Results tagged ‘ Brad Lidge ’

One Huge Error, Two More Losses as Phils Drop 8th Straight

Game one of today’s doubleheader against the Mets was highlighted by a superb performance from Cole Hamels, more crappy offense and a failure of basic math skills.  Hamels went seven strong innings, allowing just a solo homer.  Sadly, the homer was hit by Val Pascucci who had not hit a long ball since 2004.  Pascucci spent 2008 spring training with the Phillies.

The Phillies offense sucked again against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.  I am not sure what the R.A. stands for, but I am going with “Really Annoying.”  Mr. Annoying had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning when Shane Victorino finally ended the humiliation with a double.

Before that, the only base runner for the Phillies was Carlos Ruiz who worked a walk in the 6th, although the home plate umpire tried really hard not to allow it.  On ball 4, Ruiz trotted to first as ump John Hirschbeck called him back, swearing it was only ball 3.  Everyone else in the ballpark had apparently passed 1st grade math and knew it was ball 4.  The umps actually had to hold a meeting to convince Hirschbeck that he sucked at basic math.  It was yet another shiny, happy moment for MLB umpires everywhere.

Moving on, Ryan Howard played in his first game since having a cortisone shot in his left ankle.  He singled in that same inning to score Victorino, which was the only offense in the game for the Phillies.  Howard also made a sliding grab on a foul ball where his right foot smashed into the wall along the first base line.  The right foot…not the left…whew!

After that little adventure, Brad Lidge gave up the go-ahead run to the Mets in the 8th, spoiling the day for Hamels.  The Phillies took a 2-1 loss for their seventh straight.  This team is giving me a headache.

But why stop there?  More sucky baseball was yet to follow.  In game 2 of the doubleheader, Joe Blanton pitched two good innings to start off, giving the false illusion that the Phillies might actually have a shot to win a game.

David Herndon quickly tried to stomp on all our hopes of a positive evening when he put two runners on base in the 3rd.  However, a long fly ball with two outs looked liked the savior of the inning.  But Hunter Pence put a quick end to that silly dream as he dropped the ball and two runs scored.

Pence was already having a bad day in his first start since being rested with knee issues.  In the first inning, he hit into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded.  The Phillies did not score.

As the 3rd inning disaster continued, Herndon walked another batter and Kyle Kendrick had to be brought in.  Kendrick did little to help the situation, giving up two straight hits and 3 more runs.  The total for the inning was 5 unearned runs gift wrapped for the Mets.  And all that happened right after the Phils offense scratched and clawed for 3 runs combined in the 2nd and 3rd innings.

Kendrick, not having sucked badly enough, gave up one more run in the 4th, making those 3 Phillies runs seem totally useless.  The 6-3 lead handed to the Mets would stick for the final score as the offense basically gave up after that horrid 3rd inning.

The Phillies have now lost 8 straight since clinching the division title.  But these games don’t count, right?  Some fans says, no worries, it does not count.  Other say that bad baseball can become a habit, which will be heard to break going into the playoffs.  So, after sucking pretty badly this past week, can the Phillies just flip the switch come playoff time next Saturday?  There are four regular season games left, so I guess only time will tell.

 

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Howard photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Double Fish Fry in Phillies – Marlins Doubleheader

After Hurricane Irene wiped out the last two games scheduled between the Phillies and Marlins in late August, both were rescheduled as a day/night doubleheader on Thursday, which otherwise would have been the final off-day of the regular season for the Phillies.  Fittingly, it was windy and rainy throughout the day, but baseball finally prevailed over weather.

Day Game

The Phillies came away with a 3-1 win in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.  Kyle Kendrick started the game, but was only allowed to go five innings since he had not pitched in a while.   The precautionary move was understandable, but Kendrick pitched very well so it was a shame to see him pulled early.

Kendrick allowed only two hits, one of which was a home run.  He also struck out six batters and did not issue any walks.  Kendrick’s early departure opened the door to the Phillies bullpen.

First up was Michael Stutes who pitched two scoreless innings, although he did have several base runners.  Stutes was not terribly sharp, but he got the job done.  Actually, no one looked great coming out of the pen in this one including Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson.  But although the innings pitched were a little sloppy, they did not allow any runs.

Bastardo, however, is becoming a serious concern.  The once unhittable 8th/9th inning lefty has looked very human in this past month.  So noticeable are his struggles that manager Charlie Manuel did not hesitate to pull him after Bastardo allowed a double and a walk.  If Bastardo cannot get it together soon, using the bullpen in the postseason is going to be a real adventure.

As for the offense in this game, there was not much of it.  Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each had 2 hits and 1 RBI.  Ibanez hit his 30th double of the season which means he has now had at least 30 doubles each year for 10 straight seasons.

But the rest of the offense basically took the day off.  There were hits scattered here and there, but all those runners were stranded on base.  They even loaded the bases in the 8th with 1 out and failed to score.  Ryan Howard’s slump continued as well; he is 0 for his last 16 at-bats.

Defensively, Pete Orr had quite a game at second base.  He made multiple diving grabs and ice-cream coned a short fly ball after jumping about four feet off the ground to get to it.  He probably saved the Phillies a lot of trouble.

So despite the lack of fire power and slightly sloppy pen performance, the Phillies recorded the win.

Night Game

The offensive struggles from the first game of the doubleheader carried right on over to the second game.  The Marlins started Alex Sanabia, a young pitcher who spent the whole year in the minors.  So things looked good on the surface for the Phillies.

But the winds grew stronger as the sun went down.  Fly balls that were hit hard wound up cycloning backwards away from the outfield wall, putting fly balls in play that may have been doubles or homers in calmer conditions.

Chase Utley made his first start since getting hit in the head with a pitch last week.  He had a pinch-hit single in the day game, and barely scratched out a hit in the night game against the Marlins bullpen.  The only two players who seemed to have Sanabia figured out were John Mayberry Jr. and Ross Gload, who both had multi-hit games.

The Phillies had not scored yet when Mayberry finally cut through the strong winds with a line-drive solo homer in the 6th.  That would end up being a very important run for the Phillies.

With Cliff Lee pitching, the Phillies had a good chance that the one run would hold up.  Lee kept the Fish at bay, despite allowing a bunch of base runners.  He was amazing, as usual, and even had one of the few Phillies hits in the game.

But just when it looked like this game was in the books, Lee got to two outs in the 9th and, for the second time this year, gave up the tying run.  The solo homer took all the air out of the balloon as the crowd sighed in disbelief at the 1-1 tie.

After the game, Lee said, “I can’t think of a worse scenario.”  He hit the nail on the head.  But lucky for Lee, Ryan Howard emerged from his slump and hit the baseball on the head.  After Michael Martinez walked in the 10th, Howard doubled to score him for the walk-off, extra-innings win.

Whew!

FYI – Michael Schwimer had pitched the top of the 10th and this turned out to be his first major league win.

Division Magic # – 2 games

Home Field Advantage Magic # – 3  games

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Two Blown Saves In One Game Cost Phillies the Series

The Phillies had not lost a series since July 26-28 coming into this 3-game series with the Nationals.  But three blown saves in two of three games would change that.

Roy Halladay’s outing was cut short after five innings of work due to yet another rain delay.  It was the third game in the last four that involved a weather stoppage.  Before the storm, Halladay had a rough first inning, allowing two runs.
 

After that, he seemed to settle in, but it did not matter.  Here comes the rain again…

After a pretty spectacular display of lightening and a downpour, the game resumed 1 hour and 11 minutes later.

The delay turned into an opportunity for rookie Michael Schwimer who made his major league debut in this game.  But two pitches into the game with a 3-2 lead, Schwimer tossed a rookie cookie to Danny Espinosa who sent the ball out of the park to tie the game.  That was blown save #1.
 

Schwimer did extremely well though after the rookie blunder and went three innings with just the one run and two hits allowed.

The offense, which had two home runs early in the game from Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley, had a rough 2nd part to the game.  But in the ninth inning when it mattered, Michael Martinez came through against the team that dumped him into the Rule 5 draft with an RBI-single.

 

The Phillies had the lead again, but not for long.  In the bottom of the ninth, closer Antonio Bastardo looked unstoppable.  He mowed down the first two Nats quickly and then had a 1-2 count on Ian Desmond.  Yes, he was ONE strike away from what looked like an easy save.

The Phillies fans were on their feet in anticipation of the win.  But Desmond ruined the day, tying the game up at 4-4 with a home run to left.  And just like that, all the air went out of the balloon again.  It was blown save #2 on the night and #3 in three games.

 

The Phillies did not score in extra innings and Brad Lidge was sent in to pitch the 10th.  And like a bad case of deja vu, Lidge imploded once again.  Without recording a single out, Lidge loaded the bases.  He did strike out one batter after that, but to no avail.  Because Jonny Gomes and his magical mohawk stepped to the plate and Lidge pelted him with a pitch to walk home the winning run.

This loss was about as ugly as they come.  And losing two out of three to the Nats is a tough pill to swallow.  The only possible good news is that the Mets come to town tomorrow.

The bad news, besides the loss, is that Jimmy Rollins was pulled from the game early with a strained groin.  He will have an MRI tomorrow.  Here is the entire play which it is believed did the damage:

 

As for my game photos, here is the full Photo Album which includes shots from inside the Diamond Club at Nationals Park. 

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

43 Games to Go

After Sunday’s rain-out, the Phillies have 43-games to go in the regular season, including the make-up game on 9/20 at 1:05pm as part of a split-doubleheader.  As of today, the Phillies still lead all of baseball with 78 wins and are nine game in front of the Braves in the NL East.

With all of the injuries suffered by the Phillies this year so far, it is even more impressive that they have been this dominant.  Four starting position players, two starting pitchers and three relievers have all spent time on the DL and some of them made multiple trips.

They have also used four different closers because of the injuries and two spot / replacement starters.

 

And while Placido Polanco, the starting third baseman, is not technically on the DL right now, he has not played since August 6th due to a sports hernia.  After receiving an injection, Polanco is expected to decide by Tuesday whether or not to have surgery which could put him out nearly the rest of the regular season.

Still, the Phillies keep finding ways to win.  Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels have been terrific on the mound.  While the pitching seems to have carried the team through the first half of the year, the recent addition of Hunter Pence has jump-started the offense.  And once again late in the season, Ryan Howard is heating up.

By the way, am I the only person without a Pence jersey or tee-shirt yet?  The ballpark has been stacked with them in all varieties.

Jimmy Rollins is having his best year since the 2008 season.  And while hitting .265 is not spectacular, he is taking more pitches, drawing more walks and has been healthy all year.

And since coming off the DL with major knee issues, Chase Utley appears to be back to his old self…almost.  Shane Victorino is also having a great year despite two trips to the DL, batting .313.

But the younger role-players have also been key to the Phillies success so far.  Michael Martinez, Wilson Valdez and John Mayberry Jr. have all made big contributions filling in for injured players.  The young pitchers Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes and Vance Worley have been slightly overused for guys at their level of experience, but they have all responded very, very well.

The point is, this team is winning and shows no signs of slowing down.  This is a very special time to be a Phillies fan.  We could very well be witnessing something historic right now.  The season is far from over, but I like their chances.

While the team is off today, think about it.  Sit still for a moment and soak it all in.  Then, take a deep breath.  Can you smell it? 

…43 games to go.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Victorino Was Key in Phillies Win Over Dodgers

After being suspended for three games, Shane Victorino was still able to play tonight against the Dodgers as he appealed the ruling.  And that turned out to be a very good thing for the Phillies.

Going 3-for-5 in the game, Victorino scored three times and hit a key home run in the 8th inning to give the Phillies a 2-run lead late in the game.

The energy Victorino brought to the game was crucial on a night where both starter Roy Halladay and the Phillies bullpen encountered some issues.  While Halladay allowed only one run, he struggled to get through 6 1/3 innings and had a lot of baserunners.

The bullpen took over with a 4-1 lead that quickly dwindled down to just a 4-3 lead by the end of the eighth inning.  Michael Stutes allowed two runs and also committed a throwing error before Brad Lidge was brought in to take over.  Lidge was shaky as well, walking one batter and giving up a hit.  But he redeemed himself by fielding a tough bunt and making a glove toss to first to end the inning.

In that same inning, the Dodgers were called for interference as Juan Rivera ran Chase Utley over who was trying to field a ground ball.  They may have had a double play, but it did not matter once Lidge made the final out.

After the Victorino homer, the Phillies were leading by a score of 5-3 in the ninth.  Ryan Madson was brought in for the save, but Madson had not pitched since 8/1 as he left the team to see the birth of his fourth child.  Madson was a bit rusty, but he nailed the save.

Game two with the Dodgers is another late one; 10:10pm Tuesday night with Cliff Lee on the mound.

FYI – Placido Polanco had an MRI today and was diagnosed with a mild sports hernia.  He will receive and injection, but may still require surgery.  I will have more on that as the news comes.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Mile High Sweep for the Phillies

Balls were flying all over Coors Field today.  Luckily for the Phillies, more balls bounced their way then they did for the Rockies.

Pitching in his hometown, Roy Halladay looked a little tired today.  But as usual, he battled through and pitched a solid game.  Over seven innings, Halladay surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and a walk.

 

Halladay also had a hit in the game and later scored from third base on a wild pitch.  Phillies fans held their collective breath as Halladay slide awkwardly between the catcher’s legs and was safe.  Seeing your star pitcher slide is never a joyous moment, but Halladay did just fine.

Ryan Howard took advantage of the thin Denver air again with a double, a homer and four RBI.  He did not have the best start to the game though.  Howard struck out with no outs and the bases loaded in the first inning.  In the latter half of the inning, he bungled an easy ground ball and then threw the ball away for the second error in one play.

But Howard’s bat made up for the first inning.  Chase Utley got in on the action as well with two hits, scoring twice.  Hunter Pence now has a five game hitting streak as a Phillie and added a sac fly RBI as well.

With an 8-6 lead going into the ninth inning, the Phillies sent another Denver local to the mound, Brad Lidge.  It was his first save attempt since coming off the DL and more importantly, it was a shot at 100 career saves as a Phillie.  With Ryan Madson absent because his wife was in labor, Lidge was the guy.  And although Lidge likely will not close many games anymore, he got the job done tonight.

This win completes back-to-back 3-game sweeps of the Rockies and Pirates, which is great timing as the Phillies will face the defending World Champs next.

The return of Roy Oswalt from the DL (yet to be made official) sets up the rotation like this against the GiantsCliff Lee on Thursday, Vance Worley on Friday, Cole Hamels on Saturday and Oswalt on Sunday.

Game time on Thursday is 10:15pm – welcome to another late-night West Coast series.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Ibanez Powers Phillies to 3-Game Sweep of Pirates

The Phillies completed a sweep of the Pirates this afternoon in 10 innings by a score of 6-5.  The newest member of the Phillies, Hunter Pence, had a hand in the 10th inning rally after a rough start where he misread a ball in the outfield.  Here is a quick look at the day for Pence:

The ball he missed came in the first inning, but pitcher Vance Worley bounced back quickly.  It was not until the fifth and sixth innings where Worley ran into trouble.

 

While it was not his best outing, Worley still went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.  He made one bad pitch in the sixth to Lyle Overbay who slammed a 2-run homer.

But the Phillies kept plugging away at the Pirates with a few timely hits and nice defense:

 

Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-4 with two RBI to continue his recent hot streak.  But Raul Ibanez was the one player who came up big all game long.  After a solo homer in the first inning, Ibanez hit a massive  2-run homer in the eighth when the Phillies were still trailing.  That hit tied the game and kept hope alive for the Phillies.

 

As a quick side note, it appears that I may be Raul’s good luck charm.  If you look at the chart below of this entire home stand, you will see that Ibanez hit .500 with three homers and nine RBI in games that I attended.  When I was not there, he hit only .174, no homers, 2 RBI:
 

Ok, so maybe it is just a weird coincidence.  On the other hand, Raul may want to hurry up and buy me a plane ticket to Denver ;o)

Back to the game:  After Ibanez tied things up, the Phillies had to rely on the bullpen to keep it that way.  Brad Lidge had already allowed the fifth run in the seventh, but then four other guys combined to hold down the Pirates.  The photo below shows Juan Perez, David Herndon and Lidge:

 

Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo also pitched one scoreless inning each.  Then in the 10th inning, Pence doubled to put the Phillies in position for the win.  All they needed was one more big hit from Ibanez who delivered with the game winning double to score Pence.

The walk-off win capped a three hit, four RBI game for Ibanez who ended the month of July on a hot streak, batting .284 with 25 RBI.

A very tough road trip is up next for the Phillies, starting in Denver against the Rockies.  They will also face the Giants in a 4-game series and the Dodgers for three games.

It all begins Monday night at 8:40pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.  Enjoy!

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Hamels Returns to Dominance on 80’s Retro Night

After a horrible start in New York where he gave up seven runs in 4.1 inning, Cole Hamels needed a bounce-back game.  And there was no better time to bounce-back than in a throw-back, 1980’s retro night game.

Wearing the maroon pinstripe uniform from 1984, Hamels found his old-self against the Padres.  Through eight innings, Hamels gave up only one run on three hits while striking out 10 batters.  It was 120 degrees on the field at game time, but the Padres biggest issue was the heat on Hamels’ fastball, not the heat on the field.

Some of the 1980’s player intro’s also added to game intensity:

 

Chase Utley was hot on the scoreboard and hot at the plate with two hits tonight.  Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr. added an RBI-double each which, along with one unearned run, was plenty for Hamels to work with.

To close the game, Ryan Madson came out in the 9th for his first save attempt since returning from the DL.  He sent the Padres down in order to record the 3-1 victory.  It was Madson’s 16th save and Hamels’ team-leading 12th win of the year.

Earlier today, the Phillies activated pitcher Brad Lidge from the DL; he is expected to be broken in slowly in non-crucial situations until he gets settled in after missing the entire first half.  A roster move had to be made and that wound up being Danys Baez.  If Baez is not picked up by another team, he will likely play for Triple-A.

Many fans celebrated the move, as Baez has been inconsistent and mostly ineffective both this year and last.  His 6.25 ERA over 36 innings was not helping his case.

But while this was clearly the best business decision for the team, Baez was well-liked in the clubhouse and is an all-around nice guy.  He is the only player I have never seen ignore a fan or refuse an autograph.  Baez had a smile and for everyone, despite what must have been a really tough year for him.  In that respect, it is a bit sad.

Charlie Manuel also had a difficult time with the decision as he has know Baez for a long time.  He said in an interview on SportsNite that Baez came to his office a week ago to talk about his situation and Baez all but offered himself up.  He told Charlie he would understand if he needed to make a move for the betterment of the ballclub.  So while his pitching was not great, I am impressed with the way he has handled himself and wish him all the best.

 

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Photos from Comcast SportsNet Broadcast

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Philadelphia Phillies 2011 First Half Report Card

Having ended the first half of the season with a 57-34 record, the best in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies have much to look forward to in the second half.  And although many injuries and questions still loom in the background, the first half of play was very successful for this team.

What makes the first half even more remarkable is that the Phillies were able to win despite injuries and missed time from a bucket-full of All-Star caliber players including Chase Utley, Roy Oswalt, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco.

In the bullpen, the Phillies are currently on their fourth closer of the year as the first three all went on the DL.  First Brad Lidge, then Jose Contreras and finally, Ryan Madson.

The rest of the pen has been run primarily by rookies and inexperienced players over the last several month.  But these players have stepped up and are keeping hope alive.

The following  is a look at the Phillies 2011 First Half Report Card.

Starting Pitching:  A+

The Phillies ended the first half with the best ERA in baseball at 3.02, the fewest earned runs allowed with 279 plus 11 complete games and 13 shut-outs, both of which are also the most in baseball.

Both Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels have earned 11 wins each and their ERA’s are 2.45 and 2.32, respectively.  Those numbers have prompted talk of a Cy Young award for one of the two pitchers.  Cliff Lee has been outstanding as well with a 2.82 ERA and nine wins.

The starters have suffered some major injuries, including Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, both of whom are on the DL.  But the rookie Vance Worley has filled in admirably with an occasional spot start from Kyle Kendrick.

Bullpen:   B+

The Phillies bullpen has had some real challenges this year, including a plethora of injuries.  But thanks to some very young, very solid talent, the pen has endured.

What was thought to be a major team weakness at the start of the year has turned into a strength in many ways.

Lefty Antonio Bastardo has been outstanding and probably should have earned an All-Star nod.  In 33 innings, Bastardo has allowed only three earned runs and has a microscopic ERA of 0.82.  He has also gone 5-for-5 in save attempts since the Phillies sent their first three closer to the DL.

Michael Stutes and Juan Perez have also been very nice surprises.  If Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson can come back healthy in the second half, the bullpen will only be that much stronger.

Offense:  C-

The Phillies offense for the first half ranks 20th in all of baseball and 10th in the National League with a .250 team batting average.  Statistically, this puts them below average.

But their 377 RBI moves them up the list a little, ranking 11th among all teams and 10th in on-base percentage with .323.

The first couple months were rough without Chase Utley, who is hitting .280 since his return.  But other top team hitters like Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco have missed time with injuries as well, making it difficult for manager Charlie Manuel to post any sort of consistent line-up on a regular basis.

Ryan Howard is tied for the league lead in RBI with 72, which has helped carry this weakened offense.  But with so many rookies in the line-up because of injuries, the other veteran players will need to step up in the second half.

Defense:  A-

Statistically, the Phillies have the best defense in the National League and are around fourth best in all of baseball with 45 errors and a .987 fielding percentage.  Many teams have similar numbers, but looking at the major categories, I would put them in about fourth place.

Among position players, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard have the highest fielding percentages on the team with .996 and .995, respectively.  Howard has improved his defense greatly over the past couple of years.

This team has a very solid defense.  There were a few games this year where sloppy play brought that into question, but they are humans, not robots.  Overall, it was a very good first half for the defense.

Attendance:  A+

The Phillies ended the first half on Sunday with their 172nd consecutive home sellout.  They are also first in total attendance for all of baseball with 2,228,630 fans so far this year, according to ESPN.  The Yankees were second with 2,173,619 fans.

The Phillies keep winning, and the fans keep the party going. 

1st Half MVP:  Roy Halladay

Because their numbers are very similar, I was tempted to go with Cole Hamels on this one.  But with six complete games and the most innings pitched in the National League, I am giving the first half MVP to Roy Halladay.

This man is a beast.  In Tuesday night’s All-Star game, Brian Wilson of the Giants called Halladay a “Cyborg.”  That seems fitting.

There is nothing Halladay won’t do to help his team win.  With 11 wins, a 2.45 ERA and team-leading 138 strike-outs, Halladay is the MVP.

Most Memorable 1st Half Moment:  Tie, Wilson Valdez & Cliff Lee

This one had to be a draw, because both players provided Phillies fans with some amazing memories this year so far.

First, watching Wilson Valdez tow the rubber in the May 25th 5-4 win in 19 innings over the Reds was simply unforgettable.  The Phillies ran out of pitchers and Valdez volunteered.  He pitched one perfect inning and the Phillies won the game in the bottom of the 19th as a result of his effort.

Before this win by Valdez, the last player to start a game in the field and get the win as a pitcher was Babe Ruth in 1921.  But the best part was hearing Valdez joke after the game that he could have gone three or four more innings if needed.

And then this past Saturday, pitcher Cliff Lee provided another memorable moment.  In the third inning, after a 10-pitch at-bat and six foul balls, Lee smashed his 1st career home run off the Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson, who watched in disbelief.

Lee spent most of his career in the American League, with few chances to hit.  But Lee has remarked on many occasions that he prefers the National League because he loves to hit.  And that joy was all over his face as he rounded the bases in front of thousands of screaming fans who gave him a standing ovation.

Watching a man who truly loves the game of baseball be rewarded in a way that is rarely seen was a real treat.  Pitchers do not hit many home runs and it is even less common among pitchers of Lee’s caliber. 

That was a moment that both Lee and all of the Philadelphia fans watching will not soon forget.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Cliff Lee Rocks The Sox in 3rd Consecutive Complete Game Shut-Out

Cliff Lee must be wishing that the month of June would never end.  Because he has been insanely good in each of his five starts this month.

Today’s 5-0 win over the Red Sox marked Lee’s 32nd consecutive scoreless inning pitched.  With only two hits allowed, this game was Lee’s third consecutive complete game shut-out.  The last Phillie to accomplish that feat was  Robin Roberts in 1950.

For the month, Lee went 5-0 and had only one run allowed in 42 innings.  The man is simply amazing.

But Lee did not just pitch well, he also collected an RBI with a sac fly.  And while Lee dealt on the mound and at the plate, the Phillies offense pounded Josh Beckett.  A pair of two run homers, one from Domonic Brown and the other from Shane Victorino, highlighted the scoring.  Brown also had a double on the night.

With this victory, the Phillies became the first team in the majors to reach 50 wins this season.

Vance Worley will pitch tomorrow.  And after Lee’s performance tonight, he has very big shoes to fill.  Game time is 7:05pm.

Injury Update

The Phillies placed closer Ryan Madson on the DL before today’s game.  After getting whacked in the hand with hit ball back in May, Madson has had issues off and on and finally needed a cortisone shot to reduce the chronic swelling.

This means that the Phillies are now on their fourth closer of the season, which will likely be Antonio Bastardo.  Each of the first three closers, Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Madson, are all on the DL now.  Drew Carpenter was brought up from Triple-A to fill the roster spot.

Of the seven pitchers left in the bullpen, only two have not been in the minors this year and only Danys Baez has more than 71 innings pitched in the majors.  Scary.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

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