Results tagged ‘ JC Romero ’

Phillies Injuries Reach Critical Mass

With the announcement today that both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco have been placed on the DL, panic has ensued in Philadelphia.  Much has been said about the Phils being “bitten by the injury bug” this year. 
knife death.jpg
I will take that a step further and say that the Phils have been stabbed mercilessly and repeatedly by the “injury knife of death.”  Bugs can be ignored and swatted away.  But the “injury knife of death” seems a tad more menacing, with just the right amount of violence and desperation mixed in.

I saw a TV show today about a battered wife who stabbed her husband 193 times and then buried him the backyard in a hole he had dug himself for a home improvement project.  It seems both painful and unnecessary.  Sound familiar?  It should, because that is the general tone and feel of the Phillies season thus far.  Just to recap, here are the major injuries by player with the dates and positions:

2B

Chase Utley

DL

6/29 – now

Starter

3B

Placido Polanco

DL

6/26 – now

Starter

C

Carlos Ruiz

DL

6/22 – now

Starter

P

Chad Durbin

DL

6/2 – now

Relief pitcher

P

Antonio Bastardo

DL

6/17 – now

Relief pitcher

C

Brian Schneider

DL

5/9-5/24

Back-up

P

Ryan Madson

DL

4/29 – now

Relief pitcher

P

JA Happ

DL

4/16 – now

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

 

The entire infield, except Ryan Howard, has spent time on the DL, including both catchers and 2 starting pitchers.  Sprinkle in 3 relief pitchers plus the closer and we have here the makings of a disappointing season.

Utley hurt his thumb getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double yesterday against the Reds.  After the MRI, he has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb.  Basically, his thumb is going to fall off.  Ok, not so much, but it is really, really bad news. 

Right now they are saying it is a “sprain,” but if the ligament is torn, this usually requires surgery and the recovery time is about 4 months.  Are you counting on your fingers right now?  No need…that brings us to the end of October which means the season would be officially over for Utley.  Utley says he will see several more doctors for additional opinions so we will know more after that.  Hopefully, it is just a sprain but either way, this is not good.

As for Polanco, he has bone spurs in his elbow.  He can try to play through the pain and keep getting cortisone shots, but the shots alone will put him out for 2-3 days at a time.  Off-season surgery is probably already being planned.

So with 7 players still on the DL, Happ not doing well in his rehab, Durbin possibly being lost for the season and the uncertainty surrounding Utley and Polanco, can this team succeed this year?  Get out the defibrillation paddles; if the team flat lines, they are going to need to be resuscitated…fast.  And preferably before the “injury knife of death” strikes again.  Ugh.

Moyer Mauls The Indians

The big story going into tonight’s Phillies – Indians match-up was the return of Jimmy Rollins from the DL.  While it is great to see J-Roll back, he still needs to shake the rust off.  Defensively, he was very solid.  Offensively, Rollins went 0 for 4.  But he looked healthy and the team is certainly glad to have him back.


Moyer wine.jpgThe big story after the game was Jamie Moyer.  Continuing to defy the laws of time, Moyer is still amazing at 47-years of age.  Like a fine wine, Moyer seems to get better with age.  He pitched 8 full innings for his second start in a row; tonight, Moyer allowed just one run on a solo homer.  And that homer was one of only two hits the Indians managed off Moyer. 

Not such a highlight tonight was the Phillies offense…again.  They scored two runs in the first with a Ryan Howard RBI-single and a sac fly from Jayson Werth.  But after that, the offense went back into snooze-mode.  Some Phils are still swinging the bats like they have been drinking some of that finely-aged fermented juice.

A mistake by Raul Ibanez in the 5th inning may have cost the Phillies one run.  He interfered with the short stop who was trying to turn a double play, sliding far away from second base.  It looked like whether Ibanez went after the short stop or not, the speedy Shane Victorino probably would have been safe and the run that scored from 3rd would have counted.  Charlie Manuel argued the call and was ejected, but clearly, it was interference.

So another very tense 9th inning took place for the Phillies bullpen. With a very small 2-1 lead, JC Romero got one out, but then gave up a single and a walk.  Brad Lidge, who blew a big save on Saturday, was sent in for an even tougher save opportunity.  He struck out the next two batters to earn the save and give Moyer his 266th career win.  Another nail biter…whew!

The Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound tomorrow night at 7:05pm for the second game of the series.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Voodoo And A Series Win

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.

Utley voodoo.jpgNot 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:

Smurf voodoo arod.jpg
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!

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.

 

A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Voodoo bats by Getty Images/CSN Philly

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

 

A Much Needed Win

On the verge of being swept in Boston, the Phillies would rely today on the arm of Cole Hamels.  Much improved since last season, Hamels did not let his team down.  Hamels pitched 7 strong innings against the Red Sox allowing just one run on 5 hits and 2 walks.  Normally, Hamels fastball clocks in around 88-92mph but today, he was topping out at 96mph.  The extra kick helped and he left the mound with his team in a good position to win the game.


P5090614j.jpgBut the Phillies offense would have to face knuckleballer Tim Wakefield again, who beat them up badly in Philly last month.  Wakefield is an otherwise mediocre pitcher, but he certainly has the Phillies number.  In the first inning, the Phils offensive woes continued as they loaded the bases with no outs but did not score.  Ryan Howard hit a fly ball but Shane Victorino decided it was too close to tag and stayed at third.  Then Jayson Werth hit into a double play to end the threat.  Werth would later drop a fly ball in the outfield, adding to his woes.

In the 4th inning though, it looked like the Phils may have figured Wakefield out.  They scored 4 runs on 2 doubles, 2 singles and a Raul Ibanez homer.  But again, another double play, this time from Carlos Ruiz, ended the inning.  The Phillies have certainly figured out how to shoot themselves in the foot recently.

Lucky for them, Hamels was spectacular and they went into the 8th inning with a 4-1 lead.  Jose Contreras held the Sox down in the 8th, despite allowing 2 singles.  In the 9th, Werth redeemed himself by walking and then stealing 2 bases.  A sac fly from Ben Francisco scored Werth and gave the Phils a 5-1 lead.

But in their usual fashion, the Phillies made the 9th inning an adventure in a game they desperately needed to win.  JC Romero gave up a double and later, Ruiz let a pitch sail past him to score a run for the Sox.  Now in a save situation, Brad Lidge was brought in to finish the job.  Lidge gave everyone a heart attack when he allowed another run, but did finally get out of the jam and save the game.  The Phillies win, 5-3.

While the win today is a huge relief for the fast falling Phils, what ails them is clearly not past.  The offense still sputtered in many situations where they should have scored and the bullpen began to look shaky again.  Monday will be an off-day while the Phillies try to screw their heads on right before a 3-game series with their World Series rivals, the New York Yankees.  Otherwise, the Yanks are going to feast on the failing Phils.  Cross your fingers…

And although I am less enthusiastic about it right now, 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. 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Not Perfect, But Still Pretty Good

While it was far from perfection from Roy Halladay last night in his first start since pitching the Perfect Game, he was effective.  Halladay allowed just 2 runs on 10 hits over 7 innings.  He worked in and out of several jams with multiple base runners against a very good Padres team to keep the Phillies in the game.

Halladay even helped himself out at the plate, knocking a 1 out single in the 3rd that led to Shane Victorino’s 2-run homer.  With the Phillies offense still struggling, those two hits turned out to be a big key in winning the game.  Jayson Werth collected the 3rd RBI in the 3-2 win by walking with the bases loaded in the 5th inning.  Of course, the Phillies offense also left the bases loaded twice and as a team, left 9 men on base.

The lack of scoring was again highlighted in the 8th inning when Jose Contreras hit a batter and then issued a walk.  JC Romero was brought in to stop the bleeding and began by walking the next batter to load the bases with 1 out.  But it was JC’s birthday, and his present to himself was getting a ground ball double play to end the inning.  Happy Birthday, JC!


Thumbnail image for P7306368 Lidge cr.jpgThe real highlight of the evening, however, was Brad Lidge.  In his first save opportunity since coming off the DL for the second time this year, Lidge looked like Mr. Perfect from 2008.  Lidge mowed down the Padres in order with a nasty slider and good movement on his fastball.  His speed clocked in at 94mph on a few pitches.  Is this a sign that all is now well with Lidge?  Cross your fingers…

Game 2 against the Padres is tonight at 7:05pm.  Jamie Moyer will pitch against Jon Garland. 

By the way, have you seen the new player-designed apparel at the Phillies MLB Shop?  If you have not, be sure to check it out.  Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Cole Hamels and Raul Ibanez all designed jerseys, tee-shirts and hats for the new collection.  Here is a sample of what they designed:


Players choice.jpgOther teams got into the action as well, so if you are a fan of another team (although I find that hard to imagine ;o), check out their MLB Shop site too. I believe the Mets, Yankees and Twins also participated.  Hey, if it is cool looking, maybe I’ll pick up a Mets jersey….or, not. ;o)

And do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.

 

Lidge photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; apparel by MLB.com

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

 

Phillies Win Overshadowed By Injury

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. 
Smurf shroom.jpg
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

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

 

Phillies Get Mauled By Cubs

For the second consecutive day, the Phillies bats took a vacation.  After pounding out 12 runs on Saturday, the Phils offense has since scored only 1 run in each of the last two games.  The real victims of this offensive offense have been starting pitchers Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer.  Both pitched great games, allowing only 2 runs to the opponents but got not support from the batters.

 

Last night against the Cubs, Moyer was very sharp and worked the strike zone in all directions.  With 7 strike outs in 7 innings and only 1 walk allowed, Moyer deserved a win, as did Halladay the day before.  Chad Durbin did not help matters when he loaded the bases in the 9th.  His pitches were so wild and so far out of the strike zone, I began to wonder if someone had spiked his Gatorade between innings.  When JC Romero took over for Durbin, he almost held it down but with 2 outs, a ground ball found a hole and 2 runs scored.

 


Werth_bears.jpgThe score was 1-4 and that is how it ended as the Phillies could not muster a rally in the 9th.  Cubs pitching smacked them around and made Phillies hitters look like they were defending themselves against a bear attack.  Jayson Werth went hitless and with each swing, he nearly screwed himself into the ground.  Shane Victorino has suddenly cooled off in the lead-off spot with no hits last night and only 1 the game before that.  All together, the Phillies had 5 hits in the game, 3 walks and left 9 men on base.

 

The final game against the Cubs will be this afternoon at 1:05pm.  Joe Blanton will be the third pitcher this week to pray for some offense.  Best of luck to him!

 

Player photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Sweep The Brewers

While the Brewers have not been playing well, having lost an entire home stand and all of their last 8 games, the Phillies did not take pity.  Instead, they put a beating on the Brew Crew, winning all 3 games of the series.

The offense was not as potent last night as the previous two games where they scored 19 runs combined, but the 4 runs yesterday were enough.  Starting pitcher Cole Hamels helped himself out at the plate with an RBI double in the second inning.  Placido Polanco and Wilson Valdez had one run knocked in each.  The 4th run was a bit more unconventional.  Chase Utley batted with men on 1st and 3rd in the 8th and swung at an awful, in the dirt pitch, striking out.  But the catcher missed the bouncing ball and Utley was safe at first base while Shane Victorino scored from 3rd.  Weird.

Because Hamels pitched a good game, those 4 runs brought the Phillies the 4-2 win.  Hamels allowed those 2 runs to the Brewers in the 6th inning by giving up 2 solo homers.  But before that, he was mowing the batters down with his fast ball-change-up combo.  Hamels made it through 6 2/3 innings with the bullpen holding down the lead.  JC Romero got the save and looked like he is back in top shape now since his off-season surgery.


Hoover2.jpgThe Phillies should get some good news today as it looks like Jimmy Rollins will be coming off the DL.  This is sad for Wilson Valdez who has been filling in for both Rollins and the still injured Juan Castro at short stop.  Valdez did not start out well, but he ended by going 5 for 15 in this series with 2 RBI.  And the 3rd back-up catcher, Paul Hoover, went 5 for 10 with 2 RBI and 6 runs scored in the series.  With two 3rd-string players performing so well, it makes you wonder if just putting on the Phillies uniform has some magical powers?  Abracadabra,  you are a major league player!  Poof!

While that may or may not be the case, the Phillies will take this kind of output from their back-ups anyway they can get it.  The Pirates are up next for a two game series.  Kyle Kendrick pitches tonight and game time is 7:05pm.  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*

 

Missing: Phillies Bats


missing bats.jpgLast seen on April 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, PA, the Phillies bats have mysteriously gone missing.  Weighing around 33 ounces and measuring about 40 inches in length, these large wooden sticks may be seen in either a tan or black color with the “Phillies” name engraved in them.  If you happen to see these missing bats, please notify authorities at 1-888-WECANTHIT.

The Phillies have gone from the best offense in the league during the first 10 days of the season to one of the worst.  Where, oh where, have those little bats gone?  Even a very hittable pitcher with an 8.16 ERA like the Giants Todd Wellemeyer could not cure the slump.  The Phils managed only 2 runs in the game and went only 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Ryan Howard had two hits in the game, but one was spoiled as he did not hustle on his way to second, did not slide and got tagged out in an embarrassing play. For the rest of the starters only Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had a hit with Raul Ibanez picking up an RBI on a sacrifice. The rest of the evening was more of the same: nothing.

There was one spectacular defensive play in the game; Juan Castro and Utley turned a double play like you have probably never seen before.  Castro dove for a ball that was ready to scoot past him up the middle, but he snagged it and in the same motion, while lying on the ground, he tossed the ball with his glove up to Utley.  Utley barehanded the ball and threw to first in time for the second out.  Amazing.

But sadly, that was the end of the “amazing” for the day.  Jamie Moyer did what we normally expect of him and allowed 4 runs on 10 hits over 6 innings.  Chad Durbin gave the Giants two more insurance runs in the 7th inning on a walk and 2 hits.  Last time out, Durbin was great.  We just never know what to expect from this bullpen.  Although, JC Romero did come back strong from his last outing and pitched a scoreless, hitless 8th inning.

But the pitching did not really matter; with no offense, they cannot be expected to win.  And having to face Tim Lincecum this afternoon is not going to help bust the slump either.  The Phillies dropped out of first place for the first time this year with no signs of improvement on the horizon.  Look for a sweep by the Giants in San Francisco today…bust out your sense of humor.  You will need it.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn

 

*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*

 

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