Results tagged ‘ Cole Hamels ’

Phillies Settle for Series Win Instead of Sweep

Despite their struggles, the Phillies actually had a good shot at sweeping the Nationals today to end the 3-game series.  But they apparently had one thing working against them: Ryan Howard.  I hate to be so blunt about it, but Howard absolutely stunk up the ballpark today.  He struck out to end an inning 4 times, all with runners on base; and 3 of those 4 times, he had runners in scoring position.  One would think after more than 10 years in the majors, he would learn to stop swinging at balls in the dirt; no such luck.  Howard is now batting .150 only 6 games into the season.

But on to more positive things… Sean O’Sullivan got the spot start today and rewarded the Phillies for their confidence in him.  O’Sullivan lasted 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk.  Overall, he looked good and kept the team in the game.
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Odubel Herrera, the rookie Rule 5 pick, continues to wow fans with his speed and hustle.  After hitting the walk-off winner in last night’s game for his first major league hit, Herrera collected 2 more hits today plus an RBI and a stolen base.
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Cody Asche also had another great game with 3 hits, an RBI and a walk, putting veterans like Howard to shame.  Asche is batting .429.  Eventually, Darren Ruf replaced Howard in the game and began with a home run in the 7th to put the Phillies in a 2-2 tie, just like the night before.
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But unlike Saturday’s game, the Phillies could not come back in extra innings to win.  Although, they never stopped trying, which was nice to see.  Even after the bullpen allowed 2 runs in 10th, the Phillies scored in the bottom of the inning and then fell just short of the win, losing by a score of 3-4.

So there have been several encouraging signs to start the season, even though overall, this team is probably not going far with the youth they have and the dried up veterans.  But it was a good game with some energy, which the Phillies have been missing the last several years.

Also, I just want to give kudos to pitcher Jerome Williams.  Going back to last year, Williams is always out engaging with the fans and signing autographs, unlike most of the players.  Today, he even scooped up what appeared to be a 3 or 4 year old fan out of the stands and played catch with him.  He then literally picked the kid up and handed him back to his parents.  It is a rarity to see a major league player truly appreciate his position and give back to the fans to consistently.  The Phillies are lucky to have him!
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So the team is off to New York for an early game tomorrow against the MetsCole Hamels will pitch and the game starts at 1:10pm.

And here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

2015 Opening Day – Phillies Begin with a Beating

On Opening Day this past Monday, the Phillies got trampled by the Red Sox in a 0-8 loss in front of what will probably be the only sell-out crowd they will see this season.  Well, at least the pre-game activities were fun as usual.
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One thing we learned from the ceremonies was that Jonathan Papelbon thinks Phillies fans have cooties, as witness by his gloved hands in the pre-game entrance:
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The next time a fan runs into Pap, they should fake sneeze on him for fun.  If anyone gets the opportunity, please let me know…thanks!

The only other real highlight of the day was seeing our old buddy, Shane Victorino.  He got a standing ovation before his first at bat, which was well deserved.
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And then the day went downhill from there.  Cole Hamels was awful; he could not hit any of his spots and the Red Sox wasted no time taking him yard.  Hamels allowed 4 home runs in only 5 innings, two of which came off the bat of super mini-sized ball player, Dustin Pedroia.  He is little and adorable, I’ll give him that.  But he seriously needs to stop beating up on the poor, defenseless Phillies who are clearly in awe of his short stature.
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However, the smallest thing in the stadium on this day was the Phillies offense.  They were no-hit through 3 innings and then only managed 3 hits total for the whole game.
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Jake Diekman got beat up as well; he gave up a Grand Slam to Hanley Ramirez who also had 2 homers in the game.  If this performance is a taste of what is to come, it is going to be a long season.  Buckle in Phillies fans…the next game is Wednesday night at 7:05pm.

And here is the Photo Album from Opening Day.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Spring Training Ends With Two Wins Over the Bucos

040415 UtleyWell it wasn’t pretty, but the Phillies did beat the Pirates in two exhibition games this weekend.  Friday’s game was damp and icky and today was WINDY and cold.  When I say windy, I mean the kind of wind that sends 5 giant trash cans at once hurdling across Ashburn Alley without warning.  At one point, I actually had to stop and hold on to something.  It was that bad.  And the players on the field had fun avoiding all of the floating debris.

The Phillies also had to avoid many, many bad pitches from the Bucos starter, Charlie Morton.  This guy was all over the place.  In the first inning, he was so bad that the game was stopped; I am not sure if it was to warn the managers or if the Pirates thought he was hurt, but both managers were spoken to.  The Phillies wound up scoring 4 runs in the inning after Morton hit 2 batters, walked 3 and threw 1 wild pitch (at least, officially it was 1).  Needless to say, there was a lot of dancing at the plate.
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After scoring 2 more runs in the 2nd, the Phillies sort of went to sleep.  I, however, could not sleep, as I was freezing and being pelted in the face by 50mph wind gusts.  Although this did not seem to faze pitcher David Buchanan.  He pitched a scoreless 5 innings, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks.  The effort paid off as the Phillies announced that Buchanan will be the #3 starter behind Cole Hamels and Aaron Harrang.

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So the Phillies went on to win by a score of 6-4, ending their Spring Training with 14 wins. Overall, it was a pretty bad spring with sloppy play and a serious lack of offense.  But none of it counts, so on Monday, we will see what this team has in store for us this season.  There are a lot of new faces and people playing new positions, so at the very least, it should not be too boring….I hope.

Hamels will pitch on Monday for Opening Day.  Game time is 3:05pm.

And here is the Photo Album from today’s game.  See you on Monday!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Third Time a Charm? Ho-LEE Crap!

P5181075AK Cliff Lee is hoping that the third time for rehab is a charm; more likely, it will be three strikes and he is out.  Lee has had a torn common flexor tendon since last May, although prior reports on that called it a “strain,” which I am guessing was never the case.  Tears generally do not heal themselves; it can happen, but it is highly unlikely, especially on the elbow.  So this third attempt at rehab is probably a waste of time and energy.

I feel bad for Lee.  He obviously wants to pitch again, but then why did he not have the surgery in the first place?  He at least could have been ready for this year.  Now, that chance is gone.  Of course, no one wants to have surgery, so I understand to some extent.  I guess there is no right or wrong answer, but personally, I’d have had it fixed last year.

I was there for Lee’s first pitch as a Phillie on 7/31/09 in San Francisco.  And now it looks like I may have seen his last pitch.  I suppose a miracle could occur, but I am not holding my breath.  It is a very sad day.  Not that I expect the Phillies to do very well this year, but at least Lee was entertaining to watch.  He gave fans something to look forward to on an otherwise bland and rebuilding team.

So who is left to pitch besides Cole Hamels and Jerome Williams?  The newly signed Aaron Harang has back issues, so I am not optimistic about him.  And Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is looking like a $12 million dollar bust.  He has a nice fastball, but lacks control.  Speed is of no use if he doesn’t know how to use it.  I am rooting for Chad Billingsley to make the rotation in late April, but coming off two elbow surgeries, there is no telling what will happen.  There are a lot of young arms like David Buchanan and Jonathan Pettibone who may make the cut.

Now we just wait and see.  In the meantime, I wish Cliff Lee the best and hope he will get his miracle.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri

Bye Bye Byrd-ie

Birdie ed copyThe deconstruction of the Phillies continues as they have now shipped Marlon Byrd to the Reds in exchange for minor league pitcher Ben Lively.  The Phillies will pay part of Byrd’s $8 million salary to complete the deal, but no specifics were given.  While Byrd struck out a lot last year, he was one of the few power bats in the lineup, hitting 25 homers and collecting 85 RBI.  However, at 37 years of age, the Phillies figured getting younger in the outfield was a good move.

Lively, 22, went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA between class A and AA ball last season.  He was also named the Reds’ minor league player of the year.  So it does appear this was a good move for the Phillies, although the payoff is probably years away as Lively continues working in the minors.

This move also means we will have at least one more year of Domonic Brown to endure.  In my opinion, the Phillies should have traded him years ago when he was actually worth something.  The only thing he has proved over the last several seasons is that he is inconsistent at the plate and a defensive liability in the outfield.   In fact, the Sporting News ranked him as the worst left fielder in all of baseball last year.  Well, at least he came first in something ;)

The Phillies, however, may not be done moving pieces around.  There are still many, many Cole Hamels rumors and certainly, a lot of room for improvement.  Now, if only some team would get really desperate and take Ryan Howard off their hands.  That is my New Year’s wish.  I should probably make another, more likely wish, right?

Oh well!  Happy New Year, everyone!

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Byrd photo by Jenn Zambri

Jimmy Rollins Goes West

J-Roll says hi crIt took the departure of Jimmy Rollins to wake me from my offseason slumber.  And it was indeed a rude awakening.  The trade of Rollins to the Dodgers signals the end of a Phillies era, which is sad.  It also seems that more big changes are on the way.

I do think the trade was the right move, but that does not make it any less depressing.  During his 15 years with the team, Rollins provided fans with exciting moments, frustrating moments and everything in between.  He became the team’s all-time hits leader, won an MVP and helped bring Philadelphia a World Series.  If you follow this team closely as I have done over the years, watching J-Roll head to the west coast is akin to a family member moving away.  Love him or hate him, life will never be the same without Rollins.

The Phillies Phollowers official mascot, J-Roll Smurf, was hit the hardest.  He immediately took to the phone to call his agent and make sure he was not also being shipped out.  A blue uniform would totally clash with his blue skin.  It is not a good look.  J-Roll Smurf then drown his sorrows in sugar by raiding the cookie jar.  I have assured him he will always have a home here, as will the real Rollins.

Smurfs

It has not yet been announced what the Phillies will get in return for J-Roll, but it is assumed to be two minor league pitchers.  The Phillies acquired another new pitcher yesterday when they traded Antonio Bastardo to the Pirates for another lefty, Joely Rodriguez.  Rodriguez went 6-11 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 games this past year with Double-A Altoona and is considered to be one of their top prospects.

The question now is who will the ax fall on next?  Many hope it will be Ryan Howard, but who wants him, really?  His contract is too large and his production too little.  Cole Hamels may be next, but the Phillies have to hit a grand slam with that trade if it happens or risk losing the fan base.  And I do not even want to mention Chase Utley…I cannot imagine a Phillies team without him.

We now wait and see what will happen next.  In the meantime, I wish Jimmy the best and hope the move works out for him.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Final Game of 2014 – Mirror Image of Entire Season

The Phillies season ended today in the same fashion they played throughout the year.  There was no offense to be found and lackluster effort.  The Phillies were 1 run away from a win with the 2-1 loss to the Braves; pitcher Cole Hamels was 1 win away from double-digit wins for the season; and Ben Revere ended the season 1 base short of 50 stolen bases on the year.  Jimmy Rollins spoke before the game, telling fans, “Before we’re done this year, we’d like to say thank you for showing up.  We know it was rough, but hopefully we made you guys smile.”  Etch that on a tombstone and you have the Phillies 2014 eulogy.
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As is tradition for the last home game of the year, today was dubbed “Fan Appreciation Day.”  Players signed autographs and jested with fans cheerfully and prizes were given away.
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But I’ll tell you when I will feel truly appreciated; when the tickets prices go down to a level worthy of watching a last place team.  Don’t worry; I won’t hold my breath.

After all the happy exchanges, the game began and it was more of the same.  Poor Cole Hamels did not get even 10 wins this year thanks to an absent offense.  Adding insult to injury, Hamels had a team-leading 2 hits in the game but no one could drive him in.  He even got whacked on the face with a batted ball and suffered a minor bloody lip.  That about summed up his season.

The offense was so bad, players were literally throwing their bats away.  Chase Utley, Maikel Franco and Braves pitcher James Russell all tossed their bats mid-swing at different points in the game.  I guess they weren’t really using them anyway.
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And so ends a dreary Phillies season with little hope for quick recovery.  Oh sure, they fired Assistant GM Marti Wolever.  But all that really means in Ruben Amaro Jr. keeps his job.  And I guess more heads are going to roll, which is appropriate.  But how much difference will it make and when?  I hope to take a guess at answering some of those questions in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, here is my final 2014 Photo Album.  Here hoping for a happy off-season!

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies First Combined No-Hitter

Congratulations to Phillies pitchers Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon and catcher Carlos Ruiz on Monday’s combined no-hitter against the Braves.  It is the 12th no-hitter in Phillies history and the first combined no-hitter.  Altogether, there have been only 11 teams in baseball history to record a combined no-hitter.

2014.09.01 no hitter

One other fun note is that this is the 3rd no-hitter caught by Carlos Ruiz in his career.  He is ties for second all-time behind Jason Varitek, who caught four no-hitters for the Red Sox from 2001-2008.

Oddly enough, Hamels had what appeared to be one of his most difficult outings of the year, even though he did not allow a hit.  His pitches were all over the place and he walked 5 batters.  I am guessing this erratic performance completely confused Braves hitters.

Overshadowed in the 7-0 no-hit victory was a 5-RBI day for Ben Revere, who is now batting .310.  Jimmy Rollins had 3 hits and Chase Utley walked twice.  It was a nice day offensively, but the no-hitter took the front page news, as is appropriate.

So in an otherwise awful Phillies season, this was a very nice moment for the team and the fans.  Fans do have a little more fun ahead as September call-ups start streaming in.  It looks like Maikel Franco will finally get a shot in the Bigs.  We will also get our first look at Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the Cuban righty that the Phillies spent a fortune on and, so far, have little to show for it.  Also, Mike Adams and Tony Gwynn Jr. will return.

I look forward to seeing the line-up for tonight’s game.  First pitch is at 7:10pm and Kyle Kendrick will pitch.  That is a nice gift to the Braves following the no-hitter.  Just sayin’…

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

A New Staff Ace for the Phillies?

Is Jerome Williams for real?  After 3 starts with his third team of the year, Williams has 2 wins for the Phillies and a 1.77 ERA.  He has out-pitched everyone on the Phils starting staff, including Cole Hamels.  And on top of that, he even laid down a perfect safety squeeze in the 2nd inning, collecting only the 2nd RBI of his major league career.  Williams has officially resurrected his previously dead career.  And the Phillies went on to beat the Cardinals by a score of 7-4, taking 2 outs of 3 games in the series.
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Another bright spot in this otherwise miserable season has been Ben Revere.  All the Revere haters have now been silenced.  Despite his weak arm, Revere worked hard and has improved his defense and is also now batting .314.  He is in a 1st place tie for the best average in the National League with Justin Morneau.  Although he can be frustrating at times, I had faith in Revere because he is a positive guy who always hustles and gives his best effort.  The same cannot be said all of the Phillies outfielders.  Keep it up, Ben!  I am rooting for you!
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Speaking of the outfield, can anyone tell me WHY Domonic Brown is still starting?  Have we not yet seen enough?  Whether he feels he is or not, Brown appears lazy and distracted in left field.  His batting average is down to .226.  It is time to give someone else a shot…it has been time for a while now.   You have to wonder who is really calling the shots with the line-up; Ryne Sandberg or Ruben Amaro Jr.?  If it is Sandberg, I have to seriously question his judgment.  If it is Amaro, then Sandberg needs to stand up and explain to his GM that this is HIS team to run.  Because this is getting very old.

Aside from that annoyance, the Phillies offense finally put some runs on the board, which was a nice change for a Sunday afternoon.  Everyone except Ryan Howard had a hit and Jimmy Rollins smacked a 2-run homer.
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The Phillies start a 3-game series with the Nationals Monday night.  Maybe they can spoil the Nats 1st place fun?  In the meantime, here is the Photo Album from today’s win.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

1960’s Weekend Ends in Series Loss to Cubs

In the final game of the Phillies retro 1960’s celebration, the Phillies had little to celebrate.  With a 0-3 loss to the Cubs, they dropped 2 of 3 games this weekend.

As an added annoyance, I was forced to try and track the game on a 1960’s-style scoreboard and all images on the big screen were in black and white…blah.  But the uniforms (grounds crew, too) were nice and even Art Garfunkel dropped in for a rendition of God Bless America.
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This was also the 50-year anniversary of Jim Bunning’s perfect game against the Mets on Father’s Day in 1964.  He was joined on the field for the first pitch by teammates Cookie Rojas and Dick Allen.  And later in the game, Bunning’s entire family went onto the field to dance with the Phanatic.
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It was also Father’s Day, 2014.  Ben Revere’s parents joined him on the field before the game and every Dad (or male human over 14 years old – hoping they are not all Dad’s) got a Phillies fedora, which were seen all over the ballpark.
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And then there was the game.  A.J. Burnett had a quality start with 3 runs allowed over 8 innings.
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But that mattered little as the Phillies did almost nothing at the plate.  By the 6th inning, I was beginning to think I was going to see my 2nd no-hitter in the last month against the Phils.  Luckily, Revere broke up the no-hitter…whew!

There were many swings, but very few productive ones.  In fact, Burnett even tossed his bat away striking out in the 6th inning (see below).
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On the bright side, it was a bright, sunny day outside…and that is where the good news ends.  Bummer.

Here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game.  The Phillies start a series in Atlanta on Monday against the Braves.  The game starts at 7:10pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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