Results tagged ‘ James Russell ’

Bullpen Woes Ruin Opening Day

The Phillies took a 2 – 1 lead into the 8th inning against the Reds yesterday in their first game of the season.  And then, the wheels fell off.  Much criticism has been heaped onto the Phillies bullpen this offseason.  While most of the team looks promising, this is going to be a sore spot.

Of course, the rest of the team was not setting the world on fire, either.  With only 6 hits in the game, including a 2-run Freddy Galvis homer, the Phillies offense was mostly silent.  And the defense started off badly with a huge error from veteran Ryan Howard in the 1st inning which led to an early run for the Reds.  Howard also did not have a hit in the game and left 3 men on base.

Hernandez wall of shame But while Howard should be elected to the Opening Day Wall of Shame, he was beat out by David Hernandez for the title.  Hernandez allowed 3 runs in the 8th inning on a hit and 2 walks, sinking the Phillies ship for good.  He did not record a single out.  James Russell was not much better, allowing 2 more runs.  In all, the bullpen 8th inning follies ended in a 6 – 2 win for the Reds.

The real shame of this is that Jeremy Hellickson pitched a heck of a game.  I am still not sure why he was pulled after only 6 innings and 70 pitches.  Manager Pete Mackanin could have let him go one more inning and put Jeanmar Gomez in for the 8th inning.  The 9th inning may still have been a mess, but at least with only 3 outs left, he would have had more wiggle room to mix and match pitchers.  But that is only my humble opinion.

The Phillies are off today and will try again on Wednesday; game time is 7:10pm and Aaron Nola will pitch.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Phillies vs. Future Phillies

Yesterday, the Phillies took on “Future Phillies” in a pre-season exhibition game at Citizen’s Bank Park.  Before the game, several current and future players wandered around the ballpark signing autographs and taking photos with fans.  I managed to snag 5 autos and 2 photos with players.  I also met both Opening Day starters; Jeremy Hellickson, who will start the official Opening Day tomorrow and Aaron Nola, who will get the home opener.

It was strange having to root for both teams playing, but entertaining.  The youngsters keep the game very close and both sides appeared to be having a good time.
2016.04.02 happy

Pitcher Charlie Morton did not look very sharp, as the future players collected 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks over 4 2/3 innings.  But the game didn’t really count, so no worries.
2016.04.02 Morton

Two other pitchers who looked really sharp were Brett Oberholtzer and James Russell.  Both guys are large and intimidating, and Russell just made this team a bit hairier.  As a side note, Oberholtzer is from Delaware; he spent parts of the last 3 seasons with the Astros.  And Russell is a 6-year veteran who spent most of his time with the Cubs.
2016.04.02 relievers

Some other newbies also seem promising.  Tyler Goeddel is a Rule 5 player, just like Odubel Hererra was last year; he went 2 for 5 and stole a base.  And Cedric Hunter, who has been languishing in the San Diego minors for 6 years, is going to get a real shot at the big leagues.  It was announced today that he made the team, 10 long years after being drafted and playing only 6 games in the majors during that time.
2016.04.02 Hunter Goeddel

So the full roster is going to look like this:

P4027670CFPitchers (12): Right-handers Jerad Eickhoff, Jeanmar Gomez, Jeremy Hellickson, David Hernandez, Dalier Hinojosa, Charlie Morton, Hector Neris, Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez, and left-handers Brett Oberholtzer, James Russell and Daniel Stumpf

Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp

Infielders (7): Andres Blanco, Emmanuel Burriss, Maikel Franco, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf

Outfielders (4): Peter Bourjos, Tyler Goeddel, Odubel Herrera and Cedric Hunter

The team is not going to be great, with all the young players, but they may not be as bad as everyone thinks.  It will at least be an interesting season, full of growing pains and likely a few nice surprises.  Here is the Photo Album from the game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Final Game of 2014 – Mirror Image of Entire Season

The Phillies season ended today in the same fashion they played throughout the year.  There was no offense to be found and lackluster effort.  The Phillies were 1 run away from a win with the 2-1 loss to the Braves; pitcher Cole Hamels was 1 win away from double-digit wins for the season; and Ben Revere ended the season 1 base short of 50 stolen bases on the year.  Jimmy Rollins spoke before the game, telling fans, “Before we’re done this year, we’d like to say thank you for showing up.  We know it was rough, but hopefully we made you guys smile.”  Etch that on a tombstone and you have the Phillies 2014 eulogy.
092814 Hamels Revere

As is tradition for the last home game of the year, today was dubbed “Fan Appreciation Day.”  Players signed autographs and jested with fans cheerfully and prizes were given away.
092814 fan appr

But I’ll tell you when I will feel truly appreciated; when the tickets prices go down to a level worthy of watching a last place team.  Don’t worry; I won’t hold my breath.

After all the happy exchanges, the game began and it was more of the same.  Poor Cole Hamels did not get even 10 wins this year thanks to an absent offense.  Adding insult to injury, Hamels had a team-leading 2 hits in the game but no one could drive him in.  He even got whacked on the face with a batted ball and suffered a minor bloody lip.  That about summed up his season.

The offense was so bad, players were literally throwing their bats away.  Chase Utley, Maikel Franco and Braves pitcher James Russell all tossed their bats mid-swing at different points in the game.  I guess they weren’t really using them anyway.
092814 OFNS

And so ends a dreary Phillies season with little hope for quick recovery.  Oh sure, they fired Assistant GM Marti Wolever.  But all that really means in Ruben Amaro Jr. keeps his job.  And I guess more heads are going to roll, which is appropriate.  But how much difference will it make and when?  I hope to take a guess at answering some of those questions in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, here is my final 2014 Photo Album.  Here hoping for a happy off-season!


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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

An Ugly Win; But Still A Win

Before the Phillies – Cubs game today, Placido Polanco returned from the DL.  Juan Castro, who has not contributed too much lately, was released to make room.  It is good to have Polly back!  But instead of giving the team a spark, they kept playing like they were in a coma.

By the 9th inning, down 0-1, it looked like the sleeping Phils were about to lose their 3rd straight to the Cubs.  But then a miracle occurred; the Cubs bullpen took pity on them and walked two batters.  Then with two outs, Polly came through with a base hit and Brian Schneider tried to score.  He should have been out by a mile, but the very kind Cubbies took pity again; an off-line throw home kept Schneider safe. 

However, the Cubs bullpen was not fully satisfied with their charity.  Pitcher Carlos Marmol tossed a wild pitch and Ross Gload scored.  Then Marmol intentionally walked Ryan Howard and not-so-intentionally walked Jayson Werth to score another run for the Phillies. 
Pinella platter.png
Pitcher James Russell wanted in on this charitable action!  So he gave up a single to Raul Ibanez, which scored the 4th run of the inning.  Ok, maybe Ibanez had a little to do with the hit…

Actually, Ibanez had two hits in the game, as did Werth and Shane Victorino.  But they left many, many men on base through 8 innings and could not score a run.  Of course, the Phillies will take a win anyway they can get it, even if it is handed to them on a silver platter.

So they went on to win by a score of 4-1.  However, something still seems to be very wrong with the Phillies.  Is it a lack of enthusiasm?  Or perhaps it is just another slump?  No, I think not.  Based on the evidence, I am going to have to say it must be brain damage.  Take a look at the facts from today’s game:

– Victorino got thrown out at second base…twice.  Once, he was stealing and once he was trying to stretch a single into a double.  Conclusion: brain damage.

Phillies brain.jpg– Ibanez stole second base and then somehow, with his super-slow motion running abilities, thought, hey, I’ll steal third!  Nope…he was out.  Conclusion: brain damage.

Wilson Valdez forgot to cover first base on a Cubs bunt and allowed the runner to get safely to first while a run scored.  And later in the game, Valdez dropped a pop-up.  Conclusion: brain damage.

Cole Hamels pitched an AMAZING game, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings.  Yet, the offense did NOTHING to help him out.  He got a no decision.  Conclusion: brain damage.

– The Phillies lost the first two games of this series to a team that sucks.  Sorry Cubs fans, no disrespect, but this team is not good and is now 10 games under .500.  Conclusion: You guessed it, brain damage.

So the question now remains, will this 9th inning comeback today be the cure for their brain damage?  They swept the Reds going into the All-Star break, with 3 of the 4 wins coming in extra innings.  They returned from the break and dropped two to the Cubs.  So the Reds series did not have a huge impact.  Will today’s game propel them forward?  We shall see…

Roy Halladay will be the next Phillies pitcher to pray for some runs.  Game time tomorrow is 8:05pm.


Howard & Pinella photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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