Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

Phillies Clinch 5th Straight NL East Title

For the 5th straight year, the Phillies are National League East Champs!  A 9-2 win over the Cardinals sealed the division.

The winning pitcher was Roy Oswalt who did not allow a single run through seven innings.  Oswalt seems to finally have his mojo back after suffering a good part of the year with back issues.  But tonight, he was spot-on.

The celebration began a little bit early in the eighth inning.  Going into the eighth, the Phillies were in a tight 3-2 game.  But Raul Ibanez rode in like a knight on a white horse, blowing the game wide open when he smashed a grand slam.  The crowd exploded and the party carried right through to the end of the game.

Although it was not a save situation, Ryan Madson was given the 9th inning, which was fitting.  After going through four closers this year due to injuries, Madson has established himself as the go-to guy.  He deserved to be on the mound to close out the game.

Chase Utley made the final play with a little bit of flash as he barehanded a hopping grounder and tossed to first.  For a guy who is normally all grit and no glitter, it was fun to see him add a bit of style to the final out.

To kick off the champagne celebration, the Phillies gathered around Hunter Pence.  He looked like he was the monkey in the middle as the team started popping the corks, dousing Pence in the process.


Clinching the title early means more rest for guys who have been nursing injuries like Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco.  But there are still games to be played and home field advantage up for grabs.  Look for the Phillies to keep trying to win games, starting tomorrow night at 8:05pm.  Cole Hamels will pitch.

I will return with photos.  See you there!


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Head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Extra-Inning Bummer as Phillies Wait to Clinch

Against the Cardinals, Phillies rookie pitcher Vance Worley had another adventurous, yet effective, outing.  Through 6 innings, the Vanimal allowed one run on six hits and three walks.  The run was issued on a bases loaded walk.  Worley seems to have a knack for allowing base runners which elevates his pitch count.  He gets out of the jams, but cannot go deep into games as a result.

But Worley limited the damage, giving the Phillies a chance.  The offense however, took that chance and sat on it.  This turned out to be the 8th straight game where the Phillies scored three runs or less.

Once again, one of the few Phillies in the line-up able to hit was John Mayberry Jr. who went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.  In the field, Mayberry was not so sharp, bobbling or missing three balls at first base.  He was charged with one official error, although none of the goofs really hurt the team.

What actually hurt the team was the lack of hitting, which also resulted in extra innings.  The first four hitters in the line-up combined to go 0-for-18 through 11 innings.  As a team, the Phillies tallied only seven hits, left the bases loaded with one out and left eight men on base.

Losing 2-1, the Phillies tied the game up in the 9th.  After a Ryan Howard pinch-hit double, Carlos Ruiz sent a fly ball to right, which was dropped by the fielder.  But then in the 11th, the 2-2 tie was broken after rookie pitcher Michael Schwimer allowed two runs, giving the Cards a 4-2 lead.  So yesterday Schwimer got his first major league win and today, his first loss.  His ERA has ballooned to 4.82.

In the bottom of the 11th, the Phillies got a single from Placido Polanco, but did nothing else.  John Bowker, who is now 0-7 as a Phillie, made the final out for the 4-2 loss.

The offense, which was cooking earlier this month, has suddenly stalled.  The good news is that the Mets are currently spanking the Braves by a score of 11-2 in the 8th inning.  If that score holds, the Phillies need only one game to clinch the NL East.

Division Magic # – 2 games (at time of posting)

Home Field Advantage Magic # – 4  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*

More Injuries & a Blow-Out Loss

This has not been a good couple of days in the injury department for the Phillies.  Here is a quick look at the damage:

Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season with elbow inflammation.  Lefty Juan Perez was called-up from the Triple-A Iron Pigs to take his roster spot.  Perez played for the Pirates in 2006 & 2007 for a short time, but has spent most of his seven-year career in the minors.

– The Phillie Phanatic suffered an injury as well.  While entertaining atop the first base dugout at an Iron Pigs game, the Phanatic was hit in the neck with a foul ball.  For the Phanatic’s best friend Tom Burgoyne, the neck area was actually Tom’s face.

The Phanatic went to the hospital; I am not sure whether they called a doctor, a veterinarian or an environmental biologist, but the Phanatic will not be joining Contreras on the DL.  He should be ready for the weekend series at CBP.

– And finally, Roy Oswalt was pulled from today’s game against the Cardinals after two innings where he allowed four runs.  After about one out in the second, Oswalt began teetering sideways off the mound after his delivery.  It got worse as the inning went on, where he began hopping and stumbling after pitches while grabbing his lower back.

Why no one else saw this is curious.  I was screaming at the TV, but sadly, no one heard me ;o)  Oswalt was left in to finish the inning and reports are that he has back spasms.

I suppose the spasms are no surprise; Oswalt has a history of back issues and has been on the DL once already this season with the same issue.  In his last four starts, Oswalt has allowed 15 runs in only 21.1 innings.

As for the new bullpen piece, Perez pitched the seventh and walked two batters, but did not allow a run.  Kyle Kendrick pitched the 3rd-6th innings and gave up two runs, adding to Oswalt’s four.

So with 6 runs, the Cardinals were ready to run away with the game as the Phillies offense was lulled to sleep.  It did matter too much though as Danys Baez put the game well out of reach for the Phillies in the 8th inning.  He walked in a run, gave up a 3-run homer and ended up with six earned runs handed over to the Cards.  You could say he added insult to all the injuries.

The Phillies went down in flames by a score of 12-2.  They travel back home tonight to go back to Interleague play.  The Athletics are first on the schedule; Vance Worley will pitch at 7:05pm.

An NL East Update

This has been a weird week overall for the NL East.  First, the Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez suddenly quit after the Fish went on a real bender, losing 18 of 19 games in the month of June.

Not to be outdone, the Nationals manager Jim Riggleman one-upped Rodriguez.  After the Nationals WON 11 of their last 12 games, the opposite of the Marlins month, Riggleman gave the Nats an ultimatum.  He told his GM in a meeting they needed to extend his contract then and there or he would not get on the bus for the Nats next game.

Riggleman quit, just like that.  And just like that, he will probably never work in baseball again.  Who in their right mind would hire a guy who just quits when he does not get his way?  It was unprofessional and just plain stupid.  I do not care how disrespected he felt that his contract was not extended sooner.  If the team felt it should wait until the end of the year, then he should have just waited it out.  Abandoning his team like that is just wrong.   Nats fans should be livid.


Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Another Complete Game Shut-Out For Magician, Cliff Lee

After a wild start where he walked the first batter on four pitches, Cliff Lee settled down in St. Louis and disposed of the Cardinals one batter at a time.  The 4-0 shut-out win improves Lee’s record to 8-5.

After tonight, Lee has pitched 23 consecutive scoreless innings.  This was also his second consecutive complete game shut-out.  While Lee had some shaky starts early on and trouble in road games, he seems to be in a groove now.

And Lee makes it look easy.  It is as if he pulls a magic wand out of his hat, waves it and all is well.  Abracadabra, you are OUT.  The Cardinals were helpless against Magician Lee.

The Phillies offense had to contend with former Phillie, Kyle Lohse.  And while they did not light the ballpark on fire, a few homers got the job done.  In the 3rd inning, Jimmy Rollins hit a solo shot and Ryan Howard smacked a two-run homer.

In the 9th against the Cardinals bullpen, the Phillies added on one more run.  Shane Victorino tripled and Chase Utley popped a sac fly to score him.  In Tuesday night’s game, the Phillies beat up on the Cards bullpen to the tune of nine runs in the 8th inning.

Some more good news involves Placido Polanco.  After getting hit in the hand with a pitch yesterday, Polly is just fine and started today’s game.  He went 1-3 at the plate and played solid defense.  Polly seems to be just fine.

Roy Oswalt will pitch on Thursday night; game time is 8:15pm.


Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Cardinals Implode in the 8th & Hand the Phillies a Win

Tonight’s Phillies – Cardinals match-up was basically a snooze-fest through six innings.  For the Cards, few hits were not surprising since they had to face Roy Halladay.  But the Phillies faced a pitcher they really should have hit and they did not.

Halladay allowed only one run.  Although if Placido Polanco had gotten a ground ball out of his glove quicker in the 5th, he would have had a double play to prevent that run from scoring.

Polanco had a bad day overall.  He is simply not hitting while in the 5-hole and went 0-for-3 today.  In the 8th inning, Polly got plunked with a pitch in the hand.  And though he got an RBI because the bases were loaded, he had to leave the game.  No word yet on how serious the injury may be.

The rest of the offense was just as bad against starter Kyle McClellan.  They managed only five hits and one run off a very average starter.  Carlos Ruiz was the only exception with three hits off McClellan and four hits in the game total.

What is really frustrating is watching Phillies batters strike out with less than two outs and the bases loaded or hit into a double play with runners on base.  Raul Ibanez did both tonight.

But the Cardinals proceeded to implode in the 8th after McClellan was lifted.  The drama began when two hitters got hit with pitches, including Polanco, and Chase Utley was walked before that.  Three runs were forced home that inning.

Suddenly, the Phillies offense woke up.  I suppose three free runs will do that.  Another run scored on a Ben Francisco pinch-hit and two more on a Jimmy Rollins single. All of this happened with two outs, and they were not done yet.  After batting around, Utley added two more runs with a single.  Ryan Howard followed suit and another run scored.

Let us total the top of the 8th inning damage:  4 walks, 2 HBP, 5 singles, 9 runs scored & 43 minutes of playing time.

By the time the magical 8th inning came to a close, the Phillies went from trailing 2-1 to leading by a score of 10-2.

The only shame, again, was that a great pitching performance from Halladay did not yield a win for him.  So both he and Cole Hamels are still waiting for win #10.

Cliff Lee will pitch on Wednesday night; game time is 8:15pm.


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

A Tale of Two Away Games

The Phillies final two games in Seattle were a stark contrast to each other.  Saturday night’s 5-1 win was against 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.  But on Sunday, the Phillies lost to Jason Vargas, an average pitcher who entered the game with a 4.13 ERA.

With Vance Worley starting Saturday, the Phillies managed to score some runs.  Worley held the Mariners to just one run over five innings and then Shane Victorino provided most of the offense.

Victorino ended the game just a single short of the cycle and had four RBI on three hits, including a 2-run homer.  Jimmy Rollins had three hits as well.  Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez added two hits apiece.

But Sunday, the Phillies seemingly could not hit their way out of a barn.  Howard had two hits, Ben Francisco had one and that was it for the offense.  Vargas tossed a complete game shut-out as the Phils sat and watched.

Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing only two runs on a few very cheap, bloop hits.  Hamels also collected his 1,000 career strike out in the fourth inning.

If he had won the game, Hamels would have been the first pitcher in the majors to 10 wins.  He and six other pitchers, including Roy Halladay, are stuck at nine wins.  But it was not meant to be.  Wasting such a great performance was a real shame.

But welcome to Interleague play with the Phillies.  Every year, it is a struggle for them.  After losing two out of three to the Mariners, the Phillies are off tomorrow as they travel to St. Louis for three games with the Cardinals starting on Tuesday.


Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Offense Still Missing; More Injuries

I will start with the good news.  Roy Oswalt looked good Tuesday night and had some speed on his fastball.  Through five innings, he allowed only one run, which could have been avoided if third-string catcher, Dane Sardinha knew how to tag anyone at the plate.

And now the bad news….the Phillies offense is still missing in action.  The Phillies collected only six hits, two of which were from rookie Michael MartinezRyan Howard struck out three times and left three men on base, which is unusual for him in his hometown of St. Louis.  Howard normally rakes when he is home.

All together, the Phils left 10 men on base and the only run they scored was unearned after Tyler Greene dropped a routine Jimmy Rollins pop-up.

And now for the ugly…Danys Baez came into a tie 1-1 game in the ninth and proceeded to load the bases before recording an out.  J.C. Romero was in next and he threw only one pitch.  That one pitch went deep center field, handing the game to the Cardinals for a two-game sweep.

And now for the “Oh crap!” moment of the game…rookie reliever Michael Stutes tossed three pitches in the sixth before signaling to the bench that he was hurt.  He left the game with a strained a right side muscle.  No word yet on how serious it is, but this is just one more disaster that the Phillies cannot afford.

The offense has been so bad for this team, I am finally out of words to describe it.  If the Phillies do not find a way out of this slump fast, they will find themselves plummeting down the ranks of the NL East.  The Marlins are only 1/2 game behind them and the Braves are 1.5 games back.  Ugh.

It’s Official: A Phillies Losing Streak

Some said that with this pitching staff, it would never happen.  And yet, here it is…a losing streak of three games.  Those who called it impossible must have severely overestimated the Phillies offense.

Because this offense has been horrific.  Pathetic, anemic and just plain awful are a few other descriptive terms you may choose.  On Monday night, the Phillies faced a pitcher with an ERA over 7.0 and they still only managed one lousy run.  They lost to the Cardinals 3-1.


There were a total of four Phillies hits in the game and one of those came from the pitcher, Cliff Lee.  Yes, Lee out hit everyone, except Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco who had the other three hits.

On the mound, Lee was a bit off and high in the strike zone.  He walked a career-high six batters, although at least two of those were on badly missed calls from the umpire.  Still, through 6.1 innings, Lee allowed three runs and kept the team in the game.  The problem was, no one else looked like they wanted to be in the game.

The hitters were impatient at the plate with a home plate ump who was obviously squeezing the pitchers.  All three walks issued by the Cardinals were to Ryan Howard.  With the way the strike zone was, they should have had at least three or four more free passes.

Personally, I think the starting pitchers need to get together and start screaming at the offense.  Chase Utley missing is not an excuse.  They have hit without him before and are capable of doing it again.  One man does not make a team.

Roy Oswalt will pitch tonight, despite his back issues, which makes me nervous.  Because if the Phillies continue to fail to score runs, Oswalt will have no room for error.  They could lose their fourth straight game and second straight series.  Game time is 8:15pm.



Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography


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


Size Matters: Top 10 “Biggest” In MLB History

Anyone who says size does not matter has clearly missed out on some key moments in baseball history.

In the early 1900’s, President Roosevelt borrowed an old African proverb by stating, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” And while he may not necessarily have been referring to baseball, the saying seems to have made impact on the sport anyway.

The following is a list of the top 10 “big” moments, statistics and feats in baseball throughout the years.

The Biggest Bat

Babe Ruth played in the major leagues for 22 seasons, from 1914 to 1935. The 714 home runs he hit in that time span were smacked using the biggest bat in baseball history.

The 52 ounce bat swung by Ruth is the largest recorded bat size ever. Most players today use bats that average around 34-36 ounces in weight.

The Biggest Paycheck

A-Rod1.jpgBig is always better, especially when money is involved. Third baseman for the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez, signed the biggest baseball contract in MLB history in 2007.

The 10-year, $275 million contract broke A-Rod’s previous record of $252 million.

The Biggest Stature

The tallest player in Major League history is relief pitcher Jon Rauch, who measures six-feet, eleven inches in height.

Currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Rauch first took the field on April 2, 2002. This year, Rauch will be competing for the closer role with the Jays.

The Biggest Mass

In 2005, first baseman Walter Young crushed the competition, weighing in at a whooping 322 pounds with a body mass index of 38.2, also the biggest in baseball.

Officially the heaviest player ever to grace a major league field, Young played only 15 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 and batted .303.

Young played in the minor leagues until 2009.  Currently, Young serves as a shift sergeant at the county jail for the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department in his home state of Mississippi.

The heaviest current MLB player is pitcher CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees who weighs in at 290 pounds.

The Biggest Home Run

509px-Mantle_ny.jpgA topic of much debate, the biggest home run in major league history was said to have been hit by New York Yankee Mickey Mantle on September 10, 1960.

Considered “the longest home run ever,” this ball is estimated to have travelled around 643 feet and was hit against the Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.

However, the longest verifiable home run distance is about 575 feet, which was hit by Babe Ruth on July 18, 1921, to straightaway center field at Tiger Stadium (then called Navin Field). It landed across the intersection of Trumbull and Cherry.

Since 1982, when the technology for accurately measuring home runs was put in place, the longest homer stands at 535 feet. That ball was hit by Adam Dunn against Jose Lima of the Dodgers on August 10, 2004.

The Biggest Dollar Amount Ever Shelled Out For A Baseball

Mark McGwire’s 70th home run baseball, which was hit on September 27, 1998 off pitcher Carl Pavano, fetched a gigantic $3,054,000 dollars at Guernsey’s auction house in New York City.

Sold on January 12, 1999 to action figure and comic book creator Todd McFarlane, his collection also includes McGwire’s #1, 63, 67, 68 and 69 home run Balls, along with Sammy Sosa’s #33, 61 and 66 home run balls.

The over $3 million dollar payment is the most money ever shelled out for a baseball.

The Biggest Payroll

In the year 2010, the New York Yankees continued their streak of breaking the bank with a total team payroll of $206,333,389.

The next closest payroll was that of the Boston Red Sox at $162,447,333. That is a difference of almost $44 million dollars.

The Biggest Arm

Prior to the 2010 season, the fastest reliable recorded speed which a baseball had ever been pitched was 100.9 mph by Nolan Ryan of the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium in California on August 20, 1974.

Since that time, Ryan’s record was broken by Reds rookie Aroldis Chapman on September 24, 2010 at PETCO Park in San Diego. That pitch was clocked at 105.1 mph.

The Biggest Hitting Streak

Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees began an unprecedented hitting streak on May 15, 1941.  56 games later on July 16, the streak ended.  This record still stands today.

The only other player who came close was Pete Rose in 1978.  His 44 games hit streak lasted from June 14 to August 1, just 12 games short of the record set by DiMaggio.

The Biggest Determination

He is not called the “Iron Man” for no reason. Third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken Jr. set the record for the most consecutive games ever played with 2,632. The streak lasted from May 30, 1982 until September 19, 1998, spanning 16 seasons.

This feat blew away the previous record which was set by Lou Gehrig from 1925 to 1939 with 2,130 consecutive games.

Ripken played his entire career with the Orioles and retired after the 2001 season.


A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Mantle photo by Wikimedia Commons

*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*