Results tagged ‘ JC Romero ’

Late Rally Gives Phillies The Win

In the first 7 innings of tonight’s game, fans were wondering, where have the Phillies bats gone?  Several of them are on the DL, but how about the rest?  Did the plane carrying the bats from Miami back to Philadelphia crash on a deserted island, leaving the bats stranded and hopeless?  Can we please get a rescue team together to go find them?  Please?

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The Phillies had opportunities to score early in this game against the Mets.  With the bases loaded and 2 outs in the first, Carlos Ruiz began to cool off from his recent hot streak; he struck out to end the inning.  One run scored in the inning, but they should have had more.  The Phils did get a number of 2 out hits, but they were mostly with no one on base.


Thumbnail image for found.jpgBut then it was Ruiz and most of his teammates in the 8th inning who finally found the bats again.  5 straight singles followed.  Yes, the bats have been rescued!  Everyone got in on the action; Mike Sweeney started the inning off with his first hit as a Phillie; Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco, Ruiz and Wilson Valdez followed suit.  Ross Gload walked with the bases loaded to score another run and Jimmy Rollins singled in the 4th run of the inning.

Later that same inning, Sweeney got another hit; his second hit as a Phillie also added his first RBI as a Phillie.  By the end of the 8th, the Phillies had sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 6 runs to put them up by a score of 7-2 over the stunned Mets.

So, maybe the bats just had jet lag and it took until the 8th inning to wake them up?  Whatever the deal, it was very nice to see them again.  Someone else who was happy to see the bats was starting pitcher Joe Blanton, who had a good outing. He lasted 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits without walking a batter.   Sadly for Blanton, he was out of the game before the run barrage started.

So while Blanton could not get the win, the team certainly could.  Danys Baez pitched the 9th and got the first two outs.  JC Romero was brought in with 2 runners on base and, just for some added drama, he gave up a 3-run homer.  With a now close 7-5 game, Romero was pulled and Brad Lidge came into what was then a save situation.  He struck out the final batter to end the game; whew!

The Phils have two more games with the Mets this weekend; tomorrow’s game starts at 7:05pm with Cole Hamels pitching.

By the way, congratulations to former catcher Darren Daulton who was inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame before today’s game.  Daulton is widely thought to be one of the best catchers and best leaders in Phillies history.  He is well deserving of the honor.  In his acceptance speech, he referred to Phillies fans as his family and said we were all invited to his house for dinner on Sunday night.  Hey Darren, you forget to give us your address.  Please pass on the info…I’ll be there ;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*

 

 

A Difficult Sweep In Miami

Part two of the Roy Oswalt – Philadelphia experience tonight went a tad better than the first part.  After allowing 4 earned runs in his Phillies debut, Oswalt handled the Marlins pretty well.  533px-Roy_Oswalt_2010_crop.jpgHe struggled with his control at times, which elevated his pitch count, but the end result was positive.  Oswalt went 6 1/3 innings allowing 3 hits, 4 walks and 2 runs.

The 2 runs however, scored after JC Romero came in to relieve Oswalt in the 7th.  Romero allowed an RBI double and then walked the 2nd run home on 4 straight balls.  Those runs were both charged to Oswalt.  Now, I love JC for his spirit and for the person that he is.  But the manager has to know that he gets wild in these situations sometimes.  Two runners on and one out is not a good situation for Romero.  Then again, with the Phillies bullpen as up and down as it has been, who to bring in and when remains a head-scratcher.

Jose Contreras was up next in the 7th and did not fare much better.  He immediately allowed a 2-run single.  Those two runs were charged to Romero.  So the cycle of crap rolling down hill continued as the Phillies lost a 2-0 lead and turned it into a 4-2 deficit in 1 inning.

As for the offense, Oswalt did not get much run support in Houston and so far with the Phillies it has not been too different.  With the bases loaded in the first and one out, Jayson Werth hit a weak pop fly to strand the runners.  Domonic Brown struck out next, but putting that pressure on the rookie is just unfair.  Werth should have been able to hit a sacrifice with only 1 out.

More opportunities came in the 3rd inning, but again, Werth stranded 2 more runners and grounded out to end the inning.  Carlos Ruiz finally came up with a big 2-out hit in the 6th to score Brown and Raul Ibanez, but no one else stepped up after that, even after Oswalt drew a walk to load the bases.


Mayberry Ransom.jpgMike Sweeney
saw his first action as a Phillie in the 8th as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk.  Nice job!  Cody Ransom was designated for assignment earlier today to make room for him instead of sending John Mayberry Jr. back down.  Ransom did not play very well, batting only .190 since being called up from AAA.

So the Phillies entered the 9th down by two runs.  And then the offense started to show signs of life again.  Placido Polanco reached on a error which was followed by a Ross Gload single and an RBI-double from the super-hot Ibanez.  Werth stepped to the plate again in a good hitting situation and finally came through.  A single tied the game at 4-4. 

But then, just to totally ruin his shining moment, Werth wandered too far off second base and got picked off!  A few pitches later, Brown followed in Werth’s not so nimble footsteps and got caught stealing!  He was probably trying to make up for Werth’s bone-head move.  What a mess…inning over.

Ryan Madson held the tie down.  Then in the 10th, Ruiz played the hero again and smashed his 2nd homer of the season to give the Phils a 5-4 lead.  But no sooner could Phillies fans rejoice than we saw Brad Lidge step to the mound with only a 1-run lead.  Oh crap….not again.  But by some act of God, Lidge got the job done…whew!  A SWEEP in Miami!  Nice.

The Phillies head back home now to play the Mets tomorrow at 7:35pm.  Joe Blanton will pitch.  Good night all!

 

Mayberry and Ransom photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Oswalt photo by Wikimedia Commons

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

 

Big Man Down: Howard To The DL


Phillies titanic.jpgThe Phillies 2010 season is beginning to resemble the sinking of the Titanic.  Ryan Howard was placed on the DL today with a left ankle sprain.  So it is official; every single infield starter for the Phils has been on the DL this year.  The only two team starters who have escaped a DL trip so far are Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez.  That makes player #15 on the DL this year.  Take a look:

1B

Ryan Howard

DL

8/3 – now

Starter

CF

Shane Victorino

DL

7/28 – now

Starter

P

Jamie Moyer

DL

7/21 – now

Starter

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – 7/17

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – 7/10

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – 7/15

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – 7/15 to AAA

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – 7/8

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – 7/6 to AAA

Starter

SS

Jimmy Rollins

DL

4/13-4/17, 5/22-6/22

Starter

P

Joe Blanton

DL

3/26-5/3

Starter

P 

Brad Lidge

DL

3/26-4/30, 5/10-5/31

Closer

P

JC Romero

DL

3/26-4/22

Relief pitcher

 

Is this a sign that 2010 is just not the Phillies year?  I hope not.  Filling in at first base likely will be Ross Gload and maybe Cody Ransom.  John Mayberry Jr. was called up to fill the roster spot and will be used off the bench.

Howard and Chase Utley are the Phillies biggest producers; having them both out of the line-up is going to make an already struggling offense even less effective.  Not to mention, the Phillies bullpen is still suspect.  Manager Charlie Manuel has no idea what to expect from the pen from day to day.  And with fewer runs being scored, odds are good that the pen is going to decide the outcome of a lot of games.  This is not good news.

If you are looking for some good news, Roy Halladay is pitching tonight in Miami.  Even better news; the last time this match-up occurred, Halladay threw a Perfect Game.  The Marlins may be more prepared this time out, but anytime Halladay pitches, you have to like this team’s chances.

Home Stand Sweep


Broom.jpgWhile the big news of the day was the trade of Roy Oswalt to the Phillies, there was still a game to be played amidst all the hoopla.  And tonight, the Phillies were looking for a 7-game home stand sweep. 

Kyle Kendrick started against the D-Backs and did very well through 6 1/3 innings, allowing only one run.  Kendrick did walk one batter in each of the first 3 innings, but settled in after that.  With JA Happ gone in the trade today, the rotation spot belongs to Kendrick and he will need to keep up the solid pitching.

The Phillies offense, which has been on fire this entire home stand, finally sputtered a bit tonight.  Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double in the 5th to score Cody Ransom.  The next inning, Raul Ibanez hit a solo homer to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.  But the offense ended there.  They did have 9 hits off Joe Saunders, but could not score.  Saunders had a very bad year with the Angels and was just traded to the D-Backs.  He looked ripe for the picking, but the Phillies let him off the hook.

Chad Durbin finished pitching the 7th and Ryan Madson had a very good 8th inning.  But manager Charlie Manuel left Madson in for the 9th.  One can only assume this is because his confidence in Brad Lidge with a slim 1-run lead is just not there.  And who could blame him.  But Madson has not pitched more than an inning since coming off the DL and he quickly got into trouble, giving up a lead-off double to start the 9th.

JC Romero took over and allowed a single; a ground out then scored the runner from third, which was charged to Madson. With the game then tied, the drama continued.  After an intentional walk and an unintentional walk, the bases were loaded for Romero.  Gerardo Para stepped to the plate and grounded into his second double play of the night.  Para was so upset, he slammed his helmet to the ground and was ejected by the first base umpire, Adrian Johnson.

The bad luck for Para seemed like good luck for the Phillies who entered the bottom of the 9th with a chance to win the game.  But Jayson Werth, Ransom and Ruiz went down in order and the game headed into extra innings.  In the 10th, Lidge was “Light’s Out” finally, sending the D-Backs down in order.  So if they had put him in for the 9th, this game may have been over already.  Go figure.  But you just don’t know what you are going to get out of Lidge these days.

The Phillies loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with 2 outs.  Ryan Howard, who was 0 for 4 on the night to that point, had a chance to redeem himself.  But in the past few games, Howard has started to look very, very confused at the plate.  And that translated into a strike out in the 10th to end the inning.  During this home stand, Howard is hitting only .185 including the 0 for 5 tonight.

But more bottom of the order heroics were on the way.  Ransom, Ruiz and Wilson Valdez, the 6, 7 and 8-hole hitters accounted for 7 of the Phillies 12 hits tonight.  So it was only fitting that in the 11th, the same three guys would finally win the game for their team.  Ransom walked, Ruiz singled and Valdez knocked in the winning run with a liner to centerfield.  The final score was 3-2 which completed a 7-game home stand sweep.

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By the way, the Braves lost tonight so the Phillies picked up one more game in the standings.  They are now 2.5 games out of first place in the NL East.

Tomorrow there will more high drama surrounding the Phillies as Roy Oswalt takes the mound in pinstripes for the first time.  He will face the Nationals in DC; game time is 7:05pm.  That game marks the first in a 6-game, 7 day road trip; 3 with the Nats and 3 with the Marlins in Miami after the off day on Monday.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Firing Of Hitting Coach Lights a Fire Under The Offense

The Phillies returned home today after a very bad road trip hoping to turn things around against the Rockies.  For starters, they fired their hitting coach, Milt Thompson and replaced him with Greg Gross.  Thompson is the fall guy for this severely underachieving offense.  But would this slap to the face be the wake-up call the Phillies are certainly in need of?

At first, it looked like the same old routine of hitting into double plays and leaving the bases loaded.  But in the 5th inning, the offense woke up and figured out how to score some runs.  Three straight hits, including an RBI double from Raul Ibanez, got things started. 
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Ryan Howard even stole a base, as his teammates giggled in the dugout after seeing the big man scamper to second.  Jayson Werth hit a sac fly and then Ross Gload, getting a rare start in the outfield, smacked a 2-run homer for his second hit of the night.

The only starter who did not contribute tonight was Wilson Valdez who went 0 for 4.  Everyone else, even the pitcher, got a hit.  Ibanez finally looks like RAUUUUUULLL again!  He had 3 hits and 3 RBI tonight.  Ibanez likes hitting 3rd, as I mentioned yesterday.  Jimmy Rollins, back in the lead-off spot as I also suggested yesterday, seems to have found his groove as well.  J-Roll collected 2 hits and a walk.

On the mound, Roy Halladay returned to his usual dominating form after allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in his last outing.  Tonight, he pitched extremely well, allowing only 5 hits and no runs over 8 innings.  Oddly enough, the hitting was a bigger story today than 8 shut-out innings from Halladay.  Because we expect Halladay to be good; but the offense has been so bad, seeing the Phillies score 6 runs was more exciting. 

JC Romero pitched an easy 9th inning and looked very sharp.   He hit the leadoff batter, but was lights-out after that.  The Phillies won by a score of 6-0 and Halladay finally experienced some run support.  Hopefully, this win will be a much needed boost for the team.

The starting pitching for the rest of the weekend has finally been announced.  Kyle Kendrick will be brought up to pitch Saturday as Jamie Moyer is placed on the DL.  And on Sunday, JA Happ will get his first start since 4/15/10 when an injury sent him to the DL.

As for Moyer, the news is not good.  An MRI showed that he has both a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator muscle; those injuries are to the left forearm and elbow.  The two injuries may require surgery and this may also signal the end of Moyer’s career.  He is going for another exam early next week and should know for sure after that.  Either way, the injuries are more serious than what Happ had this year and Happ missed more than 3 months.

Moyer is in the last year of his contract with the Phillies and it is unlikely that a team would sign a 48-year old pitcher fresh off multiple injuries and possibly surgery.  So Moyer may have pitched his last inning.  Then again, if anyone can bounce back after such damage, it would be Moyer.  I wish him luck :O)

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Halladay Gets Beat Up By The Cubs

After tonight’s horrifying loss to the Cubs, what I would like to know is, who kidnapped Roy Halladay and replaced him with an imposter?  Halladay Kidnapped.jpgAfter six innings, this Halladay imposter had given up 6 runs, 5 of them earned.   Who IS this guy?  Will Ruben Amaro Jr. pay the ransom to get the real Halladay back?  He wouldn’t pay to keep Cliff Lee, so I am not holding my breath. ;o)

Ok, back to reality…  In one of Halladay’s worst outings as a Phillie, one thing did not change: he still did not get any run support from his offense.  To make matters worse, the Phillies fielders did not bail him out in big situations either.  In the 2nd inning, after already allowing 3 runs, Ryan Howard missed a foul ball pop-up from Derrek Lee that would have ended the inning. 

Then, with 2 strikes on Lee and runners at first and third, Carlos Ruiz had a brain cramp.  He decided to throw to second as Starlin Castro tried to steal and Ruiz botched the throw.  Tyler Colvin scored easily from 3rd.  Ruiz was given an error and Lee struck out on the next pitch.  So that was one more unnecessary run handed over to the Cubs.

Things got monumentally worse in the 7th inning when the Phillies bullpen was called upon.  JC Romero gave up 2 singles without recording an out and was pulled.  The rookie David Herndon took over and the Cubs absolutely destroyed him.  Herndon allowed 3 hits and a walk; by the end of the inning, 5 more runs had score.  Two of those were charged to Romero and the other three to Herndon.

The score was 11-3 going into the 8th inning and basically, this game was over.  Howard, Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco all hit solo homers later, making the score 11-6, but that was the end of the scoring.  The Phillies have not been hitting, now they are not pitching and even the fielding has been sloppy.  In short, they are now worse than the Cubs.  And that is very, very bad news.

This is just not the same Phillies team that fans have been used to seeing.  They are not doing the little things right, as well as some big things, and they seem to have lost their Mojo.  Maybe the Mojo was kidnapped along with Halladay?

Even more disturbing, Howard hit home runs in 3 out of 4 games of this Cubs series and the Phillies lost all three of those games.  When even the Howard magic is not lighting a spark under this team, the Phillies are in big trouble. 

The team travels to St. Louis next for a 4-game series with the Cardinals.  It is just a guess, but I am willing to bet that facing Albert Pujols is not going to help the Phillies find their Mojo any faster.  Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.

Why ESPN Broadcasts Are So Entertaining:

In the first inning alone, ESPN viewers were treated to these gems:

- Joe Morgan says that Placido Polanco “runs well from the right side.”  As opposed to??  He only hits from the right side.

- As Carlos Ruiz ran to catch a pop fly in foul ground, Jon Miller called him “Soto,” as in, Cubs catcher, Geovany Soto.

- While Roy Halladay was pitching, Milled said, “There’s an inside pitch to Halladay.”  Wow.  The man is really talented if he can pitch to himself.

And then in the 5th inning, another classic from Morgan:  “If he had gotten the ball there (1st base) quicker, he’d have gotten him out faster.”  It is official: Joe Morgan is a GENIUS.

 

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

Hamels Shines As Phillies Sweep Reds

The Phillies beat the Reds today to complete a 4-game sweep and head into the All-Star break.  And for the first time this week, they did not need extra innings or a walk-off hit to beat them.  And although the 1-0 victory was a very tight game, it felt more like the Phillies were in the driver’s seat the whole game.

Most of that had to do with the performance, and confidence, of pitcher Cole Hamels.  He finally looked like the 2008 World Series MVP again.  Not only was Hamels making his pitches, but he looked determined on the mound.  More importantly, he was never rattled by bad calls or bad plays; and there were plenty of those to go around.

For instance, Ryan Howard dropped a pop-up.  In his defense, it was a tough play.  Also the first base umpire called a runner safe when replay showed he was out by a good amount.  And then there was the home plate umpire who had a strike zone most of the day that was about the size of a pea.  As the weather got hotter though, it looked like he expanded it a little.  See here as a pitch to Carlos Ruiz is called a strike; note that the ball crosses the plate at his elbow.  And here is the Howard play as well:

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But despite the miscues, Hamels kept right on pitching with fervor.  After Howard dropped the ball and the ump blew the call at first, in both cases Hamels got a double play to erase the mistakes.  You cannot ask for more than that from your pitcher; well done.  Here are a few more photos:

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Not so well done was the following: TWO fan interference calls which necessitated TWO booth reviews on balls that looked like home runs.  Ruiz hit the first one, but on replay it was a double and the fan really did not affect it too much. 

The next one was a hit by Jayson Werth where the fan reached over the wall and snagged the ball.  While it also was not a homer, had the ball been left alone, it would have bounced off the wall.  Centerfielder Drew Stubbs was jumping up for the ball, which then would have bounced far away from him, possibly enabling Werth to go to third base or even score an inside-the-park homer.  But because of the fan, it was a ground rule double and we will never know what could have been.

Ok people, I am officially putting Stupid Fans ON NOTICE.  Not all Phils fans; just the STUPID ones (you know who you are).  One day soon, if this trend continues, like the fan who took a pop-up away from Werth on Thursday, a fan is going to cost this team a game.  Mark my words: it will happen.  Today it did not; Thursday it did not; but it is coming.  If you are lucky enough to have a seat in the front row of a section and simple cannot or will not pay full attention to the game and its rules, give your seat to someone who will. 

And the Phillies need to start cracking down on this behavior.  Anyone who leans into the field of play or interfere’s with a player should be ejected and fined.  The Phils “say” they will do this, but more times than not, I see the same idiot fan still in his seat, waiting to ruin another play.  Let’s put it this way, follow the rules and respect the game otherwise, I will suggest to the Phillies that they have Jayson Werth run around the stadium and cuss out the entire front row.  You know he will do it ;o)

And no, I do not condone Werth’s language during the incident on Thursday.  It did make me sad for that poor kid.  But he did have a point.  If you are a fan of the game, act like one.  PAY ATTENTION.  Thank you.

And now back to the game :O)  Sorry for the rant interlude…

The Phillies offense had only 4 hits and 1 run as both pitchers were doing well.  Jimmy Rollins had 2 of the 4 hits plus the lone RBI; the other two hits were the fan-interference doubles.  Hamels wound up pitching 7 2/3 innings without allowing a run.  Jose Contreras ended the 8th and JC Romero got the first out of the 9th.

Romero looked like he was on fire as he mowed down his one hitter.  So when Charlie Manuel came out of the dugout to bring in Brad Lidge for the save, most of the crowd began hollering and boo’ing.  Not only did Romero look great, but Lidge has been anything but great this year.  With only 5 save in 8 attempts, Lidge makes people nervous.  But Manuel is determined Lidge will get better and today, he did.  Two quick outs and the save was intact, plus a win for Hamels.  Whew!

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

Closing out the first half of 2010 with a 4-game sweep was a much needed boost to this Phillies team that has struggled most of the year with injuries, slumps and sloppy play.  This series could be the engine that propels them into a great second half.

But for now, All-Star fever is upon us.  Before today’s game, the coaching staff and players were given their All-Star jerseys.  Even the Phanatic got one; he was very excited.  And All-Star Mickey Mouse made an appearance at the stadium as well:

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Here is the All-Star schedule of events:

July 11: Taco Bell All-Star Sunday at Angel Stadium featuring: XM All-Star Futures Game & Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game; All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run

July 12: Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Angel Stadium featuring: State Farm Home Run Derby

July 13: 11:30 a.m. – Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet (Parade Route: along Convention Way and Harbor Blvd. ending in Disney Way)

8:00pm – 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Comedy or Tragedy? Another Walk-Off Answers The Question

The start of tonight’s Phillies – Reds match-up was anything but funny.  The game began with a fielding error by Jimmy Rollins on the very first batter Joe Blanton faced. 
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Blanton went on to allow a single and then Jonny Gomes smacked a 3-run homer.  While ahead in the count, Blanton threw Gomes a fast ball right down the middle of the plate.  Was it Gomes’ birthday or something?  Because I just cannot see any reason for the generous gift from Blanton.

The very next batter was the recipient of yet another Phillies error, as Ryan Howard over-threw Blanton who was running to cover first base.  The bottom half of the 1st inning was no better.  Rollins hit a single, which was great, but then he got picked off at first while leaning off base too far.  Rollins may have been able to score on the Raul Ibanez double that followed, but he was no longer on base.  Inning over; no score for the Phils.

The insanity did not end there.  Greg Dobbs missed a ball at third that he should have caught and that would have ended the 2nd inning.  Instead, another run scored.  Then Howard got tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double in the 4th inning.  The Phils did score one run that inning on a sac fly by Jayson Werth, but in the 5th, the Phils gave the Reds two more runs.

Blanton was pulled after 5 ½ innings after allowing 12 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 walks and 2 hits to the opposing pitcher.  Blanton has been struggling all year, but this was perhaps the most disturbing outing so far.  Usually, he has several good innings and starts to give up runs in the 5th or 6th when he tires.  But today, he was bad almost the entire time.  Add in the hits allowed to the pitcher and giving up big hits while he was ahead in the count and it was definitely not a comedy; tragedy is more like it.


padded room.jpgAlthough, with how things have gone so far this season, it is plausible to think that many fans may still not be sure whether to laugh or cry about it.  While little is funny here, the bad play does conjure images of fans wrapped with tiny white coats in a padded room while cackling hysterically as their sanity slowly drips away.  Are they coming to take me away yet?  Now that actually would be funny ;o)

To make matters worse, the Phillies looked like they had given up by the time they were down 6 runs to 1.  They did not hit at all and in the 9th, JC Romero gave up another run.  He also gave up another hit to Mike Leake, the Reds pitcher.  It was Leake’s 3rd hit of the night!  So, not only did he totally mow over the Phils with his pitching, but he hurt them with the bat as well.

And then something very weird happened.  The Phillies offense suddenly woke up.  But in the bottom of the ninth, down 7-1, would it be too little too late?  Shane Victorino doubled and Howard singled to drive him in. 
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Werth singled next and then Greg Dobbs performed a miracle; he hit a 3-run homer!  With one out and the score now 7-5, Leake was finally pulled out of the game and it became a save situation for the Reds.

Francisco Cordero came in to pitch and Brian Schneider hit a ball well, but it was right to the center fielder.  Ben Francisco drew a pinch hit walk and then with two outs, down two runs, Cody Ransom stepped to the plate with a chance to be the hero.  And just like that, BAM, a HOME RUN to tie the game!  Are you kidding me??  The Reds could not believe what was happening; the Phils fans were going nuts in the stands; and the poor Reds pitcher, Mike Leake, looked like he might cry while watching from the dugout.

And he had reason to cry…because in the 10th inning, Ryan Howard smashed a walk-off 2-run homer to win the game!  Unbelievable.  Down 7-1 in the 9th, the Phillies come back to win by a score of 9-7.  It was the second extra innings game in a row with a walk-off homer two nights in a row.  Comedy or tragedy?  Keep laughing, Phils fans…that was an INSANE win!  Whoo Hooo!

 

Dobbs photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Schneider Saves The Day

Catcher Brian Schneider grew up a Phillies fan.  He realized his dream of playing for his home town team this year and today, he became the savior of his team in a tough, extra innings game.  More on that in a minute…

Before tonight’s game against the Reds, the big news revolved around Shane Victorino.  0625 Shane2.jpgApparently, he had a few strong words for the fans of Philadelphia.  He said, “I’m hearing fans yelling, ‘Victorino, you’re horrible; you stink,'” during last night’s loss to the Braves.  Victorino went on to say, among other things, “It’s frustrating when you hear those things from your own fans.”

A few things to note here:  the games are still selling out.  And for the small 4 or 5% of fans that are yelling insults, the rest are still cheering the team on.  Victorino is right to be frustrated, but that should be directed at the way the team has been playing, not at the fans.  But don’t worry Shane; we are still behind you.

Victorino took his frustrations out on the ball in the 1st inning when he hit a home run to silence the doubters.  He also hit an RBI-single in the 3rd inning which turned out to be a very strange play.  Victorino collided with Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto at first and his glove flew off; Cueto dropped the ball, which rolled to Joey Votto who tossed it back to the bare-handed Cueto.  He dropped the ball again and Jimmy Rollins scored.  The game was then delayed as Cueto appeared to have the wind knocked out of him.  He was fine though and the game went on.

For the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick pitched very well, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits in 6 2/3 innings.  Having left Jamie Moyer in too long last night, manager Charlie Manuel was not going to make the same mistake again.  He pulled Kendrick and had JC Romero get the final out of the 7th inning.

But more drama was yet to come.  Fresh off the disabled list, Ryan Madson saw his first game action since April in the 8th inning.  He allowed two singles and then with two outs in the inning, he surrendered the one run lead on another very odd play.  Brandon Phillips struck out on a wild pitch which sailed past catcher Brian Schneider.  Phillips ran to first as both Schneider and Madson went after the ball, not realizing until it was too late that Drew Stubbs was running home and no one was covering.  Stubbs scored and tied the game 2-2.

In the bottom half of the inning, Wilson Valdez led off with a triple.  Rollins hit a sac fly to score him and give the Phils a 3-2 lead going into the 9th inning.  But that meant that it was Brad Lidge time. 

A one run lead and Lidge in the 9th has not been a sure thing for a very long time.  And right away, Lidge gave up a hit and a walk.  It looked like he may get out of it when the next batter hit into a double play.  But Miguel Cairo, who was with the Phils last year, hit an RBI-double on the 2nd pitch he saw to tie the game again.  And just like that, Lidge earned yet another blown save.

The Phillies could not score in the 9th so off to extra innings they went.  In the 12 inning, the drama continued as Jayson Werth had a small confrontation with a very dumb fan.  With two outs, a foul ball went just above the wall in right field and Werth was right there to catch it.  Unfortunately, the dumb fan snagged the ball right before it went into Werth’s glove.  Werth had a few choice words for the guy.  But all was well as pitcher Nelson Figueroa got the batter to ground out.

Figueroa pitched two amazing innings and was on deck to bat and go for three when Brian Schneider finally ended the game.  Schneider crushed a ball which sailed over the right field wall to give the Phillies a 12 inning, walk-off 4-3 win over the Reds.  Way to go, Brian!  You rock!

Condolences

The Phillies family lost another beloved member today.  Maje McDonnell, who would have been 90 years old later this month, passed away today.  McDonnell spent his entire life with the Phillies.  He grew up in Philly and served with the Phillies as a batting practice pitcher, coach, scout, instructor and a Veterans Stadium tour guide in his 57 years with the team.  He had just retired last year.

McDonnell was also a war hero, having served in World War II, earning a combat badge, five battle stars and a Bronze Star.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Maje.  He will be missed.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Bad Bullpen + No Offense = Loss

It is simple math, right?  Well tonight’s Phillies – Braves match-up boiled down to that very simple math.

 
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Pitcher’s Cole Hamels and Jair Jurrjens battled fairly evenly, each allowing just 3 runs.  Hamels went 7 innings and Jurrjens was pulled after 6 plus.  Hamels did a nice job, but would the offense come through for him?

The Phillies managed only 2 hits of Jurrjens, one of which was a 2-run homer from Raul Ibanez in the 1st inning.  The other hit came in the 7th when Ryan Howard tied the game up 3-3 with a triple to score Ibanez, who had drawn a walk.  But with no outs and Howard on third, they failed to score again. 

Jayson Werth stood at the plate and watched strike three go by.  All he had to do was make contact and he just stood there like a deer in headlights.  Then Ben Francisco hit what could have been a sac fly, but either Howard, the third base coach or both decided not to tag up as it was a shallow hit ball.

Here is my issue with this: they had to know Wilson Valdez was coming up with 2 outs.  Did they expect him to be the hero and get a 2-out hit?  I know I certainly did not.  While Howard is no speed demon, he has one advantage: size.  He should have tagged and if the ball beat him, why not go old-school and knock the catcher over?  I would have taken that risk over expecting a 2-out hit from Valdez.

That decision looked like it might come back to haunt them when the bullpen took over in the 8th.  Jose Contreras quickly got into trouble with men on first and third and no outs.  But Chipper Jones got jammed in between third and home and Dane Sardinha made a great toss to trap and tag him out.  Eventually, with help from JC Romero, they escaped the inning unscathed.

With no scoring in the 8th for the Phils, Brad Lidge came into a tie game in the 9th.  It was his first game since last week when he blew a save against the Reds.  Lidge sent the Braves down in order, but with no scoring from the Phils in the bottom of the 9th, this would be a battle of the bullpens.

Sadly, in a battle of the bullpens, the Phillies were likely to come out on the losing end.  David Herndon did a great job in the 10th, but finally surrendered the lead in the 11th after a single and a double.  With the offense totally stalled, the 3-4 deficit looked insurmountable.  In fact, for many months now, the lack of hitting has made these very small deficits look like impossible obstacles to overcome.

But Mike Zagurski came into the game and made things even worse.  He looked great striking out the first two hitters, but made one very big, very costly mistake.  Eric Hinske took that mistake and tossed it over the right field wall for a 2-run homer.  The Phillies entered the bottom of the 11th down 3-6.

Watching these self-destructive games are very sad, especially in light of the talent this team possesses.  They just cannot seem to conjure it up at the most crucial moments.  The main players, like Jimmy Rollins and Werth, went hitless as they have many, many times this week.  The bottom of the lineup did absolutely nothing.  You cannot expect to win games with only three hits. 

Add to that the fact that the bullpen cannot hold a tie game down.  It is all a recipe for disaster.  And so it was; a 3-6 disastrous loss.  Jamie Moyer will try to win one tomorrow, but without any offense, how will he fare?  Not well is my guess.

Injury News

Pitcher JA Happ came off the DL today but instead of going to the majors, he was optioned back to AAA.  The Phillies are not happy with how he has pitched in his rehab, but they are hoping he will bounce back after some time in the minors.

As for catcher Carlos Ruiz, he will begin a rehab assignment this week, which is good news.  The concussion has healed to the point where he can start playing again.  Get well soon, Carlos!

By the way, we have now entered Day 8 of my Chase Utley withdrawal.  I am not doing too bad so far.  I have no fingernails left and I am stuttering a little, but all in all, it has been a mostly sanity-intact week.  Of course, we have about 7 weeks left to go so do say a short prayer for me.  Thanks…you guys rock.

 

Zagurski photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

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