Results tagged ‘ Cubs ’

Heavenly Sweep Of The Cubs

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Then God said, Let there be Lee: and so Lee was deposited into the lap of the Phillies.  And God saw Lee, and it was good.  Then on the seventh day, he created a sweep of the Cubs; and it was also good.  He then rested and boarded a flight to AtlantaLee in heaven3.jpg

A little Biblical humor for you; however, I am sure the Cubs saw nothing funny about the 3-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies.  Cliff Lee, who may indeed be a gift from the heavens, pitched 8 full innings of 1 run ball in the finale this afternoon.  And just to put an exclamation point on the win, he struck out 8 batters and went 1 for 3 at the plate with a double; it was Lee’s 2nd double as a Phillie.  In fact, Lee now has 3 hits as a Phillie and has given up a total of only 3 runs in 24 innings pitched.  Stick a halo on the man’s head – he is officially an angel.

The bats continued their bid for sainthood today as well; even Ryan Howard has been resurrected and is beginning to hit again.  Today, Howard went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI on a home run in the 4th inning.  And after showing off his new speedy moves yesterday when he hit a triple, today he continued to amaze as he stole a base.  Howard’s 5th stolen base of the year is a career high for him, and an impressive sight to behold from such a large and cumbersome looking man.

Pedro Feliz looked like he had his bat blessed by a higher power as well; Feliz had 3 hits in the game and 2 RBI, including a solo homer.  Chase Utley and Shane Victorino had 2 hits each and are now hitting .299 and .311 respectively.

Can the Phillies offense continue to perform like they are playing on hallowed ground?  A trip to Atlanta will give us the answer.  Tomorrow night Joe Blanton will face the man named after a lotion, Jair Jurrjens (or is it Jergens?), who is a slippery opponent and generally, the Phillies hate facing him.  The weekend series begins at 7:30pm.  Go Phillies!

Lee photo by Jenn

 

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Pedro Wins, Offense Explodes & Beer Is Wasted

While many of us are more offended by the waste of a good beer than anything Pedro Martinez might have done last night against the Cubs, the main story was still pitching.  P8094647.jpgMartinez put forth the effort that many expected; he had 4 very strong innings in his Phillies debut and began to tire in the 5th inning.  But even though he loaded the bases with no outs, Martinez did manage to work out of the jam with only 2 runs scoring. 

Overall, Martinez’s fastball velocity was very good, ranging from 88-93mph and he had good movement on the ball.  With a variety of pitches working as well, it looks like Pedro is here to stay.  The more he pitches, the stronger his arm will get and that means he may be able to go further into games, which is the ultimate goal.  The final line was 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeout’s and 1 walk, which was in the 5th and to the opposing pitcher.  And the final score was 12-5 after Chad Durbin gave up a few runs in the 9th.

The offense did their best to impress Mr. Martinez with their bats.  After a LONG hitting drought, the bats finally exploded last night to the tune of 12 runs on 14 hits including home runs by Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Rauuuuuuul Ibanez!  Every staring position player had at least one hit in the game, with Chase Utley leading the pack with 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.  Rollins & Ibanez each picked up 3 RBI on their homers. 

The other star of the game was Chan Ho Park; coming in to relieve Martinez, Park pitched a mini-no hitter of 3 innings in length :O)  As bad as Park was at the beginning of the season as a starter, he has been the polar opposite in the bullpen.   Kudos to Park for continuing to thrive in his bullpen role!

And then the moment you have all been waiting for – the beer.  It always makes me laugh when people criticize Phillies fans and then I see something like this; check out the VIDEO.

Yes, a retarded Cubs fans threw a full beer in the face of Shane Victorino right as he was catching a fly ball in deep centerfield.  To the idiot’s credit, he had perfect aim and timing.  But what an awful, unsportsmanlike and just plain stupid thing to do; I think the man should be thrown in jail, tied to a chair and forced to watch Cirque de Soleil videos all night long while also having buckets of ice water thrown down his pants by a large, hairy man named Gus.  Cubs – feel free to use that idea.  You have my full permission.

Phillies will go for the sweep of the Cubs this afternoon at 2:20pm – hopefully, beer free.

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Lidge Blows Another, Phillies Win Anyway

This week in Phillies-land has been anything but dull.  After getting swept by the Marlins, a trip to Chicago was in order.  Coming off his second complete game shut-out with 127 pitches thrown, JA Happ looked a bit tired on the mound last night, but he got the job done.  P8094580 Happ.jpgHis composure and inability to lose his cool makes him extremely effective.  In 6 innings, Happ only allowed two runs despite a plethora of base runners, as he worked in and out of trouble all night.  It was another great job from the rookie who continues to show why he belongs in the starting rotation.

Even with the Phillies offense still in a coma, they entered the 9th inning with a 3-2 lead thanks mostly to a Jimmy Rollins 2-run homer in the 6th.  Ryan Madson did his job to shut the Cubs down in the 8th and then Brad Lidge stepped to the mound in the 9th for the save.  Adding more fuel to the fire of Phillies fans everywhere, Lidge blew another save; his 7th blown save of the year.  And when you look at his ERA, which is a disgusting 7.29, I know many people are praying for Brett Myers to return.

Here is what I think:  Stick a fork in Lidge; he is done. 

Last night was the final straw for me.  The Phillies kicked and scratched to stay in that game and then Lidge came in and demoralized the team.  Earlier that day, Lidge threw a bullpen session to work on his fastball command.  Sorry, but it is the middle of August.  If he needs to work on his fastball command, he needs to do that in the minors – just like Myers did last year.  And boy do we wish Myers was healthy right about now.

We all appreciate and admire the job Lidge did last year, but this is 2009 and he is not the same pitcher, for whatever reason. 

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He needs to get his act together, screw his head back on straight and learn how to pitch again.  It is either that, or fans are going to take the Lidge bobblehead doll that will be distributed at the game on Wednesday the 19th and use it for target practice.  As much as I would hate to see the poor, innocent Lidge doll decapitated, maybe that is the jolt he needs to wake up?  Honestly, I love Brad and it pains me to see him struggle like this, but he cannot be allowed to continue to hurt the team when the division is clearly not in the bag, by any means.

But even with the blown save, the Phillies kept at it and tried to pull out the win.  With a 3-3 tie in the 12th inning, Ben Francisco threw the team up on his shoulders and hit a game-winning home run.  Chad Durbin nailed down the save and all is well in the world again.  By the way, could someone please tell Mr. Francisco to use two hands when catching fly balls in the outfield?  As pleased as we all are with his bat skills right now, he is making me very, very nervous out there with the glove.  A bit of foreshadowing?  I hope not.

So the circus continues…Pedro Martinez will make his Phillies debut tonight!  Jamie Moyer has a Pedro voodoo doll ready to go so he can get his job back, but still hoping for a win ;o)  Of course, I am joking…Jamie is a true professional and will always root on his team, even if he is unhappy with the situation.  I am still voting for my split game, 5 1/2-man rotation idea to keep Jamie in the game, but MLB just hates creativity ;O)  Well, let’s see how Pedro does!  Go Phillies!

Happ Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Martinez In, Moyer Out

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Pedro Martinez will be given his first shot at redemption tomorrow night against the Cubs as he enters the Phillies starting rotation.  Jamie Moyer, on the other hand, has been relegated to the bullpen while the Phillies take a look at Martinez.  Moyer is a professional and took the news in stride.  While it is sad to see Jamie bumped from the rotation for sentimental reasons, for baseball reasons, it was necessary.  Holding the highest ERA in the National League among starters, Moyer has not had the year the Phillies hoped for.  However, if Pedro fails to perform, there is no reason Jamie cannot be moved back in as a starter again.

The injury bug has left the bullpen thin over the last month so Moyer may be able to help out in a game where a starter is pulled early.  Another member of the pen, Chad Durbin, is just back from his back injury and Rodrigo Lopez was, as expected after several bad outings, sent back to the minors to make room for Durbin.  Also recovering still is JC Romero who had an MRI on his forearm which showed no ligament damage.  Romero has a slight tear in the muscle which should heal with rest and hopefully, we will see him before the month is out.

The Phillies will have their hands full tonight facing the Cubs and Rich Harden who has a 1.80 ERA in his last 5 games.  JA Happ is coming off another complete game shut-out, which is great, except that he threw 127 pitches.  Hopefully, the extra work will have no effect on him tonight.  The game kicks off at 8:05pm in Chicago.

Photo by Jenn

 

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Win Streak Ends

The Cubs took revenge on the Phillies last night after being clubbed over their tiny bear heads the last few days.  So the Phils did not sweep and their win streak came to an end at 10 games.  But if they win every 10 out of 11 games, I think most fans will be more than happy with that. :O)

Although you cannot win every time, there were a few concerning aspects of the game.  Chase Utley does not look quite right.  In the entire series, Utley managed only 1 hit in 13 at-bats and struck out 5 times, which is not usually his style.  Utley also had an error in the field last night and just looks uncomfortable.  While you hate to speculate, it was this same time last year that Utley’s hip began to really bother him.  So, is he injured again or is this just a slump and maybe some fatigue after the rat race of the All-Star events?  We shall see…

Another player who is showing signs of trouble is Brad Lidge.  No one expects the perfection he displayed last year, of course.  And his struggles at the beginning seem to stem from the injury to his knee.  But now?  P7058522.jpgLidge claims to be healthy but has given up 5 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings.  That equates to an ERA of 7.94.  And his ERA for the season stands at 7.20 which closely mirrors his last 7 games.

Lidge has been put into games several times in non-save situations, and as baseball lore tells us, this is usually not a good thing for any closer.  It is said that the adrenaline and intensity are not the same in those situations, so many closers struggle.  Frankly, I do not buy it.  Do I see it happen all the time?  Yes.  But it should not happen.  These guys should be able to pump themselves up no matter the situation; it is what they get paid for.  If Lidge were truly “lights-out” when he does come in for saves, then the non-save problems would be easier to accept.  But he struggles even in the save situations now, allowing too many hits and too many walks.  Lidge did much of the same last year, but not to this extent.  Should we be worried?  Maybe.  Lidge needs to step it up and start looking like the closer that everyone knows he has the potential and ability to be.  But I am sure I do not need to tell him this; he already knows.

And that is my rant for the day :O)  So, today was supposed to be an off-day, but thanks to earlier April Showers, the Padres will come to town tonight for the one game make-up date.  Cole Hamels will need to do his best to rest our very weary bullpen.  Start time is 7:05pm and it is dollar dog night at the ballpark.  Enjoy!

Lidge Photo by Jenn

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Werth’s Walk-Off Brings Streak To Ten

This team is fun to watch; you never know what is going to happen next.  Notching their 10th win in a row after a 13 inning pitching knock-down, drag-out fight, the Phillies enter this afternoon’s game with a 6 ½ game lead in the NL East.

robots.jpgJoe Blanton was as good as you could ask for in a starting pitcher, going 7 innings and allowing only 1 run while striking out 5 batters.  The problem was that the Cubs pitcher, Rich Harden, was just as good.  Former teammates, the pair looked determined to duke it out on the diamond.  The result ended in a draw and the bullpens continued the fight through 13 innings.

Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Chan Ho Park and Clay Condrey combined for 6 scoreless innings to give the Phillies a chance at winning the match. 

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Lidge contributed in a very unique way in the 9th inning when a little soccer action helped him out.  With a runner on first and one out, Lidge needed a double play to end the inning.  The next batter lined a ball up the middle and away from Lidge’s glove, so Lidge kicked the ball towards second and it landed right in the glove of Jimmy Rollins who turned two easily.  Brad Lidge: Part man, part Pele.

But the big kick came off the bat of Jayson Werth; with 2 out in the lucky 13th inning, Werth blasted a ball over the left field wall to score 3 runs and win the game. 

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He got his pitch to hit and he did not miss it.  Jayson Werth: Part man, part wrecking ball.

The Phillies will try to sweep the Cubs this afternoon with an early 1:05pm start.  Jamie Moyer will take on the emotional, and usually entertaining, Carlos Zambrano.  Talk about polar opposites…this should be another good one to watch!

Pele photo – http://www.britannica.com; Wrecking ball: www.channel4.com; robots – http://www.takemetoyourleader.com

 

 

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A Cub Clubbing

Yesterday, it was Fish Fry with a 3-game sweep of the Marlins in Miami.  Tonight, it was a cub clubbing in Philly.  Perhaps Animal Control needs to issue a citation to the Phillies for animal cruelty?  On second thought, nah…

To continue their assault on nature, the Phillies uprooted Ted Lilly of the Cubs and put 9 runs on the board during Lilly’s short 4 innings of work.  Utley destroys Lilly Cubs.jpgThe delicate flower was no match for the bashing of the Phillies’ bats; especially that of Raul Ibanez who plucked Lilly’s petals with a 3 run homer in the 1st inning.  And that homer came with two outs and two strikes on Ibanez after Ryan Howard failed to score any runners by striking out in the previous at-bat.  Just when it looked like Lilly may live to bloom another day, Ibanez went in for the kill.

The offense did not end there: Carlos Ruiz joined in later and nailed a 2 run homer and had 3 RBI in the game; Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 and in the 8th, Howard made up for a few bad at-bats with a solo home run.  Chase Utley was 1 for3 and also had an RBI in the game.

Rodrigo Lopez finally got another start after leaving early in his last outing with a sore shoulder.  Looks like the shoulder is doing well; Lopez got through 6 innings and allowed just one run.  Chad Durbin was handed the ball next and given an opportunity for a save by going the final 3 innings.  Durbin did the job and notched the Phillies 9th win in row!

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Jack Nicholson
attended the game tonight and sat behind home plate wearing a Yankees hat.  The Phanatic tried to convert him to a Philly-Phaithful by doing his best Joker impersonation, but the hat remained.  So here is a little help from Photo Shop to convert Mr. Nicholson:

Happ-enings

How about JA Happ?  This kid is making a case for Rookie of the Year, without a doubt.  He notched his 7th win yesterday in the 5-0 win over the Marlins and his ERA is now 2.68 with no losses recorded.  Happ has allowed only 6 runs in his last 5 starts.  And last night, Pedro Feliz did his best to lose the game for Happ by committing 2 official errors and had one other ball fly off his glove that should have been, but was not counted as an error.  Feliz helped load the bases at one point, on what should have been an easy double play ball, but Happ never rattled and pitched out of the jam.  His command and above all, his poise on the mound, make it hard to believe he is a rookie.  Happ has the ultimate poker face; you never know what he is thinking or feeling.

And that composure is exactly why the Phillies would be insane to trade him, even for the likes of Roy Halladay, as has been rumored.  Happ has pitched as well as Halladay since being promoted to the starting rotation.  I agree with going after Halladay, but not if the trade involves Happ.  And so this is my plea to the Phillies as the trade deadline draws closer…please, please, please – KEEP JA HAPP!  It would be a monumental mistake to let him go.  Mark my words.

Utley Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Jason Werth Is on Fire!

P4208215_werth_cr In today’s 5-3 win over the Cubs, Jayson Werth accounted for 3 of the runs; he went 2 for 4 including a solo homer.  It was his 3rd home run in 2 days.  And Werth has slowly raised his batting average up to a solid .282, only 1 point behind Shane Victorino (.283) and 11 behind Chase Utley (.293).  This guy is totally locked in right now, and the timing could not be better.  The Phillies really needed this win today to split with the Cubs in their four game series and stay only 1 game behind the Mets in the tight NL East race.

Having Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs pulled at the last minute before game time certainly put an extra hop or two into the steps of the Phillies players.  They came out scoring right away off the inexperienced lefty, Sean Marshall.  In the first inning, they scored 3 runs, all with 2 outs on the board.  Chase Utley walked; Ryan Howard singled to score Utley; Shane Victorino singled and then, the man of the hour, Jayson Werth, doubled to drive in the remaining two runs.  Howard had a huge day as well, going 3 for 5 with 1 RBI.  Utley and Victorino also ended the game with 2 hits each.

Jamie Moyer started the game and wound up going 5 1/3 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks.  Not his greatest, but still a good outing and enough to earn the win.  The bullpen finally held onto a lead, surrendering only 1 run in the remaining 4 2/3 innings.  I’ll bet they are all breathing a huge sigh of relief right now!  Brad Lidge got save #33 and still remains perfect in save opportunities.

The Phillies are now on their way to Washington DC where they will begin a 3 game series with the Nationals tomorrow; game time is 3:05pm and Kyle Kendrick gets the ball.  This is a great opportunity to gain some ground in the standings, playing against a last place team.  However, the Nationals have always given the Phillies a rough time, so this will be tougher than it looks on paper.  Keep your rally hats on!  Go Phillies!

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Myers Tames The Cubs

Whew!  Finally, a win at Wrigley!  Brett Myers pitched a great game again today, going 7 plus innings, giving up only 2 earned runs on 11 hits.  He also struck out 8 batters.  Myers had a lot of base runners, but maintained his cool and worked his way out of most of the jams.  He did leave 2 men on base in the 8th inning before exiting the game, P7266071_romero_cr but JC Romero came in and knocked them down to get out of the 8th without further damage.  Didn’t I say that JC was the 8th inning man?  Yes, I did…maybe Charlie Manuel is taking my advice J  Romero gets a little wild sometimes, but he has the energy and drive to be the set-up guy and today, he proved it.  Brad Lidge came on in the 9th and retired the Cubs in order to earn save #32 and preserve a 5-2 win for the Phillies.

The top of the line-up was back to form today, starting off with Jimmy Rollins who went 3 for 5 with a stolen base.  Chase Utley had 2 hits and scored a run; Ryan Howard was 2 for 4 with a homer.  But the big performance of the day has got to be Jayson Werth who hit 2 solo home runs and a single which scored 2 runs: that brings his total to 4 RBI on the day.  Werth has been a monster since taking over full-time for the injured Geoff Jenkins and is hitting BOTH right and left handed pitching, an area that had been of some question up until now.  He has more than proven that he is a starter and an everyday player.  And don’t you love watching Werth run?  I just can’t get enough of his long, skinny legs rounding the bases…he looks like a Giraffe high on Amphetamines J  Please direct me to the petting zoo…

Oh sorry, the mind is wandering again J  Back to baseball…so right now, it is Cubs 2, Phillies 1.  The Phils will have one more shot to get a series split tomorrow in the final game against the Cubbies; start time is 2:20pm EST and Jamie Moyer will take the mound, hoping to improve upon his last outing which was very short and very scary.  Go Phillies!

Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum! Please check out our site and bookmark it.

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Phillies Pen Strikes Again

The Phillies did everything wrong in this game: bad defense, no offense to speak of, the starter ruined an otherwise good performance by walking the bases loaded with no outs before they pulled him and the bullpen blew the lead again.  End result:  Phillies lose to the Cubs again, 3-2.  Home plate umpire, BWelke_glassesill Welke had a bad game as well.  His strike zone was consistently inconsistent.  The rest of the crew blew several calls in the field too, including calling Ryan Howard out in the 7th when he was safe and it cost the Phillies a run.  I am not sure what kind of benefits these umpires get, but I hope the League will invest in a comprehensive vision plan…these guys all need glasses!

Umpiring aside, it is going to be very difficult to win games when you are only managing to get 6 hits in a game, and 2 of those were from Pat Burrell, who has been struggling.  Every Phillies player who stepped to the plate today looked like they were swinging at a single grain of rice.  They just couldn’t find the ball.  The offense as a whole struck out 9 times and left 10 men on base.  Maybe the team should join Bill Welke and his umpiring crew on their way to the Eye Doctor; they can all get matching glasses.

Add to this, the bullpen blew ANOTHER lead!  Right about now, I am really missing Tom Gordon.  He had his issues, but last year in late August and September, he stepped it up and took care of business.  Clay Condrey should never be put into close games like this; he just hasn’t been able to avoid the long ball and today, Alfonso Soriano took him deep to give the Cubs the lead.  Scott Eyre came in earlier in the 6th to take over after Joe Blanton walked the bases loaded with no outs and I was expecting better out of him.  He walked the first batter he faced, walking a run in and tying up the game.  Eyre had a great chance to show up his former team and he failed miserably.  Blanton was solid through the previous 5 innings, giving up only 1 run, but the 3 walks in the 6th really put the Phillies in an awful jam, and Eyre could not get out of it.

Charlie Manuel spoke on the radio before today’s game and said essentially that he does not feel like he has anyone who can pitch the 8th inning.  He talked about how the 8th is so much different than the 6th or 7th innings.  I’m sorry, what exactly is the BIG difference?  If your job is to get 3 outs, it should not matter what inning it is; just get the outs.  What this tells me is that we have a bullpen full of guys who cannot handle pressure.  Because that is the only real difference with the 8th inning: pressure.  And that goes back to a point I made several days ago – these coaches have to stop babying these pitchers!  Let them develop a backbone because if they can’t deal with pressure, they can’t pitch in the major leagues.  And as for Charlie’s 8th inning dilemma, just hand it over to JC Romero and be done with it.  If he knows ahead of time that he is the 8th inning guy, he will perform.  He is the one guy in that pen that can definitely handle the stress.  The only time you see Romero get really frustrated is when he gets put in for one batter and knows he won’t be allowed to finish the inning.  This guy wants to prove himself and he wants to pitch – let him have the 8th!

Best we can hope for now is a split with the Cubs, but even that seems like a very tall mountain to climb with the way this team is going.  Here’s hoping…

Read more about the Phillies at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum! Please check out our site and bookmark it.

And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!  All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!

Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!

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