Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’
The Phillies worked out a 2-year, $5.5 million dollar contract on Monday with bullpen pitcher Jose Contreras. In 2010, Contreras served a variety of roles on the bullpen, including filling in for Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson when they were injured. Contreras appeared in 64 games and ended the season with a 3.34 ERA.
The only real concern with this signing might be Contreras’ age; he is 38 now and will be 40 by the end of his contract. But the Phillies have had some good luck dipping into the senior player pool in the past (Jamie Moyer, for one) so it may be a non-issue.
The Phillies also added Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg to the organization; he will manage the AAA Iron Pigs team. Sandberg was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 but played only 13 games for the Phils in 1981 before they traded him in the off-season to the Cubs in what remains one of the worst trades in baseball history. Sandberg went on to have an amazing 15-year career with the Cubs, landing him in the Hall of Fame.
Almost 29 years later, Sandberg is back where he belongs. After the Cubs declined to give him the job as team manager since Lou Piniella retired, Sandberg made his way back to Philly. The Cubs may have made a huge mistake. While that does not really make up for the disastrous trade back in 1982, their loss will still be our gain. And when Charlie Manuel retires, who knows? It could be Sandberg at the helm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies jumped out to a 3 run lead in their first inning against the Cardinals tonight, giving false hope to Phillies fans everywhere. Mr. Inconsistent, Kyle Kendrick, took the mound and quickly dashed those hopes. Kendrick allowed 1 run in each of the first two innings and then plunged the dagger into our hearts with a 5-run 5th inning.
The killer 5th inning started with a walk, a double and then a 2-run homer from Albert Pujols. Kendrick gave up two more home runs before the Phillies even bothered to get the bullpen warming up. What was manager Charlie Manuel waiting for? Did he think Kendrick was going to magically morph into
Roy Halladay (oh yeah, Halladay got rocked yesterday)? How about Jamie Moyer (nah, 5 runs in 3 innings last time out)? Ok then, Cliff Lee? We wish…
Actually, when Manuel had not pulled Kendrick after the 3 home runs, I was waiting for Kendrick to throw his hands in the air and yell, “I surrender!” to the Cardinals. They could have just slapped the cuffs on him and taken him away to the clubhouse like a prisoner.
So Kendrick did not get dragged off the mound and he certainly did not morph into a better pitcher. But reliever Chad Durbin tried to follow in his footsteps, giving up a solo homer in the 6th inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense scored a few runs, but they were facing the Cards worst pitcher. They should have destroyed this guy. Instead, they collected only 4 runs, even when Blake Hawksworth walked Kendrick…twice.
Many players, like Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard, had multi-hit nights; Shane Victorino had 2 RBI with his one hit. But most hits were not timely, or something stupid happened right afterwards. Like Jayson Werth, who is not hitting at all, finally dribbled a bunt down the third base line for a hit and then proceeded to get himself picked off at first base. The Phillies went on to lose by a score of 8-4.
The Cardinals will be sending 3 very good pitchers to the mound in the next 3 games. The Phillies may have blown their chance today to show off some offensive power before having to face the better pitchers. Tomorrow’s game time is 8:15pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After tonight’s horrifying loss to the Cubs, what I would like to know is, who kidnapped Roy Halladay and replaced him with an imposter? After six innings, this Halladay imposter had given up 6 runs, 5 of them earned. Who IS this guy? Will Ruben Amaro Jr. pay the ransom to get the real Halladay back? He wouldn’t pay to keep Cliff Lee, so I am not holding my breath. ;o)
Ok, back to reality… In one of Halladay’s worst outings as a Phillie, one thing did not change: he still did not get any run support from his offense. To make matters worse, the Phillies fielders did not bail him out in big situations either. In the 2nd inning, after already allowing 3 runs, Ryan Howard missed a foul ball pop-up from Derrek Lee that would have ended the inning.
Then, with 2 strikes on Lee and runners at first and third, Carlos Ruiz had a brain cramp. He decided to throw to second as Starlin Castro tried to steal and Ruiz botched the throw. Tyler Colvin scored easily from 3rd. Ruiz was given an error and Lee struck out on the next pitch. So that was one more unnecessary run handed over to the Cubs.
Things got monumentally worse in the 7th inning when the Phillies bullpen was called upon. JC Romero gave up 2 singles without recording an out and was pulled. The rookie David Herndon took over and the Cubs absolutely destroyed him. Herndon allowed 3 hits and a walk; by the end of the inning, 5 more runs had score. Two of those were charged to Romero and the other three to Herndon.
The score was 11-3 going into the 8th inning and basically, this game was over. Howard, Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco all hit solo homers later, making the score 11-6, but that was the end of the scoring. The Phillies have not been hitting, now they are not pitching and even the fielding has been sloppy. In short, they are now worse than the Cubs. And that is very, very bad news.
This is just not the same Phillies team that fans have been used to seeing. They are not doing the little things right, as well as some big things, and they seem to have lost their Mojo. Maybe the Mojo was kidnapped along with Halladay?
Even more disturbing, Howard hit home runs in 3 out of 4 games of this Cubs series and the Phillies lost all three of those games. When even the Howard magic is not lighting a spark under this team, the Phillies are in big trouble.
The team travels to St. Louis next for a 4-game series with the Cardinals. It is just a guess, but I am willing to bet that facing Albert Pujols is not going to help the Phillies find their Mojo any faster. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.
Why ESPN Broadcasts Are So Entertaining:
In the first inning alone, ESPN viewers were treated to these gems:
– Joe Morgan says that Placido Polanco “runs well from the right side.” As opposed to?? He only hits from the right side.
– As Carlos Ruiz ran to catch a pop fly in foul ground, Jon Miller called him “Soto,” as in, Cubs catcher, Geovany Soto.
– While Roy Halladay was pitching, Milled said, “There’s an inside pitch to Halladay.” Wow. The man is really talented if he can pitch to himself.
And then in the 5th inning, another classic from Morgan: “If he had gotten the ball there (1st base) quicker, he’d have gotten him out faster.” It is official: Joe Morgan is a GENIUS.
Before the Phillies – Cubs game today, Placido Polanco returned from the DL. Juan Castro, who has not contributed too much lately, was released to make room. It is good to have Polly back! But instead of giving the team a spark, they kept playing like they were in a coma.
By the 9th inning, down 0-1, it looked like the sleeping Phils were about to lose their 3rd straight to the Cubs. But then a miracle occurred; the Cubs bullpen took pity on them and walked two batters. Then with two outs, Polly came through with a base hit and Brian Schneider tried to score. He should have been out by a mile, but the very kind Cubbies took pity again; an off-line throw home kept Schneider safe.
However, the Cubs bullpen was not fully satisfied with their charity. Pitcher Carlos Marmol tossed a wild pitch and Ross Gload scored. Then Marmol intentionally walked Ryan Howard and not-so-intentionally walked Jayson Werth to score another run for the Phillies.
Pitcher James Russell wanted in on this charitable action! So he gave up a single to Raul Ibanez, which scored the 4th run of the inning. Ok, maybe Ibanez had a little to do with the hit…
Actually, Ibanez had two hits in the game, as did Werth and Shane Victorino. But they left many, many men on base through 8 innings and could not score a run. Of course, the Phillies will take a win anyway they can get it, even if it is handed to them on a silver platter.
So they went on to win by a score of 4-1. However, something still seems to be very wrong with the Phillies. Is it a lack of enthusiasm? Or perhaps it is just another slump? No, I think not. Based on the evidence, I am going to have to say it must be brain damage. Take a look at the facts from today’s game:
– Victorino got thrown out at second base…twice. Once, he was stealing and once he was trying to stretch a single into a double. Conclusion: brain damage.
– Wilson Valdez forgot to cover first base on a Cubs bunt and allowed the runner to get safely to first while a run scored. And later in the game, Valdez dropped a pop-up. Conclusion: brain damage.
– Cole Hamels pitched an AMAZING game, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings. Yet, the offense did NOTHING to help him out. He got a no decision. Conclusion: brain damage.
– The Phillies lost the first two games of this series to a team that sucks. Sorry Cubs fans, no disrespect, but this team is not good and is now 10 games under .500. Conclusion: You guessed it, brain damage.
So the question now remains, will this 9th inning comeback today be the cure for their brain damage? They swept the Reds going into the All-Star break, with 3 of the 4 wins coming in extra innings. They returned from the break and dropped two to the Cubs. So the Reds series did not have a huge impact. Will today’s game propel them forward? We shall see…
Roy Halladay will be the next Phillies pitcher to pray for some runs. Game time tomorrow is 8:05pm.
Howard & Pinella photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the first game of the Phillies – Cubs series last night, it started well for the Phils with a two-run homer from Ryan Howard in the first inning. But right away, pitcher Jamie Moyer gave those runs back. By the end of 3 innings, Moyer gave up 6 runs on 5 hits and had to be pulled from the game.
The Phillies wound up using 7 different pitchers in the game. The worst of those were Jose Contreras, allowing 5 more runs and Danys Baez adding one more to the thumping. The offense did nothing after the Howard homer until the 9th inning.
By that time, the Phils were down 12-2 so the 4 runs they scored in the 9th made little difference. Although, Howard hit bookend homers in the game; the 2-run shot in the 1st and another 2-run shot in the 9th.
Coming into today’s game having lost the first, Howard tried again to spark his team. After Shane Victorino homered in the 4th, Howard hit another 2-run bomb in the 6th, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. But as was the case the day before, the starting pitcher gave those 2 runs right back again.
Joe Blanton looked like he might have a good outing until in the 5th, with the bases loaded, he walked the opposing pitcher. And then in the 6th after the Howard homer, Blanton gave up a 2-run homer to former Phillie Marlon Byrd to tie the game. And to make matters worse, all 3 of those runs scored with 2 outs in the inning.
Ryan Madson ran into the same 2-out trouble in the 8th inning. Aramis Ramirez hit a solo homer, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead. The Phillies did nothing to help themselves in the 9th. Jayson Werth struck out looking for the 3rd time in one game and he has no hits in the series so far. Ben Francisco also struck out looking 3 times. As a team, the Phillies struck out fourteen times! Disgusting.
The Phillies offense, except for Howard, looks pathetic right now and the pitching has not been good. While we are only 2 games out of the All-Star break, this is very concerning. The good news is, Cole Hamels pitches tomorrow and Roy Halladay on Sunday. But as far as the good news goes, that is it.
So let us have a little fun for a moment. Is it just me, or did anyone else think that the Cubs catching gear looks a bit like R2D2?
Here is a summary of the Phillies 2010 first half, according to Jenn:
Best Off-Season Move – Acquiring Roy Halladay
Worst Off-Season Move – Trading Cliff Lee (duh!)
Biggest Win – 7/9/10: The Phillies overcame a 7-1 deficit in the 9th inning against the Reds to win the game in the 10th; it was the second walk-off homer win in a row, giving the Phillies a huge confidence boost.
Biggest Loss – When the bullpen blew a 5 run lead; Phillies lose to the Twins by a score of 10-13 on 6/19/10
Best Series Win – The 4-game sweep of the NL Central 1st place team, the Reds, 7/8-7/11
Worst Series Loss – Losing 3 out of 4 to the worst team in the National League, the Pirates, 7/1-7/4
Biggest Surprise – Jamie Moyer: At 47-year old, the combination of Moyer’s age and 3 off-season surgeries left many doubting he could be an effective pitcher. But Moyer has performed beyond anyone’s expectations. But at the half, Moyer has 9 wins and 2 complete games, one of which was a shut-out.
Biggest Disappointment – Raul Ibanez: Batting only .243 with 7 homers at the half, Ibanez is on pace to hit only 14 homers, which would be his worst power outage since 2001. He has also only driven in 39 runs, and is therefore on pace for 78 RBI, which would be his worst since 2004. Ibanez gave his all in the first half of 2009, but since then, it has been mostly downhill and his age is starting to show. With another entire year left on his contract, this is looking like another bad move by the Phillies.
Biggest Question Mark – Brad Lidge: Sometimes Lidge looks like Mr. Perfect from 2008 and sometimes he looks like a little leaguer. The Jekyll and Hyde routine is getting old. Lidge needs to step up his game if the Phillies are to have success.
Best Moment of the First Half – Roy Halladay’s Perfect Game, 5/29/10 (again, duh!)
Worst Moment of the First Half – Chase Utley’s thumb injury. Noooooo! Not Utley!! Then there are the rest of the major injuries that have plagued this team: Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, JA Happ, Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, etc… The combined impact of these star players going down have combined for the Worst Moments of the year so far.
Jenn’s Crystal Ball
– Will Jayson Werth be with the Phillies next year? – No. Sorry, ladies. He may even be gone sooner than that…
– Will the Phillies make a trade before the deadline? – Yes.
– Which position will they upgrade? – Pitching
– Will Jenn continue to let her sanity slip slowly away as each day without Chase Utley passes? – Sadly, yes. Please come back soon, Chase!
– And finally, will the Phillies win the NL East again? – My crystal ball broke due to being overworked when I asked this question. But I will step out on a limb here and say, yes. I mean, YES! Let’s be positive people ;o)
Jamie Moyer will take the mound tonight in Chicago against the Cubs to kick off the 2rd half. Game time is 8:05pm. Go Phillies!
After the sluggish bats the last few games, seeing the Phillies score 5 runs today was a huge relief. And seeing Jimmy Rollins, still fresh off the DL, smack a huge 3-run homer was an even bigger relief. It is good to have J-Roll back!
Joe Blanton looked very good through 6 innings, although he started to get beat up in the 7th inning where he loaded the bases and allowed 2 runs. Blanton allowed a total of 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Overall, he did a very good job.
But Blanton still did not get the win as the Cubs tied the game up when Antonio Bastardo gave up a homer in the 8th to Kosuke Fukudome. The 4-4 tie was broken up by Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the 8th. Chase Utley used his speed to score from 2nd on the Ibanez single.
Jose Contreras earned the save, although it was an interesting 9th inning for him. After throwing 10 pitches to Alfonso Soriano who kept fouling them off, Contreras finally hit him with pitch #11. The next batter singled, putting Contreras in a 1st and 3rd no out jam. But he struck out the next two batters and popped up the third to seal the 5-4 win for the Phillies.
So now the real fun begins: Interleague play. And while the 3-game series with the Red Sox is really just a short interlude to the full interleague schedule that will go full force on June 11th for the Phils, this weekend will still be very interesting. The Sox have struggled this year and are lingering down in 4th place in the AL East. And the Phillies have been very, very bad in Interleague play over the last several years. So will the curse of Phillies Interleague play endure or are the struggling Sox the spell breaker? Game 1 starts tomorrow at 7:05pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
For the second consecutive day, the Phillies bats took a vacation. After pounding out 12 runs on Saturday, the Phils offense has since scored only 1 run in each of the last two games. The real victims of this offensive offense have been starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer. Both pitched great games, allowing only 2 runs to the opponents but got not support from the batters.
Last night against the Cubs, Moyer was very sharp and worked the strike zone in all directions. With 7 strike outs in 7 innings and only 1 walk allowed, Moyer deserved a win, as did Halladay the day before. Chad Durbin did not help matters when he loaded the bases in the 9th. His pitches were so wild and so far out of the strike zone, I began to wonder if someone had spiked his Gatorade between innings. When JC Romero took over for Durbin, he almost held it down but with 2 outs, a ground ball found a hole and 2 runs scored.
The score was 1-4 and that is how it ended as the Phillies could not muster a rally in the 9th. Cubs pitching smacked them around and made Phillies hitters look like they were defending themselves against a bear attack. Jayson Werth went hitless and with each swing, he nearly screwed himself into the ground. Shane Victorino has suddenly cooled off in the lead-off spot with no hits last night and only 1 the game before that. All together, the Phillies had 5 hits in the game, 3 walks and left 9 men on base.
The final game against the Cubs will be this afternoon at 1:05pm. Joe Blanton will be the third pitcher this week to pray for some offense. Best of luck to him!
Player photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Mid-March is about the time when I begin to find Spring Training dull and get anxious for the real games to begin. Ok yes, Joe Blanton had a good outing against the Tigers today after a shaky spring start. Cole Hamels looks like he is in good shape with two solid performances so far. The bats are jumping and as a team, the Phillies are hitting at an average of .301 with 7 homers and 36 RBI. And still, I am a bit sleepy about the whole thing.
In my boredom today, I decided to scan through this week’s MLB headlines to see what was going on around the league. Here are a few fun tidbits I came across in my search:
Yankees shortstop and baseball God, Derek Jeter, sat out of a Spring Training game with flu symptoms. And then an Angel lost its wings :O(
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick! if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’); Reyes photo by Jenn Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
The Mets Jose Reyes may not be ready to play on Opening Day. His thyroid hormone blood levels are elevated and he is not supposed to do anything that could raise his heart rate. You know, things like showboating on the base paths or talking to Federal agents about his Canadian doctor’s link to performance-enhancing drugs…stuff like that.
Come on Opening Day! Get here….quick!
if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’);
Reyes photo by Jenn
Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
…Now say that five times fast ;O) JA Happ and Ryan Howard combined for a 1-2 punch last night that sent the Braves away with a 6-game deficit in the NL East as the Phillies took home the 4-1 win. Early on, it looked like rain might put a damper on the evening, but after a 1 hour and 37 minute delay, the game finally got underway.
Happ collected his 9th win of the season as he pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed just 3 hits and 1 solo home run. His command was off and on all game and he did wind up walking 6 batters, but got outs when he needed to. Never rattled by tight situations, Happ continues to be a consistent starter that the Phillies can count on.
Add to that consistency a little Howard power and the result is a win. Howard has struggled in the second half, but these last few days, he looks like he is hitting balls into another solar system. Howard has 4 home runs in his last 4 games, with 2 of them rocketing out of the park last night for the 20th multi-home run game of his career. In fact, Howard did everything last night to win the game, except steal a base. His defense was stellar and he turned two very impressive double plays; at the plate, he notched the two home runs plus a single and a walk. All four Phillies runs in the game were credited to Howard.
In relief, Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre combined to record 3 of the last four outs in the game. Eyre almost had his first save since 2005, but after he walked a batter, Charlie Manuel decided to go to Brad Lidge, perhaps thinking that a one out save might boost his confidence. Lidge did record the save on three pitches, but after a horrible season so far, most still have their doubts about Lidge. It would seem to be time for the Phillies to find a back-up plan, but Manuel still insists Brad is his man. However, the Phillies cannot expect to thrive in the post-season while carrying the worst closer in all of major league baseball; his 8 blown saves and 7.21 ERA are officially the bottom of the barrel for all closers.
Today the Phillies will have a much needed day of rest and I will need to find something else besides baseball to occupy my evening. Suggestions are welcome :O)
And then Tuesday night, Philadelphia will get their first look up close and in person with Pedro Martinez. After a road win against the Cubs last week, the home crowd is anxious to see his progress. Game time is 7:05pm against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Go Phillies!
Howard photo by Jenn