Results tagged ‘ Diamondbacks ’
The long awaited major league debut of Phillies top prospect Domonic Brown is finally in the books. Replacing Shane Victorino on the roster after he landed on the DL today, Brown played right field while Jayson Werth moved to center. And Brown could not have done much more to impress.
In his first at-bat, Brown smacked an RBI-double off the wall in centerfield, which was just a few feet away from a home run. He moved to third on a Carlos Ruiz single and scored on a Wilson Valdez ground out. Brown grounded out his second time up but singled and scored again in the 6th inning. He added a sac fly RBI later as well.
While I was not at the game, I did sneak a few photos off the TV:
So Brown went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s, one of those coming on a sac fly. While that may have exceeded expectations for a nervous rookie, even Ryan Howard said before the game that he expected “big things” from Brown today. Well, he got his wish.
And Jayson Werth looks like he got something as well; a new best friend! Werth and Brown chatted in the outfield a lot; not too unusual really. But they were also seen smiling and gabbing in the dugout a number of times. Then after scoring in the 6th, Brown followed Werth down the stairs into the dugout like an anxious puppy. In the 2nd, Brown got many high fives after his double and score, but only Werth gave him a big HUG!
While I am sure a lot of people would like to hug Brown right now, it seems only Werth will have that honor today ;o) And Werth has extra reasons to smile; with no other player who can handle centerfield, the odds of Werth being traded by the deadline are now slim to none. Also, Werth went 3 for 4 tonight. Not a bad day at all.
Another guy who did not have a bad day at all was Roy Halladay. With all the hoopla surrounding Brown, an outstanding performance from Halladay may have been slightly overlooked. But Halladay was on fire tonight, mowing down D-Backs hitters left and right. There was a scary moment in the 4th inning when Adam LaRoche smacked a liner right at Halladay. The ball hit him square in the backside.
Afterwards, pitching coach Rich Dubee said Halladay was just fine and that the ball “hit him in the meaty part.” So there you have it: Roy Halladay has a meaty butt. ;o) Sorry, I could not resist.
Halladay pitched a complete game but lost the shut-out in the 9th when the rookie Brown finally made a mistake. Brown dove for ball that he should have caught on a hop; instead the ball flew past him and a run scored. So Halladay’s scoreless innings streak ends at 33 innings. But I think we can all live with that ;o) GREAT job from Halladay, as usual!
And with the 7-1 win tonight, the Phillies extend their winning streak to 7 games overall and 10 game at home. Kyle Kendrick will pitch tomorrow night in the series finale. It is also 80′s night at the ballpark, which is always a fun type of promotion. Players shown on Phantavision are going to photoshopped into 80′s TV Stars. Howard will be Mr. T. That alone is worth the trip.
It has been a while since Phillies fans have been treated to a home run barrage. Tonight, the Phillies embraced the long ball, knocking three 2-run homers out of the ballpark; once each in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings. Jayson Werth got the first one, which had to be a big relief for him. Werth has not hit a homer in over a month, since June 23rd. Ryan Howard and Cody Ransom collected the other two bombs.
Cole Hamels had a bit of a rough outing, so the homers were a welcome sight. In the 1st inning with two outs, Hamels allowed a single, hit a batter and walked two more, which walked a run home. In 5 innings, Hamels walked 4 batters, hit two batters and allowed 3 runs. So while he was not at his best, he did still keep the team in the game.
David Herndon pitched one inning in relief and had some trouble as well. With one run already across, it looked like Herndon had a ground ball double play to end the inning. Placido Polanco fielded the ball, tagged the runner and tossed to first. But the runner going to second was called safe, despite insistence from both Polanco and manager Charlie Manuel that he did indeed tag the runner. The ump did not see it and another run scored.
But the home runs kept coming and the Phillies took the lead right back. Then in the 7th, Shane Victorino caught what appeared to be a routine fly ball but was wincing in pain before the ball even arrived. He called the trainer over and was taken out of the game. The report is that Victorino has a left oblique strain. Oblique strains are tricky so if he lands on the DL, it would not be shocking.
What is shocking is that the Phillies cannot seem to catch a break with all the injuries. Yesterday, Jimmy Rollins got hurt when he fouled a ball off his foot. He seems to be feeling better, but may still miss another game or two. Now Victorino; plus Chase Utley is still recovering from his thumb injury and at one point, the Phils had seven players on the DL all at once.
The injuries are getting old; but the current win streak, despite the injuries, is certainly not getting old. After sweeping the Rockies in 4 games, they beat the D-Backs tonight by a score of 9-5 for their 6th straight win. The rookie Herndon picked up his first major league win. In addition, the Braves lost tonight so the Phillies gain a game on them. The Phils are now 3.5 games out of first.
There are two more games with the D-Backs left before the Phillies hit the road again. As for Victorino, we should know more tomorrow. If he lands on the DL, the Phils will probably call up either Domonic Brown or John Mayberry to take his spot. I know everyone will be rooting for Brown, but Mayberry may get the nod because he has already been in the majors and they may not want to start the clock on Brown’s options just yet. But my vote is that Victorino is okay…here’s hoping.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, collected his 500th victory for the team today with a 4-game sweep of the Rockies. Only two other Phils managers since 1900 have more wins: Gene Mauch, 645 and Danny Ozark, 594.
The game did not start well as pitcher Joe Blanton quickly gave up 2 runs in the first innings to the anxious Rockies who were hoping to salvage one game in this series. But, despite a few walks, Blanton was sharp after the 1st and wound up going 6 innings.
The Phillies offense got them back into the game quickly, which was also a huge help. In order, Ross Gload singled, Greg Dobbs doubled and Brian Schneider tripled. All that was missing was a home run. Instead of the homer, Blanton reached first on a missed catch by Jason Giambi at first.
But then Jimmy Rollins batted and wound up fouling a ball off his foot, sending him to the ground in pain. He limped through the rest of the game and afterwards had an X-Ray. There was no break; he just has a bruise. However, it is still unknown how long he may have to rest his foot before playing again. Here is the sequence, with a nice moment of sportsmanship too:
Things got quiet for a while after that until the Phillies scored 2 more runs in the 6th. Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each hit RBI-singles to extend the lead. But many players contributed to the offense today, especially Schneider, with the huge triple in the 2nd and he also walked and scored in the 6th. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 and Polanco had 2 hits as well. Here are a few shot from the game:
There was some great defense and really amazing efforts on tough plays also:
And then came the heart-stopping 9th inning. You know when I mention heart attacks, Brad Lidge must somehow be involved, right? Well he sure was. It started with a double, but Lidge got two outs after that. With just one out to go, ahead of the batter in the count, Lidge grooved a fastball right over the plate which Seth Smith hammered for a 2-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-4. Two walks and a single later and the bases were loaded…again…just like the day before. But Lidge finally got a ground ball, which he fielded himself for the final out.
While Lidge is totally on my last nerve with these cardiac episode inducing outings, what is the alternative? Do we need a new closer? Probably. But has anyone else in the pen proved they can handle the job? No. This is the proverbial rock and a hard place. Others have tried to close and failed, like Ryan Madson, for example. So sadly, it looks like we are stuck with Lidge for now.
As for the recent trade rumors, Dan Haren went to the Angels so it looks like Roy Oswalt is the final option for the Phils to pick up a starter. But as I talked about on yesterday’s Fightin’ Phillies podcast, Oswalt does not seem interested in coming here and with the no-trade clause, he has final say. But do we really want a guy who is scared of the media and shies away from pressure? I know I don’t. It will be interesting to see if anything happens before the trade deadline.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the Photo Album from today’s game. Thanks to my friend, Audrea, I was in one of the business suites today, which are very, very nice. I put a few photos of that in the album as well.
The D-Backs come to town tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Have you ever noticed how a player on your favorite team seems like an Angel in the right uniform?
But when he goes to another team, he becomes the Devil. Such is the case with Rodrigo Lopez who pitched for the Phillies last year and went to the Diamondbacks for 2010. Lopez started the game against the Phillies today and pitched 6 innings, allowing 6 runs. So, while we thank him for the 6 runs, sadly, he would only have earned his wings back if he gave us about 15 runs.
Because it looked like the Phillies were going to need 15 runs to win this one. Kyle Kendrick started out pitching really well, but that only lasted 4 innings. By the 5th, Kendrick had returned to his old ways, leaving balls way up in the hitter’s happy-zones and before you knew it, 5 runs had crossed the plate. Kendrick was pulled after 5 innings and his outing turned into a huge disappointment.
The offense tried to keep pace and by the top of the 6th, they had gone ahead of the D-Backs by a score of 6-5. Greg Dobbs hit a 2-run homer in the first, Ross Gload had 2 hits and an RBI and Carlos Ruiz gave them the lead with a 2-out, 2-run single.
The line-up tonight was a bit odd, with Gload and Dobbs in the 1 & 2 spots and Wilson Valdez at short stop. Juan Castro is still nursing a sore hamstring; Shane Victorino sat in order to re-group as he has not been hitting lately; and Dobbs took 3rd base for Placido Polanco. Polly has not looked the same since getting hit in the elbow with a pitch.
So if the Phillies were going to pull out a series win, they were going to have to depend on the back-up players and also hope that the pitching would hold up. The back-ups did their job; the pitchers did not.
After Kendrick’s disastrous 5th inning, Danys Baez could not hold the lead. He gave up 1 run in the 7th to tie the game at 6-6. David Herdon got into trouble in the 8th; with no outs, Raul Ibanez threw a runner out going home and Ruiz held onto the ball for the out. Herndon got a second chance, but he blew it. A 1-out double scored the go-ahead run and then the hits kept coming. By the end of the inning, the Phillies were down by a score of 6-8 and only 1 inning left to get back in it.
And as expected with this suddenly unpredictable offense, the Phillies fell short in the 9th and went down 6-8. Having lost this series 1 game to 2, the Phillies have a lot of issues to address, not the least of which is starting pitching. One man does not a rotation make and Roy Halladay can only win 1 game every five days. Kendrick and Cole Hamels need to get their act together…fast. Joe Blanton and JA Happ had better get well soon and Jamie Moyer is holding his own in the 5th spot.
An even bigger issue is the bullpen; their performance has varied from inconsistent to just plain awful. A lot of the pen pitchers, like Baez, seem to have a one game on, one game off thing going on. It is like the see-saw ride from hell. You just never know which end is going to be up or down and when.
And now the Phillies are heading to San Francisco to face the Giants red-hot pitching staff. With all the injuries and inconsistent performances, the Phillies may be headed into big, big trouble. And Trouble is called Jonathan Sanchez and Tim “I have 2 Cy Youngs” Lincecum. The first game of the series starts tomorrow at 10:15pm. Bust out the bottle of Tums; this is going to be interesting.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography except Lopez as a D-Back; MLB.com
The big question going into tonight’s Phillies – Diamondbacks match-up was how spot-starter Nelson Figueroa was going to fare. Overall, he did a great job. Although he had quite a few base runners and ran some deep counts, Figueroa mostly did very well, allowing just 2 runs in 5 innings. Considering he was not very stretched out having been in the bullpen, Figueroa gave an excellent effort.
Another question mark lately has been the Phillies offense which went from red-hot during the first 10 games of the season to stone-cold this past week. In fact, the only two bats that showed up today were Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez. Werth hit two monster home runs to centerfield; one came in the 2nd inning and the other gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead in the 9th. Werth also made two great catches in the outfield and collected his first assist of the year, throwing a runner out at second.
Ibanez hit a home run in the 7th to tie the game up; it was his first home run of the year. Ibanez has been struggling so far this season but finally looks like he may break out of the slump. He also singled in the 9th, bringing his average up above the Mendoza line at .222.
Right after the Ibanez homer, Wilson Valdez stepped to the plate in place of Juan Castro and Phillies fans everywhere started to get that all too familiar twinge of panic. Castro has been outstanding in place of the injured Jimmy Rollins and there was no apparent reason to pull him out early. It was announced shortly after that Castro is suffering from mild left hamstring soreness.
This Phillies team is beginning to resemble a MASH unit instead of a ball club. The constant flow of injuries is alarming. They are already down 2 starting pitchers, 1 closer and a short stop. If Castro is really hurt and they are forced to go to the 3rd string short stop in Valdez, this could get ugly. Cross your fingers…
So, the bullpen had to keep the game close tonight as Figueroa was done in after the 5th inning. Chad Durbin was spectacular in 2 innings where he struck out 3 and allowed only 1 hit and no runs. Jose Contreras also struck out 3 in the 8th and the Ryan Madson came in for the 9th. Madson has not looked great as the team’s closer in place of the injured Brad Lidge, but tonight with a 1-run lead, he redeemed himself. He allowed 1 hit, no runs and struck out two for his 4th save of the year.
The 3-2 win tonight ties up the series in Arizona. The Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound tomorrow in search of his first win this year. Game time is 4:10pm. Go Phillies!
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Last night’s Hamels Arizona adventure included a 4th inning where he gave up 4 home runs for 5 runs scored total. The following inning, he gave up another homer, making it 5 homers on the night. Prior to that, he looked like the Hamels of old, striking out batters and confusing them with his change-up. Then all of a sudden, Hamels got the ball up in the zone and threw nearly everything right over the plate. He looked like he was pitching batting practice to a thankful D-Backs team.
Hamels even had a hand in scoring before the mysterious 4th inning disaster happened; he belted a double in the 3rd inning and Shane Victorino drove him home with a triple. A very strange play led to the Phillies 2nd run of the night; Jayson Werth hit a long fly ball in the 4th which center fielder Chris Young caught, for just a moment. Young let the ball dribble out the bottom of his glove before he made the exchange to his throwing hand and it was ruled a ball in play. Werth saw the ball drop and kept running until he crossed home plate.
The D-Backs manager A.J. Hinch, who played for the Phillies in 2004, argued that it was a catch but the ump ruled it was not a catch as the fielder did not have control and did not make the exchange to his other hand before dropping it. It was scored as a 4-base error. There’s one you won’t see every day.
So things were looking up for the Phillies until the bottom of that same inning when the bottom fell out for Hamels and batting practice took over. JC Romero made his season debut after coming off the DL but he looked very rusty. Romero fell behind both batters he faced, giving up a solo homer and walking the next batter.
Jose Contreras took over the 7th inning and escaped without further drama. Rookie David Herndon pitched the 8th and did a good job as well. The Phillies entered the 9th inning losing 3-7. Victorino managed a 2-out single and RBI, but the Phillies rally ended there and they lost 4-7 to a last place team.
The only proper response to a pounding by a last place team is to win the next two games. And the Phillies had better do just that if they are going to avoid total humiliation. Nelson Figueroa will pitch tonight in place of the injured JA Happ. I do not envy Figueroa; this poor guy has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now. Best of luck to him…game time is 8:10pm.
Head shot by Jenn; cartoon by grinningplanet.com
The Phillies have had a very productive month so far this spring and will go into their day off tomorrow with a record of 9 wins, 4 loses and a tie. Spring Training results are not a great indicator of how a team will perform in the regular season, but based on years past, it seems like every player came to camp more prepared and more determined this year and it shows. The bats are jumping and most guys have stayed fairly healthy.
Placido Polanco’s right knee strain is minor and he will be back in action probably by Friday. Chase Utley has also sat out a few games with a respiratory illness but again, he seems to be on the road to recovery. Even pitchers like JC Romero and Brad Lidge who had off-season surgeries are getting closer and closer to game-shape. Romero threw to live batters this morning and is feeling good; both he and Lidge should be ready to go by early April.
Luck Of The Irish?
Cole Hamels was feeling lucky this week; he threw 5 innings in a win over the Tigers on Tuesday without allowing an earned run; he gave up just 2 hits and struck out 4. Joe Blanton was not quite as solid against the Yankees today in the St. Patty’s Day showdown, but still not bad. Blanton did allow 2 runs on 7 hits over 5 innings, but maybe he is just allergic to the shamrock green uniforms?
The two young lefty bullpen hopefuls also pitched in the last two games and showed some progress. Antonio Bastardo showed off some serious heat, striking out 2 batters and not allowing a base runner in his inning against the Tigers. Sergio Escalona also pitched a scoreless inning against the Yanks, although he is still struggling with his control and walked two batters. Regardless, it does appear that both players are anxious to crack the Opening Day roster.
As for the bats, Ryan Howard hit his first home run of Spring yesterday and is batting a very solid .344 so far. Not to be outdone, Jayson Werth smashed a 3-run homer today that looked like a rocket as it travelled in nearly a straight line over the left field fence faster than you could blink. It was his 2nd home run this spring.
No, not at the Phillies; or at least we think not anymore…however, he is having an interesting spring so far with the Mariners. On Monday in a game against the D-Backs, Lee was actually ejected from a Spring Training game for the first time in his career. For what? He was tossed for intentionally throwing at a batter’s head. The intended victim was D-Backs catcher Chris Snyder; teammate Mark Reynolds stood up for Snyder after the game, calling Lee’s actions “bush league.”
But did Lee really do it on purpose? Reynolds purports, “I’ve faced Cliff Lee plenty of times to know he’s got amazing control.” Check out the video and judge for yourself.
UPDATE: The league has now suspended Lee for 5 games at the start of the season for what they are calling an “intentional” act.
Tosh.0 Redeems A Philly Fan
Remember the adorable little girl who was all over TV last year for tossing her Daddy’s prized foul ball catch back onto the field? Well, the father-daughter team are back and Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0″ gave little Emily a chance at redemption. Check it out:
I am not sure what is more adorable; Emily tossing the Mardi Gras beads or her proclamation that tea parties are better than baseball. Funny stuff!
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Photos by Jenn
The Phillies completed a 3-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 12-3 win tonight behind the big bats and big arms of the team. Ryan Howard hit a 3-run homer for the second night in row; Jayson Werth has also gone back to back games with home runs, hitting one tonight and 2 last night. Even Carlos Ruiz brought the big stick with a solo shot in the 6th. Hang onto your hats; it’s an earthquake at Citizens Bank Park!
And then do not forget about the huge bats of Phillies pitchers: Joe Blanton had 2 hits plus a sac fly for an RBI in the game. Cliff Lee had 2 hits in his start last night, starting the streak of hot pitcher’s bats. All that, and they both pitched well too! Tonight, Blanton went 8 innings allowing 3 runs on 10 hits; one of those runs came after Ben Francisco missed an easy fly ball, so maybe that one should not have happened. But Francisco had 2 RBI in the game as well, so all is forgiven.
The Phillies bullpen must be wondering when they will ever be used again. 8 innings tonight from Blanton, a complete game yesterday from Cliff Lee and the day before that, Pedro Martinez and Jamie Moyer pitched all 9 together. And then how about the day before that? It was an off-day. So that is 4 straight days of total boredom for the pen, except for Chad Durbin who pitched the 9th inning tonight. And I am still not counting Moyer as a pen guy since he pitched 6 innings in his relief effort; it was just about the same as a start for him.
So the Phillies will load the bus tonight and travel to New York to begin a long 4-game series with the Mets at Citi Field. Game time tomorrow is 7:10pm with Cole Hamels on the mound. Speaking of Cole, is it just me or….
Photos by Jenn
After four amazing starts for his new team, all of Philadelphia is in love with Cliff Lee. At this point, the man can do no wrong. Lee could start smacking babies and rather than be outraged, the parents would thank him for keeping their kid in line. He is that popular. Having seen in person three of those first four starts, I can see why.
Last night, Lee did it all…again. He pitched a complete game and did not give up an earned run. The only run of the game was unearned due to a Pedro Feliz error. Into the 6th inning, Lee was working a no-hitter when a D-Back finally got lucky and shot one up the middle. But by the end of the game, Lee had given away only 2 hits, no walks and struck out 11 batters. UnbeLEEvable!
And as if that were not enough, Lee went 2 for 4 at the plate and even scored a run. He is now hitting .278. The first hit was a solid shot up the middle and second was a swinging bunt that rolled up the third base line and stayed fair as it hit the bag. The only feat he failed to execute was a stolen base; instead, he executed D-Back hitters all night long.
But Lee was not the only story of the night; the Phillies offense beat up All-Star pitcher Dan Haren to the tune of 9 hits and 6 earned runs in only 5 innings. D-Backs relief pitchers allowed 2 more runs for a final score of 8-1. Chase Utley stared the charge by knocking a 2-run homer in the 3rd inning. Incidentally, Utley hits a home run nearly every time I am at a game…coincidence? Hmmmmm….
Utley’s blast seemed to rattle Haren and after that, the real fun began. In the 5th inning, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth went back to back; Howard knocked in 3 runs with his homer and Werth then took the first pitch he saw deep for a 420-foot homer. Werth is on fire right now; he hit another solo shot later in the game and ended up with 3 hits, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game last night, including batting practice shots. Tonight, the Phillies will go for the sweep of the Diamondbacks at 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn
To all the critics who said my 5 ½ man rotation idea with Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez sharing the 5th starters spot would not work, it is my pleasure to report that in fact, it did work. The Phillies did not enter into the situation purposely as Mother Nature intervened with a long rain delay, but maybe that was a sign from a higher power? Even former pitcher Ricky Botallico said after the game, “These two guys maybe should be our 5th starter together.”
Pedro Martinez pitched 3 very good innings allowing only a lead-off home run; after that, the rain came. Enter Jamie Moyer: True to his word to be ready when the team needed him, Moyer pitched the final 6 innings brilliantly. Without allowing a run, Moyer gave up only 2 hits and at one point, he retired 11 batter in a row. The bullpen was given a much needed rest and the Phillies won the game against the D-Backs 5-1. Anyone care to tell me how that is a bad thing?
After the game, Martinez commented on the situation by saying, “You never know what you’ll get when you put two old goats out there… See what you get? Two for the price of one.” If these two “old goats” can combine for a 1 run, 4-hit game every time, why would you not do that? Even if it means having to use an extra pinch hitter, it is worth it. Will it happen again? That remains to be seen, but Martinez and Moyer are now on the exact same schedule – coincidence or fate? You be the judge.
As for the offense, despite leaving the bases loaded twice, once with no outs and a second time with 1 out, they still got the job done. Jayson Werth hit his career high 25th home run of the year and also had a double that scored another run. Carlos Ruiz was on fire as well, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and a solo homer. And the other offensive star? Jamie Moyer. Putting many other Phillies to shame, Moyer went 2 for 3 in the game. Maybe Moyer should have batted with the bases loaded instead of Ryan Howard, who struck out twice in the situation? Ok, maybe not ;O)
Tonight should also be an epic day for pitching as Cliff Lee will face the D-Backs ace, Dan Haren. I will be at the game and report back with photos as usual. Go Phillies!