Results tagged ‘ All-Star ’
Early in the final game of the Phillies – Indians series today, things got very, very weird. And just when you thought it could get any stranger, a gigantic storm, which looked like a hurricane and tornado all in one, hit the stadium in the 8th inning.
But early in the 2nd inning, many already thought that this game was going to resemble an episode of The Twilight Zone. 3 straight singles loaded the bases and then Dane Sardinha hit a grounder to third base. The catcher missed the throw to home plate and 2 runs scored. Next, the Phillies pitcher, Joe Blanton, got hit with a pitch.
The oddities continued as Shane Victorino was called out for going out of the baseline on his way to first base. Charlie Manuel was so angry over the call, he got himself thrown out. Blanton was later allowed by the Indians centerfielder to tag up at third and score, even though Blanton did not move until he realized the fielder was paying him no mind. And the Indians left fielder was almost injured badly when he ran for a foul ball and smashed leg first into the wall. As he bounced around, his head hit the wall next and he then began wandering around the field like he did not know where he was.
So to recap the 2nd inning; 5 runs scored on 4 hits, an official error, a mental error and 2 sacrifices plus, the manager is ejected, the Phils pitcher is hit with a pitch and a freak injury. Could this game get any weirder…oh yes, it can…
The Phillies went on a hitting spree after that, scoring 7 more runs. Placido Polanco had 4 hits and 2 RBI; both Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had 3 hits each and Wilson Valdez had 2 hits. The only position player to go hitless was Ryan Howard, although he did collect an RBI. And Sardinha, in his first start as a Phillie, hit his first major league home run in the 6th inning.
In light of the recent offensive woes, the hitting spree was a nice surprise. But it was by far the biggest surprise of the day. With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Mother Nature paid an unpleasant visit to Citizens Bank Park. The rain poured down in buckets and the wind made things begin to swirl wildly in a circular motion, like a tornado. The tarp was half-way whipped up off the field, taking a field vehicle with it! The car was supposed to be holding the tarp down, but the winds were so strong it moved the car! Check out the video from CSN Philly. I have never seen anything like this…ever:
Here is another good one shot by a fan, which gives a really good view of the car being moved around:
So the rain delay lasted for an hour and 37 minutes with the Phillies in the lead by a score of 12-3. They came back and finished the game…nothing changed. The Phillies sweep the Tribe in 3 games. Blanton had a good game, going 7 2/3 before the storm hit and allowing just 3 runs on 6 hits. Nelson Figueroa was called up from AAA and pitched a scoreless 9th. Figueroa takes Chad Durbin’s place as he is now on the DL with a strained hamstring.
Starting tomorrow night, the relocated series with the Blue Jays will begin. It was supposed to be in Toronto, but had to be moved to Philly for security reasons related to the G20 Summit. So the Jays will be the home team in Philly for 3 games. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Jimmy Rollins officially announced his return to the Phillies tonight with a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th against the Indians.
It was J-Roll’s only hit in two games since coming off the DL. Things looked grim going into that inning as Rollins was just 0 for 4 before that homer, but he hit it when it counted the most and gave his team a 7-6 victory. Welcome back, Jimmy!
Prior to that, the Phillies offense did score some runs, but they still seem to be butting heads with the usual problems; leaving men on base, hitting into double plays and swinging at bad pitches. Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit into double plays, the worst of which was by Ibanez in the 6th inning. With two runners on and no outs, Ibanez tapped one back to the mound and they did not score that inning.
But Howard had 2 hits on the night and Jayson Werth had 3, including a homer. Brian Schneider hit his first homer of the year in the 7th and there were a couple extra base hits in the game as well. The Phillies went only 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but with J-Roll playing the hero, it was enough to win the game.
The pitching was also interesting as the magical see-saw adventures of Kyle Kendrick continued tonight.
When Kendrick steps to the mound, you just never know what tricks he might pull out of his hat next. This evening’s tricks included allowing two 2-run homers to Shin-Soo Choo. Kendrick lasted just 4 innings with 5 runs allowed, although 1 run was unearned after a Chase Utley error.
With Kendrick, the only thing that has been consistent is his inconsistency. And with rumors floating that the Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, it appears they are growing impatient with not only Kendrick, but JA Happ as well. Happ has not been progressing as quickly with his rehab as the Phillies would like. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Courier Press, “”It’s the first time he’s ever had this time off, and (he needs to) come back and cut it loose and get back to that old form. He’s going to have to get to that point or he can’t perform here.” Those are strong words from an obviously frustrated GM.
Another player was injured tonight as well; Chad Durbin came up with a right hamstring strain at the beginning of the 9th inning. According to Charlie Manuel after the game, the injury is “pretty serious.” Not good news; all we can do is hope he will be okay.
In other news, Greg Dobbs did clear waivers and has been sent to AAA to work on his swing. Hopefully, Dobbs can get back into shape and help out later in the year. I know a lot of people have been complaining about Dobbs, and not without cause, but I am rooting for him to return to his 2008 form when he was probably the best pinch hitter in the league. I have been fortunate to speak with Greg on a number of occasions and he is as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet. He is great with the fans, unselfish when giving his time and has a good heart. For all those reasons, I wish him well and hope we might see him again soon.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
While it was delayed by one day due to rain, the rematch of Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson finally took place tonight in Philly. Their last meeting was in Miami for Halladay’s perfect game on 5/29 where the Phillies won by a score of 1-0. The same score stood tonight through 8 innings, except it was in favor of the Marlins.
Both starters pitched through those same 8 innings and Johnson did not budge. He allowed just 3 hits while Halladay got into trouble in the first inning. Halladay loaded the bases with no outs and still, escaped with only one run allowed. After that, he did not budge either. Stalemate.
Then came the 9th inning; Danys Baez has been hit or miss for the Phillies bullpen all year. He had a bad April, a really good May and now in June, he has allowed a run in each of his last 3 games pitched. Tonight it was a homer to put the Phillies in an 0-2 hole that seemed insurmountable.
Sure enough, the Phillies offense could not get anything done in the 9th and went down to the Fish by those 2 runs. Yes, another shut-out; it was their 6th time being shut-out in the last 17 games. At least this time, it was against one of the best pitchers in the National League so, it is not as shocking.
Yesterday’s rain-out has been rescheduled for Labor Day on September 6th as part of a split doubleheader at 1:05pm. Tickets from Wednesday’s rain-out are good for that day and time. The regularly scheduled 7:05 pm game will go on as planned.
Charlie Manuel will coach the NL All-Star team again this year and has just announced his staff. The Phillies coaches will all be going, as this is the usual tradition. In addition, Manuel has named Padres‘ manager Bud Black and Giants manager Bruce Bochy as his coaches. Sean Cunningham, head athletic trainer of the Marlins, and Keith Dugger, head athletic trainer of the Rockies, will also join the team.
The players will be announced on July 4th after voting ends on July 1st at midnight, with 4 more days to cast the final vote for the one extra player on each team after that. So do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:
Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Last night’s game against the Marlins was postponed due to rain. The rescheduled date has not been announced, but it may take place in September when the Fish return to Philly. So the Roy Halladay – Josh Johnson rematch will take place tonight instead; game time is 7:05pm.
Likely due to the recent offensive slump, many Phillies are falling out of the All-Star race. Chase Utley and Placido Polanco are still in first place at their positions, but others will need some extra help.
MLB is trying something new this year where you can “campaign” for your favorite players. I made a campaign for each of the Phillies on the ballot. You supposedly earn “points” every time someone votes for your player through a special link. Then you move up through the ranks from a volunteer to a coordinator to a manager, etc…
They are not giving prizes or anything other than the satisfaction of knowing you helped out. So, let’s think of this as an interesting experiment…click on one of the links and cast your votes. I will give periodic updates as to how many “points” we are accruing and see if it really makes a difference. Remember you can vote up to 25 times a day, per email address. Have fun!
The Phillies have reportedly agreed to terms with Philly-local and first round draft pick, left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle. The specific terms have not been announced, but it is safe to say he will be in Phils farm system instead of going off to college.
Here are the rest of the draft results:
2nd round – RHP Perci Garner, Ball State
3rd round – Catcher Cameron Rupp, University of Texas
4th round – LHP Tennessee Volunteer Bryan Morgado
5th round – RHP Scott Frazier, Upland High School
While it was far from perfection from Roy Halladay last night in his first start since pitching the Perfect Game, he was effective. Halladay allowed just 2 runs on 10 hits over 7 innings. He worked in and out of several jams with multiple base runners against a very good Padres team to keep the Phillies in the game.
Halladay even helped himself out at the plate, knocking a 1 out single in the 3rd that led to Shane Victorino’s 2-run homer. With the Phillies offense still struggling, those two hits turned out to be a big key in winning the game. Jayson Werth collected the 3rd RBI in the 3-2 win by walking with the bases loaded in the 5th inning. Of course, the Phillies offense also left the bases loaded twice and as a team, left 9 men on base.
The lack of scoring was again highlighted in the 8th inning when Jose Contreras hit a batter and then issued a walk. JC Romero was brought in to stop the bleeding and began by walking the next batter to load the bases with 1 out. But it was JC’s birthday, and his present to himself was getting a ground ball double play to end the inning. Happy Birthday, JC!
The real highlight of the evening, however, was Brad Lidge. In his first save opportunity since coming off the DL for the second time this year, Lidge looked like Mr. Perfect from 2008. Lidge mowed down the Padres in order with a nasty slider and good movement on his fastball. His speed clocked in at 94mph on a few pitches. Is this a sign that all is now well with Lidge? Cross your fingers…
Game 2 against the Padres is tonight at 7:05pm. Jamie Moyer will pitch against Jon Garland.
By the way, have you seen the new player-designed apparel at the Phillies MLB Shop? If you have not, be sure to check it out. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Cole Hamels and Raul Ibanez all designed jerseys, tee-shirts and hats for the new collection. Here is a sample of what they designed:
Other teams got into the action as well, so if you are a fan of another team (although I find that hard to imagine ;o), check out their MLB Shop site too. I believe the Mets, Yankees and Twins also participated. Hey, if it is cool looking, maybe I’ll pick up a Mets jersey….or, not. ;o)
And do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.
Lidge photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; apparel by MLB.com
2009 was an outstanding season for the Philadelphia Phillies in many ways. Not only did they return to the World Series for the second consecutive year, but when you look at everything they had to endure to do so, the feat becomes that much more impressive. Here is a look at the obstacles the team overcame in 2009 and also some of the season highlights:
The loss of our beloved Harry Kalas
The 2008 World Series hangover
Injuries to every member of the bullpen
Losing the #2 starter (Brett Myers) at the beginning of the year
Watching the #1 starter, Cole Hamels, go through weird injuries, bad luck and a very bad season
Lack of production from the bench players
The June Swoon (11-15 record)
The struggles and eventual season ending injury of Jamie Moyer
The injury to Raul Ibanez right before the All-Star break; Ibanez went from super hot to totally not afterwards.
Offensive slumps throughout the year
A down year and very slow start from the offensive engine, Jimmy Rollins
Brad Lidge going from first to worst among closers
The Ring Ceremony
Cliff Lee – a gift from Heaven (and Ruben Amaro Jr.)
Pedro Feliz had off-season back surgery, recovered well and became a real contributor offensively
JA Happ emerged as rookie sensation with 12 wins and the lowest team ERA among starters (2.93)
Jamie Moyer wins career game #250
The Phillies visit with J-Roll Smurf (more of a personal highlight, but a highlight nonetheless)
Ryan Howard becomes the fastest player ever to reach 200 career home runs
Ryan Howard knocks the most grand slams in Phillies history
The 10 game winning streak, July 8-21
The two Old Goats, Jamie Moyer & Pedro Martinez, combine to win 2 games in August that were split up by rain delays
Jayson Werth steals home against Dodgers
Franchise record set for attendance and sellout games; 3,600,693 fans and 73 sellouts in 81 home games, finishing 3rd in baseball for total and average attendance
Return to World Series
Congratulations to the 2009 National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies!
In other news:
The 2009 coaching staff have all been invited to return next year.
Cliff Lee’s 8 million dollar club option was picked up (no surprise here) for 2010.
Raul Ibanez, Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge will all be seen by team doctors this weekend to determine if surgeries will be needed. Eyre has loose bodies in his elbow and Lidge may have the same. Ibanez has a tear in his abdomen and a hip issue.
No word yet on Pedro Feliz’s club option, but it will be decided by Monday.
The post-season roster has not been set for the Phillies; they have until 10am tomorrow to make the final decision. The central core is not in question, with 6 current and former All-Stars in starting roles. However, the pitching rotation, bullpen and bench players are going to be tough decisions.
Manager Charlie Manuel seems to favor Eric Bruntlett on the bench because he runs well and can play almost every position in the field. However, Bruntlett has not hit well and ended the year with 18 hits in 105 at-bats for a .171 average. Miguel Cairo has performed much better and can play most of the infield spots; he ended the season batting .267 and went 7 for his last 19 including a triple and a home run in the final game.
While Cairo should get the nod over Bruntlett, it may not happen that way. Bruntlett was with the team last year and Manuel tends to favor guys he is most familiar with. Both could make the team, but only if they sacrifice a bullpen spot. Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs should all be locks for the roster, despite the facts that Dobbs has been playing hurt and Stairs batted only .194 this year with 5 homers in 103 at-bats.
The pitching is even more complicated. Most likely Cliff Lee will start game 1 as Cole Hamels would only have 3 days rest. However, Lee has been mostly awful in his last 7 starts, allowing 27 runs in 39 2/3 innings. That is an ERA of about 6.13. Not good. The Phillies hope he will turn things around for his first post-season appearance.
Hamels was equally inconsistent, ending the season with a record of 10-11 and a 4.32 ERA. Pedro Martinez has been dealing with a sore neck, so his ability to pitch deep into a game effectively is in serious question. Joe Blanton and JA Happ have been the only two good, consistent arms in the rotation all year and now Happ may get bumped to the bullpen due to a lack of lefties. That would be a real shame though, because Happ has the best record of the starting staff with 12 wins, 4 losses and an ERA of 2.93. Honestly, I think they need to keep Happ as a starter and take their chances with the lefty situation in the pen. Happ is more valuable for 6-7 innings than he would be for only a few batters.
That brings us to the pen, which is basically a mess. Every regular bullpen pitcher has suffered at least one injury this year, except Ryan Madson. Right now, JC Romero, Jamie Moyer and Chan Ho Park are still hurt and will not play in the NLDS; Moyer is done for the year. That leaves Scott Eyre as the only experienced lefty, and he is pitching through a sore elbow. Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, Brad Lidge and Madson are on the roster for sure. That leaves Tyler Walker, Kyle Kendrick, Brett Myers and the 2 rookies, Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo to fill the remaining spots.
Escalona and Bastardo are both lefties but lack experience and have exhibited a lack of pitching control at times as well. It would be tough to add one of them to the roster, even though lefties are needed. Kendrick spent most of the year in the minors, but pitched fairly well for the big club in September until his last outing where he gave up 3 runs. And Myers has suffered two injuries which kept him out almost the whole year and he still does not look quite right. That leaves Tyler Walker whose 3.06 ERA is 3rd best in the pen, behind Eyre and Condrey.
But with all the injuries, the Phillies options are limited. My best guess is this: Madson, Lidge, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Walker and Myers with Pedro Martinez added to the list instead of Happ. That makes 12 pitchers total, including the 4 starters: Happ, Lee, Hamels and Blanton. Although, if one lefty in the pen looks problematic, they may keep Bastardo instead of Walker. Of course, I may be totally off. We shall see.
After being shut-out 1-0 on Tuesday, the Giants were looking for revenge and they got it in the form of new acquisition, Brad Penny. Penny struggled with the Red Sox and had an ERA near 6.00, but the move to the National League seems to be the cure. Phillies hitters looked ridiculous all night long and managed only 5 hits in the game, all singles.
But this is nothing new; the Phillies have been in an offensive slump for a while now and there are no signs that it will end anytime soon, especially with Tim Lincecum pitching for the Giants tonight. When things are going bad, a Cy Young winner is the last person you want to see. But they have no choice and will need to figure out where the bats have disappeared to.
JA Happ has pitched well all year, but is getting no run support at all. Happ has the third lowest run support of any pitcher in the NL with more than 100 innings and he has still has managed a 2.77 ERA and a 10-4 record. Last night, he made a few mistakes, including allowing back-to-back homers in the 6th inning which tallied 3 runs for the Giants. Happ still pitched a good game with just the one bad inning that did him in; but again, no runs = no win.
And while it is always nice to see Aaron Rowand back in Philly, he did hit one of those home runs. And what was this all about exactly? See Carlos Ruiz pointing?
Sorry, could not resist. It does kind of look like he might pee on the plate, but he hit a home run instead. Just as effective, I suppose.
Here are few non-offensive shots from the game:
Charlie Manuel needs to start smacking some heads together in that clubhouse. The inability to score runs, especially those in scoring position, is becoming a major issue in what is usually a breakout month for this team. Raul Ibanez has not been able to hit the side of a barn since the All-Star break, after what was an amazing first half. Now, Ibanez is hitting into double plays all the time which is killing the offense.
But everyone is guilty; since the Atlanta series, Shane Victorino has 2 hits in his last 20 at-bats; Jayson Werth is 4 for 16; Jimmy Rollins is 4 for 20. And just for fun, Ibanez is 1 for his last 21 at-bats. Ugh. Someone please find the offense…now!
On to more fun topics: Before the game, Cole Hamels was awarded with the Roberto Clemente award for his community service. His wife Heidi joined him on the field and if you were not sure before if she was pregnant, it is pretty obvious now. How cute are these two with all their aspirations to adopt like 500 African babies, plus popping out a few of their own? All together now…”Awwww!”
Here is a Photo Album with more pictures from last nights very depressing game. It was Latino Heritage night and there are some shots from that as well as the pre-game activities. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn
The Cubs took revenge on the Phillies last night after being clubbed over their tiny bear heads the last few days. So the Phils did not sweep and their win streak came to an end at 10 games. But if they win every 10 out of 11 games, I think most fans will be more than happy with that. :O)
Although you cannot win every time, there were a few concerning aspects of the game. Chase Utley does not look quite right. In the entire series, Utley managed only 1 hit in 13 at-bats and struck out 5 times, which is not usually his style. Utley also had an error in the field last night and just looks uncomfortable. While you hate to speculate, it was this same time last year that Utley’s hip began to really bother him. So, is he injured again or is this just a slump and maybe some fatigue after the rat race of the All-Star events? We shall see…
Another player who is showing signs of trouble is Brad Lidge. No one expects the perfection he displayed last year, of course. And his struggles at the beginning seem to stem from the injury to his knee. But now? Lidge claims to be healthy but has given up 5 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. That equates to an ERA of 7.94. And his ERA for the season stands at 7.20 which closely mirrors his last 7 games.
Lidge has been put into games several times in non-save situations, and as baseball lore tells us, this is usually not a good thing for any closer. It is said that the adrenaline and intensity are not the same in those situations, so many closers struggle. Frankly, I do not buy it. Do I see it happen all the time? Yes. But it should not happen. These guys should be able to pump themselves up no matter the situation; it is what they get paid for. If Lidge were truly “lights-out” when he does come in for saves, then the non-save problems would be easier to accept. But he struggles even in the save situations now, allowing too many hits and too many walks. Lidge did much of the same last year, but not to this extent. Should we be worried? Maybe. Lidge needs to step it up and start looking like the closer that everyone knows he has the potential and ability to be. But I am sure I do not need to tell him this; he already knows.
And that is my rant for the day :O) So, today was supposed to be an off-day, but thanks to earlier April Showers, the Padres will come to town tonight for the one game make-up date. Cole Hamels will need to do his best to rest our very weary bullpen. Start time is 7:05pm and it is dollar dog night at the ballpark. Enjoy!
Lidge Photo by Jenn
The Florida Marlins were knocked out by the Phillies last night by a score of 4-0 in the first game back after the All-Star break. If you thought the Phillies would be rusty after some time-off, think again.
Raul Ibanez – we missed you! Without skipping a beat after a long stint on the DL, Ibanez is back firing on all cylinders. In his first two at-bats last night, he knocked the ball out of the park; a 2-run home run in the 2nd inning and a solo shot in the 4th gave the Phillies all the momentum they needed. Ibanez continues to make a case for MVP as he slings this team onto his shoulders and carries them towards the promise land…
Ryan Howard now holds the record for the fastest time to reach 200 home runs in major league history. He hit #200 last night deep into the seats beyond right field. Howard’s homer in his 658th career game surpassed the previously held record by 48 games, set by Hall of Famer, Ralph Kiner. And that home run gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead in the 6th inning.
Jamie Moyer keeps getting younger and younger. In his longest outing of the year, Moyer pitched 7 full innings and allowed only 1 hit, which did not come until the 5th inning. And at the plate, he went 1 for 2 with a single to add to his dominance. Moyer leads the Phillies pitching staff with 9 wins. Who saw that coming at the beginning of the season? I am betting Moyer did.
The Phillies continue the 4-game series with the Fish tonight; game time is 7:10pm and Cole Hamels will try to reclaim his spot as the staff ace. Best of luck to him!
Photo by Jenn