Results tagged ‘ Dodgers ’
It appears that the Phillies bats have cut their vacation short. Perhaps they ran out of those froofy umbrella drinks and decided to leave the island that they were apparently hiding on. Whatever the case, it is nice to see them again.
No one was happier than Ryan Howard who had not hit a home run the entire month of August. Finally last night, he blasted a 3-run shot to left center. Back-up catcher Brian Schneider also hit a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning to give the team an early lead, which is another thing they have not had much of lately. Most starters had at least one hit in the game except for Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, although Victorino walked twice.
With a 6-4 lead going into the 7th inning, the Phillies sent Carlos Ruiz in to pinch hit for Schneider and Joe Torre countered with pitcher Jonathan Broxton. Ruiz and Broxton have quite a history; on August 12th this year, the Phillies rallied back against the Dodgers from a 9-2 deficit and a Ruiz double off Broxton capped the victory at 10-9. Last night, Ruiz smacked Broxton around again, this time for a 2-run single to give the Phillies a nice 8-4 cushion.
As for starter Kyle Kendrick, he ended the month of August with yet another unimpressive outing. In 6 starts for the month, Kendrick allowed 21 earned runs, pitching at an ERA of 5.79. Last night’s start consisted of 4 earned runs over only 5 innings.
The bullpen pitched the final 4 innings and held the Dodgers down. Chad Durbin, JC Romero, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge capped off the 8-4 victory. Even former Phillie Rod Barajas, who is hitting over .500 against the Phillies since 2008, was held to just one hit.
This afternoon at 3:10pm is the final game of the series and Roy Oswalt will face Clayton Kershaw. If the Phillies can hit Kershaw tonight, we may be able to announce the official return of the Phillies offense. If not, then last night will be chalked up to bad pitching by the Dodgers. The Phillies are 3 games behind the Braves going into September. Now is the time to put their collective feet on the gas pedal and not let up.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Yes, the Phillies bats are off somewhere on vacation…still. Perhaps they have landed on some tropical island in a remote area of the Pacific? I suppose I can understand why they do not want to return home, but have they not been gone long enough? Well bats, have a drink for me, preferable something with a paper umbrella and fruit slices…I need one.
The Phillies remained hitless against Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda until part way into the 7th inning when Shane Victorino got the first, and only, Phillies hit of the night. And while Kuroda did a fine job, the Phillies should have been able to get at him…at least a little bit. But as has been the case all year, the Phillies have not been hitting good pitching when they should be.
Amidst the vacationing bats, Roy Halladay had another solid outing wasted. He went 7 innings and allowed 3 runs. The 2 runs he allowed in the first inning were off some very odd bloop hits and a few defensive misses.
Of course, then Rod Barajas nailed Halladay for a homer in the 5th. Barajas has been a Phillie killer since leaving the team after the 2007 season where he did basically nothing for the Phils. He batted .230 with 4 homers. He has 45 homers since 2008 and 9 of those (20%) have been against the Phils. I’ll bet the Dodgers took a look at those stats and quickly sent word that they needed Barajas for this series. Because yesterday was his first game in a Dodgers uniform. Nicely done, Dodgers.
So the Phillies lost Game 1 of the series 3-0 and will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound tonight at 10:10pm. With any luck, the bats will be back soon…
And in case you missed it yesterday, I have created a Facebook page in Mike Sweeney’s honor. Join “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney” by clicking on the “LIKE” button on the page. The page is dedicated to his awe-inspiring man-hugs. Yes, real men hug. You go, Sweeney!
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
The San Diego Padres came into today’s game against the Phillies tied with the Reds for the best fielding percentage in the National League. They also lead the league in defensive efficiency ratio, which is basically how many times they turn a batted ball into an out. But facing the Phils and trying to defend against a 3-game sweep, the Padres committed 4 errors today.
While the errors helped, as 2 of the Phillies 5 runs were unearned, the bigger factor in the game was the Phillies pitching. Cole Hamels was outstanding on the mound; he did not allow a run through 8 innings and struck out 6 batters. It looked like he was slinging gas-powered rockets up there. In the entire 3-game series, Phillies starting pitching allowed just 2 runs.
Hamels was in such a groove today, he did not want to come out of the game after the 8th inning. In the dugout, he even refused to shake his pitching coaches’ hand for a few seconds, hoping that Rich Dubee would change his mind and let him pitch the 9th. But with a 4-0 lead at the time and Hamels having thrown 115 pitches, there was no need to take a chance that Hamels might get hurt.
The defense was sharp behind Hamels as well. Placido Polanco made several tough plays at third base. Mike Sweeney, giving Ryan Howard the day off, made a great running catch on a pop-up and handled many difficult throws at first base.
Sweeney contributed on offense as well; he smacked his first home run as a Phillie in the 7th inning; it was a 2-run shot. Sweeney ran around the dugout afterwards hugging everyone he could get his hands on. This guy is pure positive energy…you have to love that.
Later in the 8th, Jayson Werth hit a solo homer, which had to feel good. It was just his 3rd homer in August, which has been a month full of ups and downs for Werth. Jimmy Rollins also had an RBI in the game and Carlos Ruiz was the only Phillie with multiple hits.
Ryan Madson pitched the 9th inning and slammed the door for the Phillies 16th shut-out of the year. The 5-0 win went to Hamels who finally got some run support from his teammates. The Padres, for the first time all year, have now lost 4 games in a row.
The Phillies will take a short ride from San Diego over to Los Angeles tonight and start a 3-game series with the Dodgers tomorrow night. Roy Halladay will pitch and game time is 10:10pm. Break out the No-doze, East Coast fans.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Did the Phillies forget to pay their electric bill this month? Because they are suffering from a serious and prolonged power outage. When sluggers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley finally came off the DL in mid-late August, everyone was relieved to finally see the Phillies line-up back in order. But the relief was short lived as the team has been on a downward spiral ever since.
And now, the Phillies have lost ground in the NL East race, falling 3 games behind the Braves and missing key opportunities to catch up. This 4-game sweep at the hands of the Astros may come back to haunt them in September.
Howard has only 3 hits in his last 10 games and has struck out 20 times. In 16 at-bats for the Astros series, Howard got only 1 hit. Utley has had only 7 hits in his last 34 at-bats since coming off the DL. Other key players during the Astros 4-game series did not hit either; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had just 3 hits each. They have consistently failed to hit with runners in scoring position too, with the worst offender being Jayson Werth.
They have lost their fire and their intensity. That was no more evident than today in the 5th inning when Werth tried to tag and score on a shallow fly to right. Not only did Werth not even bother to slide, he never even touched the plate. Werth should have slid hard and tried to take out the catcher to get that run. Instead, he gave up and basically accepted defeat.
Kyle Kendrick looked half asleep on the mound too. Ever since JA Happ was shipped to the Astros, Kendrick had relaxed more and more each start, to the point where he is just not present on the mound. Maybe he figures there is no one left to take his job so why bother kicking it up a notch? Kendrick has allowed 15 runs in his last 4 starts, with 4 of those runs coming in 6 innings tonight.
However, the real offenders this series were the Phillies hitters who got absolutely nothing done. Except maybe for getting picked off on the base paths multiple times, failing to gets bunts down and not bothering to slide in order to score. The way they have played is disgraceful.
If the Phillies take this sort of attitude and performance into San Diego tomorrow, they are going to be crushed. They have 3 games with the Padres, 3 with the Dodgers and then a make-up in Denver against the now hot Rockies. Cross your fingers. Game time tomorrow is 10:05pm.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Before today’s game against the Dodgers, Shane Victorino was activated off the DL and lefty Antonio Bastardo was sent to AAA to make room. Victorino did not start the game as Charlie Manuel had already told Ben Francisco he would start tonight. Victorino did pinch hit in the 8th and drew a walk. Francisco had a much more interesting game…more on that shortly.
Pitcher Joe Blanton started the game and sadly, had another Blah-anton-type outing. He allowed 3 runs right off the bat in the first inning. After 5 2/3 innings, Blanton had walked 4 batters, allowed 8 hits and 4 runs total. The hole was dug deeper by relief pitcher Chad Durbin who did not provide any relief. Durbin allowed a 2-run homer in the 7th to put the Phillies down 6-2.
But the damage did not end there. JC Romero pitched the 8th inning and while Romero has had trouble of late, this time it was the defense that let him down. Mike Sweeney missed a ground ball at first to start the inning. Carlos Ruiz had an error as well and two unearned runs scored. Jose Contreras came in to relieve Romero and gave up another run.
Down 9-2 going into the bottom of the 8th, it looked like this game was over. Then suddenly, the hits started coming. It began with 4 straight hits: singles from Placido Polanco, Sweeney, Jayson Werth and a double from Francisco. Wilson Valdez got another hit for the 4th run of the inning. The 9-6 score seemed a tad more manageable.
The Dodgers sent their closer in for the 9th, Jonathan Broxton. The same 4 players that ignited the 8th inning rally started another one in the 9th. Polanco was hit by a pitch; Sweeney and Werth both walked. Francisco got on base after an error and 2 runs scored. Just like that, the bases were loaded with no outs for Carlos Ruiz with a 9-8 score. Ruiz smashed a walk-off double to win the game!
The Phillies came back from a 7 run deficit to win the game and take 2 of 3 games in the series. When asked how he felt after the game, Ruiz told Gary Matthews, “I’m happy, I’m so happy.” Well Chooch, we are SO happy too! Werth then ran up behind him and dumped a bucket of Gatorade over Ruiz’s head. I supposed shaving cream pies are out of fashion now.
Next up: the Mets in New York for the weekend. Game time tomorrow is 7:10pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Roy Oswalt’s first home start in Philly went very, very well against the Dodgers tonight. He did not surrender a run while allowing 5 hits and 2 walks. Oswalt was finished after 7 innings with a really good strike-ball ratio of 73-36. It looked so easy, one may have thought that Oswalt could have pitched this game in his sleep. Yawn!
But as has been the case for Oswalt this year with both the Astros and the Phillies, he got very little run support. Domonic Brown collected the first run of the game in the 4th inning with a bases-loaded RBI ground-out. Raul Ibanez extended his hit streak to 18 games with an RBI-double in the 6th. However, in that same inning, the Phillies lost Ross Gload. He hit a double down the right field line and came up limping halfway to second base. Gload has been diagnosed with a groin strain.
If Gload goes on the DL, he will be the 16th Phillies player this year to land there. And he would be the 5th player on the DL right now, along with Ryan Howard, whom Gload was replacing at first base. Mike Sweeney took over for Gload tonight and may wind up playing a lot more than anyone expected.
With a 2-0 lead, the Phillies would now have to lean on their 8-9 combination of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. Getting a few extra runs would have been nice too, but that did not happen. In fact, the Phillies wasted a Wilson Valdez lead-off triple at one point and left runners on third base with less than 2 outs twice. It began to look more and more like this game would come down to the Phils bullpen.
And it did come down to the pen. Madson pitched a scoreless 8th and looked pretty solid. Lidge came in for the 9th with the same 2-0 lead and quickly got three outs for the save. Oswalt got his first win as a Phillie behind Lidge’s save, just as they both used to do for the Astros. Teammates once again, Lidge had to be thrilled to help out his friend.
The final game with the Dodgers will be at 7:05pm tomorrow night. The pitching match-up should be Joe Blanton vs. Clayton Kershaw. Blanton did well in his last outing; a solid follow-up performance would be nice.
In other news today, Chase Utley has been approved by his doctor to start swinging a bat again since the surgery on his thumb. Utley has been running drills and fielding balls so this is one more step towards getting him ready to play again. Utley expects to be back in the line-up either at the end of August or early September.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Dodgers came to town today and the in-flight food service must have been seriously lacking on their way to Philly. Because they were really hungry by the time the game started. They snacked on Phillies pitchers like they had been starved for weeks.
The tastiest morsel was Kyle Kendrick; he allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. A 6th run was unearned on the first of Jimmy Rollins’ two errors tonight. When things start to go bad, things really go bad. For instance, Rollins tripped over second base and fell over during what should have been a sure out. Dodgers say, “Yum, yum! Me love scoring runs!”
The snack turned into a 7-course meal when David Herndon gave up 4 runs in the 6th after the Phillies offense had finally scored 3 runs the prior inning. Herndon pitched a perfect 5th inning, but lost his command in the 6th. Prior to that, Antonio Bastardo allowed a run of his own. The lefty Bastardo was just added to the roster after outfielder John Mayberry was sent back to AAA.
After the 7-course meal in the 6th, the Dodgers were still hungry in the 7th when Danys Baez came in to pitch. They ate him up to the tune of 2 more runs. I suppose that was desert. With a 13-5 lead, the Dodgers were bordering on pure gluttony. Even The Count was tired of counting runs at that point.
Former Phillie Vincente Padilla handled the Phillies offense well until he met Ross Gload. He was the one Phillies player who tried to join in on the feast. Going 3 for 5 in the game, Gload hit not one, but two 2-run homers. He was a one man wrecking crew.
Rookie Domonic Brown had 4 RBI on a sac fly and then his very first major league home run. He got the final 2 RBI in the 9th on a double. The homer was not as exciting as it should have been considering the 13 runs on the board for the Dodgers. Also, Brown has not played well in the outfield and needs a LOT of work on his fielding and hitting the cut-off man.
But back to the Dodgers; 13 runs would just not suffice. JC Romero came in to pitch the 9th inning and the Dodgers began to salivate again. Romero hit the first batter and gave up a 2-run homer to the 3rd batter. With one huge 2-run chunk already taken out of his back side, Romero let the Dodgers have another nibble. He walked the pitcher, George Sherrill. It was Sherrill’s very first at-bat in his career. Not that is embarrassing. Wow.
Out of 7 Phillies pitchers tonight, only Jose Contreras and Chad Durbin did not allow a run. The final score of this vomit-inducing nausea-fest was 15-9. Good news? 9 runs. Bad news? Phillies pitching.
Roy Oswalt will pitch tomorrow night. Hopefully, in his first outing at home in a Phillies uniform, Oswalt can tame the ravenous Dodgers. Game time is 7:05pm.
Kendrick photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Sesame Street characters by Jim Henson
The National League entered today’s All-Star Game not having won against the American League since 1996. That win took place in Philadelphia. Manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies coaching staff had a huge task on their hands for the second consecutive year, trying to win World Series home field advantage for the NL.
Two Phillies took part in the game today; Chase Utley stayed home as he is recovering from surgery on his thumb. Ryan Howard served as the DH and went 0 for 2; but hits were difficult to come by in this game. Through 6 innings, the both teams had only 4 hits each. Two of the hits for the AL came off Phillie Roy Halladay, although one hit was a pop-up that landed in the middle of nowhere and ex-Phillie Marlon Byrd could not quite get to it.
The AL struck first in the 5th as Dodger’s pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo allowed an unearned run after a costly error where he overthrew 1st base on an easy grounder. He had already walked a batter, then the error gave the AL two runners and a sac fly scored Evan Longoria.
But the NL fought back in the 7th. Another ex-Phillie, Scott Rolen, singled followed by a Matt Holliday single. Rolen’s aggressive base running put him on third base. Byrd walked with 2 outs and then Braves catcher, Brian McCann, hit a bases-clearing double to give the NL the lead. Two runs were charged to Yankee Phil Hughes and another to White Sox Matt Thornton.
In the bottom of the 7th, Holliday took a bad route to a ball in left and it went off his glove, giving Blue Jay John Buck a double instead of an out. Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals was pitching but Holliday could not help out his teammate. Shane Victorino could have caught that ball from either left or center…just saying ;o)
So it would come down to the 9th inning. The NL did not score and Manuel brought in another Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, to try and nail down the save and the win for the NL. Broxton gave up a hit right away to the Home Run Derby champ, David Ortiz. He struck out the next batter but gave up a single to Buck. However, with Big Papi Ortiz running, Byrd was able to throw him out at second from right field. That was an amazing, heads-up play by Byrd! The next batter flew out and the National League won it!! FINALLY! A win for the NL! Way to go, Charlie! Now, let see if the Phillies can actually use the home field advantage this year; that, of course, would require a third straight trip to the World Series. Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
But to Wainwright’s credit, he worked out of the inning without allowing a run. Whew! So the NL went into the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead. The NL did not score in the 8th and Giants closer, Brian Wilson, erased the AL batters in the bottom of the inning. Personally, I think the mohawk is his secret weapon.
So it would come down to the 9th inning. The NL did not score and Manuel brought in another Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, to try and nail down the save and the win for the NL. Broxton gave up a hit right away to the Home Run Derby champ, David Ortiz. He struck out the next batter but gave up a single to Buck. However, with Big Papi Ortiz running, Byrd was able to throw him out at second from right field. That was an amazing, heads-up play by Byrd!
The next batter flew out and the National League won it!! FINALLY! A win for the NL! Way to go, Charlie! Now, let see if the Phillies can actually use the home field advantage this year; that, of course, would require a third straight trip to the World Series.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
To start with, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and did not lapse into a turkey coma! I also hope no one got trampled attempting to enter Wal-Mart at 3am on Friday ;o) Holidays can either be fun or hazardous to your health…I hope you went with “fun.”
Speaking of holidays and shopping, what would you like to receive this holiday season? I would like for Mike Schmidt to age backwards and play 3rd base for the Phillies again.
I would also like the Giants to release Tim Lincecum for his bad, drug induced behavior so the Phillies can have him. I also wish aliens would come down from outer space and give us back Cole Hamels: Version 2008. Clearly, he was abducted and it is time to bring him back.
By the way, 3 years ago, current GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who was assistant GM at the time, asked a room full of female fans if they could sign any pitcher in the league to the Phillies, who would it be? I shouted, “Tim Lincecum!” Ruben looked at me like I was nuts and decided that the woman who suggested Brandon Webb had a better idea. Webb went down with a shoulder injury in April 2009 and did not play the entire season. Lincecum has now won 2 Cy Young’s in a row. Hey Ruben, still think I am nuts? Just a little holiday fun for you there :O)
Ok, so clearly we cannot sign Mr. Lincecum. But the Phillies have a lot of work to do this off-season to improve the pitching staff. It looks to be a quiet market right now. Things should start to heat up when the Winter Meetings begin on December 7th.
The few moves made so far have not even made a small ripple in the atmosphere. The signing of Juan Castro to replace Eric Bruntlett on the bench seems like a lateral move, rather than an improvement. Castro hit .277 last year with the Dodgers but is a career .230 hitter. This news is not exactly knocking Phillies fans out of their boots. We hope bigger and better things will be coming soon…
In other news, Jamie Moyer was recently hospitalized and had surgery to remove an infected blood collection that may have resulted from his previous groin surgery. It should not affect his Spring Training schedule and he appears to be recovering well. I wish him luck!
From the long time veteran to the rookie, JA Happ has been named to the Topps’ 51st All-Rookie Team, which is just one of many honors he garnered this off-season. Happ is still up for the Rookie of the Year award in the This Year In Baseball awards. Voting continues until December 11th and many Phillies like Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and others are in the running.
And finally, congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino who tied the knot earlier this month in Hawaii! They are two really great people and I wish them all the best!
Lincecum & Happ photos by Jenn
So, did we all thoroughly enjoy the Phillies TBS TV coverage this post-season? No? Oh, come on now, they were mildly entertaining, right? Let us examine some of the broadcasting highlights:
– These guys are brilliant; just check out this quote about Raul Ibanez: “He’s not 37 because he started his career late.” Really? Wow…the true fountain of youth; late bloomers.
– On a 2-base hit: “It’s an inside-the-park double.” You know, as opposed to the out-of-the-park double.
– During Game 1 of the NLDS, 2nd inning: “There has been great defense in this ballgame and in this series.” Yes, all 2 innings of it.
– About the catcher: “All the game calling is to make the pitcher comfortable.” The catcher calls pitches to make the pitcher comfy? Not to get outs? Ok then. Genius. Sheer genius.
– During a bunt to the pitcher with a runner on first: “He is thinking about second base because it is right behind the mound.” Is it? I never would have noticed…thanks, TBS! Baseball geography lesson 101.
– On Clayton Kershaw after he gave up a 3-run homer, allowed to 2 more runners on base and was then pitching to Ryan Howard: “This is a grow-up moment (for Kershaw).” No more little league for you buddy!
But wait, there’s more! Did you see the main sponsor for TBS during commercial breaks? Avocados. Yes, the disgusting, slimy, green fruit is THE big money maker for this station. Awesome.
And how about the commercials for the new TBS series “Men of a Certain Age.” It is October – this series is set to begin in December. Not only will we have forgotten about it by December, but with the thousands of previews shown, we have already seen the series in its entirety. No need to tune in then in December….we already know that Ray Romano plays a moron with a dirty mind; Scott Bakula is a man-sl*ut; and Andre Braugher is sad because he cannot live up to his daddy’s high expectations. Think that about covers it.
So how about some media video highlights! Here ya go; let us begin with Buck Martinez, who has NO idea which team he is watching…he mentions the Yanks and the Red Sox before he figures out it is the Phillies:
Chase Utley is also annoyed with the media coverage…watch his reaction as a media member pulls a Kanye West:
And my favorite clip of the Comcast Sportsnet coverage…Ricky Botallico flips out during the Jimmy Rollins 9th inning game winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS:
Hope you all enjoyed these broadcasts as much as I did :O)
By the way, if anyone is looking to sell a ticket (1) to Game 3 of the World Series (the Saturday game, home opener), please email me. I cannot afford the Stub Hub prices so I am looking for anyone to take pity on me and sell me a ticket at face value or just above it. I cannot do standing room, but am open to other seating arrangements. Thank you and Go Phillies! :O)