Results tagged ‘ Brian Schneider ’

Big Man Down: Howard To The DL


Phillies titanic.jpgThe Phillies 2010 season is beginning to resemble the sinking of the Titanic.  Ryan Howard was placed on the DL today with a left ankle sprain.  So it is official; every single infield starter for the Phils has been on the DL this year.  The only two team starters who have escaped a DL trip so far are Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez.  That makes player #15 on the DL this year.  Take a look:

1B

Ryan Howard

DL

8/3 – now

Starter

CF

Shane Victorino

DL

7/28 – now

Starter

P

Jamie Moyer

DL

7/21 – now

Starter

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – 7/17

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – 7/10

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – 7/15

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – 7/15 to AAA

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – 7/8

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – 7/6 to AAA

Starter

SS

Jimmy Rollins

DL

4/13-4/17, 5/22-6/22

Starter

P

Joe Blanton

DL

3/26-5/3

Starter

P 

Brad Lidge

DL

3/26-4/30, 5/10-5/31

Closer

P

JC Romero

DL

3/26-4/22

Relief pitcher

 

Is this a sign that 2010 is just not the Phillies year?  I hope not.  Filling in at first base likely will be Ross Gload and maybe Cody Ransom.  John Mayberry Jr. was called up to fill the roster spot and will be used off the bench.

Howard and Chase Utley are the Phillies biggest producers; having them both out of the line-up is going to make an already struggling offense even less effective.  Not to mention, the Phillies bullpen is still suspect.  Manager Charlie Manuel has no idea what to expect from the pen from day to day.  And with fewer runs being scored, odds are good that the pen is going to decide the outcome of a lot of games.  This is not good news.

If you are looking for some good news, Roy Halladay is pitching tonight in Miami.  Even better news; the last time this match-up occurred, Halladay threw a Perfect Game.  The Marlins may be more prepared this time out, but anytime Halladay pitches, you have to like this team’s chances.

Manuel Wins #500; Phillies Sweep Rockies

The Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, collected his 500th victory for the team today with a 4-game sweep of the Rockies.  Only two other Phils managers since 1900 have more wins: Gene Mauch, 645 and Danny Ozark, 594. 

The game did not start well as pitcher Joe Blanton quickly gave up 2 runs in the first innings to the anxious Rockies who were hoping to salvage one game in this series.  But, despite a few walks, Blanton was sharp after the 1st and wound up going 6 innings.

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The Phillies offense got them back into the game quickly, which was also a huge help.  In order, Ross Gload singled, Greg Dobbs doubled and Brian Schneider tripled.  All that was missing was a home run.  Instead of the homer, Blanton reached first on a missed catch by Jason Giambi at first. 

But then Jimmy Rollins batted and wound up fouling a ball off his foot, sending him to the ground in pain.  He limped through the rest of the game and afterwards had an X-Ray.  There was no break; he just has a bruise.  However, it is still unknown how long he may have to rest his foot before playing again.  Here is the sequence, with a nice moment of sportsmanship too:

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Things got quiet for a while after that until the Phillies scored 2 more runs in the 6th.  Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each hit RBI-singles to extend the lead.  But many players contributed to the offense today, especially Schneider, with the huge triple in the 2nd and he also walked and scored in the 6th.  Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and Polanco had 2 hits as well.  Here are a few shot from the game:

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There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:

0726 Defense.jpg

And then came the heart-stopping 9th inning.  You know when I mention heart attacks, Brad Lidge must somehow be involved, right?  Well he sure was.  It started with a double, but Lidge got two outs after that.  With just one out to go, ahead of the batter in the count, Lidge grooved a fastball right over the plate which Seth Smith hammered for a 2-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-4.  Two walks and a single later and the bases were loaded…again…just like the day before.  But Lidge finally got a ground ball, which he fielded himself for the final out.

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While Lidge is totally on my last nerve with these cardiac episode inducing outings, what is the alternative?  Do we need a new closer?  Probably.  But has anyone else in the pen proved they can handle the job?  No.  This is the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Others have tried to close and failed, like Ryan Madson, for example.  So sadly, it looks like we are stuck with Lidge for now.

As for the recent trade rumors, Dan Haren went to the Angels so it looks like Roy Oswalt is the final option for the Phils to pick up a starter.  But as I talked about on yesterday’s Fightin’ Phillies podcast, Oswalt does not seem interested in coming here and with the no-trade clause, he has final say.  But do we really want a guy who is scared of the media and shies away from pressure?  I know I don’t.  It will be interesting to see if anything happens before the trade deadline.

In the meantime, feel free to check out the Photo Album from today’s game.  Thanks to my friend, Audrea, I was in one of the business suites today, which are very, very nice.  I put a few photos of that in the album as well.

The D-Backs come to town tomorrow.  Game time is 7:05pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Phillies Win In Extra Innings

Cole Hamels did everything humanly possible today against the Cardinals to get himself and his team a win.  In fact, he pitched 8 shut-out innings, allowing only one hit.  Hamels was on fire.  Too bad that fire did not rub off on the rest of the team.  Seriously…what will it take to get the Phillies hitting again?  If this spectacular performance from Hamels did not inspire them, then is there anything that can help?

Charlie Manuel keeps shifting the line-up around, praying for a miracle.  But it looks like he is just throwing names into a hat and picking them out randomly.  Jimmy Rollins usually only produces in the lead-off spot; it is what he is used to.  P6203489 Polonco.jpgPut him back or sit him down.  Placido Polanco needs to stay in the 2-hole.  Just put the line-up back the way it was intended to be, except for the 3-hole, which was Chase Utley’s spot.  Raul Ibanez has been ok in that spot, but the rest of the line-up needs to settle in so they know what to expect each day.

The Phillies did scatter 9 hits through the first 9 innings today but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  Ryan Howard, Polanco and Brian Schneider each had multi-hit games.  But once they got on base, someone would either strike out or hit into a double play.  Jayson Werth went hitless through 9 innings.  And he killed more than his share of possible rallies.

In the month of July through the 9th inning today, Werth is hitting only .215 with no home runs and only 3 RBI.  Shaving the beard apparently did not help him.  Rollins has been even worse; as of the 9th inning today, he was batting .184 with 8 RBI in July.  Basically, the only Phillies that have been hitting consistently are Howard and Polanco.

But extra innings seemed to be the kick in the rear that the Phillies were in need of.  Polanco was getting tired of being left on base so in the 11th inning, he hit a solo homer to break up the stalemate between these two teams.  A walk by Ibanez and another single from Howard set the table for Werth…again.  But Werth finally came through with a double.  It was his first hit with runners in scoring position since June 24th; nearly an entire month.

So the Phillies went into the bottom of the 11th with a 2-0 lead and would have to rely on Brad Lidge to save the game.  And while the inning was not without drama as Lidge walked the lead-off batter, he did finally get the job done.  Phillies win, 2-0.



DSCF8051bA.jpgThe Phillies will head back to Philadelphia after this dismal road trip where they won just 2 games out of 8.  Roy Halladay will pitch against the Rockies tomorrow; game time is 7:05pm.  The starters for the rest of the weekend have not yet been announced.  But frankly, if they do not get out of this hitting slump, they could throw a Siberian Tiger out on the mound and it would not make a difference.  We hope it does not come to that.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

An Ugly Win; But Still A Win

Before the Phillies – Cubs game today, Placido Polanco returned from the DL.  Juan Castro, who has not contributed too much lately, was released to make room.  It is good to have Polly back!  But instead of giving the team a spark, they kept playing like they were in a coma.

By the 9th inning, down 0-1, it looked like the sleeping Phils were about to lose their 3rd straight to the Cubs.  But then a miracle occurred; the Cubs bullpen took pity on them and walked two batters.  Then with two outs, Polly came through with a base hit and Brian Schneider tried to score.  He should have been out by a mile, but the very kind Cubbies took pity again; an off-line throw home kept Schneider safe. 

However, the Cubs bullpen was not fully satisfied with their charity.  Pitcher Carlos Marmol tossed a wild pitch and Ross Gload scored.  Then Marmol intentionally walked Ryan Howard and not-so-intentionally walked Jayson Werth to score another run for the Phillies. 
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Pitcher James Russell wanted in on this charitable action!  So he gave up a single to Raul Ibanez, which scored the 4th run of the inning.  Ok, maybe Ibanez had a little to do with the hit…

Actually, Ibanez had two hits in the game, as did Werth and Shane Victorino.  But they left many, many men on base through 8 innings and could not score a run.  Of course, the Phillies will take a win anyway they can get it, even if it is handed to them on a silver platter.

So they went on to win by a score of 4-1.  However, something still seems to be very wrong with the Phillies.  Is it a lack of enthusiasm?  Or perhaps it is just another slump?  No, I think not.  Based on the evidence, I am going to have to say it must be brain damage.  Take a look at the facts from today’s game:

- Victorino got thrown out at second base…twice.  Once, he was stealing and once he was trying to stretch a single into a double.  Conclusion: brain damage.


Phillies brain.jpg- Ibanez stole second base and then somehow, with his super-slow motion running abilities, thought, hey, I’ll steal third!  Nope…he was out.  Conclusion: brain damage.

- Wilson Valdez forgot to cover first base on a Cubs bunt and allowed the runner to get safely to first while a run scored.  And later in the game, Valdez dropped a pop-up.  Conclusion: brain damage.

- Cole Hamels pitched an AMAZING game, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings.  Yet, the offense did NOTHING to help him out.  He got a no decision.  Conclusion: brain damage.

- The Phillies lost the first two games of this series to a team that sucks.  Sorry Cubs fans, no disrespect, but this team is not good and is now 10 games under .500.  Conclusion: You guessed it, brain damage.

So the question now remains, will this 9th inning comeback today be the cure for their brain damage?  They swept the Reds going into the All-Star break, with 3 of the 4 wins coming in extra innings.  They returned from the break and dropped two to the Cubs.  So the Reds series did not have a huge impact.  Will today’s game propel them forward?  We shall see…

Roy Halladay will be the next Phillies pitcher to pray for some runs.  Game time tomorrow is 8:05pm.

 

Howard & Pinella photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Comedy or Tragedy? Another Walk-Off Answers The Question

The start of tonight’s Phillies – Reds match-up was anything but funny.  The game began with a fielding error by Jimmy Rollins on the very first batter Joe Blanton faced. 
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Blanton went on to allow a single and then Jonny Gomes smacked a 3-run homer.  While ahead in the count, Blanton threw Gomes a fast ball right down the middle of the plate.  Was it Gomes’ birthday or something?  Because I just cannot see any reason for the generous gift from Blanton.

The very next batter was the recipient of yet another Phillies error, as Ryan Howard over-threw Blanton who was running to cover first base.  The bottom half of the 1st inning was no better.  Rollins hit a single, which was great, but then he got picked off at first while leaning off base too far.  Rollins may have been able to score on the Raul Ibanez double that followed, but he was no longer on base.  Inning over; no score for the Phils.

The insanity did not end there.  Greg Dobbs missed a ball at third that he should have caught and that would have ended the 2nd inning.  Instead, another run scored.  Then Howard got tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double in the 4th inning.  The Phils did score one run that inning on a sac fly by Jayson Werth, but in the 5th, the Phils gave the Reds two more runs.

Blanton was pulled after 5 ½ innings after allowing 12 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 walks and 2 hits to the opposing pitcher.  Blanton has been struggling all year, but this was perhaps the most disturbing outing so far.  Usually, he has several good innings and starts to give up runs in the 5th or 6th when he tires.  But today, he was bad almost the entire time.  Add in the hits allowed to the pitcher and giving up big hits while he was ahead in the count and it was definitely not a comedy; tragedy is more like it.


padded room.jpgAlthough, with how things have gone so far this season, it is plausible to think that many fans may still not be sure whether to laugh or cry about it.  While little is funny here, the bad play does conjure images of fans wrapped with tiny white coats in a padded room while cackling hysterically as their sanity slowly drips away.  Are they coming to take me away yet?  Now that actually would be funny ;o)

To make matters worse, the Phillies looked like they had given up by the time they were down 6 runs to 1.  They did not hit at all and in the 9th, JC Romero gave up another run.  He also gave up another hit to Mike Leake, the Reds pitcher.  It was Leake’s 3rd hit of the night!  So, not only did he totally mow over the Phils with his pitching, but he hurt them with the bat as well.

And then something very weird happened.  The Phillies offense suddenly woke up.  But in the bottom of the ninth, down 7-1, would it be too little too late?  Shane Victorino doubled and Howard singled to drive him in. 
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Werth singled next and then Greg Dobbs performed a miracle; he hit a 3-run homer!  With one out and the score now 7-5, Leake was finally pulled out of the game and it became a save situation for the Reds.

Francisco Cordero came in to pitch and Brian Schneider hit a ball well, but it was right to the center fielder.  Ben Francisco drew a pinch hit walk and then with two outs, down two runs, Cody Ransom stepped to the plate with a chance to be the hero.  And just like that, BAM, a HOME RUN to tie the game!  Are you kidding me??  The Reds could not believe what was happening; the Phils fans were going nuts in the stands; and the poor Reds pitcher, Mike Leake, looked like he might cry while watching from the dugout.

And he had reason to cry…because in the 10th inning, Ryan Howard smashed a walk-off 2-run homer to win the game!  Unbelievable.  Down 7-1 in the 9th, the Phillies come back to win by a score of 9-7.  It was the second extra innings game in a row with a walk-off homer two nights in a row.  Comedy or tragedy?  Keep laughing, Phils fans…that was an INSANE win!  Whoo Hooo!

 

Dobbs photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Schneider Saves The Day

Catcher Brian Schneider grew up a Phillies fan.  He realized his dream of playing for his home town team this year and today, he became the savior of his team in a tough, extra innings game.  More on that in a minute…

Before tonight’s game against the Reds, the big news revolved around Shane Victorino.  0625 Shane2.jpgApparently, he had a few strong words for the fans of Philadelphia.  He said, “I’m hearing fans yelling, ‘Victorino, you’re horrible; you stink,'” during last night’s loss to the Braves.  Victorino went on to say, among other things, “It’s frustrating when you hear those things from your own fans.”

A few things to note here:  the games are still selling out.  And for the small 4 or 5% of fans that are yelling insults, the rest are still cheering the team on.  Victorino is right to be frustrated, but that should be directed at the way the team has been playing, not at the fans.  But don’t worry Shane; we are still behind you.

Victorino took his frustrations out on the ball in the 1st inning when he hit a home run to silence the doubters.  He also hit an RBI-single in the 3rd inning which turned out to be a very strange play.  Victorino collided with Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto at first and his glove flew off; Cueto dropped the ball, which rolled to Joey Votto who tossed it back to the bare-handed Cueto.  He dropped the ball again and Jimmy Rollins scored.  The game was then delayed as Cueto appeared to have the wind knocked out of him.  He was fine though and the game went on.

For the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick pitched very well, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits in 6 2/3 innings.  Having left Jamie Moyer in too long last night, manager Charlie Manuel was not going to make the same mistake again.  He pulled Kendrick and had JC Romero get the final out of the 7th inning.

But more drama was yet to come.  Fresh off the disabled list, Ryan Madson saw his first game action since April in the 8th inning.  He allowed two singles and then with two outs in the inning, he surrendered the one run lead on another very odd play.  Brandon Phillips struck out on a wild pitch which sailed past catcher Brian Schneider.  Phillips ran to first as both Schneider and Madson went after the ball, not realizing until it was too late that Drew Stubbs was running home and no one was covering.  Stubbs scored and tied the game 2-2.

In the bottom half of the inning, Wilson Valdez led off with a triple.  Rollins hit a sac fly to score him and give the Phils a 3-2 lead going into the 9th inning.  But that meant that it was Brad Lidge time. 

A one run lead and Lidge in the 9th has not been a sure thing for a very long time.  And right away, Lidge gave up a hit and a walk.  It looked like he may get out of it when the next batter hit into a double play.  But Miguel Cairo, who was with the Phils last year, hit an RBI-double on the 2nd pitch he saw to tie the game again.  And just like that, Lidge earned yet another blown save.

The Phillies could not score in the 9th so off to extra innings they went.  In the 12 inning, the drama continued as Jayson Werth had a small confrontation with a very dumb fan.  With two outs, a foul ball went just above the wall in right field and Werth was right there to catch it.  Unfortunately, the dumb fan snagged the ball right before it went into Werth’s glove.  Werth had a few choice words for the guy.  But all was well as pitcher Nelson Figueroa got the batter to ground out.

Figueroa pitched two amazing innings and was on deck to bat and go for three when Brian Schneider finally ended the game.  Schneider crushed a ball which sailed over the right field wall to give the Phillies a 12 inning, walk-off 4-3 win over the Reds.  Way to go, Brian!  You rock!

Condolences

The Phillies family lost another beloved member today.  Maje McDonnell, who would have been 90 years old later this month, passed away today.  McDonnell spent his entire life with the Phillies.  He grew up in Philly and served with the Phillies as a batting practice pitcher, coach, scout, instructor and a Veterans Stadium tour guide in his 57 years with the team.  He had just retired last year.

McDonnell was also a war hero, having served in World War II, earning a combat badge, five battle stars and a Bronze Star.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Maje.  He will be missed.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

A Turning Point

Not many would have guessed at the beginning of the season that a 4-game series against the worst team in the National League and 2nd worst in all of baseball would be such a huge turning point for the Phillies.  But this series with the Pirates has become just that.  With 7 players and major contributors on the DL, a banged-up back-up catcher and 2 losses to the Bucos already behind them, the Phillies next two games could make or break their season.

The Phillies are five games behind the Braves after last night’s 0-2 shut-out loss to the Pirates.  They do have a series with the Braves next, but if they lose 3 or even 4 games in this Pirates series, they will not have much left to bring to the Braves series.  Getting whipped by a last place team will mean that they have allowed the injuries to win.

Plus, last night this team looked like it was sleep-walking.  Like the energy and confidence has been sucked right out of them.  The only player who still looked determined was Jamie Moyer, who pitched six solid innings and allowed only one earned run.  Moyer has been rock solid in his last several starts.  The rest of the team looks like runny oatmeal.


P6274820 Valdez.jpgOddly enough, the only position player showing some life is back-up Wilson Valdez.  Even Jimmy Rollins said after the game about Valdez, “My man right here, he’s got some swag.”  Last night was the 3rd multi-hit game for Valdez in his last 4 games.  He has also hit 2 home runs in those games.  While it is great to see a bench guy step-up like this, where is the rest of the team?

Charlie Manuel said yesterday that he moved Raul Ibanez to the 2-spot in the lineup because “he is a high on-base percentage guy.”  Really?  Because every starter on the team has a higher OBP than Ibanez who is in 11th place at .322.  Not to mention, Ibanez had only 5 hits in 96 at-bats in the month of June.  What part of this screams 2-hole hitter?

It is moves like this that make people wonder.  It appears that Manuel is grasping at straws trying to get his team back into action.  What the Phillies really need is a bucket of ice down the pants to wake them up.

The team did get a small bit of good news.  Back-up catcher Brian Schneider has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb; yes, the exact same injury Chase Utley was said to have.  Except, Utley wound up with a torn ligament where Schneider says he just needs a few days to rest and can play in an emergency.  Schneider is one of the tough guys; you have to love that.

So it boils down to these next few games.  Will the Phillies fold under the pressure or come out swinging?  They have overcome a lot in years past so there is no reason to think they cannot do it.  But this time, if they cannot get back on track fast, it may be too big a hill to climb later.  Game time tonight is 7:05pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

No Offense For The Phillies…Again

As more players continue to drop like flies, manager Charlie Manuel was also forced to miss today’s game against the Pirates due to a suspension.  On Thursday night, Manuel bill-butted the umpire with the brim of his hat as he argued a call.  Manuel has been ejected 3 times in just over a week, obviously frustrated with how this season is going.  This suspension was just one more blow to this already limping Phillies team.

The Phillies went down against the Pirates today with their anemic offense again giving no run support to the pitcher.  The final score was 2-3 and the Phils had only 8 hits.  Wilson Valdez hit a solo homer and the 2nd run was unearned due to a Pirates throwing error.  Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both went hitless. 

Ibanez has had one hit in his last 8 games and 34 at-bats.  The Phillies need to put Ben Francisco in left and be done with it already.  Ibanez has not contributed in any significant way in a long time.  In fact, in the month of June, Ibanez had 5 hits…total.  That is the entire month.  Francisco had 11 hits in 37 at-bats compared to 5 hits in 96 at-bats for Ibanez.  This is a NO brainer.

So another good pitching performance was wasted by the Phils offense.  Cole Hamels allowed 3 runs in 7 innings and deserved a win.  Instead, he gets another loss and to a last-place team no less.  But sadly, that was not the only drama tonight. 

Just when you thought, after having 7 players on the DL and Chase Utley going in for surgery today, things could not get worse…they did.  Back-up catcher Brian Schneider got hit in the hand with a pitch and has a hyper-extended left thumb and had to leave the game.  No word yet on how serious it is, but if he goes on the DL too, the Phillies will be left with a 3rd string catcher and have to call up a 4th from the minors.  My head hurts.

And by the way, Utley’s recovery time has been changed from the original 6 weeks reported to 8 weeks.  By tomorrow, who knows?  They may go with 3 months.  But realistically, this kind of surgery can have widely varying recovery times based on the extent of the damage and how the surgery went.

As for Placido Polanco, he has 3-4 weeks before he can return due to bone chips in his elbow.  And catcher Carlos Ruiz was examined in Pittsburgh today and the tests for his concussion apparently did not go well.  That means he may be out even longer than 15 days.  The Phils may as well open their own ER at this rate.

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Will GM Ruben Amaro Jr. find a quality infielder to help out?  This will be interesting.  We already know Amaro screwed up when he traded Cliff Lee and probably every team in the league wants to get Lee now.  I have heard many fans say they think we can get him back to Philly.  Stop right there.  Here is the one reason that will never happen: to bring Lee back would mean Amaro would be admitting he made a mistake by trading him in the first place. 

Some men admit when they are wrong, like umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew the call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game.  And when Andy Pettitte admitted he did steroids and was obviously ashamed.  But Amaro?  It will never happen.  Put it out of your minds and move on.

And now the infield is a bigger concern than the pitching.  The Phillies will have at least a month without their 2 All-Star infielders and then an additional month without Utley.  They need help and Amaro has to go make something happen.  Right now, I really don’t want his job.

 

Player photos and photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

The Phillies Are Down, But Not Out

Despite having two of their best players sent to the DL today in Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, the Phillies still came out swinging against the Reds.  More importantly, it was the back-up players who made the biggest impact on the game.  This gives Phillies fans hope that even with 7 players on the DL, they can still produce.

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At the very bottom of the line-up, both Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez hit 3-run homers in the 9-6 win over the Reds.  Schneider went above and beyond, with three hits in the game and scored on the Valdez homer.  The homer by Valdez was his 3rd of the year and only his 4th since 2004.

Joe Blanton kept the Phillies in the game, allowing just one run until the dreaded 6th inning.  That has been his Achilles heel all year long.  With 2 outs in the 6th, Blanton gave up a single, a walk and then a 2-run double.  He did finish with 7 2/3 innings allowing just those 3 runs, so this is progress for Blanton. 

But leave it Brad Lidge to try and throw away all that hard work and momentum for the Phils.  With two outs in the 9th and a 3-run lead, Lidge gave up a walk, a single and then a 3-run homer to Joey Votto to tie the game and send it to extra innings.  It was his 2nd blown save of the year in 7 opportunities.

So the depleted Phillies offense would have to rally yet again, and they did.  In the 10th they faced Arthur Rhodes, a former Phillie, who had not allowed a run in 33 consecutive innings this year.  Ryan Howard doubled, Jayson Werth walked and then Raul Ibanez stepped to the plate. 

The home plate ump had a moving strike zone all night long and when a low 0-1 pitch was called a strike on Ibanez, manager Charlie Manuel finally lost his mind.  He jumped out of the dugout and ripped CB Bucknor a new one, getting him tossed out of the game.  But the managerial fireworks sparked the Phils in a big way.  Ibanez took the very next pitch to center for an RBI double.  Ben Francisco, another bench player, hit a single to score Werth and then Valdez struck again with a bunt that scored Ibanez.

And just like that, the 3-run lead that Lidge blew was back with a 9-6 score.  JC Romero was called on for the second save attempt and got the job done without issue.  Thank goodness for JC!  You are my hero :O)  Please tell Lidge that he owes you, big time.

The Phillies will play the Reds again tomorrow with a quick turnaround at 12:35pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch and try to sneak the Phils out of town with a series win.

More Injury News

To replace Utley and Polanco, Greg Dobbs was brought back and is clearly still having issues.  He had only 2 hits in 17 at-bats during his short time in AAA and went hitless tonight in 3 attempts.  Brian Bocock was also added to the roster.  At AAA this year, Bocock hit only .177 in 209 at-bats so I cannot imagine he brings much to the table either.  But at this point, beggars cannot be choosers.  The options are limited.

The Phillies are going to have to rely on their bench players if they are going to contend.  They did it in 2007 as Tadahito Iguchi and others filled in admirably for players who went down, like Utley who got hit with a pitch, breaking his hand.  Can they do it again in 2010?  We shall see.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

 

Phillies Injuries Reach Critical Mass

With the announcement today that both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco have been placed on the DL, panic has ensued in Philadelphia.  Much has been said about the Phils being “bitten by the injury bug” this year. 
knife death.jpg
I will take that a step further and say that the Phils have been stabbed mercilessly and repeatedly by the “injury knife of death.”  Bugs can be ignored and swatted away.  But the “injury knife of death” seems a tad more menacing, with just the right amount of violence and desperation mixed in.

I saw a TV show today about a battered wife who stabbed her husband 193 times and then buried him the backyard in a hole he had dug himself for a home improvement project.  It seems both painful and unnecessary.  Sound familiar?  It should, because that is the general tone and feel of the Phillies season thus far.  Just to recap, here are the major injuries by player with the dates and positions:

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – now

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – now

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – now

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – now

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – now

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – now

Starter

SS

Jimmy Rollins

DL

4/13-4/17, 5/22-6/22

Starter

P

Joe Blanton

DL

3/26-5/3

Starter

P 

Brad Lidge

DL

3/26-4/30, 5/10-5/31

Closer

P

JC Romero

DL

3/26-4/22

Relief pitcher

 

The entire infield, except Ryan Howard, has spent time on the DL, including both catchers and 2 starting pitchers.  Sprinkle in 3 relief pitchers plus the closer and we have here the makings of a disappointing season.

Utley hurt his thumb getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double yesterday against the Reds.  After the MRI, he has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb.  Basically, his thumb is going to fall off.  Ok, not so much, but it is really, really bad news. 

Right now they are saying it is a “sprain,” but if the ligament is torn, this usually requires surgery and the recovery time is about 4 months.  Are you counting on your fingers right now?  No need…that brings us to the end of October which means the season would be officially over for Utley.  Utley says he will see several more doctors for additional opinions so we will know more after that.  Hopefully, it is just a sprain but either way, this is not good.

As for Polanco, he has bone spurs in his elbow.  He can try to play through the pain and keep getting cortisone shots, but the shots alone will put him out for 2-3 days at a time.  Off-season surgery is probably already being planned.

So with 7 players still on the DL, Happ not doing well in his rehab, Durbin possibly being lost for the season and the uncertainty surrounding Utley and Polanco, can this team succeed this year?  Get out the defibrillation paddles; if the team flat lines, they are going to need to be resuscitated…fast.  And preferably before the “injury knife of death” strikes again.  Ugh.

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