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!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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)
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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.
Werth Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
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!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
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.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
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 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.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In their 4th consecutive loss on Wednesday night, I do believe the Phillies finally rolled over and died. They did not just lose 4 games, they were slaughtered in the ugliest and most painful manner possible.
Every problem this team has had this season was glaring in last night’s 3-11 drubbing, courtesy of the Cardinals. It was a proverbial highlight reel of all that is wrong with the 2013 Phillies. First, the starting pitching has been wildly inconsistent. John Lannan had 2 solid outings in his last few attempts; but last night, he was run out of the game after only 4 innings with 4 runs allowed. In the 4th inning, Lannan walked the opposing pitcher who then proceeded to steal second base and score after a single from the next batter.
Next, the defense was pitiful. John Mayberry Jr. summed up 2013 defense with a Little League play in the 5th inning that allowed 3 runs to score. He dove for a ball that he had zero chance at catching in the air, only to watch the ball sail past him into deep center field.
And then there was the awful bullpen performance. J.C. Ramirez allowed 5 runs in one inning of work. Jake Diekman added 2 more for the Cardinals in the 8th.
And how about that offense? What offense, you may ask yourself. Exactly. The Phillies have scored 4 runs total in their last 3 games.
But the whipped topping on this sh@!! sundae has got to be all of the injuries. Domonic Brown was pulled from the line-up with concussion symptoms. Ben Revere, the hottest hitter in June and July, went down earlier this month with a broken foot due to a foul ball. Ryan Howard is out with knee issues. Roy Halladay is recovering from shoulder surgery. And the list goes on…
The trade deadline is less than a week away. If GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has half a brain, he will begin selling as many players as he can and give this team some hope for the future. And if he wants anyone to attend games for the rest of the year, he should scratch Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee off any possible trade list. Anyone of the other veterans are fair game, in my humble opinion.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait for the hammer to fall…
Remember back on Friday night when the Phillies pounded the Mets to the tune of 13 runs? Remember all those hits and homers? Ah, memories…
Now back to reality…and reality has hit the Phillies hard this weekend as they dropped 2 games out of 3 to the Mets. Saturday’s game was winnable, but Cole Hamels floundered again and the offense blew many opportunities. Sunday’s game was an utter disaster that marked the Phillies 9th time being shut-out this year.
Pitcher Cliff Lee was, once again, killed by the long ball. The 5 Mets’ runs came off 2 homers and both were hit with 2 outs in the inning. With All-Star game starter Matt Harvey on the mound for the Mets, Lee did not stand a chance unless he controlled the long ball, which he did not.
The Phillies offense was just as awful; they managed only 3 hits off Harvey and piled up 12 strikeouts. Domonic Brown got the Golden Sombrero with 4 K’s in the game. Was it not just 2 days ago this team scored 13 runs? After their performance on Sunday, you would never imagine this was the same group of guys.
Granted, Harvey is one of the best pitchers in the game right now. But the 12 K’s tells you that the Phillies could not even manage to make contact with the ball. Zero walks then equals zero patience at the plate as well. It was just plain ugly.
And now the Phillies are once again in limbo as management decides whether or not they have any shot at all at making the playoffs. Personally, I do not see it happening. This team has lacked consistency all season long; they have too many injuries and no sense of urgency. But since both the Braves and the Nationals went cold this weekend as well, the Phillies did not lose or gain any ground in the division. And that will make the decision to buy or sell before the trade deadline even more difficult.
Then again, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may already have made up his mind after this weekend’s performance. And certainly no one can blame him if he goes into sell-mode. This team has not given anyone any real reason to hope, especially after their 2 best pitchers bombed on back-to-back nights.
The Phillies are off today before starting a 3-game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday. The Cards have the best record in the majors…and that is not good news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
It was a very weird weekend for the Phillies heading into the All-Star break today. Sunday’s game commenced a 3-game series with the White Sox that included a postponed game turned into a doubleheader, during which another rain delay occurred. All 3 games went extra-innings, with the teams playing 24 innings total in one day; each game on Saturday lasted exactly 3 hours, 53 minutes, excluding the 41 minute rain delay. In the midst of all that, Ben Revere broke his foot by fouling a ball off it; he will be out for about 6-8 weeks. Very sad news for the Phillies :O(
Sunday’s game went 10 innings, 3 hours and 26 minutes. Jonathan Papelbon blew his 5th save of the year in this one, denying Cole Hamels yet another win. But Hamels pitched very well, allowing just 2 runs over 8 innings, which is what kept the Phillies in line for the win.
The offense started strong, but sputtered again later in the game, which has become a pattern with this team. Still, they managed enough runs to get by. Hamels, in addition to pitching well, led the team in hits with two; he also had a fabulous sacrifice bunt and a crucial RBI in the 4th inning.
The defense was a bit better on Sunday, although Chase Utley still had a blunder. Luckily, no damage was done.
The only real damage was Papelbon’s blown save. However, his teammates got him off the hook. Utley redeemed his previous fielding error by leading off the 10th inning with a double. And John Mayberry Jr., getting playing time since Revere is on the DL, singled the winning run in for a 4-3 victory.
Prior to the game, the Phillies All-Star’s, Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown, got their jerseys:
This win was a nice way to send them off to New York and finally put the Phillies at the .500 mark.
The Phils are now 6.5 games out of 1st place and a half-game behind the 2nd place Nationals. But whether or not they can make a run at the playoffs still seems like a long shot after watching their struggles against a last place White Sox team this weekend.
In 3 games, they left 25 men on base and went 6-for-28 with runners in scoring position. In Saturday’s 1st game loss, the Sox practically handed the game to them. But with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs in the 9th, they failed to score. That just cannot happen. Similar situations played out in the 10th and 11th innings with the same result. It was gut-wrenching; very difficult to watch.
Now with Revere gone and the bullpen situation still tenuous, there is no way to know how the 2nd half will play out, but the odds are certainly stacked against the Phillies.
While we all wait and see, here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography