Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

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

Phillies Take First Two in Chicago

After a devastating loss on Wednesday, the Phillies have bounced back in the next series, winning their first 2 games against the Cubs.  Friday’s game was a 7-2 score and today they won 2-0 as Cliff Lee stunned the Cubbies.

Lee was able to lower his horrible 14.40 Opening Day ERA to only 6.00 with this 7 inning effort.  So all is well again with the Phillies ace…yeah!

And the offense is not too shabby to start the season.  Chase Utley is absolutely on fire after a very slow Spring Training.  In the last 2 games, Utley has 5 hits and 4 RBI including 2 home runs.  He also hit his 300th career double today and ended the game just a triple shy of the cycle.

Domonic Brown has also come to life with 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 RBI in these 2 games, plus ZERO strikeouts.  Nada.  That alone tells me he is in the zone.

P7073923Another interesting note is that we are learning some things about the Phillies manager, Ryne Sandberg, early in the season.  First, he is totally in love with Jake Diekman.  Diekman has pitched in 4 out of 5 games so far this season while fellow reliever Brad Lincoln has yet to throw a pitch.  Justin DeFratus has pitched 1 inning and Jeff Manship has thrown exactly 2 pitches total.

Sandberg says he is trying to establish who fits in which spots in the bullpen.  By the way, is that not what Spring Training was for?  Just saying.  And if he is looking for good fits, does this mean those 3 pitchers that have not been or barely been used do not “fit” anywhere?  Hmmmm…

We have also learned that Sandberg is not totally sold on Roberto Hernandez.  In Friday’s game, Hernandez appeared to be cruising in the 6th inning when, after one out was recorded, Sandberg pulled him and put in Diekman.  Hernandez had given up 2 runs in the first 5 innings, but his pitch count was low (73).  That was a weird move.

One last thing I like to mention about today’s game…Jonathan Papelbon saved a game!  Miracles never cease!  Yes, that comment is dripping with sarcasm.  When he saves 3 or 4 in a row with minimal drama, I will curb my smart remarks.  Until then, congrats Pap!  You live to fight another day!

Can the Phillies sweep this series?  Hope so!  Game 3 is Sunday at 2:20pm and A.J. Burnett will pitch.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Mayberry’s Big Night & More Umpire Follies

The last two or three years have been strange ones for Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr.  He has gone though spurts of looking like a solid ballplayer and even more spurts of looking totally lost at the plate.  While see-sawing between the two extremes, Mayberry has been unable to stick as an everyday player.

But last night against the Marlins, Mayberry had probably the most memorable night of his career and he did not even start the game.  He hit a solo homer in the 10th to tie the game back up after Antonio Bastardo surrendered a run to the Fish in the top of the inning.  Then in the 11th, Mayberry whacked a game-winning grand slam home run.

There were a number of ‘firsts’ for Mayberry in this game:

-          Mayberry’s first career grand slam

-          Mayberry became first player in major-league history to hit two home runs in extra innings with one being a grand slam

-          Mayberry also became the first Phillies player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Dale Murphy on Aug. 6, 1991, against the Cubs

Those are some pretty impressive statistics.  And with Delmon Young still underachieving (he is hitting only .220 in 100 at-bats), perhaps it is time to hand right field over to Mayberry for a while.  Mayberry’s defense is significantly better than Young’s and his offense cannot possibly be any worse than Young’s. 

Young has actually cost the team runs with his defense and I cannot imagine the Phillies putting up with that for much longer.  And he is not making up for it with his bat either.  30 games played and 100 at-bats should be nearly enough for them to pass judgment.  We shall see…

As for the umpire follies, Bob Davidson strikes again!  How this ridiculous man still has a job is beyond me.  Last year, Davidson was actually suspended after ejecting Phils skipper Charlie Manual for his bad “situation handling,” according to MLB.  What actually happened was he interfered with the catcher on a play and then cussed out Manual for arguing the point.

Davidson’s animosity towards the Phillies is still going strong, because last night he made one of the worst calls I have ever seen.  Davidson called interference on Ben Revere who slid head first (not spikes first) into second on a ground ball hit by Michael Young.  Young was called out due to the imaginary interference; Davidson claimed he saw Revere grab the leg of the Marlins 2nd baseman.  It was clear to both the naked eye and on the replay that Revere did no such thing…it was not even close.

Revere did not grab anyone; he did not roll into 2nd; he did not even go out of the basepath or miss the bag.  Davidson literally just made up the call.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Bernie Miklasz, “…if I listed every call that Davidson got wrong I’d be typing for the next 48 hours at least. He’s a disgrace to the game and has been for many, many years. Baseball people laugh at him.”  It seems everyone hates Davidson…and with good reason.

After the game, both Revere and Manual made some very amusing comments about the bad call. Revere said, “I know [Davidson] was standing right there, he said he did see it, so I’m just like, man needs some glasses or something.”  And Manual interjected, “Bob’s kinda getting a little old.”  Plus, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park booed Davidson relentlessly for the remained of the game.

And yet, no one can say why this man still has a job.  MLB has made a habit out of ignoring the total incompetence of some umpires.  Even with their reputation being continually tarnished, MLB has done nothing to redeem themselves.

In fact, Joe Torre, who is in charge of MLB umpires, on-field discipline and other areas, was actually at Saturday’s Phillies-Brewers game where a huge umpiring mistake was made in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Kyle Kendrick was called out at second base even though the fielder dropped the ball.  The next batter doubled, which would have scored Kendrick and tied the game up.  Instead, that blown call cost the Phillies the game.

The crew chief acknowledged the error after the game, but to my knowledge, Torre said nothing.  Granted, this was a far less egregious error than the blatant, BS call by Davidson.  All of these bad calls are screaming for additional replay, but is anyone listening?

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil…get nothing done.  *Sigh*

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Add More Pitching & Hamels Gets an Unpleasant Surprise

The Phillies have added three right handed pitchers;  Juan Cruz, Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez.  They have each been asked to attend Spring Training as non-roster invitees on minor league contracts.

You may remember Lopez (photo to the right); he started 5 games for the Phillies in 2009.  He spent the last 2 years with the Cubs and in the minors.  Lopez, 37, has a career 4.82 ERA in the majors and compiled a 5.28 ERA in the minors last year over 18 games.

Cook and Cruz are both 34 years old.  Cook posted a 5.65 ERA in 18 starts with the Red Sox last year and will get $1.625 million if he makes the roster.  Cruz was with the Pirates in 2012 and went 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 43 games.

The combined age of all three pitchers is 105.  Clearly, these signings were not meant to help the team get any younger.  These are just more spare parts in case Cole Hamels breaks a finger nail or Roy Halladay’s arm falls off.

Hamels is already having a rough off-season.  In October, the star pitcher apparently had a sore shoulder, which the Phillies have since downplayed as being nothing serious.

And more recently, Hamels found out that the Philadelphia school system flat out lied to him in regards to donations he and his wife made to 3 Philly schools that are now slated for closure.  They were assured these schools would remain open.  The Hamels Foundation is now trying to save those schools so that the playgrounds and library they helped build do not get torn down and turned into apartment complexes or the like.

At least Spring Training is almost here…26 days to go!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

5 in a Row!

Winning 5 games in a row seemed an impossible task for the Phillies until now.  Their longest win streak of the season previous to this one was only 2 games.  They have also gone above the .500 mark for the first time since the first game of the year.

Even having Roy Halladay on the mound has been no guarantee of a win this year as the offense has underperformed.  Against the Cubs on Thursday night, Halladay finally got some run support and had a good game himself as well.

Over 8 innings, Halladay allowed 3 runs, 2 of which were solo homers.  But he was even hotter at the plate, going 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored.  Only 3 other Phillies had multi-hit nights,

One of those guys was Halladay’s battery mate, Carlos Ruiz.  To say Ruiz is on fire right now is an understatement.  He is scorching every pitch that comes his way.  In this game, Ruiz went 4 for 5 with 3 RBI and he is now hitting .363.  He even stole a base.  Wow.

Juan Pierre continues to nip at Ruiz’s heels with a .343 average and 2 more hits in last night’s game.  Pierre also made several outstanding grabs in left field.

But while the offense was cooking and it looked like this game might be a laugher, the all too familiar bullpen monster reared its ugly head again.  With an 8-3 lead in the 9th, we saw the other side of rookie Jake Diekman.  Two games ago, he was spectacular in his major league debut.  But last night, he was the exact opposite…awful.

Diekman walked 2 batters, hit a third batter and then gave up a bases-clearing double.  The score narrowed to 8-6 with 2 outs and Jonathan Papelbon had to be brought in to close the game.  He allowed an RBI single to the first batter he faced, making the total line for Diekman 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning.  Yikes!

Papelbon did finally get the job done, but the final score was a frighteningly close 8-7.  And the “other” side of Diekman was not something we would ever like to see again.

So the Phillies are heading home for a 3-game interleague series with the Red Sox.  Game 1 starts at 7:05pm tonight.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

From the Minors to The Moon: Extras Help Phillies to a Win

In a 9-2 win over the Cubs Wednesday night, 6 of those 9 runs were produced by pinch hitters.  Many of the “extra” pieces the Phillies picked up over the last few weeks contributed to the win.

Even the starting pitcher sort of came “off the bench.”  With no warning, Kyle Kendrick was thrust into the starting role when Vance Worley unexpectedly went on the DL with elbow soreness.  Kendrick has had a rough year being pushed and pulled from the bullpen to the rotation and back again.  But on this night, he managed to pull a great performance seemingly out of the air.

Kendrick allowed only 1 earned run through 6 innings and did walk anyone.  He also had an unearned run on a routine fly ball that Juan Pierre dropped in left field.  Luckily, that was the only major blunder for the Phillies that night.

It did not look like Kendrick would get much run support as the Phillies took turns leaving men all over the base paths, especially on third base with less than 2 outs.  Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were the worst offenders with 7 and 5 men left on base, respectively.  Victorino did manage 1 RBI though while Pence, again, went hitless.

Freddy Galvis and Carlos Ruiz picked up their teammates, both with 2 hits in the game.  Ruiz is making a strong bid for an All-Star spot with his team leading .343 average and many clutch hits.

With a 2-2 tie going into the 7th, the Phillies bench came into play in a big way.  In his first Phillies at-bat, Mike Fontenot singled and later in the game, scored a run.  Ty Wigginton came off the bench in the 9th and gave the Phillies some breathing room with a 2-run single.

But the big blast came from the Moon Man, Hector Luna, in his first Phillies at-bat.  “Luna” means “moon” in several languages, including Latin, Italian and Spanish.  And Luna went straight to the moon with his first career grand slam in the 9th, giving the Phillies a huge 7 run lead.

Yet another new Phillie entered into the 9th as well.  Raul Valdes pitched the bottom of the inning and nailed down the 9-2 win without any drama.  The night before, Jake Diekman made his major league debut and got 4 outs to end the game, also minus the usual bullpen drama.  These two guys are at opposite ends of the spectrum: one is a rookie and the other an experienced veteran.  But together, they may signal very good news for this weak Phillies pen.

And this win is also very good news as the Phillies finally reach the .500 mark at 19-19 for the first time in weeks.  They have not been over .500 since Opening Day.  Perhaps they can accomplish that task tonight in Game 2 with the Cubs?  Game time is 8:05pm.

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Hit The Road on a Positive Note

In the finale of a 4-game series with the Cubs, the Phillies got off to a hot start with 4 runs in the first inning.  Having already lost 2 games in this series, it was imperative for this team to get going quickly. But after those 4 runs, the offense went to sleep again.

Vance Worley pitched 7 strong innings while the offense napped.  He allowed only 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks.  The Phillies took the 4-1 lead into the 8th inning as the bullpen took over.

Sadly, no lead seems very safe with this team.  Such was the case as Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls combined to blow the 3-run lead.  Bastardo walked his second batter and Qualls gave up a single to score that run and then added a 2-run homer shortly after.

With the game then tied, the Phillies needed that sleeping offense to wake up.  But the way things have been going lately, it seemed unlikely.  It was going to take a small miracle…or at least a clutch hit.

When you find yourself cheering because the first batter of the inning, Juan Pierre, got hit by a pitch, you know things have not been going well.  And when you begin to hope that maybe the pitcher will hit the next 3 batters so you can score a run, things have gone from bad to worse.

But instead of getting hit, the Phillies actually got a few hits.  With 2 outs and Pierre on first, Jimmy Rollins singled to move Pierre to third.  And then the real hero stepped to the plate and proved he has still got the bat to go with his glove.  Placido Polanco smashed a double to left that scored both Pierre and Rollins.  It was the first time this year that the Phillies were able to take a lead in their final at-bat.

The Phillies went on to a 6-4 victory, thanks to Polly’s timely hit.  Even better, it does appear that Polanco is healthy again after 2 hernia issues the previous year.

Going back on the road against the Braves and Nationals, who are leading the division, it was important to start on a positive note.  With any luck, the Phillies may be able to start digging themselves out of this hole and April’s losing record.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

The Phillies Team-Wide Recession

The nicest thing I can say about today’s Phillies – Cubs game is that the weather was beautiful.  Unfortunately, that is where the joy ends.

Even the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday celebration was toned down from previous years.  There were fewer mascots, no Zooperstars except a generic monkey and the cake was less than half the size it usually is.  See for yourself…it appears the recession has finally reached the Phanatic birthday bash:

In fact, maybe the entire organization is suffering from a recession.  They accidentally give away runs to other teams for free and cannot score any of their own.  That is a recipe for going broke fast.

Today’s match-up featured Kyle Kendrick vs. Matt Garza.  Guess who won?

Garza sucked what little life was left in the Phillies offense and spat them out like garbage.  The only action the Phillies bats saw was a parade of foul balls:

Jimmy Rollins got a hit to start the game and that was it for the whole team until the 9th inning when Hunter Pence added a bookend hit.  The only run they scored was also in the 9th and came from a bases-loaded walk.

The defense was just as awful.  Here is Laynce Nix impersonating a really bad first baseman:

I say impersonating because he is an outfielder who played a total of 9 games at first base in a 9-year career before joining the Phillies.

And Pence added to the mayhem by overrunning another ball in right field which led to a run for the Cubs.  That is 3 straight games that Pence has made the same mistake.  I am confused by this…how about you?

And here is a play at the play where, according to my photo, it appears Brian Schneider tags the runner about a foot before the plate.  I did not see the TV replay, so maybe the photo is deceptive, but who knows:

Either way, it was just one more crappy moment in another crappy Phillies game.  This was officially one of the worst Phillies games I have ever seen in person.  The 5-1 loss also guarantees the Phils a losing record in April after dropping 2 out of 3 games so far to the second WORST team in the entire national league.  Depressed yet?

No worries…there is always tomorrow (please note my sarcasm here).  Feel free to add your own sarcastic comments as well.  At least we can all vent together ;O)

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.  I assure you, my photos are more entertaining than this team is right now.  You’re welcome.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Chooch Gets The Phillies Train Chugging Again

Carlos Ruiz has very quietly been one of the best catchers in baseball over the past several years.  Calling games for guys like Roy Halladay, catching no hitter’s and backing his team with key hits, Chooch never seems to get the credit he deserves.

But Phillies fans know that Chooch is the man.  Last night Ruiz helped pitcher Joe Blanton get through 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs and striking out 8 batters.  Blanton looked really sharp and Ruiz was his usual, awesome self.

Leading the team with 3 RBI in the 5-2 victory over the Cubs, Ruiz also showed his toughness.  After getting nailed in the knee with a foul ball in the 6th inning and writhing in pain, only minutes later, Ruiz smashed a home run to left to add an insurance run for the Phillies.  There is nothing this guy would not do for his team.

The 2 hits by Ruiz were key in the game, as the Phillies had only 4 other hits for a total of 6 in the game.  3 of the remaining 4 hits were doubles, including a 2-run shot by Jimmy Rollins.  After an awful start to the season, we can only hope that hit gets J-Roll rolling again.

Manager Charlie Manuel shuffled the line-up last night with Rollins in the lead-off spot.  But aside from the 1 hit, the change of scenery did not help much and Juan Pierre is doing very well in that spot.  Pierre will likely return to the top of the line-up today.  But do expect several more line-up shake-ups as Manuel tinkers to find something that works for this offense.

Also of note last night was Jim Thome leaving the game early with back soreness.  Batting only .111 in 18 at-bats so far, this is going to raise more questions about whether or not Thome can still be a productive player this late in his career.  Currently, Thome is listed as day-to-day.

Game 3 with the Cubs starts this afternoon at 1:35pm.  See you at the game!

 

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Ruiz Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Back to Bad

It looks like the run explosion from the Phillies offense in Arizona was really just a desert mirage after all.  Because against the Cubs tonight, they went right back to their losing ways.

The game started out promising with runners on first and third with no outs.  But that short, 5 minute elation was squashed quickly by two straight pop-ups from Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence plus a ground out from Shane Victorino.  Those three hitters, the core of the Phillies current line-up, combined to go 0-for-12 on the night.

And that first inning set the tone.  The only run the Phillies scored was a solo homer from Ty Wigginton.  If you had told me at the start of the season that Wigginton would be the Phillies best hitter, I would have said that this team was in really big trouble.  Wigginton was acquired to be a bench guy.  But because he is the only one hitting, he is now a starter, batting .327 with a 12-game hitting streak.

And that is where the good news ends.

Roy Halladay had a little trouble tonight, but he still only allowed 3 runs over 7 innings.  It was certainly enough for a win.

By the ninth inning, down 3-1, the Phillies defense added to the disaster as well.  Pence over ran a ball, allowing a Cubs run to score.  Then Rollins followed suit, missing a ground ball and another run scored.  Knowing this offense was already dead in the water, those plays sealed the deal and the Phils lost by a 5-1 score.

This is such a disheartening loss that I cannot imagine what to say at this point.  So, I will go with….Go Flyers!  Yeah, it is that bad.  I have resorted to hockey.  *Sigh*

Game 2 with the Cubs: 7:05pm Saturday.

 

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Happy Bunny by Jim Benton

 

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