Results tagged ‘ All-Star ’
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
On the one day of the season where there are no big league games to be found, I found myself in Trenton , NJ to watch the Phuture Phillies show their stuff. The 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game (Double-A ball) and Home Run Derby was held at Waterfront Park and hosted by the Yankees-affiliate, Trenton Thunder. Five Reading Phillies participated in the game and one in the derby.
Joe Savery, the Phillies first-round draft pick in 2007, got the nod to start the Southern vs. Northern Division match-up. Vance Worley, another R-Phil, pitched a scoreless 7th inning to get the win with a final score of 5-3. And a native of my hometown, Akron pitcher Carlton Smith of Piscataway, NJ, earned the save. A few more R-Phils saw some action; Michael Taylor in right went 1 for 4 with an RBI; Quintin Berry, a fellow MLBlogger, was 1 for 1 with a walk, playing in center; and Neil Sellers struck out twice and played third base.
As entertaining as the game was, some of the fans were even more fun. At one point, a foul ball landed on the concrete walkway between seating areas and right at the feet of a mother and her 4-year old son.
No one else was around so they bent down to pick up the ball. At that moment, some idiot in the seating area above the walkway threw himself over the metal railing to try to steal the ball and landed ON the 4-year child. The photo to the right shows the poor child holding his nose, which may have been broken, and to make “amends”, the rail-diving idiot gave the ball to the kid.
If that were not bad enough, a few minutes later, it an usher brought another ball over to the crazy man, with signatures on it, and handed it to the guy’s daughter! A reward for nearly killing another child? Seemed a bit odd to me. It must have seemed a bit odd to the mother of the injured child too because a while later, 3 police officers reigned down upon the man and took him away. I figure she must have found an officer and said she would like to press charges. And who could blame her.
But the fun did not end there…take a look at the suicidal mascots playing around on the roof of the stadium:
I suppose if I had to wear these costumes, I may not have the will to live either. The poor “Thunder” mascot is actually a lightning bolt…someone must have told him and it was like hearing that there was no Santa Claus so, up to the roof he went… :o)
Then there was a very strange Mets fan in the stands.
This gentleman paraded around all day wearing a pink and powder blue colored Mets jersey, which was even signed, and wore a yellow collared shirt underneath. He looked like an Easter Egg. A very fruity Easter Egg. Did he not realize this was a women’s jersey? Well, it’s a Mets fan, what can you expect? (kidding! :O)
And how about the bat-fetching dog and Sumo wrestling fans? Awesome. Seriously awesome:
And even some of the players were lots of fun; Michael Taylor, a highly touted prospect who has been compared to Ryan Howard, provided me with the Photo of the Day. I asked him to smile for a picture and he said to me, “Not only will I smile for you, but I will do this as well…”
Here is the full Photo Album, including the home run derby. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn
The curse continues for the National League as they lost their 12th consecutive All-Star Game tonight against the American League. And poor Charlie Manuel became the first Phillies manager in history to lose the All-Star game :O( Phils now hold a record of 6-1. No worries Charlie…just bring us another Championship and all will be forgotten :O)
The first inning did not exactly kick the game off right for the National League as Tim Lincecum struggled and allowed one earned run. An unearned run also scored in the inning after an error. Yes folks, as Albert Pujols booted a ball at first base, an angel lost its wings…and the American League took a 2-0 lead. It’s ok though…we still love Albert :O)
The NL battled back and scored 3 in the 2nd inning thanks to hits by David Wright, Shane Victorino (yeah!) and Yadier Molina. After that, offense all around was fairly quiet until the 8th inning. Curtis Granderson tripled, Victor Martinez was given the intentional walk and then Adam Jones hit a sac fly to score Granderson and give the AL a 4-3 lead. The NL got their shot in the bottom half of the inning; Ryan Howard was sent in to pinch hit with 2 outs and 2 on in the 8th and he went down on strikes to end the threat. Ugh. The ever-adorable Mariano Rivera closed out the game for the AL in the 9th and so, the curse goes on.
As for the rest of the Phillies, Chase Utley went hitless, but had several stellar defensive plays. Victorino ended up 1 for2 with a run scored; Jayson Werth struck out after a great at-bat against Jonathan Papelbon and later, made an amazing running catch in centerfield; and Raul Ibanez went 0 for 2, but looked thrilled anyway just to be playing. It was his first All-Star appearance in his 14th major league season at 37 years of age. Congrats to Raul for finally getting there!
As for the broadcast, FOX was annoying as usual. I think I heard more about Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza than I did about the game. And while it was nice to hear the President Obama in the broadcast booth, was it really necessary to see him? Don’t get me wrong; I love Obama and all that, but I already know what he looks like. I’d have been just as happy to hear him speak while the game was showed in its entirety on the TV screen, instead of the annoying flashes back and forth from individual pitches to a visual of Obama in the booth.
Pedro – Say It Ain’t So!
Much to the dismay of Phillies fans everywhere, Pedro Martinez passed his physical and has been signed by the Phillies. Pedro will get 1 million plus another possible 1.5 million in incentives. He will need about 3 weeks of rehab and minor league work to be ready. The good news is that the price is cheap; however, we are all familiar with the saying “you get what you pay for.” If Martinez has some magic left in that arm, then this deal will turn out to be a real bargain; if not, at least they did not overpay.
Personally, I worry more about the clubhouse chemistry being disrupted than anything else. Martinez is notorious for his sandpaper-like personality and penchant for creating controversy. If he does not pitch well, no biggie. It was a small investment. But if he wreaks havoc on the peaceful and serene Phillies-vibe, then the deal will not have been worth the risk. We shall see how it goes…
A Day Without Baseball?
So no baseball tomorrow…except for the Double-A All-Star Game in Trenton, NJ. I will be risking life and limb as I venture into Trenton, the dregs of Jersey, but will be attending the game anyway. ;O) Four Phillies prospects will be in the game, with Michael Taylor participating in the Home Run Derby. I will return (I hope) with photos and all body parts still in place. Wish me luck :O)
Photo by Jenn
The St. Louis crowd loves Ryan Howard. But when Albert Pujols made his entrance, the fans officially went nuts. Both sluggers were favorites to win the 2009 Home Run Derby; Pujols playing for the Cardinals and Howard, a St. Louis native, both had a lot of support going into the contest.
The first round results, which put Pujols into a swing-off with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena, ended with both Pujols and Howard making the second round along with Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz. Pujols ended round #2 with 11 total homers and Howard wound up hitting 15. Cruz stepped in for his turn and out-did Howard by just one home run for 16 total. Howard’s last hope was that Fielder, the final batter in round 2, would not surpass his 15 homers. Sadly for Phillies fans, Fielder wound up hitting 17, knocking Howard out of the contest. Ryan seemed relieved though, as exhaustion set in and he was likely happy to be done.
It was a nice effort all around, although not as exciting as last year’s derby where Josh Hamilton put on a show that will probably never been repeated. Hamilton hit 28 homers in the first round, many of which disappeared from sight in old Yankee Stadium. Although he went on to take 2nd place to Justin Morneau, those of us who witnessed the amazing display of power and grace will not soon forget it. I had a feeling this year’s derby would pale in comparison, but how could it not?
But the derby is always an entertaining event that I look forward to seeing every year. And the 2009 champion is Prince Fielder, who hit 6 in the final round to Cruz’s 5. Congrats to Fielder!
Tune in for the All-Star Game tomorrow night at 8pm on FOX. Tim Lincecum will start for the NL and Roy Halladay for the AL. As for your Phillies, Chase Utley gets the start at 2nd, Raul Ibanez in left and Shane Victorino in center. Howard and Jayson Werth will be available on the bench.
My predictions for the game are as follows:
– The NL will finally break the curse of 11 straight AL wins (plus 1 tie) and win the game!
– Chase Utley will look FABULOUS, even if he strikes out multiple time. I guarantee it.
– Tim Lincecum will be asked by at least 15 fans if he is the teenage son of one of the other players.
– St. Louis fans will chant “RAUUUUUUL!” even if they do not know why they are doing it.
– The broadcasters for FOX will screw up simple facts at an approximate rate of 2.3 times per inning.
– The FOX broadcast will also be boring, redundant and completely void of any redeeming value…sorry to have to break it to you. But, enjoy the game…with the volume turned down :O)
Photos by Jenn
It has been a slamming first half for the Phillies who today, hit their 7th Grand Slam of 2009. Three went to Ryan Howard and then one a piece to Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and today, Pedro Feliz. Howard had a chance at a slam early in the 1st inning this afternoon, but hit a sac fly instead. But then Feliz came to bat later that same inning and took care of the salami for him. The five runs in that inning were the only offense of the day for the Phils, but that was all they needed to sweep this 3-game series with the Pirates.
Today’s 5-2 win made this a 9-1 home stand for the Phillies who had struggled most of the year at home. It also marked the 3rd most wins during any home stand in history for the Phillies. The pitching and offense finally worked together; sprinkle in some great defense, like the three double plays turned today, and things are looking very bright for this team going into the break.
And as usual, JA Happ did an outstanding job on the mound. Happ went 7 innings and allowed just one run. There have been many rumors lately about Happ being involved in a possible trade for Roy Halladay, but it seems like it would be a foolish move to make. Happ has been the most consistent starter since he was handed the job and he is unwavering on the mound when under pressure. We would all like to see Halladay in Philly, but losing Happ is too steep a price.
Home Run Derby featuring the Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Workout Day. The Derby begins at 7pm.
Red Carpet Parade, 2pm
80th All-Star Game, 7pm
After that, the Phillies will have just one day off (Wednesday) and have to return to play a day earlier than all but one other team, the Florida Marlins. Due to an NFL scheduling conflict, a Phillies-Marlins game that was to take place in September, has been moved to Thursday, 7/16 in Miami at 7:10pm. Hopefully, the shortened break for the Phillies will have no effect.
But for now, get ready to cheer on Howard at the Derby tomorrow night!
Feliz Photo by Jenn
Ryan Howard showed everyone today why he is an All-Star; Howard went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 2 walks. But more importantly, he came up to bat in the 9th inning with 1 out, 2 men on base and the Phillies trailing by 3 runs and he saved the day. Howard nailed a 3 run home run to centerfield to tie up a game which, until that moment, looked like a sure loss for the Phillies against the last place Pirates.
Howard had some help though; Raul Ibanez, in his first start since coming off the DL, doubled after Howard’s home run; it was Ibanez’s 2nd hit of the night. After that, Pedro Feliz singled, Jayson Werth was walked to load the bases and Paul Bako stepped to the plate. You may be asking, Bako who? Bako, in his 12th year in the majors and playing for his 10th different team as a back-up catcher, made name for himself in Philly tonight. He whacked a single through a hole in the infield, scoring Ibanez and giving the Phils an 8-7 win. Bako is batting only .214 and his lifetime average hovers right around only .230, but that did not matter tonight. With his second hit of the game, he got the job done.
The Phillies really needed some heroics tonight after Cole Hamels had another bad outing. In 6 innings, Hamels allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, which included 3 home runs. Hamels even allowed a home run to Andrew McCutchen, who had only 1 homer the entire year until tonight. Another went to Delwyn Young, who in a 4 year career, had only 5 home runs until Hamels helped him to #6. Can you say BAD location? Apparently, Hamels can and we all wish he would unlearn that particular phrase.
The bullpen had a bad night too; Chad Durbin allowed 2 runs, one of which scored when Scott Eyre came in to relieve him and walked a run home; a combination bad effort. But we are all entitled to have bad days, and for the Phillies pitchers, this was certainly one of those; especially since it came against the Pirates. But it was all erased with the outpouring of offense late in the game.
Only one game left before the All-Star break! The Pirates will try to salvage a game and the Phillies will try to stop them; 1:35pm tomorrow.
Sale At The Spectrum
Did anyone else attend the Spectrum sale earlier today? I was there and oh boy, what a mess! For the first time ever, the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers joined forces to host a blow-out sale of discontinued merchandise at low prices.
I spoke to a Spectrum representative as the horror was unfolding and he told me that they were expecting, and only prepared for, 500 people. What they got was thousands upon thousands and as a result, a lot of very unhappy customers. Check out lines, which began with 2 cashiers on each side (Phillies side & Sixers/Flyers side) took hours to get through. No exaggeration…hours. And it was like watching cattle being herded; the small shopping area was jam packed with shoulder-to-shoulder shoppers and you could barely move. Meanwhile, thousands of other shoppers formed a line outside the building waiting to be let in.
I got there early, as I expected a crowd, unlike the Spectrum management, so I did get in with the first group and got some pretty cool stuff. But, it took me over 2 hours, with help, to do so. Most of the merchandise was old playoff gear, but a few nice finds were there. And the lines began to thin out after the management added a cash only line and a few more cashiers. I do believe that next year, they will be a bit more prepared. At any rate, it was a real adventure.
Photos by Jenn
It has been a very weird day for the Phillies. For starters, Raul Ibanez returned to the team and is expected to play the next two games before the All-Star Break. Then, Chris Coste was let go and picked up by the Houston Astros. Coste has not had a great year off the bench and apparently, the Phillies prefer Paul Bako’s skills behind the plate as the back-up; neither Coste nor Bako have performed well offensively, so the defense was the deciding factor. Coste is a great guy and has been a huge part of this team; he will be missed :O(
And then to round out the day of weirdness, Charlie Manuel chose his outfield replacement for the All-Star game – it is Jayson Werth. Many have questioned the selection as Werth’s batting average is below many others who could have been picked, like Matt Kemp, but it is Charlie’s team and he gets to make the decision. The Phillies have gotten screwed several times in the past with All-Star picks, like Pat Burrell last year, so I guess what comes around, goes around. But Werth has been great and his power numbers are excellent; many players deserve to go and he is certainly one of them. Either way, the Phillies now have 5 players headed to St. Louis :O)
Then tonight the Phillies began a series with the Pirates. Joe Blanton had another great start and pitched through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just 1 run, a solo homer. It was a great job by Blanton and a real boost to the starting rotation.
The offense did not score much, but got just enough to win the game for Blanton. Werth rewarded Manuel for his All-Star decision by smacking a 2-run double in the 3rd inning. Shane Victorino did the same for the fans who voted him in by going 3 for 4 on the night. And Chase Utley, Mr. All-Star himself, had 1 hit, 1 walk and scored a run. Final score was 3-2 with Brad Lidge getting the save, although another nerve-wracking one after he gave up a solo homer. But, a win is a win :O) We’ll take it.
By the way, for anyone who has been following the Friday Night Phever game on CSNPhilly.com with Ricky Bottallico, I just won! Whoo Hoo!
Photo by Jenn
The Phillies got behind early against the Reds last night who scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning, but Chase Utley was not giving up so soon. In the 3rd, Utley hit a ball which bounced off the centerfield wall as he rounded the bases; Utley was so fast that he scored standing and the Reds did not even bother throwing home. Here are a few shots from that home run:
After that, back-to-back doubles from Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth brought the Phillies within a run. Werth also hit a solo homer, the over-the-wall kind, in the 6th; it was his 4th consecutive game with a home run and his 20th of the season. In fact, that home run made history for the Phillies; they are the first National League team ever to have 4 players with 20 home runs before the half way point of the season.
Jamie Moyer struggled last night, but the offense picked him up and even got him the win with a final score of 9-6. Moyer pitched 5 innings and allowed 6 runs on 8 hits and a walk. Chan Ho Park was amazing through 3 innings of relief pitching and did not surrender any hits. Park has really found his groove in the pen and triumphed over his disappointment about not starting. He appears so happy and relaxed that on Wednesday, he danced around the field with a “Vote Victorino” sign and then last night, I watched during batting practice as he played catch with a bunch of kids in the stands for a good 5 minutes. Park has really found a home here in Philly and, more importantly, in the bullpen.
Rumors abound that the Phillies are close to a deal with former Met, Pedro Martinez. Many teams have scouted Pedro, but none have shown any interest. Martinez returned to the Mets in 2008 after a hamstring injury and was simply not the same pitcher after that. No one picked him up in 2009 so he continues to try to prove he can still pitch. In my opinion, this guy is done and the Phillies need not take out the trash. But if you follow the Phillies, you know that they have a penchant for doing just that. It is the trash to treasure mentality. Sometimes it works out (ie: Scott Eyre) and sometimes, it is a disaster (ie: Freddie Garcia…the 10 million dollar disaster). To me, Martinez is a disaster waiting to happen. He is almost 38 years old, appears unable to recover from injury and has a long history of mental issues. Not to mention, can every other team in major league baseball who has passed on him be wrong? It is a scary thought.
Phillies fans united this week and voted Shane Victorino into the All-Star game! Victorino thanked the fans last night as he waved to the crowd during warm-ups. He will join teammates Utley, Ibanez and Howard in St. Louis for his first All-Star experience. Congratulations to Shane!!!!!
And as always, here is a Photo Album from last night’s game. I did not have great seats, so these are not as fun as the ones I usually post, but it is a different perspective :O)
And finally, I would like to dedicate this blog to the memory one of my best friends, Fuzz the cat, who had watched Phillies games with me for the last 15 years. He was a big fan as well and I will miss him very much :O(
Photos by Jenn
Tonight the Phillies faced the Reds in game 3 of this 4-game series and drama ensued. Homer Bailey started the game for the Reds and true to his name, gave up a homer to Jayson Werth in the 6th inning, Werth’s 19th of the season. What a horrible name for a pitcher…Homer. Poor guy. But for most of the game, he was very good and kept the Phillies hitters off balance.
The home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa, created a lot of controversy with his rather large strike zone; 20 strikeout’s were recorded in the game and 14 of those batters went down looking. And so the game remained very tight throughout.
VOTE FOR SHANE!
The Phillies entered the 9th inning with a 2-2 tie and needed a hero to nail this one down. With 2 outs and 2 on, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, stepped to the plate and solidified his campaign for an All-Star roster spot. Shane singled into centerfield and Pedro Feliz scored to win the game, 3-2!
VOTE FOR SHANE!
Rules of Engagement
One of the more entertaining aspects of tonight’s game, as I mentioned earlier, was watching the Reds hitters argue and scream and cuss at the home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa. To sum it up, basically every pitch was bound to be called a strike. But he called it the same way for both side. Yet, no less than 3 Reds players got right up in his face and yelled about strike calls. It makes you wonder, why were none of these players thrown out of the game? Not that I like watching guys get tossed, but how much grief is any umpire supposed to take? Granted, this was one of the worst umpiring jobs I have seen in a long time, but the Phillies maintained controlled and did not try to rip his head off like the Reds did. In fact, it is a rule that no one is allowed to argue balls and strikes (Official baseball rules section 9.02(a)). After the first or second player, the ump needs to start ejecting guys. Just sayin’…
Rodrigo Lopez did a great job through 5 innings tonight, but was removed from the game early with right shoulder inflammation. That is certainly not good news. However, maybe the push to get a quality starting pitcher like Roy Halladay of the Jays will reach a new level with the possibility of Lopez no longer being available.
The Phillies front office has been insistent that certain minor league prospects are “untouchable” but frankly, that attitude will not get them far when competing with other teams who are more flexible. Understanding the value of prospects in the farm system, teams need also be reminded of the value of winning, and winning right now. With the Phillies core players in place, coming off a World Championship, the window of opportunity to win it again will likely only remain open for a few years. So, if they need to give up 2-3 big prospects to get another ring, it seems like a fair trade off.
If the Phillies can get a #1 starter like Halladay, they would be foolish to let him go to another team. Last year, they did miss out on CC Sabathia and even Manny Ramirez, and yes, they still won it all. But the 2009 team has run into pitching trouble after losing Brett Myers, who was a big part of the World Series win. The bullpen has been overworked and their production is way down from 2008. This is a different team; the Phillies need a big starter if they are to have a shot at repeating.
VOTE as many times as you are able to! Humans and rodents alike have until tomorrow at 4pm to get Shane in!
The clock is ticking! Shane Victorino has a chance to go to the All-Star game in St. Louis but he needs our help! Gizmo the Chinchilla has been typing away all day long, but his little paws are getting tired. Won’t you please help him out? You can
VOTE as many times as you are able to! Humans and rodents alike have until tomorrow at 4pm to get Shane in!
Photo by Jenn