Results tagged ‘ Maikel Franco ’

Farewell to The Big Piece

The Phillies did right by Ryan Howard on Sunday by honoring his 13 years in Philadelphia before the final game of the season.  Everyone entering the stadium received Howard’s head on a stick for full participation in the ceremony.  Mike Schmidt also made an appearance.
2016.10.02 Howard

This all had the potential to be quite awkward considering Howard still has an option left on his contract which it is obvious will not be picked up.  But the Phillies and the fans did a great job honoring the former MVP and All-Star.  Howard spoke to the crowd and got pretty choked up; a lone tear could be seen streaming down his cheek as he realized his time in Philly was done.
2016.10.02 Howard heads

Howard did not have the final game he envisioned, though.  He went hitless in the game, but the Phillies still beat the Mets so I am sure that made his final goodbye a bit easier.  Several guys went hitless as well, but Maikel Franco and Andres Blanco finished strong with 4 and 3 hits, respectively.
2016.10.02 hitting

Plus, Jerad Eickhoff pitched very well, allowing only 1 run over 6 innings.
2016.10.02 Jerad

So the Phillies finish a very up and down season in 4th place with a record of 71-91.  The Phillies offense finished dead last in all of baseball with only 610 runs scored.  As such, and as is seemingly a Phillies tradition, Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson got the ax right after the game.

There may be more fallout in the days to come.  In the meantime, here is the full Photo Album from the game and pre-game ceremonies.


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Photos by Jenn Zambri

July 4th Offensive Fireworks

The Phillies celebrated Independence Day on Monday afternoon with an 8-2 win over the Braves.  The game included a 7-run 2nd inning and plenty of celebrations.
2016.07.04 Offense

Both Odubel Hererra and Maikel Franco homered in the inning.  And today, Herrera made the 2016 All-Star team; as of this moment, it looks like he will be the only Phillies player in attendance.

Jerad Eickhoff had another great start, allowing 2 runs in 7.2 innings while striking out 8 batters.  And the defense played a clean game behind him.
2016.07.04 PitchD

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

The Phillies are playing game 2 against the Braves right now and are leading 3-0 in the 5th inning.  Go Phillies!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Phillies Take Series Against Defending World Champs

With a 7-2 win today, the Phillies collected the series win against the defending World Champion Royals.  The fun began even before the game started as the Phanatic tormented Royals player Salvador Pérez by dumping a bucket of confetti on him.  Perez tried to fight back by tossing water, but the Phanatic used a small child as a human shield to avoid the soaking.  Eventually, Perez stole the Phanatic’s car keys and then they made up.
2016.07.03 Phanatic vs Perez

More excitement ensued in the first inning when, after only 5 pitches, the manager, pitching coach, team trainer and half the team made a visit to the pitching mound to check on starter Vince Velasquez.  His velocity was down around 85-90mph, which triggered panic, especially since Velasquez is fresh off an injury.  But Velasquez pitched well, despite the slow down of his fastball.  He went 6 innings and allowed only 2 runs.
2016.07.03 Velasquez

In the bottom of the 1st, Cameron Rupp kick-started the offense with a 3-run homer.  The Phillies went on to score 7 runs on 3 homers and 11 total hits.  Cody Asche and Maikel Franco also hit long balls.
2016.07.03 Rupp

Asche also shattered his bat during another plate appearance, sending Royals scrambling for cover.  Luckily, no one was hurt.
2016.07.03 Asche

The bullpen was able to hold down the lead after Velasquez left the game.  Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez finished out the game strong with little drama.
2016.07.03 Relief

So after a very bad month-long stretch where seemingly nothing went right, it looks like the Phillies are finally back on track.  Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

The Phillies begin a series tomorrow against the Braves at 4:05pm.  Happy Independence Day, everyone!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

The Phillies Offense Drops in for a Visit

Hello, Phillies offense!  So nice to see you; it has been a while.  After a dreadful showing in the past many weeks, the Phillies bats came alive (mildly, anyway) against the Braves today.  The offense had been so bad, they were 29th in the league coming into today’s game; only the Braves were worse.

It is fitting then that the Phillies collected their largest margin of victory on the year, 5 runs, against the Braves.  Cameron Rupp had a monster game with a homer and 2 singles.  Both Tyler Goeddel and Freddy Galvis collected triples, while Maikel Franco finally picked up the pace with 2 hits.  And Peter Bourjos lifted his batting average over the Mendoza line with 2 hits today.
2015.05.22 OF

Jerad Eickhoff had one of his best games of the year, pitching 7 scoreless innings.  The Braves hitters looked confused at the plate most of the night.
2015.05.22 Eickhoff

And let’s hear it for no errors in the game!  Whooo hoooo!
2015.05.22 misc

Believe it or not, even with the Phillies anemic offense, they are still only 2 games out of first place behind the Nationals and Mets.  Who saw this coming at the start of the year?  Not I, that’s for sure.  The team has some interesting matches coming up now, including 3 games each against the Tigers and Cubs this week.  By the end of May, we should have a good idea of what the summer will bring.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.


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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Phillies Drop Finale Against Reds

The Phillies had won 3 games in a row coming into today’s game.  That streak ended with a horrible effort against the Reds, who beat the Phillies by a score of 4-9.   Just about everything went wrong, including pitching and defense.

Before the game, spirits seems high with players smiling and even an appearance by Darren Daulton, who has been battling brain cancer.
051516 pregame

It all went downhill after Adam Morgan took the mound.  One example of just how bad he was happened in the 4th inning.  He loaded the bases as the opposing pitcher, who has no hits this year, stepped up to the plate.  Morgan proceeded to walk him on 4 pitches to bring a run in.  Shortly after that, Eugenio Suarez hit a 3-run homer.
051516 Morgan

The defense was equally pitiful.  There were 2 “official” errors in the game, but Maikel Franco missed a few balls at 3rd base that would normally not have gotten past him and Tyler Goeddel bobbled a ball in left field.  It was just sloppy all around.
051516 Defense

And of course, this offense has not been setting the world on fire, but today was especially bad.  In the first 5 innings alone, the Phillies went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.  They also left 16 men on base total.
051516 Offense

And don’t even get me started with Reds 1st baseman Joey Votto!  Several times, he motioned that he may toss a baseball to the fans and then smirked as he chose not to.  Even if the fake-out was meant for the adults, some of those fans were children who you can bet didn’t get the joke.  Well, he got what was coming to him; no hits in the series and 3 strikeouts today.  And that was the highlight of the day😉

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Two Sweeps in a Row!

Where did this Phillies team come from?  It looked early on like another bad, rebuilding season was upon us.  But this young team has now won 9 of their last 10 games, sweeping both the Nationals and Indians in the last week.  Crazy.

Before the big win, the Phillies hosted their annual Mother’s Day celebration which began with Cameron Rupp’s mom tossing him the first ball; that was adorable.  And, of course, the Phanatic’s mom was around later in the game as well.
2016.05.01 Rupp

Vince Velasquez started the game in the rain and miserable cold.  Still, he pitched well without allowing any runs over 6 innings.
2016.05.01 VV

There was not much offense in the game; it was certainly not hitting weather today.  But the Phillies managed a few hits and scored twice in the 3rd inning.
2016.05.01 hitting

Some adventurous plays in the field were also on the schedule.  Darin Ruf had the highlight of the game with a diving catch in left field.  When did Ruf suddenly become Mr. Super-outfielder?  And then Maikel Franco turned a routine pop-up into a dare-devil grab:
2016.05.01 fielding

So the Phillies walked away with a 2-1 win.  They are back on the road tomorrow after this brief home stand, playing St. Louis on Monday night.  Can they keep the win streak alive?  We shall see…

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.


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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Halfway through 2015: Down the Rabbit Hole

A recent article in The New Yorker described going down the rabbit hole as “a bizarre and disorienting alternate reality.”  That perfectly describes how many Phillies fans feel at the halfway point of the 2015 season.  We followed the Phillies here and have now fallen into the proverbial, Alice in Wonderland-esque rabbit hole.

This team is such a departure from that of the 2008-2011 teams that watching them really does feel like a bad acid trip.  The Phillies are dead last in all of baseball with a 29-62 record.  Their closer, Jonathan Papelbon, cannot stop yelling to the media about how badly he wants to be traded.  Cole Hamels is pitching like a man who has given up on life.  And their manager, Ryne Sandberg, ran screaming from his duties, despite the obvious detriment to his career by doing so.

Sad Phillies (2)But the most depressing part of the season has been the lightning fast decline of Chase Utley’s career.  According to the general manager, Utley is no longer the starting second baseman, even after he comes off the disabled list.  This is officially the end of Phillies baseball as we knew it.  Indeed, an alternate reality that is painful to watch.

But even with Utley’s downfall, there was no reason to think the Phillies would be THIS bad, as in 62 losses bad, the worst half way mark in team history.  There is a lot of young talent here, like Maikel FrancoBen Revere is hitting .297 with 21 stolen bases and 45 runs scored.  Ryan Howard has hit 15 home runs and has 45 RBI, which is really pretty good considering he is on the tail end of his career.  Papelbon has been perfect in saves, although he has had limited opportunities.    But most of the pitching has be atrocious.  Even so, this team should have won more than 29 games, given their talent.

Perhaps Pat Gillick’s pre-season declaration about this team not being able to compete for several years has created a culture of losing?  And not only that, but the team seems to have accepted this.  They are not showing any fight, maybe because they simply expect to lose.  They are just collecting their fat paychecks and then going home.  And if this attitude continues, attendance will continue to drop to levels where you can hear crickets chirping.  Hopefully, the Phillies will emerge from their slumber in the second half and at least put on a good show.  Then again, that could just be the psychedelic acid talking.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Phillies’ Sunday Doubleheader – A Tale of Two Teams

The first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Nationals featured a team that could not string together hits and guys who looked like little leaguers on the field, dropping balls and missing bases.  The second game showcased a group of young players having a good time playing baseball and smacking the ball all over the field.  It is too bad that most of the crowd left after the first game; they missed a pretty fun offensive explosion.

In the first game, pitcher Kevin Correia was the victim of the Phillies sloppy defense.  He gave up 3 runs in 5.1 innings, but only 1 of those runs was earned.  Two Phillies errors helped the Nats with the other runs.

062815 Correia

And the offense did little to help; the Phillies had only 5 hits in the game.  Both RBI’s were courtesy of Jeff Francour (who also had one of the errors in the game) who homered in the 2nd inning and singled a run home in the 6th.
062815 Frenchy

The Phillies could not recover from the 2-3 deficit, even though 4 bullpen players pitched the final 3.2 innings without allowing a run.
062815 GM1 pitch

The second game was a very different story.  Rookie pitcher Severino Gonzalez collected both his 3rd major league win and his first major league hit and RBI with a sacrifice in the 2nd and a single in the 4th.  He allowed 4 runs over 5.1 innings, which was not super, but still pretty good for a rookie pitching to a good offensive team.
062815 Gonzalez

And after only 5 hits in the first game, the Phillies’ bats suddenly came to life. The team scored 4 runs in both the 2nd and 4th innings.  Cesar Hernandez had an amazing game with 4 hits and Maikel Franco collected 3 RBI on 2 hits.  Odubel Hererra had 3 hits and an RBI and both Cody Asche and Domonic Brown had 2 hits each.  It was almost as if the anemic crowd made them all less nervous.  They were finally able to relax and just swing away.
062815 GM2 O

And you could even see the change in their faces.  Players smiled and laughed running out to their positions and for once, actually appeared to be having a good time.  You have to wonder, was it the crowd, the departure of their manager finally sinking in or just the result of a group of guys playing with other guys they actually feel comfortable with?  I know this will cause controversy, but I think it is important to note that 6 of 9 starting players in game 2 were Hispanic (Game 1 had 3).  And with many of them being so young, perhaps they are simply more comfortable playing with guys who speak their language, literally and metaphorically?

I think this is great, especially for younger players who need to find ways to fit in.  And as they get older, they will adapt more easily and expand their friendships.  But right now, maybe the camaraderie is helping?  I could be wrong; this is just an observation of how players reacted to one another on the field.  It was obvious to me that, for whatever reason, they were more relaxed and comfortable in the second game.  Of course, maybe interim manager Pete Mackanin said something magical to them in between games?  Who knows; anything is possible.

Speaking of the interim manager, I would like to add my comments on Ryne Sandberg’s resignation last week.  As I stated in my last post, I felt Sandberg had lost the clubhouse and was not long for this position.  Apparently, he came to same conclusion.  And while I do think his departure is for the best, I do not agree with just quitting.  That is just my personal feeling; I think he should have stuck it out until he was fired.  If he couldn’t handle the pressure, he was clearly not the man for the job, which is unfortunate.  I cannot imagine Sandberg getting another job in the majors, especially as a manager, after bailing on his team.  So that is sad for him as well.

Here is the Photo Album from both games of the Doubleheader…enjoy!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Giles Gets a Win on His Giveaway Day

Today I wondered if the following scenario has ever happened in baseball before: A middle relief pitcher gets a game win on the same day that a tee shirt with his name, number and face on it is given away to fans.  That is what occurred today in a 6-4 Phillies win over the San Francisco Giants for reliever Ken Giles.  Giles pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out 3 Giants to keep the Phillies in line for the victory.
2015.06.07 Giles

Sean O’Sullivan started the game and actually, despite his struggles, did fairly well.  He allowed 3 runs in 6 innings for a quality start and also helped at the plate with a sacrifice bunt.  The Phanatic tried to help out before the game by squatting on top of Giants players, but the molestation turned out to be unnecessary.  Although, the Phanatic gets an A for effort.
2015.06.07 O'Sullivan

The Phillies actually found some offense today, which was a nice change.  After hitting a grand slam last night, Jeff Francour followed that up with a 2-run pinch-hit triple today.  Both Maikel Franco and Odubel Hererra hit solo homers.  And Cody Asche also collected 2 RBI in the game.
2015.06.07 offense

Once Giles got the Phillies through the 7th and 8th innings, Jonathan Papelbon came in for the save.  After he committed an error to extend the inning and gave up 1 unearned run, Papelbon did finally shut the door on the Giants to salvage one game in this series.

The Phillies head to Cincinnati next for a 3-game series with the Reds.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Five Wins in a Row!

It’s a miracle!  The Phillies have won 5 consecutive games!  So I learned many things at today’s Phillies game.  First, this team can actually win games.  Next, Jonathan Papelbon has a tramp stamp and Odubel Herrera can fly.
2015.05.17 Papelbon-Herrera

P5172014AVAnd finally, getting hit in the face with a ball hurts.  Sean O’Sullivan does not recommend it.  Perhaps next time, catcher Cameron Rupp will wait to toss the ball until someone is actually paying attention?  Just a thought.

Aside from that little once every several decades incident, O’Sullivan had a great day.  He pitched 6 scoreless innings and earned his first major league win since the 2011 season.  And he was finally healthy; until, of course, Rupp whacked him in the face.  But he seemed to be okay afterwards.
2015.05.17 OSul

Ben Revere led the offense with 3 hits, a walk and an RBI; he is starting to look like the guy who almost won a batting title last year.  And Maikel Franco has certainly added some excitement the Phillies line-up.  In addition to a triple, he hit his first major league home run today.  Darin Ruf also homered and had 2 hits.  And even Ryan Howard helped out with a pinch-hit single in the 7th.
2015.05.17 Offense

Obviously, this team needed a spark and maybe Franco is that guy.  Although, I still think Cody Asche got a raw deal being sent to the minors to “learn” left field.  He could have done that just as easily here.  That brings us to the most awkward part of the day; the Asche whiffle ball and bat set that was handed out to kids entering the gates today.  Too bad Cody had to miss it.

And now for the O-M-G moment of the day: After the game, Chad Billingsley was put on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.  So after two elbow surgeries and only 3 starts with the Phillies, Billingsley could well be done.  Hector Neris has been recalled to take his place on the roster.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri