Results tagged ‘ JA Happ ’

Rollins Announces His Return With A Walk-Off Homer

Jimmy Rollins officially announced his return to the Phillies tonight with a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th against the Indians. 
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It was J-Roll’s only hit in two games since coming off the DL.  Things looked grim going into that inning as Rollins was just 0 for 4 before that homer, but he hit it when it counted the most and gave his team a 7-6 victory.  Welcome back, Jimmy!

Prior to that, the Phillies offense did score some runs, but they still seem to be butting heads with the usual problems; leaving men on base, hitting into double plays and swinging at bad pitches.  Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit into double plays, the worst of which was by Ibanez in the 6th inning.  With two runners on and no outs, Ibanez tapped one back to the mound and they did not score that inning.

But Howard had 2 hits on the night and Jayson Werth had 3, including a homer. Brian Schneider hit his first homer of the year in the 7th and there were a couple extra base hits in the game as well.  The Phillies went only 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but with J-Roll playing the hero, it was enough to win the game.

The pitching was also interesting as the magical see-saw adventures of Kyle Kendrick continued tonight. 
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When Kendrick steps to the mound, you just never know what tricks he might pull out of his hat next.  This evening’s tricks included allowing two 2-run homers to Shin-Soo Choo.  Kendrick lasted just 4 innings with 5 runs allowed, although 1 run was unearned after a Chase Utley error.

With Kendrick, the only thing that has been consistent is his inconsistency.  And with rumors floating that the Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, it appears they are growing impatient with not only Kendrick, but JA Happ as well.  Happ has not been progressing as quickly with his rehab as the Phillies would like.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Courier Press, “”It’s the first time he’s ever had this time off, and (he needs to) come back and cut it loose and get back to that old form. He’s going to have to get to that point or he can’t perform here.”  Those are strong words from an obviously frustrated GM.

Another player was injured tonight as well; Chad Durbin came up with a right hamstring strain at the beginning of the 9th inning.  According to Charlie Manuel after the game, the injury is “pretty serious.”  Not good news; all we can do is hope he will be okay.

In other news, Greg Dobbs did clear waivers and has been sent to AAA to work on his swing.  Hopefully, Dobbs can get back into shape and help out later in the year.  I know a lot of people have been complaining about Dobbs, and not without cause, but I am rooting for him to return to his 2008 form when he was probably the best pinch hitter in the league.  I have been fortunate to speak with Greg on a number of occasions and he is as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet.  He is great with the fans, unselfish when giving his time and has a good heart.  For all those reasons, I wish him well and hope we might see him again soon.

Do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:

Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Redemption

Today’s Phillies – Marlins match-up was surrouned by all sorts of rookie news.  The highly anticipated debut of the National’s Stephen Strasburg took place just up the road in DC.  The right-handed pitcher signed a record $15.1 million contract last August and has been the most hyped prospect in decades.  He lived up to the hype, pitching 7 innings, allowing 2 runs and striking out 14 batters, a club record.  Very impressive, although he did pitch against the Pirates.  The Nats will know more when he faces a tougher team, but even so, this kid looks like the real deal.

And for the Marlins, their big prospect, Mike Stanton, made his debut against the Phils.  Stanton had a 3-hit night and scored twice.  Needless to say, another sparkling debut for a team in the NL East.

Kyle Kendrick started for the Phils; watching him pitch this year in place of the still injured JA Happ has been an exercise in patience.  Sometimes he looks good, like last week in Atlanta, and sometimes he is terrible.  Today’s outing against the Marlins fell under the “terrible” category.  Kendrick pitched only 5 innings and allowed 5 runs, plus he committed a throwing error which led to more runs for the Fish.  Ryan Howard also committed an error in the game which put a runner on first.  The next batter homered to drive that run in.

But bad pitching and sloppy defense was paired tonight with some actual hitting.  Why the Phillies cannot seem to do all three of these things well all at the same time remains a mystery.  Amidst Kendrick’s awful effort and 2 more runs allowed by the Phillies bullpen, the offense woke up and started to hit. 
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Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino both homered, Chase Utley got 2 hits in consecutive at-bats and Raul Ibanez had 4 hits and 2 RBI on the night.  4 hits?  Where has this guy been all year?  It’s about time…

Jayson Werth was benched to give him a chance to recover from an awful 10 at-bat hitless streak.  Ben Francisco filled in and did not do much better early on.  After many sloppy adventures in the outfield and grounding into 2 double plays, one of which cost them a run, Francisco made up for it all with a 2 RBI single in the 9th to give the Phillies a 9-8 lead.  Wilson Valdez followed up with a single tricked up the 3rd base line to score another run.

Brad Lidge had another chance at a save with the 10-8 lead.  With two outs, Lidge found himself in hot water as the loaded the bases after a close call at second base did not go the Phillies way.  But no worries, he popped up the next batter and notched save #3 on the year.

By the way, this is the 3rd time this year that Kendrick has started a game and Jose Contreras got the win.  Even after giving up the go-ahead run, Contreras still came out on top; Kyle must be wondering why Jose keeps stealing his thunder.

Tomorrow will be a rematch of the Roy Halladay perfect game on May 29th in Miami.  Same team, same two pitchers; Halladay faces Josh Johnson again.  Hopefully, same result ;o)  Game time is 7:05pm.

By the way, is it just me, or does Cody Ross of the Marlins look a bit like Chucky?  Creepy…


Ross chucky.jpgJust keep sharp objects away from him, please ;o)

 

Francisco head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Phestival 2010

The Phillies held their annual ALS Charity Phestival today which was attended by a huge sold-out crowd. 
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All of the players, coaches and broadcasters were there to sign autographs, mingle with fans and a few took photos with fans as well.   The Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay photo booths were very popular.  Halladay was especially friendly, signing extra autographs for fans even though the photo came with his signature.

The staff did a great job handling the large crowd and things ran smoothly.  It took less than 1/2 an hour for me to get through the Chase Utley line, which was a small miracle.  Here is Utley plus Raul Ibanez, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, Ross Gload, and the 2009 NL Champs and 2008 World Series Trophy’s:


Phestival 2010.jpgThe players were in good spirits and with a little help, I walked out with 21 autographs, plus some nice goodies in the grab bags I bought.  In the bags, I wound up with an Ibanez signed hat, a Brad Lidge signed ball, some bobbleheads and a ball signed by the entire broadcasting team.  Not too shabby.


DSCF6301.JPGI also met some very interesting people, like Bryan, who is a Cole Hamels look-alike.  He did eventually get a photo with Cole and hopefully, he will be emailing me a copy so I can share it with everyone.  This photo here does not do justice to the resemblence, which is amazing.   Every person who walked by him said, “Is that Cole Hamels?”  Bryan may be changing his name to “Cole” soon ;0)

Another thing I thought was very nice was seeing ALL of the players there to support the charity, even those on the DL.  Players not on the active roster can technically bail out on the event, as some have in years past.  But Jimmy Rollins, Brad Lidge, JA Happ and Ryan Madson were all there.  Kudos to these guys for their dedication!

By the way, back-up catcher Brian Schneider was also there as he has been taken off the DL and Paul Hoover was designated for assignment.

Here is the full Photo Album from the day.  By the way, congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers!  They are on their way to the Stanley Cup finals!  Go Philly!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Hamels Is Back In Win Over Cards

Could the Cole Hamels of 2008 really be back?  In his start tonight against the Cardinals, it certainly looked like it.  Hamels pitched 8 innings of shut-out ball, even getting out of a bases-loaded jam against the amazing Albert Pujols. 
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Well, at least for today, Hamels has earned his wings back.  The real test will be his next start and whether or not he can show consistency and repeat an outstanding performance. 

Hamels had to be outstanding as the Cards pitcher was equally as impressive.  The Phillies managed to squeeze out one run against Adam Wainwright.  After a Raul Ibanez triple, Carlos Ruiz hit a long sac fly to score the only run of the game.  And Jayson Werth was able to extend his streak of reaching base safely in every game this year, which has not been done by a Phillie since 1920.

However, the 9th inning took an interesting turn.  Hamels was primed and ready to close out this ballgame himself when a fan did the unthinkable in such an important and tense situation.  Another idiot ran onto the field for the second day in a row to delay the start of the inning and it threw Hamels right off his game.  Hamels had to throw warm-up pitches while he waited for the moron to be dealt with.  By the time he got started with the real pitches, Hamels allowed two doubles in a row to tie up the game 1-1.

I hope the Philly police tasered this guy too.  And maybe later, the real fans can all get together and plan a proper tar and feathering for this bonehead.  This behavior is just shameful and gives the good fans a bad rap.

So Hamels was pulled without recording an out in the 9th and the Phillies would have to rely on Brad Lidge to maintain the 1-1 tie.  Lidge actually got the job done, putting to rest questions about how he would perform after a long stint on the DL.  On to the bottom of the 9th…

Ryan Howard walked, which is awesome.  But Werth struck out on a very bad pitch…not awesome.  Ibanez flew out to center and then Juan Castro stepped to the plate.  Castro was not good tonight at the plate; he was 0-3 at this point, having grounded into a double play and leaving 4 men on base.  Well, make it 0 for 4 as he grounded out to send the game into extra innings.


1 Pre-game.jpgBut just when things were looking dreary, thank goodness for CHOOOOCH!!!  Carlos Ruiz popped a wall-off homer to center to win it in the 10th!  Whooo Hooo!!!!  Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs put the exclamation mark on the evening with double shaving cream pies to the face of Ruiz.  :O)

Game 3 with the Cardinals starts tomorrow night at 7:05pm.  Kyle Kendrick will be pitching for his Major League life.  If he has another horrible outing, the Phillies may be forced to look for another solution.  Cross your fingers!

Here is a quick injury update:  Ryan Madson and his self-inflicted broken toe will be out for a minimum of 2 months.  The break was so bad, the doctor had to operate and insert pins to stabilize the fracture.  For a bullpen that is already in bad shape, this is not good.  Starter JA Happ is also not expected back very soon; it will be the end of May at the earliest.  Same goes for Jimmy Rollins.  May should be another interesting month.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Hittable Halladay

It’s official; Roy Halladay can be hit.  The Giants became the first team of 2010 to get to Halladay last night when they won the first of a three-game series with the Phillies by a score of 1-5.  We already knew that Halladay is human, so perfection cannot be expected from him every time out. 


1-warm_ups_(38).jpgBesides, he was just trying to fit in with the rest of the Phillies starters, right?  5 runs per game has been the norm around here.  Take a look at the current rotations ERA:

Halladay

1.80

Hamels

5.11

Kendrick

7.71

Moyer

5.00

Figueroa

2.92

 

With JA Happ and Joe Blanton on the DL, things have only been getting worse.  But there is no reason for Halladay to hang his head; we all have a bad day sometimes and he has been the only consistent member of the pitching staff so far this year.

The players who should be hanging their heads are those in this suddenly sleepy offense.  The only bat that showed up last night was Shane Victorino, who had 3 hits.  The only other player to get a hit was Placido Polanco.  But the offense did have plenty of opportunities, especially after collecting 7 walks plus Chase Utley was hit by a pitch.  That was 8 free base runners.  In total, they left 11 men on base. 

Ben Francisco, who judging by his name should have felt quite comfortable in San Francisco, did the most damage; he left the bases loaded twice.  Of course, starter Jayson Werth did him no favors either by striking out in front of Francisco twice.  All these base runners and only 1 run scored?  Home plate was a very lonely place last night.

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There are very few positives to take out of a game like this.  All we can do is hope that they recover and pound the crap out of Giants pitcher Todd Wellemeyer tonight.  Wellemeyer is 0-3 on the year with an 8.16 ERA.  Frankly, if they do not jump all over this guy, the Phillies should be ashamed.

So, if you can stay awake for this one, game time is 10:10pm again.  Jamie Moyer will start for the Phillies.  Cross your fingers…

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

 

The See-Saw Ride From Hell

Have you ever noticed how a player on your favorite team seems like an Angel in the right uniform?  
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But when he goes to another team, he becomes the Devil.  Such is the case with Rodrigo Lopez who pitched for the Phillies last year and went to the Diamondbacks for 2010.  Lopez started the game against the Phillies today and pitched 6 innings, allowing 6 runs.  So, while we thank him for the 6 runs, sadly, he would only have earned his wings back if he gave us about 15 runs.

Because it looked like the Phillies were going to need 15 runs to win this one.  Kyle Kendrick started out pitching really well, but that only lasted 4 innings.  By the 5th, Kendrick had returned to his old ways, leaving balls way up in the hitter’s happy-zones and before you knew it, 5 runs had crossed the plate.  Kendrick was pulled after 5 innings and his outing turned into a huge disappointment.

The offense tried to keep pace and by the top of the 6th, they had gone ahead of the D-Backs by a score of 6-5.  Greg Dobbs hit a 2-run homer in the first, Ross Gload had 2 hits and an RBI and Carlos Ruiz gave them the lead with a 2-out, 2-run single. 

The line-up tonight was a bit odd, with Gload and Dobbs in the 1 & 2 spots and Wilson Valdez at short stop.   Juan Castro is still nursing a sore hamstring;  Shane Victorino sat in order to re-group as he has not been hitting lately; and Dobbs took 3rd base for Placido Polanco.  Polly has not looked the same since getting hit in the elbow with a pitch.

So if the Phillies were going to pull out a series win, they were going to have to depend on the back-up players and also hope that the pitching would hold up.  The back-ups did their job; the pitchers did not.

After Kendrick’s disastrous 5th inning, Danys Baez could not hold the lead.  He gave up 1 run in the 7th to tie the game at 6-6.  David Herdon got into trouble in the 8th; with no outs, Raul Ibanez threw a runner out going home and Ruiz held onto the ball for the out.  Herndon got a second chance, but he blew it.  A 1-out double scored the go-ahead run and then the hits kept coming.  By the end of the inning, the Phillies were down by a score of 6-8 and only 1 inning left to get back in it.

And as expected with this suddenly unpredictable offense, the Phillies fell short in the 9th and went down 6-8.  Having lost this series 1 game to 2, the Phillies have a lot of issues to address, not the least of which is starting pitching.  One man does not a rotation make and Roy Halladay can only win 1 game every five days.   Kendrick and Cole Hamels need to get their act together…fast.  Joe Blanton and JA Happ had better get well soon and Jamie Moyer is holding his own in the 5th spot.

see-saw ride.jpgAn even bigger issue is the bullpen; their performance has varied from inconsistent to just plain awful.  A lot of the pen pitchers, like Baez, seem to have a one game on, one game off thing going on.  It is like the see-saw ride from hell.  You just never know which end is going to be up or down and when.

And now the Phillies are heading to San Francisco to face the Giants red-hot pitching staff.  With all the injuries and inconsistent performances, the Phillies may be headed into big, big trouble.  And Trouble is called Jonathan Sanchez and Tim “I have 2 Cy Youngs” Lincecum.  The first game of the series starts tomorrow at 10:15pm.  Bust out the bottle of Tums; this is going to be interesting.

 

Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography except Lopez as a D-Back; MLB.com

 

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

 

Disaster in the Desert


Hamels roller coaster.jpgWatching Cole Hamels pitch over the last year has been a roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs.  But the ride is making many people sick; please make it stop, we’d like to get off.

Last night’s Hamels Arizona adventure included a 4th inning where he gave up 4 home runs for 5 runs scored total.  The following inning, he gave up another homer, making it 5 homers on the night.  Prior to that, he looked like the Hamels of old, striking out batters and confusing them with his change-up.  Then all of a sudden, Hamels got the ball up in the zone and threw nearly everything right over the plate.  He looked like he was pitching batting practice to a thankful D-Backs team.

Hamels even had a hand in scoring before the mysterious 4th inning disaster happened; he belted a double in the 3rd inning and Shane Victorino drove him home with a triple.  A very strange play led to the Phillies 2nd run of the night; Jayson Werth hit a long fly ball in the 4th which center fielder Chris Young caught, for just a moment.  Young let the ball dribble out the bottom of his glove before he made the exchange to his throwing hand and it was ruled a ball in play.  Werth saw the ball drop and kept running until he crossed home plate.

The D-Backs manager A.J. Hinch, who played for the Phillies in 2004, argued that it was a catch but the ump ruled it was not a catch as the fielder did not have control and did not make the exchange to his other hand before dropping it.  It was scored as a 4-base error.  There’s one you won’t see every day.

So things were looking up for the Phillies until the bottom of that same inning when the bottom fell out for Hamels and batting practice took over.  JC Romero made his season debut after coming off the DL but he looked very rusty.  Romero fell behind both batters he faced, giving up a solo homer and walking the next batter.

Jose Contreras took over the 7th inning and escaped without further drama.  Rookie David Herndon pitched the 8th and did a good job as well.  The Phillies entered the 9th inning losing 3-7.  Victorino managed a 2-out single and RBI, but the Phillies rally ended there and they lost 4-7 to a last place team.

The only proper response to a pounding by a last place team is to win the next two games.  And the Phillies had better do just that if they are going to avoid total humiliation.  Nelson Figueroa will pitch tonight in place of the injured JA Happ.  I do not envy Figueroa; this poor guy has the weight of the world on his shoulders right now.  Best of luck to him…game time is 8:10pm.

 

Head shot by Jenn; cartoon by grinningplanet.com

 

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

 

Phillies Win Series In Atlanta

Two old dudes battled it out tonight in Atlanta; the Braves Derek Lowe, 36, and the Phillies Jamie Moyer, 47.  When I say I old, I am talking in baseball terms, of course.  Jamie Moyer2.jpgThe elder Moyer out-dueled Lowe allowing just 4 hits and no earned runs in 6 innings.  Lowe fell victim to the powerful Phillies offense which ran him out of the game after only 5 innings and racked up 5 runs.

Moyer continues to amaze and defy the laws of time with every victory.  And tonight, he did something I had never seen before; in the 2nd inning, he hit the Braves rookie Jason Heyward with a pitch.  That was not the fun part though.  As the ball left Moyer’s hand, you could hear him yell to Heyward, “Look out!” as the pitch ran too far inside.  Moyer is a true gentleman.  Of course, the ball was only travelling about 74 mph so I think Heyward will be okay ;o)

The defense behind Moyer was pretty good, although Chase Utley did have one adventurous inning.  Right after announcer Tom McCarthy commented on how much Utley has improved and that he has a shot at a Gold Glove one day, Utley’s ears must have been burning because he committed two errors in the 5th inning. 

While trying to turn a double play, Utley bobbled the feed from Juan Castro, dropped the ball twice and a run scored.  The very next play, he tried another double play but threw the ball wide to 1st, which flew past Ryan Howard and allowed another run to score.  So it is official; no one is allowed to talk about Gold Gloves in relation to Utley for the rest of the year.  Clearly, it was a jinx.

Utley’s offense has not been affected by a jinx though, as he has now reached base safely in every game so far this year.  He had one hit and 2 walks tonight.  Greg Dobbs did a great job filling in for Placido Polanco; he went 2 for 3.  Castro went 3 for 5 and had 1 RBI, making it 5 for 8 from the back-up starters.

Actually, the only other jinx I can see for this team is the bullpen, which has been fairly awful.  Roy Halladay avoided that jinx yesterday by pitching all 9 innings himself.  Moyer only went 6, which is about average from him so sadly, the pen had to be counted on.  Chad Durbin worked his way into a bases loaded jam with 1 out in the 7th and then ran a 3-0 count to the next batter.  Fans everywhere had to be saying, “Oh crap…here we go again…”

Durbin got a sac fly out of that one and thanks to the Braves generosity in swinging at balls, he escaped the inning having allowed just the one run.  But there was no one exhaling just yet.  The Phillies had an 8-3 lead, but still 2 more innings of scary bullpen work to get through.

This bullpen could totally blow a 5-run lead….I have seen it happen.  But tonight, Danys Baez rebounded from his last disastrous outing and got through the 8th inning with no damage.  In the 9th, rookie David Herndon pitched and things got hairy with a few base runners.  But Herdon worked through it and the Phillies won, 8-3.

JC & Happ.jpg
There was a bit of bad news today before the game began; pitcher JA Happ has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 16th.  The left forearm strain that was revealed after an MRI is apparently a bigger issue than the Phillies first anticipated.  Nelson Figueroa will take Happ’s place in the starting rotation for now and his spot in the bullpen will be taken over by JC Romero, who was removed from the DL today.  Welcome back, JC!  We missed you!

So it is a bit of good news with a bit of bad news.  As for 3rd baseman, Placido Polanco, he was left out of the line-up tonight after being hit by a pitch in the elbow yesterday.  Polanco told the media today that he should be ready to play again tomorrow night.  Assuming this is the case, that is very good news.  Losing another starter right now could be a small disaster.

And yes, it is already that time again…All Star Voting.  Why they start this so early in the season always puzzles me, but nonetheless, VOTING began yesterday.  Let’s get a head start; VOTE for your Phillies today!

homer earth day.jpg
And Happy Earth Day everyone!  Remember to recycle and conserve energy…for Phillies fans, that might mean drinking a beer from a recycled can and lazing on the couch to conserve energy.  But hey, every little bit helps. :O)

 

Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

Complete Game Shut-Out; Amazing Defense

After last nights’ total disaster in Atlanta, the Phillies brought their ace, Roy Halladay, to the mound looking for his 4th win of the year.  Fans everywhere began praying for a complete game after the Phillies bullpen blew a 3-run lead in the 9th yesterday.

Up to around the 6th inning, Halladay was averaging only 11 pitches an inning, so the potential to go deep into the game was there.  He made it to the 9th without allowing a run and started that inning having tossed 101 pitches already. 

The first hit ball of the inning nearly went into a hole by first base, but Ryan Howard belly flopped, scooped it up and made a great toss to Halladay for the out.  The second ball was shot straight to Howard as well; he gobbled that one up too for the 2nd out.  Wilson Valdez collected the 3rd on a slow roller to third; he charged it and made the throw.  It was a 2-0 complete game shut-out for Halladay; his record is now 4-0.

DSCF6263.JPGThere was a lot more spectacular defense in this game from the Phillies as well.  In the 2nd inning, Shane Victorino robbed Troy Glaus of a home run by leaping at the centerfield wall and snagging the ball just before it went over.  Then in the 5th, Juan Castro snagged a ball that was going up the middle and looked like a base hit.  But Castro moved fast, side-armed the throw to first and Ryan Howard did a full split (ouch!) to keep his foot on the bag and catch the ball, getting the out.

In the bottom of the 7th, Halladay got into a bases loaded, 1-out jam, walking his first batter in 25 straight innings.  Yunel Escobar hit a grounder up the middle, which Chase Utley dove for and snagged it.  Then, from the ground, while struggling to get the ball out of his glove, he flipped the ball to Castro who kicked 2nd base and gunned the ball to first to turn an amazing double play.  Halladay pumped his fists in gratitude as he headed for the dugout.

The offense was not exactly jumping with Atlanta’s Tim Hudson on the mound, but they did squeak out a few runs.  Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez both hit doubles in the game and collected one RBI a piece.  Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley also doubled.  Overall, the offense was patient again, saw a lot of pitches and drove Hudson out early after 6 innings.

There was one very concerning moment in the game when Placido Polanco, the Phillies best statistical  hitter right now, got nailed in the elbow with a pitch in the 1st inning.  It looked like he shook it off, but his next two at-bats were not good and he had issues extending that sore arm.  Polanco was finally pulled out of the game in the 7th and Wilson Valdez took over at third.

Early reports indicate a minor left elbow contusion; how serious it really is not known right now.  If it turns out to be serious, that will be one more major knock to a team that is already missing Jimmy Rollins plus a boatload of injured pitchers, including Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, JC Romero and maybe JA Happ.

For now, the Phillies will focus on tomorrow night’s game and a series win against the Braves.  Jamie Moyer will pitch; game time is 7:10pm.

 

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

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