Results tagged ‘ Larry Bowa ’

I’m Back – Can the Same Be Said for the Phillies?

After a very long vacation from blogging, I’m back. I have just a quick list of excuses for my absence. For starters, I have experienced a complete life “do-over.” After some hair-raising experiences including the deaths of 3 friends/family, I changed jobs, relationships, bought a house and am going back to school to work on my Master’s degree. Change is good. Trust me on this one.

Change for the Phillies thus far this offseason, however, has been minimal. It was less change and more resurrecting history when the Phils signed Marlon Byrd, Bobby Abreu (minor league deal), Larry Bowa (bench coach) and Charlie Manual, rehired as an advisor. Not to mention dumping Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in favor of Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer in the broadcasting booth. And don’t forget Mike Schmidt on air for Sunday games. It’s a reunion!

Did you realize there are now no less than 4 Phillies managers back with the 2014 team? The current manager, obviously, is Ryne Sandberg. Former managers on staff also include Manual, Bowa and Dallas Green (front office). That is incredible. If you want to be with a team for life, sign with the Phillies!

With all of these blasts from the past, the season will at the very least be interesting to watch. But my initial impressions so far in watching Spring Training games are not too encouraging. The offense is still in hiding, as it has been for about 3+ years now. Ok, I know it is only Spring Training, but the Braves have no problem putting up 8-9 runs a game right now so why can’t the Phils? Also, many pitchers, like Cole Hamels, are already or still hurt. But hey, the defense looks pretty good J

Of the few moves the Phillies did make this offseason, I actually like the return of Marlon Byrd. He did well with the Pirates last year, he has been open about his previous suspension and above all, he has something to prove. I love his attitude so far and he appears to have at least brought some smiles back to camp.

Beyond that, not much stands out. Ryan Howard has proclaimed his perfect health. That is nice, but we will have to wait to see if results follow. Howard will be under even more pressure this year now that he and the team are adamant that he is 100%. If he falters early, I shudder to think of the reaction from the press and the fans. They will tear the Big Piece into little pieces. I do not envy his position.

I have begun counting the days until the first real pitch of the season to see what this team really has to offer. Is the winning team back or just a rerun of last year? More thoughts on Spring Training to come…stay tuned.

Record-Setting Night Highlighted by Solid Pitching

There was an awful lot going on in last night’s 1-0 Phillies win over the Marlins.  And it all began with just the second pitch of the game which Jimmy Rollins sent screaming over the right field wall for the 41st lead-off homer of his career.

That turned out to be the only run of the game, which was also a record-setting game for Rollins.  He picked up his 1,731st game at shortstop, making him the leader in games played at that position for the Phillies.  J-Roll passed friend and former manager Larry Bowa to snag the record.

It was also a record setting night for manager Charlie Manuel.  With the victory, he notched his 700th win as the Phillies skipper.  And that win was punctuated by the decision he made to give Kyle Kendrick one more shot at a starting role.  Everyone, including Manuel, has been frustrated by the way Kendrick has pitched lately, so this moved seemed chancy.

The gamble paid off though.  Manuel had a heart-to-heart with Kendrick before the game that seems to have motivated him.  We all know Kendrick can pitch; the problem is he is never consistent.  One day he is great, the next start, he is awful.  But as is Manuel’s style, he sticks with his players.

Kendrick rewarded Manuel’s loyalty with 7 strong, scoreless innings against the Fish.  He gave up only 5 hits and did not walk anyone.  The real question now is, can he repeat this in his next start.  We shall see…

So the Phillies went on to win with only the Rollins solo homer supporting them.  This win ensures another series victory for the Phils who are slowly rounding back into non-last place form.

They could sweep the series with another win today in Miami.

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Game On

It is finally Thursday!  Just a few short hours until the Phillies and Dodgers begin the battle for the NLCS title!  The final roster decisions have been made and few were interesting; Chan Ho Park did indeed make the roster and Kyle Kendrick did not, as I thought would happen.  But in a surprise move, Brett Myers was also left off and Eric Bruntlett added.  So, 11 pitchers instead of 12 and 1 more bench player.

Myers was very unhappy with the news, but maybe not entirely shocked.  His one outing in Game 2 of the NLDS did not go well; he walked two batters and hit another.  After to injuries this year, it appears Myers is not able to find his control yet.

As for the starters, it will be Cole Hamels tonight and Pedro Martinez tomorrow…maybe.  Martinez told reporters he has not gotten enough work in and that his BP session was “erratic.”  Either he does not feel ready, or this is some mental game he is playing with the Dodgers.  Whatever the case, it makes you a bit nervous, doesn’t it?

Some other fun notes about this series:

- The Phillies will be facing lots of old Phillies!  Larry Bowa, former player and manager, is the Dodgers 3rd base coach.  Pitchers Randy Wolf and Vincente Padilla are both former Phils as well as slugger, Jim Thome.

- Manny Ramirez used to play for Charlie Manuel in Cleveland and Manuel says he is “like a son” to him.

- Chan Ho Park, Pedro Martinez, Paul Bako and Jayson Werth are all former Dodgers.

- Both teams each have 8 players who were born in 1975 or earlier.  LOTS of experience :O)

- This is the fifth time the Phillies and Dodgers have met in the NLCS; they are split 2-2 lifetime.

- At 21 years old, pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the youngest player on either roster and will start the game for the Dodgers tonight.

Game time is 8:07pm….Get the rally towels going in your living room!PA071279.jpg

Go Phillies!!!!

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Lieberthal is back…

But only for one day…whew!  Kidding aside, Mike Lieberthal, apparently still a big Phillies fan, has decided to retire in Philadelphia.  So, June 1st is the day and I think he should receive a warm welcome back.  In 13 years with the Phillies, Mike put up some good numbers and had 2 All-Star appearances.  The latter half of his career though was plagued with injuries and lacking in RBI production.  I know whenever I attended games, the big joke was that Mike would do just fine at the plate, as long as no one was on base :o)  And remember the days when he’d be in a real funk and Bowa would just refuse to move him down in the batting order so as not to offend him?  Ahhhhh…the sweet frustration of it all still echoes in my brain…

Ok, well let’s just remember the good times and put aside the bad…  In 1999, Mike hit 31 homers and had 96 RBI’s with a batting average of .300 for the year and his first All-Star appearance.  The only other player before him to reach .300 and 30 homers in a season was Mike Schmidt in 1981.  He had another productive season in 2000 and made the All-Star team again.  So, many thanks to Lieby for a long and entertaining career!  And in the spirit of entertainment, I dug through my photo archives and found this one for you…this was taken before I had a “real” camera, but it is not too bad, although I was behind the screen in the home plate section:

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From September 9, 2005:  Where’s the ball?  Where’s my glove?  Where’s my helmet? Ugh! ….By the way, look to the far right…you will see the ball.

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