Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

Phillies Bullpen Bombs Again

It is difficult to imagine what must be going through Cliff Lee’s head these days.  He has had his ups and downs, but certainly has pitched better than just the 2 wins on his record indicate.  Last night, he had a quality start against the Brewers, allowing 3 runs in 7 2/3 innings.

But that good start was quickly wiped away in the Phillies cursed 8th inning.  And once again, it was a bullpen guy doing the damage.  You can see the reasoning behind why Lee was pulled with Ryan Braun coming up; Braun had already tagged Lee for 2 homers in this game.  But with the bullpen performing like it has, maybe taking the chance on Lee was a better decision.

That did turn out to be the case as the game was blown wide open for the Brewers thanks to reliever Josh Lindblom, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade.  Lindblom walked the bases loaded and then gave up a grand slam to wipe away the Phillies 4-3 lead and turn it into a 7-4 loss.

And with that turn of events, I think Lindblom has earned himself a new nickname: How do you feel about LindBUM?  Or even better, LindBOMB.  There you go.  LindBOMB has a nice ring to it…and bomb, he did.  In a big way.  Since coming to the Phillies, LindBOMB is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA.  Ouch.

Nothing personal against the guy; after all, most of the bullpen has sucked all year long.  His name just happens to more easily lend itself to a little joke ;o)  And we could all use a little humor right about now.

The real shame of it was that after being down 3-1, the Phillies battled back and score 3 runs in the 5th on a bases-clearing double from Kevin Fransden.  Oddly enough, it was Fransden’s throwing error in the 8th that caused Lee to be pulled from the game.

So the downtrodden Phils will again try to beat the Brewers this evening at 8:10pm.  Vance Worley will pitch.  Hopefully, he can pick this team up…they need a lift in a big way.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

The Puzzling Predicament of the Phillies 8th Inning

Why no one on the Phillies staff can seem to pitch well in the 8th inning is an on-going and unsolved mystery.   And in last night’s appalling 9-2 loss to the Marlins, this baffling problem was magnified once again.

No one pitched particularly well yesterday, not even Roy Halladay.  He was not bad, obviously, but while 3 runs in 7 innings is great for most guys, it is slightly sub-par for a guy of Halladay’s pedigree.  Still, the offense gave him no support except for 2 RBI from Ty Wigginton, one of which was a solo homer.

But as soon as the Phillies approached that irritating 8th inning, all heck broke loose.  B.J. Rosenburg walked the first batter and then allowed 2 straight singles.  He has been terrible and his 12.79 ERA is screaming, “Send me back to the minors!”  Raul Valdes got an out and then intentionally walked a guy as he was told to before being pulled.  That walk eventually counted against his, which really is not right.  He did his job.

And then the real fun began when Michael Schwimer took over and balls started flying all over the ballpark.  By the time it was finally over, the Marlins had scored 6 runs in one inning.

So what is the deal with the 8th inning and this team?  Look at the chart to the right; the Phillies have a 5.38 ERA in the dreaded 8th inning.  By far, this is where the poorest pitching occurs.  The only thing worse is when they go into extra innings.

This is a clear indication that the Phillies bullpen needs a complete overhaul, but we already knew that.  The frustrating part is that it does not seem to matter who they put in there in the 8th.  It is some weird curse now; pitch in the 8th, get knocked around, end of story.

And while this issue is on-going, something even worse happened in this game.  Jimmy Rollins was clearly not interested in playing last night, and I am apparently not the only one who noticed.  His lack of hustle was blatant and obvious in several situations.  A fan who called him out on Twitter asking him to run out the play because, “youngsters are watching you.”  Rollins responded with, “well u make sure u tell them what to do.”  Oh my.

Clearly, this Phillies season has been fun for no one.  But as fans, we still expect a level of professionalism and effort regardless of the standings.  No one wants to pay to see a bunch of guys making millions of dollars taking their good fortune for granted.  And this is not the 1st time we have seen this attitude from Rollins, which only magnifies the situation.

This is indeed a sad state of affairs all around.  It is really unfortunate as well that these problems have now overshadowed the fact that the Phillies have won 2 series in a row, despite yesterday’s ugly loss.

The Brewers are up next: Game time tonight is 8:10pm.

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Streaking & Signing: Things Are Looking Up for the Phillies

It is officially a streak – the Phillies have won 4 games in a row and all 4 came during their final at-bat.  In the 3-game sweep of the Brewers, every game also ended in the exact same score, 7-6.

Tuesday’s improbable win included a 6-run rally in the 8th inning which was started by a 2-run homer from 2nd back-up catcher, Erik Kratz.  To that point, Kratz had exactly 3 major league hits and all 3 were home runs.

Then today, Kratz doubled his major league hit total even while abandoning the long ball.  He recorded 3 hits including an RBI and a double in extra innings to once again set the Phillies up for a late-game win.   Chase Utley also had 3 hits today plus 3 RBI.   Jimmy Rollins got the game-winning hit today and also in Sunday’s walk-off win.

As for the pitching, Cliff Lee was not great on Tuesday, giving up 6 runs.  But the Phillies offense got all 6 back for him in that 8th inning.  Then today Vance Worley had an ok outing, allowing 3 runs in 5.1 innings.  Kyle Kendrick kept him from further damage with 1.2 scoreless innings.

The bullpen has, with one exception, found it’s groove in  these last 4 games.  Only Antonio Bastardo faltered with a 2-run homer to Ryan Braun today that almost cost them the game.  But the late-inning magic bailed him out, even despite another Ty Wigginton error at third base.

But the HUGE bang for the Phillies came earlier today when the Phillies announced they finally signed ace pitcher Cole Hamels to a long-term deal.  A collective sigh of relief was heard around the city.

Hamels got 6 years for $144 million, which is the second biggest contract ever behind only CC Sabathia of the Yankees who got $161 for 7 years back in 2008.  It is the largest contract ever for a Phillie.

It appears then that the Phillies have not given up just yet.  The Hamels signing should be a big relief for guys like Lee, Rollins and Roy Halladay who chose to come to or stay in Philly with the promise from the front office that they would continue to try to win in the long-term.  And these last 4 wins which happened in the most unlikely ways should also light a fire under the entire team.

The Phillies are off tomorrow for the annual Phestival and they will then fly to Atlanta for 3 games with the Braves.  Those 3 games will be very telling as to whether this team can stage an improbable comeback and make a run at a Wild Card spot.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Together Again, Phillies Sluggers Turn Back Time

After a very unusual start to the 1st inning in last night’s Phillies and Brewers match-up, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard reunited in a way that appeared to turn time back to better days.  They went back-to-back with solo home runs and just that quickly, it was like old times again.  Ah, together again…

In fact most of this previously lame Phillies squad is back off the DL and as a result, they are starting to turn things around.  Last night’s walk-off win was the second in row for the Phillies and also their first comeback win when trailing after 8 innings this season.  Prior to this, they were 0-42 when losing after 8 innings.

This game began in a very odd way though.  Roy Halladay was not his normal, studley self.  He gave up 2 runs in the first inning before Howard and Utley countered with their solo blasts.

Even stranger was what happened to Shane Victorino before those home runs.  Ex-Phillies pitcher Randy Wolf hit Victorino in the funny bone with a pitch; because he turned his shoulder to in an attempt to get out of the way, the 1st base umpire apparently got confused and called him out on strikes.  Replay showed that Victorino came nowhere near to swinging at the pitch.

Both Victorino, in obvious pain, and manager Charlie Manuel argued his case to no avail.  Once again, an idiot umpire would cost the Phillies a base runner and, after the homers, it cost them an extra run.  Even worse, Victorino’s hand went numb after the hit to the elbow and he had to be removed from the game.  He says he is fine now and should be able to play tonight; the ball just struck a nerve in the wrong place.

The umpire idiocy did not end there either.  Howard’s obvious solo shot was initially ruled a double after the ball bounced back onto the field out of the left field flower beds.  They had to go to replay to get the call overturned.  But it was quite apparent to the naked eye that the ball left the yard.  I guess the umpire went temporarily blind; an affliction which seems to be contagious.  And all that happened in the first inning.

By the 4th inning, things were getting out of hand as Halladay continued to self-destruct and allowed 4 more runs for a 6-2 Phillies deficit.  But for the second day in a row, the bullpen came through and held the score there.  And that set up the Phillies 1st comeback win after 8 innings all season long.

With 1 out in the 9th, the Phillies were still 4 runs behind and down to their final 2 outs when suddenly, the clock turned backwards again.  The Phillies offense began channeling their 2008 selves.  Jimmy Rollins drew a walk followed by a Juan Pierre single.  Utley walked; Howard singled in 2 runs; Carlos Ruiz singled in another and Hunter Pence followed with another walk.

With still only 1 out in the inning and a man on third, all the Phillies needed was a sac fly.  Most of the year, the Phillies have been unable to accomplish this seemingly routine task.  But on this throwback night, Ty Wigginton summoned his inner super-Wigginess and sent a line drive to left which scored pinch-runner Erik Kratz.

And just like that, the Phillies have found themselves on the comeback trail.  Like J-Roll said after Sunday’s win, it is time to start streaking…

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Steroid Drama Overshadows Philles Victory

There were many positives for the Phillies in last night’s 7-2 win over the RockiesCole Hamels returned to form and pitched extremely well.  John Mayberry Jr. continued his hot streak with 2 extra base hits, including a homer.  And Carlos Ruiz had 3 RBI and 2 hits, also including a homer.  Even better, the Phillies finally got through a game without committing an error.

But all those positives were overshadowed by some overwhelming negatives.  First, the lost of injuries for the Phillies keeps getting scarier.  Laynce Nix had a setback in his recovery, possibly reinjuring the same leg.  David Herndon underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.

However, the biggest bomb dropped when it was announced before the game that rookie infielder Freddy Galvis would be suspended 50-games for violating the MLB drug policy.  He apparently tested positive for a trace amount of clostebol, an anabolic steroid.

Between this year and last, the Phillies have gone from first to worst.  They have seen their All-Star players and important role players decimated by injuries.  This is simply not what this team needed to hear right now.

To say this is disappointing is an extreme understatement.  Galvis was the one bright light in an otherwise dreary season for this team and now, that has been taken away as well.  I suppose the good news is that he can serve the suspension now, while he is in a back brace on the DL.  He probably would have missed at least 50 games anyway.

I do not pretend to know whether Galvis is innocent or guilty.  Although, you would think if he was juicing he would have hit a lot better than .226 with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 24 RBIs.  We will probably never know for sure.

There are several reports in reputable medical journals that say this steroid can show up in urine in trace amounts after ingesting contaminated meat or after having “relations” with a woman who was using a particular cream for a “female condition” that contains clostebol.  In other countries, cattle are injected with this drug to “beef” them up, literally.

Even chicken are sometimes injected with steroids.  Studies in that area produced similar results, showing trace levels of the drug in those who consumed the meat.

So I suppose you have to be a vegetarian, Catholic priest with some mad baseball skills in order to avoid a false-positive test result?

And this is why I say we will never know for sure.  There are too many variables as we have seen in previous cases where athletes tested positive after taking a tainted substance.  Former Phillie J.C. Romero is a good example.  He won a law suit against the company who made supplements that were laced with a banned substance which was not on the label.  But even though MLB now acknowledges this issue, Romero still had to serve the suspension and will forever be judged unfairly in public opinion.

This by no means exonerates Galvis, but it does, once again, call into question the legitimacy of MLB’s drug policy.  A more recent example is Ryan Braun of the Brewers, who got off on a technicality involving the “transport” of his sample.

Now that MLB has made announcement about Galvis, we know that either there was no appeal or he already lost the appeal.  It is MLB policy to wait until that process is done before making the official announcement.

Regardless of what did or did not actually occur here, Galvis’ reputation is now mud.  And that is a real shame for a kid with so much potential.  And it is especially a shame for a fan base that has been desperately searching for a small glimmer of hope for this stumbling, last place team.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Make History With 102 Wins

The Phillies ended the 2011 regular season with 102 wins after a 13 inning  4-3 victory over the Braves.  The 3-game sweep knocked the Braves out of the playoffs and also set a new record for the Phillies.  The franchise mark of 101 wins in a season has been surpassed, making this 2011 team statistically the best in Phillies history.

It also made Charlie Manuel the best manager in Phillies history.  His 646th win with the team surpassed the previous record of 656 held by Gene Mauch.

And as usual, the Phillies fought for their manager until the very end.  The game lasted 4 1/2 hours and 13 innings with 17 total pitchers used between the two teams.  The pitching was very good all around for both and hits were hard to come by; 11 for the Phils and 10 for the Braves.

In the 13th, Hunter Pence finally broke up the stalemate, knocking in the winning run with an RBI-single.  He had two hits in the game, as did Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard.

By beating the Braves, the Phillies basically chose their own opponent.  The win handed the Wild Card spot to the Cardinals.  The Phillies struggled against the Cards in the regular season, winning only 3 games out of 9.  But coming off the momentum of this 3-game sweep and making Phillies history, the team should be ready to face the Cards again.

In the American League, the Red Sox are out, having lost what was previously and 8.5 game lead in the Wild Card race.  As they crashed and burned against the lowly Orioles again, the Tampa Bay Rays climbed out of a 7-0 hole to beat the Yankees and take the Wild Card spot.

So here is how the NLDS and ALDS line-up:

  • Phillies vs. Cardinals
  • Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
  • Yankees vs. Tigers
  • Rangers vs. Rays

The first game for the Phillies is this Saturday; no time has been announced yet.

 

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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*

Phillies Take 3 Out Of 4 Against Brewers

While they were unable to sweep the 4 game series, the Phillies still made life miserable for the Brewers, winning the first 3 games.  But today, they went down in a 3-2 loss.  The team win streak with Vance Worley on the mound ended at 14 games.

Worley had some interesting innings today, but every jam he worked into, he managed to get out of.  But with two outs in the 7th, back-to-back doubles created trouble and gave the Brewers the lead.  Worley was pulled after allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk.

One of the doubles hit by the Brewers in that 7th inning came off the bat of Nyger Morgan, who then proceeded to celebrate at second base like his team had just won the pennant.  Morgan, who has publicly named his own alter-ego “Tony Plush,” is possibly the biggest clown in the majors.
 

Morgan’s behavior is consistently inappropriate (he tries to incite fights on a regular basis) and he even went so far as to call Albert Pujols a girl in a recent Twitter post.  This guy is a fungus.  The Brewers should be embarrassed to have him as a member of their team.  So today’s display of childish behavior is really no shock.

Back to the game…The Phillies offense had a few big hits today with home runs from Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard.  But they could muster little else against Brewers pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, who was very, very good today.  The Phils ended the day with only 6 hits and 14 strikeouts.

The Phillies have another interesting series coming up next with the Astros.  It will be the first trip back to Houston for both Hunter Pence and Roy Oswalt since coming to Philly.  And oddly enough, Oswalt will pitch in the first game against former Phillie Brett Myers.  Game time is 8:05pm; be sure to watch this one, it should be a lot of fun.

In closing, I wanted to share a photo with everyone that I took about 20 years ago.  Having grown up in North/Central New Jersey, this was a common sight for me as a kid.  On the 10-year anniversary of 9-11, take a moment to remember.
 

Post-Season Magic # – 2  games

Division Magic # – 6 games

 

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Towers photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Morgan photo: Yahoo Sports

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

 

10th Inning Rally Puts Phillies Over the Brewers Again

In the third game of this four game Phillies – Brewers series, a pitching duel broke out between Cliff Lee and Randy Wolf.  Both pitchers were very good, leaving little room for error.

The defense behind Lee was a little shaky with Michael Martinez at second base committing a huge throwing error in the 2nd inning that led to an unearned run for the Brewers.  Casey McGehee scored by plowing into Carlos Ruiz at home plate.  McGehee is literally twice the size of Ruiz. The violent, deliberate collision made McGehee look like a bully trying to take a kid’s lunch money.  The ball flew out of Ruiz’s glove and McGehee was safe.

But as usual, Lee did not let anything shake his concentration.  Through seven innings, Lee allowed only one earned run on six hits and two walks.  He also struck out seven batters.

For the Phillies, both Hunter Pence and Placido Polanco hit solo home runs.  Polanco’s homer was only his fifth of the year and it tied the game up at 2-2.  And that score held up as the game went into extra innings.

In the 10th, Raul Ibanez doubled and Ruiz drove him home with a single to take a 3-2 lead.  Jimmy Rollins then made his first appearance since coming off the DL as a pinch hitter and grounded out to move the runner.  Rollins also played the field in the bottom of the 10th and looked pretty healthy.

Ryan Madson took care of the Brewers after that, although a walk and a sac bunt made things interesting.  But Madson held on for the save and became only the ninth Phillies relief pitcher to save 30 games in a season.  Fittingly, the final out was recorded on a ground ball from the school yard bully, McGehee.  Ruiz and the Phillies got the last laugh.

And the Phillies also got another series win, beating the Brewers in three straight games with one more to go tomorrow at 2:10pm.

More good news arrived today when the results of Chase Utley’s concussion tests came in.  Utley passed the ImPACT test and appears to be doing very well.  The Phils will administer another test on Monday to be on the safe side and Utley will probably not play until after the Houston series.  But all signs are very positive.

Post-Season Magic # – 2  games

Division Magic # – 7 games

 

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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*

Halladay Keeps the Win-Train Chugging

This Phillies series with the Brewers has been touted by some as a possible playoff preview.  If that is the case, things are not looking great for the Brewers so far.

After a 7-2 victory last night, the Phillies picked up right where they left off, scoring early and allowing their ace, Roy Halladay, to handle the Brewers hitters.  Halladay was his usual sparkling self, allowing only one run through eight innings on four hits.
 

Ryan Howard was back in the line-up tonight after a day of rest yesterday.  The break seemed to help as Howard smashed a 3-run homer in the first inning.  He also walked twice after that.

After spending most of the year in the minors, Pete Orr finally saw some action tonight in place of Chase Utley who is still in Philly.  Utley is being observed for a possible concussion after getting beamed in the head by a fastball on Wednesday.  Orr took full advantage of the playing time, going 3-for-4 at the plate.  Although, he was almost murdered by a rouge group of sausages ;o)

Several Phillies had multi-hit nights including Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez.  Ruiz was on base in all four of his at-bats; he walked twice and collected 1 RBI.

But while Halladay and the offense were all clicking, there may be cause for concern about Antonio Bastardo.  He started the 9th inning and put two runners on base with a hit and a walk, all without recording an out.

Bastardo had a similar situation only two appearances ago where he put two men on against the Marlins and was pulled before getting an out.  In that game, both runs ended up scoring.  Both runs scored tonight as well.

This young lefty has been so good all year, he has seemed practically unhittable.  But suddenly, Bastardo does not look like the same pitcher.  One could argue he has been overused, but before tonight’s game, Bastardo ranked 44th in innings pitched in the NL.

Still, Bastardo’s recent troubles are not a reason to panic, but it is something the Phillies need to keep an eye on.  And tonight, Ryan Madson took over for Bastardo and was able to secure the 5-3 win.

This win ensures the Phillies cannot lose the four game series and they to grab only one of the next two to win it.  Game 3 is Saturday night at 7:10pm with Cliff Lee pitching against former Phillie, Randy Wolf.

Post-Season Magic # – 3 games

Division Magic # – 10 games

 

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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*

No Utley, No Howard, No Rollins…No Problem

In their first of four games against the Brewers on Thursday night, the Phillies were without three of their star players, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.  Howard got the night off, which is rare for him.  Rollins just came off the DL and the Phils will be working him back in slowly.  And Utley is back in Philly being examined after getting hit in the head with a fastball on Wednesday.

But even with the lack of star power, the Phillies were still able to handle the Brewers.  Early in the game, it did not look like it would be so easy as Brewers pitcher Chris Narveson no-hit the Phils through  four innings.  Through 5 2/3, the Phillies still had only one hit.

But with two outs in the 6th, the Phillies bats suddenly showed up.  Shane Victorino started the rally off with a double that missed going out of the park by about 1/2 inch as it hit near the top of the left field wall.  Wilson Valdez then continued his tear with runners on base by doubling to score Victorino.

Things snowballed from there.  The Phillies scored six runs in the inning, all with two outs.  Those hits included a triple from Hunter Pence, a John Mayberry Jr. single and Carlos Ruiz double.  Pence ended the night with three RBI.

And while Narveson self-destructed that inning, Cole Hamels continued to pitch well for the Phillies.  Hamels did not allow a run until the 5th when a solo homer put the Brewers on the board.  He allowed another solo shot in the 6th, but the Brewers did very little else against Hamels, who went the distance and picked up a complete game win.

The Phillies won the game by a score of 7-2.  Game two with the Brewers starts Friday night at 8:10pm.  Roy Halladay will face Shaun Marcum.

 

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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*

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