Results tagged ‘ J-Roll Smurf ’
Happy Halloween! In keeping with my yearly tradition, I have again dressed up our favorite Phillies players for this special holiday. Some are repeats from previous years that still crack me up. And some are brand new and also very funny.
We begin with a new set of costumes; here as Batman, Robin and Luke Skywalker are Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pence:
One of my all-time favorites, it is Roy Halladay as Iron Man, Kyle Kendrick as a random super hero and Ryan Howard as the Hulk:
Next up are some new & old mixed together; Cliff Lee is a magician, Chase Utley is Superman (of course) and Michael Stutes is Michael Jackson. BTW, the only thing I added to the Stutes photo is the glove. The rest was an outfit he actually wore to Shane Victorino’s charity fashion event this year:
And here we have John Mayberry Jr. as Count Dracula, Raul Ibanez as Captain Jack Sparrow and Ryan Madson as Robin Hood:
Another favorite costume adventure is Jimmy Rollins in a dual role as both the Easter Bunny and Papa Smurf:
And for the Grand Finale, Shane Victorino is “The Situation” from Jersey Shore and Placido Polanco is a matador:
Happy Halloween, everyone!
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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Throughout most of the year, Roy Halladay has not gotten a great deal of run support from his teammates. Today, he had a rough time against the Mets, allowing 2 runs in the first inning alone to put the Phillies in a quick hole. Halladay seemed off but he did pitch 7 innings; on 9 hits and a walk, he allowed 5 runs while striking out 10 batters.
But the offense did not let Halladay down this time. After a Jimmy Rollins 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets short stop Jose Reyes committed a fielding error that allowed Placido Polanco to reach base. From there, a rally was born. Remember yesterday when mascot J-Roll Smurf put the voodoo hex on Reyes? Coincidence? Well, who cares…it worked, whatever it was.
The Reyes error sent the Phillies on a huge tear; Ross Gload singled, which scored Rollins. And then the super-hot Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career high 16 games with a 3-run homer. Later, a Brian Schneider single scored Jayson Werth for the 5th run of the inning. Werth had also homered the inning before. Here are a few shots of the home runs and subsequent celebrations:
The effort was all around for the Phillies. Not only did the offense score 6 runs for Halladay, they played solid defense as well. Halladay kept running into trouble, but some good pitches, a double play and a few diving grabs helped him out. Gload especially gave a great effort at first base filling in for the injured Ryan Howard. Here are a few more action shots from the game:
Another huge positive to come out of this 6-5 win was the back-end of the bullpen. Ryan Madson played “Bridge to Lidge” in his former excellent fashion, shutting the Mets down in the 8th. And then Brad Lidge, with his usual tense moments, did finally get the save with only a 1-run lead. Both pitchers have been up and down so it was nice to see the pen work the way it is actually supposed to in a tight game.
There was positive news before the game as well. Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were out running around and playing Frisbee on the field. This is meant to be a conditioning exercise, and Utley was quite serious about getting the job done.
Victorino, on the other hand, while still getting the job done, looked more like a kid playing in his back yard than a professional ballplayer. He even raced someone’s kid at one point. Nothing wrong with a little fun ;o) Victorino was running very well and it looks like he may be activated soon. He will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and may be back by next weekend.
Also before the game, the Alumni Batting Challenge took place with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles. Stocker and Bottalico took home the prize. You can see many photos from the even in the full game Photo Album.
The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come to town. Kyle Kendrick will start Tuesday’s game which is scheduled for 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Scoring runs against the veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte of the Yankees is no small feat. The Phillies did a descent job hitting him tonight, although they let several opportunities pass by. A Ryan Howard single scored Shane Victorino in the 4th inning. Then in the 5th, Victorino hit a 2-run homer.
Things looked promising in the 7th inning as well while the Phils loaded the bases with only one out. But scoring runs has been the Achilles heel of this team for an entire month now. Placido Polanco grounded into a fielder’s choice which erased Carlos Ruiz on his way home. Then Howard struck out on another low and outside pitch, something he seem to make a habit of. All the offense could do was pray that this inning would not come back to haunt them.
Kyle Kendrick stepped up to the challenge of pitching against the veteran Pettitte and kept the team in the game. Through 7 innings, Kendrick allowed one run on 4 hits and 2 walks. Despite getting himself into a multitude of bad situations, Kendrick kept his composure and did not fold under the pressure. That, more than his pitching, was the most impressive part of his game.
Not as impressive is the still struggling Chase Utley, who went hitless. Yesterday, Utley resorted to voodoo magic to try to jump-start his swing. He laid out a pattern on the clubhouse floor using bats, Red Bull and a variety of fruits. Then today, batting coach Milt Thompson reportedly built a shrine to Jobu, the voodoo doll used in the movie Major League. Can you say, “desperation”? Oh my.
I have also been known to practice baseball voodoo from time to time. However, I am not a major leaguer so if my readers think my noodle has slipped, no one really cares, least of all me. Normally, I reserve the voodoo J-Roll Smurf magic for the National League East. But with the Phillies recent struggles against everyone, and in light of Utley’s acceptance of such practices, I made an exception before today’s game. I think it may have helped:
The voodoo did seem to work. The Phillies scored again in the 9th inning after a Ruiz double and a Wilson Valdez single. Then they loaded the bases and scored two more runs on sac flies by Polanco and Howard. Then Raul Ibanez smelled the burning Jobu / Smurf incense, woke up and hit an RBI single with two outs. Ibanez did run into some bad luck after that, getting nicked in the foot with a hit ball. Apparently, the umpires did not see it, as nothing was called until the Yanks complained. So they called him out anyway to end the inning.
The defense got a spark earlier as well. Polanco helped Kendrick get out of a rough inning by diving on top of the rolled up tarp and catching a foul ball that was inches into the stands. And Jose Contreras snagged a bullet off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the 8th inning to save a hit. The Phils entered the bottom of the 9th inning with a 7-1 lead.
Contreras stayed in the game for one more batter; then with one out in the 9th, JC Romero was called in to end the game. Romero ended it quickly and the Phils won both the game and the series, 2 games to 1.
The Phillies will head home now for a weekend series with the Twins. They are without lefty Antonio Bastardo who is now on the DL with left elbow ulnar neuritis. Scott Mathieson was called up to take his spot on the roster. Mathieson looked like his career might be over after two Tommy John surgeries in 2006 and 2008 but his recovery has been remarkable. Look forward to seeing him pitch very soon!
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A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Voodoo bats by Getty Images/CSN Philly
In the first Interleague game of 2010, Cole Hamels pitched a gem. In 7 innings, Hamels allowed just one run on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 8 batters. Hamels looked sharp against the Red Sox and if he can keep up this pace, he may put together a solid season.
Another first for 2010 was the Phillies putting their usual line-up on the field at a home game. Jimmy Rollins came off the DL on Monday and today, finally landed in his usual lead-off spot.
But in the 6th inning, Rollins led off with a single and limped to first base. Rollins just came off the DL with a calf strain and reports are that he now has a “mild” calf strain in the same leg.
Oh please, say it ain’t so…J-Roll has given the Phillies a much needed boost with a 3-run homer yesterday and a hit and a walk today. To lose him again would be a serious punch in the gut. When Rollins’ biggest supporter, J-Roll Smurf heard the news, he began to wonder if he had fallen down a rabbit hole and gone tripping on some funky shrooms. Because seriously, this cannot be happening. And if it is, perhaps J-Roll Smurf can just pretend it is not while rolling around in his little garden of happiness.
Before that 6th inning, things looked very good for the Phillies. Ryan Howard smacked a homer in the 4th to tie the game and Jayson Werth went even deeper in the 5th, hitting a 2-run shot into the second deck of left field. Shane Victorino had an RBI single in the 4th and also walked twice. Even Hamels had a hit in the game, just to round out his great pitching performance.
But then in the 9th, the hallucinations returned as pitcher Danys Baez allowed a single and a walk. JC Romero hit the next batter to load the bases and bring Big Papi, David Ortiz, to the plate with a chance to tie the game. We must really be tripping now. By the way, the Urban Dictionary lists one definition for “tripping” as “A psychological phenomenon in which a person can feel an even higher-than-normal state of emotion due to some repeated external stimulus.”
In this case, the repeated external stimulus is the Phillies bullpen, which continues to induce a heart attack-like state among fans watching them pitch. But Romero had the remedy, as he induced a fly ball from Ortiz to end the game with a 5-1 win for the Phillies.
The remedy for Rollins however, still remains elusive. Currently, he is listed as “day-to-day,” but with the exact same injury repeated, which took him more than a month to recover from, I would expect that good news is not on the horizon. Then again, if they can find some magic mushrooms that hold the cure for the calf strain, hand me a shovel. I’ll start digging. ;o)
Smurf photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies closer, Brad Lidge, has been activated off the disabled list for tonight’s match-up with the rival New York Mets. The question is, will Lidge’s return be a good thing or a bad thing for the Phillies? Lidge had a very bad 2009 and the off-season avalanche of injuries does not breed confidence. However, can things get much worse for this bullpen? Probably not.
In that case, Lidge’s return should be a good thing. He swears he is 100% and totally pain free. We would all love to believe this. Hopefully, he will come out tossing lightning bolts and put any doubts to rest. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo has been optioned to AAA to make room on the roster.
So tonight begins a 3-game set with the Mets and my faithful readers, you know what that means: J-Roll Smurf is back! And he has brought his special voodoo Smurf magic with him to beat the Mets. Although the real J-Roll is still on the disabled list, he is with us in spirit. And J-Roll Smurf, with a little help from his friends, is promising a win tonight! Well, that is unless of course Kyle Kendrick bombs and crushes J-Roll Smurf’s poor, helpless little soul. Please Mr. Kendrick, have pity on J-Roll Smurf; after all, he is only 3-apples tall.
Speaking of small, fluffy critters, Chase and Jen Utley held their annual “Utley’s All-Star Animals” event last night. Over 450 people attended the casino-theme night with all proceeds to benefit the PSPCA. And for the 3rd year in a row, it appears again that my invitation must have been lost in the mail. Because everyone knows what a huge animal activist I am, so how could they possibly forget me? Damn those mailmen! Leave it the US government to ruin my day. Oh well, maybe next year…
Game time tonight is 7:05pm…Go Phillies!
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
I have arrived home from the Phillies Phantastic Voyage and have sorted through most of my photos. Joining me on the cruise were 270 Phillies fans, JC & Erin Romero, Shane & Melissa Victorino, Ryan & Sarah Madson, Greg & Jean Luzinski, Scott Palmer, the Phanatic, the friend of the Phanatic, Tom Burgoyne and his wife and Phillies Sales Manager, Scott Nickle and his wife, Jenny. Everyone had a blast!
I put together a slide show of some key moments from the trip as well as some island shots. In addition, there are also Photos Albums which include these photos plus many more. I put together a Phillies Events album and also an Island Events album, which is non-baseball in nature. Click on either name to view each album.
To view the Photo Slideshow CLICK HERE and it will take you to the video.
As you can see, everyone, even the Smurf, had a great time. I will be posting video later today or tomorrow in addition to the photo slideshows where you will get to listen to the players talk during the Q&A session and the cocktail parties, plus much more!
A few other notes; while I was away, Scott Eyre announced his retirement. He will be missed :O( I wish Scott the best in his future endeavors!
Next up, Brad Lidge had knee surgery…again. He had some loose bodies and debris removed and is expected to make a full recovery within 2-3 weeks. No word on whether he will be ready for opening day or not.
This past Friday, four players filed for arbitration; Joe Blanton, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Durbin and Shane Victorino. Really all this means is they will negotiate their salaries with the team and if no consensus is reached, they will have a hearing to decide the amount next month. Last year, the Phillies avoided arbitration with all 10 players who filed.
Next I would like to address a question I was asked a few times while I was away in regards to JC Romero and his arm surgery. JC is recovering well; he looked healthy and happy all week on the cruise. As for his recovery time, it is too soon to tell. Until he begins a regular throwing routine to see how the arm reacts, it will be difficult to make any educated guesses. However, when he had the surgery in October, he was given a 5-6 month recovery window. This means he likely will not be ready until after the season begins. But as with most injuries and surgeries, anything is possible.
Photos by Jenn
2009 was an outstanding season for the Philadelphia Phillies in many ways. Not only did they return to the World Series for the second consecutive year, but when you look at everything they had to endure to do so, the feat becomes that much more impressive. Here is a look at the obstacles the team overcame in 2009 and also some of the season highlights:
The loss of our beloved Harry Kalas
The 2008 World Series hangover
Injuries to every member of the bullpen
Losing the #2 starter (Brett Myers) at the beginning of the year
Watching the #1 starter, Cole Hamels, go through weird injuries, bad luck and a very bad season
Lack of production from the bench players
The June Swoon (11-15 record)
The struggles and eventual season ending injury of Jamie Moyer
The injury to Raul Ibanez right before the All-Star break; Ibanez went from super hot to totally not afterwards.
Offensive slumps throughout the year
A down year and very slow start from the offensive engine, Jimmy Rollins
Brad Lidge going from first to worst among closers
The Ring Ceremony
Cliff Lee – a gift from Heaven (and Ruben Amaro Jr.)
Pedro Feliz had off-season back surgery, recovered well and became a real contributor offensively
JA Happ emerged as rookie sensation with 12 wins and the lowest team ERA among starters (2.93)
Jamie Moyer wins career game #250
The Phillies visit with J-Roll Smurf (more of a personal highlight, but a highlight nonetheless)
Ryan Howard becomes the fastest player ever to reach 200 career home runs
Ryan Howard knocks the most grand slams in Phillies history
The 10 game winning streak, July 8-21
The two Old Goats, Jamie Moyer & Pedro Martinez, combine to win 2 games in August that were split up by rain delays
Jayson Werth steals home against Dodgers
Franchise record set for attendance and sellout games; 3,600,693 fans and 73 sellouts in 81 home games, finishing 3rd in baseball for total and average attendance
Return to World Series
Congratulations to the 2009 National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies!
In other news:
The 2009 coaching staff have all been invited to return next year.
Cliff Lee’s 8 million dollar club option was picked up (no surprise here) for 2010.
Raul Ibanez, Scott Eyre and Brad Lidge will all be seen by team doctors this weekend to determine if surgeries will be needed. Eyre has loose bodies in his elbow and Lidge may have the same. Ibanez has a tear in his abdomen and a hip issue.
No word yet on Pedro Feliz’s club option, but it will be decided by Monday.
Last year on Halloween Day, the Phillies were celebrating by parading down Broad Street. This year on Halloween Day, they took a spanking from the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series with an 8-5 loss after a 1 hour and 20 minute rain delay. Cole Hamels did not follow my instructions and wear his “Hamels: Version 2008” costume for the occasion. Instead, Hamels 2009 took the mound and gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks. A scary Halloween, indeed, complete with cloudy skies, rain and a 1-2 game deficit in the series.
This has been the story for Cole all year long; he simply cannot be counted on. He pitched well for 3 innings and then lost composure on a walk to Mark Teixeira that he felt should have been a strikeout in the 4th. A-Rod batted next and launched a controversial home run; the ball hit a FOX TV camera which was sticking out over the field. Instant Replay showed the hit and by rule, the interference made it a home run. This brings up another point: why is a TV camera sticking out over the field? They cannot back up a few inches? That simply should not be allowed. Way to go FOX.
It all fell apart after that. Once again, even though Cole showed signs of impending disaster, manager Charlie Manuel sent him out for the 5th and again, left him in way too long. He even allowed an RBI single to the pitcher, Andy Pettitte, who almost never picks up a bat. 3 runs later and this game was going downhill fast. The bullpen could not hold the Yanks to those 5 either. The next 3 relievers allowed one run a piece in each of the next 3 innings.
Add to that the horrible offensive display and Phillies fans are having flashbacks to slumps from earlier in the season. The Yankees who had not been hitting in this series, like A-Rod and Nick Swisher, found Hamels to be the cure. And the Phillies who were performing all post-season long, like NLCS MVP Ryan Howard, have seemingly lost their bats and cannot find them anywhere.
Jayson Werth looked to be the only Phillie interested in hitting; he knocked two solo home runs in the game. Carlos Ruiz also hit a solo homer and walked twice. The other 2 runs came off a walk to Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded and a Shane Victorino sac fly. And that was basically the sum total of the offense.
Another item that irks me here: Eric Bruntlett was put in as a pinch hitter with a man on base in a situation where a home run was really what they needed. Why not Matt Stairs? Bruntlett should never be used as a pinch hitter unless they are looking to bunt. He had a terrible season and looks like he could not hit the side of a barn. Not to mention, he almost never hits homers.
As for Hamels, he is lined up to pitch Game 7, if it goes that far. In my opinion, this should not even be a consideration. Hamels has proven all year that he cannot get the job done, especially under pressure. He should be done. Come up with a mystery injury, replace him on the roster with another bullpen arm or bench player and send in Cliff Lee on short rest with JA Happ as his back-up. If I was in charge, that is what would happen. But since I am not in charge, hang on Phillies fans, it is going to be a bumpy ride if this goes 7 games.
The Phillies can try to tie up the series tonight with a win, but it will be Joe Blanton against CC Sabathia. Blanton has not done very well this post-season and is sporting a 4.66 ERA. Sabathia is the better pitcher, but does have awful memories of last post-season to overcome, including his lost battles with Brett Myers at the plate, a Grand Slam by Victorino and the banter of the home crowd. Plus he is on 3 days rest, same as that game last year where the Phillies beat up on him when he was with the Brewers.
My tummy hurts just thinking about this. Plus, I have an awful hangover from last night’s game, and I did not drink anything but water. Yet somehow, the nausea and headache still persist. Hmmmmm….wonder why? ;o)
Here is the full Photo Album from Game 3. I took a lot of photos of both teams, something I normally do not do. I also got some great pre-games shots which include Hall of Famers and old-timers, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox. Some are a tad blurry as it rained most of the game and I had water on my lens :O( But I still did pretty well. At least this will be more enjoyable than the game was :O)
Photos by Jenn
As I mentioned yesterday, we all hope that Cole Hamels comes in costume to World Series Game 3 against the Yankees dressed as “Hamels: Version 2008.” He is facing one of the best pitchers in post-season history, Andy Pettitte. Hamels has his work cut out for him. If he cannot channel the 2008 Hamels, it is going to be a long and scary night.
In the spirit of Halloween fun, I have made some costumes for a few of the other players. We already know that Cliff Lee is a Magician but J-Roll Smurf wanted to see his idol, Jimmy Rollins, dressed properly as well:
Everyone knows Shane Victorino is the Flyin’ Hawaiian and JA Happ is a Rookie who has garnered all kinds of awards already this season, including the Sporting News Rookie of the Year and the Players Choice National League Outstanding Rookie for 2009. So young and yet, so talented:
Nice legs too. ;O)
And my personal favorite, Ryan Howard as The Incredible Hulk!
I am getting ready to head out to the stadium…I did finally get a ticket at the last minute, although it looks like rain is in the forecast. Hopefully it will hold off enough to get the game in and for me to get a few photos. Wish me luck!
Photoshopping by Jenn
Pop the champagne Phillies fans; for the 3rd year in a row, this team has won the NL East and will be playing in the post-season. In a game that included at least one RBI from every starting position player except lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies powered their way to a 10-3 mashing of the Astros to win the title. Rollins did have 2 hits in the game though, plus a walk and he scored twice.
A true team effort, the win included back-to-back triples by Rollins and Shane Victorino, a massive 2-run homer by Raul Ibanez, a sac fly, a stolen base and 3 doubles. Pedro Martinez pitched only 4 innings and allowed 3 runs, but his teammates picked him up with their hitting and some great relief pitching. Kyle Kendrick, who spent nearly the whole year in the minors, pitched 3 innings of scoreless ball allowing only 2 hits. Chad Durbin picked up the 8th; Scott Eyre got the 1st 2 outs in the 9th and, believe it or not, Charlie Manuel put Brad Lidge in to finish the game. Lidge got his old buddy Lance Berkman out on 1 pitch.
So, it is time to rejoice! Since I was not able to attend the game tonight, I broke out some old photos from the 2007 NL East clinching game. Here are a few ways the Phillies may now be celebrating:
Now just take a deep breath and exhale…ahhhhhh! Time to relax…for now. Home field advantage is still up for grabs. That challenge will begin with tomorrow night at 7:05pm in the last game of 4 against the Astros. Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn
Except champagne photo by: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/t