Results tagged ‘ Dan Uggla ’

Bullpen Killing the Phillies

This Phillies bullpen sucks.  There are few more accurate ways to describe it.  The young pitchers are up one day and way down the next; the veterans are too inconsistent and have the threat of injuries, both past and present, constantly haunting them.

But the real shame of Monday night’s 9-6 loss to the Braves was the wasted 8th inning 5-run rally, including a 3-run shot from Domonic Brown.  That gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead, which was wiped away in the 9th inning with a Dan Uggla Grand Slam.  Ugh.

It seems the 2014 Phillies may actually have the spirit and possibly the offense to carry them to a winning season.  But without the pitching, they are sunk.  It is only mid-April and this team is already breaking records, and not in a good way.

BJRB.J. Rosenberg gave up 3 home runs to consecutive batters last night.  That feat has not occurred in literally over 100 years of MLB history.  Sure, he has a nice fastball.  But clearly, he has no idea what to do with it.

Jake Diekman has a big arm too.  But the lack of experience, recent overuse and general wildness is holding him back.  Pretty much every guy in the Phillies pen is suspect.  Mike Adams is back, but after being out for so long with such an array of injuries, the expectations of him are low.

Even the starting pitching has major issues.  Roberto Hernandez looked winded last night after only 5 innings.  He has yet to make it through 6 innings.  And now A.J. Burnett has been diagnosed with a hernia.  He will pitch through the pain, which is not a comforting thought.

Some of these guys have real talent, like Diekman.  But even the smartest students do not always get good grades.  Many times, the results depend on the teacher.  So why are the Phillies seemingly unable to develop their talent?  And how deep within the organization does this disconnect go?  This is not a new problem.  It seems like every year, the Phillies bring up young pitchers who are just not prepared.

I wish I had the answers to those questions.  Thoughts?  Feel free to comment below.

Game 2 with the Braves begins at 7:05pm tonight.

Phillies Alumni Weekend and a Bashing from the Braves

Alumni Weekend for the Phillies is something for fans to look forward to each year.  Players of the past come back to be celebrated and adored once again.  This year, Brad Lidge retired as a Phillie; Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame; and the 1993 NL Championship team was honored on their 20-year anniversary.

The following is a photo diary of Sunday’s events and, unfortunately, a few not-so-fun happenings from the Phillies 1-4 loss to the Braves.

Here is a photo of 1993 manager Jim Fregosi signing my championship pennant and another of the  joining the celebration:

Players of old joined current Phillies players at their respective positions prior to the game as the National Anthem was played.  Having the 1993 and 2013 players together was a very nice touch.  And Darren Daulton got a standing ovation for the 3rd consecutive day.  Surviving brain cancer surgery and being able to walk out onto the field with his friends was worth at least that, and much more.  It was great to see Dutch still fighting.

But the fun ended there.  Unless of course, you count the following events:  The top photo shows a camera man focusing in on Kevin Fransden’s rear-end.  And I can tell you, he lingered there for quite a while.  I want that job.

And the photos below the Frandsen camera-rape episode show that Dan Uggla still has a serious man crush on Chase Utley as he tries to get as close to him as possible during the game.  Remember my shocking 2008 All-Star photo of Uggla goosing Utley?  In case you do not, I of course included it here for your enjoyment:

And then there was the rest of the game, which was horrible.  The only events worth mentioning are the 2 times Braves players were caught in a rundown.  One ended peacefully, with Carlos Ruiz applying the tag.  The other was not so nice.  Total jerk Jason Heyward, rather than take getting picked off like a man, decided to ram Frandsen, sending him flying into the air.  I had nothing against Heyward (beside him being a Brave) until that moment.  That was completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-run lead and the Braves about to sweep the series:

If a picture paints a thousand words, then these shots speak volumes.  Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley look downright infuriated by the team’s current situation.  And manager Charlie Manual just looks defeated:

Defeated is a good word; it covers all of angles of this team.  They have been defeated literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way you can think of.  The suspension of pitcher Antonio Bastardo today was just adding salt to the wound.

This is about as ugly as one can imagine for the Phillies.  The only thing they can hope for now is maybe to find some new, young talent in the coming weeks.  And perhaps they are also hoping for a quick end to this painful season.

Here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s events.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Stumble Into All-Star Break With Little Hope to Save Their Season

The Phillies were swept by the Braves today in a depressing 4-3 loss.  There was not even a little comic relief, as in Saturday’s loss when Hunter Pence bowled over 3rd base coach Juan Samuel while rounding the bases towards home.  That bit had everyone except Samuel laughing to the point of tears.

The only laughs today came before the game started:

After that, absolutely nothing was funny.  Even the presentation of All-Star jersey’s to Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon and Cole Hamels was somehow lacking in enthusiasm.

And then fans learned that Shane Victorino was pulled from the line-up at the last moment, prompting rumors of a possible trade or injury.  But what actually happened, according to Charlie Manuel, was that Shane was feeling “down” and had “a lot on his mind…”  And so, Charlie took him out in favor of Jason Pridie.

That turned out to be the only good move of the day.  Pridie hit a 2-run homer and a double, which accounted for all 3 Phillies runs in the game.

Vance Worley battled through 6 innings, allowing 3 runs, which was a nice improvement over his last start where he have up 6 runs in 4 innings.  But despite the quality start, not much was going the way of the Phillies.

There were some nice defensive plays:

But the offense was lackluster, despite having both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the line-up.  The top 4 in the line-up went 1-for-16 collectively, although Jimmy Rollins did go 3-for-3 in pop-fly outs.  I am not sure that is a stat to be proud of, but at least he is consistent (note my sarcasm, in case you missed it).

Ultimately, Raul Valdes gave up a solo homer to who else, but Brian McCann, giving the Braves a 1-run lead that the Phillies failed to overcome.

So the Braves had a nice visit to Philly, complete with attempts to steal young Phillies fans.  Here is ex-Phil Chad Durbin and Dan Uggla before the game playing nice with one of the kids chosen for the traditional Sunday Starting 9:

Actually, it was very sweet.  But Durbin was always that kind of guy; his presence is still missed on this ballclub.

So the Phillies go into the All-Star break in the midst of a complete disaster.  They have won only 1 of their last 12 games and sit in dead last in the NL East, 14 games out of first.  Get ready fans; I am afraid change is coming, and not the good kind.

For a pleasant distraction, check out my Photo Album from the game; just pretend they win and the photos look even better!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

The Top 10 NL East Moves So Far and More Potential Deals

The five teams in the NL East, the Phillies, Braves,  Marlins, Mets and Nationals, have all had busy off-seasons trying to improve their clubs.  Some have been more successful than others.  And some, like the Phillies and Mets, are moving very slowly through the free agent and trade possibilities.

Here is a countdown of the top 10 moves so far within the division and a breakdown of potential future moves for each team.

#10 – Three Relief Pitchers to the Marlins

In mid-November, the Red Sox swapped lefty relievers with the Marlins.  Dustin Richardson went to the Marlins and Andrew Miller landed with the Red Sox.  Miller, previously a highly-touted prospect, was a disappointment in Florida.  He struggled with control and lacked consistency. 

The addition of Richardson is a good move for the Marlins.  At only 26-years of age, Richardson posted a 4.15 in 26 relief appearances in the bigs, although most of his time has been spent in the minors.  This lefty has great potential.  The Marlins hope they can mould him into a solid reliever.

The very next day, the Marlins also acquired two right-handers, Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.  The Marlins sent Cameron Maybin to the Padres in exchange.  Webb has averaged a 3.19 ERA in two major league seasons while Mujica is going into his 6th season having posted a 3.62 ERA last year.

These three pitchers combined should make a major impact on the Marlins 2011 bullpen.

#9 – Dennys Reyes to the Phillies

The Phillies have agreed to terms with veteran left-hander, Dennys Reyes.  The 33-year-old reliever posted a 3.55 ERA in 59 relief appearances last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Phillies chose not to re-sign JC Romero after Romero struggled with control and left elbow surgery last offseason seemed to alter his mechanics.  Reyes will be counted on to take over for Romero. 

The only other lefty who has had much success with the Phillies in the few past years is Antonio Bastardo.  The Phillies will likely go into the 2011 season with these two left-handed relievers in the bullpen.

#8 – Javier Vazquez to the Marlins

Right-handed starter Javier Vazquez struggled last year with the Yankees, ending the season with a 10-10 record and a 5.32 ERA.  However, Vazquez pitched for the Braves in 2009 and ended with a 2.87 ERA.  A return to the NL East may be exactly what Vazquez needs to get back on track.

The Marlins also like the idea that Vazquez can eat innings for them, which is something they have been lacking.  This 13-year veteran is sure to bring some stability to the Marlins rotation.

#7 – Eric Hinske re-signs with the Braves

The Braves liked Eric Hinske in left field last year, where he made only 1 error in 360 innings.  At the plate, Hinske hit .256 with 11 homers and a .793 OPS.  In 2011, Hinske is likely to serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter who may fill in for Martin Prado from time to time.

#6 – John Buck to the Marlins

Catcher John Buck will enter his 8th major league season with a 3-contract from the Florida Marlins.  Buck had a breakout year in 2010 with the Blue Jays and made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. 

Buck set career highs in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.314), homers (20) and RBIs (66) with the Jays and also threw out 28% of runners attempting to steal.  The Marlins may have hit a home run with this signing.


107A.jpg#5 – Jose Contreras re-signs with the Phillies

Jose Contreras spent most of his career as a starter until last year with the Phillies where he made a nice transition into a full-time reliever.  Contreras  was one of the most dependable relievers in the Phillies bullpen and as such, the Phillies rewarded him with a new 2-year deal, including an option for a third year.

Contreras went 6-4 with four saves and a 3.34 ERA in 67 games in 2010.  He is able to pitch multiple innings when necessary and can also fill in as a closer.  This gives the Phillies some much needed stability in the bullpen.

#4 – Scott Linebrink to the Braves

There was one more pitching swap this offseason as the Braves sent Kyle Cofield to the White Sox in exchange for another righty, Scott Linebrink.  At 23 years of age, Cofield was moved in favor of experience.  Linebrink is a 12-year veteran who has had a fairly consistent career.  He went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA as a reliever for the White Sox last year and will be a solid piece in the Braves bullpen.

#3 – George Sherrill to the Braves

Continuing to add pitching, the Braves signed lefty reliever George Sherrill, who will be entering his 8th season in the majors.  The one-year deal is a smart one for the Braves as it is fairly low-risk.  Sherrill performed well in 2008 and 2009, but last year, he ran into trouble.  Posting a 6.69 ERA with the Dodgers in 65 games, Sherrill got destroyed facing right-handed hitters who batted .427 off him.

If Sherrill can rebound to his 2009 form, the Braves move will pay major dividends.  If not, they only spent $1.2 million dollars to sign him.  This looks like a winner for the Braves.

#2 – Dan Uggla to the Braves

His name is Dan Uggla and yes, he is now a Brave.  This All-Star second baseman has been tearing up the NL East for five years now.  The Marlins refused to meet Uggla’s demand of a five-year contract and decided to trade him.  They received Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Michael Dunn in exchange.

The winner of this trade may be a tough call.  Uggla, with 33 homers last year, gives the Braves a right-handed power bat.  However,  Infante is a more versatile and solid defender.  Plus, Infante batted over .300 each of the past two seasons.  And with good left-handed relievers hard to come by, Dunn’s 1.89 ERA in 25 games last year looks pretty good.  However, Dunn is a rookie with little experience so the Marlins cannot be sure what they will get out of him.

The worst news about this trade for the NL East is that Uggla remains in the NL East.  The Marlins may have just shot themselves, plus three other teams, directly in the foot.


P6203412B.jpg#1 – Jayson Werth to the Nationals

If anything is certain about this signing, it is that no one saw it coming.  The 7-year, $126 million dollar deal handed to right fielder Jayson Werth is the biggest move made in the NL East so far this offseason.  It may even wind up being one of the top five deals in all of baseball by the time 2011 gets started.

The Phillies could not afford to meet Werth’s demand, who made his first All-Star appearance with them in 2009.  Batting .296 with 27 homers and 85 RBI last year, this five-tool player is a great addition to any team.  However, at 31 years of age, Werth’s 7-year deal may look foolish a few seasons down the road.

Potential Future Moves:  The Phillies

A name you are likely to hear a lot in the coming weeks is Zack Greinke.  In fact, the only NL East team who has not been linked to Greinke is the Mets.  The Royals have made it known that they are willing to part with this right-handed starter for the right price.  Once Cliff Lee signs somewhere, the market for Greinke will certainly heat up.

While Greinke is on the Phillies wish list, they may also be looking at right fielder Delwyn Young.  Having spent the last two years with the Pirates, Young has not exactly been lighting up the batter’s box, hitting only .236 last year.  But the Phillies are still deciding how to replace Jayson Werth.  Young is a possibility, but look for the Phils to fill the spot internally.

Potential Future Moves:  The Braves

Aside from Zack Greinke, the Braves are also rumored to be in talks with lefty reliever Ron Mahay.  While with the Braves the last few months of 2007, Mahay posted a 2.25 ERA in 30 appearances and has since expressed interest in returning to the Braves.

Mahay had surgery near the end of the 2010 season for a torn rotator cuff.  but with left-handers in short supply, the Braves may take a look at re-signing Mahay.


P7266071 Romero cr.jpgPotential Future Moves:  The Marlins

Despite signing a few lefties already, the Marlins are still looking for depth in this area.  Ron Mahay, whom the Braves are looking into, is also a possibility here.  A few other lefties the Marlins may consider are Joe Beimel and JC Romero.  Beimel posted a 3.40 ERA in 45 innings last year and Romero had a 3.68 ERA in 36 2/3 innings.

The Marlins have also been tossing around the idea of signing right fielder Delwyn Young, whom the Phillies expressed interest in as well.

 

Potential Future Moves:  The Mets

The Mets have not made many moves this offseason aside from a few smaller players like catcher Ronnie Paulino and righty DJ Carrasco.  The biggest potential move for the Mets may be simply retaining outfielder Carlos Beltran.  Already signed through 2011, several teams including the Red Sox, have expressed interest in a trade for Beltran.

With budget concerns, the Mets have little room to squeak out any significant deals.  Therefore, the most important move they make may just be retaining players like Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes.  The Mets will need to resist the urge to dump payroll if they are to have a chance to compete in 2011.

Potential Future Moves:  The Nationals

While the Nationals severely overpaid for right fielder Jayson Werth, they may not be done just yet.  It seems, that like a lot of teams, star pitcher Cliff Lee is on their radar.  And similar to the Werth deal, no one would ever see it coming.  But the Nats appear to have money to burn so Lee may not be out of the question.

Veteran outfielder Randy Winn has also been rumored to be generating interest in Washington.  Also add first baseman Adam LaRoche to their wish list and right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg.  Gregg spent two years in the NL East with the Marlins from 2007 to 2008.  He pitched in 63 games for the Blue Jays last year and posted a 3.51 ERA.  Several teams, including the Nationals, have been courting the reliever.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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Getting Hot In Miami


P7255676 RuizA.jpgA couple of Phillies were getting hot, hot, hot in Miami tonight.  At the plate, Carlos Ruiz ended the game only a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.  Not only was his bat hot, but he got big hits with 2 outs and in key situations, collecting 2 RBI’s and scoring 2 runs.  Ruiz had 4 hits on the night against the Marlins!

Ben Francisco was nipping at Ruiz’s heels all night too.  Both players hit solo homers in the 2nd inning, back-to-back.  Francisco ended with 3 hits, an RBI and 2 runs scored.  Wilson Valdez contributed 2 hits as well.  With Ryan Howard being sent to the DL today and Chase Utley already on the DL, the Phillies needed other players to step up and add some pop to the line-up.  Ruiz, Francisco and Valdez did just that.

No one appreciated the effort more than Roy Halladay, who has suffered from a lack of run support in games past.  In fact, during the 4th inning, it looked like the Phils would let him down again when they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.  Cody Ransom got ahead in the count and then on the 2-0 pitch, he popped out, leaving the runners stranded.  After an intentional walk to Valdez, Halladay decided to get the job done himself.  A 2-out hit down the 3rd base line is just what the Doc ordered.  Halladay collected 2 RBI and now has 3 RBI this year.

Not only was Halladay hot at the plate, but he looked like he was yielding a flame thrower on the mound.  In 7 innings, the only run he allowed was a solo homer to Dan Uggla.  He gave up 5 hits, 1 walk and struck out 9 batters.  Halladay left the game drenched in sweat and with a 6-1 lead.

P6254077A Halladay fire.jpg

Chad Durbin was called upon to finish the game with 2 innings to go.  He had a fairly quick 8th inning and ran into some trouble in the 9th.  But Durbin buckled down and got the job done without allowing a run.  For a bullpen that has been up and down all year, Durbin supplied a much needed boost of confidence.

So, who was not hot tonight?  Jayson Werth got the Golden Sombrero by striking out 4 times.  He has done that twice now this season; the last time was 5/30/10.  Ransom went hitless and popped out twice.  Raul Ibanez struck out twice, but did have one hit and a walk.  Placido Polanco went 1 for 5.  But they all picked a good day to have a bad day; with Halladay on the mound and their teammates picking them up, all is well that ends well.

Kyle Kendrick will pitch tomorrow against the Fish; game time is 7:10pm.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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Hamels Shines; Loses Game Anyway

On behalf of Cole Hamels, can I get a collective “Arrgghhhh!” please?  Thank you.  This poor guy pitched like a real ace today against the Marlins and has nothing to show for it.  His first two outings this year stunk, but the offense scored 8 and 7 runs for him, respectively.  Today, Hamels allowed just 2 runs over 8 innings, striking out 8 batters and did not issue any walks.  And this game, he loses by a score of 0-2.  Ugh.


P4189587.jpgThere were a few moments in the game where it looked like Hamels may revert to his 2009 ways and lose his cool.  The home run to Dan Uggla in the 2nd inning was one, but he just kept on pitching as if it did not happen.  The second instance was huge; with no outs in the 3rd, the inning began with a double to centerfield from the Marlins pitcher.  Allowing hits to the opposing pitcher, especially extra base hits, is usually the one thing you can count on to mess with a pitchers head.  But instead, Hamels struck out the next 2 batters and got the 3rd on a ground ball.  Bravo, Cole!  This is the guy we had all been missing.

But even after the huge effort put forth by Hamels, the offense came up with a great big ZERO.  The Phillies had opportunities, including 3 walks in the 2nd inning to Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz, but they still failed to score.  Incidentally, those same 3 players accounted for 3 of the 4 Phillies hits tonight.  The 4th was Placido Polanco.  So while Charlie Manuel apparently took my hint yesterday about player Francisco in place of Raul Ibanez, Francisco’s walk and double were wasted by those who batted after him.

Here are a few photos from the game:


041810b.jpgIn that same 2nd inning, Werth could have scored on the fly out by Juan Castro but did not.  He tagged up and started to run from third base, but for some reason he stopped and went back.  With Werth’s speed, he had a chance to make it.  Plus, there were 2 outs in the inning and the pitcher, Hamels, was due up next.  It was worth the risk.  And as luck would have it, the throw home sailed past the catcher, meaning Werth would have scored easily.  Another wasted opportunity.

For their final chance in the 9th, three pinch hitters were sent in; Ross Gload, Ibanez and Greg Dobbs all went down without a fight, faster than fans could run to the parking lot.  And there you have it; the Phillies first shut-out of the year and first lost series of the year.  They are now only ½ game in front of the Marlins for first place.

The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to collect themselves, but more bad news may be on the horizon.  JA Happ is suffering from a sore forearm and his scheduled Wednesday start is uncertain as a result.  They are already missing Joe Blanton from the rotation; if Happ is forced to the DL as well, the Phillies may be in big trouble.  Nelson Figueroa can probably fill in as a starter, but the pitching is starting to look awfully thin.  Please think Happ-Y thoughts this week and perhaps we can all will him to health :O)  It is worth a shot…

So, here is the full Photo Album from today’s game, which includes the always entertaining Phanatic Birthday celebration.  Check out the stuffed Clam, Clammy Sosa, eating and then spitting out an umpire…classic.

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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Phillies Pull Out A Wet One

Everything was looking great for the Phillies last night until the rain came.  Cole Hamels appeared to be slowly returning to form; he pitched 5 innings before the delay and allowed one solo home run, 4 hits and struck out 5.  The offense too, seemed ready to pounce on the Marlins for a second day in a row.  In the 1st inning, Jimmy Rollins started the game off with a double and Chase Utley hit a home run to drive them both in.  They scored 2 more runs in the 4th with singles by Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth; then Pedro Feliz doubled and the Phillies went up  4-1.

But Mother Nature thought it would be fun to interrupt the momentum and a downpour stopped the game in the middle of the 6th inning.  sleepy Phillies.jpgAfter a 1 hour 18 minute rain delay, the game resumed and the Phillies looked like they had not woken from the nap they took in the clubhouse.  Chan Ho Park allowed 1 run over 2 innings of work, which is not too bad.  And Park has been very solid out of the pen lately.  But then Ryan Madson came in for the 8th and could not make it through a whole inning; he did record 2 outs, but also gave up 2 more runs to tie the game at 4-4. 

Both JC Romero and Chad Durbin wound up pitching in the same inning, which seemed like it would never end as ex-Phillies players put a hurting on the pen.  Ronny Paulino, who was with the Phils in Spring Training, obviously has a chip on his shoulder when playing the team who let him go.  Having gone 0 for his last 13 at-bats, Paulino rallied for 3 hits, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored and a walk against the Phils.  Even Wes Helms got in the action with a hit and an RBI.

Once it went into extra innings, the potential outcome appeared bleak as the Phillies began to run out of players. 

sleepy ump.jpg
The umpire was no help in this game either; Mark Wegner, a 10 year veteran, did not have a good game behind the plate.  His strike zone was all over the place and both teams argued with him all night.  Then, with the potential go-ahead run on 3rd base for the Phillies, the Marlins pitcher balked – an obvious balk.  But all 4 umpires missed it so the extra innings continued.  All I can figure is that the umpires brought their sleeping bags and were content to make this game go all night long.

But the Phillies finally woke up in the 12th inning as singles from J-Roll, Utley and Werth turned into 2 runs and put the Phillies up 6-4.  Brad Lidge came in to close it out, and it was another ugly, ugly turn of events.  Stomaches churned as Lidge walked 2 batters in a row and then uncorked a wild pitch to score a run.  With the tying run on 3rd and the winning run at the plate, Lidge finally got Dan Uggla to ground out and end the game; final score 6-5, Phillies.  And all in Phillies-land rejoiced as we staggered sleepily to our beds after the 4 hour ordeal.

And we will do it all over again tonight!  Same time, same place; Joe Blanton will take the mound at 7:10pm in Land Shark Stadium (formerly Dolphins Stadium).  We all hope the Phillies can win it in NINE innings tonight.  Please and thank you. ;O)

Howard Photo by Jenn

 

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Fried Fish & Iron Pigs

This team sure loves playing from behind; all 8 wins this year so far have been comeback wins, including yesterday’s 10-inning 6-4 win over the Marlins.  Losing 3-4 in the 9th inning, Eric Bruntlett stepped in to pinch hit and hit a chopper up the third base line well enough to score Jayson Werth from third and tie up the game.  In the 10th, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Werth all singled, plus a stolen base from Victorino, and the Phillies took the lead, 6-4.  Brad Lidge tried to give us all a tummy ache in the bottom of the 9th as he loaded the bases full of Fish, but managed to escape unscathed.

Chan Ho Park had a better game this time around; he started off red-hot, but cooled a bit in the 4th inning when he gave away back-to-back home runs.  The first was a 3-run homer to Jorge Cantu and then a solo shot to Dan Uggla.  But Park did keep the Phils in the game and even accidentally ran into an opposite field home run of his own in the 3rd inning.  It was Park’s first home run since 2000.

The bullpen including Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson held the game at 4 runs for the Fish and ultimately, gave the Phillies an opportunity to come back and win.  Great job from the pen! 

Speaking of pens, I was actually sitting in the “pig pen” at Coca-Cola Park watching the Phils game on my phone while watching our AAA club, the Iron Pigs play the Pawtucket Red Sox.  And yes, everything in this park is “pig” themed.  From the mascots, to the game program, which is called “Pork Illistrated.”  Besides the “oinking” from the crowd and other silliness, the park is beautiful, has comfortable seating and it was a really entertaining time overall.

The Pigs game actually mirrored the Phillies game through the 9th inning; both clubs were tied 4-4 and went 1 extra inning!  Sadly, the Pigs game had a different result, as they lost to the Sox, 5-4.  But I did get to check out Carlos Ruiz in his first rehab assignment.  Ruiz was the DH; he went 0-3 at the plate, walked twice and scored a run.  The good news is, he looked ok swinging the bat.Kendrick Ruiz Pigs.jpg

I also saw former major leaguer, Kyle Kendrick pitch; Kendrick went 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Not good.  He looked like a minor league pitcher and appears to have a long way to go before cracking the majors again.  We wish him luck!

Spring training stand-outs John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Donald each smacked a home run in the game and were impressive defensively as well.  Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy collected the other 2 RBI’s, which were hard to come by as they faced pitchers who were throwing in the 40’s and 50’s.  I am so not kidding; it looked like a tee-ball game.  One pitcher for the Sox was being clocked regularly at around 41mph!  Wow.  Most AAA players are not used to such slow deliveries and it will mess up their timing.  Hey, maybe the Sox would like to sign me up?  Pretty sure I can top 41mph.

Jason Donald HR.jpg

Here is the Photo Album of the Iron Pigs game; I have included more shots of Ruiz, Kendrick, Coca-Cola park, the mascots and many others!

Back to the majors: Don’t forget to VOTE for your All-Star’s today!  Get your Phillies into the game!!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address. 

And tune in now to the Phillies-Marlins 3rd game of the series which had a very early start at 12:10pm.

Photos by Jenn

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A Happy Buttday

P7144417 Utley.jpg

Thanks to my friend Sue at Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts, it has indeed been a Happy Buttday.  Check out her birthday gift to me.  Great stuff…Thanks Sue!  Chase Utley wanted to wish me a Happy Birthday too, but he was busy being harassed by Dan Uggla.  So, I offer this photo tribute, in keeping with the Buttday theme ;O)

Sadly, Cole Hamels was also unable to participate in my birthday celebration, as he is on his way back to Philadelphia to have his head….errrr, I mean his elbow, examined.  Although, he may want to consider the head exam while he is at it :O)  Seriously, Hamels has been experiencing soreness in his elbow, not while pitching, but apparently afterwards.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. seems to think it is not serious, but they are being very careful with the staff ace.  After pitching more innings in 2008 (227.3) than he had in his entire minor league career (201 IP from 2003-2006), Hamels may just need some extra time to get ready for the season.  Fingers crossed…

Kyle Kendrick got another spring start today, as he struggles to stay afloat in the battle for the 5th starters spot.  He did not fair very well.  Kendrick did get out of some jams, as Phillies fans have gotten used to with him; but he also got into situations where he could not bail himself out.  Kendrick wound up surrendering 5 runs and 3 walks in 4 innings.  It looks more and more like Kendrick may have punched his ticket back to the minors.

Currently in the 6th inning, the Phillies are losing 6-0 to the Yankees.  Joba Chaimberlain got the start for New York and gave up only 2 hits in 3 innings.  If there are any significant game developments, I will update them here later.

WBC Highlights

Jimmy Rollins led the charge for Team USA yesterday as they ran the Netherlands out of the classic; Rollins went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI, including a 2-run homer.  Helping him out was Brian Roberts who just joined the team to replace the injured Dustin Pedroia; Roberts ended the game 1 home run short of the cycle with 3 hits, 2 walks and 1 RBI.

Although the USA took a convincing lead early and won 9-3, the game was not without drama.  USA pitcher, Matt Lindstrom took exception to Dutchman, Bryan Engelhardt’s  lolly-gagging around the bases after hitting a home run off him in the 8th; Lindstrom took aim in retaliation at the next batter, Vince Rooi, and tossed the ball at his rear-end.  Obviously, he was just preparing to celebrate my Buttday, along with everyone else.  But Engelhardt and the rest of the Netherlands apparently did not get the Buttday memo; the benches nearly cleared as the Dutch shouted out at Lindstrom in anger.  The fray was over before it began and the game went on; all butt’s still intact ;O)

More Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who voted for my blog on The Max’s “Max Madness” bracket challenge.  I have made it past the 1st round by defeating NL East rival blog, Pick Me Up Some Mets.  In round 2, I fully expect to go down in flames, as I have been pitted against super-blogger, Julia’s Rants.  But if I have to lose to anyone, I do not mind losing to Julia…she is a sweetheart :O)  So, thanks again for your votes and maybe I’ll get a couple in round 2, so I am not totally embarrassed when I crash and burn ;o)

Next up for the Phillies

Tuesday at 1:05pm, the Phillies will take on the Reds at Bright House field in Clearwater, FL.

 

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All-Star Bloopers

PHOTOS from mUtley Uggla.jpgy All-Star Week excursion have been posted, but I thought I would highlight a few fun ones for you here as well.  Let’s begin with my favorite of the week!  As you may know, Dan Uggla committed like 3 errors in the All-Star game on Tuesday.  Well, I am calling this one “UGGLA ALL-STAR ERROR #4″ and you will see why.  Yes, this is Dan Uggla grabbing Chase Utley’s butt as he walks back to the dugout after getting his award at the Home Run Derby for earning the most All-Star votes in the NL.  He totally gooses him!  Utley uggla long shot.jpgAnd then, check out the on-lookers, who are horrified by what they are witnessing!  Thank goodness it looks like Uggla’s son is sleeping through the ordeal J


Next up….Brad Lidge thinks about whacking David Wright with Chase Utley’s 
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bat…but really, haven’t we all had that thought at one time or another?  Who can blame him?

Red Sox Blooper…Manny Ramirez’s son was running wild on the sideline…  He decides to tackle Kevin Youkilis and, whoops!  The kid knees
  him right in the groin!  OUCH.Youkilis.jpg


 

 
More Utley…I’m calling this one, “Diggin’ For Gold.”  Did he not realize that I was RIGHT THERE!  I mean, if he needed help with this, all he needed to do was ask me.  Geez.  Another opportunity passed me by… 
J  But seriously, what the heck??  He couldn’t go in the dugout which was like 1 foot away to handle this??  OMG.


Utley all-star.jpgParade Blooper – Barrel man:  What is this about anyway?  A man runs out in the middle of the parade wearing a barrel.  Then he gets arrested.  Well, he was a Mets fan…I guess that explains it.


Barrell.JPGAnd finally, we have all heard about the Chase Utley expletive before the Home Run Derby at the introduction Utley Boo.JPG(the “Boo, @#@# You!” remark)…well, here is a photo I took right as he said it.  You can see Dan Uggla’s reaction…he was quite amused
J  And frankly, when I saw it, so was I J  We should all have a sense of humor.  Enough said.

Hope you enjoyed…have a happy day! J

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