Results tagged ‘ ESPN ’

Halla-Day = Win-Day

Yesterday we pondered the question, will April Showers produce May Flowers for the Phillies?  Well, with Roy Halladay on the mound they will.  Now all they need to do is tip-toe through the tulips and meander their way back to first place.

Because as of last night, if you peered at the NL East standings, you may have thought you were looking through a mirror.  Those 5 teams are experiencing a bit of a role reversal from what most people predicted.  Here was the order from first place to last: Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Marlins, Braves.  The Mets and Nats should be in the last 2 spots, right?  The Phillies seriously need to return order to the division.

The Phillies took one small step in that direction today with a complete game shut-out from Halladay in their 10-0 win over the Mets to even the series at a game apiece.  They are currently tied for 2nd with the Nats.  As usual, Halladay was unbelievable; he allowed only 3 hits, a walk and hit one batter, throwing 118 pitches.  This man is a pitching machine.  The rest of the Phillies pitching staff had better be taking notes.


P4057287.jpgBehind the amazing performance of Halladay, the Phillies bats finally woke up.  The only player who did not have a hit in the game was Placido Polanco.  Even Halladay knocked a single.  Chase Utley went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and Shane Victorino hit a 3-run homer in the 4th.  Victorino was criticized last night after not hustling on a dropped third strike; he made up for the lack of effort today.

Mets pitcher Mike Pelfry came into this game with a record of 4-0 and a miniscule 0.69 ERA.  He left with his first loss of the year and a very human 2.40 ERA.  The Phils offense exploited the Mets bullpen as well, scoring 3 more runs off reliever Raul Valdez.  This energy will need to carry over into tomorrow night if the Phillies are going to win the series.

As for the huge pile of Phillies injuries, JA Happ, suffering from his second forearm strain in three years, had what the Phils are calling a “minor setback” in his rehab.  Translate that anyway you like, but it is still not good news.

The bad news is magnified of course by the performance of Kyle Kendrick so far this year.  With a 7.61 ERA and no wins to his credit on the year, Kendrick is pitching like a minor leaguer and frankly, that is where he needs to go.  Once Joe Blanton returns, which could be as soon as Monday, Kendrick may get the boot.  Nelson Figueroa has the experience to fill in until Happ returns and Kendrick has done nothing to warrant keeping him in the rotation.

But first things first; tomorrow Jamie Moyer will take the mound opposite the Mets ace, Johan Santana.  On paper, this looks like a slaughter for the Phillies.  Moyer has allowed at least 4 runs in 3 out of his last 4 starts.  But Santana is not untouchable either and the Phillies have hit him in the past.  This should be an interesting one.  Game time is 8:05pm for the national ESPN broadcast.  I will be there and should be posting photos sometime Monday afternoon.  Go Phillies!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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Polanco Injured; ESPN Writer Loses His Mind

In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up.  He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain.  Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days.  This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals. 
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That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe,
Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places.  Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars?  Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?

The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade.  No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player.  Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap.  And the Phillies could never afford Pujols.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar.  “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”

Halladay Human

Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1.  Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot.  I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.

Languishing Lefties

While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not.   JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void.  DSCF7008a.jpgHowever, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far.  Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance.  He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery.  One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.

Pet Peeve of The Week

So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired.  Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison.  However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level.  Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos.  And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.

In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands.  He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this.  There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans.  The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”

First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game.  Get over it.  Secondly, there are “no worse fans?”  Seriously?  Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things.  While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude. 

A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive.  That is human nature.  You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional.  You want rude?  Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett!  You should be ashamed.

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Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Snooze Fest

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Is anyone else getting bored with pre-season baseball, or is it just me?  Ok, maybe not bored, so much as anxious to get the real games started.  Today’s 2-2 tie game after 10 innings with the Phillies and Cardinals made me want to bust out my pillow and binky for a long afternoon nap.  Yawn!

Ryan Howard attempted to wake me from this slumber by hitting a home run in the 2nd inning, but alas, I was forced to go right back to totally zoning out.  But I cannot watch ESPN or Comcast Sportsnet instead of listening to this game, because all these stations are talking about is college basketball and March Madness.  My madness is right here and now:  I am going INSANE waiting for Opening Day!

Some may have found young pitcher Carlos Carrasco’s outing today quite stimulating; after all, he is sort of still in the running for the 5th starters role.  But really, the race has come down to Chan Ho Park and JA Happ. 

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So, I just wasn’t that interested in what Carrasco may do, if I am being totally honest.  Then again, in case anyone else would like to know, Carrasco gave up 2 runs, 3 hits and 3 walks in 4 2/3 innings.  Not super, not bad; but he did an ok job.  Zzzzzzz….

Chase Utley had 2 hits in the game and a run scored, but since the game was on the radio, I could not watch him wiggle his newly surgically repaired hip as he trotted the base path.  Not to mention a few other key areas…thus, SO not interesting.  Even cutie Chad Durbin pitching 1 1/3 innings of hit-free ball could not rouse me.  Maybe if someone had started a bench clearing brawl, then perhaps I could have snapped out of this coma?  No such luck…

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Dear God!  16 days left…wake me when it’s over!

 

(All Photos by Jenn)

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A Rookie Pounding / Rollins Gets His Due

Before I get to the game action, check out this video of Jimmy Rollins; it is a commercial for Dick’s Sporting Goods running on ESPN right now and it is hysterical!  I love the end when Jimmy, looking like Mr. Tough Guy, sighs, “Yeah.”  FUNNY!

More about Rollins later…

So the Phillies went down against the Braves in Grapefruit League action yesterday, 7-2.  The almost 22-year old top prospect Carlos Carrasco got roughed up for 6 hits, 3 earned runs and 5 runs total in 2 innings of work.  2 errors in the inning added to the pain, but Carrasco is still showing his young age and inexperience. 

Joe Blanton started the game and pitched 4 innings of 1-run ball.  Blanton looks to be on track for a good season and seems very confident and comfortable in his role.  Not looking so hot thus far has been Ryan Madson; the “Bridge to Lidge” is sporting a 4.50 ERA so far this spring; Madson gave up 1 run in one inning in the Braves game, but more concerning is the 4 hits allowed.  Hoping he is just off to a slow start…

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Jason Donald
, in his push towards the Majors, had a great day; Donald hit 2 for3 with 1 RBI, 1 run scored and a walk.  Donald may be able to fill in for Chase Utley or Pedro Feliz should either of them not be ready to go in April.  Brought up as a shortstop, the Phillies have been trying Donald out at 2nd and 3rd as well to see if he can field those positions.  So far, so good.

John Mayberry Jr., who has been doing very well in his quest to get to the Majors, had a rough day against the Braves pitching, striking out 3 times and going 0 for 4 in the game.  We will see how he stands up as the pitching he faces begins to get tougher.  One fun note one Mayberry; the Phillies have him listed as being 6’6″ tall.  One day last week, I stood right next to him and he looked more like 7 feet tall; curious though as to what he might say, I asked how tall he was; Mayberry laughed and then told me he was 6’5″.  I informed him that the Phillies had given him an extra inch, to which he smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said he wasn’t sure what they had listed.  Anyway, nice guy….I wish him luck! :O)

WBC Highlights

The good news about Carlos Ruiz is that he appears to be fine after a reported neck injury; he played in yesterday’s game against the Dominican Republic, going 1 for 3.  The bad news is that Panama was knocked out the classic, losing the game 9-0.  Ruiz should be returning to the Phillies shortly.

Team USA clinched a spot in the next, beating ex-Phillie Bobby Abreu and the Venezuelan team, 15-6.  Jimmy Rollins was sharp at the plate, going 2 for 3, but got picked off at 2nd after a lead-off double to start the game.  Dustin Pedroia was supposed to lay down a bunt, which drew Rollins further off the plate, but Pedroia missed the bunt and Rollins got nailed.  Pedroia also managed to hit into a double play the next time Rollins got on base.  Guessing there may be no love lost between the two men today.

But Rollins, it seems, has finally gotten his due.  Spending years being overlooked and underrated by media, last night, the ESPN announcers spent nearly half the game talking up Rollins; from how great a fielder he was, to his stolen base record and even noting that Rollins is “officially” the best dancer in the league.  Yes, bust out the disco ball and bellbottoms; Rollins has been crowned the Disco King by ESPN.  Bigger breaking news, there has never been. JRollins cr.jpg

Ok, so besides the 10 minutes they spent talking about dance moves, one announcer even went so far as to say he thought it was a mistake to remove Rollins from the game in favor of Derek Jeter, with how hot Rollins’ bat was. Whoa!  Hold the presses!  A media person chose Rollins over Jeter!  I think hell is about to freeze over.  Well, really this is rational; when you have 2 equally matched players, you go with the hot bat.  But just the mere fact that someone from the media put Rollins and Jeter on the same pedestal was amazing.  And really, it is about time.  How do you spell “respect?”  Apparently, it goes something like, “World Champions!”

 

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Utley Joins The Award Club

In Game 5 of the World Series, Chase Utley made an amazing play on a ground ball when he threw out Jason Bartlett of the Rays at home plate.  Utley baited him into running by faking a toss to first base. 

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The run he saved turned out to be the difference in the game, as the Phillies went on to win Game 5 by a score of 4-3, thus winning the World Series.  And Utley has been rewarded by the fans for his efforts; he is the winner of the This Year in Baseball “Best Postseason Moment” award.  Utley racked up 35.6% of the vote, with teammate Brad Lidge coming in second place for his Game 5 save.

And I hearby declare that Chase is also the winner of the “Best Career Move of 2008″ for his post-World Series Parade speech and creative use of the F-Bomb!  Yes, I totally made up that category, but he so deserves a prize!  There is no longer a baseball fan on the planet that does not know who Chase Utley is, from small children to grandma and grandpa.  That move will be talked about forever and Utley has solidified his superstar status.  So, he gets my “Best Career Move” award; and as I am the one making this up, I will also be the one handing out the prize.  Chase:  Please stop by my house for your reward.  I swear (no pun intended), it will be worth the trip.  :o)

And in other Utley news, I thought you may all like to hear an interview Chase did earlier this week with Mike Missanelli of 950ESPN Radio.  The two discuss Utley’s hip surgery, what it means to be a World Champion and yes, the infamous F-Bomb.  The best part of the interview is when Mike asks Utley what his wife thought about the F-Bomb; Utley infers that she was not very happy and after realizing what he said, changes his tune to say that she was “ok” with it :O)  FUNNY stuff!  Enjoy!

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