Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’
The Phillies pulled out a win today, although it was with heavy hearts. One of the best Phillies pitchers of all time, Robin Roberts, passed away today at age 83 of natural causes. Roberts played for the Phillies from 1948 – 1961 and in his entire career he had a 3.41 ERA over 676 games which included 305 complete games.
Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and has been a regular around the Phillies for all these years. Roberts returned to Philly every year for annual induction ceremonies, special events and attended Spring Training each year as well.
Actually, Roberts was scheduled to attend a golf and dinner outing in honor of Harry Kalas in just a few weeks, along with many other Hall of Famers. I have been invited to the event and was very much looking forward to seeing him and having the opportunity to chat with him. But more than being very saddened by this news for that reason, I am terribly sorry for his family and the entire Phillies organization. My heart goes out to everyone who knew him. He was a very special individual.
But the game went on today despite the sad news and the Phillies won it for him. With the 1950 pennant hung at half mast and a black drape around Robert’s Wall of Fame plaque, Roy Halladay took the mound and was a true professional, as usual. Against the Cardinals, he pitched 7 innings and allowing only 1 earned run, Halladay was not super sharp, but still extremely effective.
Halladay walked 3 batters and had a lot of base runners; in the 7th inning with two outs and 2 men on, it even looked like manager Charlie Manuel may pull him from the game. Manuel went out to the mound but with a stern look on his face, Halladay convinced him that he could finish the inning. And with that, it only took one pitch to Matt Holliday to end it. This guy is amazing.
Jayson Werth had a special connection to Roberts as they grew up in the same town and spoke about that often; Werth channeled his grief into a huge game at the plate. He hit 2 doubles and a 3-run homer in the game. Werth did commit an error in right field when the wind and sun helped him drop a fly ball, but no one was complaining after his offensive output.
Carlos Ruiz had a 3-hit day as well with Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard collecting 2 hits each. Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 5th for the 900th RBI of his career. The opposing pitcher, Kyle Loshe, lasted only 4 innings and allowed 5 of the Phillies 7 runs, although 2 were unearned due to errors. Actually, it was a sloppy game all around defensively with each team committing 2 errors a piece.
The umpires did not have a clean game either. Andy Fletcher, who played the villain in Game 1 of this series, had another blooper today. While trying to turn a double play, the Cards Albert Pujols had to jump off first base to catch the ball for the 3rd out of the inning. Replay showed that as Wilson Valdez crossed the bag, Pujols was in mid-air and not on the bag. Valdez was called out by Fletcher who refused to argue with Manuel after the play and walked away. The home plate umpire had some questionable calls as well, but Halladay handled him with a quick chat after the 5th inning.
So the Phillies walk away with a 3 games to 1 series victory over the Cardinals, the best team in the National League. Although now, the Phillies have just 1 less win than the Cards and hold a 2 game lead for first place in the NL East. Tomorrow at 7:05pm, they will begin a 3-game series with the Braves and Jamie Moyer will pitch. The Phillies will begin wearing #36 patches on their jersey’s tomorrow as well in honor of Robin Roberts.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In tonight’s start against the Cardinals, Kyle Kendrick went from zero to hero. Kendrick pitched well in Spring Training, but since the season began he has had just one good start. After a clean 7 innings today with no runs, 6 hits and 2 walks, can this Superhero hold onto his cape? Or will Kendrick morph into an evil villain for his next start?
Consistency is the key. Right now, Kendrick is a one-hit wonder. He is going to need to repeat this success next time out if the Phillies are going to buy into the Superhero façade.
The offense gave Kendrick some runs to work with, but they did not start churning them out until the 4th inning. Placido Polanco smashed a 2-run homer and Shane Victorino hit a solo shot in the 6th. Their 4th run came after Juan Castro singled and Greg Dobbs drove in Wilson Valdez, the pinch runner, with a long double. The bad news is, Castro limped off the field and that is why Valdez was put in. No word yet on how serious the injury may be, but it appears to be a hamstring strain.
After the 7th inning, the game was left to the Phillies bullpen. The pen has not been good so far this year. Danys Baez pitched a clean 8th and Jose Contreras was handed the 9th. With his mother in the stands whom he had not seen since 2003, Contreras had some inspiration. They had been separated since Contreras defected from Cuba and until this home stand, she had never seen her son play in person.
So it was a special night for Contreras, being able to close out the game, and he rose to the occasion. He sent the Cards down in order to hand the 4-0 shut-out victory to the Phillies. It was also Kendrick’s first win of the year.
It will be a quick turn-around for the Phillies as tomorrow’s 4-game finale starts at 1:05pm. Roy Halladay will face ex-Phillie Kyle Loshe. Halladay will be pitching for a series win and his 6th individual win of the season.
Head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography
Could the Cole Hamels of 2008 really be back? In his start tonight against the Cardinals, it certainly looked like it. Hamels pitched 8 innings of shut-out ball, even getting out of a bases-loaded jam against the amazing Albert Pujols.
Well, at least for today, Hamels has earned his wings back. The real test will be his next start and whether or not he can show consistency and repeat an outstanding performance.
Hamels had to be outstanding as the Cards pitcher was equally as impressive. The Phillies managed to squeeze out one run against Adam Wainwright. After a Raul Ibanez triple, Carlos Ruiz hit a long sac fly to score the only run of the game. And Jayson Werth was able to extend his streak of reaching base safely in every game this year, which has not been done by a Phillie since 1920.
However, the 9th inning took an interesting turn. Hamels was primed and ready to close out this ballgame himself when a fan did the unthinkable in such an important and tense situation. Another idiot ran onto the field for the second day in a row to delay the start of the inning and it threw Hamels right off his game. Hamels had to throw warm-up pitches while he waited for the moron to be dealt with. By the time he got started with the real pitches, Hamels allowed two doubles in a row to tie up the game 1-1.
I hope the Philly police tasered this guy too. And maybe later, the real fans can all get together and plan a proper tar and feathering for this bonehead. This behavior is just shameful and gives the good fans a bad rap.
So Hamels was pulled without recording an out in the 9th and the Phillies would have to rely on Brad Lidge to maintain the 1-1 tie. Lidge actually got the job done, putting to rest questions about how he would perform after a long stint on the DL. On to the bottom of the 9th…
Ryan Howard walked, which is awesome. But Werth struck out on a very bad pitch…not awesome. Ibanez flew out to center and then Juan Castro stepped to the plate. Castro was not good tonight at the plate; he was 0-3 at this point, having grounded into a double play and leaving 4 men on base. Well, make it 0 for 4 as he grounded out to send the game into extra innings.
But just when things were looking dreary, thank goodness for CHOOOOCH!!! Carlos Ruiz popped a wall-off homer to center to win it in the 10th! Whooo Hooo!!!! Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs put the exclamation mark on the evening with double shaving cream pies to the face of Ruiz. :O)
Game 3 with the Cardinals starts tomorrow night at 7:05pm. Kyle Kendrick will be pitching for his Major League life. If he has another horrible outing, the Phillies may be forced to look for another solution. Cross your fingers!
Here is a quick injury update: Ryan Madson and his self-inflicted broken toe will be out for a minimum of 2 months. The break was so bad, the doctor had to operate and insert pins to stabilize the fracture. For a bullpen that is already in bad shape, this is not good. Starter JA Happ is also not expected back very soon; it will be the end of May at the earliest. Same goes for Jimmy Rollins. May should be another interesting month.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Shakespeare would have loved this dilemma. After last night’s on-field incident at the Phillies – Cardinals game, the use of a Taser Gun on unruly fans is being questioned. Steve Consalvi, 17, is a senior at Boyertown High who made a very bad decision. He jumped onto the field in the middle of the game and ran around while waving a towel. Here is the video:
The prank was pre-meditated as Consalvi consulted both friends and family members before committing the act. In other words, he knew exactly what he was doing and therefore should have been prepared for the consequences.
And while those consequences may not previously have involved taser guns, my feeling is, if you play with fire, you are going to get burned. Many people around the Philly area are whining about excessive force. Get over it. Whether the person is 17 or 45 years old should not make a difference. How were they supposed to know his age anyway? The officer and Phillies staff had no way of knowing this person’s age or intentions and as such, he was a threat to the players and everyone involved.
If that were my very own teenage child who did that, I’d still vote to taser him. Then again, my child would never act this way; he has been raised properly. As both a parent and a high school teacher, I can tell you that the major problem with kids these days is a lack of discipline and/or total parental disinterest. Hopefully, this will be an important lesson learned for Mr Consalvi.
And maybe now people will think twice before attempting to make total fools out of themselves in Citizens Bank Park. Heck, if they vote to give tasers to the ushers too in order to control all the drunk idiots who are making descent fans lives miserable, I am all for that as well. It is time to grow a pair and stop babying America’s idiots! If we all considered the consequences of our actions before doing something stupid, the world would be a much more peaceful place, even with the taser guns.
You do not have to agree with me, of course. But watch your back; I have an entire arsenal of witty words directly at my disposal and I am not afraid to use them ;o)
Joe Blanton made his season debut tonight after being on the DL through all of April. He had good command until part way through the 7th inning when it looked like he was getting tired. With 2 outs and 2 men on base, Blanton was pulled from the game and his otherwise good outing was spoiled as reliever Nelson Figueroa allowed both of those runs to score. Figueroa gave up 2 more runs of his own that same inning.
The Phillies offense had trouble against the Cardinal’s pitcher, Jaime Garcia. He pitched really well. The inconsistent strike zone did not help either. Home plate umpire, Andy Fletcher, made some very bad calls. The biggest of those was calling interference on Blanton in the 5th inning which cost the Phillies a run and ended the rally. Blanton ran to first after bunting and Fletcher decided he interfered with the catch at first base. The only problem is he did not interfere; he stayed in the baseline and went straight to the bag. Plus, the throw to first was off-line and the fielder had no chance to catch it anyway.
Raul Ibanez was out at third but Carlos Ruiz may have scored as the throw went wide so this imaginary interference called ended the inning and no run scored. Not only did they lose a possible run, but they lost the chance to keep scoring as the inning should have continued. Charlie Manuel was tossed from the game arguing the call.
Later in the game, Fletcher had words with Jayson Werth before his at-bat even started. I have no idea what Jayson said but Fletcher was clearly on the defensive, probably second guessing himself about the earlier call. And why was he calling the play at first anyway? Isn’t that the 1st base umpire’s job? At any rate, Werth answered Fletcher by whacking the first pitch he saw into the center field seats.
The controversy continued when Carlos Ruiz was called out on a strike that was actually a ball. Ruiz expressed his opinion and walked away. But instead of leaving it alone like a professional umpire should unless he is being cussed out, Fletcher followed Ruiz to continue the argument. We have seen this juvenile behavior from umpires more and more in the last several years. Remember the days when umps did not care what anyone thought and just called it as they saw it? Clearly, those days are gone.
I understand they have a job to do; so just do it then. Unless a player is being disrespectful or using foul language, why argue with them? They are entitled to their opinion. The umpire is supposed to rise above such things. Instead, it seems that many of them walk around with a chip on their shoulder just looking for someone to take their frustrations out on.
The Phillies did not lose the game because of the umpire, so that is not the point here. Figueroa pitched badly and the offense did not produce. But all the unnecessary drama is exactly that; unnecessary.
So the 3-6 loss is not the end of the world, but it is a bad start to a 4-game series with the Cards. Game 2 will start tomorrow night at 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies reclaimed their spot in first place last night after an 11-5 win over the Mets. Let us begin with the Tale of Two Teams: Before the game, people like Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino had their game faces on. Jimmy Rollins, still on the DL, was relaxed and posing for me and Jose Reyes was busy fixing his hair. A foretelling of things to come perhaps?
As for the game itself, most of it can be summed up in two innings. In the first inning, things did not look good for pitcher Jamie Moyer and the Phillies. Moyer got the first two outs but after allowing a few singles and then a home run to David Wright, he was in a big hole quickly.
Moyer’s performances this year have had one huge flaw; he always seems to have one bad inning where he gives up a bunch of runs. In the top of the 4th, he allowed 2 more runs on a Rod Barajas homer. Barajas has done serious damage to the Phillies every time he has played his ex-team. Although, Placido Polanco did manage to tag Barajas out going to third:
But the bottom of the 4th inning blew the game wide open for the Phillies. The Mets ace, Johan Santana, had been mowing down Phillies batters, except for solo homers from Polanco and Howard in the 1st. After a Chase Utley double, Santana got the next two batters out, but things then spun wildly out of control.
Raul Ibanez singled to score Utley and Carlos Ruiz walked after that. The bases were loaded with 2 outs for the pitcher, Moyer. You had to imagine Moyer would just make the last out and that would be that. But once Moyer ran the count 2-0, the crowd exploded with anticipation of what might happen next.
On their feet and screaming, “Johan! Johan!” the fans rattled Santana and Moyer, will amazing discipline at the plate, drew the walk to force in a run. Everyone began having flashbacks to Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS when Brett Myers and the crowd did the exact same thing to pitcher CC Sabathia. And who should step to the plate but the same hero from that NLDS game, Shane Victorino.
Back in October of 2008, Victorino followed up the Myers walk with a Grand Slam. Last night, history repeated itself as Victorino, with the crowd cheering him on, hit another Grand Slam! It was the 2nd of his career and I have been present for both of those slams. Shane may want to send me some tickets as it appears I am his good luck charm ;o)
But the inning did not end there. Polanco singled and then Utley homered; and with that, Santana was finally run out of the game. The Mets bullpen gave up one more run after that making it a grand total of 9 runs in the inning. Santana was responsible for 8 of those, which is more runs that he gave up in the entire month of April. And the 10 runs total marks the most runs ever allowed by Santana in a single game for his career.
The Phillies batted around plus 4 in the inning and the outburst seemed to give Moyer new life on the mound. He pitched two scoreless innings after that and even got a hit in the 5th inning. Chad Durbin pitched the 7th and 8th innings without allowing a hit and Danys Baez, feeling comfy with a 6-run lead, closed out the game.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game. Tonight, the Phillies will begin a new series against the Cardinals with Joe Blanton finally returning from the DL. Game time is 7:05pm. Best of luck to Blanton in his season debut!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up. He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain. Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days. This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals.
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places. Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars? Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?
The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade. No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player. Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap. And the Phillies could never afford Pujols. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar. “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”
Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1. Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot. I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.
While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not. JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void. However, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far. Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance. He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery. One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.
Pet Peeve of The Week
So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired. Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison. However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level. Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos. And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.
In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands. He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this. There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans. The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”
First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game. Get over it. Secondly, there are “no worse fans?” Seriously? Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things. While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude.
A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive. That is human nature. You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional. You want rude? Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett! You should be ashamed.
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Photos by Jenn
Even though the Phillies lost, again, to the Marlins yesterday, a loss by the Cardinals gave them home field advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. They will face the Rockies starting on Wednesday in Philly. The Dodgers get the Cardinals.
Despite the loss, a few good things came out of the game yesterday.
· Jayson Werth now stands at 99 RBI for the season with 1 game left.
· Antonio Bastardo, who was with the team earlier in the season but got hurt, is now back and pitched a scoreless 7th inning. Bastardo is a lefty, so this may be good news for the pen.
· Brett Myers pitched a scoreless 6th inning and felt no pain since the hip surgery and shoulder injury.
· Ryan Howard blasted home run #45 for the season.
· Miguel Cairo went 1 for 3 and is making a good case as a bench player on the post-season roster.
· Brad Lidge looked like he may have his mojo back – he pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning and looked sharp for the first time in a LONG time. Maybe it was the change in music? Lidge dumped Drowning Pool’s “Soldiers” in favor of Linkin Park’s “No More Sorrow” as his intro song. I’d say that is fitting.
JA Happ will pitch today in the final game of the regular season and try for lucky win #13 to make his case for Rookie of the Year. Game time is 1:35pm.
Congress & Steroids Revisited
Yesterday, I posted some information on a CBS article that covered a possible Congressional inquest to see whether the regulations on dietary supplements should be revised by Congress. Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was made aware of the issue because of JC Romero’s suspension when he took a supplement that was illegally tainted. Some felt that Congress should not worry about such issues and here is my response:
Senator Specter was made aware of the issue because of baseball, which is always in the limelight, but that is NOT the big picture. This is beyond baseball. It is about innocent people everywhere going to stores like GNC, which is in almost every major shopping mall in the country, and buying their vitamins and supplements and getting more than they bargained for. I am one of those people.
I take a variety of vitamins and supplements which my doctor advised for various medical conditions. These pills are not properly regulated by the FDA, which means you cannot know for sure what you are taking. We all try to buy from reputable sources, but the bottom line is, companies can and will taint their products with illegal and dangerous substances either to save a buck or get you hooked so you will buy more. I hope the only thing in my Vitamin C pill is Vitamin C, but do I know that for sure? No.
These companies are putting people’s lives at risk. Personally, I do not want steroids or anything else that could hurt or kill me in my supplements, do you? So while the steroid issue in baseball may have been the catalyst for looking into the matter, it is not the main issue. Congress does have plenty of issues to tend to, but regulating these drug companies is important as well. Remember that the next time you take some Ginkgo Biloba, Glucosamine and Chondroitin or any other supplement which is unregulated.
The Phillies went down in flames last night against the Marlins, who are officially out of the post-season race. While the Phils have already clinched, home field advantage is still up for grabs but the team has been playing like they are not worried about home field. They looked tired and lifeless in a 2-7 loss last night. The team does play well on the road, with a 48-33 record this year. However, nothing beats the 10th man advantage at home.
Ryan Howard gave the Phils their only jolt of energy in the 1st inning when he blasted a 2-run homer. But pitcher Joe Blanton had a bad game, allowing 4 runs in the first 2 innings, which seemed to put the team right back to sleep. Overall, Blanton allowed 5 runs in 6 innings and took the loss. Several relief pitchers got some work and looked pretty good; Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre did not allow any runs in their outings and all 3 are recently recovered from injuries, so that is good news.
On the other hand, the rookie lefty Sergio Escalona, did not do well. He allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 1 inning and now has a 5.25 ERA for the year. Escalona was the only lefty possibility out of the pen besides Eyre now that JC Romero is hurt. JA Happ may wind up in the bullpen as a result, because at this point, the Phillies cannot afford to put Escalona on the post-season roster.
If the Phillies can win their final 2 games, home field may still be possible. They own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals, but not the Dodgers. The Dodgers would need to lose their final 2 games. So at 4:10pm today, the Phillies will try to beat the Marlins and then tomorrow at 1:35pm. I will be at the last game and return with photos!
Congress & Steroids
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is looking into a possible Congressional inquest to see whether the regulations on dietary supplements should be revised by Congress. The inquiry is a result of over-the-counter supplements being tainted with steroids and illegal substances and Specter became interested in the subject due to JC Romero’s 50-game suspension this year.
Romero took an over-the-counter supplement after getting approval from the Major League Baseball Players Association but the supplement was illegally tainted. Romero sued the supplement manufacturer, but MLB refused to over-turn his ridiculous suspension. The CBS article on the topic goes into greater detail, but essentially these companies need to be held accountable. They are putting people’s lives at risk and it needs to stop. Best of luck to Senator Specter!
Photo by Jenn
Since Friday night’s game did not go well, I decided that it was time for J-Roll Smurf to intervene and add a little Phillies Smurf magic to the equation. So, before the game on Saturday against the Cardinals, J-Roll Smurf enjoyed visiting personally with many of the Phillies players. The real J-Roll was excited to see his old buddy again and Ryan Howard laughed out loud as he thinks J-Roll Smurf is too awesome for words. Also rubbing the luck from J-Roll Smurf yesterday was Brad Lidge, JA Happ, Chad Durbin, Pedro Feliz, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, John Mayberry, Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Walker. And although a few Phillies, like Chan Ho Park and Jamie Moyer, seemed confused by the little blue mascot, J-Roll Smurf rubbed his luck upon them anyway :O) You’ve gotta LOVE Photo Day:
And the Smurfy magic paid off with wins both Saturday and today for a series win over the Cards! In fact, the original J-Roll Smurf, Jimmy Rollins, nailed a GRAND SLAM on Saturday and then a 2-run homer today! There is no stopping him now!
All these wins and entertainment too! On Saturday, some crazy guy tried to interrupt the game with a laser pointer to distract the Cards hitters and a very drunk guy named, “Sully” distracted the entire outfield crowd later on:
Here is the Photo Album from the entire 3-game series!
So the Phillies will hit the road for 3 games against the D-Backs and then 4 with the San Francisco Giants. I will be in San Francisco for all 4 – hope to see you there!
Photos by Jenn