Results tagged ‘ Aaron Rowand ’
There they are! Those pesky little wooden sticks were hiding in the peachy state of Georgia! 14 hits, 2 home runs and 6 walks later and the Phillies wander off tonight with an 8-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Kyle Kendrick did a nice job, going 6 innings and giving up 3 earned runs, 2 walks and striking out 2. Shane Victorino had a huge night with 4 RBI, 2 of which came off a home run in the 3rd inning. He was so scary, in fact, that Bobby Cox, Braves manager, intentionally walked him in the 8th inning to load the bases for Chase Utley! It paid off actually, as Chase struck out, but wow, what a move. The Phillies, although coming away with the win, still left 13 men on base. They also left the bases loaded twice with 1 out, without scoring. Now, although I am always elated by a Phillies win, I do have a small rant to go off on…
I just can’t hold it in any longer! I was hoping by the half way point of the season to see some really defined leadership on this team, but it just has not happened. You see, the one area I think all major league clubs tend to ignore when making decisions is spiritual and emotional leadership. They don’t see it as an important factor and therefore, it never enters into business decisions. But team chemistry can make or break a team, and one or two people in a clubhouse need to serve as the glue that hold that bond tightly together. We saw it last year when the Phillies thrived, despite being riddled with injuries. It was the bond between teammates and the chemistry in the clubhouse that kept them motivated. We saw the Mets self-destruct, because they did not have that special ingredient. And it shows again with their team in 2008.
This year, the Phillies let Aaron Rowand go, which many saw as a good business decision. Personally, I saw it as a huge mistake for all of the reasons I outlined above. I agreed with the business end of it; however, he was the glue that held this team together and no one else has stepped forward to take over that role. You know a bright light when it enters the room; he is one of those people and the Giants are now the beneficiaries. Can’t dwell on what is done though, but who will be the next leader for the Phillies? I thought maybe Jimmy Rollins would have stepped up, but at this point in the season, it has become clear that his role will be limited. When a major slide happens as it did the last 6 series, someone needs to step up and hold these guys accountable for their own actions, like Aaron did last year. I don’t want to see interviews the next morning where multiple players are saying things like, “Well, we ran into some good pitching…” After 4, 5, 6 games, that gets old fast. Not to mention, it is not stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility, like they would have in the same situation last year. That is where I see a major difference between the 2007 and the 2008 team right now, and it is a little worrisome.
We do have a lot of guys who can lead in smaller ways….Chase Utley leads by example; Shane Victorino leads with attitude; Pat Burrell seems to lead behind the scenes quietly; but we need someone who will not be afraid to grab hold of a guy and shake him when he does something stupid! Who is going to throttle Geoff Jenkins for swinging at a pitch today with a 3-0 count, bases loaded, 1 out that was NOT right down the middle of the plate? Incidentally, he popped out and that was one of the 2 times the Phillies left the bases loaded with 1 out today. Someone needs to say something to him and hold him accountable.
Ok, ok, so many will not agree with me on this, I know. Such is life. I just see such potential for this team this year, you hate to see it go to waste. Especially if a guy like Brett Myers can get his act together and take one for the team like he did today! Kudos to Brett for accepting the assignment to AAA J That took a lot of guts and we should all be proud of him! It was the best move for the team and very selfless on his part. Now, let’s get this clubhouse in order so when he comes back, all will be well! Another sweep of the Braves would certainly be a nice start to that…
Cole Hamels is back in All-Star shape after today’s complete game shut-out of the Reds, giving up only 3 hits and 3 walks with 4 strike outs. He looked more than comfortable, even giving a wry smile when Ken Griffey Jr. missed home run #600 by inches off him late in the game, flying out to Shane Victorino in center who caught the long ball right up against the padded wall. Cole wasn’t rattled. He just grinned and kept right on pitching. So, now he can sit back and celebrate a job well done and give his tired arm a well deserved rest J
Bit of a slowdown offensively again, with just 5 hits and 2 earned runs; the other runs came off of errors. One thing to point out though is that Geoff Jenkins has been quietly bringing his average up. He is at a .285 right now and the home run today puts him at 6 for the year, which is an area I think when he was brought in, he was really expected to put up some numbers similar to what Rowand did when he was here. So, this is a good sign that he may have found his comfort zone in this park and with the team. Victorino had another hit today too, which continues his streak of consistent hitting and getting on base. He is batting a .283 right now and has 12 stolen bases. It’s good to see some of these guys that had been struggling look like they have found their groove.
On to Atlanta now to face the Braves who have recently been rocked by the loss of veteran pitcher John Smoltz to surgery. I would pretend to be saddened by this news, but then you might scroll down my blog and see my Braves voodoo doll and realize that I am so not telling the truth J Well, in all honesty, I wish pain and surgery upon no one; but a really good opposing pitcher is welcome to take a vacation from his team any time he likes, especially when they are about to play the Phillies!
And since I forgot to mention it in the previous entry, if anyone has an odd fear of squirrels, stay out of sections 145 and 144 in Citizens Bank Park. That is where my friend the squirrel was wandering about yesterday J But seriously people, they are so cute! Just toss him a french fry and let him be… Have a good one!
Looks like we have a pitcher, Phillies fans! Adam Eaton has arrived…finally! Where exactly he has been hiding, no one knows. But let’s all breath a collective SIGH of relief as it appears he IS actually able to pitch! Yeah!!!! Two good starts in a row, only one run given up today, and he looked great! And looking back on many of his previous starts this year, you will see that a lot of his bad losses came because Charlie Manuel simply left him in the game too long and he hung himself. Charlie is getting better at pulling guys when he should, like he did last night with Kendrick, and letting our bullpen do their job. The more wins these starters can add on to their records, the more confidence they will have and that can only mean good things going forward for the team.
As for our offense, a little disappointing I have to say. Jimmy Rollins
kept getting on base and stealing bags, but no one else seemed to be producing much, besides the huge homer by Burrell. A lot of men left on base again, a lot of missed opportunities again, but they still pulled it out in the end. Brad Lidge had his most uncomfortable appearance of the year, but still worked his way through it. And like I said yesterday, a win is win!
I am always keeping watch on the NL East, hoping some other teams can help out the Phillies…The Mets lost badly to the Giants last night and will face them again this evening, sending Pedro Martinez to the mound who has been out for some time now. Frankly , I don’t think Pedro will be same guy after
all the injuries and family issues he’s been dealing with. So, let’s all root again for Aaron Rowand! Did anyone see the Player’s Poll in the May 26th issue of Sport Illustrated? Check out the graphic to the right…it is a poll of 495 MLB Players about who the toughest player in baseball is and Rowand got top billing! Quite an honor considering this is voted on by his peers. Let’s hope he and the Giants pound the crap out of the Mets again tonight!
I’ll be at the game tomorrow, hoping for good weather and also for a lack of historical homers (unless the score is 15-0 in favor of the Phillies) J Have a good night everyone! Go Phillies!
UPDATE: Well, the Giants lost to the Mets, 9-6…blah! Pedro did not pitch super well, giving up 3 walks and 3 earned runs in 6 innings, but Barry Zito totally trumped that performance with 5 walks and 5 earned runs in only 4.1 innings, getting torn up again this year. The Braves beat the Fish again and so the Phillies are 2.5 games ahead in first place! Atlanta is 3.5 games back, the Mets are 4.5 games back and the Nats are in the basement at 10.5.
Ending their road trip on a low note, the Phillies lost another one to the Giants today. In yesterday’s match-up, Jamie Moyer did not pitch well at all and the offense struggled against baby-faced Lincicum. But really, shame on Lincicum for beating up on an old man like that. I say that is elder abuse and just should not be allowed! Jamie is old enough to be his Dad…has he no respect? Geez. Oh well…what else can you say about that game really? That kid is just awesome. Sucks that he’s not on our team…noooooo, we have to be stuck with Adam freakin’ Eaton! (hey, can we have Rowand back too while we’re at it…)
Speaking of which, Mr. Eaton took the mound yet again this afternoon and yet again looked like a duck trying to wade through the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Every pitch was more and more frightening and you could smell the impending doom in the air. But then Chad Durbin comes in, pitches a shut down inning, and saves the day! Maybe we can still win this one? But, no…we know it does not turn out that way. You can’t really lay it on Romero for giving up the go ahead runs. He can’t be expected to be perfect every time…no one can. So, for the times when our bullpen will give up runs, that is when the offense needs to step up, especially against a team like the Giants, who we should be walking all over. To see them just lie down and die like they did today is really disturbing. You have to wonder if they just do not want to play for Adam Eaton. They never look like the same team when he is on the mound. Maybe a guy can only let his team down so many times before it begins to have an effect? Just like an oil spill…you can clean it up, but even years later, it is still leaking poison into the environment…
It’s an off day for the Phillies tomorrow before the 3 game Atlanta series. On Wednesday, the Phillies are holding their women’s clinic, Baseball 101 which I will be attending and then reporting back on probably by Thursday sometime. They have run it for 3 years now and this is my 3rd year going…it is an awesome time at the ballpark. We get to play with the entire coaching staff all day, hit in the cages, run the bases, hang out in the dugout, etc… I’ll post pictures and maybe some video when I return. If anyone else is going, drop me a line and let me know. I’ll see ya there! And Happy Mother’s Day every one!
MVP J-Roll wasted no time last night getting back into winning form, going 3 for 5 with 3 RBI’s and a home run that drove in pitcher Cole Hamels, rewarding Cole for his one hit of the night. Obviously feeling the love back in his hometown and with the family looking on, Rollins did not miss a beat stepping off the DL. There was an especially poignant shot of him on TV right after the home run, standing in the dugout with Ryan Howard where he was showing Ryan the stance and swing he took on the home run ball and Ryan looked on, wide-eyed, like a four year old to his Daddy. Well baby, Daddy is home and if this is the guy you need to lean on to get out of this funk, then please do. I have always thought Jimmy had the ability to lead this team and be that guy for the younger players, he just needs to take the role and run with it. Let’s see if the fog begins to lift for Ryan now that Jimmy is back. Here is a nice shot of Jimmy saying hi to me at Spring Training:
Pedro Feliz also had a decent game, apparently feeling comfortable in this ballpark where he played for seven years, and having his family there as well. He was the only other Phillies player with a multiple hit game, going 2 for 5 with 1 RBI, although Pat Burrell did his part too in drawing 3 walks on the night.
Now is it just me, or did Cole Hamels look like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum all night? Like mommy would not let him go outside to play or took away his favorite Tonka truck? Most of the night, every time Ruiz tossed the ball back to him, he snapped the glove back at it like he was going to give it a spanking. Now honey, if you really feel the need to spank something, may I offer… Oh sorry, the mind has wandered off again; back to baseball… ) Seriously though, he just looked upset with almost every pitch he threw last night. He did come out with the win and gave up 4 earned runs in 7 innings which honestly, is probably not what we’d expect out of our ace, so I do see where the frustration comes from. However, if he knew all night he was having issues, then where was the adjustment? It just seemed like he struggled with the same stuff all 7 innings. He did, however, manage to snap Aaron Rowand’s nine game hit streak. Well, let’s see how the next start goes. 2 more in San Fran – Go Phillies!
It was an unconventional one today, but we’ll take it. Charlie Manual got his 500th career win and it went something like this… 5 unearned runs off 3 Giants errors, 5 walks and the winning run scored by Ryan Howard chugging it all the way from second with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th…my tummy was a turnin’, I can tell you that. It was nice to see a struggling Howard give his team a lift though, getting 3 of those 5 walks instead of adding to his already surmounting strikeout total. He had to feel good about that and I think that will go a long way in helping him get back on track.
Cole Hamels did pretty well today. But we all had a bit more fun watching Tim Lincecum pitch, including the very congenial Giants fan sitting in front of me who said Tim looked to be about 12 years old. Have you seen the baby face on this kid? Oh my! You just want to pat him on the head and take him out for ice cream. What a cutie ) Then you watch him throw a 97 mph fast ball followed by an 81 mph change up and repeat the same sequence over and over again and you’re going, huh? He is SO not 12 years old… Wow.
There were a lot of very strange plays in this series. Not the least of which was the extreme take out at the plate of Carlos Ruiz by Giants short stop Emmanuel Burriss, which was totally unnecessary. He was already safe at home before he took out Carlos, so there was NO need for it. And it was one of the most brutal hits I’ve ever seen…seriously, check out the photos I took and make special note of where Burriss’ leg is. He shot Ruiz backwards through the air about 3 or 4 feet…
A lot of other really fun plays too. So many that I could not stop with just those so I threw together a photo collage here. Here is what you will see below from top to bottom…Saturday: Eric Bruntlett catches Aaron Rowand stealing; Sunday: Geoff Jenkins in mid-air, jumping WAY too soon – look up, you will see the ball and a very scared female fan!; Rowand catching a Jenkins long fly ball; Ruiz tags Rowand out at the plate, but apparently, he forgot the ball?
And, yes I just could not get enough of Aaron Rowand since it was the only time I’d see him all year…so, one more cute shot coming your way… And a nice family photo of the Myers too! Brett had his Mom out for the Mother’s Day celebration today, along with his wife, kids and his Dad too. Cuteness abounds! So, Chase says goodbye to Aaron, and now I guess I will have to as well…sniff! ( Well, on to Arizona! Talk to you all later!
Aaron Rowand returned to Philly last night and it looked like he was going to spoil first place for the Phillies with a go-ahead home run blast in the 10th. Not to mention that knock smashed JC Romero’s scoreless streak…gee, thanks Aaron ( Well, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell were having none of that. Friend or no friend, they were not going to let Rowand have the last word.
Chase got a base hit to start the inning and very uncharacteristically, threw his hands above his head and clapped when he reached first base as if to signal, “Let’s go!” to the rest of his team. He showed actual emotion during a game! You can rest assured, as far as Chase Utley goes, besides the occasional smashing of a batting helmet, this almost NEVER happens. He wanted this one against his former teammate BAD. They all did. When Burrell stepped to the plate, you could see the concentration on his face. You just had a feeling something big was about to happen. And there it was, a huge two run, walk-off blast to win the game for the Phillies! Used to being pulled out before the end of most games, Burrell had to be thrilled to finally get a chance to be there right at the end and give his team a shot to win. Maybe now we can leave him in there more often, hmmm?
After the game, the media interviewed Aaron Rowand and asked how his return was to Philadelphia. With his saddest puppy dog eyes and a bit of a sniff like he may actually cry, he expressed that he was glad to see his former teammates, but wished the game had turned out differently. I actually felt bad for him…it made me want to cry. More than most people, I really wanted to see Aaron come back and sign with Philly and was devastated when it didn’t happen. And now, I just imagine that he has to be seriously questioning his decision, which makes me kind of sad. I mean, he’s gone from a first place team to a team that may finish in 4th place? Maybe 3rd? He had very close friendships with everyone on the team here and the manager and had to leave them. No offense to the Giants staff at all, but they just don’t look like the type of guys he’d really hang out with…a lot of very, very young guys. So, I can’t imagine he’s got the same kind of chemistry there that he did in Philly. He can’t be having a whole lot of fun. Then, add to that what happened last night. Imagine having to walk past that celebration on the field after Pat’s home run, which I am sure looked very similar to a celebration that he was a part of with those same guys, just 7 months ago, in the very same place. That had to sting. I really did feel bad for him.
Well, I wish Aaron the best (except for the next few games, of course), he’s a nice guy… I’ll be going to the games tonight and tomorrow…hoping to get some good pictures before the sky begins to fall. The forecast does not look happy ( Hoping for the best…Go Phillies!