Results tagged ‘ CC Sabathia ’

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.

 

“LIKE” us on Facebookfor more updates & photos!

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Even Halladay Cannot Save The Phillies

Once again, things did not go well for the Phillies tonight.  The way they have been playing, most expected them to struggle against the Yankees.  But with Roy Halladay on the mound, you had to figure tonight would be their best chance at a win.  No such luck…

In the first of a 3-game series in New York, the Phillies went down in flames by a score of 8-3.  Halladay had a very bad day, allowing 6 runs, including 3 homers.  Halladay has only given up 3 homers in a game nine times in his career; the last 3 times have been against the Yankees.  Visably upset at the home plate umpire in the second inning,
One of those days001.jpgHalladay nearly imploded while giving up a triple that scored 2 runs.  The next inning was worse as he surrendered 2 homers and 3 runs.  Halladay had trouble containing his emotions tonight and it hurt him.

The Phillies offense did not help either as they put forth a real effort in only one inning.  With the bases loaded and no outs in the 4th inning, the Phils scraped 3 runs off CC Sabathia with a bunch of singles and a force out that scored a run.  They should have scored more, but Juan Castro was fanned on a 96mph fastball and Carlos Ruiz followed up with a weak ground out.  And after that inning, the offense went right back to sleep.

Manager Charlie Manuel tried to shake up the lineup by flip-flopping Placido Polanco and Chase Utley, with Utley batting second.  Utley did have 2 hits in the game, but still does not look like his old self.  Todd Zolecki tweeted today, “”Asked Chase Utley before the game if he’s healthy. “As far as I know I’m healthy, yes,” he said. “That’s cryptic,” I said. He did not laugh.””  Read what you would like into that, but it does seem that Utley may be having another mystery issue.

The bottom line here is, the offense has shown no signs of life.  The Phils have been so awful, I think they may have better success with brain surgery than hitting a baseball.  And the pitching has suddenly taken a crap, as witnessed tonight and also by the 9 runs each allowed by Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer in their last starts.  And when Halladay is allowing 6 runs a game, you know that things are very, very bad.

Even worse, the next two starters scheduled to pitch are Moyer and the wildly inconsistent Kyle Kendrick…against the Yankees.  If it were the Orioles, maybe they might stand a chance.  Instead, this match-up looks like a disaster waiting to happen.  Hope that the veteran Moyer can rebound and inject some life into this team!  Game time Wednesday night is 7:05pm. 

 

Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

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

 

A Tale Of Two Innings

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?
050510a.jpg 

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:


050210b.jpgBut 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.


050210c.jpgThe 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

 

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

 

Happy Juice

During the official introduction of Roy Halladay yesterday, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. explained further why he chose to ship Cliff Lee off to Seattle.  He backed off the idea of not being able to sign him past one year and moved on to replenishing the farm system.  Amaro admitted this move was a risk, but one he was willing to take in order to keep the franchise winning for years to come, rather than just putting all their eggs into the 2010 basket.

As for the fans, we are all very excited to see Roy Halladay in a Phillies uniform!  But many wish the ultimate pitching dream of Halladay & Lee could have been a reality.  Here is a synopsis of how it all went down for the Lee fans:

5 Stages of Grief In Losing Cliff Lee:

- Denial:  This cannot be happening!  Lee was the only pitcher to win a game for us in the World Series!

- Anger:   Noooooo!  Ruben Amaro Jr., you stink!

- Bargaining:   Hey Ruben, how about we keep both Halladay AND Lee?  Come on….please?  I’ll be your best friend :O)

- Depression:  I am going to crawl in a hole; wake me in the Spring.

- Acceptance:  Oh, ok.  I guess it was a good business decision.  I still love you Ruben :O)  Thank you for a Happy Halladay!

Amaro drunk.jpgMr. Amaro may be the happiest person on the planet right now; he has wanted Halladay for a very long time and finally got his wish.  During the press conference, Amaro referred to the acquisition of Halladay as “intoxicating.”  Well, that does explain a lot about the trade I suppose.  Clearly, he was drunk on Halladay Juice and made some very creative decisions.  I’ll give him an A+ on getting Halladay.  As for letting Lee go in exchange for the prospects, the jury is out until we see how he handles the hangover. ;o)

Well, it is the Halladay Season, so drink up Mr. Amaro!  Just sober up in time for Spring Training.

By the way, the This Year In Baseball awards are in and some Phillies, plus a few of their fans, won awards.  Ruben Amaro Jr. was voted Best Executive; J.A. Happ, who should have gotten the Rookie of the Year award will have to settle for the TYIB Best Rookie prize; Jayson Werth won Best Unsung Star; and the father-daughter pair who were shown all over TV after Dad caught a ball and his daughter tossed it back, were named the season’s Best Oddity.

Congrats to all!

Amaro photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Halladay Shopping Is Done For The Phillies

The Phillies made it official this afternoon; Cy Young award winning pitcher Roy Halladay is now a Phillie :O)  Some say he is the best pitcher in baseball.  This is a huge pick up for the Phillies and an exciting day for the fans.  Halladay has signed a 3-year extension, keeping him in red pinstripes through 2013 for around 20 million a year after his 1-year Jays contract is fulfilled in 2010.

trading copy.jpg

So the Phillies have swapped one Cy Young winner for another and three prospects for 3 different prospects.  The casualties for the Phillies include Cliff Lee, who went to Seattle plus 3 of our top 4 prospects; pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Travis d’Arnaud who all went to the Jays.  In return, the Phillies will get 3 prospects from Seattle to restock the farm system; pitchers Phillipe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies. 

The Cliff Lee trade is disappointing, but it makes sense from a business perspective as the Phillies were nearing their payroll limit and they knew for sure that Lee would be only a 1-year pitcher, testing the market after 2010.  From a fan perspective, it is sad to see Lee go and one cannot help but wish we could have had both Lee and Halladay even for just the one year.

And to all the yahoo’s out there who want to shout obscenities and declare that Phillies fans do not appreciate Roy Halladay, get over yourselves.  It has nothing to do with appreciating Halladay and everything to do with losing Cliff Lee.  If the Yankees got Halladay and had to ship off CC Sabathia to do so, tell me Yankee fans would not be shouting from the rooftops?  It is the same thing.  And yes, Lee and Sabathiha have comparable stats.

We are very, very happy to have Halladay and excited to see him pitch in a Phillies uniform.  But it does seem sad to lose other good players in the process, especially Lee and the three prospects.  You feel like a kid at Christmas that got exactly what you always wanted, but had to give back all your other presents to do so.

I have personally spoken to Michael Taylor, as an example, and he is not only a great player, but a great person as well.  One cannot help but feel disappointed to see these guys leave.  And I saw Lee pitch his first game with the Phillies in San Francisco; he pitched a complete game and made it look easy.  We are entitled to be upset over losing our best pitcher, as I am sure Jays fans are upset over losing theirs.  Are we getting a better pitcher in return?  Absolutely.  But wouldn’t both be so much nicer?

That being said, Phillies fans are thrilled to finally get the big prize!  Happy Halladay’s to everyone in Philly!  I cannot wait until Spring Training :O)

 

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

The Nightmare Is Upon Us

Last year, the Phillies won the World Series behind the strength of Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge.  This year, they are likely going to lose the World Series because of the failure of those same two players.  What was a dream World Series match-up for many has now turned into a nightmare for the Phillies.

The Yankees are up 3 games to 1 in the series and there is no tomorrow for the Phillies.  Winning 3 games in a row is not impossible; the Phils did that many times this year.  But against this Yankees team, it appears to be an insurmountable climb.  But it is not over until it is over and Cliff Lee will pitch tonight.


P8305800 Blanton.jpgAs for last night’s 7-4 loss, Joe Blanton had a Blah-anton-like performance, giving up 4 runs in 6 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks.  Overall, he did not have a good post-season at all and ended with a 6.00 ERA, assuming he does not pitch again.  Much like Cole Hamels the day before, Blanton looked good for about 3 innings after a horrible 2-run 1st inning.  If he had held it to those 1st two runs, that would have been great.  But, no such luck.

The offense scratched and clawed at CC Sabathia to get back into the game and did manage to score 3 runs off him, including Chase Utley’s 3rd solo homer off CC this post-season.  But two hottest hitters this week, went hitless: Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz.  And Raul Ibanez continues to be worthless at the plate; he is batting .188.  Pedro Feliz had suffered as well, but came up with a 3 hit night, including the game tying home run in the 8th inning.

But the heroics by Feliz, which at the time felt like a real positive, were quickly squashed by another Brad Lidge disaster.  Lidge came into the 9th with a 4-4 tie and got the first two outs in the blink of an eye.  But that 3rd out still eludes Lidge, as it has all year long.  He gave up a hit to Johnny Damon who then blew the game wide open. 

The Phillies put the shift on for Mark Teixiera, so Feliz was covering 2nd base.  Now, we all know that every base runner steals on Lidge, right?  Well, we all know that except maybe Lidge, who appeared confused by what has become routine for him.  The problem here is that no one was covering 3rd base and Damon kept right on going.  After the game, Lidge was asked who should have covered 3rd and he said, “I don’t know.”  News flash: it was you, Brad!  Ugh.

Then with the runner on 3rd, he proceeded to hit Teixiera with a pitch.  This is where I believe it really went to hell; Teixiera had ONE hit all series long.  This was not the guy to screw up with.  If he was going to get out of the inning, Teixiera was the guy to go after.  BIG mistake.  After that, the rest is history; an A-Rod single scored Damon and Jorge Posada knocked in two more.  And Lidge walks off with an ERA of 27.00.  Yikes!

I am going to the game tonight and hopefully, I will not have to witness the Phillies going down in flames.  But it does not look good right now, except for the fact that Cliff Lee will pitch.  Lee has been the only bright light thus far in the World Series for the Phillies pitchers, but he cannot do this alone.  I wish him (and me) luck tonight!

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

A Frightening Performance

Last year on Halloween Day, the Phillies were celebrating by parading down Broad Street.  This year on Halloween Day, they took a spanking from the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series with an 8-5 loss after a 1 hour and 20 minute rain delay.  Cole Hamels did not follow my instructions and wear his “Hamels: Version 2008” costume for the occasion.  Instead, Hamels 2009 took the mound and gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks.  A scary Halloween, indeed, complete with cloudy skies, rain and a 1-2 game deficit in the series.


103109a.jpgThis has been the story for Cole all year long; he simply cannot be counted on.  He pitched well for 3 innings and then lost composure on a walk to Mark Teixeira that he felt should have been a strikeout in the 4th.  A-Rod batted next and launched a controversial home run; the ball hit a FOX TV camera which was sticking out over the field.  Instant Replay showed the hit and by rule, the interference made it a home run.  This brings up another point: why is a TV camera sticking out over the field?  They cannot back up a few inches?  That simply should not be allowed.  Way to go FOX.

It all fell apart after that.  Once again, even though Cole showed signs of impending disaster, manager Charlie Manuel sent him out for the 5th and again, left him in way too long.  He even allowed an RBI single to the pitcher, Andy Pettitte, who almost never picks up a bat.  3 runs later and this game was going downhill fast.  The bullpen could not hold the Yanks to those 5 either.  The next 3 relievers allowed one run a piece in each of the next 3 innings.


103109b.jpgAdd to that the horrible offensive display and Phillies fans are having flashbacks to slumps from earlier in the season.  The Yankees who had not been hitting in this series, like A-Rod and Nick Swisher, found Hamels to be the cure.  And the Phillies who were performing all post-season long, like NLCS MVP Ryan Howard, have seemingly lost their bats and cannot find them anywhere.

Jayson Werth looked to be the only Phillie interested in hitting; he knocked two solo home runs in the game.  Carlos Ruiz also hit a solo homer and walked twice.  The other 2 runs came off a walk to Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded and a Shane Victorino sac fly.  And that was basically the sum total of the offense.


103109c.jpgAnother item that irks me here:  Eric Bruntlett was put in as a pinch hitter with a man on base in a situation where a home run was really what they needed.  Why not Matt Stairs?  Bruntlett should never be used as a pinch hitter unless they are looking to bunt.  He had a terrible season and looks like he could not hit the side of a barn.  Not to mention, he almost never hits homers.

Phils Yanks Gm3.jpg

As for Hamels, he is lined up to pitch Game 7, if it goes that far.  In my opinion, this should not even be a consideration.  Hamels has proven all year that he cannot get the job done, especially under pressure.  He should be done.  Come up with a mystery injury, replace him on the roster with another bullpen arm or bench player and send in Cliff Lee on short rest with JA Happ as his back-up.  If I was in charge, that is what would happen.  But since I am not in charge, hang on Phillies fans, it is going to be a bumpy ride if this goes 7 games.

The Phillies can try to tie up the series tonight with a win, but it will be Joe Blanton against CC Sabathia.  Blanton has not done very well this post-season and is sporting a 4.66 ERA.  Sabathia is the better pitcher, but does have awful memories of last post-season to overcome, including his lost battles with Brett Myers at the plate, a Grand Slam by Victorino and the banter of the home crowd.  Plus he is on 3 days rest, same as that game last year where the Phillies beat up on him when he was with the Brewers. 

My tummy hurts just thinking about this.  Plus, I have an awful hangover from last night’s game, and I did not drink anything but water.  Yet somehow, the nausea and headache still persist.  Hmmmmm….wonder why? ;o)

Here is the full Photo Album from Game 3.  I took a lot of photos of both teams, something I normally do not do.  I also got some great pre-games shots which include Hall of Famers and old-timers, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox.  Some are a tad blurry as it rained most of the game and I had water on my lens :O(  But I still did pretty well.  At least this will be more enjoyable than the game was :O)

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Phils Take Game 1 With Lee’s Complete Game

The Phillies got off to a great start with a 6-1 win in game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees.  P8195426 Lee.jpgCliff Lee was a magician on the mound, going the distance and not allowing any earned runs.  The 1 Yankees run came on a Jimmy Rollins error.  Lee dominated; he struck out 10 batters and looked like a giddy kid tossing a little league game, running in and out of the dugout and fielding balls with youthful nonchalance.  A few waves of the Lee magic wand, and the Yanks were sunk.

A few waves of Chase Utley’s bat worked a little magic as well.  Utley hit 2 home runs off CC Sabathia, putting the Phillies up 2-0 in the 6th inning, with the first homer coming in the 1st inning.  The pitching duel continued until Raul Ibanez knock 2 runs in with a single in the 8th to pad the lead.  The Phillies added 2 more runs in the 9th on singles by Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard.  Victorino was thrown out at the plate right after Rollins scored, but the score was 6-0 at that point so the aggressive move to send Victorino made sense.

The Phillies have now taken the Home Field advantage away from the Yankees and silenced doubters who thought the Yanks would walk all over this team.  Clearly, the Yankees have some trouble in their bullpen which will be an advantage for the Phillies who did a great job working Sabathia’s pitch count up to get to their pen.

In addition, I personally cannot wait to see what the New York media decides to post after this loss. 

Victorinoxx.jpg
Before the series began, the NY media took shots at the Phillies and their players that resembled high school bullying. 

This cover of Shane Victorino is just one example of how New York is taking this team way too lightly.  Shane thought it was funny but ultimately, it is irresponsible journalism, if you can even call it journalism.  But that is fine; the Phillies showed them what this team is made of.  They should be afraid….very afraid.

Game 2  is tonight with Pedro Martinez  on the mound!  Another media spectacle, for sure, but it will be a very entertaining game.  Go Phillies!!!  And for the Cliff Lee fans….Go PhilLEEs!!!!!

Lee photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

World Series Game 1 Break Down

The Phillies – Yankees World Series is just a day away.  Wednesday night at 7:57pm in New York, the fun begins!  Let us examine the position by position match-up based on 2009 post-season results:

Starting Pitchers:  Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia

The match-up of two former Cy Young winners who played together in Cleveland is a dream pitching duel.  h4ti1eczjwyhrg0woeh381gj2.gifStatistically, this is a close one to call.  Lee led all team in ERA with a 0.74 this post-season and Sabathia pitched at a 1.19 ERA.  Lee has been lights out in the post-season, but did have a few struggles in September.  However, this appears to be a non-issue for him in big games.  Sabathia, on the other hand, has been just as good, but the Phillies have an advantage; they beat up on Sabathia last post-season and therefore have at least a mental edge in the situation.  It is a new year and a new team for Sabathia though, so how much this will factor in remains to be seen.  I am calling this one a draw.

Closers: Brad Lidge vs. Mariano Rivera

This one goes easily to Rivera, who is possibly the best closer ever in baseball.  Lidge appears to be past his struggles, but there is still a shadow of doubt hanging over him.

Catchers: Carlos Ruiz vs. Jorge Posada

As far as ability to call a game, these two are evenly matched.  At the plate, Ruiz has been hot, hot, hot this October.  Add his youth to the equation and he has the advantage.  Ruiz batted .346 this post-season with 7 RBI vs. Posada’s .258 average and 3 RBI.  Winner: Ruiz

First Base: Ryan Howard vs. Mark Teixeira

While Tex has the advantage defensively, in terms of sheer wrecking power, Howard wins it hands down.  Howard batted .355 with 14 RBI compared to Tex’s .205 and 5 RBI.  While the low numbers are not typical of Tex, Howard is clearly in the zone.

Second Base: Chase Utley vs. Robinson Cano

Utley had a few brain farts in the NLCS on defense and his bat seemed to be up and down, but with the week off, Utley should be back to top form.  Cano batted .229 and had a few more RBI and extra base hits than Utley; but Utley still batted .303 despite the struggles and continues to find ways to get on base.  Utley is one of the best overall hitter in all of baseball; this one goes to him.

Short Stop: Jimmy Rollins vs. Derek Jeter

Last year and even in Spring Training this year, Rollins had a clear advantage over Jeter.  He got more playing time and performed better in the World Baseball Classic and had a better 2008 season overall.  But J-Roll has been in and out of a funk all year long in 2009.  Jeter has been solid and continually finds ways to makes plays.  Both are stellar on defense, but Jeter’s bat has been a lot hotter than Rollins lately.  Winner: Jeter

Third Base: Pedro Feliz vs. Alex Rodriguez

Ok, duh.  Just hand this one over to A-Rod and be done with it.  12 RBI vs. 2 and .438 average vs. .161 – no brainer.  Feliz is looking sluggish; and while he has a slight edge defensively, this is no competition.  A-rod all the way.

Right Field: Jayson Werth vs. Nick Swisher

Another no-brainer, but this one favors the Phillies.  Werth can be streaky, but his .281 average, 5 home runs and 10 RBI blows away Swishers .125 and 1 RBI.  Winner: Werth

Center Field: Shane Victorino vs. Melky Cabrera

The Flyin’ Hawaiian vs. The Melk Man: Shane wins on the cooler nickname alone.  Ok, seriously, this one is a little closer than some.  The batting averages are both good; .361 for Victorino and .314 for Cabrera.  But Victorino’s 26 total bases and 7 RBI beats Cabrera who had 13 bases and 4 RBI in the post-season.  Victorino’s speed is also a huge plus; Shane takes this competition.

Left Field: Ben Francisco vs. Johnny Damon

Francisco is a bench player who will take left field in game 1 while Raul Ibanez serves as the DH.  His lack of experience in the field this year and few at-bats may be a detriment, although he does have more speed in the outfield than Ibanez.  Damon is a solid veteran who should do well under the pressure of the familiar World Series lights; he got his ring in 2004 with the Red Sox.  The winner here is Damon, based on experience and a solid 2009 season.

Designated Hitter: Raul Ibanez vs. Hideki Matsui

Both hitters have had a similar down post-season; Ibanez is batting .226 and Matsui is at .233.  Each has 1 homer and 7 hits.  Ibanez has driven in 4 more runs than Matsui, but has also been playing hurt.  Sports Illistrated reported last week that Ibanez has been playing since June with a torn abdominal muscle, which does explain his second half slump.  But Ibanez, a 14-year veteran, is excited for his first World Series and will not let the injury slow him down.  For his determination alone, I am giving a slight edge in this battle to Ibanez.

The tally then is Phillies, 6 and Yankees 4, not counting the starting pitchers, which appears to be a tie.  So it looks good for the Phillies on paper, but the game is played on the field.  We shall see how it goes!

Comment Corner

I asked all my readers to let me know what their dream World Series would be and here is what we know:

Peter of Outside the Phillies Looking In prefers a Phillies – Cleveland series for geographical reasons.  He lives near the home of the Tribe.

Buz of Yesterday’s Hitter agrees that the Phillies – Yankees are the dream match-up because of all the talent on both sides!

And a few other interesting comments:

Jeff of Red State Blue State is rooting for the Phillies for the first time ever!  Congrats Jeff…you have finally come to your senses ;o)

 Jane of Confessions of a She-Fan already has a tummy ache just thinking about the Lee-Sabathia match-up; don’t we all!

Go Phillies!

Victorino’s Final All-Star Bid With Walk-Off Win

P6135786 Werth.jpg

Tonight the Phillies faced the Reds in game 3 of this 4-game series and drama ensued.  Homer Bailey started the game for the Reds and true to his name, gave up a homer to Jayson Werth in the 6th inning, Werth’s 19th of the season.  What a horrible name for a pitcher…Homer.  Poor guy.  But for most of the game, he was very good and kept the Phillies hitters off balance.

The home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa, created a lot of controversy with his rather large strike zone; 20 strikeout’s were recorded in the game and 14 of those batters went down looking.  And so the game remained very tight throughout.

P2232834 Victorino.JPG
The Phillies entered the 9th inning with a 2-2 tie and needed a hero to nail this one down.  With 2 outs and 2 on, The Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, stepped to the plate and solidified his campaign for an All-Star roster spot.  Shane singled into centerfield and Pedro Feliz scored to win the game, 3-2!
 VOTE FOR SHANE! 

Rules of Engagement

One of the more entertaining aspects of tonight’s game, as I mentioned earlier, was watching the Reds hitters argue and scream and cuss at the home plate umpire, Ron Kulpa.  To sum it up, basically every pitch was bound to be called a strike.  But he called it the same way for both side.  Yet, no less than 3 Reds players got right up in his face and yelled about strike calls.  It makes you wonder, why were none of these players thrown out of the game?  Not that I like watching guys get tossed, but how much grief is any umpire supposed to take?  Granted, this was one of the worst umpiring jobs I have seen in a long time, but the Phillies maintained controlled and did not try to rip his head off like the Reds did.  In fact, it is a rule that no one is allowed to argue balls and strikes (Official baseball rules section 9.02(a)).  After the first or second player, the ump needs to start ejecting guys.  Just sayin’…

Pitching Possibilities

Rodrigo Lopez did a great job through 5 innings tonight, but was removed from the game early with right shoulder inflammation.  That is certainly not good news.  However, maybe the push to get a quality starting pitcher like Roy Halladay of the Jays will reach a new level with the possibility of Lopez no longer being available. 

The Phillies front office has been insistent that certain minor league prospects are “untouchable” but frankly, that attitude will not get them far when competing with other teams who are more flexible.  Understanding the value of prospects in the farm system, teams need also be reminded of the value of winning, and winning right now.  With the Phillies core players in place, coming off a World Championship, the window of opportunity to win it again will likely only remain open for a few years.  So, if they need to give up 2-3 big prospects to get another ring, it seems like a fair trade off.

If the Phillies can get a #1 starter like Halladay, they would be foolish to let him go to another team.  Last year, they did miss out on CC Sabathia and even Manny Ramirez, and yes, they still won it all.  But the 2009 team has run into pitching trouble after losing Brett Myers, who was a big part of the World Series win.  The bullpen has been overworked and their production is way down from 2008.  This is a different team; the Phillies need a big starter if they are to have a shot at repeating.

Keep Voting!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Gizmo.jpg
The clock is ticking!  Shane Victorino has a chance to go to the All-Star game in St. Louis but he needs our help!  Gizmo the Chinchilla has been typing away all day long, but his little paws are getting tired.  Won’t you please help him out?  You can
VOTE as many times as you are able to!  Humans and rodents alike have until tomorrow at 4pm to get Shane in! 

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 477 other followers