Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

Cain vs. Unable: A Total Waste of Lee’s Performance

The Phillies awful offense was unable to scratch out a single run for their pitcher who battled through 10 innings of work against the GiantsCliff Lee became the first pitcher to go 10 shutout innings in a losing game since Brett Saberhagen of the Mets lost to San Diego in 1994.  I am pretty sure this is not a record he was interested in setting.

But against Giant’s pitcher Matt Cain, the Phillies offense seemed uninterested in hitting.  They managed just 4 hits.  They had a shot to score in the 10th after Carlos Ruiz doubled and was sent to third with a sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis.   But Jim Thome struck out and John Mayberry Jr. grounded out.

Lee was finally pulled after 10 innings and Antonio Bastardo took over in the 11th.  After Bastardo coaxed what should have been a double play ball out of Brandon Belt, Ty Wiggington at 3rd fumbled and everyone was safe.  Then Melky Cabrera did what the Phillies could not all series long; take advantage of a mistake.  His single scored the only run in the game for a Giants win.

You cannot blame Wiggington for the loss, although he did not help.  But why was Placido Polanco not put in for defense this late in a game where the starting pitcher put in such an amazing effort?  And where were the bats?  Lee deserved a better effort than this.

The Phillies have now lost 2 straight series and continue to dig themselves a huge hole early in the season.  As for the National League East, the Phils are dead last.  Looks like it is going to be a long season…

 

 

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The First Inning Is Killing the Phillies

Through 11 regular season games so far, the Phillies have a 5-6 record.  Perhaps not coincidentally, their number of loses corresponds with the number of games that Phillies pitchers have allowed 1st inning runs.  They may not have lost those exact same 6 games, but the statistic that the Phils get themselves into an early hole 54% of the time is significant.

In fact, the last 5 consecutive games were part of the 6 game get-behind-early disaster.  That means that every pitcher in the Phillies starting rotation has had a hand in this.

When an offense is struggling like this Phillies team is, you simply cannot afford to dig a hole before the game is barely 10 minutes old.

Likewise, not taking advantage of the other team’s errors early in the game is also a very bad idea.  That is what sunk the Phillies offense against the Giants on Tuesday night.  Two Giants errors put 2 men on base for the Phillies in the 1st inning with nobody out.  But Jimmy Rollins then grounded into a double play and Hunter Pence swung at the first pitch he saw and popped out.  Potential rally? – DOA.

The Giants screwed up and the Phillies did not make them pay for it.  Then Joe Blanton spotted the Giants 2 runs in the second half of the 1st.  Right there, the game was basically over…before the 1st inning had ended no less.

Of course, they had 8 innings to come back, but the way this team is going, that was unlikely to happen.  And sure enough, that is exactly how it turned out.

So what is the 1st inning slump-fest all about?  It is not like these guys rolled out of bed and landed on the field.  They practice, warm-up and all that good stuff.  So why do they tend to bomb in the 1st inning?  Believe me, if I had the answer, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops.

Ideas anyone?

 

 

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Halladay Tames the Giants

In the recent past, Roy Halladay has not had a lot of luck against the Giants.  And with 2 Cy-Young winners facing off, Monday night’s game was set-up to be a real battle.  It was also a nice opportunity for me to repost one of my favorite photoshop experiments.  Meet Darth Vader (Lincecum) & Luke Skywalker (Halladay).  Can you guess who the evil emperor is?

Back to the game…the battle ended really before it began as a struggling Tim Lincecum got torched by the Phils in the first inning to the tune of 4 runs.  You can usually assume a 4-run lead is safe with Halladay on the mound.  Actually, I do not believe Halladay has ever lost a game when his team scores 4 in the first.

This would be no different.  Halladay had what has become a traditional hiccup in the 1st inning, allowing a run on 2 hits, 2 walks and a sac fly.  But after that, he was mostly on point.

And seeing his offense get him some early runs had to help.  Placido Polanco started off the game with a double to right.  Jimmy Rollins walked and then 3 consecutive hits, including another double from Laynce Nix rocked the Giants early.

Freddy Galvis hit a double in the 4th as well, giving the Phillies 3 extra base hits in the game, which have been very hard to come by so far this year.  And of course, not only was Halladay brilliant on the mound, he also collected his first RBI of the season in that same inning with a single to score Galvis.

Tonight Joe Blanton will pitch against Madison Bumgarner and his brand-spanking new five-year, $35 million contract extension.  Bumgarner is only 22 years old.  And yes, only the Giants would sign a 22-year old to that sort of deal.  That is a lot of pressure for a young kid to live up to.  I wish him luck, except when he faces the Phillies, of course ;o)   Game time is 10:15pm.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Hamels Wins as Phillies Find Their Offense

When Cole Hamels allowed two runs in the first inning of today’s game, you could almost hear the collective, “Here we go again…” spilling from the minds of everyone present at the ballpark.  But as it turned out, that was all the Mets would score for the entire game.

In 7 innings, Hamels collected 10 strikeouts and allowed just 6 hits and one walk.  The defense stayed strong behind him as well.

Now all the Phillies needed was some offense, which has not been easy to come by recently.  And through the first 6 innings, things were not looking good.  But in the 7th, Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence hit back-to-back singles and then advanced to 2nd and 3rd on a wild pitch.

And then, a small miracle occurred.  Ty Wiggington hit a long sac fly to score Rollins and tie the game 2-2.  And then Laynce Nix doubled in Pence.  This was monumental on a number of levels.  First, the Phillies had not seen an extra-base hit since Friday.  Also, it was Nix’s first hit as a Phillie.  Whew!  Bet he was glad that is out of the way.

Once the Phillies took the 3-2 lead, better things started to happen.  The Phils hit two more doubles in the 8th and scored 5 more runs.  Pence got an RBI walk with the bases loaded.  And Wiggington smashed a bases-clearing double, ending his game with 4 RBI, another small miracle.

This was a very nice win for the Phillies who needed a serious self-esteem boost after losing 2-straight to the Mets.

By the way, if anyone is wondering why every uniform number is 42, it was Jackie Robinson salute day.  If you did not notice, feel free to go on with your life as planned… ;o)

But do not plan on getting any sleep this week…the Phils start a West Coast swing tomorrow in San Francisco.  Game time is 10:15pm (yikes!).

And here is the Photo Album from today’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

666 – 6 Runs Allowed in 6th Straight Loss with 6 Games To Go

For the first time in 2 seasons, the Phillies have dropped 6 consecutive games.  The 6-1 loss to the Nationals on Thursday completed a 4-game sweep, making the Phillies the final MLB team to suffer a 4-game sweep that had not previously done so this year.

Oh yes, all sorts of records were set last night, and not all of them were good.  The Phillies also became the 1st 98-win team to drop 6 straight since the 1904 Giants.  That’s right, more than a century ago.  They also became the first team EVER to lose 6 straight after clinching their division.  What this means is that the Phillies have delivered bad, sucky baseball in historic proportions ;o)

So it was no surprise that the Phillies final regular season home game ended with a chorus of boo’s.  Fans did not pay their hard earned money to watch the Phillies basically lay an egg on the field.  For “Fan Appreciation Night,” it was more like Fan Un-appreciation Night.  Like I always tell my kids, it is okay to fail as long as you go down putting up a fight.  And that, more than the losses, is what bothers me about these 6 games.  Not that the Phillies are trying to suck, but their hearts do not seem to be in it right now.

The one good sign to come out of the game was Roy Oswalt finally getting some life back on his fastball.  He hit 95mph on the gun and stayed in the low to mid nineties most of the night.  The 6 runs he allowed could have been avoided had certain defensive plays been made.

The Nats first run of the game scored when Chase Utley and John Bowker nearly collided in right field chasing after a pop-up.  The miscommunication resulted in a dropped ball, which literally rolled off Utley’s mid-section:

Bowker also made an awful throw to 2nd later in the game and went 0-2 at the plate.  To recap, since coming to Philly, Bowker is 0-11, he nearly killed Utley and has contributed little more than a bad throw.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here is one GOOD play by Pete Orr:
 

Utley and others did not have a good series either.  Joining him in the debacle were Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.  All three Phillies stars combined at the plate to go 0-36 in the 4-game series with no RBI’s, not even a sac fly.  As a team, the Phillies scored only 9 runs over all 4 games.  The offense was simply non-existent, except Carlos Ruiz with 3 hits.  Those who always complain about Ryan Howard striking out a lot should stop and take a look at how the Phillies play without their #1 RBI machine.

Last night’s game was so horrid, that even Phillies Elvis was more entertaining:
 

And even more exciting than that, the Phillies pre-game ceremonies, which included Cliff Lee getting his pitcher of the month award and then addressing the crowd.  Shane and Melissa Victorino also shared a cute moment as they celebrated the re-opening of the Victorino Foundation funded Nicetown Boys & Girls Club.  And PA Announcer Dan Baker was greeted on field by his family to celebrate 40 years with the Phillies.

 

Another record-breaking moment came when the final season attendance was posted.  With 45,064 at the game last night, the Phillies total attendance for the year wound up at 3,680,718, a new ballpark record.  The game also marked the 204th straight regular season sell-out.

With 6 games to go, the Phillies travel to New York to play the Mets starting at 7:10pm tonight.  Let us all hope they snap out of this funk and get hot going into the playoffs!

Here is the full Photo Album from Thursday’ game, including pre-game ceremonies and more Elvis.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

John Bowker Hits the Baseball Lottery

After two dismal years from 2008 – 2009 in San Francisco, John Bowker was traded halfway through 2010 to the Pirates.  Yes, just as the Giants were heading towards a World Series win, Bowker got dumped.

And while he still technically qualified for a ring, Bowker sat at home last October watching his old team win it all without him.  That had to suck.

This year, Bowker spent a little time with the Pirates and a lot of time in the minors.  A lifetime .237 hitter, even the lowly, fourth place Pirates finally decided they did not want him anymore.  Bowker was designated for assignment on Thursday.

But then a miracle occurred.  One day before the end of August with only a month left in the regular season, John Bowker won the lottery.  And oddly enough, he has the Phillies to thank.

To recap, Bowker got sent away from a World Series-bound team in 2010, dumped by one of the worst teams in baseball in 2011 and now, by some weird act of God, he has landed a spot with a playoff-bound team, the Phillies.

Some guys have all the luck.

The Phillies apparently acquired Bowker as an extra left-hander off the bench.  Why, I am not quite sure.  Maybe they lost a bet?  Or with all the success this year, perhaps they were in a charitable mood.

But seriously, Bowker had a nice run in Triple-A this year so I am sure the Phillies are hoping he can feed off that success and contribute to a World Series run.

So welcome to Philly, Mr. Bowker!  You still cannot believe your luck, can you?  Don’t worry; it will all sink in right about the beginning of October.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Victorino Suspended; Giants Get Slap on Wrist

Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino has been suspended for three games following Friday’s bench-clearing brawl.   Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez purposely hit Victorino with a pitch and the catcher Eli Whiteside attempted to tackle Placido Polanco for rushing to Victorino’s aid.

The other three players, Ramirez, Whiteside and Polanco received fines of undisclosed amounts.

Yes, the two Giants who started the whole ruckus did NOT get suspended.   

So what the league is saying is that pitchers can now throw at guys without fear of suspension, even if it is blatantly intentional?  And then teammates can tackle guys to escalate the situation, also with no real consequence?  Wow.

I understand that Victorino shoved the umpire, which is very bad, so I have no problem with the three games if the Giants players got at least one game each for starting it.  But this ruling gives the impression that it was all Shane.  It is nothing but a slap on the wrist for the two Giants players who started the whole incident.

And Polanco? All he did was rush to help Victorino with what appeared to be intent to get Victorino out of there before the situation got too intense.  Instead, Polanco gets tackled and then fined?  Ridiculous.

Ramirez threw at Victorino intentionally.  The umpire was issuing him a warning right as things got heated.  The rookie umpire should have tossed Ramirez from the game initially.  But regardless of the rookie error, Ramirez is the one who caused the incident.

And had Whiteside not tackled Polanco, the brawl would have been nothing more that harsh words tossed around.  Victorino was wrong to shove the umpire, but the situation does not even get to that point if Whiteside does not act like a fool, jumping around and looking for a reason to fight.

This is clearly bias by the league.  And I’ll bet Jered Weaver is pissed; he just got a 6-game suspension for intentionally throwing a pitch at Alex Avila last Sunday.  And do not forget Carlos Carrasco who was given the same suspension for throwing at the head of Royals DH Billy Butler last Friday.

Granted, tossing at the head is worse, so 6 games makes sense, and they are starters.  So one or two games for a relief pitcher like Ramirez should be automatic by these standards.  Still, the league gives Ramirez a slap on the wrist with just a fine.

Victorino is appealing the suspension, as he should.  Because this is a huge load of crap and a disgusting display of prejudice by the league towards a guy with a reputation of being easily excitable.

Hey MLB – BOO!  Bad call.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Oswalt a Little Rusty in Return from DL

Pitcher Roy Oswalt made his first start back from the DL today in the series finale against the Giants.  Looking a little rusty, Oswalt allowed three runs, although it could have been worse.  Over six innings, Oswalt gave up 12 hits, but still stranded 10 runners.

For the Giants, Tim Lincecum was his usual, amazing self, limiting the Phillies to just one run on seven hits.  However, someone should inform the baby-faced Lincecum that he does not need to attempt to grow the world’s smallest goatee in order to be intimidating.  Although, it is awfully cute.

Watching the Phillies score only one run was not so cute.  Chase Utley had the lone RBI.  And for the first time as a Phillie, Hunter Pence did not have a hit in the game.  So both Pence’s hit streak and win streak ended on the same day.

The Phillies win streak as a team ended at nine; with Pence, they won eight straight.  And as it turns out, Pence does not hit, the Phillies do not win.  Pence must feel like he has entered the Twilight Zone, finally losing  a game with his new team.

There were a few interesting moments in the game, aside from the lack of offense.  Carlos Ruiz made two great plays, giving up his body to get outs.  In the 4th, Ruiz dove to tag out Aubrey Huff by smashing him right in the face with the baseball (see photo).  And then in the 5th, Ruiz ran down Jeff Keppinger who wandered too far of third and jumped on top of him right before he reached third to get the out.

Later in the 8th, Utley was clearly distracted by Lincecum’s adorable baby facial hair as he fouled off a ball and his bat went flying to the mound, hitting Lincecum in the knee.  Utley went to check on little Timmy to make sure he was ok and Timmy handed him the bat back, indicating he was fine.  It was a nice display of sportsmanship by both players.

The 3-1 loss leaves the Phillies still with a wide margin in the NL East, leading the Braves by 8.5 games.  Plus, taking 3 of 4 games from the Giants is very big for their momentum and confidence as the leaders in the league.

Monday night, the Phillies begin a 3-game series with the DodgersRoy Halladay will pitch and game time is 10:10pm.

 

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Photos from Getty Images

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Hamels Beats Cain in Complete Game Effort

After Friday’s bench-clearing brawl when Ramon Ramirez purposely hit Shane Victorino with a pitch, Saturday’s Phillies – Giants match-up was going to be huge for both teams.  And each team had one of their top pitchers starting; Cole Hamels for the Phils and Matt Cain for the Giants.

 

It turned into a classic pitcher’s duel, with Hamels coming out on top.  The Phillies got to Cain early, scoring two runs in the first inning.  Jimmy Rollins double to start the inning and Hunter Pence drove him in with a single.  Chase Utley, who had walked, cruised home on a wild pitch to put the Phillies up 2-0.

But that was pretty much all of the offense for either team until the ninth inning.  Hamels held down the 2-0 lead as Cain returned to form after the first inning.  There were some hits sprinkled here and there, but no one crossed home plate.

Hamels had a complete game shut-out going through the ninth with two outs when Pablo Sandoval took him deep to left.  The solo homer did not engage the crowd for long as Hamels ended the game with just one more pitch as Orlando Cabrera grounded out.

Well, at least all of the Giants fans wearing those ridiculous panda hats felt a little less silly after the Sandoval homer.

Still, that does not change the fact that the Phillies have won the series, winning three straight against the Giants with one more game to go.  The Phillies total win streak now stands at nine games.

Right after the game, the Phillies optioned relief pitcher Juan Perez to the minors as Roy Oswalt was activated and will start Sunday’s game.

The only possible issue after today’s game is Placido Polanco, who was lifted from the game early with left hip soreness.   Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki tweeted that the injury is unrelated to his previous back issues.

However, a very big question now looms in the air.  During Friday night’s brawl, Giants catcher Eli Whiteside took a cheap shot at Polanco and attempted to tackle him by the knees.  You have to wonder if this has anything to do with the hip soreness.

There have been a lot of different reactions to the brawl and the Whiteside tackle, who nonchalantly stated after the game that he used to play football.  Why exactly would he bring that up?  Hmmmmm….

So here is just a small sampling of some of the reaction, mostly from media members, via Twitter yesterday.  What do you think?:

Sports Illustrated: SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman

I agree with victorino, eli whiteside was the instigater in phillies giants brawl. No lie, eli deserves longest suspension

 

Sirius XM radio: MadDogUnleashed Chris Mad Dog Russo

Hey giants, how about beating the phillies before you throw at them down 8-2 & eli whiteside when youre johnny bench then u can tackle guys

 

Philly SportsCast: PhillySports Philly SportsCast

Giants Are Sore Losers: Phillies are the class of Major League Baseball, while the Giants have become sore loser… http://bit.ly/q9aVpX

 

FOX Sports: jonmorosi Jon Morosi

#SFGiants have been outclassed by the #Phillies this wknd — and Friday’s brawl is only part of the reason. My column: http://t.co/TNoZd3I

 

FOX Sports: jonmorosi Jon Morosi

One point about the Rollins SB: #SFGiants were holding him on 1B. So how surprising could it have been? #Phillies

 

Fan & Hospital Chaplain: peacemover peacemover

Larry Andersen on Ramon Ramirez of #Giants deliberately hitting Victorino of #Phillies: “That’s about as gutless as you can get.” Agreed!

 

Fan & Hospital Chaplain: peacemover peacemover

That was a classless move from #Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez who clearly beaned Victorino of the #Phillies deliberately. No excuse for that.

 

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area: JaymeeSireCSN Jaymee Sire

Eli Whiteside has no comment on the brawl. He played QB in high school in case anyone was wondering about his tackling skills.

 

Fan: Philadelphiandy Andrew Harris

I guess I can’t argue with Victorino being thrown out, but Ramon Ramirez and Eli Whiteside clearly instigated this fight.

 

NBC: DashTreyhorn Dash Treyhorn

Just watched the video of the brawl. Whiteside was clearly looking for a fight, as evidenced by his silly hop right before tackling Polly.

 

Delaware County Times: ryanlawrence21 Ryan Lawrence

Eli Whiteside‘s hopping was totally Cobra Kai.

 

CSN Philly: RochesRWinners Dan Roche

Watch Whiteside on the replay.. No other evidence necessary that the pitch was premeditated. #Phillies #SFGiants #BushLeague

 

Editor, Crash Burn Alley: Phrontiersman Paul Boyé

Saw the “brawl” finally. Call my bias all you like, but nothing more than jawing happens last night if Whiteside doesn’t act a fool.

 

Game 4 starts at 4:05pm on Sunday; Roy Oswalt will pitch.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Sore Losers Cause Bench Clearing Brawl in Phillies Win Over Giants

The Phillies – Giants 4-game series began on Thursday night with Cliff Lee pitching a complete game shut-out for a 3-0 Phillies victory.  Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr. hit back to back homers in the second inning, providing most of the offense.

On Friday night with the Giants losing 8-2 in the sixth inning, things got a lot more dramatic.  Upset with the spanking they were taking, a few Giants players let their emotions get the better of them.

With two men on base, relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez purposely nailed Shane Victorino in the back with a fastball.  Seeing the obvious intent, the home plate ump signaled a warning to Ramirez.  Both Ramirez and Victorino started aggressively towards each other and the benches cleared.

 

But what may have been a few harsh words exchanged heatedly turned into a dangerous situation when the Giants catcher, Eli Whiteside, decided this was a WWF event instead of a baseball game.

Placido Polanco ran over to try to stop Victorino from letting things get out of hand and Whiteside literally dove at Polanco and tackled him by the legs.  And this happened not at the spur of the moment, but after Whiteside had bounced up and down multiple times like a boxer in anticipation of the body slam.  The pre-meditated attack was way out of line and once that happened, it became a full-out brawl.

All three players, Ramirez, Whiteside and Victorino were ejected from the game.  Rivalry between teams is a natural occurrence, especially between teams who are closely matched.  But throwing at a player simply because you are losing the game is bad sportsmanship and childish.  The Phillies did nothing to warrant the attack, no showboating, no mincing of words.  So Ramirez threw at Victorino just because he was a sore loser.  Sad.

Victorino was entitled to verbally express his anger at the pitcher and did nothing wrong there.  However, his lack of self-control afterwards is likely going to end up in a suspension, fine or both.  Then again, if I saw my teammate get tackled like that, I would probably have done the same.

However, I do hope the league takes tougher action against Ramirez and Whiteside; Ramirez started the problem and Whiteside aggravated it.  The rest of the players on both sides were just understandably backing up their teammates, so this should not be a reflection on anyone else.

Revenge should be taken in the form of baseball actions, which is exactly what the Phillies did.  Vance Worley pitched very well through seven innings, allowing only two runs.  And the offense backed him up with a lot of offense.

Home runs from Victorino, Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr. tacked on four runs for the Phillies.  All three players had a multi-hit game, along with Polanco and Jimmy Rollins knocked in two runs.

Mayberry has been amazing with three home runs and five RBI in his last four games.  He is making it nearly impossible for the Phillies to send him back to Triple-A after Roy Oswalt comes off the DL.

So the Phillies have taken the first two games of this 4-game series, making a huge statement to the Giants.  They cannot lose the series and you can also be sure they will be fired up for the next two after Friday’s events.

Game 3 starts at 4:10pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

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Photo: Comcast SportsNet

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

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