Results tagged ‘ Marlins ’

Blanton’s Hillbilly Handfishin’ Snares Marlins

A player’s entrance music selection says a lot about their personality.  Joe Blanton’s choice is “Hillbilly Deluxe” by Brooks & Dunn.  Tonight against the Marlins, Blanton used his Hillbilly-style to reel in the Fish.

Having nearly a year off with a sore elbow, the rest seems to have done Blanton some good.  He has zip on his fastball and is throwing it wherever and whenever he wants like there is not a care in the world.  If he can stay healthy, Blanton could be a huge boost for the Phillies this year.

The one run he gave up kept the team in position to win.  He was helped out by solo home runs from Shane Victorino and Ty Wiggington.  And a single from John Mayberry Jr. knocked in Hunter Pence who had another multi-hit game tonight.

Rookie Freddy Galvis looks sharper at second base every day and tonight, he was very good.  Despite an error in the 6th inning, Galvis made a lot of other really tough plays.  It is hard to believe he never played second base before this spring.  Galvis also had a bunt single in the 7th.

The 3-1 win tonight gave the Phillies a series win over the Marlins, 2 games to 1.  And this weekend, the Mets come to town.  Friday night’s game time is 7:05pm.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Four Games, Three Loses and a Whole Bunch of Questions

The start of the 2012 season has not gone well for the Phillies.  And that is putting it nicely.  Losing 3 out of the first 4 games with the ugliest one coming Monday afternoon at the Home Opener has many people worried about this team.

It could just be a slow start…or it may be a glimpse of the future Phillies.  Let us all hope it is just a slow start.

The Phillies offense wasted good pitching performances from Cliff Lee and Vance Worley in back-to-back games against the Pirates.  Then yesterday against the Marlins, Cole Hamels was not sharp and basically, the entire team sucked.

Home team fans looking for some home run excitement got it…only from the wrong team.  The Marlins took Hamels, Joe Savery and even closer Jonathan Papelbon deep.  As for scoring, most of that came from the Marlins as well.

The worst thing I can say about the new Miami Marlins after that performance is that their uniforms are hideous.  Take that, you dreaded fish!

The only bright spot in the game was seeing rookie Freddy Galvis finally get a hit.  His first major league hit was an RBI-double that knocked in both Shane Victorino and John Mayberry Jr.  But that was literally the only offense in the game from the Phillies.

I am stretching to find the positives here so I will add that I approve of Papelbon’s entrance music.  His selection was a great mystery until the home opener yesterday.  He chose “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains, which is in my personal top 10 of the greatest rock songs ever.  So there, another positive ;o)

But sadly, that is where the fun ends. Just keep telling yourself, it is only 4 games…

Here are ALL my photos from the Home Opener!   There are a lot..enjoy!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Ibanez Gets Nixed & Utley Procreates

Considering it is the offseason, this has been a busy week for the Phillies.  In an unusual roster move, the Phillies have potentially signed left fielder Laynce Nix, 31, to a two-year deal, pending a physical.  I say this is unusual because in a 9-year career, Nix is a .244 hitter and from 2006-2008, he spent most of his time in the minors.

Last year with the Nationals, Nix hit .250 with 16 home runs.  Similarly, Raul Ibanez hit .245 with 20 homers.  And this signing pretty much signals the end of Ibanez’s career with the Phillies.  So they are replacing him with a guy who is similar and only a little bit younger in baseball years.  The big difference here is that Ibanez had a solid career.  Nix has not.

So yes, this move is just one more head scratcher this offseason for the Phillies who seem to be going back to their roots of taking out the trash and hoping it turns into treasure.  Sometimes that works out; most of the time, it does not.  As for Ibanez, it certainly looks like he has been “Nixed.”

In happier news, Chase Utley and his wife Jen welcomed their first child on December 2.  His name is Benjamin Cooper Utley; FYI – Cooper is mom’s maiden name.  There was a photo posted on Crossing Broad but the Utley’s had them remove it.

So you can either use your imagination…or, use my imagination ;o)

By the way, the market for short stops just heated up.  The Miami Marlins have signed Jose Reyes for 6 years at $106 million.  He is not a Met anymore, but the NL East is still not rid of the annoying, showboating Reyes.

And his price tag also means that Jimmy Rollins may expect more money than the Phillies are able to give.  As a back-up plan, rumors have been flying about interest in Aramis Ramirez.  However, Ramirez plays third base.  Where does that leave Placido Polanco and who will play short stop?

So many questions, so few answers…  I will tell you this though, the 2012 Phillies are starting to look a whole lot different than the 2011 Phillies, although it is more of a lateral-type movement so far.

 

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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Double Fish Fry in Phillies – Marlins Doubleheader

After Hurricane Irene wiped out the last two games scheduled between the Phillies and Marlins in late August, both were rescheduled as a day/night doubleheader on Thursday, which otherwise would have been the final off-day of the regular season for the Phillies.  Fittingly, it was windy and rainy throughout the day, but baseball finally prevailed over weather.

Day Game

The Phillies came away with a 3-1 win in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader.  Kyle Kendrick started the game, but was only allowed to go five innings since he had not pitched in a while.   The precautionary move was understandable, but Kendrick pitched very well so it was a shame to see him pulled early.

Kendrick allowed only two hits, one of which was a home run.  He also struck out six batters and did not issue any walks.  Kendrick’s early departure opened the door to the Phillies bullpen.

First up was Michael Stutes who pitched two scoreless innings, although he did have several base runners.  Stutes was not terribly sharp, but he got the job done.  Actually, no one looked great coming out of the pen in this one including Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson.  But although the innings pitched were a little sloppy, they did not allow any runs.

Bastardo, however, is becoming a serious concern.  The once unhittable 8th/9th inning lefty has looked very human in this past month.  So noticeable are his struggles that manager Charlie Manuel did not hesitate to pull him after Bastardo allowed a double and a walk.  If Bastardo cannot get it together soon, using the bullpen in the postseason is going to be a real adventure.

As for the offense in this game, there was not much of it.  Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez each had 2 hits and 1 RBI.  Ibanez hit his 30th double of the season which means he has now had at least 30 doubles each year for 10 straight seasons.

But the rest of the offense basically took the day off.  There were hits scattered here and there, but all those runners were stranded on base.  They even loaded the bases in the 8th with 1 out and failed to score.  Ryan Howard’s slump continued as well; he is 0 for his last 16 at-bats.

Defensively, Pete Orr had quite a game at second base.  He made multiple diving grabs and ice-cream coned a short fly ball after jumping about four feet off the ground to get to it.  He probably saved the Phillies a lot of trouble.

So despite the lack of fire power and slightly sloppy pen performance, the Phillies recorded the win.

Night Game

The offensive struggles from the first game of the doubleheader carried right on over to the second game.  The Marlins started Alex Sanabia, a young pitcher who spent the whole year in the minors.  So things looked good on the surface for the Phillies.

But the winds grew stronger as the sun went down.  Fly balls that were hit hard wound up cycloning backwards away from the outfield wall, putting fly balls in play that may have been doubles or homers in calmer conditions.

Chase Utley made his first start since getting hit in the head with a pitch last week.  He had a pinch-hit single in the day game, and barely scratched out a hit in the night game against the Marlins bullpen.  The only two players who seemed to have Sanabia figured out were John Mayberry Jr. and Ross Gload, who both had multi-hit games.

The Phillies had not scored yet when Mayberry finally cut through the strong winds with a line-drive solo homer in the 6th.  That would end up being a very important run for the Phillies.

With Cliff Lee pitching, the Phillies had a good chance that the one run would hold up.  Lee kept the Fish at bay, despite allowing a bunch of base runners.  He was amazing, as usual, and even had one of the few Phillies hits in the game.

But just when it looked like this game was in the books, Lee got to two outs in the 9th and, for the second time this year, gave up the tying run.  The solo homer took all the air out of the balloon as the crowd sighed in disbelief at the 1-1 tie.

After the game, Lee said, “I can’t think of a worse scenario.”  He hit the nail on the head.  But lucky for Lee, Ryan Howard emerged from his slump and hit the baseball on the head.  After Michael Martinez walked in the 10th, Howard doubled to score him for the walk-off, extra-innings win.

Whew!

FYI – Michael Schwimer had pitched the top of the 10th and this turned out to be his first major league win.

Division Magic # – 2 games

Home Field Advantage Magic # – 3  games

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Pulverize Braves To Win 1st Game of Series

In the first of a 3-game series with the Braves tonight, the Phillies were out to send a message to their division rival.  With a brutal 9-0 beating, the Braves definitely received the message.

Leading the assault was pitcher, Cliff Lee, who has now not allowed a run in 29.2 consecutive innings.  Tonight, he dominated the Braves in his 6th complete game shut-out of the year.  He basically took Atlanta’s signature hatchet and turned it around against them.

After a lack of offense in Sunday’s game against the Marlins, the Phillies finally found their bats again and seriously punished pitcher Derek Lowe.  Four starters had a multiple-hit game, including Ryan Howard with a homer and Chase Utley with a triple.  Hunter Pence led the team with three RBI; his one-out RBI-single in the first inning set the tone for the game.

The defense played well behind Lee as well.  Howard ran down a foul ball pop-up near the fence along the 1st base line.  In a sliding grab, the ball slid out of his glove and Howard caught it with his bare hand.  That was the sort of effort that was seen all night long by the Phillies.

But before the Phillies can officially send the Braves crying home to their mommies, there are still two games to go.  Vance Worley will face Tim Hudson on Tuesday night at 7:05pm.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Lose After Playing Under Protest

Well, there went five hours of my life I wish to forget.  The Phillies said goodbye to SunLife Stadium in Miami today with a gut-wrenching 14-inning 5-4 loss to the Marlins, played under protest from the Phillies.  It was another wasted Roy Halladay start.

The big controversy began when umpire Joe West decided to make up the rules as he went along.  In the 6th inning, Hunter Pence hit a double that should have left the Phillies with two men on base and no outs.  Instead, West decided to use instant replay on a ball that he himself ruled a double.  Replay, according to the baseball rules, is only to be used on potential home runs.

West came back after 13 minutes of “reviewing” and ruled Pence out due to fan interference.  While those idiot fans did attempt to interfere, the play should not have been reviewable in the first place.  The other problem is that West assumed the ball would have been caught had the fans not intruded.  But on the video replay, it is far from a sure thing that outfielder Bryan Petersen would have caught it.  In fact, his glove was already closed by the time the ball reached him.

The Phillies then announced a formal protest of the game and manager Charlie Manuel was ejected for arguing.  After the game, Manuel stated the same point, that the ball would not have been caught (per Ryan Lawrence, DelCo Times).  West claims Manuel asked for a replay; Manuel sternly denies this.

So now it is a game of he said (Manuel), she said (West, running from the press afterwards ;o).  If MLB determines that a rule was broken by West, the game could be restarted with the Pence double at a later date.  But seriously, odds of that happening are like ZERO.  MLB has refused to hold umpires accountable for anything and I do not see that changing now, sad as that may be.

The rally was killed after that call, but the Phillies did score two runs on a Ryan Howard single in the 7th to take the lead.  That lead was promptly erased as rookie Michael Schwimer got tossed into the fire at the bottom of the 7th.  I feel sorry for Schwimer; this was not a situation where a rookie should have been sent in to hold a slim 4-3 lead after all the drama of the previous inning.  The pressure had to be immense and Schwimer wound up giving up the tying run.

What happened next is what the Phillies should really be ashamed of.  They played seven straight innings of scoreless baseball, dragging the game through 14 innings.  As a team, the Phillies left 11 men on base, went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and totaled only 10 hits in 14 innings.

Worse than that, the bullpen kept them in the game and the offense did nothing to support them.  The biggest victim was David Herndon, who imploded on Saturday night and handed the game to the Marlins.  But tonight, he pitched almost four full innings with an amazing effort.  He worked in and out of jams and kept pitching tough even as he tired.  Herndon escaped bases loaded jams twice, five intentional walks and a badly fielded ball at third that would have shortened his outing.

 

Still, Herndon persisted and redeemed himself from Saturday’s disaster.  That his offense could not score him one single run during all that was ridiculous.  Chase Utley went 0-for-7; Pence ended 0-for-6, although he was robbed of a double; Shane Victorino had only one hit and a walk in six at-bats.  And most of that was against the Marlins sub-par bullpen.  Yuck :O(

The game ended with another bases loaded jam for Herndon who walked the winning run in just as his arm was about to fall off.  And that happened after some questionable calls from the home plate ump who seemed to decided that 14 innings were enough for him.

While all that really sucked…a lot…tomorrow is a new day and the Braves are coming to town.  These next three days are the time for the Phillies to drop the hammer on the NL East.  So perhaps the offense tonight was saving up the hits for the Braves?  Hope so….game 1 begins at 7:05pm Monday night!

 

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Herndon Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography, West photo by MLB.com

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Rain-Soaked, Dreary Loss for the Phils in Florida

Tonight in Florida, it looked like the soggy north east weather had followed the Phillies south.  Downpours delayed the start of tonight’s game against the Marlins by about an hour and a half.  It was the third rain delay / postponement between the Phillies and Marlins in the course of just a week.

The game began with a light, but steady rain, still pouring down.  And while the rain chased away many of the few fans who were actually at the game, Cole Hamels stuck it out and pitched fairly well.

Although he had some control issues, Hamels got through seven innings allowing three runs on four hits and three walks.  All three runs for the Marlins were scored on home runs.

But Hamels made up for his pitching mistakes at the plate.  In the second inning, Wilson Valdez tripled to score two runs and then Hamels followed up with an RBI-single.  Hamels duplicated the feat in his next at-bat in the fourth.  So he ended the night with two hits and two RBI.  Not too shabby for a pitcher.

Unfortunately, the scoring ended with Hamels’ 4th inning RBI.  Even less fortunate than that was a bad pitching decision by manager Charlie Manuel.  He sent Antonio Bastardo out to pitch the eighth after Bastardo had just pitched almost three innings in the last two games.  While Bastardo has been superb, he has also been overused.  And that was obvious tonight when he walked the first two batters he faced.

Manuel pulled Bastardo after the walks and put in David Herndon.  And that move also proved to be costly.  Herndon has been much better lately, but he is almost always better when he starts an inning as opposed to taking on inherited runners.  And just like that, Herndon imploded.  He gave up three home runs for a total of five in the inning, giving the Marlins a huge 8-4 lead.

The way the Phillies offense had played all night, it was clear that a four run deficit might be nearly impossible to overcome.  When the only guys hitting are your pitcher and the 7 & 8-hole hitters, it is probably not going to be a great night offensively.

So although Hamels left the game with a lead, the bullpen handed the game to the Marlins.  The Phillies lost 8-4.  The only good news is that the Braves also lost tonight.

The Phillies still have a chance to win the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:10pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch.

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies 42 Games Over .500 Makes History

With a 5-3 win over the Marlins tonight, the Phillies added another record to the franchise books.  And here is how it transpired:

Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt made the start tonight.  Since coming off the DL, he has produced one really good start, a couple of okay starts and one bad start.  The bad start was against the Marlins last week.  This week, facing the same team, he had another sort of up and down day.

While the results were not awful, Oswalt just did not look solid out there.   He gave up three runs in 6.1 innings, so it could have been worse.  But the Marlins hitters helped a lot by getting themselves out.  Oswalt’s control was not great and his pitches were all over the place.  Oddly enough, against this Marlins team, it seemed to work.

Oswalt’s inconsistent play is starting to raise some questions about whether or not he should pitch in the post-season.  With experience and a solid history on his side, the Phillies won’t yet count him out.  Hopefully, his next few starts will really show what he has left in the tank.

In the meantime, the Phillies offense helped Oswalt out with some runs in this game.  Shane Victorino started it off with a triple and Placido Polanco hit a sac fly to score him.  Most of the additional damage was done later by John Mayberry Jr. who also had a sac fly, plus a 2-run homer in the game.

Mayberry’s sudden emergence since his trip back to Triple-A in June has been amazing to watch.  He fixed his batting stance, worked on his defense and is now clicking on all cylinders.  There are no more Phillies fans complaining about the team not resigning Jayson Werth in the off-season.  Adding Hunter Pence has been a big boost as well.

Speaking of Werth, if you compare his numbers to Mayberry’s this year, the results are night and day.  Their home run and RBI numbers are very close, however, Werth has had more than twice the number of at-bats that Mayberry has gotten.  Werth has 269 more at-bats, to be precise.  That is a whole lot of production from Mayberry in a very short time.  Mayberry is simply “werth” more than Werth.

With the three RBI from Mayberry tonight and some bullpen help, the Phillies took a 5-3 lead into the 8th inning.  Antonio Bastardo, who seems to be untouchable this year, pitched another superb inning.  In fact, Bastardo is on the verge of making baseball history.  If Bastardo continues at his current pace, which had batters hitting only .112 against him coming into this game, he could wind up with the lowest BA against a reliever in all of baseball, ever.  Yes, EVER.  Wow.

As we await those results, the Phillies made another kind of history with today’s win.  Now at 42 games over the .500 mark, this is the best mark in Phillies franchise history.  No other Phillies team has ever had such a great record.  There is still a lot of baseball to go, but this team has the potential to be the greatest Phillies ballclub ever.

And as you let that sink in, remember to tune in again tomorrow night at 7:10pm.  Cole Hamels will pitch in game 2 against the Marlins.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Phillies Breeze Through Four Game Sweep of Reds

With two days off before this series began due to Hurricane Irene, the Phillies did not skip a beat in their total dominance over the Reds this week.  This win made it only the third time in franchise history that the Phillies have been 41 games over .500. They did it twice in 1976.

Rookie pitcher Vance Worley is also knocking on the record books.  With a 10-1 record, the Phillies have won each of his last 13 starts.  That is the best streak since Steve Carlton pitched the Phillies to 15 consecutive wins in 1972.

 

In this game against the Reds, Worley was great through six innings, allowing just one run.  He ran into trouble in the seventh when he allowed a 3-run homer.  At that point, Worley was done.  But he walked away with the lead and even an RBI on a single in the 2nd inning.

The offense had already spotted Worley six runs by the time the bullpen took over.  Ryan Howard hit a solo homer for his 104th RBI of the year.  Filling in for Placido Polanco, Michael Martinez blasted a 2-run shot to right, which was his 3rd homer of the year.  Shane Victorino and Wilson Valdez had two hits in the game as well.

So September started with a bang for the Phillies.  They currently hold an 8-game lead in the division and will play 3 games in Miami next.  Game 1 against the Marlins is Friday night at 7:10pm with Roy Oswalt pitching.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Another UnbeLEEvable Month for Cliff Lee

In the month of August, Cliff Lee has been amazingLEE, wonderfuLEE and happiLEE spectacular on the mound.  Lee nearly duplicated his equally stunning month of June, where he went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA.  He ended August tonight with the same record of 5-0 and a 0.45 ERA.

Against the Reds on Wednesday night, Lee was dominant, as usual.  Over 8.2 innings, Lee allowed only six hits plus one walk and a hit batter in the 9th.  In short, he was magical.
 

The Phillies offense was a bit sluggish against an old foe in Dontrelle Willis, who pitched for the Marlins during his better days.  Since then, Willis has struggled to find a solid place in the majors.  But the Reds gave him another shot and he appears to be trying to take advantage of that.  He allowed some runs, but was pretty good overall.

After Willis walked the first two batters he faced, the Phillies scored one run on a Ryan Howard force out in the 1st.  Later in the sixth, Hunter Pence took Willis deep for a 2-0 Phillies lead.  Shane Victorino scored in the seventh on another ground ball out, this time from Chase Utley.

So while the offense scored only three runs, that appeared to be all Lee needed.  The defense backed Lee as well, although some of the outs they recorded were rather unorthodox.

For example, in the 5th, Wilson Valdez started to turn what looked like a great double play.  He fed the ball to Utley, but Utley fired to first way over the head of Howard.  As the ball ricocheted off the wall beyond 1st, Carlos Ruiz snagged the ball and fired back to Utley, who tagged out the runner going to second on the overthrow.  Ruiz saved Utley from the error and turned a very odd double play.

In the 9th inning, Lee finally ran into trouble after a hit, a walk and then a hit batter.  The hit batter was questionable as Miguel Cairo clearly leaned into the pitch.  And unfortunately, that prevented Lee from recording his sixth shut-out of the year as he was pulled in favor of Ryan Madson.  But Madson took care of the Reds with only three pitches to end the game.

With the 3-0 win, Cliff Lee has now recorded two months without a loss and at least five wins with an ERA under 1.00.  That feat has only been accomplished two times before.

The win also guarantees another series win for the Phillies who have taken the first three games in this four game series.  Vance Worley will pitch in the finale tomorrow; game time is 12:35pm.

 

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Lee Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

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