Results tagged ‘ A.J. Burnett ’

1960’s Weekend Ends in Series Loss to Cubs

In the final game of the Phillies retro 1960’s celebration, the Phillies had little to celebrate.  With a 0-3 loss to the Cubs, they dropped 2 of 3 games this weekend.

As an added annoyance, I was forced to try and track the game on a 1960’s-style scoreboard and all images on the big screen were in black and white…blah.  But the uniforms (grounds crew, too) were nice and even Art Garfunkel dropped in for a rendition of God Bless America.
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This was also the 50-year anniversary of Jim Bunning’s perfect game against the Mets on Father’s Day in 1964.  He was joined on the field for the first pitch by teammates Cookie Rojas and Dick Allen.  And later in the game, Bunning’s entire family went onto the field to dance with the Phanatic.
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It was also Father’s Day, 2014.  Ben Revere’s parents joined him on the field before the game and every Dad (or male human over 14 years old – hoping they are not all Dad’s) got a Phillies fedora, which were seen all over the ballpark.
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And then there was the game.  A.J. Burnett had a quality start with 3 runs allowed over 8 innings.
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But that mattered little as the Phillies did almost nothing at the plate.  By the 6th inning, I was beginning to think I was going to see my 2nd no-hitter in the last month against the Phils.  Luckily, Revere broke up the no-hitter…whew!

There were many swings, but very few productive ones.  In fact, Burnett even tossed his bat away striking out in the 6th inning (see below).
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On the bright side, it was a bright, sunny day outside…and that is where the good news ends.  Bummer.

Here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game.  The Phillies start a series in Atlanta on Monday against the Braves.  The game starts at 7:10pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Finally, A Win!

Yes, miracles never cease.  The Phillies won a game last night!  About an hour and a half before game time, however, it did not look like a game would be played.  In Delaware just before Wilmington, the river overflowed and started to flood I-95.  Then it took me ½ hour just to pass through Wilmington as I-495 to Philly is closed, and will be possibly for a year (gasp!) due to a bridge problem.  Finally, I thought I was home free…then the heavy rain and floods came.

While contemplating building an ark, I inched down I-95 at about 15mph and struggled to see through my windshield.  There were accidents all over the place.  But the time I passed the airport in south Philly, I seriously thought I might not make it to the stadium as the water was so high on the road I might have floated away.  After I finally parked, I had to trek through water 6 inches deep, well above my ankles, just to get into the stadium, which was equally flooded.  But there was no way I was not getting my free Chase Utley bobblehead!

So I guess three miracles occurred last night.  I made it to the game without having to build an ark, the sun came out 20 minutes before game time and then the Phillies actually won.  Amazing!  A.J. Burnett had a relatively easy job though.  Only 1 batter in the Padres starting line-up was batting over .250.  And some were batting under .200.  This is a very bad team.
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Then again, so are the Phillies.  But the offense actually did score some runs, mostly thanks to Marlon Byrd who had 4 RBI on the night with a 3-run bomb in the 4th and a sac fly in the 6th inning.  Utley, Ryan Howard and Ben Revere each had 2 hits each and Utley picked up another RBI.  It looks like he intends to swing his way into the All-Star game again this year.  Utley is batting .318 with 31 RBI and 4 homers so far.
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But what is a Phillies game without an error?  Howard let an easy ground ball sneak right between his legs in the 1st inning.  Amazing.  The rest of the fielding was pretty good though.  Both Revere and Domonic Brown had impressive, diving grabs in the outfield, which was nice to see.
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And then Jonathan Papelbon earned his 300th career save, but he did not exactly do it convincingly.  Papelbon gave up 2 hits and then hit a batter to load the bases before finally recording 3 outs.

Also, before the game the Phillies signed their first round draft pick, Aaron Nola.  And rookie reliever Ken Giles, who was called up on Sunday, still has not gotten into a game.  And so we wait…

Here is the Photo Album from the game.  The Phillies play the Padresagain tonight at 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Jays Canadian Bacon Phillies Fry

There was a barbeque in Canada this week and the Phillies were the main course.  In 4 straight losses to the Blue Jays, the Phillies were fried up like a plate of Canadian Bacon.  You could smell the greasy smoke from Toronto all the way to Philly.

canadian-bacon1And the Phillies did not just lose four games; they were slaughtered unmercifully.  The 0-3 and 5-6 losses in the Philly half of the series were bad enough, especially after they lost on Tuesday despite a Cody Asche grand slam to tie the game.  But in the Toronto half of the series, the Phillies went down in spectacularly bad fashion by scores of 0-10 and 6-12.  It was ugly.

And the ugly parts were, unfortunately, in every facet of the game; pitching, offense and defense were all horrible.  The worst defensive play of the series by far was from Ben Revere in Wednesday’s game.  In the 7th inning, he gave up on a fly ball to center that I supposed he thought was a home run.  It turned into a triple and Cliff Lee, after seeing his teammate bail on a catchable ball, appeared to unravel.  Lee is usually very calm and collected so anything that rattles him has to be serious.  That inning turned in NINE runs for Jays.  Wow.

Then last night, A.J. Burnett, who has been the best starter recently, was tagged for 6 earned runs.  Luis Garcia came in for the last two innings after his call-up from Triple-A.  It was said when he was called up that Garcia was outpitching everyone in the minors.  He had not allowed a run in 11 games.  So what happened last night in his first game back to the majors?  He was eaten up by the Jays like an evening snack, allowing 3 runs on back-to-back homers in the 7th.  2 more runs scored in the 8th after a lead-off walk and an error by Jayson Nix.

Some of the Phillies veteran players, like Cliff Lee, are probably beginning to realize this season may be a lost cause…again.  The fans have already figured that out as evidenced by 6,000 fewer season tickets sold compared to last year and a 7,070 tickets per game decrease.  The Phillies are losing fans, money and pretty soon, their players.   Because if this continues, you can bet Cliff Lee will be campaigning to move on at the trade deadline.  And who could blame him?

It is time for the Phillies to step out of the frying pan.  And they had better do it quickly before they burn.

 

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Lee & Burnett Leading the Way

The Phillies have taken the first 2 games in their series against the Dodgers in large part due to great starting pitching.  Both Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett have set an example for all Phillies pitchers and given them something to aspire to.  It has been a real treat to watch.

On Monday night, Lee went 8 innings, allowing no runs, 4 hits and striking out 10 baffled Dodgers batters.  Since his awful Opening Day start, Lee has been nearly unhittable.  And the intangibles he brings to the team are priceless.

This is a guy who never gets rattled.  His drama-free attitude and generosity towards fans has endeared him to all who observe how he goes about his business.  If you do not love Cliff Lee, go to the doctor and make sure your heart is still beating.
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And then there is one of the newest Phillies, A. J. Burnett.  Tuesday night he pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk.  He also had 3 hits in the game!  The week before that, he pitched 7 scoreless inning against the Braves.  And he did all of this while nursing a painful inguinal hernia.

The fact that Burnett is willing to play through the pain is admirable.  And as long as he keeps pitching well, I have no problem with this.  But he is not just tough, he is also quite the jokester, as witnessed after his first hit last night.  After Yasiel Puig attempted to throw him out at first all the way from right field, Burnett turned and motioned with his hands to Puig to settle down.  There is a great GIF of this on Philly.com.  You gotta love a man with a sense of humor.

The Phillies other ace pitcher, Cole Hamels, is set to come off the DL and pitch tonight.  Could the Phillies actually have 3 studs in a row once again?  And, although I hate to say this too loudly, this team appears to be mostly healthy…gasp!  Shhhhh!  Don’t tell the universe…too dangerous.

Have you also noticed the improvement on offense?  The big 3 there, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, are all hitting well.  And Ben Revere is heating up again, like he did last year before getting hurt.  The one thorn left in the Phillies side is the bullpen, which did actually hold up the last few games.  Keep your fingers crossed for that trend to continue.

If Lee, Burnett and Hamels can pitch like they are capable of, the bullpen will certainly benefit.  It starts with the starters.  Hamels gets his first shot in 2014 tonight at 10:10pm.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Weird Week

The Phillies finally squeaked out a win against the Braves yesterday.  Whew!  But that 1-0 win was not the only oddity of the week.

For starters, the Phillies lost by the exact same score the night before.  Cliff Lee pitched a gem and the Phils could not bother to score a single run.  Ugh.  Here are a few other weird notes from the week:

-          A.J. Burnett, Thursday’s winning pitcher, claims that his newly formed hernia is helping him pitch better.  Maybe the offense should start straining themselves to achieve a similar injury and then they can score more than 1 run per game?  Genius!

papelbon gas-          Speaking of genius, Jonathan Papelbon does not see pitch velocity as an issue.  Granted, he has been much better of late.  But really?  Can I pitch then?  I can probably hit around 60mph on the gun and since speed does not matter, I should do just fine against major league hitters.  Put me in, coach!

-          In other Pap news, Crossing Broad had reported that the Phillies closer not only went off verbally on the media about his velocity, but that he actually aimed a fart in their direction.  Monty Python, Holy Grail fans are loving this (”I fart in your general direction!”)  If you have never seen this move, I highly recommend it.

-          In the same article, Crossing Broad also claims that Cliff Lee belched at the media.  It seems there is a lot of hot air in the Phillies locker room.

-          It looks like whoever yells the loudest really does win.  Because after Brewers manager Ron Roenicke complained that Logan Schafer’s 8th inning at-bat on 4/9/14 was not scored a hit, MLB overturned the error originally given to Ryan Howard.  Wow.

-          And while this is not Phillies news, I am sure all Phillies fans will enjoy it.  The new book, Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots, reveals that the Secret Service actually threatened to kill Mr. Met, the Mets bulbous-headed mascot.  Seriously.  That may be the best story ever in the history of baseball.  You will have to read the excerpt to believe it.

The Phillies start a 10 game West Coast road trip tonight against the Rockies.  Game time is 8:40pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Bullpen Killing the Phillies

This Phillies bullpen sucks.  There are few more accurate ways to describe it.  The young pitchers are up one day and way down the next; the veterans are too inconsistent and have the threat of injuries, both past and present, constantly haunting them.

But the real shame of Monday night’s 9-6 loss to the Braves was the wasted 8th inning 5-run rally, including a 3-run shot from Domonic Brown.  That gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead, which was wiped away in the 9th inning with a Dan Uggla Grand Slam.  Ugh.

It seems the 2014 Phillies may actually have the spirit and possibly the offense to carry them to a winning season.  But without the pitching, they are sunk.  It is only mid-April and this team is already breaking records, and not in a good way.

BJRB.J. Rosenberg gave up 3 home runs to consecutive batters last night.  That feat has not occurred in literally over 100 years of MLB history.  Sure, he has a nice fastball.  But clearly, he has no idea what to do with it.

Jake Diekman has a big arm too.  But the lack of experience, recent overuse and general wildness is holding him back.  Pretty much every guy in the Phillies pen is suspect.  Mike Adams is back, but after being out for so long with such an array of injuries, the expectations of him are low.

Even the starting pitching has major issues.  Roberto Hernandez looked winded last night after only 5 innings.  He has yet to make it through 6 innings.  And now A.J. Burnett has been diagnosed with a hernia.  He will pitch through the pain, which is not a comforting thought.

Some of these guys have real talent, like Diekman.  But even the smartest students do not always get good grades.  Many times, the results depend on the teacher.  So why are the Phillies seemingly unable to develop their talent?  And how deep within the organization does this disconnect go?  This is not a new problem.  It seems like every year, the Phillies bring up young pitchers who are just not prepared.

I wish I had the answers to those questions.  Thoughts?  Feel free to comment below.

Game 2 with the Braves begins at 7:05pm tonight.

Game 2 Questions

Only 2 games into the season, some odd things have happened with the Phillies.  Game 1 was a 14-10 hitting spree win.  And yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers was quite the opposite.  Manager Ryne Sandberg made some very puzzling moves with the line-up and pitching during the game.

First, not all the line-up changes were too weird.  I liked Ryan Howard hitting 5th against a lefty and using Chase Utley as the DH.  But starting Jayson Nix at third instead of Cody Asche the day after he has a career game with 4 runs scored and 3 hits?  That I do not understand.

I get the whole lefty facing a lefty thing and if it were a week or two into the season, then sure, give Asche a break against a lefty.  But the timing of this move in only the second game of the season with Asche having big momentum coming off Monday’s win is confusing.  I do not think it was the right call; but they don’t pay me to make those decisions.

Another decision I would not have made was tossing a rookie pitcher making his major league debut into a tie game in the 9th inning against a very strong lineup.  Poor Mario Hollands had to face Shin-Soo Choo (walk), Elvis Andrus (sac bunt) and Prince freaking Fielder (walk)!  Seriously?  Is there anyone else out there who thought this was a good idea?  Talk about being thrown into the fire…

Sandberg also reused 3 relievers who had pitched the day before while leaving 2 guys in the pen, Justin DeFratus and Brad Lincoln, who have not pitched at all in 2 games.   Lincoln did not have a great spring, but few Phillies did.  And I definitely would have thrown DeFratus out there in the 9th before a rookie who has barely pitched above Double-A ball.

The end result was a frustrating loss in a very winnable game.  Plus it wasted an outstanding effort on the mound by A.J. Burnett who allowed only 1 run over 6 innings.  Is this just growing pains for a new manager or is there some method to this madness I am not seeing?

Sandberg is a Hall of Famer and all around cool guy, so he will be given the benefit of the doubt here.  A win tonight would go a long way for me :o)  Game time is 8:05pm; Kyle Kendrick will pitch.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Opening Day Slug Fest

The Phillies first game of the regular season began with a bang to the tune of 14 runs on 17 hits including 3 homers, one of which was a Grand Slam.  It was a record-setting day on many levels.

First, Phillies ace Cliff Lee allowed 8 earned runs and still got the win.  That is only the 8th time in MLB history that a pitcher gave up 8 runs in at least 5 innings and still won.  It is also only the 3rd time in history that happened on Opening Day.

Then in his first Opening Day start, Cody Asche ended the game just a triple short of the cycle.  With his parents looking on, Asche had a career day with 3 hits, 2 RBI including a solo homer, a walk and 4 runs scored.

But the biggest day record-wise was had by Jimmy Rollins who belted a Grand Slam in the 2nd inning, marking his 200th career homer.  That home run made him only the 19th player in baseball history to have 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples and 200 or more home runs in a career.  He also tied a record with Cal Ripken Jr. for 14 consecutive Opening Day starts at shortstop with the same team.

Rollins may have had some extra inspiration yesterday as he is on baby-watch.  His wife Johari is expecting their second child any minute now.  Rollins stayed an extra day in Philly in case she went into labor and then joined the team in Texas on Sunday night, one day after the team arrived.

Records aside, many Phillies had big days in this game.  Both Chase Utley and Ben Revere had 3 hits, Marlon Byrd went 2-for-6 with a solo homer and Ryan Howard had 2 hits and a walk.  Maybe the biggest hit of the day, besides the grand slam, was a pinch hit 2-run double in the 5th inning by John Mayberry Jr.  In his first big move of the season, manager Ryne Sandberg had a gut feeling to switch Junior’s; Mayberry Jr. in place of Tony Gwynn Jr.  That double broke a 7-7 tie and propelled the Phillies to the win with some much needed momentum.

While I do not think the Phillies are going to score 14 runs again soon, this was an uplifting start the season.  Enjoy it!  Tonight, A.J. Burnett will make his Phillies debut; game time is 8:05pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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