to town on Friday…game time is 7:05pm.

And in keeping with today’s bat-theme, here are some adorable, fluffy bats I met in Costa Rica earlier this year:

Awwww!  (Yes, they ARE cute!  Do not argue…beauty is in the eye of the beholder ;o)

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

The Baseball Blues

Hey Phillies fans…anyone else out there suffering from a severe case of the baseball blues?  It is hard not to be down in the dumps after watching this Phillies team continue to suck, game after game.  Getting swept in a 3-game series by the Nationals this weekend had to be the pinnacle of shame and embarrassment in an already dreadful season.

Even dumping Delmon Young could not cheer me up.  Young, who they never should have signed in the first place, was designated for assignment on Friday and replaced by White Sox reject, Casper Wells.  Nothing on Wells’ stat sheet gives me any reason to hope either.  This is the 5th team for Wells this year; that alone is telling.

Just three days earlier, the Phillies also nixed Laynce Nix.  I guess his .180 batting average was just not getting it done (*note sarcasm here).

Know which other Phillies are also just not getting it done?  You guessed right…ALL of them!  So perhaps the entire team will soon be designated for assignment and subsequently be replaced by little league-trained robots.  That would at least sell some tickets.

Oh, Jayson Werth, where have you gone?  That’s right…to the Nationals, where with 7 hits, 4 RBI and a homer he nearly single-handedly beat the Phillies in all 3 games this weekend.  He did look a lot better in red pinstripes….sigh.

The Phillies were outscored 23 to 7 runs this weekend and outhit 36 to 16.  I could count the Phillies runs and hits on my fingers, but had to bust out the calculator to find the totals for the Nats.  That alone was depressing.

So what reason do we all have to keep watching this season?  Here are a few:

- It is like a train wreck; one cannot help but wonder what form this ongoing disaster will take next.

- With 45 games left, can the Phillies still prevent Charlie Manual from getting his 1,000th career as a manager?  He has 999 right now and #1,000 is looking tenuous.

- Can a guy with a .151 batting average this year who is named after a ghost bring this team back from the dead?  C’mon Casper, you’ve got to at least try!

- Will the Phillies single-handedly put Papa John’s pizza out of business with their “50% Off After Phillies Win and score 5 or more runs” deal?

- Every time the Phillies bullpen gives up a run, I get to drink another Mai Tai! (Insert your own drinking game here)

That’s all I’ve got.  Oh, and the Braves are up next…what could be more fun than watching the division leader beat the Phillies to a pulp?  Game time is 7:10pm.  Whoo…hoo.

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Werth Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Chase Utley: A Phillie for Life

The Phillies made the official announcement yesterday that Chase Utley will be a Phillie for life.  They have signed him to a contract extension for 2-years at up to $27 million, with 3 option years that would max out the entire contract at around $75 million if he stays all 5 years.  He would be 39 years old in the 5th year.

There is some risk involved as Utley has battled serious knee issues over the years.  The 2nd year of the contract has a clause built-in which adds $5 million to his salary if he can avoid the disabled list.  Although the specifics of that are hazy, it appears that he can go on the DL once, but no more than that.  That does give the team at least a little insurance.

But Utley has not had any knee issues this year and his production is up.  He is also the leader of this team and a stellar example to all the young players of what being a major league player is all about.  That alone is worth keeping him around while the Phillies retool this beleaguered ball club.

There are so many reasons to be excited about Utley staying in Philadelphia that I cannot pick just one.  So here are a whole bunch:

He loves puppies and running through fields of flowers:

He is the Terminator:

Yet, he is also mysterious:

He plays the game hard and looks good doing it:

It looks like Chase has found just the right fit:

And thank goodness for that!

Congrats, Chase!  I am SOOOOOOO happy that you will be here for years to come!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Alumni Weekend and a Bashing from the Braves

Alumni Weekend for the Phillies is something for fans to look forward to each year.  Players of the past come back to be celebrated and adored once again.  This year, Brad Lidge retired as a Phillie; Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame; and the 1993 NL Championship team was honored on their 20-year anniversary.

The following is a photo diary of Sunday’s events and, unfortunately, a few not-so-fun happenings from the Phillies 1-4 loss to the Braves.

Here is a photo of 1993 manager Jim Fregosi signing my championship pennant and another of the  joining the celebration:

Players of old joined current Phillies players at their respective positions prior to the game as the National Anthem was played.  Having the 1993 and 2013 players together was a very nice touch.  And Darren Daulton got a standing ovation for the 3rd consecutive day.  Surviving brain cancer surgery and being able to walk out onto the field with his friends was worth at least that, and much more.  It was great to see Dutch still fighting.

But the fun ended there.  Unless of course, you count the following events:  The top photo shows a camera man focusing in on Kevin Fransden’s rear-end.  And I can tell you, he lingered there for quite a while.  I want that job.

And the photos below the Frandsen camera-rape episode show that Dan Uggla still has a serious man crush on Chase Utley as he tries to get as close to him as possible during the game.  Remember my shocking 2008 All-Star photo of Uggla goosing Utley?  In case you do not, I of course included it here for your enjoyment:

And then there was the rest of the game, which was horrible.  The only events worth mentioning are the 2 times Braves players were caught in a rundown.  One ended peacefully, with Carlos Ruiz applying the tag.  The other was not so nice.  Total jerk Jason Heyward, rather than take getting picked off like a man, decided to ram Frandsen, sending him flying into the air.  I had nothing against Heyward (beside him being a Brave) until that moment.  That was completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-run lead and the Braves about to sweep the series:

If a picture paints a thousand words, then these shots speak volumes.  Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley look downright infuriated by the team’s current situation.  And manager Charlie Manual just looks defeated:

Defeated is a good word; it covers all of angles of this team.  They have been defeated literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way you can think of.  The suspension of pitcher Antonio Bastardo today was just adding salt to the wound.

This is about as ugly as one can imagine for the Phillies.  The only thing they can hope for now is maybe to find some new, young talent in the coming weeks.  And perhaps they are also hoping for a quick end to this painful season.

Here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s events.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Just When You Thought Things Could Not Get Worse…Bastardo!

Seriously?  As if losing 13 of their last 14 games in spectacularly horrid fashion was not bad enough, another bomb dropped on the Phillies today.  Multiple sources are saying that lefty Antonio Bastardo has been suspended 50-games for violating baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy.  Come on, man!  Can Phillies fans get a break already?

Apparently not.  So let me get this straight…I submitted myself to 9-innings of torture filled, late night baseball on Sunday night after ESPN, the geniuses they are, changed the afternoon game to 8:05pm.  I then took my near 2-hour drive home while half asleep, arrived home at 1:00am and then had to wake up at 5:30am today to go to work.  I am and tired, sick to my stomach and trying to distract myself on my lunch break by reading the news…

And then THIS is what I read!  Bastardo, suspended!  My day is officially ruined.

This is all so disappointing.  It is just one more crushing blow in an already depressing season.  I am at a loss for words beyond that.

On a slightly more upbeat note, check back here later tonight for game photos from Sunday and the Alumni Weekend’s tribute to the 1993 NL Championship team.

The Inning From Hell

The 6th inning of Sunday’s Phillies Tigers game was officially the worst baseball I have ever seen in my life.  In fact, there is no point in even discussing the rest of the game that resulted in a 4-12 Phillies loss.  This team has fallen far into the deepest recesses of hell…

That one hellish inning included 3 Phillies errors, 8 runs scored by the Tigers, all of which were unearned, a Tigers grand slam and 2 runs scored on walks.  Rookie Steve Susdorf committed one of the three errors in his first major league start; this was a day he’d probably like to forget, along with the rest of us.

Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins described it best after the game, telling reporters, “That was embarrassing. … If there’s a bottom, this has to be it. I can’t imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today.”

And although the trade deadline is just days away, I cannot imagine the Phillies will get much of a return on anyone they plan to dump.  Jonathan Papelbon has done his best to ruin any chances of the Phils getting a good return for him in a trade.  His salary is ridiculous, his attitude is deplorable and he has blown 5 saves in the last month and a half.  He is worth nothing in a trade at this point, unless a team is desperate.

And frankly, nearly everyone else on this team has rendered themselves useless in a trade after this horrific 8-game losing streak.

So what do the Phillies do in the midst of watching this franchise ship sink?  They spend $48 million on an unproven Cuban defector.  The Phillies signed right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a six-year deal with incentives that could push the total salary to nearly $60 million.

I liken this move to what someone with a gambling addiction does…keep betting higher, despite a long, ugly string of losses (ie: Ryan Howard’s extension, Chad Qualls, releasing Jason Grilli, trading Cliff Lee, Papelbon, etc…). Ruben Amaro Jr. is still gambling away this team’s future and it is hard to watch.  I hope I am wrong.  Maybe this guy is worth every penny of that $48 million. But with a track record of contract busts, the odds are not in favor of the Phillies.

Welcome to Hell, Phillies fans.

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Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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