Results tagged ‘ Giants ’

Mile High Sweep for the Phillies

Balls were flying all over Coors Field today.  Luckily for the Phillies, more balls bounced their way then they did for the Rockies.

Pitching in his hometown, Roy Halladay looked a little tired today.  But as usual, he battled through and pitched a solid game.  Over seven innings, Halladay surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and a walk.

 

Halladay also had a hit in the game and later scored from third base on a wild pitch.  Phillies fans held their collective breath as Halladay slide awkwardly between the catcher’s legs and was safe.  Seeing your star pitcher slide is never a joyous moment, but Halladay did just fine.

Ryan Howard took advantage of the thin Denver air again with a double, a homer and four RBI.  He did not have the best start to the game though.  Howard struck out with no outs and the bases loaded in the first inning.  In the latter half of the inning, he bungled an easy ground ball and then threw the ball away for the second error in one play.

But Howard’s bat made up for the first inning.  Chase Utley got in on the action as well with two hits, scoring twice.  Hunter Pence now has a five game hitting streak as a Phillie and added a sac fly RBI as well.

With an 8-6 lead going into the ninth inning, the Phillies sent another Denver local to the mound, Brad Lidge.  It was his first save attempt since coming off the DL and more importantly, it was a shot at 100 career saves as a Phillie.  With Ryan Madson absent because his wife was in labor, Lidge was the guy.  And although Lidge likely will not close many games anymore, he got the job done tonight.

This win completes back-to-back 3-game sweeps of the Rockies and Pirates, which is great timing as the Phillies will face the defending World Champs next.

The return of Roy Oswalt from the DL (yet to be made official) sets up the rotation like this against the GiantsCliff Lee on Thursday, Vance Worley on Friday, Cole Hamels on Saturday and Oswalt on Sunday.

Game time on Thursday is 10:15pm – welcome to another late-night West Coast series.

 

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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*

Winning: It Just Keeps Happening

The Phillies 5-0 win over the Rockies Tuesday night marked their 5th straight win.  They also became the first team in baseball to reach 70 wins and continue to hold the best record in the game.  As a Phillies fan, life is good.

And the wins keep coming in unexpected ways.  Monday night was a late inning rally and extra inning victory.  Tuesday night, the Phillies watched their spot starter, Kyle Kendrick, absolutely baffle the Rockies hitters.

The word “baffle” is usually not used in the same sentence as the name “Kendrick,” unless it is Kendrick who looks confused, not the opposition.  Kendrick has been an up and down pitcher throughout his career in Philly.  It is that inconsistency that is partly the reason he has not earned a solid spot in the rotation.  The other part is, of course, the rest of the Phillies starting pitchers, who are outstanding.

 

But in this game, Kendrick looked like he could keep pace with the likes of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.  Over eight innings, Kendrick allowed only four hits as he shut-out the Rockies.  Kendrick will go back to his home in the bullpen as a long-man once Roy Oswalt returns, but the value of a guy like Kendrick cannot be overlooked.

While Kendrick has pitched well, he has also benefitted from good run support.   Ryan Howard smacked two solo homers tonight.  Hunter Pence went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Brian Schneider drove in another run on a sac fly.

Back-up catcher Schneider is another example of how important it is to have a solid bench and players who are versatile.  He is not setting the world on fire with his bat by any means, but he calls a good game behind the plate and contributes on offense where he can.

The Phillies have a shot at sweeping this series tomorrow afternoon before what is sure to be a difficult series against the Giants.  Six straight wins would be very nice momentum going into San Francisco.

Game time Wednesday is 3:10pm; Roy Halladay will pitch in his hometown of Denver.

 

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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*

Ibanez Powers Phillies to 3-Game Sweep of Pirates

The Phillies completed a sweep of the Pirates this afternoon in 10 innings by a score of 6-5.  The newest member of the Phillies, Hunter Pence, had a hand in the 10th inning rally after a rough start where he misread a ball in the outfield.  Here is a quick look at the day for Pence:

The ball he missed came in the first inning, but pitcher Vance Worley bounced back quickly.  It was not until the fifth and sixth innings where Worley ran into trouble.

 

While it was not his best outing, Worley still went six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.  He made one bad pitch in the sixth to Lyle Overbay who slammed a 2-run homer.

But the Phillies kept plugging away at the Pirates with a few timely hits and nice defense:

 

Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-4 with two RBI to continue his recent hot streak.  But Raul Ibanez was the one player who came up big all game long.  After a solo homer in the first inning, Ibanez hit a massive  2-run homer in the eighth when the Phillies were still trailing.  That hit tied the game and kept hope alive for the Phillies.

 

As a quick side note, it appears that I may be Raul’s good luck charm.  If you look at the chart below of this entire home stand, you will see that Ibanez hit .500 with three homers and nine RBI in games that I attended.  When I was not there, he hit only .174, no homers, 2 RBI:
 

Ok, so maybe it is just a weird coincidence.  On the other hand, Raul may want to hurry up and buy me a plane ticket to Denver ;o)

Back to the game:  After Ibanez tied things up, the Phillies had to rely on the bullpen to keep it that way.  Brad Lidge had already allowed the fifth run in the seventh, but then four other guys combined to hold down the Pirates.  The photo below shows Juan Perez, David Herndon and Lidge:

 

Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo also pitched one scoreless inning each.  Then in the 10th inning, Pence doubled to put the Phillies in position for the win.  All they needed was one more big hit from Ibanez who delivered with the game winning double to score Pence.

The walk-off win capped a three hit, four RBI game for Ibanez who ended the month of July on a hot streak, batting .284 with 25 RBI.

A very tough road trip is up next for the Phillies, starting in Denver against the Rockies.  They will also face the Giants in a 4-game series and the Dodgers for three games.

It all begins Monday night at 8:40pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.  Enjoy!

 

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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*

Pence Debuts & Howard Reaches Another Milestone in Win Over Pirates

The Phillies newest, shiny toy arrived at the ballpark today.  Right fielder Hunter Pence pumped his fists as he entered the tunnel under the stadium, looking excited to explore his new home.

The excitement is understandable; Pence just got traded from a team with 35 wins to a team with 66 wins and the best record in baseball.  The fans shared his exuberance as they cheered him during batting practice and gave Pence a standing ovation when he arrived in right field to start the game against the Pirates.  Pence waived to the fans cheerfully in appreciation.

Even his first at-bat was exciting; Pence ran out what should have been an infield hit but was called out by the umpire.  The replay showed he was clearly safe as fans watched manager Charlie Manuel argue with the ump in defense of his newest player.

It took Pence until the eighth inning to finally get a hit in the game.  Regardless, he had to be relieved with the RBI-single he finally put in the books.  Now that his first Phillies hit is on record, it should be business as usual for Pence.

As for Ryan Howard, the business was not so usual, but certainly good.  Having Pence in the five-hole behind him had to be a welcome sight.  Hitting without any real protection all year, Howard finally has a solid hitter to back him up.  Taking full advantage, Howard went just a triple short of the cycle and had three RBI on four hits.

 

Most notably, Howard’s second hit of the game, an RBI-single in the fourth inning, was his 1,000th career hit.  Congratulations to Ryan!

As for the pitching, Cliff Lee started the game hoping he could bounce back from an awful outing on Monday against the Padres.  In that game, Lee lasted only four innings after allowing five runs.

Tonight, Lee did well through seven innings where he gave up only two runs.  But Lee was left in the game too long and he ran into trouble in the eighth.  The hits kept coming for the Pirates and two more runs crossed the plate, bringing the Bucos closer to a comeback with a 6-4 score.

Reliever Antonio Bastardo was brought in with two runners on base and two outs.  In his usual form, Bastardo shut down the Pirates by striking out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning.

The run added by Pence in the eighth gave the Phillies a little more cushion with a 7-4 lead.  That was plenty for Ryan Madson who closed out the game for another Phillies victory.

Game three with the Pirates is Sunday at 1:35pm; Vance Worley will pitch.  In Worley’s last start, he pitched a complete game against the Giants.  It will be interesting to see how he responds after tossing 114 pitches in that start.

Check back Sunday night for game photos…see you there!

Roster Move Update:

Domonic Brown and Andrew Carpenter were sent to Triple-A to make room for Pence and Placido Polanco, who came off the DL today.  Brown will begin to work at left field, which is where the Phillies project he will be next season.

 

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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*

Phillies Missed Opportunities = First Series Loss Since Mid-June

The Phillies took an awful loss to the Giants Wednesday night, only scoring one run for Cole Hamels who was outstanding.  Still, no win for Hamels.

This also put the Phillies in an unusual position, having to face Tim Lincecum on Thursday night with a chance to actually lose a series.  They had not lost a series since mid-June.  That streak would end against Lincecum.

Spot starter Kyle Kendrick would take the loss, although he did not deserve it, much like Hamels.  Kendrick pitched well through six innings, allowing just two runs.  But a lead-off walk and an error by third baseman Michael Martinez added one earned and one unearned run to Kendrick’s final statistics.

The Phillies offense had some opportunities to score as Lincecum walked four batters, but they did not take advantage.  Chase Utley alone left five men stranded on base as he popped out once and struck out twice against Lincecum.

The Phils managed one run off the Giants bullpen, but again, missed opportunities were the plague of the day.  As a team, the Phillies recorded only five hits in the 4-1 loss.

This was a disappointing loss for the Phillies who will have to face the Giants again in only one week in  San Francisco.

Friday night’s game will feature Roy Halladay against the Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton.  There has been some talk recently about how Halladay and Morton look alike, but personally, I do not see the resemblance:

 

Oh, wait a second….now I get it:

 

Twins, for sure.

Game time is 7:05pm on Friday.

 

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

Vance Worley Needs To Stay in Philadelphia…For Now

In Tuesday night’s 7-2 victory over the Giants, Phillies pitcher Vance Worley earned his seventh win of the year and lowered his ERA to 2.02.  It was also the rookie’s first career complete game.

In 11 starts for the Phillies this season, Worley has just one loss and a WHIP of 1.09.  He has also shown steady improvement between starts and gotten much better at keeping his pitch count down.

Filling in for the injured Joe Blanton, Worley has been outstanding.  As for Blanton, a recent report from Matt Snyder at CBS Sports indicates that Blanton has nerve damage in his elbow and he may be done for the year.

Once Roy Oswalt returns to the rotation, the Phillies will be using Worley as the fifth starter.  Kyle Kendrick is also available, but he has been more useful in a long relief role.  In nine starts, Kendrick has a 3-2 record and 3.97 ERA.  In relief, his ERA drops to 2.49.

Arguments to trade Worley include his rookie status, which some think gives him an edge as most teams have not faced him.  If that is the case, it is thought he may not be as good next year so the Phillies should trade him now.  J.A. Happ encountered the rookie curse after being traded to Houston where he has performed very poorly since a sparkling rookie campaign.

If Worley is traded now, while he is performing well, certainly he will be worth more.  However, if Worley continues to excel from now until the end of the season, he will be worth just as much in a trade during the offseason, before he has a chance to suffer from the sophomore slump.

With this in mind, it makes sense to keep him for the year, especially with the news on Blanton.

The Phillies could use an upgrade in the form of a right-handed bat, but losing Worley seems to steep a price right now.  If the Phillies could get Hunter Pence, Domonic Brown would be a better trade piece, along with some prospects.  Pence would be under team control, like Brown is now, and both the defense and offense would improve.

There are a number of other possibilities as well.  But if Worley goes in exchange for a right-handed bat, where would that person play?  Brown needs playing time if the Phillies plan on keeping him and developing him.  The rest of the positions seem pretty well set for the year, barring further injuries.

There is another option as well.  The Phillies do not have to make a trade if the right situation does not present itself.

The offense has improved since the All-Star break and bench players like John Mayberry Jr. and Michael Martinez have shown promise.  Mayberry is a power right-hander and Martinez is a switch hitter.  Also, Ben Francisco is batting .353 as a pinch-hitter.

Whether the Phillies decide to make a move or not, hopefully, Worley will be staying in Philadelphia…at least for now.

 

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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*

Worley’s 1st Complete Game Highlighted By Homers

 

Tuesday night’s Phillies – Giants game was one of the most exciting games I have been to in a long time.  And the excitement started before the game even began.  About an hour before the start time, the Giants announced that Barry Zito would pitch in place of ace Tim Lincecum, who had the flu.

At first, this was disappointing.  Seeing Lincecum pitch is really fun with his odd delivery and demeanor on the mound.  But with Zito, there was certainly a better chance for the Phillies to win the game.

Vance Worley started for the Phillies and did an amazing job.  He kept his pitch count low and used all sides of the plate with good location to confuse the Giants.  Zito did not fare as well; perhaps his super-tight pants were cutting off his circulation?  You be the judge:

Worley was backed by some great Phillies offense, including four home runs.  Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, John Mayberry Jr. and Chase Utley all took part in the home run parade.  The defense was hot as well, with many great leaping plays, especially the one from Ibanez (top right) who scaled the wall in the ninth inning to help out Worley:

 

But the biggest homer of the night was of the inside-the-park variety from Utley.  He smashed a ball into center which kicked around enough that Utley never stopped running.  It was a close play, but he was safe.  And another rare thing occurred right afterwards; Utley smiled…during  a game.  Yes, shocking, I know.  Here is some of the sequence from the homer:

 

Former Phillie Aaron Rowand made a short appearance in the game as a pinch hitter in the 8th.  He strutted to the plate looking determined to show how much he loves hitting in this ballpark.  I told the guy next to me, “Watch…one pitch and he’ll homer.”  No kidding…it happened.  Must be that “interesting”…ahem!…stance of his:

 

But as Rowand enjoyed his time travel to the past, Worley was not phased.   That run made the score 6-2 and in the bottom of the inning, Howard’s homer bumped the lead to 7-2.

Worley finished the game with just two runs allowed on three hits with 114 pitches.  He and catcher Brian Schneider celebrated his 1st career complete game and afterwards, even Roy Halladay shared an appreciative laugh with the young pitcher:

 

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

Game #2 is Wednesday at 7:05pm.  Cole Hamels will face a mystery pitcher for the Giants…no word on that yet. 

 

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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*

Lee Pulled Early In Tough Loss Against the Padres

Monday afternoon’s Phillies – Padres match-up brought about a disappointing end to a five-game Phils win-streak.  A very un-Lee like performance from pitcher Cliff Lee put the Phillies into an early hole from which they could not escape.

Pulled for a pinch hitter after only four innings, Lee had allowed five runs on 10 hits as the Padres pounded him.  Not only did Lee not have his good stuff on the mound, he looked slightly disoriented as well.  In the second inning, he lackadaisically lobbed a ball to first base, allowing a runner at third to steal home.

While Lee did not have his head screwed on quite right today, the offense tried to battle back for him.  But mistakes held them back.  After a Shane Victorino double in the first that scored one run, Ryan Howard was sent home to try for two.  But going first to home with a slow runner like Howard is usually a very bad idea.  Howard was out at home to end the inning.

Victorino had three hits on the day and Raul Ibanez had two with an RBI.  But the Phillies squandered many opportunities, like when John Mayberry Jr. singled to start the bottom of the seventh.  Jimmy Rollins bounced into a fielder’s choice and then got picked off stealing second.  Michael Martinez then flied out to end the inning.

The real bummer with this loss is that it ended a nice win-streak and good momentum for the Phillies right as the World Champion Giants come to town.  This will be a tough 3-game stretch for the Phils who do not have their top two aces in line to pitch.

Tomorrow, the rookie Vance Worley will have to compete with Giants ace and 2-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  It could go either way, but if the Phillies cannot offer Worley some run support, it will be a long night.

Game time is 7:05pm; I will return with photos :O)

 

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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*

Worley Wows While Bats Come To Life in Win Over Cubs

The Phillies offensive was very slow to develop on Tuesday.  But on Wednesday, they got off to a quick start with two runs in the first inning.

In the second inning, the Phillies really made Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster work hard in the 110 degree heat on the field.  But with two outs, no one on base and pitcher Vance Worley coming to the plate, it looked like Dempster was going to get out of the inning.  And then Worley smashed a double in the gap between center and right field.

That double precipitated a big inning for the Phillies.  Jimmy Rollins followed with another double to score Worley.  Then Michael Martinez singled in Rollins and Chase Utley doubled in Martinez.  It was a 3-run chain reaction.

But the fun did not end there.  While Worley mowed down Cubs and did not allow a hit until the 5th inning, the offense kept adding on.  Rollins had a huge day with three hits and two homers, one from each side of the plate.  That has only happened four times in Phillies history and two of the four times, it was Rollins. 

Rollins was so pumped after the first homer, he high-fived a bunch of Phillies fans on his way back to the dugout.  After the second homer, other fans caught on and the high-fives came again, only to a bigger crowd.  After the game, Gary “Sarge” Matthews even interviewed a fan about the high-fives.  Needless to say, he was pretty psyched about travelling all the way to Chicago to get high-fives from Rollins.

Martinez also continued his hot streak with two hits, an RBI and two stolen bases.  Utley had two hits, both doubles, and two RBI.  The only starter without a hit was Shane Victorino who is still looking for his first hit since returning from the DL yesterday.

With the offensive support, Worley was able to pitch without pressure and as a result, he went eight innings, the longest outing of his short career.  Worley allowed only one run on four hits and two walks.  Fans are also getting excited about Worley these days as evidenced by the new tee-shirt being sold by Zoo With Roy.  I assume it is a take-off on the shirt to the right, but why is his name spelled wrong?  Just curious…

 

The 9-1 win capped off a series victory against the Cubs.  Thursday is an off-day while the Phillies prepare for a big 10-game home stand with the Padres, Giants and Pirates.

 

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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*

Hamels Finds His Groove In Win Over Braves


0819 Hamelsb.jpgAfter a nightmarish start to his season, Cole Hamels was hoping to shrink his enormous 20.25 ERA today against the Braves.  In the final game of this three-game series, Hamels came out firing bullets.

For the Phillies offense, scratching out a few runs against the Braves starter Derek Lowe was not going to be an easy task.  So Hamels knew he had to be sharp.  As expected, a pitcher’s duel broken out in Atlanta.

Hamels was on a mission.  Through seven strong innings, he allowed only four hits, no runs and struck out eight batters.  Even better, Hamels looked relaxed and in control, able to work out of what little trouble he got into.

The offense did manage to post a few runs for Hamels, mostly due to a spectacular game from Shane Victorino.  Going 3-for-4 at the plate, Victorino hit two singles and a home run.  The other run scored when Jimmy Rollins hit into a double play with no outs, allowing Victorino to score in the fourth.

Carlos Ruiz also continued his hot streak with two hits.  Then in the ninth inning, Rollins got his first hit of the game, a double that landed him on third base after a Braves error.  Ryan Howard was able to get Rollins home on a ground ball out, giving the Phillies an insurance run and a 3-0 lead.

Jose Contreras entered in the ninth to save the game in what would be a very good test of his skills as a closer.  With rookie second baseman Michael Martinez making a few nice defensive plays plus good pitching, Contreras got the job done.

The Phillies won the series with the Braves two games to one.  After a day off on Monday, the Phillies will take on the Nationals in D.C. on Tuesday.

You Be The Judge

Totally off topic, have you seen the new MLB campaignAlways Epic“?  Released on March 31, 2011, Giants closer Brian Wilson stars in a video series that covers various adventures inside Wilson’s beard. 
Feb 2011 collage beard.jpg
The
video with the tiny ninja’s is especially interesting.  Follow the link to watch it.

Back on February 22, 2011, I posted that exact idea on this MLBlogs site, except I used the beard of Raul Ibanez.  I was making a joke about the magical powers of the Ibanez beard and decided tiny ninja’s would be funny.  Apparently, MLB liked it as well:

So, coincidence or did MLB totally rip off my idea?  You be the judge.

Perhaps it is simply that great minds think alike.  In which case, I expect a job offer from MLB any day now.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

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